Sharon Struth Interview

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We’re thankful and excited to hear from our member, Sharon Struth, who shares thoughts about her writing journey and advice for those who have recently completed their first novel.

  1.  Would you say you write women’s fiction or romantic women’s fiction? Do you write in other genres?

I’m published in romantic women’s fiction. The book I’m currently working on, however, is straight women’s fiction.

  1. What is your last published title?

My April 2018 release is Willow’s Way, a book that took on a personal journey for me.

Here’s a bit about Willow’s Way…
Willow Armstrong, the once-famous “Queen of Weight Loss” and president of Pound Busters, succumbed to stress eating after her divorce. Now the scandal of getting caught on camera binging on pizza, and the internet-wide mocking of her new curves, may destroy her career. Add in a business advisor who drained her finances, and Willow is out of options—until she learns she’s inherited a house in England’s most picturesque locale, The Cotswolds.

Willow’s trip across the pond to sell the property and salvage her company soon becomes its own adventure: the house, once owned by grandparents she never met, needs major work. Plus, single dad Owen Hughes, the estate’s resident groundskeeper and owner of a local tour outfit, isn’t thrilled about the idea of leaving . . .

Yet as Willow proceeds with her plans, she’s sidetracked by surprising discoveries about her family’s history–and with Owen’s help, the area’s distinctive attractions. Soon, she’s even retracing her roots—and testing her endurance—amid the region’s natural beauty. And the more she delves into the past, the more clearly she sees herself, her future, and the way home . . .

This story is personal for two reasons. One, I love to travel. It was delightful to get up each day and write about a place where I have such fond memories. The second reason is more personal. I’ve struggled with my weight as far back as I can remember. Like the heroine of this story, my own self-image was formed back during my childhood, where I was very aware of my weight. Occasional remarks by adults (though said jokingly) left me even more self-conscious about my appearance. This feeling carried into adulthood. I set out to write a character with the same baggage, but who slowly learns that self-love comes from within. A notion I’m slowly taking stock of far too late in my own life.

  1. Are you traditionally published, self-published, or both?

All my books were done through publishers (Kensington for my two series), with the exception of one. Though a few publishers showed interest in The Do-To List, I genre hopped a little too much and those interested said no. Readers often don’t really care if you do this…publishers do. Fair enough. Difficulty in knowing where to shelve and market a title is a big reason they’ll turn books down. But I loved the story, so took a leap into self-publishing.

Did I love self-publishing, you might ask? Not as much as I thought I would, though there are some benefits.

Cover choice and marketing freedom (with categories and price) are pluses. But you’re responsible for everything and it’s a time sink. I’d rather be focusing on writing craft and devoting time to making my books shine. For me, writing isn’t a game of volume, but a balance of quality and volume.

  1. What would be your number one tip you’d give to someone who’d just finished their first manuscript?

A first manuscript is a huge accomplishment! So take a breath, pat yourself on the back, but I have one warning… Don’t rush to self-publication before asking yourself this: Is your book ready for the public? Here’s why I offer this advice…

My first manuscript is physically sitting in a drawer in my desk. It will never be seen by anyone. I call it “My practice book.” I can now see that there is so much wrong with it. BUT, the time I spent writing it served a purpose. I learned how to piece together a novel, think about where to stop and starts scenes and chapters, and how to fully flesh out story. Experience has given me some insights into what was wrong with this book. The characters lacked in real goals, motivation for those goals, and solid (not contrived) conflict to keep the reader interested. Internal emotion was missing. My dialogue came across as stilted and didn’t sound natural—almost cliché in its tone. In hindsight, I didn’t “feel” the story. I went through the motions of writing it. But hey, it was a first book and getting through it was a feat!

So back to my first comment: If you read your book and don’t feel the type of satisfaction you get from our favorite author, then try to find out what is missing. Maybe take some online classes. Get some honest feedback.

On feedback, test readers, contests (RWA has plenty and you WILL get honest feedback), even submissions to agents or publishers can highlight areas where you still need work. Warning: feedback stings. I’ve cried from some.

Here’s what I learned, though… Let the feedback sit for a day or two, then go back and see if what you got makes more sense. Yes, maybe there is something you could improve upon. Does more than one person say the same thing? Be honest with yourself. Do you need to take some classes to improve your craft? And remember, not every person’s advice will be right or valuable. You need to learn to trust your gut and instincts about when your work is ready.

If you think honest feedback will sting, imagine a bad review from a reader, publicly placed for everyone to see. Yeah, those sting even more (and we all get them). But if you haven’t done everything to make your manuscript the best it can be, then you aren’t trying hard enough. Writing is easy. Great writing is hard.

  1. Do you prefer to write at home or go somewhere to write?

Writing is my full-time occupation and I have a small office set up for myself at home. People often ask, “Is it hard to work from home?” Yes, it can be. But I once heard a well-known author say she treats it like any job, where she gets up, showers, gets ready, and then works. So that is exactly what I do. I’m usually at my desk by eight each morning, and I wrap up around five or six each day. My two dogs are my office-mates (a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen and mini schnauzer). We take breaks for walks, investigate the refrigerator, and bark at any strangers or neighbors on our street. Oddly enough, on those breaks away from my desk, I have the best plot point revelations! Stepping away from the desk frees up the creative juices.

  1. What advice would you give an author who has just published her first book?

I’ll never forget when my first book released. As I strolled the grocery store that week, it dawned on me how people in town might have read the book. I panicked. Haha, yes, I knew the book was written to be read by others, but a realization hit me: I’d just exposed a part of myself for the world to see and judge.

So, if you’ve published your first book, here are two pieces of advice. First, start writing the next. Mainly so you aren’t overly focused on the results of the first. Second, people will tell you not to look at reviews. I say, look at them. The good and the bad. Authors need tough skin and confidence. Neither will come by hiding from what readers think. Just don’t let a bad one take you down for too long. I can get ten super reviews, and one bad. For a moment, energy goes into the one bad. When it does, I try to take Taylor Swift’s advice… Shake if off. Not everyone will love your work, but some will. That’ll make the whole journey worth it.

 

Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, was a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards for Best First Book. She is the author of the popular Blue Moon Lake Novels, which include Share the Moon. Her latest series, the Sweet Life Novels, are set in several European locations.

When she’s not working, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail, travel the world, and enjoy spending time with their precious pets and two grown daughters. She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut. For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit sharonstruth.com or visit her blog, Musings from the Middle Ages & More at www.sharonstruth.wordpress.com.

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The Thoughtful Critique

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Disclaimer: What I’ve come to understand over the course of my writer’s journey is when it comes to critiquing another writer’s work, there is no magical one size fits all formula, nor anything new.

Then why, you might ask and yes you may, read yet another article on the subject? Simple. In helping others, we help ourselves. Giving thoughtful feedback can help a writer’s growth while further strengthening our own writing skills.

To Begin:  Start by first printing out a hard copy. Refrain from marking or commenting until you’ve given all pages a thorough, thoughtful read through.

Ask yourself questions. Did the story’s narrative draw you in? Are the characters interesting, compelling? Is the dialogue realistic? Yes. No. If you find yourself not connecting with the material, read it again.

Words Matter:  Constructive feedback should strive to convey honesty yet maintain a positive tone throughout. Keeping in mind the overall goal is to encourage not discourage. Provide feedback that is helpful and guides the writer into critical thinking while enhancing strengths.

Less is More:  Avoid overwhelming the writer with too much feedback. Focus instead on key areas where the story can be improved upon and polished for the next draft. Unless asked to proofread, don’t nit-pick at every spelling, punctuation, and grammatical error.

Do No Harm:  Imagine this is you. How once upon a time an overly critical critique affected your psyche? Yeah. Really sucked. Which is why as writers we all should strive to provide feedback that motivates fellow writers to keep on writing while continuing to hone their craft. And finally, be an encourager. The world already has more than enough critics.

 

About the Author:

A.M. Wells writes contemporary womens fiction with romantic elements. She is also on RWF’s board, as Treasurer.

Her story ideas are inspired from a life of observation and inspiration, but mainly flow from an overactive imagination. Susanna’s Heart, a novella, was her first published work released in 2010 with Red Rose Publishing. A few years ago, she took the plunge into Indy publishing. In addition to writing A.M. is an artist, web designer, and graphic artist.

You can find her website at www.amwells.net.

 

 

 

Interview with Author Edie Claire

Edie Claire for RWF post 4Author Edie Claire

In April of 2017, Avery Cove wrote a blog post on writing romantic women’s fiction.

She needed to know if there was a difference between writing women’s fiction and writing romantic women’s fiction.

One of the references she sited was http://www.edieclaire.com/rwf. Edie Claire had not only a definition but also a video clip.  

Today RWF is excited to present an exclusive interview with Edie.  

RWF: How long have you been writing? What genre(s) do you write?

EC: I sold my first mystery novel to Penguin-Putnam’s Signet imprint in 1998. I published five mysteries with Signet, then sold two contemporary romances to Warner Books’ Forever imprint and two plays to Samuel French. I republished all the novels independently beginning in 2010, and now there are twenty-four – including mysteries, romance, women’s fiction, and humor. (You could say I get bored easily!)

RWF: Why did you decide that what you wanted to write was Romantic Women’s Fiction?

EC: I was frustrated by the expectation that anything called a “romance” should meet certain criteria and fall into a particular subgenre bucket. I wanted to write about people falling in love, but didn’t want my plots to be constrained or the scope of the book to be limited to those two people.  Women’s fiction appeals because it explores family and friend relationships and the plot can go anywhere… but as a reader of that genre I found myself frequently depressed by heavy subject matter and emotionally unsatisfying endings. I knew what I wanted to write – a book that includes a romance, but also has a bigger story involving multiple characters… and a happy ending. Hello, Romantic Women’s Fiction!

RWF: You are self-published and traditionally published. Is self-publishing really profitable vs the money you’d receive from a publishing house? How do you feel about the markets today?

EC: Personally, I have had significantly better success self-publishing than I ever did traditionally publishing. I was very fortunate in timing, in that I was able to make a name for myself in traditional publishing first. That helped me get a leg-up in the self-publishing world just as the e-book boom was beginning. Today it is much, much harder to get established, no matter which way you start out. But the advantage of this market is that it puts readers, not employees of publishing houses, in the judge’s seat. We can make our product available to the audience for which we’ve written (no matter how small a niche!) without having to pass through the filter of corporate approval. That allows the work to succeed – or not – based on its own merits.

RWF: Would you say your inspiration comes from a setting or characters talking in your head? What I mean is what comes to mind, first—character(s) or a place?

EC: I’m most often inspired with an idea for a book by being someplace new. That’s why I love to travel. Every new place I experience makes me ponder fictional events that could happen there. I envision the characters who could bring the place to life, and slowly they begin to flesh out as real people. THEN they start talking in my head!

(Edie – Mountain birding at Haleakala Volcano in Maui)

Edie Claire Mountain Birding 3 for RWF post

RWF: What do you find as the most difficult part of creating a novel?

EC: The earliest stages of writing, when the characters are not quite fully formed. When the book is finished and I go back to edit, I always have to redo much of the dialogue in the opening chapters. “Oh, please,” I’ll think to myself. “Mei Lin would never say THAT!”

RWF: Do your books have a reoccurring theme?

EC: The series do, yes. The mysteries have been running since 1999, when a single Leigh turned thirty, and now she’s in her late forties and is married with two teenage kids. During that time, every extended family member has followed an arc of growth and change. That’s tremendously fun to write. So are my Pacific Horizons books, where a variety of characters find inspiration in the beauty of the natural world.

RWF: Do you save bits of your story that you’ve cut from your book or just delete them?

EC: With every book, I have a separate file called “cut outs,” because I figure I might use that particular section later, and I hate thinking that I’ve wasted my time writing it. But in reality, almost everything that gets cut eventually gets scrapped.

RWF: What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

EC: Emotionally separating failures on the business end from reader appreciation of my writing. Sometimes they are related – most of the time they’re not. That’s why hearing from readers is so important to me. If I’m down because I was rejected for an ad or because sales on a particular site have tanked for no apparent reason, having someone in Arizona or Australia tell me how much they loved Alaskan Dawn will turn my mood around in a heartbeat!

RWF: Do you read the genres that you write?

EC: I used to. But nothing kills enjoyment of a novel more than realizing you are subconsciously trying to analyze it!  Luckily for me, the one genre I never write is historical, and I love them dearly, so that’s where I indulge myself. My favorite books for leisure reading are family sagas that stretch across multiple generations and continents… the longer, the better!

RWF: Would you mind sharing some of your writing process?

EC: I change my process with every book. Seriously. I’ve written by starting out with a chapter and having no idea where I was going, and I have come up with a fully-formed book idea that was totally outlined in my head and only needed to be written down. I have used no notes, and I have filled notebooks with chicken scratches. Most books fall somewhere in between. The one thing I’ve never been able to do is decide how to write a book and then actually do it that way!

RWF: What are you currently working on?

EC: Glacier Blooming, the fourth book in the Pacific Horizons series. It’s been going very slowly, I’m afraid, due to worsening of my migraines, but I hope to release it by the fall of 2018. It takes place around Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska, one of the most beautiful places on earth – and home to one of the rarest mammals, the “blue” Glacier Bear. It’s an unusual romance (aren’t all romantic women’s fiction novels?) wrapped up in the discovery of a decades-old family secret that leaves our protagonist with an impossible choice… to be continued!

~ Wow! Edie’s Polynesian Room desk ~

Edie Claire PolynesianRoomDesk for RWF post

RWF: What is the best way to reach you and learn more about your books?

EC: My website! www.edieclaire.com

Edie, thanks so much for spending time with our group and sharing some aspects of your writing life. 

Novelist and playwright Edie Claire is a former veterinarian and childbirth educator whose three children have recently flown the nest, further indulging her compulsion to write cozy mysteries, humor, and romantic and women’s fiction. Pick up an Edie Claire work and you can be assured of intrigue, humor, a touch of romance (or a hefty dose of it, depending on the book!) and an ending that will leave you with a smile. 

RWF: Where can we find your books?

EC: Currently Alaskan Dawn and Never Buried are free on Kindle.

Edie Claire bk 1 for RWF blog  Alaskan Dawn, first in Pacific Horizons series. Link to video trailer – first version was featured on USAT blog.

Edie Claire bk 2 for RWF post Never Buried, is the first in the Leigh Koslow Mystery series.

A Perspective on Writing Romantic Women’s Fiction

RWF is pleased to have one of our own as our guest blogger. Violet Howe, author of Tales Behind the Veils series and the Cedar Creek Series, shares some of her thoughts on writing. 

Violet Howe picture for blog  

Sometimes I envy authors of paranormal romance or historical romance. When they’re asked what they write, they can answer and expect a nod of recognition in return. When I respond that I write Romantic Women’s Fiction, I usually get a puzzled look instead.

For me, it’s simple to understand but harder to explain.

I usually give a loose definition that it’s the story of a woman’s journey with love along the way. If they want more, I explain that it’s a tale of her personal growth as she encounters external and internal obstacles and seeks to triumph over them. Somewhere between beginning and end, she finds love, and because it is a romance novel, somehow they end up with a happily ever after.

But a key difference in romantic women’s fiction and a traditional romance is that the happily ever after between the hero and heroine is not the answer to all her problems. It’s not the pinnacle of her growth. Whatever happens in her love life is just a part of her story and her evolution, not the only catalyst or primary end goal.

Another difference is the romance is not the only relationship of importance in the plot. Her interaction with friends, family, and/or co-workers plays a large and sometimes more important role in shaping who she is from start to finish.Violet Howe owner. Depositphotos_31800765_l-2015 For VH's RWF blog

To me, romantic women’s fiction seems more representative of real life than its more sugar-coated counterpart.

Relationships do not exist in a vacuum with just the hero and heroine and their love for each other. We are influenced by those around us, and the issues we face in the workplace, in our families, or among our closest friends affect how we deal with life and love.

Romantic love is not the only love we need, and it’s not the only love that can cause us great joy and crippling pain. Those other relationships must be factored in to create a well-rounded story of personal growth.

Reality casts a woman in many roles. Daughter, Friend, Sister, Cousin, Mother, Lover, Wife. To be true to my main character and her story, I can’t focus on one role and ignore the others. I have to flesh out the many facets of her life and explore who she is and how she got there, then invite my readers along for the ride as she discovers where’s she’s going and who she will be at the end.

I believe this ultimately helps us relate to each other. After all, womanhood is in many ways a sisterhood. Even when our circumstances are vastly different, we can find common ground in our relationship experiences. Through shared stories, we can commiserate. We can understand each other. We can support each other.

Violet Howe owner Depositphotos_31707891_l-2015

Experiencing life through another woman’s eyes may even help us process our own failures, shortcomings, and victories.

Maybe the simplest definition of romantic women’s fiction is stories of women living their lives. And that’s what I write.


Interested in Violet’s newest book, Building Fences? We’ve got the cover and the blurb!Violet Howe's book 0218_BuildingFences_JF_Ebook

Caroline Miller has often fantasized about finding the mother who’d given her up for adoption. When an unexpected phone call gives her the opportunity to meet her birth mother face-to-face, she jumps at the chance.

But as the weekend turns into a series of mishaps and disappointments, Caroline wonders if she’ll ever be able to find peace with her beginnings.

Could a case of mistaken identity lead her to find the life she’s dreamed of and the family—and love—she thought she could never have?

This MeetCute novel by Violet Howe is the first volume in the Cedar Creek Family Collection.


Thank you, Violet, for giving us a glimpse of your view on writing romantic women’s fiction.

Violet Howe enjoys writing romantic women’s fiction and romantic mystery/suspense. She lives in Florida with her knight in tarnished armor and their two handsome sons. They share their home with three adorable but spoiled dogs. When she’s not writing, Violet is usually watching movies, reading, or planning her next travel adventure. You can follow Violet’s ramblings on her blog, The Goddess Howe. 

Author Website:  www.violethowe.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/VioletHoweAuthor

Facebook Reader Group: Ultra Violets https://www.facebook.com/groups/VioletsUltra/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/violethowe

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Violet_Howe

Violet’s Latest Release:
https://www.books2read.com/b/BuildingFences

 

Interview with Mary Gardner

18 RWF Interview Photo Mary Gardner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are excited to learn more about last year’s RWF Secretary, Mary Gardner.

Would you say you write women’s fiction or romantic women’s fiction?

I write more romance than women’s fiction. My stories have a strong love story with a happily-ever-after, but primarily focus on the women’s journey.

Want to tell us what you’re working on?

My current project, MISSING, is a 95,000-word contemporary Christian romantic women’s fiction novel about a thirty-one-year-old woman who wins the lottery and learns she was kidnapped from the stroller she shared with her identical twin sister while her biological mother was shopping. An ex-FBI agent seeks to protect her from her adoptive family, who set out to kill her for her lottery winnings and helps her reunite with her biological family.

What are your favorite books to read?

My favorite books fall into the category of contemporary romance and romantic women’s fiction.

When writing do you read in genre your writing in or something else?

I’m trying to read more in the genre while I’m writing. I think it’s part of the business to stay current in the area you’re writing. My time is limited when I’m in the middle of the project, so I’m selective. I also like to read craft books.

Do you have a running theme for your books?

I write small town heartwarming books with running themes of trust, hope, healing, family, and the power of forgiveness.

Which do you feel you learn more from – an online class, local workshop, or writer’s craft book?

This is a hard question because I learn different things depending on each category. I’ve had more ah-ha moments from online classes, especially if they are interactive. I’ve learned more about making connections, building networks and platform building at local workshops and conferences. I’ve learned a variety of different writing techniques from writer’s craft books.

Where do you find inspiration?

I think most of my stories are based on what-ifs from stories I’ve seen on the news. The story I’m working on now came from two types of events. We’ve all heard about people who have won the lottery. Unfortunately, we’ve also heard of children disappearing and never being found. I remember hearing about a woman who took a baby and was found living in the same city as the child’s biological parents.

How do you fit writing into your life?

It can be hard to balance writing with life. I’m learning to say no to things I’d like to do in order to make more room for writing time. I find I get too caught up in other activities and allow them to eat away my writing time. The one thing I don’t say no to is my family. In fact, I’ll always pick family first. I raised two boys and always went to their events. I don’t regret a single second of the time I gave them that might have been spent on writing. I know that will be true with my granddaughters too.

How do you fit editing into your writing life and the one you actually live in?

As an unpublished writer, I don’t have the conflict with writing deadlines conflicting with the need to edit a different project.

Are you a plotter, pantser, or combination of both?

I’ve always been a pantser. I’m learning to do a combination. My manuscripts are longer and after getting lost in a few stories I’ve learned that I need an outline. The plot outline is never set in stone for me, but having a guide keeps me focused on where I want to go. Sort of like taking a trip and knowing where you are going to go but not necessarily how many stops or detours you’ll make along the way.

Do you plan your writing time? Or do you go with the flow of family to-do’s and work out your writing in between?

I’m in a different stage of life that allows me to plan my writing time around my family activities. I don’t have the day-to-day care of anyone other than my cat. I can schedule my writing time around my granddaughters’ activities.

Do you prefer to write at home or go somewhere to write?

Home. I’ve tried to write somewhere else but unless I’m alone I get distracted by what’s going on around me. I’m a people watcher.

Do you first come up with a setting or character for your story idea?

My stories are character driven. I know my characters before I ever sit down to develop an idea. Setting may change, but it will always be a small-town. A lot of times I know the basics of the plot at the same time I know my characters, but I have to spend time developing the journey.

Mary’s Bio:

Mary Gardner’s writing journey came in two phases. The first was focused on contemporary category romance and ended in 2008. Her second began in 2016 when she felt called back to writing. This phase of her writing is focused on novel-length Christian romantic women’s fiction.

She joined Romance Writers of America in 1981 and is also a member of several online RWA chapters and the local chapter. She also belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers and the Indiana Chapter of ACFW.

Prior to 2008, she attended several RWA National Conferences. During that time, she was blessed to final in thirteen contests, winning her category in seven. A previous version of MISSING won the Grand Prize in the Marlene Awards Fiction with Romantic Elements in 2006. Another manuscript, ALL MY TOMORROWS, was a 2007 RWA Golden Heart finalist in the Long Contemporary Category, and 2nd runner up in the Harlequin Super Romance Conflict of Interest Contest in 2008.

After a 2006 early stage breast cancer diagnosis, surgery, and developing lymphedema in her arm, combined with other life challenges, she began to doubt that writing was her calling and in 2008 decided to put her writing on hold. During the pause, her youngest son blessed her with two beautiful granddaughters. Sadly, her oldest son went to Heaven at age forty-two after a twenty-year battle with cancer. Seven months later, her husband joined him after a long battle with an early onset Alzheimer-like dementia.

As she began to settle into her new normal, she began writing again. Unlike the previous phase of her writing, she knew that her focus needed to be on contemporary Christian romance or romantic women’s fiction novels and began focusing on small town, heartwarming stories about love, hope, healing, family and the power of forgiveness.

Currently her agent, Cyle Young, and his Jr. Agent, Bethany Morehead, from Hartline Literary Agency, LLC, are submitting a proposal for MISSING to multiple publishers.

You can find out more about Mary at www.marygardner.net

Personal Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/mary.gardner.581525

Author Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/marygardnerauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaryGardner6

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-gardner-600b1740

Thank you Mary for being a part of our RWF Interview series. If you have any comments or questions for Mary, we’d love to hear from you.

 

 

Interview with Tina Newcomb

Tina Newcomb pic

Today we meet Tina Newcomb.

RWF:  Would you say you write women’s fiction or romantic women’s fiction?

TN:  I write sweet contemporary romance/mainstream with romantic elements (I know that’s a mouthful, but it’s the closest description I can come up with). I am working on a women’s fiction novel that I hope to pitch at RWA in 2018.

RWF: Want to tell us what you’re working on?

TN: I’m working on a series set in a fictional town of Eden Falls, Washington. I’ve finished five books and hope to complete at least one more by the end of 2018. I plan to self-publish this series (one book a month) starting in July of this year.

RWF: What are your favorite books to read?

TN: When I have time to I read, I turn to women’s fiction. Just a few of my favorite authors are Karen White, Barbara Delinsky, Sarah Addison Allen, Barbara Claypole White, and Barbara O’Neal.

RWF: Do you have a running theme for your books?

TN: Each book in my Eden Falls series is loosely based on different occupations. Book one is about a flower shop owner who uses the Victorian language of flowers to build her bouquets. This art is mentioned in each book.

Eden Falls has small town charm where smiles are frequent and a helping hand is always near.

RWF: Which do you feel you learn more from – an online class, local workshop, or writer’s craft book?

TN: I think I learn more from local classes or those I attend at the RWA Conference. I don’t have enough discipline to follow through with the online classes—I would rather be writing. I have a whole library of craft books that have never been opened.

RWF: Where do you find inspiration?

TN: I find my inspiration while traveling. I usually start with a setting and add characters. My husband and I take a two-week driving vacation every year and I always come home with a rough outline for a book. The series I’m working on came after a trip through Washington State. My women’s fiction will be based on an island we visited while in Maine.

RWF: How do you fit writing into your life?

TN: I write six days a week. Even if I can only edit a page or two, I make time to sit at my computer and write.

RWF:  Are you a plotter, pantser, or combination of both?

TN: I’m a pantser. I know the beginning of my book, I usually have an idea for my black moment, and I know how it will end, but the middle is a total mystery until I get there. I’ve tried to outline and plot several times, and I’ve tried several different methods, but I end up frustrated.

RWF: Do you plan your writing time? Or do you go with the flow of family to-do’s and work out your writing in between?

TN: I watch my grandson during the day, so I have to work around visits to the library, or the museum, bike rides and trips to the park. I wake up early and try to write an hour before he comes. I also try to get in an hour or so after his mom picks him up in the afternoons.

RWF: Are the stories you write based more on the woman’s journey or more on the romance?

TN: I believe my stories are based on my character’s journey whether male or female. I sprinkle romance in and I always have an HEA.

RWF: Do you prefer to write at home or go somewhere to write?

TN: I write in my office, on my bed, or in the family room.

RWF: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo?

TN: I love NaNoWriMo! I’ve participated twice and completed both projects I started. Having only thirty days, really pushes me and keeps me focused. I do have to plan a rough outline (eyelid twitches) for NaNo.

RWF: Do you first come up with a setting or character for your story idea?

TN: Setting always comes first.

Thank you, Tina for sharing your writing time with us.

About Me

I was born and raised in Utah on the foothills of the spectacular Wasatch Front, where life as a kid was magical. Summers were spent hiking or swimming in the neighborhood pool, winters were for sledding down mountain hills. I acquired my love of reading from my parents. My mother was a librarian and stacks of books were always close at hand. I wrote my first (more than three page) story in fourth grade. Tobie, my heroine, bravely solved The Mystery Behind the Iron Door. I took writing classes in college and stories began to develop.

I moved to Memphis, Tennessee as a young mother and lived there long enough to learn “Bless your heart” is almost always followed by an insult, fried chicken is a staple, and any measurable snow will, most likely, close the schools for days. I do miss the dogwoods in spring and the smell of barbecue permeating the air at Memphis in May.

My pen and paper were put away as adult life and motherhood took precedence. Three kids later, I wrote my first novel, but had no idea what to do with it. It ended up in a box on a shelf. Numerous years later I came across the manuscript in a closet. I pulled it out, dusted it off and started all over again.

I now live in beautiful Colorado with my (amateur) chef husband. Six of our eight kids and one of three grandkids live nearby.

Fun Facts:

  • I have the most loving, generous, PATIENT husband in the world.
  • I’m grateful for my kids.
  • I adore my grandchildren.
  • My mother introduced me to The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart.
  • My father introduced me to non-fiction.
  • My favorite author is LaVyrle Spencer.
  • Crazy as it sounds, I love to clean.
  • My favorite ice cream is pralines and cream.
  • I don’t have a favorite color or a favorite flower.
  • My least favorite flower is a sunflower. (I know, I’m damaged).
  • I love Bear Lake, Utah, raspberry shakes and Miami, Florida strawberry shakes.
  • Country is my music of choice.
  • My favorite season is spring (closely followed by fall).
  • Chinese or Mexican food? Don’t make me choose.

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