1. Tell me about your book First Degree Innocence and where you got your inspiration for it?
While my husband was in truck-driving school, I worked as a Correctional Officer in the local Sheriff’s Office. We housed state inmates as well as local folk, so after hearing “I’m innocent” every day from the mouths of the incarcerated, I was inspired to write a story about a woman who really was innocent. FDI has been my best seller. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. Smile
2. Do you admire your own work?
Of course. What author doesn’t? Every book is months and months of work, and we pour our hearts and souls into our stories to try to make them entertaining, but most of all desirable by those who read our particular genres. Most of my books are western historical, and I had no idea my love for the genre would involve so much more work. Aside for “showing” a story to the reader, I also spend countless hours researching my historical facts. If anything, you want to be known as a credible author. I suppose admiration of my own work is why snarky reviews hurt even though I tell myself I’ve grown a thick skin after all these years. Writing something harsh about a publication is akin to peeking into a baby carriage, then telling the mother what an ugly little one she has.
3. What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer and how did you bounce back from it?
I’ve found that negative begets negative. In other words, once someone says something demeaning, it brings out the worst in others. White Heart, Lakota Spirit is my continuation of my debut novel, and I think it’s a wonderful story if you know your history. Women were taken captive by Indians and usually devalued by their own families once that happened. I absolutely love the cover because it really captures the essence of my story, but recently someone decided that my book was racist and the cover smacked of Victoria Secret. Really? There are books out there with half naked men and women, and my cover, featuring a tepee and a woman with a coloured stripe on her face is risqué? I guess writing about what really happened back in the 1800s totally escaped those in history class. They must have been napping.
Bouncing back? Sometimes I don’t. I try to view any unfavourable reviews in a constructive light…learn from them and hopefully improve, but when people are just downright mean and obviously following suit and haven’t read the book, it’s hard to scroll away and not leave a defensive remark. Reacting only brings those folks pleasure, and I refuse to let them ruin my day.
4. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
All the time. I’m a pantser, so the characters live in my head and talk to me. It’s very easy to take on their persona and see the story through their telling. All I have to do is add the smells, emotions, and other senses to SHOW the reader.
5. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Does it really make it go faster?
I’m claustrophic, so I try to steer clear of small, confined places. I’m also out of shape so if the climb is too much for me to handle, I pick the biggest elevator and usually wait longer than most. I can say with great honestly…pushing the button again and again doesn’t summon the car any sooner…and once inside, I don’t touch anything except the button indicating the floor I’m headed for.
6. Is there a message in your novels you want the readers to grasp?
Not every book has a message, but my young adult, Shortcomings, does, and I wish everyone would read it. I was overweight and self-conscious as a child…the problem has carried into my adulthood. I also remember how badly some kids on the bus were treated when they tried to find seats. Bullying isn’t a new problem. It’s been around for ages so I address it in this story. My heroine is a high school girl born with one leg shorter than the other. She lets her “shortcoming” define her and almost loses the opportunity of a lifetime. I guess my message is one I used to see in a poster on the wall in a co-workers office. “Don’t let the turkeys get you down.”
7. Would you rather be the good guy or the bad guy in a movie?
Bad guys usually get killed off in the movies. I’m in no hurry to leave, so I’m definitely going to wear a white hat if ever I get cast. Besides, good guys always get the girl and live happily ever after.
8. What was your favourite subject at school?
Business English required tons of letter composition, and I loved it. I suppose that was an indication of my desire to write impeccable letters. I’ve always loved writing, so I blossomed from letters to novels after I’d read thousands of Western Historical Romances and thought perhaps I could create my own. Guess what…I did.
9. What eye colour do you find sexiest?
My hormones left me long ago, but I still look at eyes and always find blue my favourite color. I’ve been married twice to blue-eyed men, so I guess that’s proof of my choice.
10. What question would you most like someone to ask you? And what would be your answer?
I’d love someone to ask me how I got on the NY best-sellers list. My answer would be learning from my editors, working hard, and writing something that appealed to the masses.
11. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Don’t assume you know everything there is to know about writing because you don’t. Listen to the experiences of other authors, learn from your editors, and don’t be indignant if someone says you need to change something. Hang tough for things you believe in, and don’t let anyone change your voice. The best thing I did was join a critique group of people who wrote historical novels.
12. What’s next for you?
Only the Good Lord knows the answer to that. I’ve achieved much more than I ever dreamed, but I keep plugging away. I just turned 69 so I look to God to help me stay healthy and keep on writing.
Carrie Lang’s sheltered life ends with a prison sentence for involvement in a bank robbery. Her arrest comes on the day she’s called in sick and stayed inside, so she can’t explain how an eye-witness describes her in great detail, down to the make and model of her car.
A terrible mistake has been made, and her insistence of innocence falls on deaf ears. Even her fellow inmates don’t believe her as it’s a claim they all make. Alone in the world, she has no one to turn to for help, and not a single soul to campaign for her freedom…at least until she makes a valuable friend.
In the meantime, a plan for retribution is brewing, and naïve Carrie finds herself smack dab in the middle of an evil scheme concocted by the prison bully. A ten year sentence seems mild when she’s threatened with death for refusing to participate. Can Carrie find a way out of this horrible nightmare, or is she destined to spend her days locked in terror, isolation, and the cold gray interior of prison walls?
Retired from her big girl job, Ginger Simpson hoped to devote more time to writing, but caught up in the every day world of promotions, emails and chatting, she’s decided that one book a year might just be her norm. She spends some of her free time with husband, Kelly, and always finds time for Spencer, the love of her life. Her grandson, diagnosed with Autism, has shown her that with determination, all things are possible. Look how long it took Grandma Moses to find fame.
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