Q: How did you get into romance?

Short answer: My frugal ways and my love for a bad boy in a toolbelt

Long answer: While staying at home with my second child, I picked up a book by Nora Roberts called The Return of Rafe MacKade. The book is about a reformed bad boy who renovates a house in his home town. The penny pincher in me grabbed the book because it was two titles in one volume.

I bought it and loved it without knowing it was a romance. I had no idea who Nora Roberts was, so imagine my surprise when I went to purchase more titles and found her in the romance section of the store.

Wandering those aisles, I found authors I had already been reading (Tami Hoag, Lisa Jackson, Linda Howard) and many new ones that I fell in love with (Jenny Crusie, Victoria Dahl, Louisa Edwards).

Since then, I’ve stopped looking in other aisles for great reads.


Q: What do you do in your free time?

Short answer: What free time?

Long answer: Between shuttling three kids to various activities, working my part-time job, writing my next novel while revising another, I don’t have a lot of free time. I juggle household chores like laundry and cooking, but my house is always a mess.

When I need to unwind, I watch TV. I praise the invention of the DVR, which has allowed me to fall in love with many shows I would’ve missed out on. And I get to watch commercial-free.

If I’m stressed out or need to work on some sticky plot points, I bake. I bake cookies—a lot of them, always from scratch. Sometimes I’ll do muffins or cupcakes, but cookies are my favorite. It’s to the point that my kids are a little spoiled because they’ve started putting in requests for the baked goods they want.

In some circles, I’m known as “the cookie lady.”


 Q: How do you write? Are you a plotter (outlines first) or a pantser (write by the seat of your pants)?

In every aspect of my life, I’ve always been a plotter and goal setter, but as a writer, I’m a pantser. I do some loose plotting—like I try to have some idea what obstacles my characters will face, but pretty much I just wing it. The downside to writing like this is that I tend to write a lot of words (tens of thousands) that get cut, left out, never to be used in the final draft.

I tried outlining and felt stifled, even though I knew I didn’t have to follow it. I think it’s the English major in me that feels like the outline ties me to specifics. It’s how I wrote every paper throughout college and graduate school.

I’ve learned to embrace my method of writing knowing that every word I write, even if it’s destined for the cutting room floor, brings me closer to a great story.


Q: How do you come up with ideas?

For me, it’s all about character. I get ideas for characters everywhere. A lot of my inspiration comes from music. I’ll hear something that will spin into a person with a back story then I’ll try to develop a good match for that person.

The problem I have with developing characters first is that I have so much fun playing with them that I sometimes forget to come up with actual conflict for the story.

Which, of course, leads to more revisions.