When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in high school.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes at least a year to write a book from concept to finished draft.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I have a lot of fun creating my books and characters, but it's also a tremendous amount of work.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
They enjoy the worlds I create, and some actually want to move to Baker City or Liberty Valley.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both. When I'm creating, I feel energized but at 2AM when I'm done for the day, I'm exhausted and ready to sleep.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Time management. It's difficult working on the family farm, looking after all the critters and people, then trying to find the time to create a story. Multi-tasking comes naturally since I work on the family farm, a 113 acre riding stable. However, that’s not all I do. When I’m home at the riding stable, I organize most of the riding programs, teach horsemanship around my day-job as a substitute teacher, nurse sick horses, hold for the shoer, train whoever needs it – four-legged and two-legged. And write books in my spare time, usually from 8PM to 2AM, seven days a week after a long day on the ranch. When I can’t write, due to the overwhelming needs and pressures of the “real” world, words and stories fill my mind. Even when I muck the barn, or drive my bulldozer, Frou-Frou, I think about books or short stories or pieces in progress and map out the writing in my mind.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Original. I have to love my stories and characters first. Then, I hope readers love them too.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Literary fiction often bores me. The pacing seems too slow, but I love the descriptions.
At what point do you think someone should call themselves a writer?
When they start writing a story and realize how much effort and work is required. There are so many options now for writers and much fewer limits. If you are determined to be a writer, then write. Study your craft and rewrite. Do your best and you will sell as long as you don’t quit!
What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?
When I attended Washington State University several years ago, I joined a local critique group called Writer’s Bloc. We were expected to read our work from the previous week aloud, getting not only written critiques but verbal ones as well. The expectation of regular submissions to critique along with the assignments due for my English and History courses since I was doing a “double major” meant there wasn’t time for me to opt out. I had to write every day either for class or for critique. As more experienced members told me, it’d be easier to listen to their advice if I brought in the “raw material” or “rough drafts.” After all, I’d be revising and polishing that work anyway. I still do this more than thirty years later, running my rough drafts by my critique group.
Are there therapeutic benefits to modeling a character after someone you know?
Yes, I can redeem people in fiction or let my villains bump them off.
What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
The characters come first and then the problems they face and have to solve. In Trail Through Time, my heroine, Nina has to deal with the fact that she thinks she sent her best friend to her death. She doesn't believe that Kyle, the hero was sent by her B.F.F. who is alive in 1888.
How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
It needs to be someone willing to suspend disbelief as Coleridge says, who can accept paranormal events in a mythic, cowboy (cowgirl) world.
How much research did you need to do for your book?
I have a Bachelor's Degree in History and I read constantly about the past, especially Washington State History.
Tell us more about your book/s?
Liberty Valley Love - "where no matter what, soulmates find each other."
A Man's World - Book 1, - The untamed wilderness of 1887 Washington Territory is A Man’s World. The survivor of more than one deadly ambush, Trace Burdette knows this better than anyone. Masquerading as a man, she prides herself on being the ‘toughest hombre’ this side of the Cascades, packing the pearl-handled pistols to prove it. The last thing she wants is Zebadiah Prescott, her new ruggedly handsome neighbor, ordering her around.
Cowboy Spell - Book 2, - Wrangling her pony farm on weekends, Elinor Talbot is strong and smart, but still struggles to make ends meet for her family. Divorced for years, she isn’t looking for romance; however, love finds a way when her mischievous kids summon a replacement dad with the Cowboy Spell.
The Marshal's Lady - Book 3 - While trailing a serial killer on horseback, homicide detective Beth Chambers finds she has somehow ridden back in time—to 1888! When she comes across injured Marshal Rad Morgan, she has no choice but to try to save his life.
Hero Spell - Book 4 - Extraordinary pony farm manager Audra Dawson does it all, training ponies, teaching children to ride and looking after the livestock at Silver Lake Pony Ranch. She sets her sights on the man of her dreams—a man she adores, despite the fact he has other plans.
Trail Through Time - Book 5 - The survivor of a horrendous attack, horse rescuer, Nina Armstrong blames herself for the death of her best friend who pursued her assailant and vanished in Mount Baker National Forest. Now, a battle-scarred stranger arrives determined to guard Nina from the serial killer planning to eliminate the sole witness to his crimes.
Coming Soon - Time In Between - Book 6 - When hereditary witch, Astra Jamison and her sisters open a time portal to 1888 Liberty Valley to save two people from a serial killer, the last thing she expects is to have the wizard she views as an age-old enemy travel to the present to confront her.
Baker City Hearts & Haunts Series - "where love is real, and the ghosts are too!"
My Sweet Haunt, Book 1 - Cobwebs, eerie sounds and creaky floorboards greet Cat O’Leary McTavish and her twin daughters when they move to their new home, a dilapidated dude ranch near Baker City in the Cascade foothills of Washington State. Her plan to restore the destination resort to its former glory hits a snag when she learns she has the ‘O’Leary Gift’ and can talk to the dead man who still resides in her house.
More Than A Spirit, Book 2 - Home from her Army Reserve tour in Afghanistan, Sergeant First Class Ann Barrett is divorced, unemployed and dealing with her unruly, spoiled six-year-old. The last thing she needs is a ghost playing matchmaker. Not ready to trade in her fatigues for a civilian job as a high school teacher, Ann applies for a position at the Army Reserve base.
Family Skeletons, Book 3 - Sergeant First Class Sullivan Barlow has plans for her future and none of them include the guy she slept with in a night of weakness. Intending to forget the devastation of losing her best friend in Afghanistan, Sully woke the next morning still alone. Her only solace—she hadn’t told the man her real name.