Q.: How are these disciplines used?
Q.: Graphology gets a bad rap; can you explain?
A.: Claudia Rose is a modern single woman entering her forties, who, in the first book, Poison Pen, becomes involved with LAPD detective Joel Jovanic. Her handwriting analysis practice brings her in touch with crimes such as forgery, and using what she knows, she’s better able to understand the people, both good and bad, who are involved. Claudia has a hard time staying detached in cases where kids are in jeopardy, which is the case in Written in Blood and Unholy Writ. She’s warm and compassionate, but she’s learning to be tough when she needs to be. And she’s learning to allow herself to open up in a love relationship — one of her big challenges at the beginning of the series.
Q.: Do you use the misconceptions about handwriting analysis in your books?
A.: Considering my good experience with a small press (for fiction), I encourage anyone having difficulty getting picked up by a large publishing house to try them. You’ll have control over cover art and work closely with your editor. At large houses, you’re likely to get your book cover with a note that says, “Here’s your cover. We hope you love it as much as we do.” Luckily, so far, I have! Regardless of the size of your publisher you will be expected to promote the book yourself (and pay for the promotion yourself). If you’re not willing and able to do that, don’t even bother looking for a publisher. They need to know that you’re willing to invest your (probably small) advance in promotion. That means creating a web site and/or blog, printing bookmarks, attending conventions and speaking on panels, visiting bookstores, etc. One note about bookstores: unless you have a very well-known name, book signings tend to be a waste of time and the big box stores discourage them. It’s often more effective just to do a “drop-in” signing. Call in advance to make sure they have your books in stock.
Q.: Do you have any advice for writers who want to break into the field?
A.: Learn your craft. If you’re writing genre fiction, find out what the rules are so that you can break them. Get into a critique group in your genre, hire a private editor to read your material, and listen to what that editor has to say about your work. Oh, and leave out most of the adverbs (those pesky “ly” words that make the writing weak).
Thank you, Sheila.