If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
“The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Baroness Orczy. I love any kind of book where there is a secret identity and this one is so well done. The original band of swashbuckling, historical heroes!
What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
I have always loved a good fairy tale with a strong heroine, a dashing hero, and a happy ending. Not only that, but I feel that if you spend so much of your coveted free time reading, then it ought to at least end on a smile.
Writers are often associated with loner tendencies; is there any truth to that?
Personally, the answer is Yes! I could totally be a hermit and stay at home. I usually have to make myself get out, but I honestly love to be around people and travel, once I’m on the move.
Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I usually have some sort of idea what I want to write about, but for the most part, I let my “characters” decide where to go with it. Ironically enough, what I’ve heard from other authors is true. You might start in one direction, but they will lead you to their story.
Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”?
How long do they usually last? I have dealt with this dreaded problem, but instead of staring at a blank computer screen, I put the current WIP aside and listen to music, watch a movie, read a book, etc. and eventually, like lightening, inspiration will strike!
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Oh, definitely! I think if nothing else, that’s where a writer begins, is by reading. You couldn’t really be an author professionally if you can’t do it for your own entertainment. I have TONS of favorite authors, but some of the most notable are Sabrina Jeffries, Victoria Alexander, Candace Camp, Lisa Kleypas, Andrea Kane, Sophie Jordan, Julianne MacLean and….the list goes on and on!
What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?
I honestly think it’s essential. More than once a good cover or intriguing title has captured my attention. And in some cases, judging a book by its cover hasn’t steered me wrong! That’s why I was so pleased with my cover my publisher came up with. Very pleasing to the eye!
How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?
Devastated! Seriously, though, I would definitely start to second guess my writing, but I would just pray at least one person would come. Not that I would expect a huge fan base, but if I could at least make a difference in someone’s life, then I would be happy.
Does a bad review affect your writing?
When I was an aspiring writer and member on the free critique site www.bookcountry.com, I was just glad anyone chose to read my work. If it was a low review, then I just took from that and tried to improve. It all goes back to time and wanting to read a good book. We live in such a hectic and busy world that I want to write the best stories I can.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
I have ALWAYS wanted to be a published author, ever since I was in the fourth grade and my teacher said she liked reading my stories. The advantage was that I also liked to “push buttons,” so all in all, I was destined to write!
Which book inspired you to begin writing?
“Midnight Bride” by Kathleen Drymon was the first book that inspired me to start writing romance. Along the lines of the earlier mentioned “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” and “A Rose in Winter,” by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, this book had the secret identity wrapped up in the midst of the Revolutionary War. While I started out reading romance novels set in the Civil War era, this one got me intrigued about England, for the main character was a British soldier spying for the American Colonies. After that, I went on to Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters and decided that the love of the English countryside and their rich history was intriguing. Besides, who wouldn’t want to imagine that they were a duchess?
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I have! In my debut novel, the opening line is “What do you mean it’s all…gone?” In this instance, the heroine, Athena Hawthorne has lost her inheritance. In real life, those were my exact words when my computer crashed and I lost all of the books I’d been working on up until that point – without a backup. I was so upset! I could just imagine something similar happening in a book, so I started over from scratch and from the ashes of despair, came a dream come true – for both of us.
Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing?
Honestly, I have one of the best jobs, though maybe not as extravagant as some! I’m a part time cashier/lunch attendant for the local community college – www.macc.edu. I used to work full time in a different position before my youngest daughter was born and decided to be a stay home mom, but once she started school, I wanted something else to do, so I wouldn’t be a hermit, you know! I’m off in the summer and about a month at Christmas, so I fit my writing in between times, along with whenever else I can. I have the best support group at home, between my husband and two daughters that I am truly blessed.
Is it true that anyone can be a writer?
I think so! If it’s something you’re passionate about and stick with through the good and bad, anything can happen. I had over 60 rejections before I found someone to believe in my work. The important thing is Don’t Give Up!
Do you reply back to your fans and admirers personally?
I do! If someone emails me or messages me on social media, I am the one who is responding. I think it’s important to be on a personal basis with your reader and I’ll give anyone a chance to be my friend.
What do you do in your free time?
My family is my world and I love spending time with them. I enjoy traveling and hope to make it to England, Ireland and Scotland someday! You might spot me at some random historical event and dressing up in the different eras. Halloween always was my favorite holiday! I also like browsing flea markets and antique stores and my hobbies are reading and collecting dolls.
How did it feel when your first book got published?
Absolutely AMAZE-BALLS! When my book was officially released “into the wild,” it was on my husband’s birthday and we were on a family vacation in Virginia, appropriate actually, for the state sign claims it’s “For Lovers” and my novel was a romance! I already had some business cards printed and I was passing them out to whoever would take one. I also spent a lot of time on social media, where my closest friends and supporters were cheering me on. It was great!
How critical are you in your evaluation when you are reviewing someone’s work?
I really try not to give anyone less than 3 out of 5 stars on a book, because I would hate to get below that. I also take into consideration that everyone has their own tastes and just because I didn’t like a particular book because of the writing doesn’t mean someone else didn’t love it. Since I prefer romance, historical for the most part, I don’t look into the history aspect as much as the entertainment – Did the story flow? Were the characters likable?
Have you ever written a character based on the real you in some part?
I can definitely see some of myself in my heroines when it comes to self-esteem. I was bullied in school and shy, so it took me awhile to come out of my shell. I like to think that my characters break out and find themselves by turning into strong women before they can achieve true love.
How big of a part does music play in creating your “zone”?
Music, along with writing, is another passion of mine. I even considered being a disc jockey at one point. I feel that if inspiration is lacking for a certain scene, that the right song will just make it “click.” Like the score for a movie, it sets the tone. I will listen to anything from classical to eighties (my fav genre!) to love songs, just whatever strikes my mood. I write on my laptop on the couch for the most part and flip through the Sirius channels. If there is a lot going on around me, I’ll put on my Beats and loose myself. If it’s noisy or too quiet, I can’t concentrate.
Which book is the one you keep going back to again and again?
While I’m already working on the second book in my “Ways of Love” series, I am hoping to resurrect “The Spinster Club.” I have lots of plans for those girls and their ornery suitors!
How many children do you have? Do you see any young writers in any of them?
I have two girls and my oldest does like to type, so we’ll see how long she stays with it! But they are both big time readers, like their mom and dad – when he has time.
If you were to change your genre, which one would you choose?
I would like to write a children’s book at some point, and maybe even a mystery or fantasy, but that would definitely be further down the line.
What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?
I’m not looking to have my work made into a movie, or even become a millionaire. I’m a simple person with simple dreams. While I’m still on my debut book, currently available only on digital print, I would like to go to print and mass market all over the world. But for the most part, I want people to be able to read my writing and be inspired, either to become an author, or to fall in love with the romance genre.
If you had to pick one other author to write your biography, who would it be?
It might have to be an anthology! But seriously, it would have to be a romance novelist, and while she’s only fictional, I’d have to say Joan Wilder from “Romancing the Stone.”