I may kick myself for it, but a not-well-known international magazine contacted me to do an interview on influential authors redefining literature. It immediately screamed scam to me for several reasons. First, they wanted me to pay $250, not the other way around. Second, it was a quick turnaround (five days). And the last reason is I don't consider myself an influential author. Yet. After digging into it further, I found some magazines will ask for payment because they don't rely on ads for income. But I also found information from other authors about being led astray after paying money for interviews, and decided that at this point in my career and how they contacted me, I would rather not take the chance. As the wise old adage states . . . if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I did, however, think it might be a good idea to answer their interview questions and post them in a blog. Based on these questions, it seemed like someone at this magazine had read The Gangster's Daughter. Why the heck not?
Your books, "The Gangster's Daughter" and "The Duke's Daughter", fall under romantic suspense novels. What draws you to this genre, blending romance with elements of suspense? I want my readers to keep telling themselves they need to read just one more page, just one more chapter, before putting the book down and, ultimately, they need to keep coming back to the book to find out what happens. This is an engaging genre. Many books have a great story, but no pull. Not mine.
In "The Gangster's Daughter", Regan faces peril due to her father's dangerous connections. What inspired you to create a character navigating the complexities of family ties and imminent danger? To be honest, I didn't set out to write it that way. It just happened when I wrote it, and the more I wrote, the more the complexities started popping into my mind. I often tell people at festivals and signings that I couldn't write it fast enough. The ideas were coming at me that fast.
Regan's unexpected encounter with Cameron Moretti adds another layer of comlexity to the story. How do you develop the dynamics between your characters to heighten suspense and romance? I put a lot into my characters. That is the one thing I start with and I fully delve into every single character. Regan needed to be strong, as all my heroines are, but she also needed to have a protector–and that was where Cameron came in. And to do that, she needed to be stubborn about it.
The book delves into the challenge of balancing love and duty. How do you approach crafting characters who are torn between their heart's desires and obligations? The approach is there has to be something at stake. It would be too easy to for Regan to tell her father that she wasn't sticking to the contract and continue her relationship with Cameron. But the suspense would be gone, the danger would be gone, and I'd have one heck of a boring book.
Could you share insights into your writing process when creating tension-filled scenes or moments of emotional depth in your novels? I have to ask myself the what-if question when crafting my scenes that have a lot of tension, or a lot of emotion. Balancing out these scenes takes organization and planning on my part, and I'm good at organization. You can't have too much or the readers will be too overwhelmed. It's all about the balance.
Regan's journey seems intertwined with danger and unexpected turns. How do you maintain a sense of unpredictability and keep readers engaged throughout the storyline? I didn't see some of the unexpected turns myself when I outlined the storyline, which is part of the reason I couldn't write it fast enough. They were coming to me like flashes of light, but it had to be realistic in addition, so I had to rely on my balance, too.
Both of your titles features strong female protagonists. What do you hope readers take away from Regan's character and her experiences? I hope my readers take away that a woman can still be kind, sensitive and even stubborn, but strong. Be courageous. Regan was willing to walk away from Cameron because of the career she had worked so hard to create for herself and to protect a friend who had tried to protect her. That took courage.
You've ventured into both romantic suspense and historical romance. How do you navigate the differences between these genres in your writing approach?
It's difficult, but I love history and it flows just as easily as suspense does. The Duke's Daughter, even defined as a historical romance, has suspense in it. I honestly didn't know The Gangster's Daughter was going to be so popular. It's easy for me to build off that for future storylines.
Your technical writing background contrasts with your creating endeavors. How has your professional experience influenced your storytelling techniques or writing discipline? The influence has been huge because technical writing is much more structured. But while storytelling has a bit more flexibility, you still have to have correct grammar, punctuation, clarity, etc. My professional experience has been a big help there. It's helped shape my storytelling to flow better, but I have to watch out so my dialogue doesn't sound robotic.
"The Gangster's Daughter" received acclaim with three 5-star reviews from Readers' Favorites. How do you handle feedback, and has it impacted your writing process or future projects? I thrive on feedback. Without it, I wouldn't learn. Receiving such high acclaim in my first book, I was afraid I'd struggle with my future storylines to live up to it. When I received only two 5-star reviews on The Duke's Daughter, I felt a little disappointed, but the third one received 4-stars so still not bad.
As an author working on multiple novels simultaneously, what challenges and advantages do you encounter in managing and balancing different storylines? The challenge is to keep organized enough to keep track of where I am with each novel. I keep a checklist for every novel so I know where I am, and I also have my planner. The advantage is I keep moving when I get writer's block. I take a break and move to something else in the meantime.
Can you offer a sneak peek or hints about your upcoming novels or any themes or characters readers can anticipate in your next works? Subscribers to my monthly email got the first sneak peek at The Gangster's Mistake, coming out in April. I followed it up with a Facebook and Instagram post at the end of the year to those who follow me on social media. I can promise you will not see the last of Regan and Cameron.