Q. What turned out to be a surprise when you were writing Mystery Shores?
A. Oh, great question. The first answer that comes to my mind is a spoiler, so I'd better continue on to my second answer...Tufted Puffins! (Warning: I'm going to shamelessly post pictures of cute puffins here.)
Tufted Puffins are so different from the puffins I pictured before in my mind. The puffins on Mystery Shores Island have golden head plumes and wear bold white triangles on their faces during the breeding season. This is the time when puffins are most visible, since their travels out on the ocean are in some ways still a mystery.
Tufted Puffins are the ones you'll find along the Washington coast (where Mystery Shores takes place). I think these puffins have an air of distinction about them. But, like all puffins, they are also endearing. I loved having them show up as part of the mystery.
Q. When will Mystery Fair be available? My friend and I are looking forward to reading it! How will we know when it's published?
A. Thank you for asking about Mystery Fair. I'm happy to say the story is getting ready for publication soon.
To know when Mystery Fair is published, you're welcome to sign up for my newsletter (right here). I appreciate your interest in reading my new mystery.
Q. What was the first story you ever wrote?
A. I penned (actually, penciled) my first long story at the age of nine. This adventurous tale starred a young gazelle facing danger and intrigue on the African savanna. So it seems I've always enjoyed writing—and reading—mysteries.
Q. Before you started writing mysteries, what did you do?
A. Well, you could say I'm a half Park Ranger. I love the outdoors and took classes, such as Forestry 101, with the idea of a career in the National Park Service. However, I went on to work and volunteer in libraries instead (I'm also a big fan of books).
With my love for story-filled spaces, I helped create a library at my church. The other volunteers and I had a lot of fun organizing a summer reading club for all ages. I wrote a few articles about those book adventures for Church Libraries.
Q. Since your mysteries have a lot of the outdoors in them, what is a fun childhood memory you have about nature?
A. Owls...nesting in a palm tree! I grew up in Southern California, and our yard had a very old, very tall palm tree. Every year, an owl family nested there. And one night, in the light of a half-moon, we watched the owl parents teach their children to fly. It was a privilege that they let us look on, and it is a sight I'll never forget.