Welcome to NOR.
I am thrilled to be here! Thank you so much for the invitation!
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
Ah, one of my favorite questions, and my first thought is always, "I'll be able to tell you very little because there really isn't much to tell!"
I was born and raised in a small Oregon town where it was safe to walk to the theatre at night and equally safe to play all day, unsupervised, in our neighborhood. All the mothers kept a casual eye on the kids, and as a result, we children often "dinner shopped," staying to eat at whichever house was serving the best food! I believe that this village-type atmosphere opened my mind to the differences in families-customs, manners, lifestyles-and opened my heart to the similarities that most of us share, which in turn led me to become fascinated by people, their personalities, and their outlooks on life. Now, as an adult, those childhood observations provide me with a treasure-trove of experiences that enable me to create realistic characters in my books.
My mother was a writer, and due to her influence, I began creating my own stories at a very early age. She remained my staunch supporter throughout my young adulthood and was absolutely delighted when my first book was published. I was also blessed with a wonderfully supportive husband and two fabulous sons who never complained about the long hours that I worked early on in my career. Thanks to my family and my loyal readers, I have realized my lifelong dream of being a published writer, and to this day, it is difficult for me to refer to what I do for a living as work. For me, creating a beautiful love story is delightful fun!
What's your favorite genre to read?
Is there another genre besides romance? Joking, of course. I occasionally read outside of my genre, but my first love will always be romance. When I see a new release from one of my favorite romance authors, I grab it! I think the thing I appreciate most about a wonderful romance is how good it makes me feel. I hate to read stories with sad, depressing endings.
Who or what influences you when you write?
People. I write a character-driven story, always. When I begin to plot, I always start with the two main characters. I find human beings fascinating. I could sit in a parking lot for hours, if I had the time, and simply watch the shoppers come and go. I play a question-and-answer game with myself. What kind of man is he-gentle, harsh, patient, or demanding? What makes that woman look so grim and unhappy? Does he brush his teeth in an up-and-down stroke, or does he go after his teeth vertically? How long has that elderly couple been married? People intrigue me, and as I'm studying them, suddenly a story idea will come to me.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
Procrastinate, answer e-mails, do research, and procrastinate. On a great writing day, I get into the zone and barely notice the world around me. If I must break free to go out, I often can't remember what month it is, or even what year it is sometimes.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
Writer's block, in my opinion, is a fancy term for exhaustion and burnout. When I lose my enthusiasm for writing, I take a break and return to those things that once inspired me. I watch romantic movies until I begin to feel like an easy-chair slug, and I dig out my favorite romances of all time to read them again. At some point during this process, I rediscover my passion for writing, and I'm ready to return to my keyboard.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
Well, right now, I'm very excited about my January 2009 release, STAR BRIGHT. My publisher, New American Library, has selected the book for the special honor of being a GUARANTEED GREAT READ. As I understand it, that means you can get a refund if you don't enjoy the story! I'm not sure of the details as yet because I don't have an actual copy of the book, but it sounds like an awesome deal to me!
The back cover blurb reads:
"Faking her own death is the only way Rainie Hall can hope to escape her brutal, murderous husband. Now, with a new identity, she finds refuge in the rural community of Crystal Falls, Oregon, where she starts to work on a horse ranch run by rugged, dangerously good-looking Parker Harrigan.
"Parker's word is his honor, and he can't tolerate liars. When he realizes that Rainie hasn't been truthful with him, he's furious, then concerned. Clearly she's a woman in trouble, and if she'll trust him, he'll do right by her. But as their initial attraction blossoms into a deep and thrilling passion, Rainie fears that she can never escape retribution from the man who has sworn to kill her. Parker swears to protect Rainie no matter what, but even he can't help wondering whether all his strength and ingenuity can save the love of his life from a determined psychopath . . . . "
I think you will find Star Bright to be a beautiful and moving love story that you will never forget. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Please tell us what you have planned next?
In June, COMANCHE HEART, the long-awaited sequel to COMANCHE MOON, will be reissued. Most of my readers are very excited about that.
I am also presently at work on a historical that features Matthew Coulter, ancestor to the modern-day Coulters. This is another book that is eagerly anticipated by my readers. As yet, the story is untitled. For updates on the title and release date, drop by my website periodically. The address is listed below.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
The kind of research I do depends entirely upon the book in progress. Right now, I'm doing a historical set in Colorado, necessitating that I do research about passenger trains in that era and a host of other things. And, yes, I greatly enjoy the research stage. The process helps me to develop a clear picture of a character's world and life experience, enabling me to do a better job of recreating that world for my readers. For ANNIE'S SONG, the research was grueling, for I had to accurately portray the world of a deaf girl. COMANCHE MOON required four years of in-depth research before I felt qualified to write about the Comanche people. PHANTOM WALTZ led me into the world of a paraplegic, talking with doctors, reading journals, and investigating all manner of other things connected to this form of paralysis. It would take forever to talk about the research I did for every book because I now have 32 published works to my credit, but rest assured that every story demands at least some research, if not a lot of it.
What would you like to tell your readers?
I would like to tell my readers how important they are to me and how very much I appreciate their unflagging loyalty. Thousands of you have taken time out from your busy lives to send me letters of praise and encouragement. I have come to think of each of you as a wonderful, cherished friend. When one of my new releases arrives in stores, you are always there at points of sale to support me. You-and only you-have made it possible for me to achieve my lifelong goal to be a published writer. Without you, I have no idea what I might be doing professionally, but I can tell you that nothing else could bring me as much joy and fulfillment as writing does. For that, I want to thank each and every one of you with all my heart!
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
Readers interested in learning more about me and my books are cordially invited to visit my website, address listed above. Once there, hop over to my Guest Book where you can exchange messages with me directly or visit the Bulletin Board, where I try to post frequently. Also on my site, you'll find the Book Shelf, where all of my titles are listed. You can read the Front Page Letter for book news as well, and then read the Welcome Letter to learn what is happening in my personal life from month to month. Please visit! I'll look forward to seeing you there!
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
According to my husband, I do my best work when I'm racing to meet a deadline. Perhaps, in a way, that's true because I have a tendency to rewrite and polish my writing, trying to make it perfect, and that simply isn't possible when time runs short. That isn't to say that revision and striving for perfection are bad things, but a writer's work can lose its freshness and spontaneity if the editing process is overdone. Maybe it's a good thing that life has a way of putting me behind schedule. In most instances, I don't have much opportunity to obsess about every sentence.
I must say, though, that I prefer to write at a more leisurely pace. It seems to me that the ideas come to me more easily than when I'm not under a lot of stress.
Thank you Catherine for this opportunity! It's been great getting to know you :) - a fellow Oregonian.