I was born in the Central Valley of California. When I was two, our family moved a few hours away to a railroad town so tiny we didn’t have a single fast food restaurant. When McDonald’s came to town, we thought we hit the big time. Jack-in-the-Box soon followed and became the teenage hot spot. I spent many hours hanging out in the parking lot with my friends and getting into trouble. Over the years, the population boomed and our little city couldn’t be called little any longer. I stayed and raised a family of my own as my rural town grew into a crowded metropolis. While I miss some aspects of small town living, like no traffic, I truly enjoy the convenience of having everything I could possibly want close at hand.
How and when did you become a writer?
About twenty-five years ago, I suffered a back injury. I always enjoyed reading, but during my recovery I took it to a whole new level. I’d go to the library and check out ten to fifteen books at a time and devour them in a matter of days. It didn’t take long to realize I was reading the same story with different characters and settings inserted. Reading became boring. I’d roll my eyes at the predictable endings. One day, I decided I could to better and the author inside me was born. I enrolled in every class I could find on how to write and the books I checked out at the library became instructional. Midway through the last ‘official’ writing class I ever took, the professor pulled me aside and handed me a copy of The Writer’s Market. He told me to drop his class and get to it. I was floored, honored, and more than a little frightened that the real world as an author was about to begin. Writing has become my crack and I love my addiction.
What genre do you write?
Romance, Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Paranormal, and I have a Historical Romance based on the love letters my dad sent to my mom while he was stationed in Guam back in 1954. I can’t seem to pigeonhole myself to one particular genre. I admire authors who can, but since I enjoy reading everything, I want to write in them all as well.
How would you describe your writing style?
I do my best work before the sun comes up. While the house is quiet, I grab a cup of coffee and get down to it. I can usually get in a few thousand words before the other members of my household begin to stir. I love it when the only thing I hear is the clicking of my fingers against the keyboard. I become so involved, Cortana has to remind me to get off. My motto is ‘Write until your butt hurts and your eyes are crossed’, but since it’s not healthy to sit for such long periods of time, I force myself to get up and move. The break not only energizes me, I find I write better too!
What makes you different from other writers?
We are all special in our own way. My life experiences are unique only to me, and so are the ways in which I craft my stories. Above all else, I strive to be surprising. I don’t want the reader to ever be able to predict what’s coming next.
Who inspires you?
Inspiration usually comes from out of the blue. Someone will say or do something, and BOOM a story begins to form. A young autistic friend sang me a song which brought tears to my eyes. She was the inspiration for The Kissing Ball. In Every October, an online friend irked me so I killed off a character named after him. Until that point, Every October had come to a standstill. I was completely stuck and didn’t know how to progress. The moment I gave that character the ax, it was smooth sailing all the way to the end. Those are just a couple of examples. Someone always says or does something which triggers the course of my books, so I strive to keep my eyes and ears open.
Missing the Gate is part of the Chandler County multi-author series. 'Missing' was required to be in the title. I joined a little late in the game and missed out on all the obvious titles, such as, Missing in Action, Missing my Heart, and the one I really wanted, Missing the Family Jewels.
I had to dig a little deeper to come up with Missing the Gate.
How did you come up with the plot?
With my preferred title claimed, I had to switch gears. When I began the first draft, my eighteen year old troubled teen was a thief. I foresaw Bella returning to Chandler County and getting into all kinds of trouble with the law.
As Bella's character grew, the thief angle was dropped, and a murder mystery developed. She still gets into quite a bit of trouble, but with the help of her new love interest and a couple of kickass security guards from her father's bank, the mystery unravels.
Who is your favorite character in Missing the Gate and why?
Jade has to be my favorite character. Her role is small but mighty. MMA fighter by day, security guard by night. She keeps an eye on Bella and Eli after a dead body is found at Able Manor. I probably like her the best because becoming a black belt used to be a dream of mine. I bruise easily, so realistically, it was never in the cards for me. Luckily, I can live vicariously through Jade.
We live in divisive times. Should your religion/politics influence your writing?
That's a tough question. Honestly, I don't see how you can keep it completely separate. Good writing, even if it's fiction, is deeply personal. Your beliefs are going to show through one way or another. I write the stories I like to read. I want to laugh and cry. I want to grip the edge of my seat while waiting to see what's coming next. My greatest wish is that hate, and narrow mindedness could be contained within the pages, and that everyone could live healthy, happy, rather boring, yet, contented lives.
What are you working on now?
Next up is the 3rd book in my Love in Oahu series. Early One Morning and Late One Night are Contemporary Romances (with suspenseful undertones) set in Hawaii. The next book is tentatively titled, Jumby Brew in the Afternoon, and picks up Lena Javier’s story after an expensive piece of art is stolen from her B&B. Lena has been speaking to me for a while now. I’m glad I finally have the time to give her the love story she deserves.
Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Yes. Whenever I get down, a wonderful friend of mine always reminds me to follow my bliss. It’s hard to go wrong when you do what you love. I’m following mine, my hope is that you’re following yours as well. Thank you for letting me ramble on about myself and my work.