Your top five authors: I actually have two lists. The list of the all-time favorites and the list I’ve compiled lately of authors I’ve recently read that I love. I won’t bore you with the all-time favorite list, but instead let you know of some newer authors who I love to read.
Tristi Pinkston (funny stories!)
Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen (very suspenseful)
Jewell Adams (ah, so romantic)
Mary Martinez (another wonderful suspenseful writer!)
…and last but certainly not least is my wonderful critique partner, Melissa Mayer Blue who writes such wonderful stories with great plots and great romances!
Favorite book when you were a child: It would have to be the Little House on the Prairie series. I love anything historical! And I loved the family unity and their faith in God.
Book you’ve faked reading: Hahahahaha Too many to count! But I’m very picky. There are a lot of things in a story that I don’t like reading. I did this a lot in school. For some reason, I didn’t like reading in school. Go figure…
Book that changed your life: A Rose In Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss. She was a huge NY author who wrote great romances. It was this particular Beauty-and-the-Beast book that hooked me on romance. I loved how she pulled me into her historicals and kept me there until the last page, falling in love with her characters. She died a few years ago, and I wish I could have met her in person to thank her.
Favorite line from a book: I really don’t have a favorite that sticks out in my mind, especially from other authors. However, the line I wrote in Winning Mr. Wrong, is one of my favorites. My heroine, Charley, is thinking this about the hero in the beginning of the book. Women flocked to him like dieters to a chocolate factory, and they devoured his charm just as quickly.
Book you want to read again for the first time: Well, it’s got to be my favorite book of all time – A Rose In Winter. Or any of Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books.
Book you bought for the cover: Here’s another question that I have to repeat “too many to count”. I love scenery book covers, but more than anything, I love the ‘couple’ book covers. Either hero is holding heroine, or they are holding hands, or just staring into each other’s eyes… (dreamy sigh)
What is your story, Hearts Through Time about: When a woman claiming to be a ghost from 1912 appears in Nick Marshal’s new office and begs for help in solving her murder, he thinks he has lost his mind. A scandal that rocked Hollywood almost destroyed his law practice, so he doesn’t need any more fireworks as he rebuilds his life. Still, he is intrigued by Abigail Carlisle’s plea, and he needs clients, even if this one insists she’s dead. The more secrets Nick uncovers, the deeper he falls for the beautiful ghost. Abigail believes Nick is her heart’s true desire, but how can happily-ever-after happen when she’s already dead? The more time she spends with him, the more real she becomes, until Nick can finally touch her. In a strange turn of events, Nick is suddenly whisked back to 1912, two weeks before Abby’s murder, but she doesn’t remember him. When he attempts to win her over so he can save her from a tragic destiny, Abby thinks Nick is courting her for her inheritance. But even if he can rescue her and make her trust him again, how can two people from different centuries be together? This unique romance is a reading experience never to be forgotten!
How do you come up with your plots: Ideas come from everywhere. Usually I have a dream, and my dream will give me the basis of the story (who my characters are and what they want), and from there I have to figure out the rest. Sometimes my characters come from stories I have already written. And sometimes, I play the ‘what-if’ game to figure out what I want to write about…which was in the case with Hearts Through Time. A couple years ago when paranormals became very popular, I decided to write one, but I don’t like vampires, and I wasn’t too hot on werewolves, either. But ghosts…now that’s a different matter all together. So I started playing the ‘what-if’ game. Soon the beginning of my story came to me and I couldn’t wait to start writing it. Yet, after the first four chapters, I stopped. There was more plot going on here than I was used to, and I knew I had to figure out the suspects and their motivations for wanting Abigail Carlisle dead. Because I generally don’t plot stories (just write by the seat of my pants) it took me almost two years before I finally sat myself down and plotted out the story. Once I did that, I finished it within a month. This story was a lot of fun to write!!
When did you know you wanted to be an author: Not until the year 1993. By this time, I’d written several skits for my church and I knew it was something I loved to do, but I still hadn’t even thought about writing a novel. Also by this point, I was reading romances and watching romantic movies, so that’s another thing I loved to do. Then one day I watched a romantic movie with a terrible ending. It upset me so much that I went to bed angry that night and had a dream. My dream was in movie format, and of course, it was a romance. When I awoke, the dream stuck with me all day. In the back of my mind, I wondered why all movies / books couldn’t be like my dream. Then the nagging thought tortured me that maybe I could actually write a story until I finally found a notebook and a pencil and started to write. That’s all it took. The story flowed from my mind, and just before I reached the end, another story idea hit me. Back in those days I didn’t have a computer or a ‘word processor’ (what they were called), so I wrote everything longhand, curled up on the couch for hours. I’m so happy I followed those promptings, because I don’t know where I’d be today if I had ignored them.
Most influential writing influence: I think there were many factors that influenced my writing. First, my dreams, of course. Second, because I read a lot of romances. But probably the biggest was because I wanted to make something of my life. When I first started writing and realized how much I loved it, I wanted to continue to do something that I loved. Over the years there was many times I wanted to quit, but I knew I couldn’t because it was something I enjoyed doing. So my advice to new writers…DO NOT GIVE UP!