How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
I created the hero of my first book, Loving Sarah, and its upcoming sequel, Owning Sarah, when I thought of the name Jesse Colter. I spent months just thinking about what someone named Jesse Colter would look like, sound like, BE like. I knew he would be part Native American. I knew he would be a capable, confident, sexy, alpha male, overcoming a brutal childhood to become a man of loyalty, honor deeply in love with the heroine. What I didn’t know until I was actually halfway through the first draft of the book, was that he was also a Dominant. Sometime during the four years it took me to write Loving Sarah, I discovered BDSM, and that just answered a whole bunch of questions I hadn’t been able to answer about Jesse’s personality and his interactions with the heroine. Once I went back and introduced that element into the story, I knew I had solved the mystery. But then I had another dilemma. What to do with Adam Sinclair, Jesse’s best friend and former SEAL teammate. He was just as good a hero as Jesse. And he proved it by not staying in the secondary role I had assigned him to, but by taking over and exerting equal claim over the heroine, having fallen in love with her himself just by hearing Jesse talk about her over the years.
2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?
In the case of both books, the characters came first. I had a general idea of where I wanted the first book to go. But if I hadn’t pared it down and deleted a lot of scenes, the finished book would have weighed eighty pounds. Fortunately, all of those deleted scenes ended up in the sequel and made for a much better story over the two-book arc than if I’d tried to address all the elements in one book. So, if you’re reading this, save EVERYTHING! You’ll find a place for it eventually.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
I vaguely know how the story will end. That being said, there were still a lot of surprises in store for me as I wrote, not the least of which was the replacement of the original villain in Loving Sarah with an equally plausible secondary villain, thus making a sequel necessary.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
I definitely have books of house plans sitting around, as well as decorative arts magazines. And the small town setting was an amalgam of all the small southern towns I’ve either lived in or visited over the years.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
If it’s a fairly quick question, I now use the internet. Before that there were libraries and books, both of which are on the wane. The novel I am currently working on is a Medieval erotic romance, which I actually wrote twenty years ago—before the internet, so all the research for that was done with books. Copious amounts of research, using many, many books over many, many years. Thanks to the deep research these books afforded me, I know much more about the middle ages than the internet could possibly tell me.
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?
I revise as I go along. Sometimes I re-write a sentence or paragraph a dozen or more times, looking for the best way to phrase what I want to say. After I have completed the book, I read it from the beginning, making further changes as I go. Then I repeat that process, this time looking for errors. Then I do it one last time, reading it out loud to check the flow, changing what’s awkward. Then I cross my fingers, shut my eyes, and press SEND.