What inspired you to write the article "Maybe an Old Dog Can Learn New Tricks"?
I was offered the suggestion to write about my forum and all the years I've been online. So I pulled from those experiences
What inspired you to buy your first domain in the early days of the internet?
I published my first book in 1997 and created Lee Books. I wanted to get a website to advertise that along with another I had recently published. I actually looked into getting leebooks.com, and it was available. I regret not getting it then, instead going for judesplace.com. I went back about a month later with the intention of also buying leebooks.com, but it was snagged up in that short amount of time. Almost as if someone was keeping track of what people were searching for, maybe with the thought of selling it to me for more. Wasn't willing to do that.
I've had a bunch of different types of menus. The first one was too long ago to remember what type it was, but when I found the drop-down, I stopped looking.
Have you ever tried other methods of getting traffic to your website besides link exchanges and keyword optimization? If so, what were they, and how successful were they compared to these methods?
I was majorly into link exchanges for years. I had hundreds of links. I downsized my site about 10 years ago and got rid of all that and haven't felt like bringing it back. I got a lot of traffic, which I'm sure those links helped with and should probably look into doing something like that again.
How long did it take you to make the necessary changes to your website to switch to HTTPS, and did you face any challenges during the process?
I had no idea how much work went into it, and I was a bit frustrated in the beginning, but Google is my friend and I found a lot of help. Luckily, it only took me a few hours to get everything fixed and working again once the site was secure. I can imagine this would be quite daunting to someone with a lot of webpages. I only had a few that I had to update.
Have you noticed significant changes in your website's search engine rankings after switching from HTTP to HTTPS?
I haven't really tracked it, but I do hope that Google is now indexing it again.
Can you share any particularly memorable or enjoyable experiences with your past forum and current forum, Jude's Place?
When my forum was at its most popular, I had loyal members who helped with editing my WIP books. So they had the added benefit of seeing my books for free before anyone else did. I enjoyed getting their feedback and see their enjoyment of my writing. My current forum is like night and day. I know I'm getting visitors but it's been a challenge to get anyone to join, or if they join to come back. I'm still working on figuring out the best incentives.
What inspired you to start your forum, Jude's Place, and how do you maintain a positive and engaging atmosphere on your forum?
I'm still trying to figure that out. For now I'm doing post exchangs and hoping that eventually those or giveaways will entice new members.
If you could teach an old dog one new trick related to website design or management, what would it be and why?
Definitely use CSS to incorporate images and backgrounds into your page. Once I learned to do that, I've loved the effect, like the anime figure of Fionn standing on the left side. And the background graphic that is repeated on every page. It doesn't take much effort or knowledge to add things like this.
If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice about website building, what would it be?
Add CSS and drop-down menus.
How do you develop the ideas for your novels, and what is your writing process like?
I don't write until inspiration hits, and I never know when or where it will happen. I've always believed in my muse and that the stories I write come from something else, and I'm just the one typing it out. They truly to seem to write themselves, and I love it when they take on a life of their own. My writing process is to write when the mood strikes, no matter when that happens, and to keep writing until I get hungry or tired.
What are some of your favorite novels or authors, and how have they influenced your writing?
Johanna Lindsey first inspired me when I read one of her books at the age of 13. While I don't write historical fiction, I've always written romances. Stephanie Meyer's writing helped influence me to write my first YA novel, Camp Maple Creek
What inspired you to start crocheting and selling your creations?
I've been crocheting since I was a kid. Only occurred me to start selling them when I was successful on ebay, selling Easter baskets and bunnies. Haven't had much luck selling anything on my website though. Just haven't gotten around to taking them down.
Besides writing, running your forum, and crocheting, do you have any other hobbies or interests?
Just about everything I do is on my computer and/or online. I like to read and watch movies and play on my VR headset.
What is your favorite book you have written, and can you share a quick summary of what it is about?
That would be a tie between Faith's Portrait and Camp Maple Creek. Since the latter is my most recent book, I'll provide a summary of that. Camp Maple Creek is a YA novel about a 16 year old girl who is sent to a remote camp for gifted teenagers. She meets and falls in love with Fionn. This mysterious fellow camper is not a normal teenaged boy, and she is intrigued by how he makes her feel. As she spends more time at the camp, she realizes she needs to discover the dark truth of what the place really is. Who can she trust to help her? Fionn or maybe the other new campers? One way or the other, she's determined to right the wrongs that have been done.