I was born, educated and lived entirely in New Jersey until four years ago. I taught Spanish and English as a Second Language in high school and adult community schools. I was lucky enough to be transferred to Florida where I am living as if I am on vacation every day. I write full time. My husband works all day. I am at home where my Labradoodle and my Shih Tzu keep me company and remind me to get up out of the chair to walk or swim. I started writing romance when I inadvertently crashed a Romance Writers of America chapter meeting here on the Space Coast. I was invited to stay. I was hooked from that day forward.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest published book is The Relentless Brit, a tale of sex, love and espionage during World War II. It is a story of love at first sight. Sweet romance, heartbreaking betrayals, forgiveness and uncompromising men and women. Conflict sets the pace of the book and relentless loves rules the day.
What do you have coming out in the future?
My next book will come out before August this year. I just received the manuscript from my editor. I have some work to do before it goes to the formatter for publishing. I am writing the last in the series, The Relentless???.
What genre do you enjoy writing the most and why?
I really love writing what I call Historical Vintage Romance. I started out writing contemporary romance, but was dissuaded when I read the first ten pages at my chapter meeting. My dialogue lends itself to vintage times” 1940’s to when, I am not sure yet. Someone recently told me that my book is better placed in the Women’s Fiction genre.
Do you ever base your characters on real people in your life?
I always base my characters on real people, but then I follow the ‘what if’ path. What if she enlisted in military service or he chose undercover work or she became an insurance investigator or fire marshall. That is what makes writing fun for me.
War rages in Europe. Conflict is worldwide. History is repeating itself. Germany seeks domination of Europe. Hitler’s troops occupy all countries except Great Britain. Nevertheless, bombing from German aircraft have scorched London and other parts of the British Isles. Peace is elusive. Hitler has betrayed the Prime Minister of England. Spies and espionage are rampart on all sides. Japan is on the move in China and the islands in South Pacific.
Well, first my Creative Writing 101 teacher said she loved all of my work and I got an A in that class. Most recently my friend and class discussion leader at a local class, Greta McLaughlin whose new book, Celtic Cries was just released. I can say I always wanted to write about life as imagined it as a child. Inspiring authors are Barbara Kingsolver, Juno Diaz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende and my all my English teacher friends.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I love to read well written historical fiction. Phillip Gregory books about the War of the Roses, Henry VIII and his wives are my favorites. I adore Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. I don’t read much science fiction. However, I did like Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. I like the genre called Barcelona Noir from Carlos Ruiz Zafron. I cannot forget Melinda Haynes’ Mother of Pearl and Barbara Kingsolver’s Lacuna and The Poisonwood Bible. Of course, romances by Sylvia Day, Julie Leto and Debbie Macomber.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
I started with my first book as The Uninvited Guest, but it need something snappier to catch attention. I changed it several times until my editor and I agreed on The Relentless Brit which I copied from my really first book, The Relentless Italian.
Is your book a stand alone or a series?
Here’s the thing. I wrote The Relentless Italian first. When I thought I finished it, I realized it needed more work. So, I set it aside and wrote The Relentless Brit. I published the latter book first because it makes chronological sense. So the series starts in 1940 during World War II. The connecting thread between the books is that the children born during the war become the characters in the second book having had the war influence who they are.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
The most difficult part of writing for me is putting into words what is deep inside the characters’ heads and hearts. One of my readers wanted to know why the heroine fell in love with the hero. I guess I did not make that clear. Something I need to work on more.
I would say that coming up with the main idea for a story is the easiest for me. Imagining the characters is also easy for me. Going from scene to scene is usually easy, but sometimes I think out of order and wish I hadn’t.
Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
My favorite characters? That is like asking a parent who is her favorite child. I cannot choose one. I like them all for different reasons. Both heroines can be snarky with the men. I like that about them. Marie Gentile in The Relentless Brit is forever forgiving of her love interest after she let him know a thing or two. Sophie Carrieri is somewhat the same, but more of a feminist in thinking. I love both heroes. Charles Stanhope is quiet to the point of being covert. He never walks away from Marie as angry as she may get with him. Tony Andriosi is mysterious at the same time as being an outgoing career singer.
What is your preferred writing environment?
Do you mean where do I prefer to write? That is easy. I sit in a my comfortable leather chair in my kitchen/family room with my laptop. The television tuned alternately to the shopping channels. PBS, or baseball. Can you believe it? I never listen to music while I am writing, but I am inspired by lyrics when I am driving. I surprised myself when my husband and I took a long drive from the east coast to the west coast of Florida. I took along my tablet to check the Nanny Cam at the dog boarding place, but instead started typing a new series. It seems when I am typing, stories fall out onto the screen. How lucky can I be? I should say blessed.
With many publishing routes available today, which felt the most reliable to you when it came to the many choices?
Here is what happened. I started first send the begin of the books to contests. No luck there. As I was writing, I read more, took classes, paid attention to other members of my writing chapter, and, read craft books galore. I sent out query letters. No luck there either. I looked at many publishing companies who wanted thousands of dollars to publish. I researched Createspace.com, Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords.com and talked to some free-lance editors. While I was getting reading to self-publish, I though why not submit to a few more publishers. Again, how lucky or blessed can I be? I received two contracts within two weeks. The terms of rights, royalties, and length of time to publish were just not acceptable. I did not even try to negotiate. I was anxious to get the book up for sale. The manuscript was ready to upload to Createspace and Kindle. So, I did. I am happy with my choice.
When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
I wanted something to fill my hours and my mind as a hermit living with my dogs all day. I love to sew, knit, quilt, swim, and bike too. However, writing seems fulfill me the most at the moment. I decided publish at that first Space Coast Authors of Romance meeting I crashed over two years ago. I think if I am going to write, why not publish? Maybe some of my friends would enjoy the books.