I always thought I would communicate in the world as a writer. As a child I was a voracious reader, and knew someday I would pen a great novel. But life sometimes takes left turns and I went to broadcasting school instead of a four-year college. I wanted to be the next Barbara Walters and make a million a year. Well that didn’t happen, but I did spend thirty years having fun, spinning records, interviewing people, doing love song dedications. I had a ball until…Congress passed a law in 1996 allowing broadcast corporations to own multiple radio stations in one market. Well, the gobbling began and soon behemoths like Clear Channel ate up radio stations like locusts in a wheat field. And radio announcers like me were axed on bloody Fridays with surgical precision. I left radio, went to work for the US Federal Government, and in my private hours, began doing what I really loved doing. Writing.
Tell us about your latest book.
The Chair is about love the second time around. In a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, widower Paul Bixby develops a deep friendship with bank teller Linda Bauman—a friendship he hopes will evolve into something more. When Linda’s unusual fascination with highchairs comes to light, Paul builds an exquisite chair for her, crafting the chair with love.
Linda thought her parents had died when she was an infant, leaving her to be raised by her grandparents. She treasures the highchair she used as a child as a symbol of their unconditional love. But when a man shows up at the bank and claims to be her father, Linda searches the Internet and is stunned to learn of a long-buried family tragedy and an unspeakable crime.
Linda moves with her boss, Brad Erickson, to a branch office in a different town and secretly shares a home with him. Though devastated by Linda’s choice, Paul steps aside and wishes the best for her. But is Brad the man she hoped he would be? Or is Paul’s quiet love what she needs?
What do you have coming out in the future?
I am currently writing a murder mystery called Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die. A serial killer is murdering lesbians in Seattle. Homicide detectives Nick Winston and Pat Strom are assigned the case and hope to find the butcher before he mutilates and murders another woman. For Pat Strom, the case becomes terrifying and personal.
Is your book a stand-alone or a series?
The Chair is a stand-alone. Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die is the third in a series about Seattle homicide detectives Nick Winston and Pat Strom.
Why romance and what makes your particular brand of romance special?
I love the mix of romance and murder. My mysteries are salacious and sexy. I love to keep the action moving both in the bedroom and the squad room.
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?
Mystery and crime.
It bubbles up from some strange place in my brain. I just open the valve and let it flow.
Do you ever base your characters on real people in your life?
Of course, I do, but I don’t use the whole person. One woman I knew had marvelous hands and I loved writing about her hands. In The Chair, Brad’s personality is based on a man I once dated. He was a jerk who treated women terribly. I really enjoyed writing Brad.
What authors inspire your writing?
Anne Rice will always be at the top of my list of admired authors. The sensuous, decadent detail in her vampire novels is simply amazing and her colorful descriptions of the Garden District in New Orleans were so vivid, I could smell the fragrant bougainvillea. Romance writer, Sandra Brown is another. I always learn from her sex scenes. She can write them smooth and sexy, but classy.
How have your real life experiences influenced your writing?
Yes. Of course. Whoever we are, whatever we have learned finds its way into our writing.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I work full-time for the Federal Government, am raising a grandson, and write novels. There’s not much time left. I am studying Italian. I love languages but struggle to find a few extra minutes to study.
What was your road to publishing like? Tell us about it.
I spent a LOT of money on writer’s conferences. I polished my elevator pitch and learned to assault agents and editors in hallways, elevators, and yes, even bathrooms. I was never comfortable with that process. I got a few nibbles but nothing that ever came to fruition. I queried agents and publishers on the Internet regularly and eventually nabbed an agent. That relationship lasted a year, but she never secured a publisher for me. Tired of playing the traditional game, I decided to epub my book. I sold a few copies and felt good that it least it was “out there.” But sales were minimal. California Times Publishing contacted me and asked to represent me. I was thrilled that FINALLY I had been asked to the prom. It has proved to be a supportive, satisfying relationship. Jeff Napolitano is the publisher and is simply great to work with. I’m not a best-selling author yet, but I’m working on it.
Do you read romance or do you prefer other genres?
I prefer a juicy who-dun-it. I am eager to see if I can solve the mystery before the author does the big reveal.
What is your absolute favorite book or books and why is it special to you?
My all-time favorite is The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. The pull of forbidden love was heart-wrenching and enticing. I must admit I love 50 Shades of Grey too. Initially, I read about fifty pages and thought, wow, there’s sex on every page. This is over the top. I was vocal on social media about what a lousy book it was and advised everyone to save their money. After a few months, I picked the book up again and gave it a second chance. I became entranced with the love story. Christian adored Anastasia, just like Edward worshiped Bella. Women ache to be cherished. That hooked me.
Have you joined any writer’s groups?
I am a member of a writer’s critique group. We met several years ago in a romance writing course at a community college. We started meeting monthly and have been together ever since. We are very supportive of each other and I trust them implicitly. I have written three novels since joining this group. It’s great to get free editing!
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Editing is the most time-consuming and challenging.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Is there an easy part? I haven’t found that yet.
Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
My favorite character is in a previous book, 6 White Roses. Tandy Williams is a raucous, sexy, lovable girlfriend to Detective Nick Winston. She’s very creative in the bedroom and was just plain fun to write.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences?
Again, I must mention Anne Rice. I once stood five hours in towering heels just to get an autograph and photo with her. My feet wouldn’t agree, but it was worth every minute of the wait. I am crazy for early Stephen King. His later material, not so much.
What is your preferred writing environment?
Early weekend mornings I sit down in my recliner and write before my grandson wakes up. My brain is fresh and I produce some of my best writing.
How would you describe your writing style?
My novels are spicy and the fast-paced. To bore my reader would be the kiss of death.
Do you have a careful plan when plotting your stories or do you just go with the flow?
With Romance, I let my characters drive the story. With my murder mysteries, I have to carefully plot where I am going to drop my clues in the storyline.
When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
I’ve always wanted to write. I was side-tracked by broadcasting, but that was okay. I loved radio and had tons of fun, but deep down, it was always writing that called me.
Do you have any advice for other writers and what is it?
It’s a tough business and the competition is fierce. Hang in there and find people who support you.
Wild Card Question.
As an author, what is the one question that you wish people would ask you, but no one ever has and what would your answer be to that question?
What do you get out of writing?
I love the creative process. I just dig words and molding them together to create a wonderful sentence excites me.