Tell us about your publishing journey…
I am one of those who knew I wanted to write from the time I was into Fraggle Rock. I still remember the exact moment I finished my very first story, set my pencil down and ran to share with my parents. It’s as clear as a picture in my head, and the joy that coursed through me — I’d never felt anything like it.
I wrote constantly until my twenties. Sadly, I let life intrude in a big way and stopped doing what I so loved. I went years without writing at all. The book I’d been writing gathered dust on a shelf somewhere. I got a degree in computer graphic arts, started on a career in marketing and design, and it wasn’t until my thirties that I realized how much a piece of my soul was missing. So I sat down and started to write. I joined RWA and realized there was a lot more to the writing thing than I knew. Rules? Huh. I took classes, went to workshops, read books, read blog posts, learned as much as I could about the writing craft while working on that story–and it took me about five years. The story went through massive revisions as I learned, improved and became a better writer. But I couldn’t give up on it and move on. I had to finish it.
So SOMETHING ABOUT HER was my first completed book, and it was published in 2009 by Wild Rose Press. When I submitted to them, I was looking for feedback. I’d heard they answered every query they received and I figured it was a great place to get some honest criticism on my book. I didn’t expect an offer letter. LOL That book stayed with WRP for two years. But I loved the characters and wanted to keep telling their stories, so I needed to take the rights back so I could submit the next book to other publishers. Wild Rose Press is a wonderful publisher, but I wanted to continue moving forward and growing.
I submitted Cloaked in Danger to Carina Press in August of 2012. It was a dream come true to receive the phone call from Angela James — a call which I didn’t answer because I was in the grocery store and thought it was a telemarketer– offering for the book. And here I am, working hard at book number three.
What do you love about being an author?
I love the fact that any minute of any day, I have people running around in my head, trying to figure out their stories. To me, any moment can be a great plotting moment or brainstorming. Just a few weeks ago, I missed my exit on my way to work (the day job) because my brain had gone on autopilot driving while the rest of it brainstorming a plucky plot problem. Not great for my timeliness, but it worked out an issue I’d been struggling with. A few years back, I sat on a BART train, looking around at the people around me and started imagining who they were, what would happen if the train wrecked and we all had to work together to find a way out. I spent the better part of a boring 45 minute train ride entertaining myself.
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
That life is what YOU make of it. I spent too long when I was young giving other people control over my happiness, over my course in life. I spent too long thinking that I didn’t have choices, that I was “stuck” in situations that didn’t make me happy because of what others chose to do or not do. It was a life altering moment to realize that I held all the power in my life, and more importantly, that I had been giving it away.
Sure, sometimes the choices aren’t simple. Sometimes it’s a matter of choosing between two difficult, painful options — but a choice is a choice. It was always my decision to choose. Once I realized that, it changed how I lived my life.
If ‘Cloaked in Danger’ was to be made into a movie – who would you cast as the leads?
But if we’re talking sheer prettiness, Chris Helmsworth very much fits my vision of Adam, and for Aria, the spunky, sun-kissed heroine, the gorgeous Megan Fox comes to mind.
If you could have dinner with a literary character – who would it be and what would you eat?
If I take some creative license with this question, I can say that some of the people in books that fascinate me most are the ones based on real people— ones that might creep others out, actually. Jack the Ripper for instance. He’s been a character in many books as many people try to come up with theories and explanations for how he did what he did. Having one meal in which we could discuss his life —say over a nice chicken dish— would be fascinating. Unlike so many serial killers, he lived and died not telling the story. He lives on in infamy, but with a mystery about who he truly was. My husband finds my fascinations wacky, he wonders how such a nice girl like me can be so intrigued by the dark side of this world, but I am constantly intrigued about the psychology of why people do what they do, good and bad.
Now, if I’m going to go with the strictly fictional character, then I’ll invite Cat-in-the-Hat. I think he’d be great fun at a dinner party.
You have a time machine…which era would you like to visit and why?
I have always been fascinated by the Elizabethan time frame. I plan to write a story in that era, when I can come up with one that feels worthy of it. But in the meantime, I read whatever nonfiction history books I can find. And some of my favorite historical romance stories are set in that timeframe, the Skye O’Malley series by Bertice Small for instance. The times were so filled with intrigue, politics, and so much more. What’s not to love?
What was the last book you read and what were your thoughts on it?
I’m just finishing The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan, the latest in her Brothers Sinister series, and thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the things I love about Ms. Milan’s writing is how intelligent her characters are, and how she weaves science, law and mathematics into her stories. If you read her background, she was a scientist as well as a lawyer, and so you can see how much of herself she puts in her books. It’s inspiring.
What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2014?
I stopped making resolutions a few years back. I found it was a way of saying what I felt I didn’t do well enough the year before and like many people, those resolutions rarely made it past February. So instead, I started taking stock in all the things I have to be grateful for at the end of each year — the good and the bad. If it was bad, what had I learned from it? If it was good, giving those successes their due and truly appreciating them, no matter how small the moment might have been. I found that starting the new year that way, for me at least, helps me focus on what truly matters in my life and starts each year with a positive, appreciative attitude.
Vampires, what is your preference – romantic heroes or dastardly villains?
I tend to like the brooding, handsome vampires ala Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer still is one of the best written shows on TV IMO) but who doesn’t also love a Vampire LeStat, who was mostly clearly a fantastic villain?
What inspired you to write ‘Cloaked in Danger’?
Cloaked in Danger is my first book that straddles two genres – historical romance and romantic suspense. These are two that I love to read most, and when I began to plot out this story, I wanted to find a way to bring my two favorite genres to read together and write in them both. I love the research in historicals, but I also love the edge-of-your-seat suspense found in contemporaries. And I love the idea of smashing the two together.
For the story itself, it was a matter of taking my hero, Adam, who existed in a previous book and looking for the right kind of heroine for him, one who would challenge who he was — he’s very family-bound, traditional, and very English. So I found a heroine who had grown up traveling the world in a non-traditional way, one who didn’t blend into the world Adam belongs to, and a woman who is as impulsive as Adam as meticulous about his choices. It made for fun moments to write.
Where can fans find you online?
And on January 27th, I’m having a Release Day Party on Facebook — I hope you’ll all join me there! Guest authors, giveaways, prizes and lots of fun!