PICS_0009Pronunciations: Cyokiana = Si-o-key-anna; Aeglaeca = a-gl-a-sha; Esa = ehsa; Keyta = Keeta; Syla = S-eye-la

Why did I choose the Great Pyrenees breed to represent Keyta and Syla? When I was in the brainstorming phase of this book, I needed a breed that was massive in size and mighty in strength, but also one that could potentially appear representative of the Great Spirit Esa  – pure white and radiant. (Note: in the Shoshone-Bannock culture, Esa is often referenced as a white wolf). Additionally, I also needed a breed that could somewhat align with Collette’s unusual, white/silver features. The Great Pyrenees is the only breed that really fit with every facet of this story. However, Keyta and Syla’s individual personalities, interests and behavior(s) are an exact match of those of my beloved girls, Goldie (Keyta) and Aspen (Syla).

How did I choose the name ‘Collette?’ When I was in high school, my French teacher said that in French my name would be ‘Collette.’ When I was brainstorming for this book, that name just popped into my head, literally out of nowhere! That’s probably the only thing I remember from French class.

What motivated me to pursue getting 18th Winter published? I had watched a movie called “Walt Before Mickey,” (I often refer to it as “Walt Before Disney”), and that is what gave me the final motivational push to complete 18th Winter. Had I not watched that movie, I am uncertain what would’ve happened. Click for Trailer

Why did I choose Sun Valley, ID as the area to base 18th Winter upon? Being an Idaho native, I spent time in that area during my childhood, and at one point, had considered moving there. The other reason is because I wanted a place that was close to Redfish Lake in Stanley, ID, as that is also a place mentioned in the story – I have spent lots of happy summers there as a child, and as an adult.

Where did the inspiration for 18th Winter come from? There are many things that inspired the creation of this story, including my love of nature and animals. But what’s most important for people to know about the creation of 18th Winter is that it is a living tribute to my Golden Retrievers, and the life that I’ve been blessed to share with them. Without Goldie and Aspen, the idea for 18th Winter never would have come about. It is because of them that I am able to share this story with the world…a story that can change the world!

When will Book 2 be available? This is a tough question. A few months after 18th Winter was published, our last Golden Retriever (Aspen) passed away; we lost both Goldie & Aspen to cancer. Prior to that event, I had been working on the first few chapters of Book 2, titled 19th Winter. However, with Aspen’s passing, my desire to complete Book 2 completely disappeared. Additionally, in the publishing world, it is vital for novel sequels to come out no more than one year later, and 18th Winter was published December 2018. That window has long since closed. I have now put my focus on writing music, which I hope to publish and license in the future.

What is my all-time favorite book series? Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. I could read this series over and over without ever tiring of it. So far, I think I have read the series three times. There is one other series that I also have to mention because it is such a close runner up: A Court of Throne and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. This series utterly captivated me.

What is my favorite book? I read A LOT – A LOT! And while I have not read many stand alone novels, I recently read two that were absolutely amazing: 1) To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. This book possesses the most beautiful writing that I have ever come across; the author’s talent is one-of-a-kind. 2) House of Salt & Sorrows by Erin Craig. This is, hands down, the BEST book that I read in 2019. I hated having to put the book down. It was super spooky and suspenseful.