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?
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I have so many, and they change sometimes. But LM Montgomery would be on the list for her Ann of Green Gables series, and Jane Austen, of course. I love Amor Towles way with words and Kenneth Follett's ability to leave me on the edge of my seat. His Pillars of the Earth is a work of genius. In contemporary romance I am a fan of Kate Canterbary, K Bromberg and Max Monroe. But I also adore Julia Quinn and so many others.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
The dream is to have a loyal following of readers who like my books enough to recommend them to their friends, make money to pay for fabulous vacations and great meals and maybe to get a movie deal. A movie deal would be amazing!
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I did rewrite my Beguiling Bachelor series, all four books, during the pandemic. I had trouble starting new work and the reviews gave me some feedback indicating areas that could be improved. Also, I had the money to pay for a professional editor finally and wanted to improve the reading experience for new fans.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I don't want to switch places. I just want to be my very best me.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I try to tune them out.
What would you say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my novels and supporting me and my work. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live on the edge of the city of Chicago, in a condo with stunning views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline. What a glorious place to write. I am divorced, but have a wonderful and supportive man in my life. I am surrounded by three sisters, many friends, and two fiesty cats.
What is your day job if you have one?
Writing, and herding cats.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I binge too much TV and news, but I love to hang with family and friends, explore everything Chicago has to offer, and eat. I love to eat.
Did you have a happy childhood?
In general absolutely. I lived in a safe neighborhood of treelined streets and tons of kids. We played in the streets until our mother's called us in at dusk when we were tired and gritty and barely able to put a foot in front of the other. I loved school. and was a decent student. I loved summer camp, and I followed my older sisters around like they were Gods.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
My mother was a librarian who surrounded me with books from an early age. I loved to act out the characters, and many of my favorites were writers. It seems inevitable, looking back, that I would do some sort of writing as an adult.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have an entire series in the works that has yet to be published, and a few random novels I have started but not completed. One is a holiday story centering around a breakup on New Year's Eve, another is a third novel for my B&B Billionaire series.
But most of my effort is going into my All's Crazy in Love series, about eight women who have been friends since childhood. At their 20th high school reunion, all but one is single and that one dares the others to find a partner and marry within twelve months. For a variety of reasons, the friends accept the dare and the stories take off from there.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Surprisingly, art and physical education. The first for creativity and the second for health. Since I am not a parent, I can't go much beyond that. And personally I had an incredible education, so no complaints from me.
Except I would say, find outstanding, well-trained teachers and then give them what they need and back off so they can do their jobs.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
I think I need more than three.
What is your favorite music?
Anything by The Beatles, and sixties and seventies rock and roll.
Share a secret with us 🙂
If I did that, it wouldn't be a secret!