1. When did you first start writing, and was there something in particular that inspired you?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I was one of those kids who chose to write ten page stories for fun during her summer vacation and then made all the relatives who came to swim read them! I even went to college to be a journalist but switched to education halfway through freshman year when I decided reading, writing, and teaching fiction was more my thing. Despite what people think, though, teachers, especially in those first few years when you have to get your Masters, don’t actually have much free time, so writing got pushed aside. It wasn’t until I was settled in that career, that I could begin to work on a second one!
2. What first attracted you to your genre when you began writing?
I hated fantasy and wouldn’t even touch romance growing up. Then I started teaching and the rage was Harry Potter. So I gave it a shot—and became obsessed! Next was Twilight, with similar results. Finally a friend intervened and told me I needed to move onto some adult fantasy/romance reading, so I tried the Sookie Stackhouse series. It was all downhill from there.
I just love the idea that hidden within our own world could be something so thrilling. It’s the stuff we’ve dreamed about since we were kids, right? That exciting life just outside our classroom window.
3. In regards to your own characters, who is your favorite to write and why?
The boys. Sage and Rocky are by far my favorites. I love reading about bad boys with deep back stories, so getting to write them is exciting. I also loved hanging with my brother and his friends growing up, so I felt pretty confident in my ability to capture guys being guys (even guys with fangs). That was part of what I really enjoyed about writing Unbridled, the fun of exploring my favorite characters’ romantic back stories, but the challenge of doing it from their female lovers’ perspectives.
4. What other genres (besides your own) do you enjoy reading?
Just about everything. I read a lot of young adult, since that’s the age group I teach. In fact my current writing project, All That Glitters, is a YA twisted myth that I’m hoping will be a trilogy. (The opening chapter is on my website for any fellow YA fans out there.) I also recently developed a liking for non-paranormal romance. Okay, I’m obsessed with The Outlander series, which does have some time travelling, but is essentially historical romance. I’m eagerly awaiting the last book due out in March; until then I’m working my way through every related short story and novella Diana Gabaldon has written!
5. As a reader I know how difficult it can be to name a ‘favorite’ book, would you mind listing your top three? (Past or present authors)
1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, for perfectly capturing the awkwardness of being fifteen.
2. J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover, for getting me hooked on ‘real’ (i.e. steamy) romance books.
3. S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders for being the first book I ever read repeatedly until it literally disintegrated!
6. What are some ‘must haves’ when you sit down to write?
Green Pilot G-2 gel pens. They must be green. I have no idea why, but once the habit started it became a must. A pretty notebook with a hard cover. As you can tell, I hand write my first drafts. I like to be mobile, so a hard cover allows me to write just about everywhere. Silence. I have playlists for every book, but I only listen to them prior to writing. Once I sit down to write I want it as quiet as possible so I can hear the voices in my head. (I love that writing is the only profession where you don’t get locked up for saying that!)
7. If you became trapped as a character in a book or series, which would you choose and why? (Any book, any series, new or old)
Well, I’d say Claire of The Outlander series, but even a hot highlander in a kilt can’t make up for the lack of hot showers, so I guess I’ll have to go more modern. I’ll choose Ginny Weasley of the Harry Potter series. She’s a strong female character, she rocks the Quidditch pitch, and she can do magic—I’d never have to scrub the bathroom again!
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The Romance: Unbridled: A collection of short stories from the Alex Crocker series
Alex couldn’t deny she had become the pint-sized poster child for PTSD lately, but she didn’t exactly expect to find a support group for teachers turned vampire chew toys in Bristol, MA. Listening to the tales of the four other females gathered to help her heal, however, she accepts that perhaps both the worst and the best of life can blossom from the unexpected.
Unbridled is a novella-length collection of four connected stories focusing on the unlikely friendships and less likely lovers of the female characters from the Alex Crocker series.
The reason: Cancer and violence suck (and not at all in that sexy vampire way)
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, two issues close to my heart. As a daughter of a two-time breast cancer survivor and the teacher, friend, and aunt to so many beautiful and strong women who I never want to see suffer, I chose to use the release of
Unbridled to help support two terrific charities that help women.
Romance for a Reason is enabling me to use my tales of strong heroines, fanged though they are, as a fundraiser for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and V-Day. I’ll be donating the proceeds from the collection to these charities, and hopefully, through bringing these issues to readers’ attention, can also inspire others to reach out in their own ways. Women facing illness or abuse can feel like they’ve had not just their health, strength, and beauty suck from them, but also their essence, their spirit. It’s time we bite back and fight back—for me that fight started with a pen and some fangs. How will you help?
How you can bite back:
Read some romance. Proceeds from Unbridled will be donated to the two charities listed here.
Donate. Make your own individual donation to these two charities or choose a local charity supporting these and other causes affecting women in your area. To learn more about each charity and my reasons for choosing them, visit the Romance for a Reason page. Or click through to donate directly.
Party hard. Gather the women (and men!) of your book club or just a group of friends for a Romance for Reason party. Party ideas? Check out my blog for ideas on how to plan your gathering. Then download the Romance Reading Questionnaire and/or the Body Lingo Bingo for some fun party activities!
Share. Tweet, status update, review, or just chat with friends about the books, the tour, and the charities (mine or yours)!
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