How did you come up with the relationship between Joey and Chris?
I have a lovely Twitter friend who used to live in Hawaii and she’s in love with actor Chris Evans especially when he’s wearing a beard. She posts a lot of sexy Chris Evans pictures and gifs and in one picture he’s wearing flannel and looking like your ultimate HGTV sexy handyman fantasy. It wasn’t too hard to come up with the sort of woman who’d fall for a guy like that.
What is your favorite part about writing for Men at Work?
Hard to say because I had so much fun writing every single book. I think the most fun I had was with the supporting characters. In HER HALLOWEEN TREAT, Joey’s best friend is a co-worker named Kira who keeps her encouraged and entertained. In HER NAUGHTY HOLIDAY, I had a blast writing Erick’s snarky 17-year-old daughter who is playing matchmaker for her boss and her dad. And in ONE HOT DECEMBER the heroine’s neighbor is Mrs. Scheinberg, a feisty 88-year-old woman who can’t stop giving my heroine and hero very good advice. Writing the funny best friend or wacky neighbor never stops being fun.
Your Harlequin Blaze novels seem to be either around Halloween or Christmas, which one is your favorite?
The entire trilogy is set around the holidays. In HER HALLOWEEN TREAT it’s Halloween. In HER NAUGHTY HOLIDAY it’s Thanksgiving. And in ONE HOT DECEMBER it’s Hanukkah and Christmas. Christmas is my favorite holiday because it’s when all my family gets together. I’m a vegetarian so Thanksgiving is kind of wasted on me. And Halloween is great but when you have as many fillings as I do, you tend to avoid candy.
What was the first book that made you cry?
I picked up a copy of THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY by Karleen Koen when I was on vacation with my parents in Virginia when I was, oh, 14 or 15, I think. I probably got the book because it had a pretty cover and was very long, and I liked to read big books since I thought that impressed people. I devoured the book in just a few days and remember weeping onto the pages when Roger dies. That was the first historical romance I’d ever read and loved and Roger was the first bisexual character I think I’d ever encountered in fiction. I adored the book and still have that giant purple hardcover at my parents’ house.
How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I didn’t do any research for the Men at Work books. My father has been a contractor/handyman type all his life so I knew a lot about the work the guys do. I usually research as I write. Too many writers use intensive research to put off the actual writing. Write and research simultaneously and then you can pinpoint exactly what you need to research and save yourself time and trouble.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Names are hard. You want to get them just right and I’ve been known to “Find and Replace” on a draft when a name just isn’t working. I’ll try several out until I find one that works.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I’d probably die. But before I was a writer, I worked in a bunch of bookstores. I could easily go back to working in a bookstore tomorrow.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I’ll quote Steve Martin here—“ Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.”
What is your favorite thing about fall?
How happy it makes my husband. That and long-sleeved shirts. I’m a big fan of long-sleeved shirts.
Are you excited for Halloween? If so, do you have a favorite scary story?
I’m excited for Halloween decorating. In fact, I already did it. Favorite scary story? Probably “The Haunted House” from the original SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK. I was in a school play version of that story. I had one line and that line was just a scream. I do a very good scream.