I learned in an episode of the podcast Behind the Seams that you wrote your first book at seventy-five. Do you think that being a skilled quilter helped you have the patience to sit down and craft that first story?
Yes, I think the quilting certainly helped. Of course my thirty-years of geriatric social work also helped with the issues of aging, which I work into my books. But yes, I think the quilting certainly helped. Or maybe I'm just a patient person. Who knows? I was enthusiastic about writing it. I'd retired not long before, and I really had things I wanted to say to elderly people about living in their old age, and enjoying their old age. So in my stories I have elderly people who are having fun. That's why I chose the cozy format. They all have a mystery in them, but my characters are having a good time.
Did you have prior experience in writing, or did you essentially teach yourself how to do it when you first sat down to write?
Well I do have a Master's Degree, so I'd done a lot of writing for school, and writing reports for work, but no writing as far as novels. But the twelve books I wrote came very easily. But I don't feel like I have another one in me.
Sarah Miller, the main character in your Quilting Cozy series, lives in a retirement community. Has she been coming to mind during the COVID-19 pandemic, and do you have any plans for a pandemic themed story involving Sarah?
I don't think so, because of the light feel of my books. I think it would be a mistake to bring that in.
I was excited to see that you have a new book coming out this summer, Frayed Edges. Can you talk a bit about the inspiration for the new book?
I found an old, old quilt at a flea market. I bought it, and brought it home, and it was very tattered and torn. It just kinda led from there. While looking at it I thought "what would Sarah say?" So I started writing the book, and a lot of people in the book mention that they also have old quilts, so the idea for them to have an antique quilt show came up. And that's essentially what's in that book.
And you'd mentioned previously that this will probably be the last book in the series?
Yes. This is the last one. It just feels right that it's finished. I kinda wrote that into the book. I didn't say it in the book, but I tied up all the ends. Everybody is in a good place.
On your website you talk about the value of staying as active as possible. In a time when it's hard to be active outside of the house, what's some advice you can give to anyone finding themselves feeling down in the dumps these days?
Well for myself, I decided to make baby quilts. I was gonna sell them online but I decided to take them to craft shows, once the world opens back up again. What I'm aware of is the importance of a hobby. If you don't have one, go get one. Having something to think about, and be creative about, it just seems so important right now. I've been busy every day during the pandemic. It hasn't been that hard for me because I'm a little bit reclusive myself. And I'm very good at entertaining myself. When I was writing I was writing all day, every day. And now I'm making baby quilts all day, every day. But that would be my advice. Find a hobby. Find something you enjoy.