A: I’ll be the first to admit that ideas don’t
come easily to me. It seems like some writers have a thousand
ideas and trouble picking one, but unfortunately I’m just
the opposite! If I get an idea, I usually grab it. Usually a
character or a situation comes to me first. ‘What if…’ is
often how I start thinking, and then I have to write the story
to find the answer!
I’ve written short stories for women’s magazines
for years, and so tight plotting became an essential part of
that business. I’d start with ‘What if…’ and
then have to come with an answer that isn’t obvious or
expected and yet still believable. Often my first ‘solution’ would
be discarded and I’d get my mind in overdrive thinking
about other possibilities!
Q: How did you first get published?
A: I had my first story publication by The People’s
Friend in 1999. I’d bought a book about freelance writing
and it mentioned that The People’s Friend was particularly
encouraging toward new authors so I decided to give them a try.
I wrote a story and they asked for revisions—I was so excited!
I rewrote it and it was accepted, which was a huge thrill. Nothing
beats the excitement of your first acceptance! Since then I’ve
had more than 100 stories and several serials published by magazines
including The People’s Friend, Woman’s Weekly, Fiction
Feast, That’s Life!, and Woman’s World US. You can
read that first accepted story here.
Q: Why do you write romance?
A: The easy answer is because I love it! I love stories that
celebrate the redemptive power of love. I love being able to
write about men and women who are healed, forgiven, and empowered
through their love for each other. As a Christian, I believe
the ultimate love story tells of God’s love for His people through His son, Jesus Christ.
The love between a man and a woman is a shadowy reflection of
that and I’ll never tire of writing about it.
Q: Why did you decide to write for Presents?
A: I didn’t decide—my story chose for me! I’d
actually been aiming my manuscripts at Harlequin/Mills & Boon’s
Tender/Romance line for years, but then in 2006 I started The
Italian’s Chosen Wife and knew it belonged with Presents. It was a bit of a shock, as I’d always considered myself a ‘sweet’ writer, but I soon found I was far more at home writing the kind of emotional and intense stories Presents is famous for. I love Presents—the glamour and sophistication coupled with deeply felt emotion and passion. I’m so thankful my editor found my story in the slush pile, and saw something worthwhile in it.
Q: What is your writing day like?
A: Nonexistent! I have four young children and so my writing ‘day’ begins when they’re all in bed, around 8 pm. I use downtime during the day to think about my characters and story, so I’m ready to go at night and can get 7-10 pages written in a few hours—they often need revising though. I’ve forced myself to become a fast writer, although sometimes chapters (or whole books!!) need complete rewriting. I’m looking forward to the time when I have a ‘real’ writing day—whenever that happens--, which I know is a luxury most writers cannot afford.
Q: What is your advice for new writers?
A: Much the same as most writers would say I think—just write. Sit down and start. The first, second, or even tenth thing you write probably won’t be very good. Mine wasn’t. Over time you’ll hone your voice, your style, and you’ll learn what you love writing. I think once you learn that, it becomes a lot easier—and more enjoyable!