I was scheduled for a blog interview that didn't actually materialize, so I'll provide it here on my own blog. So, here goes...
1. Can you tell us a little bit about where you are from?
A: I was raised in a small town in Iowa, came to the big city, Chicago, when I was 25 and have been here ever since. I'm really ambivalent about big city/small town life which seems to have come out in some of my stories. Many are set in small towns, sometimes with Chicago connections. And some stories are actually set in Chicago. I guess it's a love/hate relationship with both.
2. What does your writing desk look like? What would we find on it right this minute?
A: I can't write if my desk is in chaos, so I spend a lot of time organizing it and putting things away. For several years I was an executive and legal secretary, so filing and organizing is my "middle name." This is an early photo of my desk area in the corner of the living room. It's somewhat tidied up these days. The best thing about my writing area is that it overlooks our 10th floor balcony, the park, and Lake Michigan in Chicago. I really need that view to the outside world.
3. Do you have any news you’d like to share with us?
A: Friday, February 7, my latest, my first Ellora's Cave book, was released. Lost and Found is my sixth small town story and the first of what I hope will be a new series. The official Ellora's Cave blurb well explains the plot.
4. What inspired you to write your first book?
A: Many years ago, as a single woman, I went to England. At the Roman Museum in Bath I took a photo of the tombstone of a Roman soldier. When the film was developed the edges of the stone were clear but the carving in the center was hazy. I told people that the soldier came out to meet me. A few years later I went back to the same museum with my then husband and took the same photo. Clear. I told people that the Roman soldier showed that he approved of my husband.
I didn't begin writing at that point. A few years later the story came to fruition in my mind. It's the story of an Iowa school teacher who visits Bath England, steps through the entry way of a 2nd Century Roman villa in ruins, and meets a Roman soldier. Ancient Ties was born. The book received 4-1/2 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic Times and many 5 star reviews. That was a pretty high place to start and to live up to. Unfortunately, Ancient Ties isn't available for sale at the moment. The rights have reverted back to me and I'm trying to decide what to do with it now.
5. How did you come up with the titles to your book(s)?
A: Titles come to me pretty easily, but I don't really know why. There have been a couple that stymied me, but usually the title comes to me shortly after the plot and characters. Character names come pretty easily too. I just start thinking about the person, let a few names roll over my tongue and that's it. Something just sounds right. I used to use Character-Naming Sourcebook but no longer. One title was an odd accident. On one of my publisher author loops, someone said to give her the name of a ménage book. Silly me, I thought she was asking for title suggestions for a book she was writing. I said "His, Hers & His." She asked where could she find it. Then I realized my mistake. Oops. And had to admit it wasn't anything written yet. Shortly after that, I joined a group of authors to write short stories about sex in elevators. I wrote a ménage and titled it His, Hers & His. The elevator sex scene in that book still sizzles my toes. And I wrote it! This is so much fun.
6. What book would we find you reading right now?
A: Actually, I'm reading a Janet Dailey book right now. I'd never read her before and when I saw her latest in the grocery store last weekend, I thought to honor her memory by reading her book. Before that, though, I reread two of my long-time keepers, Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Charming the Prince by Theresa Medeiros. Dream especially gets to me every time and makes me want to be a better writer. I have many more keepers, probably too many, but romance writers and readers understand that.
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
A: Always an avid reader, I didn't really think I could be among the rarefied world of authors. But one day I told a friend about a story/fantasy that was going on in my head. She said "Why don't you write it?" Indeed. It was like the proverbial light bulb turned on over my head. I bought a spiral notebook, put pen to it, and that began everything. The stories were always in my head, especially westerns. Now they poured out of me like gangbusters. My goal this year is to bring my western series to light. I love the stories, but they need editing.
8. What was the hardest part of writing your book(s)?
A: Just sticking to it. I can get easily discouraged and unfocused if the plot is lagging or if I don't think the book is exciting enough. I second guess myself while I'm writing. Will a publisher want it? Will it get good reviews? I can almost see a horrible review. This really slows my momentum. It's not so much writer's block as it is insecurity, I guess. Maybe that's writer's block my way.
9. Do you have any advice to offer other writers?
A: The best advice I can give is to just write, something I don't always do myself. I can get stuck for days which isn't the best plan. Even if you write just a small amount every day, you're still moving your story forward. But the main advice I'd give to anyone is to think, think, think about what vocation or avocation would make you happy and then go for it. I had a couple of hobbies - creating, building, and decorating miniature doll houses and room boxes for one, and designing silk flower arrangements for another. Writing came to me as a happenstance - which I talked about above - and the minute I began, I knew that was what I was meant to do with my life.