Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a lifelong Mid-west gal, writing dark and deadly romantic thrillers set in rural areas. I’m the mother of 4 and the wife of an Ag teacher. When I’m not coaching my all-time favorite sport of high school girls volleyball, I’m busy pounding out the next book.
My latest release, Atonement, is the sixth book I’ve published, and its the first in a new series from me.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Atonement, book 1 in The McIntire County series.
My husband is retired from the military, and nine years ago we were preparing for his one and only deployment. During that time a nugget of the story idea came to me. We knew many people who had deployed and came back suffering from mild to severe PTSD. Almost all of my books have a character in it that is or was military, and with that I knew I had to one day write a book on this subject of PTSD.
Fast forward to 2012. Early spring the character Nicolette Rivers was born, and with her came a serious load of baggage that wouldn’t leave me alone. Her story nagged at me until last year when I was able to finally work on her book. Nic is also my first dip into fast-tracking certain aspects that aren’t currently happening in the military. She is the first female Marine Scout Sniper, and it’s because of that job she’s suffering.
My hope is that readers will get a better understanding of what actually goes on inside the head of someone suffering from PTSD, and why isn’t never simply cured by this or that. Nic’s story is probably the darkest one I’ve written yet.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really. I’ve recently rejoined the workforce and I’m trying to find a way to write more around my work hours. I’ve always been an early riser, so naturally I try to get up an hour before I need to and get an hour worth of writing in. Doesn’t happen quite like I would like, but I make do.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Because I write romantic thrillers, I tend to lean heavily toward flat suspense/thriller books while writing. The authors range anywhere from Iris Johansen to Karin Slaughter to C.J. Box. The gritty, dark side of their writing has helped me create some hairy situations for my own characters.
What are you working on now?
I’m beginning the next book in the series with the working title of ‘Born to Die.’ In Atonement you meet Nic’s sister Cassandra (Cassy) Rivers and the thorn in her side, FBI Agent Boyce Hunt. Born to Die is set 2 years after the events of Atonement and brings Cassy and Boyce back together when an Eider police officer is murdered after several convenience stores and a bank are robbed. I’m playing with a modern day Bonnie and Clyde situation in this book.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Contacting past reviewers, and using the resources my small press publishers has on hand. I don’t always have time to be scouring the internet for places to promote, so my critique/brainstorming partner, who is self-pubbed, usually passes along places she’s found that help her out, too.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read everything you can get your hands on, and write, write, write. Study the craft, and never settle for good. Strive for better. Read authors you admire and study their craft. There is a reason they’re selling books and making the best-seller lists.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write what you know. And what you don’t know, research and learn.
What are you reading now?
An older book by Tami Hoag, Dark Horse, and my CP’s soon-to-be-released book in her Science Fiction Romance series.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Just trying to get to a place in my personal life where I can write and publish more than just one book a year.
What is your favorite book of all time?
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. This series cemented my love of reading, and the desire to be an author.