Q. What do you write?
A: Well, I write a lot of things, which are primarily romance or carry heavy romantic elements. I’ve written both historicals (set in the West) and steampunk romances, and I’ve dabbled with urban fantasy. In the past, I’ve also written science fiction and fantasy, though the most common element is the romance. And while I do write “open-door” sex scenes, I don’t write erotica. Not because I have anything against it–I don’t. I just can’t write it as well as others do, so I leave it to them.
Q: So, you write porn?
A: No, Dad, I don’t. Romance.
Q. How do you come up with your ideas?
A: It depends on the story. Sometimes, I start out with a character who just starts talking to me. That’s what happened with The Queen Killer. I was sitting on my couch in January of 2010 when Alek, the hero, started talking to me. I knew nothing about him except how he described himself in my head–and I used those descriptions later on when he’s talking to Maggie. I knew him long before I knew his story.
Sometimes, the seed of the story comes first. I was in the car with my husband when I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to write a story about a guy who wins a girl in a poker game?” Thus, The Marker was born. I didn’t have character names, and no plot beyond that, but I knew I would write that story. I then had to craft an entire story around that little idea.
And sometimes, something will spark my imagination, and I will ruminate on it for quite some time before an idea actually strikes. For Jessie’s War, I was looking at a map of a series of mine shafts, and I thought, “Those tunnels would be a great lair for a mad genius.” And so began the germ of an idea for the steampunk.
Ironically, Jessie’s War doesn’t have a mad genius.
Q (usually a follow-up to the previous question, and asked somewhat warily): Do your characters talk to you often?
A: Yes and no. I don’t hear voices, so you can rest easy about that. I don’t hallucinate, and I don’t think these people are real. But yes, they have had conversations with one another in my head. Sometimes, I’ll have to stop what I’m doing because a really great exchange popped into my head and I don’t want to forget it. That happened just today, even.
Q. How do you balance working full-time with writing and caring for two small children?
A: Balance? What’s balance? Between work, writing, swimming lesson and soccer practice, my house is a disaster. And I don’t sleep all that often. I set aside time every night (8:00-11:00) to write. I don’t watch TV, except for Castle and True Blood, both of which I DVR and watch on Saturday nights. I try to write every night, even if it’s only for half an hour. Some people relax by going to the gym, some people relax by cleaning (if you’re one of them, can you come over? Seriously. Please?), and some people relax by watching TV. I write. That’s what I do.