About the Author
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I’ve been writing ever since I learned how to write, and was so blessed to be surrounded by encouragers—my parents, my extended family, my teachers. I was inspired by authors like L. M. Montgomery and Lori Wick early on, and by Francine Rivers a little later. After I finished my first novel at age 13—the original version of The Lost Heiress!!—my mom bought me writers’ market guides and paid for copies, for envelopes and postage, and totally cheered me on while I submitted it. Shocker—no one bought it way back then! LOL. But I was never one to give up. I kept writing, working on this story and others. I signed with an agent, sold a book, signed with another agent when my first retired, sold a series…and now and thrilled to be working with Bethany House—the first publisher I queried back when I was a teen with a book I’d handwritten during class. =)
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
The Lost Heiress is my 10th published work, including 2 novellas. But I have 30 finished manuscripts. Some of the other 20 are even decent. ;-) Others…not so much, LOL. All of my published works are historical—ranging from biblical to American-set romances to this British-set series. But in my unpublished folder, I have some contemporaries too.
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I’m just polishing the final book in the Ladies of the Manor series right now, getting ready to turn it in. Once it’s off my plate, I’ll get back to work on a Christmas story set in the days of the early church, following the Visibullis family from two of my biblical novels. And I’ve got another Edwardian idea rattling around my brain, too, that I’ll hopefully have the chance to write soon. =D
4. What does your writing process look like?
My ideas usually come to me pretty fully within a day or so. I often need to brainstorm some of the details of the twists and turns with my critique partner and husband, but I know it’s a solid idea when it latches hold and fleshes out quickly. I can usually hammer out the first three or four chapters in just a few days. Then reality sets in, the pace slows, and I take time to do some serious research. I try to average 2,000 words a day—getting up at 5:30 in the morning to have some quiet before the kiddos wake up, and often squeezing out my remaining words after they go to bed. It takes about 3 months of active writing these days…and then time for editing, revising, and that initial time to research.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
I don’t know about favorite (that would probably be at the beach or some mountain cabin with no distractions, LOL), but my usual place is the kitchen table. I occasionally have dreams about having a house with a room I can use as an office, but alas! Not my lot right now, and that’s okay. I can write pretty much anywhere. =)
Occasionally names will just come to me with the story idea, but often I have to go searching. When I can, I search historical records from the era I’m writing in to find appropriate names, and then select ones that I can (a) pronounce, (b) like the sound of and (c) doesn’t strike me as overused. For American-set books, I oven turn to ssa.gov and search their name database by year. For other settings, I search for census records for a particular region for the time period I need. For my biblicals, I often search the Bible itself, or Google “Ancient Greek/Roman/Hebrew names”
7. What authors/novels that you enjoy would you recommend?
So many!! I’ve recently been enjoying Kate Breslin, Jen Turano, Susan Meissner, Mesu Andrews, Laura Frantz, Dina L. Sleiman, Stephanie Morrill…I have many more favorites. Those are just a few off my recent read-it-and-loved-it list.
8. Where is your favorite place to read and why?
Well, my couch is super comfy. On nice evenings, I often end up on the porch in the Adirondack chair. And more often than not, it’s in bed, propped up against my headboard.
There is no answer to that, LOL. History just interests me, period. I love learning about different eras and what sets them apart, what characterized the people in them. I love best whichever one I’m researching at the time…and then fall in love with a new one when a story takes me somewhere new.
10. 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?
Justin, from this book, would totally be William Mosley. He is a 100% perfect Justin—which is awesome, since I’d been on the hunt for an actor to suit him for 20 years…apparently I just needed to wait for him to grow up and start acting! LOL
11. What inspired the idea for your Ladies of the Manor series? How many novels do you plan to include in this series?
As I touched on a bit above, this novel is a rewrite (of a rewrite of a rewrite of a rewrite…) of my first-ever finished novel, which I wrote at ages 12-13. I may have been a bit inspired (ahem) by Lori Wick’s The Hawk and the Jewel way back then. These days, the story bears little resemblance to what I first wrote, though the heart of the characters, and the premise itself, has remained the same. The series will include 3 books. The second is The Reluctant Duchess, releasing next April. The third’s title hasn’t been finalized yet, but that’s the one I’m just turning in now. =)
12. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing or editing—or homeschooling my kids, which obviously takes a big chunk of my day—I’m often designing book covers for a few different small presses (mine included—www.WhiteFire-Publishing.com) and independent authors. When not doing that, I do (obviously) love to read. I go through phases with finger knitting. I enjoy baking (though despise cooking)…and pretty much anything else that gives me an excuse to neglect cleaning the house. ;-)