Did writing about Cora Kelly, Aiyana and Elijah require a lot of research into birth mothers and adoption?
Definitely! The story was actually inspired by a friend of mine, who has finally found her birthday mother (my friend is nearly 60) after a closed adoption at birth. Her story has been exciting, frustrating, heart-wrenching, just like Cora’s. She shared it with me as she was going through it. That’s what made me want to write about a woman who was also looking for her mother. Also, I did a lot of research online.
What is your favorite part about writing Contemporary Romance books?
I love the emotional honesty. They are stories that are so easy to identify with because the characters are often facing problems any one of us could face.
Do you have any traditions you enjoy during early Spring?
My birthday is in the spring (and everyone else’s in the family, besides my oldest daughter, is in the fall, all bunched together). I make my birthday last the whole month of May! Ha! (My family has often remarked on this.)
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I caught my daycare provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep all day while I worked as a loan officer. Once I realized what was going on, I quit my job to stay home with them myself. Problem was…I wasn’t working because I wanted to. I still needed to contribute financially. I had three of my five kids then, and I had no idea how I was going to help earn a living while taking care of them at the same time, but my sister sent me KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. It was a wonderful book, one that really swept me away. When I finished it, I remember thinking, “I wonder if I could write a book.” I started OF NOBLE BIRTH the next day and have never looked back.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I have deadlines every four months. If I was really pressed, I could probably do one in three, but not book after book.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I’m always on the hunt for new character names. I listen when I meet people, pick up on certain names my children mention or other people mention around me. I’ve even gone online and looked up lists of the most popular names in America. My former assistant gave me a character naming book which has been helpful, too!
How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
I’ve written 61 so far. I have quite a few favorites—usually for different reasons—but if I had to pick only one, I’d have to say THIS HEART OF MINE. That book is really emotional for me, and yet it just poured out. It’s the easiest book I’ve ever written.
What book are you reading right now?
Sandra Brown’s STING. I have an online book group in which I select a fellow author to highlight in the months when I don’t have a release of my own. I’ll be going to Arlington, TX to interview Sandra live next week! I can’t wait. I love her work!
What are your current projects?
I’m currently finishing the fourth book in my Silver Springs series (comes out in November). Then I’ll be starting the third book in my Evelyn Talbot series, which is geared more toward suspense than straight contemporary romance.
What advice do you have for writers?
I can boil it down to just one word. Believe. It’s that simple. If you truly believe in yourself and your talent, you will be motivated to actually sit down and write the book instead of only dreaming about it. You will be driven to seek out any help you may need (research or craft-related) to make it the best you can create. You will follow through with marketing ideas until you sell it (or self-publish it), and you won’t give up if you don’t immediately reach your goals. Belief drives the entire engine—especially through the rough spots.