Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself? That’s right start off with the toughest question first. There’s nothing exciting to tell. I’m a Canadian who insists she does not say aboot, though I will admit I do say ‘eh’ a lot. I’m married and have two sons who now are taller than I am. I’m a former computer instructor and tech support analyst, but I originally trained as a nurse who got fed up and went to work for a psychologist, a Canadian medical organization, and a security firm where I was the only woman amongst 80 men, most of whom had served in the military. I guess you could say I like variety.
How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing fantasies and science fiction since I was seven. However, my older sister was my first critic and so I stayed firmly in the ‘writers closet’ until about four or five years ago. Then a friend who is now my critique partner encouraged me to ‘get serious’ about my writing. My 2007 New Year’s resolution was to submit something to an agent or editor, and a year later got my first contract.
What is your writing process like? I like to think I’m a plotter because every book starts out with copious notes and outlines, but within about a half page of writing the first draft, the outline gets tossed out the window. Ideally, Mondays to Fridays, I sit down at about 8 a.m. and start writing until I complete two thousand words. If the words are flowing freely and I hit that threshold early then I keep writing, but some days I must admit every word I write is wrenched out with blood, sweat and lots of cursing. On those days, I rely upon my handy-dandy kitchen timer and work in thirty minute writing sprints. Weekends are spent running around after my hubby and the boys, so if I do manage to open a doc, it’s usually to do some notes about editing.
Can you tell us about your newest release Private Property? Is this your first release? Private Property is about a security specialist, Jodi Tyler, who is challenged to break into a Dallas area estate in order to prove the weaknesses in its security. Little does she know it’s a setup by her boss, Mark Rodriguez, with whom she’s having a no-strings-attached affair. A few weeks before, Mark had challenged Jodi to write a list of her sexual fantasies, and decided to surprise her with one for her birthday – a ménage with his best friend, Sam Watson. Trouble is Sam has decided to teach Mark a lesson about the importance of protecting your ‘private property’, and Mark finds himself the one tied up instead of Jodi.
Yes, Private Property is my first release though I’m pleased that it will not be my last. What a great segue to your next question …
Do you have any other books coming out this year? I do! I’m so excited because just before Christmas, I signed a contract with Samhain for a sequel to Private Property in which Sam, who I had a very hard time not letting take over as the main character in Private Property, finally gets his own story called Personal Protection. It takes place about four months after Private Property ends and Sam has returned to his own bodyguard company in DC. Much to his disgust, he is forced to accept his own bodyguards when a stalker targets him. He doesn’t find it so bad being stuck in the back of a limo instead of driving his Harley when smart-mouthed Rosalinda Ramos is assigned as the head of his detail. But when Rosalinda discovers Sam is a founding member of an exclusive sex club and insists on investigating it, they both have to make some serious decision about their relationship. Oh, I guess I should also mention that Personal Protection is a full length contemporary erotic romance that will be released in May 2009.
What are you currently working on? Since I’ve sold Personal Protection as the start of a series, I’m working on a sequel involving one of the other bodyguards. I’ve also got a couple other stories in the works: two contemporary shape-shifter stories I’m hoping to finish and submit this year, and a historical based upon the Canadian rebellion of 1838 which probably will have to be submitted to Canadian publishers. But that one is going to take a lot longer to write because of all the research involved in it.
Where do you get your ideas for your books? Everywhere. I can be inspired by something as innocuous as a road sign. Really! One of my shape-shifter stories was inspired during a trip to Banff National Park in Alberta. My husband was driving down this mountainous road to a place called Moraine Lake and there was a sign about how the road was closed from October through May due to avalanche danger and I thought “Wow, what would I be like to be trapped down here during the winter?” Later that week, we were on a boat trip on another of Banff’s lakes and more ideas just kept bombarding me and before I knew it my shape shifter story was born.
As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors? I started reading at the age of three because my mother was so desperate to keep me busy. She later used to complain that she could drop a bomb beside me and I wouldn’t hear it, I was so immersed in my reading. What do I like to read? Anything, especially if there’s a love story in it. I love reading romantic suspense, I read 300 historicals back in 2006 (although I’m pretty much ‘regencied’ out – give me a good civil war story or old west cowboy romance and I’m happy.) For now, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series is top of my auto-buy list at the moment, and I’m looking forward to her next Alpha & Omega release. JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is also on the list, as is Lynsay Sand’s Argeneau series, and Kathryn Smith’s Brotherhood of blood series. It’s strange because in early 2007 I blogged that I didn’t read vampire stories, and now the top four series I’m reading involve vampires.
What books are on your keeper shelf? The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy is front and center. As is John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids. And I have to admit, I have a ‘complete works of William Shakespeare’ on it as well. I loved Richard III so much in high school I was one of those geeks who asked for extra assignments. I also have a couple of non-romances such as James Clavell’s Shogun, and a non-fiction book called The Cuckoo’s Egg by Clifford Stoll which was about computer espionage back in the early days just as the net was getting started. They’re on a five-high cabinet behind my desk, but there’s a shelf above my desk with all my romances, including my first ‘romance’ - The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, along with the first one I read as an adult, Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower. Nora Robert’s Chesapeake Bay series, and her McKade brothers series are also up there, as is Allison Brennan’s Speak No Evil and Julia Quinn’s entire Bridgerton series and Susan Elizabeth Phillips Heaven Texas. Then add all the books from my auto-buy list above, and you might be able to picture my very crowded keeper shelf.
Do you read books other than romance books? Yes, I do. If you bring a book into my house, I’ll read it. From my husband’s action adventures by authors like Tom Clancy, Stephen Coonts and Dale Brown to my eldest son’s Roman historicals to my youngest son’s Harry Potters (Oh, all right, I admit, I bought the Harry Potters claiming they were for him, but he knows to hand them over to me to read first.)
What was the first romance book you read? Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel is the first one that really made an impact on me, although I have to admit while I loved Sir Percy, I didn’t like Marguerite, she wasn’t good enough for him, in my know-it-all thirteen-year-old opinion.
If one of your books was made into a movie, which book would you like it to be and which actors would like to see as the lead characters? If Personal Protection were made into a movie, I’d have to say Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) would make an excellent Sam. And Eva Mendes would be an excellent Rosalinda. If they made Private Property into a movie, Benjamin Bratt would be the hero – who cares who the heroine is when he’s around? Oh, okay, to draw the guys in so they won’t protest going to a romance with us? Let’s give them Cameron Diaz like she was in the Italian Job.
If you could switch lives with one of your characters who would if be & why? Oh, wow, I’m not sure I’d want to switch lives with one of them, I like to torture them. Um, I guess if I could, I’d switch with the heroine I’m writing right now in my untitled sequel. She’s a very proper, cultured Brit who curses a blue streak. I can SO identify with her.
Do you have a day job? Let’s see, there’s my job as chauffeur, chef, maid, negotiator, nurse … you know all those duties a wife and mother has? Luckily enough I’m able to stay home full time and treat my writing as my profession.
Does your work inspire story ideas? Oh, yes. From my students who gave me plenty of character studies to fielding bomb threats and bank robberies when I was an admin assistant to the Chief of Security for a security company definitely left me with a lot of fodder.
Are any of your characters based on real people? My characters are more of an amalgam of various traits of people I may have met, but I can’t point to a specific character and say “That’s … so and so.”
When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time? Usually I’m working on a computer even if I’m not writing learning whatever is the latest software. Having to promote a book has forced me to learn video software, and thankfully my sons are both trained in Final Cut. Other than that? Depending on the weather, I love to go for long walks in a forest or along a beach and watch the birds (doesn’t that sound like a line from a dating agency?) If it’s snowing (I live in Canada, and as much as I hate the stereotype, it does snow here six months of the year), then I hibernate and embroider, specifically doing pulled-thread embroidery and specialty stitches. Unfortunately I have over a dozen pieces waiting to be framed and have run out of wall space, so that’s been on the backburner for a while now though.
If you could ask readers anyone question, what would it be? Wow, tough question. I guess I’d ask what they like to read – what makes them put a book on their keeper shelf. And hope that I can write something one day that’ll put my book up there with the rest.
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