What series do you have & what order do I read the books in?
Right now I have two adult series, a few stand-alone romantic comedies, a YA Series, a YA mystery, and a YA urban fantasy book. I like to write different genres just like I like to read different genres. I'll start with the series and what order I wrote them in, although you can read each as a stand-alone. You just might know what couple got together in the last book (which spoiler alert, I write HEAs, so that's probably not really a spoiler. The fun's all in getting there & all the kissing that goes on anyway, right?)
The Accidentally in Love Series
(Sweet, small-town adult romance with the Bliss line)
Falling for Her Fiancé
(Falling for Her Fiancé Epilogue blog post, with spoilers)
Act Like You Love Me
An Officer and a Rebel (Christmas novella, also found in the Stranded with a Hero Anthology)
Resisting the Hero
The Hope Springs Series
(Sweet, small-town adult romance with the Bliss line)
Second Chance Ranch
Untitled book #2
Untitled book #3
(These books are full-length romance/chick-lit and while they have nothing to do with one another, they are similar in tone.)
Cinderella Screwed Me Over
Ready to Wed
The Cipher Series (YA)
All the Broken Pieces (YA mystery, heavy on the romance)
Demons of the Sun (YA urban fantasy)
I wanted an Epilogue for Falling for Her Fiance! (This isn't so much a question, but something I get told a lot)
Well, I wrote the epilogue as an extra scene for a Bliss sampler, and you can find it here.
When did you decide to be a writer? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to be a clothing designer, but my dad told me he worried it was a bit of an unrealistic career and it'd be hard to get into. So I decided to go into the one other more unlikely career. Lol.
The truth is, I always loved to read and since I have a hard time falling asleep, I used to make up stories in my head until I fell asleep. Then I'd pick it up the next night & add to it. One day, not too long after I had my first baby, I felt like I'd lost myself a bit and was now just a mom whose baby cried at her all day. Don't get me wrong, being a mom is a HARD job! And my baby did stop crying at me eventually, but I knew something was missing in my life, and I felt like I needed something that was mine. So I sat down and started writing a novel. The sadness that'd hung over me went away, I couldn't wait to sit down & write more, and that was pretty much it. I knew I was supposed to be a writer!
How long did it take you to be published?
SOOOO LONG! While I knew I was supposed to be a writer, agents and editors didn't seem quite as sure. What I mean is, I got a lot of rejections. I wrote more stories. I got better. I submitted. I got rejected more. It took several books and getting involved in a critique group before I started getting requests. Before getting rejected again. Honestly, it was soul-crushing and I wanted to quit a lot of times. But then I'd get a new idea and I needed to write to be happy. Plus I decided that the only way I wouldn't be published was if I stopped trying. I'd had quite a few people read ENTIRE manuscripts, which was a pretty big deal, but I still got rejections, although some of them came with notes to resubmit if I revised and things they liked or found missing. Since none of them said the same thing, I took a bit of time from that project, wrote another book, then went back to what's now All the Broken Pieces and revised it again, using what feedback I'd gotten. I subbed it to Entangled Publishing and they offered me a contract. Then we revised it again. And again. And then it was a book! From there everything started happening rather quickly. I'd already written Cinderella Screwed Me Over a year or so earlier & asked if my editor would take a look at it. She wanted it and she asked if I'd write a book for the Bliss line she was starting, because she thought I'd be good at it. Someone was actually ASKING me to write a book? So I jumped on it and it was a good fit. I've been releasing a book every few months since. So long road, but it was worth it, and I always tell people to never give up if they really want it.
What do you need to write?
Diet Mountain Dew, my playlists (which you can find on the individual page for each of my books, so you can see what I listened to as I wrote them) and my laptop.
How do you write so fast?
See above answer regarding Mountain Dew. Haha. While that's partly true, the fact is, I still think of stories while trying to fall asleep, so when I'm working on a project, I think of the next scene. That way, the next day, I'm ready to write it. Other than that, I have a daily word count goal & I don't let myself do anything fun until I hit it. What can I say, my boss is super mean! When it's editing time, I go by page count. If you write slower, don't let it stress you out. Everyone's got different processes. I tend to fast draft, (I call it laying the spine) then go back and revise. I fill out the body & polish it up. It works for me. Some days it feels like fun, some days it feels like work, but I make myself do it anyway, because I've got contracts and goals & like I said, my boss is mean.
What do you do if you get stuck?
I add a kissing scene. Okay, I'm only halfway kidding about this. A writer friend asked me this question, though, and that's how I answered. She's used it & it's worked. We could all use more kissing in books, right? Or almost kisses? Even if I end up deleting it later because it didn't advance the scene enough, it gets my flowing. I also go for a walk if it's warm enough and pout if there's snow on the ground, because I really hate to be cold. So then I resort to pacing my bedroom or even walking on the treadmill, while thinking out plot points and character traits. I sometimes lay back and listen to my playlists, because they're always set up to help with the mood of the book. Sometimes it just takes giving yourself a break from staring at the screen. I ask my husband for advice, and he tells me to add aliens or ninjas, so then I either laugh or give him dirty looks depending on my mood, and then I go email my writer friends, who also help. Once in a while I realize that I haven't taken a break in hours or days and allow myself to binge watch some Netflix. I also use that as my reward for turning in a book. That and reading a book for fun, because I rarely get to do that much these days.
Any advice for writers?
Critique group, read a lot, especially in your genre, attend writer's conferences if you can, steely determination. Read up on agents or editors you're submitting to. Read what they publish, follow their guidelines, be respectful of their time. Treat your writing as a business even before it's your business. Try to find a critique group who genuinely wants you to succeed and can help you figure out story structure/plot holes, but doesn't just try to make you sound like their way of writing. Voice is what makes you unique, yo!
How much do I love my readers?
Like so SO much! Reader feedback and people who support me make even the hard days seem awesome! I feel so lucky to do what I do!