Which writers inspire you?
I am inspired by so many writers, for a variety of reasons (voice, story, longevity of career).
Scott O’Dell was the first author to spark my writing fire (at age 7). Authors such as Stephen King, John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, and the late Kathleen Woodiwiss dominated my shelves as a young adult. I remain inspired by the careers and talent of these writers and often re-read their novels. Other writers who inspire me today are JR Ward, Cara McKenna, Brad Thor, and James Patterson.
What genre are your books?
I currently write in three different sub-genres of romance. Romantic suspense, (contemporary) sports romance, and (contemporary) western romance.
What draws you to this genre?
I write what I love to read. I love the heart-thumping intricate weave of a good suspense plot. I love the drive, dedication, and stamina of the athletes in sports romance. And I love the hard-working, hard-loving cowboys of western romance. No matter the genre, I love a good alpha male who’s found his match. (Something you’ll find in all of my books).
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Mmm … great question! Chris Evans would be great as Tyler Brady. He’s got the build, the smile, and definitely displays the kind of charisma Tyler has in spades.
Give us an insight into your main character. What makes him/her so special?
Tyler isn’t the kind of guy to run from what he feels. He might downplay it for a while, but he’s true to himself. He knows what he wants, and he’s not afraid to own it, to take a chance. What I love most about Tyler is his ability to overcome adversity (a tyrannical father, his injury), while maintaining the capacity to love with his whole heart.
How much research do you do?
Research really depends on the subject matter for the novel. My latest novel didn’t require a lot of research, since I have extensive knowledge about sports therapy, as well as the game of baseball. On the flip side, I can spend weeks researching when I write a romantic suspense novel. I want the details to be as authentic as possible, so I’ll spend whatever research time is necessary to get them right.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I’m not structured at all. It really depends on the day of the week, and what is happening in my house on any given day. On an average day, I’ll start writing around 10:00am. I’ll break around 1:00pm. I start again around 4:00pm and write until I hit my daily word count goal.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I don’t formally outline or plot. When I start a book, I know who my characters are (I do detailed character profiles), what conflicts they will face, and how the book will end. Romantic suspense takes a little more thought and planning than the other genres I write due to the complexity of the stories (lots of twists and turns). But for the most part, the story takes shape while I’m writing.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I was seven the first time I remember telling my dad I was going to be a writer. Writing is something I’ve always done, but didn’t pursue it as a serious career until I turned forty. I just celebrated my third publishing anniversary.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. It’s easy to get discouraged in this business, but keep writing. Every day. Don’t give up. You can do it.
Study your craft (practice makes perfect). Read craft books. Take classes. Attend workshops. You can establish your voice and style as you go, but never stop working toward becoming the best writer you can be.
Don’t be a diva – listen to and learn from those who know more than you (industry professionals, professional editors, authors who have been there, etc.). So often I see aspiring writers dismiss critiques for reasons solely based on ego and vanity (and not on what’s best for the story). It’s hard to take criticism (believe me, I know), but the best writers will learn from feedback. You might not always agree, but you should seriously consider any feedback you might get. And then be grateful to the person who took the time to help you.