1. Where do you get the inspiration for your characters?
Everywhere! It’s not usually a character that pops a story into my head. It’s the situation. But it’s definitely the situation that pops the character into my head. And I’ll admit, if you’re a bit of an oddball you just might end up in one of my books. Disguised, of course.
2. If you could spend a day with any of your characters who would you pick and what would you do?
I’d totally have to stay away from those Sugar Shack characters. Don’t need any more on my thighs thank you very much. Hands down it would be Charlotte Brooks, the heroine from my June 2013 release ANYTHING BUT SWEET. She’s a makeover designer and I’ve got a few rooms in my house I’d like redone. On top of that she’s a pretty vivacious lady who knows her way to a good time.
3. How did you get started as a writer and an author?
My Author’s Hat came about because I couldn’t act my way out of a good script. In college I took drama. And apparently I sucked. For an assignment we were instructed to write a biography for the theatrical character we were presenting from the time of their birth to the time in which the play took place. I remember mine was a thirty-something divorcee. I received an A++ on my biography with a note from the teacher to stick to the writing and leave the acting to others.
Later when my daughter was born, a friend gave me a bunch of romance novels to read while I was rocking my wonderful child who was a complete night owl. One of the stories sparked something in my head and I knew the only way to get it out was to write it down. I had no idea what I was doing and I didn’t discover Romance Writers of America until three years later. I’ve been driven by the characters in my head ever since. My challenge came when it took me 22 years to find an editor to say yes. Obviously I’m a slow learner.
4. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I plot enough to write a proposal and fool my publisher into thinking I know what I’m doing. Then it’s a roller-coaster ride of surprises and twists and turns all the way through the rest of the book.
5. How did you come up with the ghost of Letty Silverthorne in the Sugar Shack Novels?
The idea for Letty came about from my own life-changing situations and unresolved issues. My father died when I was 11 and my 85 year old mother has Alzheimer’s. These situations changed my life in a big way. I’m always intrigued by how people react when everything they are familiar with abruptly changes, and how they deal with their new reality. In our family we have what is called “windshield time.” Which means, you turn off the radio and talk about everything and nothing. It was an excellent way to torture my daughter when she was a teenager. So I thought it would be befitting to have Kate (Heroine of Second Chance at the Sugar Shack) and her dead mother do a little “windshield time” to work out all their issues.
6. Why do you choose to include animals in your books?
Simply because animals completely control my life on most days. I’ve never had a moment in my days on earth where I haven’t been owned by a dog or cat or horse or chicken. I can’t even imagine writing a book without a fur character in it. Well, I actually tried to write my second Sweet, Texas book (titled SWEETEST MISTAKE) without an animal and next thing I knew a kitten and a puppy had worked themselves into the story. So I surrender to their wagging (or twitching) tails and let them have their bark or meow.
FAVORITE DRINK: Caramel latte, Diet Pepsi, Lemon Drop Martini
FAVORITE FOOD: Hawaiian Pizza or BBQ ribs
PHOBIA: Heights. So don’t even bother taking me to one of those amusement parks that wants to drop-kick you from 5 stories up. Ain’t gonna happen!
FAVORTE BOOK OF ALL TIME: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
SECRET TALENT: Creating fairy gardens
MARRIAGE PROPOSAL: Hubster proposed to me on a camping trip. It was after dark in California’s Sierra Mountains, on a boulder in a stream with two flashlight beams crossed and lighting up the waterfall. It was very romantic.
DAUGHTER’S NAME: I actually named her after Cristal champagne but then I saw a little gem shop in Laguna Beach and changed the spelling to Kristalle.
FAV SPORTS/TEAMS: Football–Boise State Broncos, Green Bay Packers. Hockey–Idaho Steelheads, Nashville Predators.
FAV PASTIME: Reading. ATVing with my husband. Camping with my family.