Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what you think they want?
I know some writers are super adaptable and if they see a trope or subgenre selling like hotcakes, they are able to write books that fit what’s popular at the moment. I’m not so talented in that way! If I try to write something different from what’s inside me, it falls flat and just doesn’t work. That probably sounds weird or cheesy but really, the story and characters seem to take on a life of their own and if I try too hard to force them in one direction it doesn’t go well.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I always liked to write, which is part of the reason I went to law school. I wanted a career that involved writing. It wasn’t until I started reading romance novels that I thought about writing a book, or a fiction book at that. It was about 10 years ago, shortly after I passed the bar exam and was working at my first legal job as a law clerk for a judge. I had a chance to read on my bus commute to and from work and discovered I loved the happily ever after I could rely on in romance novels. I enjoyed reading all types of romance genres but whenever I read a sports romance book the athlete was the guy, and the sport was a traditional guy’s sport like football or baseball. As an athlete, this started to annoy me. Where were all the girl athletes in the romance novels? Sports had always been a big part of my life. I decided I would try to write a book about a girl athlete myself. I don’t remember it being a big decision or epiphany. One day I just thought I’d give it a go. I had some characters and stories in mind. And I was having fun so I kept on writing.
At what point did you start to call yourself an author?
I’m not proud to admit it took longer that it should have – several published books and a few years – before I called myself an author. I felt like it was all a fluke, a stroke of luck, that people were actually buying my books, enjoyed reading them, and wanted more books from me. I had my first set of twins (no that wasn’t a typo, I just had my second set) shortly after I published my first book, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time or headspace I guess to recognize I’d become an author, and to accept this fun “hobby” was actually a potential career path. It all seemed too good to be true. Some days, nearly ten years later and writing as my full-time job, it still feels that way. Writing is hard, don’t get me wrong, and it certainly changes once it’s a job and not just a hobby. But it’s also incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. I’m proud to call myself an author now when asked what I do for a living.
How do you come up with your book titles?
I’m terrible at book titles. My editor says she’s terrible too and is usually no help (Sorry, Leanne!), however, she was a huge help with titling my first book. I’d proposed some title (I don’t remember what) and she suggested thinking of something more upbeat. That’s how I came up with Pepped Up, which launched my author career, so that was good advice!
Do you have a favorite place to write?
Not really. I sometimes write at coffee shops, sometimes at home, sometimes in the car while I wait for my kids at an activity. It’s easiest to write on my alphasmart rather than my computer. An alphasmart is a tiny little keyboard with only a few lines you can see as you type. There’s no internet, no apps, nothing to distract from writing, and you can’t even easily go back and change what you’ve written. It’s the best way to get in the zone writing a first draft, and easy to bring anywhere.
Do you have a set writing schedule or do you write when you’re inspired?
I mostly just have to write when I can with two sets of twins now. I’m not one of those people who can get up at 5 am and pound out five thousand words before breakfast every day. I can write quickly but not on demand at a certain time every day, even though most books on writing and productivity recommend doing this. I’ve found writing retreats - going away, even if it’s not far, for a night or two - to be a really great way to get the words out. It’s easier to write when I can get immersed in the world without interruptions and mom duties, even if it’s just for two days.