It’s so hard to make this part sound interesting! The deets: I mostly stay at home with my kids, but that gets spendy so I pick up occasional relief work in the local clinic labs where I get to play scientist and hang out with adults for the day (I don’t cut their food into squares though). I started writing over a year ago and that’s what I want to be when I grow up. I LOVE reading and writing paranormal romance! For fun, I play softball, go for walks because my knees said no more running, and ride bike. I still squeak this body through a local sprint triathlon each summer. Last place winner, right here!
Tell us about your latest book.
Lawful Claim is the fourth book in my Sigma Menace series and it’s about the bad guy! Well, he’s good, sort of, but was bad, sort of, for a while. It was so fun to build up the main character in the first books of the series and discover that he had a story that needed telling. In the Sigma world, there are plenty of depraved individuals that want to commit themselves to Madame G’s sinister plans, but there were two individuals she saw, she wanted, and she took. This book is about how the first one breaks free from her grip to save the family he left behind.
What do you have coming out in the future?
Pure Claim, book 5, and I can’t wait! But I’m so nervous, because when I started Fever Claim (book one), it was Agent X and Commander Fitzsimmons’ story I was working up to. So I really, really want to do it justice. X has been such a fun character and I don’t want to lose that in a full-length book.
I do have a short story planned about the sister of the Jace Stockwell, the main dude from Fever Claim. I’m hoping to get that one out by the end of the year. It’s a gateway story. The main conflict won’t be Sigma Menace, but will set up/continue the change in overall plot that will take place in Pure Claim.
Is your book a stand-alone or a series?
The series is The Sigma Menace. I’ve mentioned Fever Claim was book one. Then there’s Primal Claim (book 2) and True Claim (book 3) followed by a short story Reclaim (book 3.5). Then Lawful Claim and Pure Claim.
Why romance and what makes your particular brand of romance special?
It’s always been about romance. The books I read in high school, I looked for the love story. Then I was an avid fantasy reader (I was Game of Thrones before GOT was cool…nah, it was always cool). But after spending forever combing book store shelves, reading the blurbs looking for the romantic angle it finally dawned on me that I should just read romances. PNR seemed like a natural transition from fantasy.
I wish I could say I was special. My goal is to make my brand similar to those authors I admire: JR Ward, Larissa Ione, Kresley Cole, Laura Wright, Gena Showalter. They write sharp books with gritty details, vivid characters, and hawt romance. Add in a few laughs and I just love their work.
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?
For now, I’m mostly PNR. I have dabbled in some contemporary because after I heard about Fleet Week, I was like, duuuude… How ripe for romance is that event? I’ve written two short stories so far in my Fleet Week Romance series. They are meant to be quick, standalone reads that are short, sweet, and steamy. I have two more planned in the near future.
I would love to write a historical fiction series, a saga loosely based on my grandparents, and I have it all mentally mapped out but would need to do eons of research to capture the feel and characteristics of the time period. That type of research would make my genealogy husband giddy - hours and hours in the library and historical society…be still his heart.
When Ana Esposito’s life, and that of her son, was saved by the husband she had buried over a decade ago, she found her world irrevocably changed. Any chance of safety for her and her son lay with the hardened man that used to be the love of her life.
If I can squeeze some real life experiences into my writing, I sure try. It makes the story so much richer and more vibrant, and oh so exciting if there’s little quirks that are only known if one has the experience. That being said, I think empathy and extrapolation can go a long way with no experience. I saw an interview with Cate Blanchett where she was asked if being a mom made her a role in certain movie much easier. She laughed it off and said something like she didn’t have to be a serial killer to play one.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
There’s so much I’d like to do when I’m not writing, but life gets in the way (and I watch way too much TV with the hubs after the kids go to bed). If I do get a smidge of time I can claim for recreation, then I love to go for walks, hang out at the lake if it’s summer and find a sledding hill or frozen block of water in the winter. And of course - read. If I’m not into my romance, I have a stack of magazines to comb through: Runner’s World, Triathlete, Oxygen. Mags for the wishful thinking couch potato.
Do you read romance or do you prefer other genres?
I found romance through fantasy, but I need the romance in my novels. I’ve tried belonging to a book club, and the books they cover sound interesting, but I need my romance and I want my happily ever after.
What is your absolute favorite book or books and why is it special to you?
The Blue Sword. I still have that book, too. And I don’t keep many of my books, especially in the electronic age. I read it before I was a teen and it made huge impression on me. Kick ass heroine, brooding hero, exciting new world, and a dash of G-rated romance. It set the stage. I have little patience for stories where the heroine is, as I’ve heard referred to, too stupid to survive.
Have you joined any writer’s groups?
Other than a few groups on Goodreads, I haven’t. I’ve done some superficial searching in my state for local writing groups, but there’s very little that I could find. I know they’re out there, I just need to narrow my search.
Have you won any awards for your writing?
I wish! I haven’t entered any contests. I’ve looked through them and then I get intimidated at the word count. I feel like I have so little time to write that when I can snatch an hour at the computer, I have to make it count and that means it goes toward my publishing. But that’s probably just a good excuse not to go through the effort and risk rejection. I have a lot of projects lined up in my head that’ll keep me busy through the end of the year. After that, I’d like to enter few contests.
Spencer King has a boy’s name and lives in the boondocks for a reason. The tall, sexy shifter who showed up on her doorstep was unwelcome…and pushy. The mating instinct she feels for him threatens everyone she’s worked to keep safe. Realizing the frustrating, brooding Guardian doesn’t intend to leave her alone, Spencer has to figure out if she can trust him, and to decide – stay and fight, or run for her life?
When I have a scene bursting at my mental seams, I can sit and zone and write. Those days, I feel totally legit at this writing thing.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences?
I want to be JR Ward when I grow up. I adore so much of her work and it’s resonated more with me than any other author. The top PNR authors I adore, even when I’m not feeling the story, I admire the chemistry and comradery they develop between the characters.
What is your preferred writing environment?
At work. In my defense, there’s this one place I fill-in at where if there’s no labs, there’s nothing for me to do. Nothing. I catch up on online seminars, my continuing education, any maintenance, and after that, it’s either read a book or write a book. I can really cruise when I write there. However - I do not write those type of scenes there. That’d be weird. And not sexy when I have to stop to test a urine sample or draw blood for STDs. Not sexy at all.
Do you have a careful plan when plotting your stories or do you just go with the flow?
I’ve tried to be a plotter, but I’m a total pantser. If I sit and try to plot out a story, I often hit walls. When I write, the stories just unfold in front of me and it is hard to keep up with the plot twists and loopholes so I wish I had a better system of keeping notes instead of going back through the previous books.
With many publishing routes available today, which felt the most reliable to you when it came to the many choices?
I felt I couldn’t go the traditional route because I couldn’t imagine writing a book and then waiting months and months to hear something and then…nothing may even happen with the book. So I dived into self-publishing and figured it’d be like any building any other business. And it’s hard to be patient. Really, really hard. I can’t help but feel that if I want to be like the authors I really admire and try to emulate in my work, then I may need to try to get traditionally published. The beauty of this business, is that if the work I try to sell to a publisher goes nowhere, I can still self-publish. And I don’t have to give up my indie work either since there are plenty of successful hybrids.
When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
A year ago last summer. Before that, I gave it maybe one half-hearted attempt and said for years that maybe someday I’ll write a book. Then I was juggling my part-time work, my husband’s travel schedule, kids’ activities and thought there’s got to be a way I can work from home. But I felt I had no talents, no crafty trades, to make it possible. A morning news show segment always stayed at the back of my mind. They profiled Jacinda Wilder and her husband how they became self-published writers. It was the first I’d heard of indie publishing. Since I’ve always wanted to write professionally, I started doing some research, which turned into a ton of research, and got started writing.
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?
I am thrilled at being asked anything and here’s the reason: My whole career, including my part-time work through college, has been HIPAA regulated. I couldn’t talk about a dang thing. Anyone who’s worked in healthcare knows there’s some wacky, cool, and beyond odd experiences. But you can tell no one. Beyond that, to a lot of people, the lab seems like some creepy dimension from an unknown world. Everyone has heard of “the lab,” but very few know what we actually do or what kind of training we have. I was really repressed when I was a public health microbiologist because the few tidbits I could talk about, put everyone to sleep. No one wants to hear about the cool multi-plex molecular platform that would revolutionize serotyping Salmonella spp. Sometimes, my husband would say, “Honey, I can’t fall asleep. Can you talk about your Campylobacter work?”
So I geek the heck out when someone asks about my writing and I gush on and on until their eyes glaze over. Then I gush a little more before showing some mercy.