Tell us a bit about your family. I’m married, and my husband and I live with two dogs and a cat in Michigan. Our daughter lives out of state.
What is your favorite color? Green, a deep forest hue.
What is your favorite food? COOKIES!! Shortbread drizzled with chocolate – YUM!
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Ireland – plan to visit one day!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?Reading books, scads and scads of them – especially mysteries from The Boxcar Children, The Happy Hollisters and Trixie Belden to Agatha Christie, A.C. Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Dashiell Hammett, to modern cozy writers such as Cleo Coyle, Will Thomas and Charles Todd, etc.
When and why did you begin writing? I started with “fanfic” before it was invented, a rip-off of Trixie Belden – figuring I could write a better plot. LOL. Then I decided to write a mystery as an exercise, and switched to historical and romance, then back to mystery with Double Crossing. The Key to Love is contemporary romance, though! I’m partial to blending genres together for a unique twist.
How long have you been writing? Twenty years. Gah!
What genre are you most comfortable writing? Mystery and historical. I enjoy contemporary romance, it’s a lot of fun, but prefer doing historical research.
What inspired you to write your first book? True Grit, the book by Charles Portis, plus seeing both movie versions! That sparked Double Crossing, my Spur Award winner for Best First Novel. I’m working on the sequel now, TBR this year.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began? My long-time and long-suffering critique partner, whose advice was spot on long ago. I would have published much sooner if I’d wised up and listened to her. LOL
Who or what influenced your writing over the years?RWA and Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program both helped and influenced me at different times.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Dogging it until the end, because it’s easy to start. Much harder to finish!
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?I’m a total “plotter.” I spend weeks filling out character sketches, timelines and plot charts. For The Key to Love, I totally “pantsed” it out. I had the outline in my head, and I was stunned that I finished it with a bit of editing to make it “come alive” with details. So yes, I can “pant” when I put my mind to it! It wasn’t easy, but it sure was fun.
Have you developed a specific writing style? I write in an “ocean wave” style – write, go back and revise, write further, revise again, and keep pushing and revising until I have a solid second or third-draft quality manuscript. After that, polishing is easy.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? Vivid imagery, using sensory details and getting the historical aspects as accurate as possible.
How did you come up with the title? A key is vital to the plot, along with Valentine’s Day, so The Key to Love seemed a natural fit for this sweet contemporary romance.
Can you tell us about your main character? Jenn Jackson is an artist – and I am too, which helped flesh out her goals and motivations.
Who designed the cover? The talented Elaina Lee of For The Muse Designs.
Who is your publisher? Astraea Press
Will you write others in this same genre? I have already –Santa Paws is a Christmas contemporary romance about a rescue dog – and an Amazon Bestseller for Kindle!