When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I read my first Nancy Drew. Seriously. I wanted to be Carolyn Keene. Then I wanted to be Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts, Iris Johansen, Janet Evanovich…
How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends on the length of the book. I average about 1000 words a day, but they're good, edited, ready to roll words. Some days, when inspiration strikes, the stars line up just right, and the world leaves me alone, I can write as many as 10,000 in a day.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write all night long. Very often I go to bed when my husband gets up in the morning. Sometimes I don't go to bed until the next day is well underway.
What do you think is the best way of publishing a book these days?
I'm a huge fan of self-publishing because I'm a control freak--of my own life, anyway. I like being able to check Amazon and B&N to see how many books I've sold and not rely on my publisher's honesty (or lack of it). I've been burned by a publisher once, so I'm not excited about doing it again. That's not to say I'd turn down a six figure advance, but I'd have to seriously think about it.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I have no idea. Mostly I get this line of dialogue running through my head just as I lay down to sleep. Then another line, and another, and soon a book idea is born. Occasionally I might get an idea from a news story, but you can bet if I read the story and got an idea, so did a thousand other writers. I like the original ones in my head better.
When did you write your first book?
1992. It's still on a word processing disk that I can no longer access. After that one that I never did anything with, the next one was in 2000. It finaled in the RWA Golden Heart Contest, nearly sold to Silhouette, and was my first self-published book.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I hang out on Facebook and Twitter with my fans, ride my bike, travel with my hubby who is a photographer. We both love taking nature photos. I love to swim, too, but only in nice clear pools where I can see my feet.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That all those report cards that said I talked too much in class would come in handy when writing dialog. I love dialog.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I've written 13, published 12. As for my favorite, that's like asking which of my four kids is my favorite. They all have their inherent strengths and their appealing qualities. It's hard to choose one. Usually, it's the one I just finished.
Can you tell me and your readers something about your main characters?
With twelve books, that's hard to do. But my heroines are usually a bit sassy, headstrong, and determined. They aren't content to sit back and let their heroes save them. My heroes usually subscribe to a code of honor--whether that be military, law enforcement, cowboys--and want to save the day. They occasionally get frustrated by the women in their lives who won't just let them get on with the job.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I hear from readers quite often, usually to tell me how much they enjoyed a book and wanting to know when the next one will be released. The readers who have gotten to know me send me emails or post on my Facebook fan page, prodding me to get back to writing and get that next book out. Sometimes they aren't gentle!
What do you think makes a good story?
Ah, the million dollar question. If I knew that for sure, all my books would be NYT bestsellers. But as a reader, for me a good story is one that has a solid, uncontrived plot, plenty of action, good character development, realistic dialog, and a satisfying conclusion where all the questions are answered.
What are your favorite book genres in writing and reading? Why?
I love suspense. See question one above. From the time I was ten years old and discovered Nancy Drew, I've loved to read anything with a good mystery, a creepy villain, something that keeps me turning the page to make sure everything turns out okay.
Who are you favorite authors to read?
I love all kinds of authors. I know how hard they work to write those books. But my favorites are Allison Brennan, Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, Nora Roberts, Bronwyn Parry, Valerie Parv, Sandy Blair. Then there are the self-published authors like TR Ragan, Trish Milburn, Debra Holland, Norah Wilson, Delle Jacobs--just beginning to make a name for themselves, but who have always been awesome.