Q: When did you first begin writing romance?
A: Believe it or not, when I was about ten years old. I filled three composition notebooks with a story about the most sophisticated person I knew at the time, my older sister, who was in high school. In the story, she fell in love with a member of the pop group, Herman’s Hermits. It was incredibly romantic.
Q: How do you get ideas for your stories?
A: This is a little weird, but I have these people in my head—they start talking to each other and before I know it, I’ve created a story for them. So many characters are knocking on the door of my mind, begging to get out, to have their story told. I keep a notebook of ideas and characters and I have a little digital recorder that I carry everywhere. If a conversation starts, I talk out loud and record it. Later, when I play it back, I can usually cull a new story idea or a scene for a work in progress. I figure since I’m a writer, when I hear voices, I get a pass on crazy—it’s just creativity!
Q: Which writers have influenced you?
A: Wow, so many! My mom read to us constantly when I was a kid—L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books; Gene Stratton-Porter and Daphne DuMaurier. More recently, I read Lani Diane Rich (also Lucy March), Jennifer Cruisie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Anne Stuart, Nicholas Sparks, Bob Mayer, Garrison Keillor, Clive Cussler, my crit partner, Sandy James...heck, the list is endless. I love to read, and although romance is my favorite genre, I also love comedy, adventure and political thrillers, sci-fi and suspense. I haven’t really gotten into the paranormal stuff, but so many books...so little time...
Q: What is your writing day like?
A: My writing actually takes place mostly at night—I have a day job as a nonfiction editor, so that’s what I do from nine-to-five. The great part is I’m a freelancer, so I work at home in my jammies, which means that if I want to stop for an hour or so and work on the novels, I can do that. But my best time to write is late at night when my household has gone to bed. I close my office door, put on some quiet music, and fall into my own little fantasy world.
Q: What advice do you have for a new, aspiring writer?
A: Well, since I’m pretty much still in that category, this is an easy one. Write. Write. Write. Keep writing. Every day, butt in chair, fingers on keyboard. It’s the only way. Never stop learning—attend workshops, do online seminars and writing classes, like the ones at StoryWonk.com. Join a writers’ group such as your local chapter of Romance Writers of America. Also, find a critique partner, someone who is a writer and let them read your work. My critique partner is my greatest critic and my best advocate. I can’t imagine life without her.
Q: How do you think friends and family will react when they read your book, Rule Number One?
A: Ha! Well, I think probably they won’t be surprised at how romantic it is; they all know what a sappy person I am and that I’ve always lived in a fantasy world of happily-ever-after. But I do think they might be surprised at how sexy it is. They’re pretty used to me in plain old Nan mode—yoga pants and a tank top, no makeup, my hair mussed or clipped up on my head. Plus, I’m pretty traditional—a long-married, freelance nonfiction editor and mom. They may be a little shocked at what I have in my head. I kinda hope they are—how fun would it be for them to see another side of Nan?
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