Peggy: I use a combination of techniques to make my characters come to life. Sensory descriptions and realistic dialogue help me mold my characters into shape. Then I sprinkle on the essence of who I am as an author, and my characters begin to move and walk and live life on the page. They think my thoughts and feel my sorrows and joys. Even my evil characters have a part of me lurking around inside them. That’s why writing is so therapeutic. I’m always learning something about myself through my characters.
Deirdra: What authors do you admire and why?
Peggy: Any author who helps me envision life and people has my vote. O’Henry’s short stories and plot twists kept me fascinated as a young girl. I read with mouth agape the works of James Alexander Thom, Jennifer Lee Carrell, and Geraldine Brooks for their choice of words. And even though he uses never-ending sentences, I love the way Faulkner’s characters come to life. The list goes on. The world is full of great writers.
Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Peggy: Food is the last thing on my mind when I write. I usually forget to eat. I say to myself, “Just one more paragraph. Just one more sentence.” Before I realize I’m famished, an hour or two has gone by.
Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Peggy: Never give up. If someone has a passion for turning words into worlds, they should do everything to see their goal takes root. To know my first novel came so close to getting published gives me hope. If I snagged the interest of one editor, I can do it again.
Deirdra: What are you working on now?
Peggy: My pet project at the moment is my archeological adventure centered on the Michigan Relics and the Hopewell civilization that once lived in North America. I use Indian folklore, science, and religion to pose some thought-provoking questions about Christianity and about who these ancients were. I also have two other novels and a non-fiction book in various stages waiting for me to revisit them.
interview with peggy continued...
Deirdra: What is the most difficult thing about being an author?
Peggy: The most difficult thing about being an author is to know I’ve worked at writing for years without anything significant to show for it.
Deirdra: What is the best thing about being an author?
Peggy: The best thing about being an author is to satisfy the urge to create. At these times, my status as a writer doesn’t matter. Inventing new ways to say what’s in my heart is all I want to do. Whether I publish or not is not as important as improving the talent my Father in Heaven has blessed me with..
Deirdra: What are your goals as an author for the next three years?
Peggy: My most pressing goal is to finish my book and get it published. Three years from now I’d like to see another project almost completed.
Deirdra: Where is your favorite place to write?
Peggy: I usually write on my laptop because I can take it anywhere in the house or wherever I go. It allows me to be alone or to be around family when they need me. Other times, I write in my home office.
Deirdra: How do you come up with your character’s names?
Peggy: Naming characters is a complicated process for me. I search baby name sites or on the back of book covers for inspiration. Sometimes I look up the meanings of names. I know I’ve chosen the right one when the name rolls off my tongue, and I feel like my heroes and heroines are long-time friends.
Deirdra: What is the best complement you’ve received from your work?
Peggy: Many years ago, I wrote and performed a narration for a production called Daughters of Eve. The program featured women of the Bible through music, narration, and sculpture. We performed the program for American Mothers, whose president at the time was Barbara B. Smith, the former General Relief Society President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After our performance, Sister Smith beelined to where I stood, hugged me, and said, “You are a master.” She found me again after the program and repeated her sentiment. That was by far, the most humbling and uplifting comment anyone ever gave me.