I’ve lived all over, actually. I was born in Maryland. From there, I moved to Iowa, then Tennessee, Michigan (where I graduated high school right outside Detroit), Arkansas, and I moved myself to California in the middle of college and set down roots. California is the longest I’ve lived anywhere at 15 years of residence, so it’s home. Moving around so much, though, means I can write with authenticity for a lot of different settings! The South in particular is a favorite, simply because its traditions and culture can become a character all its own.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
I started Uncharted Waters at a slumping point in my career. I was feeling a little defeated professionally, but I had this amazing story idea that was a little odd with a brilliant recluse living in a mountain and a scientist who crashes his solitude to try to steal a gray water recycling system. As therapy, I just allowed myself to write it. No plotting; no expectations. As Bethany and James’s story unfolded, it quickly became one of my favorite manuscripts.
How do you create your characters?
I plot them. Meticulously! First, I figure out either what their biggest dream is or their biggest fear. If it’s a fear, I skip to the conclusion and make sure it happens to them at the climax. If it’s a dream, I skip to the conclusion and give it to them, but make sure it’s not what they were thinking it would be. Then I work backwards and plot in three acts, the characters’ goals/fears driving the plot.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
My first book happened right after I’d finished a grueling double Masters degree program. I had been continuously academically writing for four years; then, all of a sudden, I wasn’t writing at all. Though I’d been looking forward to the break, I was shocked by how much I missed it. The opening scene for my very first book, Of Eternal Life, where a military man dies and then snaps back to life popped into my head and refused to leave. So I wrote it. And then I kept going. I was about halfway through the book before I realized I was really doing this book-writing thing. I plowed through, making probably every fiction mistake in the universe but learning a lot while doing so, and finished a complete manuscript in a few months. That manuscript went through a LOT. But in the end, it came out as a shiny book baby that a real publishing company actually bought. I couldn’t believe it!
What do you like to read?
Definitely romance! I’m a sucker especially for historical romances, erotica, and young adult romances. And anything Kresley Cole or J.R. Ward writes. But I read voraciously. Usually, I’m reading 3 books at once: a Kindle romance for the gym (makes that hour run go by quickly, hallelujah!), a current bestseller in audiobook format for my commute, and a hardback of some kind, usually YA, that I keep in my nightstand for right before bed.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
- Set your butt in a chair and write! It doesn’t matter if you’re shoveling crap onto a page—you can turn crap into word gold eventually. But you can’t turn a perpetual blank page into anything.
- Educate yourself. Join Romance Writers of America, or Science Fiction Writers of America, or Horror Writers Association (you get the picture). Become part of a chapter or enroll in online classes. Become a sponge. Then edit, edit, edit.
- Put your work out there! Kresley Cole once wrote about her 25 Balls approach. She had her work out to 25 places at once (agents, editors, etc.). When one rejection rolled in, she rolled her manuscript right back out to a new set of eyes. That’s how her first book got published; because I idolize her (seriously, Kresley, I love you), I followed that advice and it’s how my first book got published, too. I had a lot of nos. But it only took one yes.
When a hermit and a scientist are snowbound in a cabin in the woods, the sparks they generate just might melt it all down in this scorching and sensual romance.
Scientist Bethany Morgan discovers the schematics to a world-changing recycling system that will help her realize her greatest dream: providing clean water to the world. The only problem? She must track down the creator, a Dr. Anderson, to help her complete the prototype, and he’s been missing for decades.
James Anderson has clung to the quiet, pain-free existence he’s made in the mountains since his father’s death years ago. But when the determined scientist he rescued gets snowed in at his cabin for an undetermined time, his world is turned upside down.
As their chemistry sets their libidos ablaze, Bethany struggles to convince James the world needs this invention, despite his fears of re-entering public life. Will exploring this attraction mean she needs to sacrifice her long-held dreams and beliefs? Before the rescue team arrives, they must each make some hard decisions about what’s most important.
“I promise not to touch you if you get more comfortable, James,” she said softly and firmly, more a warning to herself than anything else.
He hesitated, but she could tell he was longing to cool off. Suspecting pressing him would only keep him clothed, she stayed silent and simply watched him.
After what felt like an eternity, his hands began to move. Starting at the hollow of his throat, he began to undo his buttons one by one. Bethany’s gaze was riveted, watching as more and more skin was revealed and cursing—all over again—the dark. When she took a breath, she startled herself with how loud it was.
His fingers paused at their current button, and she glanced at his face. He was staring at her with wide eyes. She was certain he wasn’t breathing. In her peripheral vision, she saw him resume unbuttoning his shirt, and now she was certain she wasn’t breathing.
God, had she ever wanted any man as much in her entire life as she wanted this mountain hermit? It made no sense; it was so intense; she didn’t know if she would survive it.
He finished unbuttoning his shirt, and hesitating only a moment, he sat up and shrugged it from his shoulders and dropped it to the ground.
It had taken maybe two seconds, but Bethany had caught plenty an eyeful of flickering muscles across his shoulders in the fireplace’s dim glow, and when he turned back to her, her mouth was dry. She swallowed hard in vain.
He lay down again slowly and then rotated to his side, mirroring her. The glowing embers from the fire highlighted a sheen of perspiration over the curve of his naked shoulder, and Bethany pressed her knees together.
“B-better?” she rasped.
He pulled in an extraordinarily loud breath. “Very much not,” he said in a rumble.
She fisted her hands to keep from reaching for him. “I know,” she whispered.