When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was an unpopular, overweight fourth-grade student struggling with math, when my
teacher, Mr. DePalma, gave our class a weekly assignment that changed my life.
It was to write a short fiction story on the subject of our choice, then read it aloud to
This assignment stirred something in me. I tackled it with enthusiasm, penning a tale about
a haunted house and involving classmates as characters.
When my turn came to read, I did so with trepidation, expecting classmates to mock my
words as they did my answers to math questions.
But their approving smiles and requests for more told me that although I might not be
good at math, maybe I could be good at something else, such as writing.
I have been doing so ever since.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It can take years because I obsessively write and rewrite, then edit several times.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
One day my husband pointed out that I talk about my characters as if they are alive.
This traumatized me, and I clasped my chest.
“You mean they are not?”
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
One reader informed me that she had “fallen in love” with Carlos, a romantic figure in my
“Castle in the Sun” series.
Another told me she had “fallen in love” with the series location, St. Augustine, Florida, a
romantic city by the sea with its historic castle. She was eager to visit.
One of my early books, “The Face Behind the Veil,” unfolds in New York City, from the
Great Depression, through World War II, to the present.
After reading it, a young girl, 18 or 19, contacted me to say the location had so inspired her
that she was making arrangements to leave her small midwestern town and move to the Big
Having grown up there and familiar with the city's nuances, I encouraged the girl to first
visit, and make sure she is compatible with this amazing but sometimes rough and hurried
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing energizes me because my imagination soars to story locations which inspire me.
For my “Castle in the Sun” series, I explored the cobblestone streets of St. Augustine,
Florida, and became immersed in the city’s history and romantic Spanish ambiance.
As I write my work-in-progress, “Bibles and Bones in the Forest,” my imagination takes
me to New York State’s majestic Adirondack Mountains, where I go horseback riding
along pine-scented trails and drink-in the beauty of autumn’s radiant foliage.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
At what point do you think someone should call themselves a writer?
What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?
Are there therapeutic benefits to modeling a character after someone you know?
What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
A woman of any age, who dreams of escaping into an adventure of the heart from the
comfort and safety of her own home.
How much research did you need to do for your book?
Tell us more about your book/s?