Please tell us about being a roadie with your husband’s band & about the band.
Two weeks after our wedding, my husband and I quit our jobs to travel with his band, Kinfolk, a folk-rock group that played coffeehouses, churches, outdoor rallies, and even a few prisons.
We toured off and on for ten years, covering most of the Southeast. Our first two sons were born during this time, and eventually made their way on stage to perform a song or two with the band.
This was not the glitzy-touring-life you’ve read about and seen in documentaries on VH1 and MTV. We were sometimes ten band members and spouses crammed into a van or pick-up truck camper, sleeping on floors, in tents, or as guests in people’s houses. But life was always interesting and there was something new on the horizon every day.
As a roadie with the band, I wrapped cables, helped set up my husband’s drum set, and ran the sound system during the performances. Little did I know, I was a pioneer in Women in Sound! It really came down to being there to fill the need. I was also an early version of what is now called a “Merch Girl.” The wife/girlfriend/groupie who stands at the back of the venue and sells records (back in the day), CD’s and t-shirts.
Last year, the band reunited and put together a collection of brand new material. I wrote the lyrics to accompany Robbie Trice’s wonderful music on “Beautiful Perfection.” This was my first experience with lyrics, although I’ve written poetry most of my life.
THE KINFOLK PROJECT is available to download for free.
Tell us about y’alls recording & production studio.
Even since those days traveling with the band ended, my husband has had a studio. At first the studios were set up in our homes, with simple equipment and down-n-dirty recording. In the ’90s we finally built our dream facility.
The studio does work for most major textbook publishers, providing them with original children’s music, foreign language programs, and teaching videos. We also do post-production work for films, including sound effects, mixing, and foley. You can hear my foley work in several recent films including “People Say I’m Crazy” and Hallmark’s “The Confession” based on the Beverly Lewis novel.
I cater meals for the people who work in the studio. It’s been fun to cook for such varied artists as the punk band, Modern English to Tiger Woods recording prompts for his EA Sports video game.
Musicians are great people and I’ve always loved making sure they have a home-cooked meal. I guess that’s a holdover from my days on the road eating too much fast food! Or it might just be the mother in me, but I always make sure there are vegetables available. When I served a roast chicken dinner to the Modern English guys, they said, “Just like Sunday dinner at Mum’s,” in their wonderful accents.
The most fun we have in the studio is at Christmas when the family and any friends who are at the house record a Beatles tune. We’re called The Bartles and you can check us out but here’s video dedicated to my fellow ENCHANTED BY AN EMERALD authors.
Did you try to publish anything before returning to school?
No, I didn’t try to publish before I attended the University of Central Florida. As a student, I published some fiction and literary criticism in the university’s publications. At the time I attended, studying creative writing at the university level focused on literary fiction, magazine writing and poetry.
I didn’t begin seeking publication until later when I joined Romance Writer’s of America, which was like attending another learning institution. Through RWA, I learned so much about writing popular fiction and the publication process. Anyone who is interested in writing, even if your genre isn’t romance, would benefit from membership.
Do you have a favorite travel destination? Somewhere you want to go but haven’t yet?
I’ve been west of the Mississippi a couple of times, but haven’t been able to visit all of the grand places. I want to spend months and months touring the West. While I’ve been to Manhattan, Boston and Washington, D. C., much of the North is still new territory for me. Of course, I want to visit Europe, particularly England, Scotland and Ireland. As a fan of Regency and Victorian books, I want to see all the beautiful places I’ve read about.
Our grand plan is to spend several years touring the United States in our motor home. I can write anywhere, and we’ve been working on putting together a mobile studio so my husband can continue to do what he loves in between visits to museums, battlefields, historic homes and great restaurants.
Please tell us about Bombshells.
Oh, I love BOMBSHELLS!
It is truly the book of my heart and was almost ten years in the writing. The concept began as a poem called “The Nuclear Granny” while I was attending the University of Central Florida. The Berlin Wall had just come down and it seemed that the nuclear threat that had clouded my entire life had finally lifted. Of course, before BOMBSHELLS became a finished book, the events of September 11, 2001, had occurred and it became clear to me that each generation must deal with threats to their security and peace of mind, just as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 had shaken the very core of my own life.
Like the characters in BOMBSHELLS, I was required to order military dog tags to wear to school, as well as bring water, food and blankets to store in the classroom. I lived in Jacksonville, Florida at the time, and the three active Navy bases in the city were thought to be primary targets for the Russian missiles in Cuba.
But BOMBSHELLS is more than a story about the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s the story of a family struggling to protect itself and the story of a girl becoming a woman. The title, BOMBSHELLS, references both the imminent threat of attacking missiles and the different female archetypes, or bombshells, a young girl is exposed to and must eventually choose to emulate in her life. Gosh, that sounds so heavy! But there is a lot of humor in the story, too, and it’s just 99 cents for a limited time.
How did you come to be included in the Enchanted by an Emerald Anthology? Please, a bit about your story, WHEN WE GET TO PARIS.
Lucky! Just so darn lucky to know the lovely women who participated in this anthology. I’ve known Catherine Kean, Nancy Robards Thompson, Katherine Garbera, Mimi Wells, Caro Carson and Wynter Daniels for years. We were all members of our local RWA chapter. Though we are at different stages in our publishing careers, from Katherine Garbera’s seventy-some releases, to Mimi Wells’ debut novella in ENCHANTED BY AN EMERALD, we’ve all supported and believed in each other along the way, encouraging those taking the slower path, like me and Mimi, and rooting for those speeding ahead. When Catherine Kean and Wynter Daniels trail-blazed the way with e-books and indie-publishing, I was convinced that was the way to go with BOMBSHELLS.
WHEN WE GET TO PARIS is my novella in the anthology, a story about American soldier, Henry Stewart, who carries his family’s lucky stone as he fights during World War II. The green rock has kept generations safe and brought true love, but when Henry is injured during a secret mission for the French Resistance, he believes the stone has failed him. When a beautiful French woman brings him into her home, is she a sign his luck changing for the better, or will she turn Henry over to the Nazis?
You never know where inspiration will come from or how you’ll be able to use your own experiences in a story. When we began thinking about following a jewel through history, World War II just resonated with me. It may have been due to my visit to the World War II Museum in New Orleans a couple of years ago. The museum is incredible and presents the citizen soldiers of that conflict in a way I’d never experienced before. I wanted to capture the heroic, personal sacrifices those ordinary men made as they changed history. I hope WHEN WE GET TO PARIS does that just a little bit.
Did I mention how darn lucky I am?
Do you have a WIP you can share & what can we look forward to from you?
I’m so excited about my next releases. I have three connected books set in the fictional town of Truboro, South Carolina. The first, LIARS, CHEATERS AND OTHER LOVERS, is a revised version of my 2004 Golden Heart Finalist manuscript, PANTS ON FIRE. It’s about—can you guess?—a tiny, white lie that spins out of control and takes over, complicating Bailey Crawford’s nice, simple life beyond belief. The next two novels in the series are: LOVELY PARTING GIFTS, about two people finding their happily-ever-after following the endings of their separate Plan As; and DELAY OF GAME, a “we finally found each other” story.
Have you read anything lately you’d highly recommend?
You know what I really enjoyed? THE ROSIE PROJECT, by Grame Simsion. This book was a different type of romance, told completely from the male point of view by a genetics professor who is charming but socially challenged.
Are you currently reading anything?
I just finished reading Kasey Michaels’ WAITING FOR YOU. A good, enjoyable read.