The stuff people ask me most
How many books have you written? I’ve written sixteen novels and a novella, and I can't seem to stop, so there are more to come! And audiobooks are happening! The audiobooks of the first three books in the Hidden Saga are available now, and the rest of the series is currently in production.
Can I get a signed paperback of one of your books? Yes! I'd be delighted to sign a book to you or someone you'd like to gift it to. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me which books you want. I'll send you a Paypal invoice and then ship your signed, personalized books to you!
Where do your story ideas come from? Some are purely from my imagination. Others are inspired by my life experiences. I have worked in television for many years, so I get to go and see a lot of interesting places and things and meet a lot of interesting people. Often, that will spark ideas. I also look into my own past relationships and experiences to bring authenticity to the characters I write. For the STILL series, I drew on my career as a news anchor and reporter working at 6 different stations in 4 different states over the years to write the stories of my twenty-something TV news newbies. Some of the stories they cover and the newsroom situations they encounter are inspired by my own experiences.
You write contemporary romance as well as Young Adult fantasy romance. Why the different genres? I like to read different genres and always have, and I think that’s why I like writing in different genres. Though my STILL series and The Hidden Saga are very different, they both contain romance, which is always my main interest, whether in books or movies or the TV shows I prefer. The STILL contemporary series features twenty-somethings in the world of TV news and falling in love. As far as The Hidden books— in middle school I was a huge Lord of the Rings geek, and when I learned that J.R.R. Tolkien was inspired by Norse mythology, specifically the Poetic Edda, I looked into the ancient minstrel tales myself. In them, the Fae are described as beautiful, frightening, powerful, sometimes god-like. The Hidden Saga, beginning with HIDDEN DEEP, is loosely based on a combination of this Norse mythology and Celtic Fae legends along with some unique twists that are purely my own invention.
How did you get started writing? I actually tried writing a novel the year I graduated from college when I was working my first job as a TV news anchor/reporter. I covered an amazing murder trial and it inspired me to write a murder mystery. But I quickly discovered that news writing and novel writing were *very* different. I didn’t know how to get past the first few chapters. As I moved from city to city, moving up the TV news career ladder, I kept trying, starting and stopping several novels over the years. It wasn’t until I quit my full-time job to stay home with my kids that I really began the long process of learning about story structure and good writing. I joined RWA, went to some local conferences and found my first critique partner at one of them. I entered chapter contests for feedback and read a lot of writing craft books. I was fortunate that the first novel I completed was selected as a Golden Heart finalist in 2013. I was a finalist again the next year with that YA murder mystery/romantic suspense book! That’s the book that got me my agent, too.
Are you from the South? Because you really seem to understand 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity. I live in New England now, and I’ve also lived in California (while working as a news anchor), but I grew up in a small town in North Mississippi (with 5 years in Texas thrown in for flavor). I do love the South (even the heat), and I love books that accurately portray the loveliness of its places and people. I try to do that in my books, which tend to have Southern settings, because when the voices start speaking to me, they usually have a bit of a drawl. ;)
Your main character in STILL TRUE, Heidi, is a first-year TV news reporter/anchor. You were also a TV news reporter/anchor.Is Heidi anything like you? Well, she’s definitely not me, but I did give her some of the same struggles and experiences I had as a newbie reporter/anchor. And like me, she grew up in a small Mississippi town. We also shared the same *unfortunate* nervous-stomach issue.
Did you actually throw up in front of the governor of Mississippi one minute before going on live TV like Heidi did? Why yes. Yes I did. Nothing like rookie reporter nerves. Happy to report I did eventually get over that little problem and can now appear on television without any threat of my lunch reappearing.
What’s your typical day like? I’m very blessed to be able to write full-time, which for me is about four or five hours a day. I still have young kids at home, so when’s school’s out, I’m a full-time mom. But I do write every day. I go to the library and sit in the furthest back corner with only the most boring reference books for a view. I wish I was one of those super-focused people who can write anywhere anytime, but I’m the world’s worst multi-tasker.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’m definitely a plotter. I could never write so many books so quickly without it. I pantsed my way through my first book, which was fun, but then it needed LOTS of revision, which took way longer than just planning it out in the first place. Now I do a few character exercises, fill out a beat sheet and then a scene-by-scene outline (in pencil) during my pre-writing stage. I follow it for my story structure, but I also keep a good eraser on hand in case inspiration strikes and I want to make changes. While I am a plotter, I’m not rigid about it—things can and do change as the story progresses and I don’t feel it inhibits my creativity at all.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to write a book and become published? I’ve seen the statistic that 90% of people want to write a book and only 10% actually do. I think lack of know-how stops most people. So my advice would be to join a great writer’s group like RWA (Romance Writers of America) and a local chapter. It’s such a great resource for information on good writing as well as for support. Having writer friends to trade work with made an incredible difference for me. I also enjoyed writing more and had more success when I got a firm grasp on story structure. I loved the book Save the Cat by Blake Snyder and the screenwriting book My Story Can Beat Up Your Story for that. They're very accessible and clear, besides being funny and enjoyable. When I read those, a lightbulb went off for me.
Will the Hidden Saga be available in audiobook format? Yes! The first 3 books, HIDDEN DEEP, HIDDEN HEART, AND HIDDEN HOPE are now available on Audible, Amazon, and iBooks. Within the next year, the entire saga will be available on Audible and other audiobook venues.
Will the Hidden Saga be made into movies? I hope so! I'm asked this question all the time, and while I'd love to see my stories brought to life on the big screen, I'm not in control of that decision. But the more people who learn about the series and the more who read the books and fall in love with them the better the chances of a big influencer (like a movie producer or director) finding them and making it happen. Keep sharing your love of the Hidden world, and I believe it WILL happen!
Will there be more books in the Hidden Saga? Yes! In addition to the 9 books available now plus the bonus novella The Sway, there will be new Hidden stories releasing from time to time. I'm working on one now in the original POV of the series-- Ryann's.
Will there be more books in the STILL Series? Yes! I am working on Hale's book now and expect it to be released in 2018.