I am NOT a morning person and I don't drink coffee, so it's usually knowing that my boys are not going to feed themselves or if they try I am going to have to clean up the mess later. Actually I manage to drag myself out of bed on most mornings to help my husband make his lunch and fix him breakfast. Yup - I am THAT wife.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to read. I probably read about 10 books a month. Aside from that I am a Den Leader in the local Cub Scout Pack, a volunteer for the local Little League, and a volunteer at my boys' school. Are we seeing a pattern? I also carpool and facilitate MANY playdates.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! It was a story about a bunny kept in the principal's office at an elementary school and how it came to live there. It was part of a school-wide writing contest I participated in when I was in 2nd grade and I won for my grade. After that I would doodle by writing stories, so I have probably written hundreds of stories over the years.
What is your writing process?
I am definitely an outline kind of writer. Sometimes I live dangerously by "pantsing" it, but mostly I need an outline. I use a program called Scrivner, which helps streamline everything. After the rough draft is done I self-edit, send it out for beta-reads, do another round of self-editing, and THEN I send it to someone else for editing.
Do you remember the first story that had an impact on you?
It was Susan Cooper's The Grey King. I had always liked reading before that, but I LOVED reading after that book. It started my obsession with mythology and folk lore, not to mention my utter fascination with Great Britain and its history.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I'm gonna go with "five favorite series" because that is the kind of reader I am. I love myself a good series.
Harry Potter - The imagination and pure organization that had to go into the writing of this series appeals on many levels, but when you are reading it how it was written is the last thing on your mind. You are completely lost to it.
Percy Jackson - Two words: Greek Mythology!
The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis put so much heart and love into this series that it is hard not to love it. I typically read or listen to this series once a year.
The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn - From the first page of The Duke and I, I knew I had stumbled across a writer who matched my soul (and writing style) with her brilliant use of wit and sarcasm (which are not necessarily the same thing). Her character development is incredible and the world she built is extraordinary.
The Bedwyn Series by Mary Balogh - Actually every book written in the same world is a favorite of mine. At press time, Balogh has released 17 books set in this world, and is set to release at least three more in the next two years. She is an expert scene setter and the world she paints in beyond compare. When combined with her excellent character development she has a winning combination.
What do you read for pleasure?
Romance, YA fiction (NOT the sappy stuff, the adventure stuff), and Middle Grade Fantasy
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Word of mouth, Facebook, Bookbub, direct from Publisher, and basic browsing.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle Paperwhite. I broke my original Kindle (accidentally put my knee through it after I foolishly left it on my bed under a blanket) and was given my Paperwhite as a birthday gift 6 weeks later. I cried.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a remote area in Northern California behind what we lovingly refer to as the "Redwood Curtain". Several times in my youth and early adult years the entire area was cut off from the rest of the world due to natural occurrences (earthquakes and storms). Most kids wanted to get out as soon as they could, but many found their ways back after a time. Fortune County is actually heavily based on this area.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My first book (which is my latest) is based VERY loosely on my parents' meeting and courtship. My dad was not on the run when they met and my mom is not a rancher's daughter, but there are several scenes that were inspired by real events. My favorite is their first meeting. The first words Della hears out of John's mouth - that really did happen. My mom was a saint for giving him a chance.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love being able to sit down and let the ideas flow through my fingers. I love the English language and believe there are so many ways to express a thought. Being able to write them down is a gift to me, and I hope never to take it for granted.
What do your fans mean to you?
Being a fan of many authors myself I can't fathom the idea of having fans of my own. I can honestly say that my first fan was my mom, and I am so thankful to have her on my side. Romance fans in general are some of the greatest people in the world. For the most part they are kind and encouraging, but since they are also avid readers, they will let you know when you make a mistake. They are not so much unforgiving, but eagle-eyed "Grammar Nazis" who love to self-edit a book in their heads. I know because, as I said, I'm a romance fan.
Who are your favorite authors?
Debbie Macomber, Julia Quinn, Mary Balogh, Eloisa James, Sarah MacLean, Christi Caldwell, Lauren Smith, Debra Salonen, CJ Carmichael, Melissa McClone, Rose Gordon, Ava Stone, Jerrica Knight-Catania, Jane Charles, Julie Johnstone, Erin Knightly, and Rick Riordan.
What are you working on next?
I have two novellas in editing right now, and I just finished the outline to the second full-length novel in the Marshalls of Fortune County series, which I will work on as part of April's Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.