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The FAQs

Q) What is the inspiration behind Tarragon? I have been a sci-fi fan since the 60’s when I first watched Star Trek. I was watching Ice Road Truckers one night and thought “what if they were out off the rim and got stuck on an asteroid?” Tarragon is Ice Road Truckers meets Firefly.

Q) Which character in your books would you say most resembles you and why? I’m a sassy, smartie-pants girl, and fiercely independent. I modeled Chianne LaCosta in Rage at Rancho Del Oro after me in my younger days.

Q) How do you decide the destinations for the Tarragon crew? I got out a map of the old trail drive routes between San Antonio Texas and Kansas City, Missouri. I turned all those little bergs and corrals into stations in space.

Q) How do you like to work? Do you have a schedule or is it a mood? I have a home office with a desk, chair, light, and a terrific coffee maker. Sometimes the voices in my head are so loud I have to pound the keys to get that out. Other times, I just continue on with the story until I lose inspiration.

Q) Is this a man versus himself story? Jake Lattrell of Tarragon is a rolling trouble magnet. Stuff goes wrong whenever he is around and it sort of makes him crazy. He second guesses himself and is having trouble letting go of the past.

Q) How did Jake Lattrell evolve into the main character? I had to have someone with a mitt on to catch that flying buck. I made the other characters interchangeable to other space freighters. Stupid things happen in space and that poker game seemed plausible.

Q) What is the key to your world building? If I lay in bed at night I can close my eyes and see those shining neon lights and hear the conversations in my head. I can smell that drunk guy that just staggered by. I can smell the food when a character walks into a café. I put myself there and I can tell you all about it.

Q) What television shows do you watch? Perry Mason reruns. Gunsmoke reruns. 5:00pm local news. Gold Rush. Ice Road Truckers. The Expanse.

Q) What is the hardest part about starting a new storyline? It is like getting struck by lightning. In my head I can race through five bad things and five good things that happen to characters. I know which ones will die and which ones will never be the same. Getting the basic storyline down on paper can take a couple of hours and I can break into a sweat doing it.

Q) What is your research process? I’ll spot a total stranger who looks older than me and ask them a question. I’ll run police reports to find out who died in what place/building. There is a big can of worms when characters seem to be minding their own business while they are conspiring. What if this or that.

Q) Why was it important to have humanity spread out over the universe? I’ll never live long enough to run off to Mars for the weekend. But I can see the big vacation resorts on Mars and Europa. There will be thousands of people who have the money to plain just go see what is out there. And I won’t be one of them.

Q) When you start writing, where does the story begin? Something has to happen to someone to start a scene. Fall down, break their leg. Crash their ride. Bump their head and it makes them crazy. I make characters stand in line at the bank when all hell breaks loose.

Q) What do you want readers to take away from this story? If only one reader realizes that the power of friendship can bring us all together just a step closer, I’ve got a winner. Humans just don’t want to stay home on the sofa with the dog. Go out for a soda and be gone twenty years.

Q) Who is the first person you show your work to? I tell my husband about the things I make characters do and he laughs at me. I always have a family member read the unedited rough draft so I can capitalize on the good parts and slash out the wrong parts.

Q) What is the hardest part about writing for you? I sometimes feel exhausted mentally and emotionally after killing off one of my characters. Some of my characters stay alive book to book and then catch a stray bullet.

Q) Will you read my manuscript/query letter/synopsis? Unfortunately, no. I refer all inquiries over to for formal and informal editors. I have a “no reading” policy.

People have asked me what I listen to while I write.  Most times it is silence. The following is the playlist I have on shuffle several hours during the day. Enjoy!

A Dustland Fairytale – The Killers

Adagio for Strings- Samuel Barber

Adagio in G minor – Tomaso Albinoni

Arms of Gold – Tape Machine

When We Were Young – Adele

Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked – Cage the Elephant.

Alone – Stefano Guzzetti

Automatic – Miranda Lambert

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

By Night – Sophie Hutchings

Carousel #3 – Federico Albanese

Chasing Stars – Moux

Chopin Nocturne No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor – Frédéric Chopin, Mikhail Pletnev

Clair de Lune –  Claude Debussy

Colder Weather – Zac Brown Band

Comptine d’un autre été, l’après-midi – Yann Tiersen

Dance Of The Swans – Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky

Début – Mélanie Laurent

Départ – Samuel Félix

Dismantle – Peter Sandberg

Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

Emptiness – Sigimund

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

Fight Song – Rachel Platten

Flight – Johannes Bornlöf

For Stormboy – Rhiannon Bannenberg

Georgia On My Mind – Clark Younger

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen

Happy – Pharrell Williams 

Hearts of Courage – Two Steps From Hell

Home – Stefano Guzzetti

House of Cards – Jeff Beal

If You Came Here To Live – Alex Kozobolis, Harry Edwards

In My Life – The Beatles 

Just Like Fire – Pink

Metamorphosis II – Philip Glass

Milk – Henri Bardot

Mrs. Smith – Rebour

Now We Are Free – Gladiator, Hans Zimmer

Partly Cloudy – Silver Maple

Piano Concerto No 21 – Mozart

Prelude – The Atlas March – Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek & Reinhold Heil

Resolve – Poppy Ackroyd

River – Rob Costlow

Roar – Katy Perry

Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
Smokestack Lightning – Howling Wolf
Sophia La Notte (Night Breaths)– Fabrizio Paterlini
Springsteen – Eric Church
Storms – Nick Box
The Scientist – Cold Play
Time -Angelia Grace, Hans Zimmer
When All Else Fades – Sam Eber
Where’s My Love – SYML