Getting to Know You
Tell us about yourself. How did you start writing and getting published?
- This is such a great question! I kind of happened into writing because I was looking for a creative outlet outside of the stressors of work. I used to do a lot of art (painting/drawing) but it was very time consuming and not something I could sit down and do for a couple minutes each day. So, I was in the middle of a re-read of Pride and Prejudice and thought I’d give writing some fan fiction a try. So, I created an account on a fan fiction forum and began writing and posting my contemporary P&P, and I was blown away by the feedback from readers. That led to me compiling everything and publishing the full book which turned into a trilogy, and it snowballed from there.
Why did you decide to be a romance writer? What do you think makes writing romance so enjoyable compared to other genres?
- I read a lot of different genres (and love a lot of different genres) but romance was the only one I could even consider writing. There’s just something about the tension and dynamic between the two main characters that inherently captures people in a way that is missing from other genres. And I don’t think I’m capable of writing anything other than a happy ending.
How do you balance your career as a dentist and an author and have time for your personal life?
- Now that is the million dollar question! I’ll be honest, balance is an area of weakness for me. My husband and I are both workaholics and business owners, so we spend a lot of time working and working together, working on weekends, working on the road. We do make time to travel and hang out with friends regularly, but I don’t think we ever take a full day off. So, I’m basically always working haha BUT is it really work when you love what you do?
What is your biggest source of motivation and inspiration? What keeps you going?
- My motivation is the enjoyment I get from creating characters and telling their stories. Definitely, reader response is a part of that—I love hearing when readers love my work. As far as inspiration, it comes from anywhere and everywhere. My earlier series focused on art and snowboarding—both hobbies of mine that I’ve been doing since middle school. As I grew as a writer, my inspiration changed and came from other sources. I have a whole series that is inspired by some of my favorite Country music songs. A ton of my inspiration actually comes from my patients. I’m blessed to meet and connect with so many people on a daily basis who have incredible stories of their own, and I’ll take bits and pieces of those stories and weave them into my characters. So I always smile to myself when readers wonder if a person or part of my book was a little far-fetched because in most cases, those are the parts that came from real people. I think it’s important to remember that reality is always stranger than fiction.
Your Work and Life as a Writer
Describe your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
- I’ve evolved into a little of both! In real life, I’m an OCD plotter. I printed out spreadsheets, timelines, and itineraries for my entire honeymoon (bless my husband) haha. But for writing, my characters are less agreeable than my darling husband, so I’ve adapted over time to creating a general outline of where the story is going, along with any major scenes that really stick out to me. But I don’t write down every detail because that’s when characters start getting defiant.
Your books feature a variety of tropes. Which ones are your favorite?
- All the forbidden/angsty ones. Hands-down. Enemies to lovers. Alphahole heroes. Student/teacher. Age-gap. I write a variety of tropes for two reasons. Most importantly, I like to challenge myself. I think it helps me grow as a writer to explore different kinds of relationships and how they form, and it also gives me variety in writing to not always be writing the same brand of story. The second reason is because readers like a variety of tropes, too, so it’s nice to be able to have a little something for everyone.
How do you flesh out characters? Do you model your heroes and heroines after people you know in real life?
- I don’t have as much of a process for fleshing out characters. Once I know them in my head and their motivations and their traumas, they grow and reveal themselves to me as the story goes. It’s rare for me to model a character completely off of someone in real life, though I did do it for my grandfather to bring him into my Carmel Cove series to honor his memory. In most cases, there’s only bits and pieces or small stories that I incorporate from family/friends/patients. One of my favorite examples of this is in Beloved (the fifth standalone in my Carmel Cove series), the heroine is a nurse who loans her car to a stranger (the hero) so he can follow his loved one who’s being Medevac-ed to another hospital. This happened to one of my patients. His wife had a heart attack when they were on vacation. They had no car except for their RV. They were taken to a local hospital in an ambulance, but when she had to be flown to a larger hospital for treatment, he couldn’t go in the helicopter with her. The nurse on the floor that day gave him her keys and told him to take her car so he could be at the hospital with his wife. I cried when he told me that story. I’m crying writing about it right now. And I knew then and there it would be part of a story—that kind of kindness has to be.
What is the hardest part about being a writer?
- To remember why you are writing. Every writer (that I’ve met) struggles with self-doubt. And just as much as reviews can build you up, they can also bring you down. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that books are like food, not everyone is going to like the characters or story you cook up and that’s okay, it doesn’t mean you’re not a good cook.
What advice would you give to new romance authors?
- Remember why you are writing. At the beginning, it’s easy to focus on growing readership and getting reviews and selling books. And then you get so far, and the self-doubt becomes very real. So, enjoy and savor that time when you were writing for yourself.
Something Extra for Your Fans
Who is your favorite couple from your books?
- I don’t have kids, but I feel like this is the author equivalent of having to pick a favorite child. So I think my go-to answer is always the couple in the book that I’m working on at the moment.
What’s an interesting fact about yourself?
- I put hot sauce on almost everything and I originally went to school for fashion design!
Chocolate or vanilla?
Favorite reality show?
- I don’t watch reality TV (eek!) So, I’m just going to say Bridgerton and pretend like that could be my reality 😉
Favorite Kardashian? Least favorite?
- Oy. Again, not a reality TV girl, so I’ve never seen their show. So, I’m going to revert back and pretend like this is ‘pick your favorite Bridgerton’ and I’ll go with Eloise!
What are you reading right now
- I just finished up Bait by Jade West! Soo yummy!
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