About the Author
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a hopeless romantic and believer in fairy tales. Even as a little girl, my fondest dream was to find a Prince Charming who would sweep me off my feet. I’m happy to say that I did realize that dream and have been married to him for nineteen years.
With that being the case, it’s not too surprising that I’ve been obsessed with romance novels since my teens. I read virtually every sub-genre of romance and just can’t get enough of them. Occasionally, over the years, people who know my passion for reading have asked if I would ever write a book. In spite of having a vivid imagination and often making up stories in my head to entertain myself, my answer was always an emphatic ‘no’. Perhaps it was because I didn’t care much for writing in school, but I never in my wildest dreams ever pictured myself as a writer.
Now, here I am years later, eating my words. I truly feel like I’ve found my life’s passion. Nearly every time I sit down to write, I feel energized and excited to be creating something new. I think it’s because I’m no longer boxed in like I was with school writing assignments and can give my creative side free rein. I can’t wait to write the next sentence, the next page, the next chapter, the next book. The muses keep the ideas flowing faster than I can put them on the page and my characters have become a living, breathing part of my life. Now, my fondest wish is that my readers come to love my characters and stories every bit as much as I’ve loved creating them.
I currently live in hot, sunny Phoenix, Arizona with my wonderful husband who is also my writing cheerleader and technical guru, our two teenage children (one boy, one girl), Tundra, our Husky/Great Pyrenees mix dog, and our three cats, Lucy, Misty and Mackenzie. When I’m not reading or writing, I can usually be found hanging out on GoodReads, surfing the web, watching TV or movies, book shopping, or feeding my insatiable thirst for knowledge. I also run the book review website, The Hope Chest Reviews.
What inspires you to write romance books?
Well, as my bio says, I’m a hopeless romantic and believer in fairy tales. When I was a little girl, I loved all the fairy tale stories. Whether I was reading books, or watching TV and movies, I always gravitated toward and related best to the romantic sub-plots. I also made up romantic stories in my head to entertain myself. With all that being the case, it was a natural progression for me to start reading romance novels in my teens. I’ve been an avid fan all these years, and about five years ago, I finally decided to start writing them myself.
Tell us about how you write:
I don’t really have a set amount of time or a word count that I try to meet each time I write. When I first started writing my novel, I was working on it in my spare time which was probably only once or twice a week. About two years ago, I started getting more serious, and now, I write (or do book-related work) every day.
I need to know the basic plot of the story, the main events, and how it ends before I start a new project. I usually begin by writing characters sketches for my hero and heroine, as well as a rough outline, all of which I do in my word processor. From there I follow the path of events I’ve laid out, while allowing my characters to lead me where they want to go too, so I’m halfway between a plotter and a pantser (a fellow writer once called me a plotser;-)).
I’m a slow and deliberate writer, taking my time to try to craft a solid story as I go along, in hopes that I won’t have to go back and do major rewrites and editing later. Sometimes, it works out that way and sometimes not. I’m still new enough to writing that I’m still learning my writing process, and I’m sure I’ll adjust it as I gain more experience and insights.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Absolutely! Are the voices in my head bothering you?;-)
I actually had a very funny conversation with one of the secondary characters in His Heart’s Desire. I have a scene in the book where some of the ladies go to a male revue in Las Vegas. It was a private show, and afterward, the guys came out to meet with them. As I wrote the scene, one of the guys just couldn’t keep his eyes off one of the ladies, who I knew was going to have her own book later in the series. I also already knew who her hero was and that he was an actor, living in LA.
My conversation with him went something like this:
Me: “Why do you keep looking at her like that? She’s taken.”
Him: “But she’s gorgeous. How could I not look at her?”
Me: “Who are you?”
Him: “I’m Ryan.” Said as though I was supposed to know that. (I did know that Ryan was her hero’s name, but I wasn’t expecting to see him in this book.)
Me: “What in the world are you doing in Vegas working as a stripper?”
Him: “I’m waiting for my big break in Hollywood.” Again, said as though I was supposed to know that.
At that point, I had a palm to forehead moment, and that’s how Ryan wound up unexpectedly being introduced in this book.;-)
What advice would you give other writers?
The three best pieces of writing advice I’ve been given so far:
1. Write what you know and love. If you try to write something you don’t love, it will show through in your story even if you didn’t intend for it to.
2. Write every day. It doesn’t even have to be your book (although that would be preferable). Whatever you write, it will keep your writing skills sharp.
3. Join Romance Writer’s of America (RWA). This is the best writer’s organization out there, bar none. Their support and educational resources are phenomenal and a must have for every serious romance writer.
And one more of my own:
4. Try to attend as many romance workshops and conferences as your budget will allow. These events will help you hone your writing skills and will allow you to networks with both your fellow writers and readers who may someday become fans.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I first started writing my book, I thought for sure I wanted to be traditionally published, but as time went along and I learned more about the traditional publishing world, the more I realized it wasn’t for me. I’m the type of person who doesn’t handle stress very well, and the thought of having to deal with endless rewrites, querying agents or editors, and writing to deadlines was giving me major stress just thinking about it. I’m also a perfectionist who prefers to maintain full control over my creation, so the idea of selling away my publishing rights and letting someone else take the reins of something I’d poured my blood, sweat, and tears into didn’t sit well with me either. The choice to self-publish was a very personal decision that was definitely the right one for me, but it may not be the right one for everyone.
My advice to new authors who are deciding how to publish their book is to explore it from all angles. Whether you are considering traditionally publishing with a big-name publisher, going with a smaller indie press, or self-publishing, be sure you know all the ins and outs of each one before you get started. That way you’ll be able to make an educated, informed decision and hopefully, there will be no surprises, whichever route you choose.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that it’s a very exciting time to be in publishing. With the growing popularity of eBooks and eReading devices, as well as the advent of self-publishing, there are so many more options for authors than there were before. Although I still love the look, smell, and feel of dead tree books and hope they never truly go away, I’m realistic enough to realize that eBooks are the wave of the future, and all this new technology puts a lot more power in the hands of the writers too. I’m definitely looking to seeing what the future holds for book publishing.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print