Purchase on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2BoTY4M
Renowned chef Laina Ming walked away from the culinary spotlight and an unhealthy relationship—one that still haunts her a year later. She’s trying to start fresh in the Rocky Mountains, opening a concept restaurant on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, where she hopes she’ll be able to express her passion for food and bury her heartache.
Horse rancher Logan Matthews moved to Aspen to be near his sister and her husband, grateful for his newfound family. Since a chance meeting with Laina the previous summer, Logan’s been enchanted. But she doesn’t want anything to do with him—which makes her all the more appealing.
Despite Laina’s efforts to protect her heart, Logan has been on her mind, too—and he has a way of turning up in the most unexpected places. Can they learn to trust one another and finally find the sense of belonging they’ve both been searching for?
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I like to tell people that I’m a bit of a gypsy. I was born in Michigan, but grew up in West Virginia and Ohio. My husband was a major league baseball player for 22 seasons, so we moved A LOT during those years. We lived in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Baltimore…and that doesn’t include moving to Florida or Arizona every spring for eight weeks of spring training. I was a broadcast journalist when we met, but temporarily retired when we married to raise our children and allow for our family to always be together. It’s been an interesting life so far!
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
House of Belonging is the third and final book in my award-winning Hesse Creek Series. (Walland was first and Seeds of Intention was second.) HOB tells the story of a decorated female chef named Laina Ming. Despite resounding success in her career, she knows that something is missing in her life. As the book opens, she’s recently moved to Aspen, Colorado to rewrite the story of her life…on her own terms.
How do you create your characters?
I’ve found that if I spend enough time on detailed character development, the story will organically unfold. I take my time getting to know the people I’m creating, questioning what motivates certain behaviors and flushing out what really makes them tick. It’s fun to conjure someone out of thin air, but it’s also a challenge. I tend to become pretty attached to these people, so I have to be careful to recognize that they have flaws, too. No one is perfect.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
My mom was a poet and author, so it’s in my blood for sure. When she passed away in 2014, I felt the sands of time slipping away a little more acutely. Her death lit a fire under me to get started on this long-held dream I’d had.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I need three hours uninterrupted writing time per day—and that’s a minimum. (I’d prefer to have eight hours—but that’s not always possible with kids! I make hay when they are in school, though.) I like to have music playing softly while I write, and it helps to have my two co-authors—my cats Opal and Norton—warming my feet. No time for food or drink when I’m on a roll. If the words are flowing, I’m usually down a few pounds.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I’m inspired by lots of things, but I think my two biggest inspirations are travel and music. If I’ve visited a place that I feel connected to, you can bet it will end up in one of my stories. I recently traveled to Anguilla with my husband and we loved it so much, I started writing a brand new book while we were still on our trip. Similarly, I spent five weeks in Malibu last summer, and decided that one of my characters in House of Belonging had grown up there, providing me with a reason to write about it. Music is a huge motivator for me too. Often times, a lyric will hit me just the right way–sometimes while I’m driving–and I’m sent scrambling for my pen and paper to jot down the birth of a new plot line.
What do you like to read?
I read EVERYTHING, and I’m not genre-specific when I’m choosing my next read. Right now I’m reading Becoming by Michelle Obama—and loving it. She is such an elegant person, one whom I really admire. As far as romance reads, I’m a big fan of Nicholas Sparks, because he always does something a little unexpected, and he leaves a little to the imagination. (I’m a little racier than he is, at the request of my girlfriends! I do try to keep it classy…but still sexy.). I love Elin Hilderbrand, because her books take you away to Nantucket, and I’m a sucker for destination fiction. She has such a great social media presence, too. She really takes time to interact with her fans, which is something I feel strongly about. And I think it would be so cool to meet Diana Gabaldon, because she lets her stories unfold as she goes, and seems like a bit of a writing rule-breaker. I LOVED the Outlander Series, and it would be a dream come true to see my own novels come to life the way hers have on television. She gives me hope that maybe it’s possible that we all have unbelievable stories inside of us that might be worth telling, if we’d just sit down and let our imaginations run wild.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Be prepared to invest time and a lot of effort. It might take you a few books to get some traction, unless you’re a leprechaun or you’re in the right place at the right time. Keep doing it because you love to write. Soak up every moment of the joy that it brings you. Because the writing is the easy part. There is so much more to building a career as an author.
You should make it your business to learn how to be social media savvy, and be prepared to post interesting and thoughtful things across all platforms daily. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest. And don’t forget about managing a website!
Authors should also find an excellent literary publicist to help guide the way, if budgets allow. I’ve been so lucky to have the best people helping to show me the way.
It doesn’t hurt to invest in some fun book-related swag to send out to the incredibly generous bloggers and media that go out of their way to help spread the word about you and your work. Book-loving people are generous. They want to help you. Make sure to thank them at every opportunity.
And be sure to hit the gym. You’ll be carrying boxes of books in and out of events, particularly if you’re an indie author. My arms have never looked better.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I donate all of my personal proceeds from each of my book launch events…and I make sure the funds directly benefit local organizations that are important to me. Readers can find me on social media, and I also have a personal website where people can learn more about my Hesse Creek Series, along with what I’m working on now, and about where I donate all of my personal appearance proceeds.