About SAY NOTHING OF WHAT YOU SEE:
When her aunt steps off a grain elevator into the emptiness of a prairie evening, Mira Piper loses her one protector. Chloe, her flighty mother, impulsively drags her daughter to Bramblewood, an isolated spiritualist retreat in northern Michigan, run by the enigmatic Dr. Virgil Simon.
Chloe plans to train as a medium but it's Mira who discovers she can communicate with the dead. When her mother abandons her, Mira discovers a darker aspect to Bramblewood: the seemingly kind doctor has a sinister side and a strange control over his students.
Then one winter's day Troy Farrington arrives, to fulfill his mother's dying wish and deliver her letter to the doctor. But calamity strikes and he finds himself a captive, tended by a sympathetic Mira. Haunted by her dead aunt and desperate to escape Bramblewood, Mira makes a devil's deal with Dr. Simon. But fulfillment comes with a steep cost...betrayal.
“You are absolutely stunning, Mira.”
I stole another glance in the mirror. The material was a rich, shimmery gold that fell from my shoulders in folds of liquid light. It looked like something a Greek goddess might wear. Oh, how I wished the girls from Amberville High School could see me in this dress!
“When you came here,” said Dr. Simon, “I had a vision of you like this. I looked at the girl before me, but I saw the woman you are now.”
“Thank you,” I murmured, gesturing toward the piles of clothes on my bed. “You’ve been so generous. I know you’ve spent a good deal of money on me—”
“Money means nothing,” he interrupted abruptly. “I have more than I could ever spend, more than I know what to do with. Don’t consider the cost.”
His tone was brusque, and I wondered if I had offended him.
But the next moment Dr. Simon smiled. “I think of you as my charity case. You were like a doll thrown out in the garbage. I simply rescued you from the trash, cleaned you up, and dressed you in something decent. But the beauty was present all along.” He touched my cheek. “Here.” Then he touched my forehead. “Here.” Then he touched my chest. “And here.”
I knew he was referring to my heart, but even so, his hand on my chest made my face warm with discomfort.
“You blush so easily,” he laughed. “You’ll never be able hide anything, Mira, with such a transparent face.”
“That’s all right,” I said, taking a small step back. “I don’t have anything to hide.”
* * * * * * * *
You, the Author
If you have 2 hours free time tonight, what would you rather do? Why?
Open up a bottle of wine with my husband by the fire.
What kind of books do you love to read? Why?
I enjoy reading a wide range of books, from literary classics and poetry to commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction.
What type of music do you enjoy relaxing to?
Depending on my mood, I might listen to Loreena McKennitt, Florence + the Machine, or downtempo electronica.
What is your stress buster?
You mean besides wine? Just kidding. I try to exercise several times a week, but what really helps me chill out is a nice long walk outside. Oh, and a bubble bath.
What makes you happy?
Lots of things. My husband and my daughter. Writing. A breezy summer day. Coffee. A good book. Friends. Crossing something off my to-do list. Wine.
When did you write your first book? How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote Say Nothing of What You See several years ago while my husband was in grad school. At night he would go to MBA classes or do homework and I would write. It took me a year to write the book and another six months to revise. Back then I was teaching English fulltime at a community college, so progress was slow.
How did you feel when you received your first contract? What did you do? Any celebratory dinner, dance, event, etc to commemorate the occasion?
Signing my first publishing contract was surreal. I had worked so hard for so long and faced so much rejection that it was a relief to know my book would finally be in print. Unfortunately I couldn’t drink a glass of champagne to celebrate because I was pregnant at the time! But don’t worry, I got my champagne when the book was released.
Where and when do you write? Tell us about your favorite work place and time. Any special reason?
I write whenever I can during the day, which means when my baby is asleep or playing contentedly nearby. I write in my home office or in the living room.
What books can you recommend to aspiring writers to improve on style, character development, plot, structure, dialogue, etc?
My favorite book on creative writing is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I highly recommend it to any aspiring writer.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Dream, work, believe. Be kind to yourself and to other writers. Most of us are doing the best we can, and all of us have faced repeated rejection. It’s a hard road, but the journey is easier with friends.
Do you outline your books or wing it? Describe your process.
I always have an outline in mind, but I’ve learned to be flexible. Sometimes a character might take the story in a direction I hadn’t anticipated.
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of editing. How about you?
I fall into the first category. That’s why it takes me so long to complete the “first draft,” which is actually several drafts by the time I reach the end.
E-books, print, or both? Any preferences? Why?
Both. A Kindle is great for traveling and for downloading old classics in the public domain that are available for free, but I still prefer the tactile experience of reading a print book.
Please tell us your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of it?
On the one hand, I enjoy connecting with writers and readers online. On the other hand, social media can suck up a lot of time. It’s hard to juggle an online presence with writing and of course “real life.” I do enjoy Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest, although I’m not as active as I should be. I’m not a huge Facebook fan, but an author page is pretty much expected these days.
What else have you written already?
I wrote the requisite “practice novel” that is collecting dust in the closet. I’ve also written short stories, poems, and essays. Some of these pieces have been published in print and online.
What do you keep on your desk?
Aside from the usual mundane office supplies, there’s a photo I find inspirational. It’s a picture of a dark stone room lit by a cluster of candles on the floor. The candlelight illuminates a mysterious doorway. For me, it’s a metaphor for writing. When I sit down at my desk, I walk through that door.
What books are on your nightstand or by your chair?
Smolder on a Slow Burn by Lynda J. Cox (from The Wild Rose Press). A bit of trivia: Lynda and I went to grad school together, and I discovered TWRP when she had her first novel published there.
What’s your favorite film of all time?
My favorite film is Casablanca. It has romance, drama, heartbreak, and heroism, set during dangerous times in the coolest bar to ever exist on screen. And it has so many terrific lines.
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