When I was eleven or twelve, I would save my allowance money or ask for gift certificates from the B.Dalton store in our local mall. I would take my saved money and gift certificate and spend it all on books. Teenage romances from Silhouette and some other publisher I can’t recall. I would devour these things like candy. But soon, they weren’t enough. I wanted more than the vaguely described kisses and hugs. I wanted…passion.
One day, I found a well-worn, yellow-paged book in my mom’s shelves – it was called The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. It was exactly what I was looking for (passion!). A few years later, I open up the hall closet and found a pile of books on the floor. On top of this pile was a Jude Deveraux romance (The Awakening) so I decided to read it. I was hopelessly hooked and after consuming a ton of romances at a breakneck speed over the course of one summer, I thought to myself, “Maybe I could write a romance novel one day.”
I finally did. It only took me a little over twenty years from that long ago summer to do it.
Life got in the way – you know how it is. In junior high my best friend (and Linda is still my best friend – hi Linda!) and I decided to write really bad stories about Duran Duran. She still has them. I also wrote my own stories (again, about Duran Duran – we were obsessed) and I still have them as well. Awful, hilarious stories that never, ever end. Linda occasionally threatens to sell them on ebay.
I dabbled some when I was in community college. Terrible, hand-written stuff chock-full of adverbs and really awful dialogue. I even sent a SASE (stamped, self-addressed envelope for all you young, pre-Internet folks) to Harlequin requesting their guidelines. I think I still have them stashed away somewhere.
Then I got married, went to work, went to college, got pregnant, quit college, continued to work, moved to a new city, got a new job, got a divorce. At the new job is where I met my now-husband. We were married on Maui in 2001 and I quit work in 2003 to become a stay-at-home-mom.
Whew, this is long. Anyway, I started reading again. Can you believe I stopped reading? I was too busy (!!). I gradually got back into romances and realized I missed them – a lot. More than that, I realized I still wanted to try and write one. With the encouragement of my supportive husband, I joined RWA and went to my first conference (all alone and sorta scared) in 2005. And here I am now.
Wait, when am I not writing? Ha, ha just kidding. Considering I write full-time, it’s hard for me to shut it off. But when I do, I’m spending time with my family, fawning over my herd of cats, reading or watching too much reality TV.
I read mostly contemporary and historical romance, I used to read a lot of true crime (I love Ann Rule!) and I like to read non-fiction research-type stuff.
Unfortunately, no. The last one is Eric’s story in Notorious. I know I made a lot of readers mad with the ending of Scandalous so I tried my hardest to give him his happy ending. Also, I’m not writing as much erotic romance these days though my books remain hot. I can’t not write hot. I enjoy the sexy times. *winks*
I get a lot of reader email about Fallen and if I’m going to continue the series. I really, really want to but it’s so hard to find the time. My writing schedule is jam packed. Maybe later this summer I can write Ryder’s story. It’s on my to do list, I swear.
It’s a work in progress. There’s one book I tried to get published but I finally put it to bed for good (I can admit that sometimes books I’ve written are not meant to be published). Regarding my historical novellas, I hear from readers that they wish they were longer. I agree. So I’m trying my best to deliver a longer historical to you all. And I will keep you updated when it happens!
I really don’t know. I can read a magazine article and become inspired. Watch a movie, a TV show and have a flash of inspiration. I try not to question it too hard for fear I might mess it up. I’m just thankful the ideas keep coming so I can keep writing!
I’m going to give you a really crappy answer to this one – it depends. Some books write themselves. The words just flow out of my fingertips. I wrote a novella in three days once. I wrote one of my favorite books in two weeks. But these are rarities. I wish they all came that quickly. Considering I write in a variety of lengths, it really does take a variety of time to finish one.
Yeah, this really was a crappy answer. Sorry.
The absolute best advice I can give is: finish the damn book. You can tinker and mess with something for months. For years. But if you complete a book (and I’m talking from short story to novel length), then yay! You did it! It might not be a piece of junk but at least you finished it. Which means you can do it again. And again.
You can read all the craft books in the world (there are a lot of them – and many good ones too) but don’t live by them. Hone your skills. If you can, write every day. Get a critique partner. Read up on the industry. Oh, and read lots of books in the genre you’re writing in. Read, read, read. Learn what you like, what you don’t like. Focus on those turns of phrase you really like. Revel in the goodness and inspire yourself!