I was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent my childhood hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, wading barefoot in creeks, chasing salamanders, fish, and frogs. We loved to tell stories while sitting around the campfire.
Those days of frog chasing sparked my interest in biology. I am a working scientist by day, but I never lost my love of telling stories.
I write contemporary fantasy, fantasy romance, and contemporary romance. My stories feature unlikely heroes and heroines who face a healthy dose of angst as they strive for redemption and a happily ever after, which everyone deserves. I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my husband, two children, three cats, and my very active imagination.
What inspires you to write romance books?
I read a lot—non-fiction/technical writing and fiction in all genres, but romance is my go-to. There's just something so satisfying about a great love story. I love the thrill of that first spark of attraction, how characters grow through relationships (especially when those relationships are tested), and that wonderful feeling when the hero and heroine (or hero/hero, heroine/heroine) find a happily ever after. It felt natural to write the kinds of stories I loved to read, which is what led me to romance.
Tell us about how you write:
My process starts with a character or characters, usually the hero or heroine. Most of the time they just appear. When I’m writing the first scene (total pantser here), I get am image of the character doing something while they’re thinking. I get to be a voyeur as they go about their business, and they’ll reveal something to me that’ll be important to their story. That’s how it usually works. If I already know a character from a previous book (side character or character who’s come back to help/hinder the protags of a subsequent book), it’s easier to dig in because I already know that character and have a good idea of the motivation and obstacles. With a new character, it’s wonderful and exciting to “meet them.” Take Vance Idol from Southern Elemental Guardians Book 1. He showed up sitting on stage in an empty venue, looking wounded and sexy (as rock stars do), as he played and sang with his whole heart and soul. It was beautiful, but there was no joy in it. All of that talent and he just…didn’t seem to care. It made me mad. And, by extension, it infuriated his heroine, a mermaid who couldn’t sing because of her deadly siren call and would give ANYTHING to have the freedom he had. That’s how it started with Book 1. Seems to be my process.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I always listen to my characters! They appear first and tell me their story. I do talk back, too, especially when they stop talking!
What advice would you give other writers?
Aside from the standard advice (practice, study craft, join professional organizations, etc.), I would say this to romance writers who are getting started: whatever you're working on, finish it! I've known so many amazing and talented writers who've been stymied for years because they simply could not finish a project. Some can't get past the first chapters because they aren't 'perfect' or 'good enough.' Others get so caught up in editing as they draft that they never get to the end. I get it, and I've fallen into the same traps, but unless an author finishes her/his projects, that author will never publish. Just get it done. You can always go back and revise, rewrite, edit, and polish a draft, but you have to have a finished draft first.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
For this particular series, my agent shopped it around for about a year and a half. We came close to a deal a few times, and we received some very kind rejections. The editors to whom we submitted loved the writing and the story, but they passed largely because cross-genre stories can be difficult for traditional publishers to market. It's all about where the book goes on the shelf. Southern Elemental Guardians blends mythology, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. Yes, there are shifters, but not your garden variety were-creatures. No vampires or witches, either. Mermaids are considered somewhat niche by New York publishing. So Indie was the best fit for this series.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe the future of publishing is wide-open and full of opportunities. The Indie revolution has definitely been a boon for authors and readers—there is literally a story or stories out there for every niche and that's a big win for everyone. I'm very happy to be an author in a time where there are so many options to put my stories in the hands of readers.
What genres do you write?
Paranormal/Fantasy Romance, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Romance
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print