1. How much writing did you do before being published?
I had been writing, attending workshops, critique groups, and conferences for over ten years.
2. Have you always considered yourself to be a writer, or was there a time in your life when you decided that is what you were?
I’ve always been a creative writer, and my teachers in high school and college always encouraged me to take that path, but I denied myself for something in medicine. Something more practical as far as supporting myself financially. I have a degree in Occupational Therapy and did that for a little over 5 years, then I went into Pharmaceutical Sales and did that for a little over 5 years. I never loved any of it. That feeling was reserved for writing romance novels.
3. Do you only write Romance, or do you branch out?
My love is romance, whether pure romance novels, or novels with heavy romantic elements. I am always drawn to the strength of love.
4. What made you decide you didn’t want to be a nun?
LOL! Honestly, a big part of it was not wanting anyone to tell me what to do anymore. I had a very controlling dad. The other part was wanting to share my life with someone. A cute boy kind of someone.
5. What was your path to publication?
That is the million dollar question! A lot of trying, not giving up, and no matter what…keep writing. The book that first got picked up was my third full length novel, my fourth story. I had submitted the first two full lengths, followed by a handful of rejections. I kept learning, I kept honing my skill, I kept networking and meeting people in the industry. When I submitted this third novel, I received rejections but also landed an agent. Unfortunately, the agent and I weren’t a great fit, so we went our separate ways. That was very hard. I’d finally felt as though I was getting somewhere just to take what felt like a gazillion steps backward, but it had been the right choice for me.I got smarter on who I was targeting. I write contemporary romance, and instead of submitting to editors that took contemporary, I submitted to editors who LOVED contemporary.I also refined my search of publishing houses. When I learned about Entangled, I really liked and respected their business model. I focused on them as my new home. I connected with everyone I could, revised my work again, and submitted.They became my first home. And then this past month I also signed on with an agent who is nothing short of a dream.
6. What is your editing/revision process like?
Can you say painful? I love writing my stories, I cannot stand the editing process. But after I write my stories, I go back through looking for continuity and conflict, then I send the MS out to beta readers. I collect all the feedback and really focus on anything that overlapped from the readers as I edit again before submitting. When I’m editing from an editor, I read the editorial letter, and I go through and read through all the comments on the MS. Then I sit on it all for a day. Once it has simmered I get to it. I’m a very linear person, so I work in order. Beginning to end. And let me just say how delighted I am when the end does come!
7. Your new series is titled Malibu Sights. Why Malibu?
I came up with the idea of this story from part of a dream I had. I’d met Gerard Butler at a bar. LOL! Only in my dreams. So there you go. When the story started taking shape, I recalled many news stories about how much time Gerry spends in Malibu. As the series took shape and with Gerry being the inspiration for the hero Gage Cutler in the first book, I thought of the different directions I could go, I decided I wanted them to bloom in Malibu. Besides, it always seemed to be a slice of paradise to me, and how nice to live each day in paradise as I’m writing?!
Oh my gosh! If you know of any, please share! I’m so new at the promotion side. I’m learning as I go. It would be so much fun to have an event at the Country Mart in Malibu but that requires a budget I don’t yet enjoy. 🙂 Generous bloggers, such as yourself, are a great and personal way for readers to get to know me a little bit. And hopefully I don’t drive them crazy!
9. Would you consider letting your husband pose for the cover of one of your novels?
Again only in my dreams! I’d love it. He inspires me in so many ways, and he is so beautiful inside and out, I’d be honored. But alas, I suspect his answer would be no. LOL!
10. How many places have you lived?
I have lived in eight different states since leaving Waterford, Pennsylvania.
11. What is your best memory from Pikes Peak Writers?
Oh my gosh. That is such a hard question because I have so many wonderful memories with PPW. So many lovely friendships made and so much growth as an author accomplished. But I think, my best memory was when I gave my closing speech as the director of Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2014 and receiving a thumbs up from our keynote, Chuck Wendig. I mean, come on, it’s Wendig. LOL! And hugs. That is one place I get so many hugs!
One fellow writer said I seemed very glamorous, and she couldn’t imagine me doing laundry or cleaning house, after I explained my to do list for the weekend. It totally caught be off guard because, like most of us, I’m a mess! I feel about as glamorous as my favorite pair of flip flops.
13. What is your favorite electronic or digital writing tool?
Write Way Pro! Love it!! A gift from my brothers, it sat for about two years. When I finally broke it open, I fell in love!
14. What is your favorite non-electronic writing tool?
Exercise. Seriously, I solve plot problems, come up with ideas, and plan whole scenes on my daily brisk walk.
15. What is the most persistent distraction from writing?
Wanting to spend time with my kiddos. I love spending time with them and being their mom is my favorite past time. So giving myself time with them and then carving out my time to write is what I face each day. I find my way, but I am nothing without them first. After my kids, it would be movies and TV series. I love a good story. LOL!
16. You’ve been very open about your battle with cancer. How has this struggle affected your writing career?
Wow. Now that was a scary experience. Receiving the call that I had breast cancer was a bit of a slap in the face because I got the call two days before my birthday, while I was 39, and I’d lost my mother to breast cancer when she was 39. Not to mention my kiddos were the same age I was-terrifying. In my opinion, cancer had already taken too much.
I am very stubborn – so I’ve learned – and I was determined not to let the Cancer affect the strides I’d made with my writing. The first thing I did was call my publisher and tell them I didn’t want anything to change and that I would make all my deadlines. The worst thing in my mind was breast cancer taking anything else from me.At the same time I encouraged my husband to keep moving forward with a work opportunity he had. It was so hard for him to do, but he did it, and now he is very gladI finished my edits and my proofing of Malibu Betrayals while waiting to find out what stage of cancer I had and what the treatment would be. I know my edits weren’t perfect and there would be things I’d miss, but I will always read this story with pride, knowing the life changing experience I was going through at the time. Writing, and having something else to focus on, carried me through.
17. Do you think your own style of writing or voice has changed through dealing with cancer?
I don’t know. LOL! That is a horrible answer, I’m sorry, but all my writing work since my cancer has been heavy on the edits side because I have three books coming out this year. I will be starting the third book of my Malibu Sights series soon. It will be interesting to see how or if anything has changed.You know what has changed? My give-a-s**t (or insert favorite swear word). Seriously, I want to live my life in a way that brings me joy, that brings joy to those I love. And I want to teach my kids to do the same. Worrying about if my choices are right for someone else is a waste of the life I have to live. 🙂
18. Have your spontaneous explosions of affection ever got you in trouble?
LOL! Depends on what you mean my trouble.My daughter flinches when I swoop in, stating my love is a bit out of control and my introverted friends try to hide when they see me coming!
I love it in any form I can get my hands on, but straight from the jar on a spoon is my favorite. Hands down! Oh, and I don’t discriminate. Smooth or crunchy does the trick.
20. Who shot first? Han or Greedo?
There is no question. Han. Also…if I even joked about this, my husband my divorce me. Ha!