- Was it different to write about a K-9 in the plot vs people?
Writing stories with dogs is both a challenge and a delight. I love dogs and find them fascinating creatures. Dogs have their own personality, just like people. Making them a character in the story without overshadowing the humans can be tricky. I like to show the bond between humans and canines, especially the special relationship of a K-9 dog and the police handler. They must rely on each other, trust each other and constantly train in order for the working relationship to function properly.
- How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes the names come to me easily while other times I have to search for the right name depending on the characters personality, background and temperament. I have a reference book titled Names Through the Ages that I use quite often when looking for a name. I like to know where the name originated and the meaning of the name. I try to incorporate something in the characters to reflect the meaning or origin of the name.
- Do you have any traditions you enjoy during Spring?
Here in Oregon we have The Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest during the spring months. It’s a wonderful sight to see the fields of colorful tulips swaying in the gentle breeze or sunlight reflecting off raindrops. The festival is a family affair with a children’s play area, hay wagon rides through the fields, and local food vendors providing delicious fare. Even dogs are welcome. It’s a wonderful place to create family memories. http://www.woodenshoe.com
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. I would act out my stories for my grandparents when I was a kid. In junior high I had an English teacher who really sparked my interest in one day becoming an author. He made believe that my stories were worth telling. In college, my creative writing professor also encouraged me to pursue writing. However, fear kept me from taking the leap of faith for many years but I’m so glad I finally gathered enough courage to try.
- How long does it take you to write a book?
I like to have 3 to 4 months to complete a book. Sometimes it takes longer or shorter depending on my deadlines and what is going on in my personal life.
- What makes writing in the contemporary romance genre unique?
Writing the contemporary story requires a delicate balance of grounding the reader in the world of today yet not dating the book so that readers who find the book a few years later don’t feel like the story is outdated.
- How many books have you written?
I’ve written over forty books in the span of fourteen years. Do you have a favorite? My second book, A Sheltering Love for Love Inspired, will always hold a special place in my heart. It was a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and the heroine in this story is closer to who I am than most of my other stories.
- What book are you reading right now?
I’m reading a Harlequin Romantic Suspense by one of my favorite authors. Operation Alpha by Justine Davis, is book eight in the Cutter’s Code series. Cutter is an uncannily brilliant dog who not only knows when someone is in trouble, but he plays matchmaker amid well-done suspense plots. I’ve enjoyed all the books in the series and have read every book Justine Davis has written.
- What are your current projects?
I’m working on a couple of stories right now. Book 1 of the 2018 K-9 continuity series for Love Inspired Suspense. This series will be set on a fictional Air Force base and feature Military Working Dogs. I also just turned in the proposal for book 1 of my own new series for Love Inspired Suspense.
- What advice do you have for writers?
Keep writing through the ups and downs of life. Be flexible, teachable and believe in your work.
Bon Appétit and a Book: A delicious recipe to enjoy alongside the book with an image.
This easy and delicious, gluten-free dessert is a new family favorite. It’s low in sugar—well, if you don’t use the caramel sauce, and full of flavor. We think of apples and pears for fall, but with the cider and citrus juices, this apple and pear compote makes a wonderful spring dish.
1 Honey Crisp Apple
1 Granny Smith
1 Bartlett Pear
2 T Butter
4 oz (or just under ½ cup) of Finn River Solstice Saffron Hard Cider (the alcohol burns off during cooking)
1 t Honey
½ t Vanilla Paste
¼ t Cinnamon
1/8 t Nutmeg
1/8 t Ginger
½ t Lemon Juice
½ t Blood Orange Juice
- Wash, peel, and dice the apples and Pear. Brown two tablespoons of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the cider, honey, vanilla paste, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, lemon juice, and blood orange juice to the sauce pan and bring to medium high heat. When the liquid reaches a boil add the diced fruit. Stir on medium high heat for two minutes, then reduce to low heat and let simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Serve compote with your favorite topping. We love caramel sauce drizzled over the top. It would be great with ice cream, whipped cream, in a crepe or as pie filling.
Song Playlist: A prepared playlist of songs that embodies the book’s characters and their love story.
I love to listen to music while writing. I have an eclectic taste in music and like songs that evoke emotion or a rhythm for my words, even if the lyrics don’t match the story I’m writing.
- Aftermath by Rascal Flatts
- I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me
- Lessons Learned by Carrie Underwood
- Grace Tells Another Story by Mercy Me
- It Happens All The Time by Megan Hilty
- Just You n’ Me by Chicago
- My Destiny by Katharine McPhee
- Daylight by Maroon 5
- Finally Home by Mercy Me
How-to Tips for Aspiring Writers: Tips for those looking to get their work published/break into the industry.
The landscape of publishing has changed so much since the time I started pursuing a career in this industry. But there are a few truths that still hold true. Join a writer’s organization where you can learn and network. Hone your craft. Be willing to put yourself out there by submitting your work to contests for feedback and then to publishers, if you’re looking to go the traditional route. Don’t be married to your work so much that you can’t change it if someone you respect tells you there’s a plot hole or your characters need more work.
Writer’s Space: Photos and a brief description of the place where they do their writing. My office is off the kitchen with a big window overlooking the backyard, allowing in plenty of natural light. Behind my monitor I have a wall of photos and motivating quotes. At my back is a bookshelf with reference books, more photos and some of my keeper books. It’s a nice space to lock myself away in when I’m working yet close enough to the heart of the house to still be available to my family.
Love Lessons Learned: Real life romance lessons learned from the book. One of the love lessons in Guardian was to take a risk on love. Both Leo and Alicia had past wounds that caused them to protect their hearts. I think most people have experienced hurt feelings which makes being vulnerable difficult. It’s so easy to guard ourselves and keep people at an emotional distance. But opening our hearts and inviting someone in is so much harder and takes bone deep courage. That is what my characters had to learn and a lesson I’ve had to learn in my own life.
Movie Star Cast: The author picks movie stars to play the characters in a movie.
My heroine, Alicia Duncan, would be Zoey Deschanel. She has such an interesting look. A mix of innocence and sensuality. She could play the fiercely protective heroine quite well.
Spring Rituals: The author describes any rituals she does in Spring.
Spring in the Pacific Northwest comes with occasional sunny days perfect for hiking in the Columbia River Gorge in the Cascade Mountains, roughly thirty miles outside of downtown Portland, Oregon. http://traveloregon.com/cities-regions/columbia-river-gorge/
The Gorge is well-known for its waterfalls, hiking trails and scenic landscape. The most famous and spectacular waterfall is Multnomah Falls with a 611-foot tall thundering, overwhelming torrent of chilly water from snow run off. Paved walking paths lead up the side of the cliff to different tiers with viewing points. Well-behaved dogs are welcome on leash. At the base of the falls is a lodge with a restaurant, gift shop and snack/coffee shop. After a hike to the top and back, a stop here for ice cream is the perfect way to end the day.