Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I wrote my first short story when I was ten. It was about a tornado, and it was a complete cliffhanger because I had no idea what happened next. At fourteen, I wrote my first book and sent it to a publisher with a query letter. I never doubted it would be published. When I got the rejection letter in the mail, I was devastated. I didn’t write for a year.
I wrote several short stories after that and started lots of books. Never finished any of them. In college I took a creative writing class in 2008, and wrote the first two chapters of a new book. In January 2019, I published that book after nine years of writing and editing. Since then, I’ve written four more, three of which are published.
My first book, A New Shade of Paint, is about a seventeen-year-old, Shannon. It draws in a big set of characters in her family and friends, especially her love interest Kurt. The second book, The Art of Messing Up, continues all of their stories. I’m currently writing the third and have a fourth planned to wrap up the series. I enjoyed the setting so much, I started a spin-off small-town romance series set in the same town. That way I get to interconnect characters from the two different series. (Way more complicated than I anticipated!) Book 1 is entitled The Trouble with Tulips, and I just released book 2.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Fault in Firelight. So this story got tricky because, as I mentioned before, my two series overlap, even though they are different genres. I had a side character in my original family life series with a mom who seemed to have a very complicated past. I thought, why don’t I wrote her love story? Having Stacy already established as the invisible mother of a side character drew a surprising amount of backstory into the story and pulled several characters from the other series heavily into the book. There were details already cemented that I had to work around that I hadn’t thought about. Writing The Fault in Firelight challenged my plotting skills and was definitely a growing experience.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not that I know of. I often write in the wee hours of the morning. But from what I hear, that’s rather typical of mom writers who have small kids.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I write Christian fiction, and my all-time favorite author is Lynn Austin. She’s had a huge influence in my life. As a young adult, I planned on being the next Lynn Austin. I’ve since learned that is quite unlikely to happen. Especially since I write contemporary fiction (so far), and she writes historical. But I can keep dreaming. Densie Hunter is the contemporary romance author I try to emulate in my own style with my small-town romances. I’m sure I fall far short of her greatness, but I read all her books to keep me inspired. No one can write a sizzling kiss scene and still keep things clean like Denise Hunter!
What are you working on now?
I’m writing the first draft of Casting Out Fear, the third installment in the life drama of Shannon Conrad, Kurt Blake, and their friends and family. These books are long (average word count 130K), so I’ll be at it a while. After that is the third book in my small-town romance series.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m tip-toeing into the world of book promotions. At this point, I’ve mostly relied on newsletter swaps with other authors, which is a great cost-free marketing tool. My launch team helps spread the news by word-of-mouth. And collecting subscribers by giving away my reader magent on StoryOrigin and My Book Cave has yielded me some very eager readers. I’ve got lots to learn and am enjoying the journey.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t get discouraged and by all means–do not compare yourself to other authors! It’s a pit full of black slime you’ll be hard-put to climb out of. Learn from them, yes. Compare successes and failures? NO! Oh, and feel free to end sentences in prepositions.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
To write the next book. Don’t get hung up on marketing the first one so much that you neglect to write the next one. And the next. Ever, always–keeping writing.
What are you reading now?
I just finished The Trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter. I’d missed a few from her backlist, and it was time to remedy that problem. Ahhhh. It was good.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Keep writing and try to improve my writing speed so I can release a bit more often and get ahead. Also to learn more about marketing and improve my craft. All of that in my spare time, because I have a part-time job and four kids. Yeah, four. It’s okay, you can feel sorry for me.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Cheesy or not, I’d grab one of my Bibles. (Hey, I write Christian fiction, what did you expect?). Something by Lynn Austin. I have a bunch on my shelf. And my Kindle. This island has electric outlets, right? I have enough books on there to last me months and too little time to read!