Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
Well, I'm a biochemical engineer who also has a doctorate in veterinary science, is a semi-professional actress, and has just been crowned with a lovely laurel coronet and named Goddess of Oklahoma. Okay, just kidding. I teach high school English in Oklahoma, have been reading and writing as long as I can remember, and I have been published since 2001.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
Definitely Shannon Parker of the Divine series because 1) embarrassingly, she's basically me 2) I created the world, Partholon, as my ultimate fantasy land 3) her husband, ClanFintan, is my perfect man/horse/whatever.
What's your favorite genre to read?
I read everything and don't have a favorite genre. I love a good story that makes me feel like I'm walking around in the book world and that I might see the author's characters if I look hard enough.
Who or what influences you when you write?
Lots of things influence me. I surround myself with things that reflect the book I'm writing, and I like to take trips and do things that I can use in the book, too. Example: while I was writing DIVINE BY BLOOD (Luna, Sept 07) I traveled to Oklahoma's Alabaster Caverns and Great Salt Plains. Both trips are reflected in the book.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
Write! Seriously, I prefer to write at night and am typically most productive from about 9:00 pm to 2:00 or 3:00 am. That's not practical if I'm teaching, so I start earlier and end sooner, but all summer I pretty much flip-flop my days and nights.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
I don't believe in writer's block. I have deadlines and bills to pay. Sometimes I don't want to get up and teach high school students but I do because it's my job. Same thing with writing. Sometimes I feel like a book is killing me, but I'm a professional and that means I have to put my butt in my chair and my fingers on the keyboard and write.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
I'd love to! In May the first book in my new paranormal YA series for St. Martin's will be released, MARKED: A HOUSE OF NIGHT NOVEL. I've coauthored this series with my fabulous daughter, Kristin, and we're very excited about it. It's my first foray into YA, as well as the first time I've written about vampyres. Both were equally fun!
In June Berkley will release the fifth of my Goddess Summoning Books, GODDESS OF LOVE. This book is hilarious and hot hot hot! (No, my Goddess Summoning Books don't have to be read in any particular order.)
In September LUNA will release my next Partholon novel, DIVINE BY BLOOD. This book was heart wrenching to write, but I love it. It tells the story of Rhiannon's daughter, Morrigan, and is set in Oklahoma and Partholon. It does stand on its own, but I think your reading experience will be richer if you have read DIVINE BY MISTAKE and DIVINE BY CHOICE first.
Then in October the second in my YA series will be released, BETRAYED: A HOUSE OF NIGHT NOVEL.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
Right now I'm working on my 2008 Goddess Summoning Book which will be set during the Trojan War. The sexy Achilles is my hero. From there I'll jump into the first two books of a dark paranormal series I've sold to Nocturne, and then back to the third YA book. I'll round out the year by completing my novella for MYSTERIA II (Berkley July 2008). Busy busy busy!
In 5 years, where do you see yourself? -In general and in you're writing career.
In five years I won't be teaching full time, but I will still be taking on an occasional class for our local college, Tulsa Community College. I'll be traveling more and consistently hitting major bestseller lists.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
Fictional hero I didn't create - Jamie Frasier (Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books). Anyone who's read the series knows why Jamie is perfect.
Real man - my dad because he's so well rounded: an athlete, a scholar, an artist, and because his support and respect mean so much to me.
What do you do for inspiration?
I travel, hike, spend time in the light of the full moon, read, drink excellent wine, go to art openings, eat at fabulous restaurants, overindulge in mimosas quite often, spend time with my wonderful group of successful, independent, intelligent girlfriends, and basically live a full life with a focus on the positive.
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
Definitely. I'd love to write a horror novel, and an idea for a women's fiction novel won't leave me alone.
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
The exact type of books I write - those that celebrate, empower, and entertain today's fabulous women.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I love to research (it always gives me ideas for even more books!). I read a lot, talk to experts, travel, and spend time on the Internet.
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
As I said before, writing is my job. Deadlines are just part of that job. I don't understand the rose-colored-glasses viewpoint of the author as someone who can't write unless she is somehow magically zapped/inspired/touched by a nebulous "muse". I guess you would say my muse understands I have bills to pay and people who count on me to keep my word and turn in my work on time.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
Although I've been writing for as long as I can remember, I didn't actually submit a manuscript until I finished my first novel, GODDESS BY MISTAKE, in 2000. Then Teresa Miller, a good friend of mine who is also Executive Director of Oklahoma's Center for Poets and Writers, introduced me to the owner of a small, local press. He said he was interested in the manuscript I was writing - I submitted it to him when it was completed - and he bought it.
What would you like to tell your readers?
That I sincerely respect and appreciate them, and that I love to hear from them!
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
Best - just write. There's no magic pill that makes it easier.
Worst - don't have sex with a man before you marry him.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I sell on proposal, and that's like an outline, so I guess you'd say I outline. But they always change a lot between the proposal stage and the finished product.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I've never belonged to a critique group.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
GODDESS BY MISTAKE published in August 2001.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
My website is a good place to start. All of my books are listed there. My blog is updated more regularly, so they might want to visit it, too.
Thank you for this opportunity!