Tell us about your new book, Let the Shadows Fall Behind You - which is a very intriguing title. I've always been fascinated by disappearances, ever since I read C.S. Lewis's Narnia Series. When the children stepped inside the wardrobe and vanished, I was hooked. So it's no surprise that in my first romantic suspense novel, the action begins with a disappearance.
What is the appeal of writing contemporary romance? I am a big fan of contemporary romantic suspense in the style of Joy Fielding and Erica Spindler. I love romance mixed with suspense because you get a double whammy of tension. I love the challenge of plotting suspense and researching behind-the-scenes crime investigation.
What kind of writings turns you off? Gratuitous sex or violence used as a gimmick simply to grab attention.
How do you get your ideas? What is your writing day like? I walk along the river every day and somehow connecting with nature brings me to a deep place within where questions arise that trigger stories. I usually start with a character question, and then an outside event that moves the character toward answering that question. My writing days are each different. I really have to take it 'one day at a time.' Because I have a day job, I have to carve out writing time wherever I can. I usually buy a large calendar at the dollar store and mark bi-weekly goals that will bring me to the completion of outlining/researching/writing/editing a novel within a certain period of time. If some days are too busy to get much done, I make the time other days, no matter what, in order to meet the outlined goals. It took me a while to get my rhythm in place, but it's there now. Like running a marathon, I know when to remain slow and steady, and when it's time to push forward with every ounce of energy I possess.
How do you deal with rejection? Rejection of the work you’ve spent so much time on is always a blow. The only cure for my disappointment has always been writing. Before you know it, I’m caught up in the characters and the excitement of their journey again. Sometimes it helps to work on a completely different project. If anything, I figure I must have learned something by now to make this one come closer to the mark.
How did it feel to become published? There is no feeling like it. Picture the arrival of Christmas morning, the thrill of hearing a newborn baby’s cry and the rush of your first kiss all rolled into one. My husband and I went out for dinner. He’s my number one cheerleader and gets more excited than I do!
Is there anything that could have made it happen sooner? I think if I had had access to seasoned professionals in the industry sooner, I might have learned a lot faster about what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s publishing world. Living on the Canadian east coast, it’s pretty isolated from the hub of the industry. You absolutely have to know the business, how it works and its current needs to give yourself a leg up. I think I was too naïve in believing that all I needed to do was write well and the work would find a home on its own. In some instances this can happen, but the greater reality is that selling books is a business, and one that is constantly changing. I romanticized the industry when I needed to view myself as a business woman.
What advice would you give to writers who dream of dream of being published? Rule number one: Write. Rule number two: Write. Rule number three: Write some more. I think it’s really important to exercise your true voice, test it, settle into its strengths and weaknesses, and learn to trust it BEFORE you attend workshops. If you attend how to sessions too soon, the tendency is to try and act on the information with the left brain and copycat what is being taught. If, however, you already write in your true voice, you will trust your gut instinct to take the information taught and adapt any parts of it to your style to enhance it, and discard the rest. How do you know if you’re writing in your true voice? The words catch fire on the page, the room disappears and you are humming along on that magic carpet ride in your imagination.