What inspired you to write Set Apart?
I worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for fourteen years as an information systems specialist. The idea came to me then. I always wanted to try fiction, and it seemed like such a good idea, I was afraid someone else would beat me to it. I didn’t start writing it, though, until 2005, after I left DHHS.
What is your writing schedule?
I try to work several hours each afternoon, either writing or researching.
What has been the most challenging thing about writing?
It’s important to get the first draft down on paper but I tend to perfect what I’ve already written instead of moving forward, because it’s easier. New writing is the hardest thing. I think most writers would agree with that.
What have you learned, and wish you had known earlier?
How much I love writing. How enriching and all-consuming it can be. Not just writing itself but the whole process. Everywhere I go, I feel like my mind is a butterfly net trying to capture ideas before they get away.
Have you discovered anything about yourself?
I know now that it’s okay to be the quiet type. I was never the “life of the party” and I felt somewhat diminished by that. Now I know it’s okay. People probably think I’m boring, but there’s a lot going on in my head and I can let it out through writing.
What do you want readers to get from the book?
I want them to be entertained, first, then to be left pondering some issues with federal health care they might not have considered otherwise.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
I’m still a new writer myself, but my advice would be to write a lot, and to read. Read books about writing. All in an effort to constantly improve their craft.
Will there be other books?
I’m working on a second book now – a World War II era historical.