Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books?
My book, Loitering at the Gate to Eternity: Memoirs of a Psychic Bystander is a collection of more than 100 true paranormal stories from everyday people. I approached the subject matter as a professional journalist. I don’t try to tell readers what to believe. I just faithfully retell the stories of others. The book is also filled with information about different types of paranormal phenomena, how they have been viewed through history and studies that have been done in paranormal research.
When did you start writing?
I had my first written piece published when I was 14, in a poetry anthology. My first paid professional job was at the age of 17, when I wrote a humor column for a local newspaper. But even as a grade school child, I was always writing stories for classmates, so I guess I have had a passion for writing as long as I can remember.
Why do you write?
I write because I enjoy the process of writing. Most of my writing these days is in the scientific arena, but I also interview people for articles on everything from what it’s like to work in a rock band to the views of a professional college student who’s in her 90s. It’s fun posing questions you could never politely ask otherwise, and I have found that by listening to the experiences of others, you can learn a great deal about life.
What would be your choice for a superpower?
I would like to have the power to heal the sick, both physically and mentally—to relieve suffering in the world.
Who is your favorite author?
Most of what I read is biographies and histories, so I am not sure I have a favorite author in those genres. However, in fiction, I suppose J.K. Rowling has my admiration for solid writing skills. For gritty realism and characterization in a fantasy, I admire George R.R. Martin. Among the older authors, I always liked the gentle humor of Roger Zelazny, and Kate Wilhelm is quite skilled in conveying a great deal in remarkably concise writing.
What are you reading now?
I’m on the fourth book in The Game of Thrones series. Actually, I am waiting for my daughter to lend me the fourth volume. In the meantime, I’m reading a vintage Star Trek book titled Spock Messiah.
Who is your favorite character to write?
I write nonfiction, so I don’t create characters, but I enjoy engaging in conversation with people I interview and listening to their personal stories.
Do you have a writing process?
I just sit down and start writing. It’s a discipline and after all these decades it comes as naturally as breathing in and out.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Pursue your passion.
What inspired you to pursue writing?
My mother was a writer and she encouraged me to have fun with it.
What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?
I don’t watch a great deal of current television. I watch old series on DVDs. My husband and I are now in the process of watching the entire run of FarScape. Before that, we watched the entire run of the original Star Trek and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
What are your current projects?
I am planning to begin work on my second book sometime this spring. In the meantime, I have book signings and lectures for my current book.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
Be open-minded about life and about the books you read. I remember when I was in college that I was an ardent pacifist, so I took a History of Warfare class along with the ROTC candidates because I wanted to understand a different viewpoint. I learned not to be a fanatic. Few things in life are clear cut. No viewpoint works all the time. In the case of psychic phenomena, I definitely didn’t believe in them, but over the years, after many inexplicable experiences, my viewpoint has softened. Anything is possible and books offer the opportunity to broaden your experience through the eyes of others and deepen your understanding of the world around you.
Quick Fire:Cats or dogs? Cats
Coffee or tea? Tea
Favorite food? Duck
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Chocolate
What are 3 things you never leave home without? Cell phone, purse, car keys
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with? George Carlin, Tycho Brahe, Boadicea
TV or Movies? TV