Tell us about THE KALEIDOSCOPE
“The Kaleidoscope” is about Harold Donaldson, a self-important fraud investigator who tries to show off by giving a homeless man a handful of change. Instead, the man insists Harold take a beautiful, handcrafted kaleidoscope that he insists Harold must protect. Soon, Harold finds out the ’scope has a supernatural ability to show viewers a glimpse into their future, and then wild adventures and chaos ensue as bad guys anxious to control the device close in.
What led you to write this book?
I had a couple of goals for this one. First, I wanted a character that was challenged to think outside his comfort zone. Someone who learned organically to the plot that no matter a person’s job or skin color or orientation, we’re all humans on this big planet trying to do the best we can. Except for the bad guys, but that’s another book entirely! Also, every story needs a good plot, so I wanted to explore how these different personalities would react if given a glimpse into their future. We allow our past to shape our future, but what if we could allow our future to shape our present? How would we be inspired to change or grow based on the good or bad news we receive, if that were possible?
Did you have an interesting experience in the research of this book?
I researched artificial technology and earth elements, like crystals, and found some really interesting developments going on. The examples Harold mentions in the book are based on that fascinating research, and I can tell you we are in for some mighty interesting developments in the not so distant future!
How important is setting to your story?
I worked backstage on set dressing and props for Community Theater for many years, so my settings are paramount to establishing the stage and adding to the texture of the story. In “The Kaleidoscope,” Harold starts out in his quiet, safe cubicle in a downtown Los Angeles office building, and then finds himself in the wilds of Yosemite National Park way outside his comfort zone. Setting has always been important to my process. I wrote an entire series based on a small town that is built around a walking path that “stitches lives together in life and love.” My Seasons of Cherryvale is based on characters doing life together in this unique setting. More and more housing developments are built on such a concept these days, so I guess it’s a common dream to be neighborly connected.
Do you people watch for character inspiration?
Yes, all the time. There is nothing better to a writer than watching and listening to people being candid and real. Always taking notes!
What do you hope readers take away from your work?
I want them first of all to be entertained. If the writing is good and the characters believable, that’s wonderful, but the plot has to be really interesting and move along. I still remember the feelings I had when I was a kid and that big box of Scholastic Books would arrive (do they still do that?) and the teacher would hand out the books we’d ordered. I couldn’t wait to escape into the adventures, the laughter, and to find new friends in those stories. I want to achieve that sense of escape and excitement for my readers.
Do you have an interesting quirk about your personality that you’d like to share?
Even though I love books and read just about anything written, I’m kinda creeped out by libraries. Go figure. Therapy needed?
What do you do when you are not writing?
I dabble in amateur photography, my husband and I often attend the theater, and we have a motor coach we travel in as often as possible. We’ve also recently taken up sailing, so I’m learning how to tack and come about and stow the gear, matey. I’m also the associate editor of “The Eastern Iowa Review” literary journal, so I read and evaluate a ton of submissions during our open season. http://www.portyonderpress.com/masthead.html
Which book impacted you as a teenager?
“To Kill a Mockingbird,” hands down.
Do you read the same genre you write?
I do, but I also read just about every genre to find out how other authors work their magic.
Do you have a recurring theme to your books?
A theme that occurs in all my books is finding fresh starts. Whether characters are seeking change to make their lives better, are facing a difficult life challenge, or just seeking adventure, starting anew is, to me, an interesting way to inspire readers…and myself…to do the same.
What are you reading now?
Anything I can get my hands on. Specifically I’m reading about Muslim and American relations for my next release, “Misdirect, A Novel of Spies, the Sahara, and Searching for God.”
What’s next for you?
I have a manuscript out to beta readers right now called, “Misdirect, A Novel of Spies, the Sahara, and Searching for God.” It’s about a CIA language expert who’s called into a mission to save the world. She’s got serious self-confidence issues, and while riding a camel through the Sahara with a young Muslim man, has some life changing experiences that change her future and…wait for it…gives her a fresh outlook.