About the Author
My first novel, the romantic thriller “Shattered Blue,” is earning excellent reviews and has been nominated for the 2013 RONE Award in Romantic Suspense. “Shattered Blue” is available as a trade paperback on Amazon and an ebook at all major ebook retailers.
The first book in my new Storm Key Thrillers series, “Falling Starr,” is slated for publication this fall.
What inspires you to write romance books?
I’ve always loved to read fast-paced, sensual, romantic suspense. Nora Roberts, Lisa Jackson, Karen Robards and Sandra Brown are some of my favorite authors in the genre. And I’ve always had the writing bug, so when I sat down to write my first novel, what else would I write but a romantic thriller? It was a natural!
Tell us about how you write:
I’m an outliner, but I always deviate quite a bit from my outline. I need to know where I’m going to start and where I’m going to finish (with a happy ending, of course!). But in between I try to come up with exciting twists and turns, both in the romance and in the suspense plot.
I use Scrivener to write my novels. I love all of its great features, and use the character forms and research folders. I always make lots and lots of notes in a pretty journal, basically talking to myself, working out the characters and story arc before I begin. But, as I said above, I always deviate from my outline as I go. I’m a believer it not going with my first idea, because it’s often trite. I try to come up with several different ideas for a plot sequence, and then pick the one that’s the most exciting for me. If I don’t entertain myself, I can’t hope to entertain my readers.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Not out loud! But certainly I heard them in my head while I’m writing their words down. I get to know my characters very well. I dig deeply into their heads and they seldom go astray while I’m writing. I’m a stickler for making sure dialogue and action are sufficiently motivated. If a character is going to do do something that seems “out of character,” the writer has to find a compelling motivation for that. Otherwise it won’t ring true to the reader.
What advice would you give other writers?
READ! READ! READ! Read the best examples of the genre and your particular subgenre you can find. When you find one you love, read it several times to discover how the author pulled it off.
WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! Don’t imagine you can toss off a publishable novel at the first try. Writing well is hard, and too many aspiring writers don’t realize how much practice they need to learn their craft. Take creative writing classes and workshops, as many as you can find and afford. Join a group of like-minded writers. Learn how to take criticism and use it to make your words shine.
EDIT! EDIT! EDIT! When you think it’s finished, it isn’t. If you can’t afford to hire a good copyeditor, make sure several of your beta (test) readers are English majors who know good grammar. DO NOT RELY ON SPELLCHECK AND GRAMMAR CHECKERS! You need human eagle eyes on your manuscript. Don’t publish a book full of errors, assuming readers will forgive you because it’s such a wonderful story. A few will, but many won’t, and they’ll lose respect for you because you didn’t respect them enough to clean up your book before you published it. This advice applies to submitting to traditional publishers, as well.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I self-published because I’m an independent sort and wanted complete control over the content and cover.
Before you decided whether to self-publish or query agents/editors, do your research. There are thousands of blogs by authors on both sides of the debate. Read a bunch of them and then make up your mind.
One thing NOT to do is self-publish and THEN submit to agents/editors. Unless your book is a best-seller, they don’t want to hear from you.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m optimistic. The field is wide open now. That’s both a good and bad thing. There are way too many badly written, unedited books being self-published, and they get in the way of the good ones being discovered.
But in the end I think it will shake out and the cream will rise to the top. HOWEVER, not without authors doing active promotion. These days you have to promote your own books whether you’re independent or traditionally published, so you may as well learn how to do it.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print