Hello! Thank you for having me. I am a multi-genre author of 22 books. I live in the Midwest with my family and three cats. I have been writing stories since I was nine years old, and have been pursuing this crazy writing dream for a little over 25 years.
Tell us about your latest book.
Second Chance Heart is about a woman, Dana Nelson, who runs into her ex while on a business trip. He hurt her long ago, but they have quite a history. She doesn’t expect to still feel anything for him.
What do you have coming out in the future?
Well, I’m currently wrapping up edits on Upon Your Love, the third and final book of the Heiresses in Love Series. That is a Victorian romance. And I’m almost finished writing Blue Vision, a sci-fi romance, which will be the first book of the Code of Endhivar Series. I hope to have both of those released this year. I’m also working on organizing some of my backlist into combined romance anthologies, so one or more of those might come out sometime this year as well.
Is your book a stand-alone or a series?
Second Chance Heart is a stand-alone, though I have some series books on the market as well.
Why romance and what makes your particular brand of romance special?
I love romance! I just love writing about love, and I’ve always loved reading romance novels or watching romantic comedy movies. As for what makes my romance writing unique, I guess you could say that I’m not afraid to cross some lines. By that I don’t mean I write dark romance at all, but rather if there is a sensitive subject in a character’s life, I don’t sugarcoat the problem. This is who the character is, and I won’t dance around the tough issues. I guess I also like to put my characters through a lot before they get their happily ever after.
Is romance the only genre that you write in or do you write in other genres? If so what other genres do you write in?
Yes, I write in other genres. I have published in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance/urban fantasy, fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. I am always trying something new. I even have time travel and dystopian works in progress.
The last thing she expects is to run into an old flame, and even worse, the man who broke her heart twelve years ago. She’s sure that the only thing remaining between them is a strong attraction for another.
She can’t be more wrong…
The more time she spends with Vince Reynolds, the more she begins to believe she can trust him again. But, can she put her faith in the one man who captivates her, body and soul, or are some wounds too deep to heal?
I get my inspiration from life – from events in the world or the people around me. And sometimes the ideas seem to come virtually out of nowhere, even stumping me a little on their origins.
Do you ever base your characters on real people in your life?
I have once or twice, but I don’t do that intentionally. Most of the time, the character just comes out, surprising me in his or her own complexities.
What authors inspire your writing?
I have a lot of favorite authors! J.R. Ward, Chloe Neill, Kris Tualla and Nora Roberts, to name a few.
How have your real life experiences influenced your writing?
Oh, I think my experiences have figured a lot into my work. Whatever dark parts of my life occurred for a reason, and I use those emotions to make my characters and the stories real.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love reading, spending romantic evenings with my fiancé, and I absolutely love shopping! Oh, and I also like to cook for fun.
What was your road to publishing like? Tell us about it.
Crazy! LOL. In 2002, while I was in college, I set out with the intention of writing my first historical romance novel. However, that took many years to write and polish. I always knew I wanted to publish Upon Your Return traditionally, so with that project I held out for it. Around 2010, I saw the self-publishing trend really take off and I decided to try it out as well. I published a literary fiction and poetry anthology, and then I released two more volumes after that. In 2011, when I deemed UYR finally ready for the market, after a lot of work with critique partners, I started sending the book out to literary agents and publishers. While I waited to hear back from them about my historical romance, I published many other books in different genres. After receiving numerous rejections (yes, aspiring writers, that is part of the process), I decided to go a different route with UYR. I started looking for publishers that didn’t require an agent. In August of 2012, I received my first book contract. And it was so exciting! Not too long after that, I started getting ideas for the sequels. Upon Your Return was published in February of 2013, and I have been with Solstice Publishing ever since, releasing several subsequent stories and novels.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
Second Chance Heart actually came from the premise of the book. I wanted to see if after a lot of heartache and history, happiness between two people was possible. I didn’t even know how the book would turn out until after I finished writing it.
Do you read romance or do you prefer other genres?
I mostly read contemporary romance, paranormal romance or historical romance, but I also venture outside of my comfort zone now and then. Right now, I’m reading a science fiction novel.
What is your absolute favorite book or books and why is it special to you?
I love J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover. Throw in a grumpy, centuries-old vampire and a spitfire of a human reporter and sparks really fly! Wrath is totally my book boyfriend. (Fans herself.) And I love paranormal romance of any kind, so how can you go wrong?
What celebrity would you choose to play the main character(s) in the movie rendition of your book?
For Dana, I would pick Deborah Ann Woll and for Vince, probably Taylor Kinney.
Have you joined any writer’s groups?
I have joined the RWClist on Yahoo, keeping up with their newsletters. And I am in several writing discussion groups. I am in the Poets & Writers directory. As for major writer’s organizations, I would love to join the Romance Writers of America, but I just haven’t had the chance yet.
Have you won any awards for your writing?
Yes, of course. Just recently, Second Chance Heart and A Little Magick placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers' Poll. Three of my books were nominated in the TRR Readers' Choice Awards for Winter 2015. I was the poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. I won the Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. I received Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. In 2014, I was a Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. I received Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. My blogs won the Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. I am in the Top 10 Authors on Authors Database. And I won the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors a couple of years ago.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Sometimes research can be a real pain. It’s not always easy to find the answers to certain questions. And writing a love scene in a new way can be quite a challenge.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
The best and easiest part is probably when I’m the midst of writing, tuning out the world around me, pen in hand, and the scene is flying onto the page. There I am fully immersed in the fictional world, the story building and the characters talking. It’s the greatest sense of freedom I’ll ever have.
Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
Fara Bellamont is still my favorite, not only because she’s the heroine of Upon Your Return, my first published historical romance novel, but also because she’s a woman out of her time. Born in Victorian France in a time where women are ‘handled’, she goes against social expectations every chance she gets. And I fully respect a woman who knows her own mind.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences?
I have to mention some authors here. Nora Roberts taught me not to hold back in my writing. Kris Tualla and Linda Lee Williams taught me many things, but most of all, that the best heroes are those closer to home. Also that a truly flawed hero is even better than a perfect one because he finds ways to adapt and make a life in this crazy world. J.R. Ward further taught me that vampires can be extremely sexy, in many ways. Chloe Neill taught me that a woman can really kick ass and have fangs! And finally, in the real world, I have to mention my fiancé. Without having his love, without truly ‘being in love’ (yes, there is a difference), I don’t think I could fully capture the idea of romance in my writing.
What is your preferred writing environment?
I can write anywhere, but I do my best writing sprawled across my bed, penning a scene in one of my journals.
How would you describe your writing style?
I tend to get in a character’s head a lot, so in rewrites and edits, I have to tone it down a bit. My humor is also somewhat sarcastic, so I think that comes out in my writing at times. And when describing a place, I try to write it as if I’m standing there experiencing it just as the character is. Beyond that, I think it’s hard for a writer to step back from their writing and see a ‘style’, so to speak. Though a reader may be a better judge.
Do you have a careful plan when plotting your stories or do you just go with the flow?
Both actually. When I first start a project, I am just going where the muse takes me. I write as many scenes as I can, but eventually I break down and do some plotting to keep focused. Then I write some more.
With many publishing routes available today, which felt the most reliable to you when it came to the many choices?
As I have dipped my toes in self-publishing and traditional publishing, obviously there are pros and cons to both sides. With self-publishing, you control all aspects of the experience – writing, finding an editor, looking for a cover artist, promoting your own work. With traditional publishing, they handle a lot of it for you, though you still may have to market your own books. It depends on your publisher. When I first started the self-publishing journey, I used Lulu.com to publish and distribute my books. They are a good source. For any recent self-published books, I simply used Amazon KDP, then used Smashwords to distribute to various sellers. I haven’t used CreateSpace yet, but I’m hearing great feedback about their system. In a way, I do like the hands-on experience of self-publishing. I even like designing my own covers or looking for great cover artists. And from the beginning, I have made my own book trailers. I’m not afraid to try a little DIY now and then. The important thing is that the book and everything associated with it is extremely professional. That creates a great-looking product, which, of course, looks more attractive to readers.
When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
I don’t think the muse gave me a choice! LOL. From childhood, I just knew I wanted to write for a living.
What is your favorite quote?
I have two. One is related to writing and one is romance themed:
"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."
“A true man does not need to romance a different girl every night; a true man romances the same girl for the rest of her life.”
― Ana Alas
Do you have any advice for other writers and what is it?
Never give up. If this is indeed what you want, and you can’t imagine doing anything but writing as a career, then you can’t give up on your dream. The only one who loses by giving up is you. Two of the big things that got me to this point? Persistence and perseverance. Be brave enough to have both in order to follow your dreams.