Hi and Welcome! Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to interview you for Romance Junkies. First, can you let us know what projects you are currently working on?
Of course. I enjoy going back and forth between projects, so I’m working on a couple of books right now. The first, which is in the revision stage, is about a practical woman whose life changes completely when she buys an antique ring with mystical powers. She turns to a handsome antique expert for help. The second is a paranormal story about two magicians who must battle evil. I’m in the early chapters of this book.
What does your writing schedule look like? Do you plot or write as it comes?
I have a full-time day job, so I end up writing primarily at night and on the weekends. My goal is to write at least 1,000 words a day.
Plotting helps immensely, and I create a rough outline that I may modify as I write. Plotting can help me write a tighter, more focused story, but I’ve found it’s important to be open to ideas that come as I write.
With short stories, I do less plotting. I will often start with characters and a scenario and see what happens.
Do you do research for your books? What is the most interesting thing that you learned?
I do some research because I want my stories to be plausible, and research helps me achieve that. For the story I’m working on now, I researched artifacts from Ancient Rome. I ended up with a lot more material than I can use, but it was fun to learn about it.
What person had the biggest influence on your success? What would you say to a new writer starting out?
My parents have always been a big influence in my life. My dad was a teacher (he’s now retired) and always encouraged reading. My mom also taught me the value of books. I have fond memories of hours spent reading with her. She often read to me, and as I grew older we would sit on the couch, reading our separate books. She is also a writer, although her specialty is poetry, not fiction. Still, having a mother who was lso a writer set a strong example for me. Both parents have been supportive of my writing. My second book, BETWEEN FLOORS, is dedicated to them.
To a new writer, I would say it’s important to find your voice and to
develop confidence. Writing isn’t easy, and belief in yourself is very
What are the biggest challenges you face as a writer? What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
There’s something incredibly freeing about sitting down at the
computer and writing what pours out of you. This is the part of
writing I most enjoy--when I’m caught up in a story and the ideas are coming smoothly. Once the first draft is finished, the tough part
begins--reviewing what I’ve written with a critical eye. Revision is
one of my biggest challenges, but I learn a lot through the process.
Do you name your characters first or do they have to have a personality before they are named? How do you choose their names?
With most characters, I start with a name. Sometimes a name will come to me. If it doesn’t, I visit a baby-naming site on the internet. It’s important for a name to sound right. Once I select the names, I write a few chapters and see how well the names fit. On rare occasions, I will change a name after getting to know a character better.
How long does it take you to write a book? Have you ever developed writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
I can write a shorter book like BETWEEN FLOORS in a month or so.
Longer ones take more time. The length of time varies.
I have experienced writer’s block, and I overcome it by pinpointing
the source of the block. Am I stuck because I don’t know where the
story is going? Then I need to do more plotting. Am I stuck because
I’m burned out? If so, a day or two off is what I need. Figuring out
why I’m stuck is an important step in the process of getting unstuck.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? Who did you call first?
Apparently I need to do some retroactive celebrating, because I didn’t really do anything big! It was exciting news, and I went out to lunch with a few friends. My coworkers threw me a surprise party, which was exciting and fun, to celebrate the release of my first book. My parents, a sister, and a coworker were the first people I called about the sale.
Of all the jobs you have held, which one was your favorite? How about your least favorite?
My current job is probably my favorite. I’m a writer and editor for a
private company. Yes, this means I write and edit all day, then come home and write and edit some more. This can be tiring, but the two types of writing are quite different, so it doesn’t feel like I’m doing the same thing all the time. I take great pleasure in writing romance.
My least favorite job was as a proofreader for about six months. The job ended up being different than I expected, which was bad enough, but the environment was horrible. I can only describe it as an emotionally toxic environment, and I drew on this experience when writing about Peter’s former place of work in OFFICE RELATIONS.
What was your favorite part of going to RWA this year? Which workshops stand out in your mind as your favorites?
I loved attending RWA! It was wonderful, and I wish it had lasted
another few days. I enjoyed meeting writers I’ve known online--it was so nice to put names to faces and to enrich relationships the way you can do when you meet in person.
I attended a few workshops, including one on incorporating themes into your stories. It reinforced a few things I’ve noticed in my writing and gave me a few tips I’m finding useful as I revise my work in progress. There were so many wonderful workshop topics, and I wish I could have attended more classes. Thank goodness they offer CDs of the workshops, so I can listen and learn from them all year long.
When you read do you read the same genre that you write? What kinds of books will we find on your bookshelves?
I can’t imagine not reading romance. However, when I write contemporary romance, I find myself reading more paranormals. Now that I’m writing paranormals, I’m reading contemporary and historical romance. I have quite a few autobuy authors, including Kelley Armstrong, Suzanne Brockmann, Sylvia Day, Summer Devon, Charlaine Harris, Erin McCarthy, Julia Quinn, and J.D. Robb.
What are your favorite TV shows? Which shows could you do without ever watching?
MEDIUM is my favorite TV show. I also enjoy programs like UNSOLVED MYSTERIES and COLD CASE FILES on A&E.
Shows I can do without: I’ve never been able to figure out the
interest in reality shows. I tried watching a few but lost interest
What is your favorite part of summer? How about your least favorite?
I live near the mountains, and the arrival of summer means I can drive into the canyons and enjoy the beauties of nature. Summer also offers a great excuse to go out for ice cream. As for least favorite, summer is a very busy time at work, so it usually means I end up working long hours.
What do you feel is the sexiest feature on a man? How about the least sexy?
Eyes are definitely the sexiest. You can tell a lot about a man when
you look into his eyes. I’m also a fan of a man with toned arms. Least sexy? Probably feet.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Do you prefer it to be in a bowl, on a cone or straight from the carton?
Some people will cringe when they read this, but my favorite flavor is bubble gum, mainly because it brings back good memories from
childhood. I’ll eat it from a bowl or from the carton. I’m not picky.
Thank you, Lia, for spending time with us at RomanceJunkies. Continued success with your writing!