Do you have a specific writing style?
I generally write in the third person limited or omniscient style. I have to say, I begin by the seat of my pants and allow my characters full reign. About one-third to half-way through the book, I'll sit down and outline the rest of the novel to keep things on track. At this point, I've got a good idea where all the personalities will end up.
How did you come up with the title?
The main character, Katrina Crimshaw, is a jewellery aficionado. She runs into a man from her past, someone she found incredibly attractive but was too shy to pursue. I combined the idea of a solitaire ring, representing her love of jewels, with the loneliness that sometimes accompanies someone who is fearful or shy, and came up with A Solitary Romance.
What books have most influenced your life most?
The Bible has had the biggest impact on my life. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite monk who lived in the 1600s, is an amazing book that I can read over and over. Coming Out of the Ice by Victor Herman also affected me—it's a wonderful tribute to the human spirit. I can't leave out the books by Dickens, Austen, and the Brontë sisters, which I read in my youth. Their works definitely lent an idealism to my mindset (which does not seem to belong to this century!), and shaped my ideas of what romance and love should be.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers is to keep on writing! Find a good editor you enjoy working with and don't rush your writing process. Read and write as much as possible and do not allow others to discourage you.
What books/authors have influenced your writing?
I've always loved how Charles Dickens could weave a story together with unforgettable characters and intersecting plots. I appreciate how he inserted humour in his books as well. I admire the way William Faulkner packed a punch and how the Brontës created amazing atmospheres, including unexpected twists in their stories. The contemporary author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, is a master of characters, atmosphere, and storylines.
What genre do you consider your book(s)?
A Solitary Romance is a sweet, or clean and wholesome, romance. It is book one of the Only Love Series, which currently consists of three books. I have also written mysteries under a pen name.
Do you ever experience writer's block?
I haven't yet had a serious writer's block. With every book, I do come to a place where I just have to grind out the story. I don't particularly enjoy this part of my writing process, but I've yet to escape this phase. Luckily, it only lasts for a chapter or two, and then I'm over the hump.
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
I would not say that I've hated any of my work. Anything can be polished, rewritten, examined with a fresh eye, or edited for improvement. I do go through some fear each time I start a new book. Will I be able to come up with anything funny? Can I do the characters justice? Will unnecessary details hinder the story? In other words, how can I possibly pull this off?
What is your favourite theme/genre to write about?
I cannot pick a favourite a genre. All of my books have at least a hint of romance, so maybe that's my top choice. The Only Love Series is straight-up romance, although the third book, A Calculated Romance, has a touch of suspense and mystery. I like to incorporate a twist or even several unexpected events in my novels, so that's a theme to look for.
Where did your love of writing come from?
I have always loved storytelling. My mother used to catch me as a toddler making up stories for my own entertainment. She fostered my love of writing by introducing me to classic literature in grade school, and I won writing awards as a teen. Then, life and career got in the way. I always hoped to return to writing, and the encouragement of a friend got the ball rolling for me.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest part of penning A Solitary Romance was just taking the plunge. I experienced a personal loss around the time that the idea started to sprout. I think this book provided a much needed distraction during those first, early stages of grief. With its overall light tone, the writing allowed me a welcome reprieve from reality.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
A Solitary Romance is ever so slightly autobiographical. I enjoyed reliving my early career days and the fun I had with one of my girl pals. Also, because everything in the book felt familiar, it required little research. I appreciated how my writing could flow without stopping to investigate other subjects. Because I love the arts, I savoured drawing on my experiences at a major auction house. There's a scene in the book where a character helps her friend squeeze into a gown in a dressing room by very creative means. This actually happened, and my friend managed to fit me in that tight, red dress by the same method! Just thinking about that little episode brings a smile to my face!
Do you write every single day?
I find I produce my best work when I am writing every day. I aim to write six days a week, although I've slipped off a little this summer since my children are out of school.
Which writers inspire you?
So many authors inspire me. At the top of the list are Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, the Brontës, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Irène Némirovsky for her spectacular, unfinished, Suite Française. I went through a stage where I only read history or biographies, and I greatly admire the work of David McCullough. His books read like novels and bring the people of the past alive. I always appreciate any writer who can surprise me with a plot twist or unexpected outcome.
What are you working on at the minute?
I am beginning the research for a novel set in the medieval period.
What is your latest book about?
My latest book is third in the Only Love Series, A Calculated Romance. This is the story of Katrina's assistant, a young rock hound named Landi, and what happens when her path crosses with that of James Crimshaw. James is featured in the first three books of the series. He is Kate's brother and a naval intelligence officer. Both he and Landi have murky pasts and a strong attraction to each other.