I was an avid reader growing up. Fantasy, mystery, romance. During and after college, I was reading a lot of category romances—Harlequin, Loveswept, Silhouette. I read one that made me want to write one myself. The old cliche of thinking I could do better. Not as easy as I thought, but I got hooked on writing and finally learned enough that I could sell. I was inspired by the romance authors I met through RWA: Pat Warren and Christine Flynn from my first chapter in Phoenix, Arizona, Barbara Freethy and Louise Vernon from the San Francisco chapter as well as many then-unpublished friends who started this journey at the same time I did.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
I've written thirty-seven novels, novellas and short reads. Thirty for Harlequin (sweet contemporary romances), six for Tule Publishing Group (sweet contemporary romances) and one for Zondervan (Christian romance.)
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
Right now I'm writing a Christmas story for Tule. The working title is A Christmas Homecoming. It's set at a dude ranch in Montana and part of a series that I've been writing. But each title is standalone so you don't have to read all the books to know what's going on.
4. What does your writing process look like?
I start with an idea. I do a quick fill-in-a-chart to get an idea for a plot, then I start writing to get to know the characters. I'll go back and try to fill in the plot a little better once I know who they are. I'll write the first three chapters, then skip to the end and write the last chapter. Then I go back and fill in the middle and whatever else is missing.
Two days a week I write at a local Panera. This gets me away from all the distractions of home. I set a timer and write in 20 minute spurts. Sometimes I'm alone. Other times other writers are there.
I love to write wherever my furbabies can be near me. That means either in bed or on the couch.
My favorite authors are: Nelson DeMille, Barbara Freethy, Stephen King and Anne McCaffrey.
My reading time is limited so I usually try to take advantage of my kids' swimming schedule and read at the pool.
I love the Edwardian time period. Growing up I was obsessed by the Titanic. This was well before the James Cameron movie! I have a collection of books and items.
9. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
Well, the actors who've provided the biggest inspiration for characters in my stories are Ioan Gruffudd (Silhouette and Harlequin Romances - Prince Richard and Drake Llewelyn), Chris Hemsworth (Harlequin Romances - Adam Noble) and Charlie Hunnam (Special Edition - Justin McMllian).
10. What inspired the idea for your novel The Cinderella Princess?
I introduced the heroine Emily Rodgers in a story that came out in July '14 called The Honeymoon Prize. I knew I wanted to tell her story and since reality TV played a role in the first book I wanted that to tie them together. I also imagined her with a prince. I love writing royalty. When I told the senior editor I wanted to make Emily's story a royal romance, we came up with the "Royal Holiday" series and three other authors were asked to contribute. Each book is standalone with a different set of characters and setting.
11. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I'm a huge reader. I also love doing crafts, doesn't matter what kind. But the truth is, I'm the mom of three kids with a husband who travels most of the time so most of my spare time is spent with them. Usually driving them somewhere!