When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
First, I think about the characters and what kind of people they are, and the world they live in. I jot down notes as ideas come to me for the plot and story—like bits of dialogue and pieces of scenes. When actually getting to the point of writing or proposing it to my editor, I plot out the story, starting with a blurb and working my way to a synopsis. I outline down to the chapter or scene. Some of it will change as I write, but usually not a whole lot.
How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?
Pretty simply! I celebrate by going out to dinner with my husband and I try to take a little time between books to catch up on my TBR pile. Lately, I’ve pretty much jumped from project to project and haven’t had much time between books, so the dinner has had to be celebration enough. But that’s okay. I really like food. 😉
Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?
I have a difficult time separating character from story when I plan, so I guess that to a certain extent I begin with both the character and the plot. While I tend to focus on the character, it’s usually within some sort of context of a plot.
How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?
It’s either very easy or holy-cow-this-is-painful difficult. How’s that for a non-answer? Usually, if my original title for a book works, I find it pretty easy. I tend to write toward that title, if that makes any sense. Banshee Charmer was like that. But the title I started with for Lycan Unleashed wouldn’t work, simply because it didn’t really fit in with the other series titles. Figuring out a new title for the book was more than a little painful, but I love the new title so it worked out well…eventually. 😉
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write. Sit down (or stand if you have a nifty stand-up desk) and write—every day if you can. Even if you only write 100 words a day and you think they all suck, getting into that habit is so important. And like any skill, you’ll build endurance with practice and you’ll start to get more words—most days. Your words will start to suck a little less, even to your own eyes. Revise them. Edit them. But most importantly, write them.
What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?
I’ve been a cashier, a teller, a CNA. I worked with developmentally disabled individuals in group homes. I worked in a hospital. A nursing home. Home health. I was an office manager and a secretary. Essentially, I was a flake who couldn’t figure out what she wanted to do, so I tried everything.
I decided I needed a career.
No, the career I initially chose to pursue wasn’t writing. I became a CPA, and I worked various finance and accounting jobs for a couple of very large companies. I got a lot of satisfaction out of these jobs, but not the level I would see in some of my coworkers. Ones who were really enjoying what they did. Ones who were following their calling. So I started writing at night.
Talk about opening a can of worms.
But this was a can I couldn’t close. An addiction I couldn’t shake. And I’ve been pursuing it with abandon ever since. It’s a “job” that I don’t mind being a workaholic for—I’m driven to be a workaholic. And I like to think of my flakey pre-college days as “research” for my books.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I am an avid, obsessive plotter. Although I don’t mind adjusting the outline as I write if the story heads in a more interesting direction as I go along.
Where does the magic happen? Where do you write?
In a magical, beautiful meadow full of unicorns and other frou-frou things like flowers and stuff. Or, possibly on my couch and in my office, depending on my mood. One of these is true.
What’s in the works for you?
SO MUCH. *cough*
I am currently finishing the fourth From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency book, which is tentatively scheduled for June. I also have a Covet coming out early this year about a vampire stuck on a cruise ship with his sexy neighbor, called Don’t Bite the Bridesmaid. Next, I’ll be working on a romantic suspense novel. After that, I have a few things planned, but they’re still in the early stages of the process.
Detective Astrid Holmes is a sensitive, a human capable of feeling the energy of otherworlders. When she is dispatched to the horrific murder scene of a local vampire, she expects it to be just another day on the job. But when evidence is stolen on her watch, she is removed—not only from the investigation, but from her job as a member of the Chicago police department’s paranormal unit.
Astrid’s only hope of reinstatement lies with her ex co-worker and almost-lover, Lycan Mason Sanderson. But convincing the OWEA agent to let her assist with the investigation isn’t nearly as difficult as staying alive when the murderer realizes that Astrid may hold the key to unlocking his identity.
Fighting to take down a killer could have deadly consequences for Astrid and Mason, but working together puts their already fragile relationship in jeopardy.
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