Q: Introduce yourself! What experience do you have with writing?
First, thank you for having me on your blog today! So, a little about me. I’m married to my college sweetheart (he was the sexy linebacker on the football team!), I teach high school English (22 years!!), and have three children. My daughters are in 12th and 9th grade, and my son is in 7th. I’ve been writing for twelve years but didn’t actively pursue publishing until 2013. I signed with a publisher in 2014 and published my first book in February of 2015. My fourteenth book, What Makes Us Stronger, comes out October 9th, and my fifeenth book (I should throw a party, shouldn’t I?), Marshmallows & Mistletoe, comes out November 1st. It’s a Christmas book. My first!
Q: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
I don’t think any book as made me think differently, but I definitely learn from my favorite authors–and new to me authors!
Q: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Funny. I think writing men is actually EASIER than writing women. I absolutely love male banter. So much fun! Men can be sarcastic and it’s funny. Make your heronie too sarcastic and she gets a reputation for being bitchy. It’s challenging to write a woman who speaks her mind without her coming across as too abrasive.
Q: How many hours a day do you write?
Since I’m a teacher, I have more time to write in the summer. But since I’m a mom, I don’t ever own my time. My writing time ranges from fourteen seconds to a seven-hour stint. I make yearly writing goals instead of weekly or even monthly. My schedule is too hectic to have a regular writing schedule. I love writing in sprints. Thirty minute sit downs with no distractions; I can usually write between 1,000-1,400 words.
Q: How do you select the names of your characters?
This is tricky. Sometimes they just come to me, other times I go through baby name searches on the Internet. The name needs to fit my character’s personality. Since I write series, sometimes a minor character in one book ends up having his or her own book later on in the series. I’ve been known to go back and change the name based on his/her story. This is one of the many reasons why I like to have my series almost completely written before pitching the first book to my publisher.
Q: What was your hardest scene to write?
Love scenes. But they’re getting easier.
Q: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
My day job. Ha ha!
Q: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Believing in myself. I love when my author friends have success. It makes me SO incredibly happy for them. But, because I’m human, I sometimes wallow in my self-pity wondering why my book didn’t make the Best Seller list.
Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Three months from Chapter 1 to The End, but I usually “sit” on the book for a few months (while I write the next one or two) before revisiting. I’ll then edit it to death and then send it to my editor.
Q: Where can readers learn more about you?
Everywhere! I love social media.