Tell us about your recent Riptide release. What was the inspiration behind it?
My latest is No Small Parts, #16 in the Bluewater Bay universe. It stars Nat Horn, a background werewolf on Wolf’s Landing, and Rafael Cortez, a PA to the stars and an aspiring director. It’s a friends-to-lovers story, with a whole lot of angst around Nat’s family.
I’m not sure what originally sparked the idea. Other than simply being invited in the Bluewater Bay world, that is. LOL. But Nat popped up in my head first, pretty much fully formed, baggage and everything. The story grew organically from him and his problems. I think my being a nurse fed into it, as it often does. Nat’s father suffers severe chronic pain and all the problems that can go along with that, and since I’ve seen so much of that in my work over the last almost thirty years it’s given me a lot of raw material to work with. I wish that wasn’t the case, but there it is.
What can readers expect when they read a story from you? What would you like potential readers to know about you and your books?
Hm. I think readers can expect character-driven stories, regardless of genre. I mean so far I’ve only written m/m pairings, but I write a lot of different sub-genres: contemporary, paranormal, sci-fi, futuristic/dystopian, horror, rom-com, suspense. I think the only one I really haven’t dabbled in at all is historical. I can’t be bothered to research all those details, ha. But whatever the sub-genre, and whatever the origin of the story idea, I always try really hard to make sure my books are strongly rooted in the characters: who they are, what motivates them, how they feel about themselves, each other, their circumstances, etc.
What do I want readers to know about me and my books? That it’s important to me to get everything right. Seriously, I always want every single thing to be absolutely right. Which is, of course, impossible. But I try. When the fabulous editors find an oops, they let me know so I can fix it. And I’m not just talking about grammar and punctuation. They tell me when I get a bit of local geography wrong, or have a character saying something that a person from that area would never say. Stuff like that. That is so important to me. So, readers, if you see a mistake? Please know that it was an honest mistake, and I’m sorry it got past me!
What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while writing your latest release?
Oh, gosh. Let’s see. Probably that I am totally ignorant about the geography of the west coast. I need to study more!
How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends, really. These days, probably in the four to six month range. Ten years ago, I could write one in two months. Boy, those were the days. The days of innocence. Sigh. I’m not sure why it takes me so much longer now, but it does. I think I’m just always trying to make it better. I’m my own worst enemy sometimes.
Describe your workspace.
Wherever I happen to be sitting! Seriously. I don’t have an office, and my laptop is my only computer, so, yeah. Wherever I decide to park myself is my workspace for the day. My favorite “office” is the Porch Office. I can sit there on the covered porch with GLaDOS (my laptop; the name suggested by the boy-child, who was WAY into Portal at the time) and listen to some music or just listen to the birds while I work. We live in the country so my view is mostly of trees and grass, which is lovely. I tend to get a lot done in the Porch Office because it’s peaceful. During winter I’m pretty much stuck inside, which for me isn’t as conducive to getting stuff done. Mostly because the TV tempts me far too often. Yeah, I’m weak.
Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to cure it?
Sometimes, yes. Not fun. What I’ve learned over the years is that when I’m stuck, it’s almost always because my subconscious brain knows something’s not right with the story, but hasn’t quite figured out what it is or how to fix it. What I’ll try first is to go back to my general outline, read through, and start brainstorming. I just type out ideas and see where they go. Usually that works, but sometimes it doesn’t. In that case, I need to set the whole business aside and go do something else for a while. Go for a walk, do some housework, anything that will keep my body busy and let my mind wander. For whatever reason, that seems to spark new ideas for me. I always keep my phone handy so I can jot down notes on my notepad app (my handwriting is atrocious; I can’t read it, so I try to avoid pen and paper).
What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m trying to write more horror, actually. It would be cool to get more pure horror stories out there, for the sheer challenge of it if nothing else. But knowing me, I figure I’ll be writing horror-flavored romance. I can’t help it! Everything ends up with romance in it, LOL. Right now I’m working on a Gothic horror/romance, which ought to be finished soon. Maybe by the time y’all read this. We’ll see.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Everybody is a universe.” Mostly attributed to Ang Lee, though I’m not sure whether or not that’s correct. In any case, I love the quote because it perfectly describes how I — and I think most writers — see people. Each human being is complex, fascinating, and unique, a world unto themselves. That’s why we love to make up stories about them.