I'm a simple woman. I just need my laptop and my headphones. Usually I have kids running around the house screaming while I'm trying to work, so silence isn't required. Instead I like to put on a playlist of music to fit the story I'm working on, or a thunderstorm if I haven't figured out the playlist yet. Something about the sound of rain and thunder spurs my creativity. Then I open a Word doc and start typing.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm a very visual person, so I've actually bought books based on the cover and never even read the blurb. I know, terrible right? I try to focus on the overall vibe of the story. If it's erotic I want the cover to be sensual and sexy, but not over the top. I'm not a fan of full nudity, but I'm a huge fan of ripped abs. :) I'm lucky to have a fantastic cover designer with Covers by After Dark. I send her the blurb, character details and a few ideas and she creates magic.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is like admitting I have a favorite child! Okay here goes... 1. The Giver by Lois Lowery - I read this book in junior high and it stuck with me. The idea that society as a whole would agree to "forget" everything terrible in the past in favor of ignorance really left an imprint on my brain, and seeing the main character overcome his circumstance, encouraged me in a dark time in my lie. 2. Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small - This was my first erotic romance, and from page one I was hooked. I went on to buy every single book Bertrice Small put out, and I keep them all in my living room where I can make sure they are safe. She's one of my all time favorites. 3. Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou - Okay, so it's a poem not a book, but it's still a story to me. Maya Angelou made me realize that all women are strong, some are just quieter about it than others. 4. Hawke by Ted Bell - This was the first spy novel I ever read, and it intrigued me. Ted Bell was also the first series author I read save for juvenile books and Bertrice Small's. I loved the idea of following a group of characters through their lives and experiences, and really getting to know them in depth. 5. The Timekeeper by Anna Riphahn - I read this book in early 1997 and when my friend Anna published it she was only a teenager, but she wrote and illustrated a book. She catapulted my dreams of becoming a published author. Sadly, Anna passed away on November 15, 1998 at the young age of seventeen. I remember her fondly, and I believe that without her and this book I never would have pursued my publishing dreams.
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything. I know it's cliché but I'll read the cereal box if it's in front of me. I love to read erotic romance-specifically ménage stories, or something with BDSM in it. I'm also a huge fan of spy thrillers and mysteries. Everything from Stephen King, Dan Brown, and Ted Bell, to Lexi Blake, Maya banks, and Jayne Rylon.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle, and not one of the new ones. I have a Kindle Keyboard that is slightly cracked and worn, but I love it. I'll be heart broken when it dies.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I'm born and raised in conservative NE Kansas. Middle America. I attribute my open-mindedness (read as dirty mindedness) to my mother, who taught me not to deny any of my hearts desires because life is to short. I'm lucky to still have both of my parents who are very supportive of my career-even if my Dad has no interest in reading my books. My mom is one of the first people to see a story before I publish it, because I still live next door to her.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Watching Sin is a story about exploring fantasies, and refusing to hide from yourself. I had a female character in my brain for awhile, and I knew that she wanted something, but it took me some time to figure out what. Another couple started tickling my brain shortly after I began writing Watching Sin, and suddenly I had a whole new series of short stories and Novellas called, Fetish & Fantasy. Each story takes place at a Lusty Fantasies party, where anything goes, and everything happens.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the reason I'm able to work as a full-time author and support my family. They mean the world to me. I regularly hold contests and giveaways to give them back what I can, and they should all follow me on Facebook so that I can get to know them. Don't be afraid to say hello!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The promise of more. More time with my children. More time with my husband. More happy moments. More stories to tell. Each day feels like a gift, so I want to relish the moments like a kid on Christmas.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a mother to three boys-two teenagers and a preschooler, so I am constantly hopping around from event to event with them. If we're not on the road to a track meet or a football practice, we're hitting the library for story time or attending a theater performance for my oldest son. In my personal spare time I love to read when I can, and I take two days out of every month to support a cause that's near and dear to me. I volunteer one day a month at the local VA hospital playing board games with residents, or reading books to bed ridden veterans. And on my other vet-day as I call them, I pack boxes for troops that are serving overseas, and ship them via AnySoldier.com.
Advice for aspiring and new writers?
Do your research on your plot information, publishers, writing techniques, marketing techniques, and social media. Writing the book is the easy part, so if you're going to do it, take it seriously, and do your research.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.