These are common or particularly fun questions that have been posed to me over the years. If you have a question that isn’t answered here – contact me or comment below and ask it. I love to interact with readers!
One random fact about you?
I was a competitive skydiver all through college and for about five years following. I did formation skydiving and loved it, but stopped when my kids were born. I miss it every time the skies are clear blue.
What do you like to read?
First and foremost I’m a romance junky. I can read books without romance, but usually I need a good love story to really lock me in. Paranormal romance and any combo thereof is hands down my favorite genre. I love the escapism, the imagination, the creativity. I also love books with history to them. I love learning about other cultures and/or other times.
Which of the seven deadly sins are you most partial to? Which do you indulge in the most?
Oh my – gluttony definitely. I love food. I love eating it, cooking it, eating it, drooling over it, eating it, smelling it, eating it, thinking about it, eating it. Especially desert. I am incapable of not eating dessert if it’s put in front of me or within a 5-mile radius of me. I will eat to the pain. It’s ugly.
Who is the person who most inspired you? Either in your life, or writing?
Four people come to mind when I think of this question. All are friends who lost someone very close to them through horrible incidents that came without warning. One lost a mother in the middle of her senior year of high school. One lost a husband only a year after they married. And the other two lost their oldest and then youngest sons within a year of each other.
The dignity and grace and faith with which each of them dealt with their loss at the time showed a strength of character that I will always try to emulate. I haven’t personally had to deal with such grief, but if I ever do, I’ll think of my friends, and hope that I can find even a tiny amount of the strength they did.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Not a single quote, but I’m obsessed with Dr. Seuss quotes. The man had a wonderful take on life and I hope my children soak up some of that goodness. I just recently did a post on my favorites of his quotes on my blog! This is one of my favs of his:
“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” ― Dr. Seuss
What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?
Peanut butter. I can’t stand it. Gooey, mess of nastiness that just sticks to the roof of your mouth. Ugh! Just about anyone from the U.S. I tell this fact to can’t believe it and proceed to fondly remember all their peanut butter treats (as if that might change my mind LOL). However, every person from a country other than America I’ve talked to wholeheartedly agrees it’s terrible stuff. 🙂
What is your typical day like?
All over the map. Hah! I work from home part-time. After I get the kids up, ready, and out the door, it’s walk the dog and then time to pick up the house, start laundry, etc. I spend several hours on my job. Then I spend an hour or two working on the latest book. I spent some time on social media not only for my author stuff, but for my organization blog, and for the Contemporary Romance chapter of RWA. I’m the VP of Communications for that chapter. Kids get home and it’s activities for them (depending on the day) and homework. Then the night time stuff (dinner, down time, bet time, etc.). My evenings are usually spent with my hubby in front of the TV binge watching shows like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Black List, and House of Cards. While watching I work more on whatever didn’t get done that day, be it books, social media, or work. Phew!
- Winter or summer? Summer
- Read the book or watch the movie? Read the Book
- Wine or beer? Wine (white)
- Chocolate or fruit dessert? Chocolate
- Stilettos or running shoes? Depends on the occasion. Usually running shoes
- Jump out of a plane or scuba dive? Skydive
- Mountains or beach? Mountains
- Shifters or vamps? Shifters
- Country or city? Both
- Host a party or just show up? Neither. Introvert here. Parties aren’t so fun for me.
Speed Round (a la Actor’s Studio – one word answers)
- What turns you on? smarts
- What turns you off? stupidity
- What is your favorite word?
- What is your least favorite word?
- What sound or noise do you love? laughter
- What sound or noise do you hate? screaming
- What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? professor
- What profession other than yours would you NOT like to attempt? garbage collector
- What is your favorite swear word? f*#&
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you as you enter the Pearly Gates? Welcome. Your friends and family who’ve come before are waiting for you.
BEING A WRITER
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
I’m not sure there was any one point of inspiration. I’ve always been a writer. In 4th grade I place second in a school essay contest. Maybe that gave me the bug to keep going. But there have always been stories in my head that wanted to come out.
When did you consider yourself to be a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a writer. I feel like I became an author the day a total stranger purchased a copy of Blue Violet, my first self-published novel. (Paranormal romance written as my alter ego, Abigail Owen.)
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am 90% pantser / 10% plotter. It’s an evolving process for me. My first completed book, Blue Violet, was 100% pantser. In fact, I didn’t even write the scenes in order, but skipped around. I do a lot more preparing ahead of time these days, though less to do with plot and more with understanding my character’s development and what my start and end points need to be. After some amount of preparation, I write the first draft, and my characters take that opportunity to tell me how to get from A to B (and sometimes B becomes C).
How long does it take you to write a book?
I write a very fast first draft in 2-6 weeks. The first draft for me is my least favorite part of the process so I try to get it over with as quickly as possible. The first draft lays out the bare bones of the book and is usually about 80% of the story. I spend more time on subsequent drafts where I fill the blanks, adjust any issues, and add the spit and polish. I LOVE the drafting and editing phases where I really get to tweak and then perfect.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I usually try to take criticism as feedback to use moving forward. It’s always tough when someone doesn’t like what you’ve worked so hard on. But I’ve realized that you will never please everyone. Even best-sellers get criticised. So you can either cry about it (which is normal but also not worth it) or you can take the constructive parts you agree with and work on that in the next book.
Worst I got was an Amazon review that said I, “might be a writer someday.” Ouch! The best compliment for me is always when someone sticks around to read the next book(s).
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Don’t wait for praise, but do seek feedback from people you trust and use it. Don’t stop after the first try. Do keep writing, and writing, and writing. Don’t wait for that “perfect” idea before you start. Do take classes and workshops. Don’t assume someone else can tell you how to write – incorporate what works for you. Don’t think there’s only one way to do this. Do research editors/agents you’re querying. Do spend money on a good editor/beta reader. Do help other authors out – this is a great community of supportive folks!
How do you come up with your ideas?
All over the place. Sometimes it’s dreams. I have very vivid dreams. Sometimes it’s being inspired by one particular aspect of a book or movie and taking that detail and making it into my own world. Mostly I think in scenes. I’ll picture a moment between two characters, or a situation my heroine might be stuck in, and I build from there. The rest of the series just followed naturally.
Is there anything based on real-life experiences? Or is it all imagination?
Most of it is pure imagination. There are little things I take from real life. Funny moments from one of my kids or my husband. Quirks of my own. Most often it’s my personal goofiness that ends up in stories. Ellie, my heroine in Blue Violet, especially. I’m told by friends that reading her is like reading me on the page.
What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?
I would LOVE to write historical romance, but I have very little patience for all the research involved (despite the fact that I minored in history in college). And I like multiple eras – Regency England, Ancient Rome, Middle Ages, Vikings, Wild West, WWII.