Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I started writing as a journalist in high school and college, but left that career behind for almost thirty years. When I retired from corporate America in 2014 I finally considered revisiting my childhood fantasy of writing novels.
What makes writing your passion?
Stories pop into my head every night in my dreams and everywhere I go. I see a potential story in the simplest things. Then I need to tell that story, commit it to paper, and share it with the world.
How long have you been writing?
I published my first book in 2015 and never looked back.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Fear, mostly. I did so much work to write Bedazzled. Then I educated myself so much about story structure and the process of writing, editing and publishing. In other words I had a lot invested. Then I put my story into the world and had no control over what readers would think. When I got my first positive review, I finally felt a sense of accomplishment. That was amazing!
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
In my upcoming series All's Crazy in Love, the women are all carrying traits of my favorite friends from my life in North Carolina. I see them every year and each time I come home it feels harder to leave them. So finally, I took them with me, in the incarnation of my characters.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Interruptions! I know I am supposed to have a life, and I love my friends and family, but when I am in the zone I want them all to leave me alone.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I put down whatever is stalled and write something else—a blog post, a newsletter, ideas for future books. It doesn't matter what as long as I keep the habit of writing.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Find a group of authors you can connect with and stay connected. My community supports me, holds me accountable, and keeps me moving forward. They started as colleagues but I am fortunate now to call them friends.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would tell myself to write earlier instead of waiting until I retired, and I would remind myself I don't have to go it alone and get help before launching my first book.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Absolutely. I appreciate readers taking the time to write a review. I read every single one (and all my emails, too.)
As for bad reviews, they are usually a teaching moment. If a reader thinks my hero is a wimp, I learn from that. If I have typos in my book, I get a new proofreader. Bad reviews usually offer me a chance to revisit my book through the readers eyes—and be honest with myself.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Places I love to eat turn up as settings in my novels, and my B&B Billionaire series was born from a part-time job I held at a local bed and breakfast. Because I love to write about Chicago, my settings often reflect places I have been but my characters usually take on a life of their own.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I do have pieces of me in my upcoming series All's Crazy in Love. There are twelve women in the series, one is loosely based on me. I'll let readers guess which one :)
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Not as important but still critical. A bad cover may prevent potential readers from ever picking up my books. But a bad book insures they put it right back down. Ideally, both are wonderful.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love connecting with readers, via email and through my newsletter because of the pandemic, but I look forward to attending reader events and getting invited back to book clubs soon.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?