1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a multi-published, award-winning novelist with over 12 million books in print. I grew up in Central California and graduated from UCLA, before earning an MA from the University of San Francisco. A former teacher and marketing/PR gal, I spent the last sixteen years in Seattle before recently relocating to San Clemente, California for a little more sun, and a lot more sea for my surfer husband, three boys and two dogs.
2. When did you know that you wanted to write professionally and how did you take the leap to get into the business?
I don’t think there was a time when I didn’t want to write. My father was a professor and a writer and he was a huge inspiration to me. Even as a little girl, I was happiest spinning stories. I wrote my first short story when I was four or five. It was about a Christmas Elf. I wrote my first picture book in 2nd grade and my first novel when I was in 4thgrade. I wrote poems throughout elementary school, essays in junior high and high school and started my first romance novel at the age of seventeen. I was in college when I first submitted a manuscript to Harlequin and I kept writing for 14 years….a long dry drought of rejections, on 14 books…until I finally got the call that I sold my first book in January 2000.
3. Can you tell me a little bit about your book and what inspired it?
The Good Daughter is book two in the Brennan Sisters series and it’s the story about the middle sister, Kit Brennan. I love this book. A lot. A Catholic school English teacher, Kit’s always been a selfless person who takes responsibility very seriously and puts the needs of her students first. She always follows the rules, caters to her girlfriends and is there any time a family member needs her to pick up the slack, especially as her mother battles with cancer and elder sister deals with a rocky marriage. Kit’s the mediator among her siblings but as her 40th birthday approaches, she starts to wonder if it’ll ever be her turn to have a family of her own. Then, on an all-girls trip to the family cabin by the sea, Kit meets Jude Knight who is the complete opposite of the type of man she could take home to her family. He makes her pulse race madly and question her lifestyle and yearn for passion. But while her heart may be tempted strongly, how could this tough, motorcycle riding man ever fit into her neat, quiet life?
The Brennan Sisters series as a whole came from a string of conversations I had with my brother Rob’s wife, Andrea. They live in San Francisco and her father was a San Francisco firefighter and over the years I got to know her family and every time we talked about them, it stirred my imagination and made me wonder about so many things we go through as women trying to be the glue that holds a family together and be strong and selfless when needed. I realized we all had so much in common, that these situations and emotions are universal and we aren’t the only women to experience that conflict as a mother, wife or sister… or daughter. We women lead such complex, fascinating lives and there are always challenges to overcome.
4. What do you hope that readers take way with them after reading your book?
That women are strong and valuable. That real life happiness is important, and yes, life is a juggling act, but we can support each other and help find love and meaning and optimism. I want women to feel safe, and strong, and we can only do that by being supportive of each other.
5. I find it interesting to know what environment authors find most productive… Do you use a pen and paper or laptop? Quiet room at home or bustling café? Basically, what gets your creative juices flowing?
I work best in a controlled environment. I don’t do well trying to write in bits and pieces, or with lots of activity going on around me. I can and do write in coffee houses when in a pinch, but then I try to find the quietest place possible, with a corner or wall table with lots of natural lighting and I add my Bose headphones to block out sound. But honestly, my home office—clean and clear and free of clutter—is best. I use my laptop and I need music when I write…. And if I’m in my office, a nice candle or two.
6. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Toughest – That I write pathetic heroines.
Best – “It’s like you were in my head and you knew just what I was thinking, and how I’ve been feeling.”
7. What book is currently on your nightstand? And who are some of your favorite authors?
I’m currently reading Amy Hatvany’s Heart Like Mine. I absolutely love it! Some of my favorite authors include Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, JR Ward, Georgette Heyer, Joanna Bourne, Jennifer Weiner, Jen Lancaster, and so many more.
8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to read, travel, watch movies, go for drives, putter in my garden, cook. I love to do anything and everything that’s not desk related.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t ever give up. Write every single day. Work hard. Know what you want. Visualize what you want. Write it down. Create a picture board if it helps, or make a list that you put in a prominent place. And then get back to writing. Be tenacious. Fight for your dreams. Fight for your words and your stories and your themes.
10. What can we expect from you next?
Book three of the Brennan Sisters series, The Good Wife, is scheduled for release in September this year so I’m looking forward to that and hopeful that readers will love it as much as they’ve loved and enjoyed the first two books in the series. Now I’m working on a new project set in Montana. It’s going to be a series of books about rugged ranchers and cowboys and hope to have the first book out in December this year.
11. Do any animals share your life? Please tell us about them.
We have two dogs, a sweet English Bulldog named Abi who is just adorable and our puppy, Church, a Bullmastiff who’s convinced he’s a lapdog!
And now for a little bit of fun:) This or That?
Winter or Summer? – Summer
Zombies or Vampires? – Vampires
Country or City? – Country
Morning or Evening? – Morning
Trains or Planes? – Planes