Frequently Asked Questions
1. What’s wrong with you?
I have to laugh whenever I hear that question, because it usually has to do with the same thing: how dark and delusional my killers are. I tried to write on the lighter side, but that just wasn’t my voice, at least not when the killer was around. Something was missing. Then it hit me. Why wasn’t I writing what I read? I devoured true crime books about serial killers. I thoroughly enjoyed novels, TV shows, movies, whatever I could find having to do with serial killers. I was and still am fascinated by how they tick. What could possibly possess someone to commit the heinous crimes they do? So, I scrapped the book I’d just finished, changed the killer to a psychopath, and set to work. Does that mean something’s wrong with me? Maybe. But it makes for good stories, doesn’t it?
2. Where do you get your ideas?
A lot of my ideas are from dreams but some just come to me. I picture the scene in my head and watch it play out. If I like it, I write it (even if it’s three in the morning). If I don’t, I’ll replay it in my mind, making changes along the way, until everything feels right.
3. Do you outline your plots?
Absolutely. That doesn’t mean they’re written in stone though. I often make changes as I get to know the characters better, then go back to fix the outline. If I’m able to keep it close to the way the story unfolds, I have less work to do when writing the synopsis.
4. When did you start writing? What made you want to be an author?
I’ve been writing ever since I was very young. Before I could write, I told my own stories. I even directed the neighborhood kids to act out plays I’d written, but I always had the leading roles. Not sure how that happened. *wink* I discovered a love for short story writing in the fifth grade, when my teachers commented on how creative my stories were. By seventh grade, I’d started writing “books.”
5. Have you always written romantic suspense?
As mentioned above, I started writing plays and short stories, but once I “graduated” to novel writing, I didn’t look back. Because I was a teen at the time, I wrote young adult romances. As a teacher in my early twenties, I was with kids every day, more so than with adults, so I felt comfortable continuing in YA. I wrote 1 ½ books in a romance series for teens, not including the other adolescent novels I’d begun to write and ditched for something better. Then, I met my husband, moved from my hometown, and left teaching. Suddenly, I was amongst adults on a daily basis and felt it was time to write what I read: adult romantic suspense.
6. What was the most surprising thing that happened to you during your journey to publication?
I’m not sure if this is the most surprising, but it sure shocked the heck out of me. First of all, you have to understand writing isn’t as simple as it looks. Many people fantasize about becoming famous authors, but it’s really a lot harder than just putting a few words together. For one thing, not everyone is able to complete a novel, so to those who have, I applaud you. Now, here’s where the shock element comes in. Just because you can write a book, doesn’t mean it’s publishable. What? Isn’t that crazy? Well, that’s the way it works.
For me, I’d written my second romantic suspense, edited it, had friends and family members critique it, edited it some more, and I thought I was ready to send that baby off to agents. Yeah, right. Luckily for me, I didn’t rush off and do that. Instead, I researched agents and, in doing so, I learned it looked better on your query if you’re a member of Romance Writers of America (if you’re a romance writer), because it shows you’re taking your career seriously. For the record, I don’t think agents really care about this, but that’s what I was told at the time. The little rule-follower that I am, I signed up with RWA, took a few courses, and joined a critique group. Big awakening. Not only was my book not near publishable, it was pretty much garbage. But, it had potential and so did I.
Instead of quitting, or letting this realization get me down, I channeled the energy. With a great need to prove to everyone that I could do this, I took more courses, read many “how to write” books, and eventually, formed my own writing support group, and a small romance critique group. Slowly, my writing improved as I had a better understanding of the craft of writing. Trust me, this doesn’t happen overnight, no matter what anyone tells you. And, just because you’re good at grammar doesn’t mean you can write. I’d been a freelance copyeditor (although I’d never done developmental editing on a novel at that point) before I started to take my own writing seriously and was a little overwhelmed by the comments from my first critique group. Hey, we all had to start somewhere, right?
Yet, I suppose the biggest surprise for me was that my editing business would take up all my writing time. *shrug* Guess that’s what I’m meant to do right now. I can’t complain. I love editing, and I get to read tons of wonderful stories. That’s not to say I’ve given up on my dream of getting published. I’ve merely put it on hold.