I'm pleased to bring you an interview with someone who has published several books, and whose inventive mind enables her to create puzzling mysteries. Enjoy! Cheers Laura
What kind of books do you most enjoy reading?I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to write. When I was in the fourth grade, I wrote dozens of ghastly horror stories and sold them to the kids at school for a dime each. That was a lot of money way back then. Finally, irate parents told the principal, and I had to stop writing the stories, and give back all the money. My first rejection. But hardly my last. At least with my professional writing no one has asked me to give back the money.
How many books have you published to date?
Are the books all similar or are there different series of them?To date, I’ve had seven books published. Two non-fiction: “Creative ways with Polymer clay” and “Artful ways with Polymer clay” under the name Dotty McMillan. And five novels under Dorothy McMillan. “Blackbird” “Soul Crossed” “Vile Acts” “Deadly Urges” and “The Devil’s Bell.” Two of these books were optioned for film, but, as usual in Hollywood, they never were filmed. But I got to keep the option money! Deadly Urges is now on the Kindle for a pittance. Fortunately, it’s getting some great reviews. I just wish I had more time to do some PR for it. Besides books, I’ve written five screenplays. Early on, I sold two of them. Again, they never got made. This is the toughest field of writing to try. I only do it because I enjoy the process and at times need a break from the novel writing.
How do you get the ideas for your books? Based on real experiences or your own great imagination or both?I love going to writing conferences, and I used to attend all kinds of them. I also taught at some of them. However, due to a variety of life things, I haven’t been able to do that much during the past few years. Nevertheless, they were extremely valuable in many ways. One of the best things about them is that they help to stimulate your creative nature, and can give you that push we all need, to make time to write, and keep at it. It’s also good to be with people who love the same thing that you do. Writers work alone so much, that getting out of the house and in contact with other writers is a healthy way to spend some time.For years, I went to every conference where Ray Bradbury was speaking as he had such a powerful message for writers. On one occasion, after a conference was over, he was walking in the same direction I was, and he noticed I had some papers in my hand. He asked if they were something I had written. I said yes. He asked if he could read some of it. In a state of total panic, I handed him the pages. He read all of them. Then he looked up at me and said, “Don’t you ever quit. You are going to make it!” At that time, I was actually ready to take up basket weaving instead of writing! We walked together to the corner of the street where Ray was to wait for his ride home. He has never learned to drive! I thanked him, hugged him, and as soon as his ride arrived, I made my way home in a daze. Those words of his stuck to me, as if crazy-glued, for the rest of my life. When my first book was published, I sent him a copy to say thank you for his encouragement. He wrote back and said he read it, his wife read it, and so did his daughters. He said it was fantastic! From that day on, we exchanged Christmas cards, our successes, and our failures. I’m not sure what I would be doing today, without his kindness and encouragement. Probably basket weaving.
There the story begins. There the terror and fear attack.Do you have an agent? How do you feel about agents? Are they necessary today?
A short time after Ray Bradbury encouraged me, my writing instructor at Orange Coast College gave a hard copy of my novel to Mike Hamilburg, an author’s agent who resides in Beverly Hills. Mike called me a few days later from the airport and said “I have your novel with me and I’m on the way to New York. I would like to represent you and try to shop it. Would that be okay?”When I was finally able to talk I said, “You bet!” So, off he went, and about four months later, he had it sold. That began a long and wonderful relationship, with one of the nicest, most honest, and helpful agents anyone could have. It was just one of those fantastic lucky things.Today, it is possible to sell a novel without an agent. But it is a lot better and easier if you can find one who will represent you, that is if you want to get a traditional paper book publisher. They will not represent a self-published writer unless it looks as if their book might take off and make a lot of money. Some of these do. Most do not.There is a huge list of authors agents online. They usually say what type of writing they represent. You can send a good query letter to all of them to see if they are interested in working with you.Publishing is in such a wild state today. No one knows how it will all turn out. Before now, I have always been against “self-publishing” because I’ve seen so many problems with doing it. So many friends ended up by paying for hundreds of their books which ended up in their garage, and no way to distribute or advertise them. However, this is changing. You don’t have to pay huge amounts to self-publish now, and can buy one or two of your books at a time. The major problem however, is getting out there and doing all sorts of things to publicize your book. All the things that a paper publisher does for its writers. It takes a great deal of time and effort.
Do you usually publish through the same publisher? Does that make an agent less necessary?