Why do you write?
Writing is like breathing to me. It’s a part of living. I can’t imagine not writing! For me, I almost have to ask others, “How can you NOT write?”
What’s your favorite genre?
I’m a voracious reader of many different genres. Naturally, I love romance and read all kinds—historical, contemporary, paranormal—but I’m all about the story and characters. I find great stories everywhere—in mysteries, thrillers, and horror. Even biographies can tell a great story and are a particular favorite of mine.
Do you have a favorite author (if so, please tell us the name)?
That’s like asking if I have a favorite child! Some of my favorite authors include Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, Harlan Coben, Mary Jo Putney, Julie Garwood, David Baldacci, Lee Child, Linwood Barclay, Stuart Woods, Jaqueline Winspear, Brad Meltzer, Jeff Abbott, Steve Berry, Julia Quinn, Victoria Thompson, and Diana Gabaldon. That’s just a start!
To be successful as an author, what do you see as the main goal?
If asked, most people would think of success as being related to material wealth. For an author, that would be landing a place on The New York Times best seller list. I’ve never been driven by money, though, so for me? I view success as it’s defined by the dictionary—a favorable or desired outcome. My desire and goal in life has always been to become a published author and share all my people and their stories with others. In my eyes, I believe that makes me a success.
What inspires you and how do you channel it when you need inspiration?
I can be inspired by fragments of a dream. Passing someone and creating a story for her in my head. By food I’ve tasted or places I’ve traveled. A song on the radio. Inspiration is all around us. Writers just have a tendency to look at the world a little differently than most people and utilize everything we see.
To channel inspiration, I usually walk at a pretty rapid pace. I find when I’m walking outside that ideas flow more easily in my head. My creativity seems heightened by the physical activity. All my little problems and distractions melt away until I’m focused on the story and people in my head.
What advice can you give to aspiring authors?
My first advice is write, write, write—and then write some more! If you want to improve at anything, it takes practice. Next, give yourself permission to write badly. Not everything you put on the page will be super-awesome, but you must get something on that page in order to go back and revise and build and turn it into something great. I’d also suggest attending workshops or conferences whenever you can. Not only will the topics hit a wide variety that can benefit writers at all levels, but you will meet the most wonderful people. I’ve found romance writers to be the most generous people on the planet. They’ll share insights with you; they’ll make friends with you!
What advice would you give to the youth of today (not just authors)?
Read! Read everything you can get your hands on. Reading can help you build your vocabulary, as well as expose you to all types of ideas that can challenge you. It can take you to far-off places; it can introduce you to people who inspire you, motivate you, and entertain you.
Also, if you have the chance, take every opportunity to travel. Whether it’s around the state you live in, your home country, or even beyond its borders, travel enriches your life and exposes you to many things beyond the small bubble of the world you live in.
What’s on your bucket list?
Learn Italian. Travel to Ireland. Hit all 50 states (I’m getting there!). Attend the Kentucky Derby (in a FABULOUS hat!). Ride a horse along a beach (and then get a couples’ massage on the beach afterwards). Ride in a helicopter (preferably hovering over Maui). Parasail. Swim with dolphins. But #1 had always been publish a book. SO glad I’ve been able to check that dream wish off the list!
What would you like people to know about you?
I love to walk and do yoga. I think laughter is the best medicine invented. I watch too many House Hunters and fritter away too much time on Pinterest. I believe dark chocolate (preferably with a glass of wine) will solve just about any problem. I love a good book or movie, rain, and sipping hot tea beside my husband every night.