How did you come up with the relationship between Kelly and Dr. Caleb?
Kelly and Caleb’s high-school relationship was introduced several years ago in The Rancher’s Dance. At the time, I can’t say that I intended to reunite them in their own story, but the more I thought about it, the stronger appeal it had.
What is your favorite part about writing holiday books?
It’s fun to wrap holiday trappings around romances. The “feel good” sense that people have that time of year is a sharp contrast for those in turmoil.
Do you have a signature Thanksgiving dish?
Oh, goodness. My signature anything out of the kitchen tends to be a dessert. So I would have to say it would be an early sampling of my Christmas Storybook Cookies, which are decorated sugar-cookie cut-outs. I can’t take credit for the name of the cookies—that comes from a really ancient magazine (I’ve been making them since I was a teenager), but I like to think it’s fitting for me as a writer. Ha! I also almost always make my Fudge Drop cookies, too, which are a lot less work and equally loved by my family year-round.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Second grade. Hands down. But as I got older, I didn’t really think I could be a “real” writer until I actually sold my first book, Stay…. (This is NOT the advice I give aspiring writers, by the way.)
How long does it take you to write a book?
When I’m in the midst of one? It seems to take forever. Ha! I don’t have the luxury of writing every single day, so that means I have to be diligent when planning my writing time. I’m a terrible procrastinator and know that I work better under pressure. (Don’t know what that says about me psychologically, but there you have it.) All that being said, it takes me anywhere from 15-20 very long writing days to finish a manuscript. This is assuming that I have a fully fleshed-out synopsis first.
Where do you get your inspiration for Weaver, Wyoming?
As a girl, I lived for a few years in a small town in Wyoming. It made an impression, to say the least. I love small towns and I love open spaces. Weaver is my mind’s perfect fantasy location.
How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
Fortune’s June Bride in 2015 was my 50th. So that makes A Child Under His Tree my 52nd. Hard to believe. I can’t say that I have a true favorite, but obviously Stay… was pretty important as it was not only my first book, but my first book set in Weaver, Wyoming. A lot of books have come as a result.
What book are you reading right now?
Right now, I’m actually reading two: a non-fiction book called None Braver by Michael Hirsh and a romantic suspense by Karen Robards called The Last Time I Saw Her. Enjoying them both.
What are your current projects?
Currently, I’m finishing Wild West Fortune, which is one of the terrific Fortunes of Texas series of which I’ve been so fortunate to be a part. Hard on the heels of that will be my next Double C title. Both to be released in 2017.
What advice do you have for writers?
First off—if you write, you are a writer. (Don’t take my path of not taking yourself seriously as a writer unless you’ve sold a book.) But if you want to be a PUBLISHED writer…then write what you love. And finish what you write. You won’t ever get there if you don’t sit your rear in the chair and actually do the work. I love writing. I really do. But doing the work? That’s not always champagne and roses. It’s hard. It takes time. It takes effort. But when you write those last words of the manuscript and know you’ve given it your all? It’s one of the best feelings in the world.