Some warm-up questions first:
Coffee or tea?
Definitely tea. I never drink coffee…although my partner tells me I brew a great pot of the stuff.
What puts you in a bad mood?
Unfairness—it gets me every time.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation. I don’t like to fly, so I’ve always envied the characters on Star Trek who can be in one place one minute and somewhere else an instant later.
Where is your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?
I’m torn. I love Nova Scotia but also enjoyed my visit to England, specifically York.
It’s dark chocolate or none at all for me.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I’d pay off my friends’ mortgages and probably donate most of the rest of it to worthy causes. I don’t think money buys happiness, and I have more than enough stuff to get rid of already. Hmm…maybe I’d pay someone to invent a transporter so I could travel without flying. Just saying…
And now on to the writing-related stuff:
For how many years have you been writing now, and how did you come to it?
I wrote my first book over twenty years ago on a sort of a dare. I set it aside and let it languish on the shelf. When I reread it many years later, I enjoyed reading the story and declared it “pretty good.” It inspired me to take up writing again, and the result of that effort was Sunset Island.
Why do you write?
Quite simply put, I enjoy it. I retired pretty early and had ample time to devote to writing. Writing gives me great satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment. Oh, and it’s a part-time job I can do in my PJs without having to leave the house.
What does it mean to you?
It gives me great satisfaction to know that I’ve given someone pleasure. I love getting e-mails from people who have read my books. One of my favorite letters came from a woman who was reading my second book, Awaiting My Assignment. She had read until she got to the chapter where I revealed a bit of a surprise. She contacted me by PM on Facebook to say she was reading the book and had to tell me how much she was enjoying it, especially the fact that I’d surprised her. She read through most of the night and, when I woke up the next morning, I had another letter from her saying she couldn’t wait to tell me how much she’d enjoyed the book. I love these letters from readers and am thrilled that, through my writing, I’ve been able to get to know women from all over the world.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
LOL. Sunset Island took forever. It was written and rewritten multiple times, so it took well over a year. Awaiting My Assignment came pretty easily. I wrote most of it while on a cruise and had a first draft finished in about two weeks. Rewrites and editing took about two months of work with my beta readers and editors.
How much time per week do you spend writing?
It’s hard to say. If I’m on a roll, I sometimes work sixteen hours a day until I get to a reasonable stopping point. Otherwise, I try to devote at least two or three hours a day to writing. Now that I have two published books, I find I have less time to write because I’m spending lots more time editing the next one and doing publicity, answering mail, etc. All those things are part of the writing process that came as a surprise. To me, writing the book is the easiest and most fun part. Since Sunset Island was published in September, I haven’t written anything new. All my time has been spent editing and rewriting. I’m looking forward to the release of Anything Your Heart Desires sometime in February because I’ll get to work on something new after that.
When and where do you write the most?
I like to write early in the morning and late at night when there are fewer distractions. I write on my recliner with my laptop in my lap and usually a cat on my chest. However, I wrote Awaiting My Assignment on my iPad.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m disciplined, organized, and obsessive about timelines. Although I’m fairly serious by nature, I love to laugh, and my sense of humor often shows in my writing.
How much of yourself is in your characters?
As with most authors, I suspect there is a little of me in each of them. For example, I think Amanda and Mallory express the caring part of my personality; Nic the straightforward, honest part; Jo expresses my obsession with punctuality; and Lindy, my lighter side. However, I don’t believe any one character is exactly like me.
What do you find the most challenging part of writing?
Sending my books out into the cruel world to be judged by others, I guess…although editing and rewriting can be a bit daunting.
What are you reading right now?
I’m doing a final proof of my own book, Anything Your Heart Desires. I’m currently reading Exception To The Rule.
What do you think makes a good romance novel?
As a reader, I like books where the characters are given a chance to come to know and care about each other. I like the romance to unfold layer by layer. As a writer, I like my characters to have to overcome “real life” problems together. I don’t think a story needs a huge conflict/misunderstanding that separates the couple. If you read one of my books, you can be assured there will be a happy resolution to the problem. I try to keep it interesting by incorporating little surprises into the stories.
What advice would you give new authors?
Keep trying and don’t give up. Rejection letters can be very disheartening, but don’t let them get you down. Recently, I interviewed the extremely talented and successful Lori Lake. The interview is on my website. She told me she has over 100 rejection letters in her possession. So, if someone with her talent can be rejected so many times, don’t give up. Keep at it, continue to hone your stories, and resubmit. Lori also mentioned, and I have to agree, to like all aspects of writing…that includes the editing, promotion of your work, and the interacting with your readers.
What are you working on right now?
I’m doing the final edits on Anything Your Heart Desires. Jo Martin, a minor character in Awaiting My Assignment, becomes the lead character in this final, for now, stand-alone novel in the Friends Series. Jo has two rules she lives by: never get involved with someone in a relationship and never, ever date a straight woman. Author Stacy Alexander is stuck for a motive for the death of her character in her mystery novel. Grasping at straws, she violates a cardinal writing rule—write what you know. She decides that her character should meet her demise because she refuses to be blackmailed for being a lesbian. Realizing she doesn’t know enough about the topic, Stacy hires Jo to advise her about all things lesbian.
What future writing projects can we look forward to?
I’m working on two novels currently. One Day Longer Than Forever is up next. It should be released by the time this interview is published. It’s a story of two women who meet on vacation because of a scheduling blunder. This story deals with issues surrounding long-distance romance and being willing to sacrifice things that you have to get something that you want. The next story after that is It’s Complicated. It is about a woman coping with a partner who is in a coma. An attraction she is not free to pursue is the dilemma facing the main character in this story. One book should be released sometime this summer, and the second later in the fall.
Thanks for the answering our questions.