For as long as I can remember, I have loved books. As a teenager, I used scotch tape
to hold my peeling laminated library card together. I spent many nights reading in
bed well past midnight to finish a book, only to start another. I know my mom was
aggravated waking up a tired teenager every morning!
I wrote my first book when I was sixteen. I remember typing furiously on the family computer, only to get frustrated when I was interrupted by one of my siblings. I thought the book was the greatest ever written, a Jackie Collin’s spin off, and believed it was my ticket to instant fame. How little did I know!
Since then, I obtained a J.D. in Law and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. My love of
romance novels helped me get through the tough years of academia. I often picked
up a romance and let my fantasies of knights in shining armor and lords and ladies
carry me away. And always, spinning in my mind during my lunch hour and my long
commutes, were untold stories of heroes and heroines that I yearned to write about.
I started writing books, only to be pulled away by work and family, but I kept
trudging forward, learning as I wrote. After multi-publishing for a law journal, I have
finally fulfilled my dream of writing fiction.
I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I love writing them!
1) What do you write?
I write historical romance. My new Regency Barrister Series, launching with IN THE
BARRISTER'S CHAMBERS, will be released by Kensington Books on September 1,
2011. The second book in the series will be released in September 2012. My award-winning Regency Scandal Series consists of LADY OF SCANDAL and A PERFECT
SCANDAL. I'm busy at work on the next book for Kensington!
2) How long have you been in the business?
So long that I can’t remember. I wrote as a teen, but I didn’t really consider
publication until I joined Romance Writers of America about six years ago.
3) Are you a plotter or pantster?
I started out as a pantster, but never could make it through the sagging middle. I
realized I needed more direction, and then turned into a plotter. I write a rough
outline, definitely not a polished synopsis, and I find myself returning to that outline
time and again when I get stuck in the middle of a manuscript.
4) Do you write multiple drafts or barely need revisions when typing The End?
I write a solid draft, then go back and fill in any research that I had left blank. I also
rework sentences to strengthen them if needed, and polish the manuscript.
5) Can you explain your typical work week day?
Crazy as it sounds, my days vary. Life oftentimes gets in the way of a set schedule.
As well as my own family, I cared for two sick parents and recently lost my father to
cancer. I have learned to take it day by day. Some days I am able to write multiple
chapters and others I stare at the computer screen in frustration. I have learned to be
flexible—to grab time and use it when I can. I often write late at night and on
weekends. That being said, I do have a publishing contract with Kensington which
requires me to complete a 100,000 word manuscript (400 pages) in less than a year.
6) What genres are you comfortable writing in?
Historical because I love to read it. I also like paranormal romance and have an idea
in the back of my mind for a series that I would like to try out one day.
7) Where do you get your ideas for a romance novel from?
From my work. I am an attorney and former mechanical engineer, and the cases that
have crossed my desk were quite colorful. Other ideas pop into my head at the most
inconvenient times. I could be sleeping or driving or cooking and pow! An idea!
8) How do you build a character and does setting become another character
in your story?
I write historicals and setting plays an incredibly important role in all my books. I
also love strong, intelligent female characters. The heroine in my new series, IN THE
BARRISTER'S CHAMBERS, is the daughter of a Master of the Bench, who has a
voracious hunger for knowledge and the law at a time when women were not
permitted to become barristers. The series is well researched, and I drew upon
many of my experiences as a female in the law profession.
The heroine in LADY OF SCANDAL is a smart, savvy woman who is an anonymous
investor in the London stock exchange in the early 1800’s. The second book in the
series, A PERFECT SCANDAL, is about an aspiring artist who seeks to study art in
Paris rather than marry the man chosen for her by her father. As true romances, both
heroines battle the odds and find heroes who appreciate their talents and love them
for who they truly are.
The combination of an intelligent and ambitious heroine in a historical setting
provides instant combustible conflict since both qualities in a woman held little
value to men in Regency period London.
9) How important is it for you to have a critique partner?
Invaluable. I love my critique partner. I am able to bounce ideas off her and make my
scenes shine. But you have to be careful that you pick a partner that is right for you,
one that encourages you as well as points out what needs to be changed. There are
those that like to put you down. It’s like dating, you have to find the right chemistry.
10) Why did you choose to write romance?
Because that’s what I love to read!
11) What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers?
The most important suggestion I have for aspiring writers is to join organizations
dedicated to writers and the publishing field. I am a member of Romance Writers of
America, NJ Romance Writers and Liberty States Fiction Writers. Until I found these
groups, I was a little lost. They have been so helpful and informative. I have learned
from every meeting that I have attended and have met writers who share my
hardships as well as my good news. These organizations offer annual conferences
where you can network with agents and editors, as well as other authors—published
Aspiring writers can also look to educational institutions for fiction writing classes. I
took two fiction writing classes which were offered by a published author at my local
community college at night.
Lastly, and most importantly: Never give up! No matter how many rejections you
receive. Keep learning. Keep writing. Keep trying.