Note from the author* I’m giving away a pdf copy of Switched, Too to a lucky someone who comments by August 16th. Be sure to leave your email address.
I grew up in Westland, Michigan, a Detroit suburb, when it was still a rural township. We lived on a few acres and had a big vegetable garden. Planting, hoeing, weeding was hard work and I vowed when I grew up I’d never have a garden. So what did I do at my first house? Planted a vegetable garden. LOL I went to a one-room schoolhouse where my second grade class had three students. It was challenging with no kids nearby my age, but maybe that’s why my imagination grew. I read a lot—whatever I could get my hands on like my mom’s Nancy Drew collection, all the volumes of the My Book House series and whatever the Bookmobile had on its shelves. My hometown grew up, became a city, now has over 84,000 residents.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was four or five, I wanted to be a priest. Go ahead and laugh. My sister and I would take turns playing “church”. Mom would let us use a large towel or pillowcase as a vestment. Alas, they still won’t let girls be priests. Not that I want to be one now. Then, I wanted to be a teacher, which I was for ten years. In high school, I wanted to be a writer. My BFF and I wrote what’s now called fan fiction. We wrote romances with ourselves as heroines in popular TV shows. Who knew we were ahead of our time?
Tell us about your latest book.
Switched, Too is a space adventure romance. You know the old saying about be careful what you wish for . . . because you might get it? Scott Cherella has wanted to go into space since he was six years old. Downsized when the shuttle program ended, he leaps at the chance to be an alien starship captain. All he has to do is pretend to be his twin. He has help from Veronese Qilana who fears the reckless, smart aleck Scott will blow his cover. When sabotage erupts, they must work together to get the crew safely home. Switched, Too is the second book in the series that began with Switched. However, both are stand-alone books.
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
I’m working on the third book in the Switched series. This story, as yet untitled, brings together the main couple in Switched (Jessie and Marcus), Scott and Veronese, and some characters from the two previous books in stronger roles. Danger and sabotage abound while the romances deepen. Switched 3 (working title) will be released in 2013.
I want to tell the reader everything—backstory, how things work, and so. My critique partner is always chastising me for “info dumps”. I have to keep reminding myself that readers are smart and can figure things out.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Absolutely. Doesn’t every writer? When I’m stumped, I take a short break. Sometimes, it’s a couple of games of Solitaire. Bad habit. LOL Taking a walk is better or exercising (which I should do more of). I’ll also do something totally different from writing—like paying bills or (horrors) clean the house. When all that doesn’t work, I just have to push through and write even though I know it’s probably junk that I’ll fix in rewrites. But, sometimes Life throws curveballs and you’re so mentally and/or physically exhausted that you just can’t write. When that happened to me, I had to step away from writing for a couple of years. I only found my creative spirit again when I decided to write for fun.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle. I love her heroes, especially the ones with family “encumbrances”. They are strong yet indulgently exasperated by the younger family members they’re responsible for. Her heroines are strong, strong-willed and independent, even in the historicals where this wasn’t very common. I don’t always “get” some of the paranormal aspects, but her writing is so good I willingly suspend disbelief. More than anything, I love the humor, which comes out of situations the heroine has gotten herself into or in the dialogue between the hero and heroine.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Perseverance, thick skin and a good sense of humor. Oh, you were maybe asking about physical tools? A computer is obvious, or a secretary who types your handwritten work. A few good books on writing like Chris Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey; Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way (very helpful, by the way, with writer’s block); Stephen King’s On Writing; Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird; and, best of all, Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict. A good support group, like a writers’ group, is essential. Mine is the Mid-Michigan chapter of Romance Writers of America.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Hang in there. If you want to be published badly enough, you’ll find a way. Learn the craft. Listen to criticism, but protect your work. Don’t let well-meaning friends destroy your voice. Find what works for you and be adaptable.
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Excerpt from Switched, Too:
Scott came closer. “No, you are not leaving until we get something straight.”
He was a large man with broad shoulders. Almost against her will, Veronese backed up. When he came closer still, she could retreat no further. She flattened her palms against the wall behind her. He towered over her by at least fifteen centimeters. Once before, a Terran male had tried to frighten her with his presence. She would not allow Scott to do the same.
She straightened her shoulders. “Do not try to intimidate me, Captain.”
“If I wanted to intimidate you, Lieutenant Qilana,” he spoke very softly, “I would not do it like this.” His voice, purring softer than a felox, resonated within her. The sensation excited and—all claims to the contrary—frightened her.
This was different from the other experience. Then, she had feared the man. Now, she was uncertain what frightened her. Scott or something inside her.
Mere centimeters separated them. Heat radiated from his body. Warmth rushed through her. When he placed one hand on the wall next to her head, an odd sensation settled in the pit of her stomach. His fingers brushed her ear and she shivered.
He began to smile, a coaxing smile accompanied by a feather-like stroke of his knuckle down her cheek. His mouth was so close she felt the warmth of his breath. This time the odd sensation settled lower in her abdomen. Her logical mind tried to analyze her body’s reaction. Perhaps she had contracted a viral disease. Fever, chills, stomach disorders often characterized Terran ailments. If the symptoms persisted, she would have to consult the medical officer.
“The way things work, Lieutenant,” he said in that deceptively soft voice, “is that I give the orders and you obey.”
Still thinking about the odd sensations she was experiencing, she stared at him.
He stepped away. “What? Did you think I was gonna kiss you?”
“I’d rather kiss a Wookie.” She slapped her hand over her mouth.
He threw his head back and laughed with abandon then reached out and ruffled her short hair. “You watched Star Wars. I knew there was hope for you, kiddo.”
Hope? She feared not. They would be fortunate to return to Serenia without more catastrophes.