1) When did you start writing? Or if you've been writing all your life, then when and how did you decide to pursue publication?
Even though I spent my entire life making up stories in my head and loved nothing more than curling up with a good book, I didn't decide to become a writer until after I had my first child. Unfortunately, I kept putting it off until my kids were 'older' and didn't start writing until my youngest started kindergarten in 2002.
2) What books/authors have influenced you?
So many, including Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood, Nora Roberts, Suzanne Brockmann, Virginia Kantra and Meg Cabot (both her adult and YA books).
3) Describe your writing process.
I'm a blend of plotter and pantser. I always know my characters first and then from there I'll start seeing scenes or hearing lines of dialogue. I usually have the opening, a few turning point scenes and the black moment. I take a week or so and write an outline which helps me get to know my characters even better and come up with ways to (hopefully) keep the middle from sagging. I consider this my first draft and will sometimes wait a few days while the story solidifies in my head before starting on the second draft. I revise as I go so the third time through the story is more editing/polishing than rewriting.
4) Tell us about your current Work In Progress and what is next for you?
I'm currently working on requested revisions of Nothing But Trouble (one of my GH finaling ms) for Silhouette Romantic Suspense. NBT is about a single father/small town police chief intent on solving a murder and a reformed trouble-maker heroine who happens to be the prime suspect's sister.
Once the revisions for NBT are done, I'll get back to The Ties That Bind, a single title RS about a female carpenter, her big Italian family, and a horror author hero who has come back to his hometown to face his inner demons. Which is easier said than done when he's linked to a series of brutal murders.
5) Any advice for others or personal observations?
Learn your own writing process, never give up, and make the time to write -- even if it's only an hour a day. You deserve a chance to go after your dreams so make your writing a priority :-)