I see you write Western Romances. What draws you to this genre?
I grew up watching John Wayne on Sunday television. I loved his cowboy characters and the fact he rode horses (horses are such beautiful creatures). I also liked the long, colorful dresses his female costars wore, the ranch houses and the scenery. Something about that era was simple and fascinating and stayed with me through. When I began writing, I started with a contemporary story but quickly switched to western romance. The heart of a cowboy, the code of the west, the horses and the rugged land were too hard to ignore.
How much research do you do?
It depends on the story and the characters. Two books I did a lot of research for Lady Luck and No Luck At All. Lady Luck is set in 1860 San Francisco and I needed to find out what the city was like at that time. I discovered tall ships permanently dry-docked, the color of a policeman’s uniform, and a street map from that time; all of which were incorporated into the story. For No Luck At All, the hero is a doctor. His heroine is a Boston socialite. For that to work, I had to find out if Boston had a medical college and what medical discoveries were made in between 1860 & 1874 that I could use in the story.
One book I didn’t do much research for is Debra’s Bandit. Since this is the 3rd story in a series, the facts I needed had been researched with the 1st book. But Debra does work in a mercantile, so I did read up on mercantile (stores) to get an idea of what her day would be like and how important the mercantile was to society in the 1800’s.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
About 1 year. Sometimes less than that. I self-publish, so writing, editing, and cover design fall on my shoulders, which I love.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Making them speak like a man. A man’s dialogue is different from a woman’s. They usually don’t string together a bunch of sentences or speak in complete sentences. Nor do they overly describe something or talk about their feelings. They speak in as few words as possible. Perfecting their short answers, comments and sarcasm is often a challenge.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Girl names are easy. We all have our favorites, or what we think is a pretty name. I have a list of girl names and add to it when I come across another that I like. Boy names are harder. I do have a short list that I refer to, but if nothing catches me attention, I begin running through my mind character names from television shows and movies. From there, I branch out to country music singers and football players. Football players have great unusual names and often I find the last name that makes a great first name for a cowboy or an outlaw. My biggest challenge is the last name. I obsess on last names until I hit on one that ties perfectly with the character’s first name.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Getting my muse to cooperate. Usually, I find on the days I have time to write, the muse is sleeping and takes forever to wake up and get in gear. On the days when I don’t have time to write, I have complete conversations between characters in my head. Or, I’ll hit on a plot point and run for a piece of paper and a pen to jot down notes.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
No. I have critiqued with other authors, contributed to a round-writing blog where each author writes one chapter to the story and contributed to a compilation of authors who each wrote about how they met their husband, but I’ve not co-authored a book with someone else.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Writing is a hard and lonely existence. To succeed, one must write every day and write what you know or love and for yourself. Keep at it, develop a thick skin when it comes to rejection, and don’t worry about what other authors are doing or have accomplished. Stay true to yourself, dedicated to your craft, disciplined, and have a set of goals to work toward.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?