Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write romantic suspense. I love reading mystery, so I write that. I am also branching out into cozies (soft mysteries in told in the first person) and traditional romance.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Aside from the day I got married and birth of my children, the best day I had was spending the day in Jackson Hole with a friend. We had a wonderful breakfast at this quaint restaurant, and I had the best coffee cake I’ve ever tasted. I’d be willing to drive to Wyoming again just to eat at that restaurant. Then we spent the day driving around the area, enjoying the Fall color and the wonderful coolness of the air. And for those of us from Texas, that temperature is heaven.
How has being published changed your life?
I’ve been published 16 years, but only recently in Christian market. But, I’ve recently quit my day job. Staying at home is a wonderful thing. I can write and my schedule is mine own. When you teach school, your time is not your own. It is a joy to get up and eat breakfast and drink my tea leisurely.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading a new author, Liz Johnson. Her book, The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn, is her first book. It is always a joy to read a new author.
What is your current work in progress?
I am working on a cozy. My heroine is a livestock photographer and all sorts of shenanigans happen at the livestock show where she’s taking pictures--a murder, a stolen pig, and a good looking sheriff. And of course, the sheriff is the hero.
What would be your dream vacation?
Spending a week in the mountains of Colorado. I’d love to get a cabin in the mountains and just enjoy the coolness of the morning and smell the wonderful smells of the changing seasons. I also want to see the glorious color.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I’m comfortable with setting in the south and west. I’ve also put books in Scotland, England, and France. I spent a couple of weeks in England and Scotland just to have the experience of being there.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Rick Warren. I’d love to talk to him about his world vision. He also puts his faith into action. He is a man who has face opposition and still remained faithful.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I garden and I use it a therapy. When I get stuck on a story, I go out and dig in my garden. It inspires me.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
While I was teaching, time was the biggest obstacle. After I finished a day of teaching, I'd come home, eat, watch a little TV, then between 9-10 every night I'd write. Most of the time I didn’t feel like writing, but it’s a matter of discipline. You ignore your feelings and sit down and write. Some people might wonder how could I write without inspiration? I had it when the book was born. It’s the daily work that demands discipline. Once I sit down to write the words come and all sorts of wonderful things happen.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
You have to write. It has to be a priority. Whatever works with your schedule, you need to write weekly. Establish a goal—the number of pages you will produce each week. When I’m actively writing a book I have daily goals, usually 7 or 8 pages. Other people try for ‘x’ number of pages per week or a chapter a day. It doesn’t matter. You have to write.
Tell us about the featured book?
Guarded Secrets is a story about a man whose life was destroyed and how God reached down and turned his mourning into dancing. The heroine, Lilly Burkstrom is also a wounded soul. Her ex-husband is murdered and she knows his death isn’t an accident. The killer is soon after her, and Jon, the police detective assigned to the case, has to protect her.
Please give us the first page of the book.
The door stood ajar, and panic raced through her veins. She’d locked her ex-husband’s apartment door after retrieving his clothes for the funeral.
“Mom, did you forget to lock the door? You know Daddy always made me-” Tears clogged Penny’s throat.
Lilly Burkstrom pulled her daughter into her arms.
“I don’t understand, Mom,” Penny sobbed into her mother’s waist. “Why did Daddy have to die?”
It was a question Lilly asked herself. Peter had been murdered in a convenience store robbery gone bad.
It didn’t make much sense to her, a twenty-nine-year-old woman, so how could she expect her eight-year-old daughter to understand it?
“I don’t know, sweetie. I know you miss him. I do, too.”
Penny hugged her with a desperate intensity. “You won’t leave me, will you?” She looked up, her huge brown eyes glistening with tears.
Lilly’s heart broke. She wiped the wetness from her daughter’s cheeks. “No I won’t.” Although she and Peter had been divorced almost since Penny’s birth, they had come to terms with their failed marriage and had become friends. Peter’s recent salvation had changed all their lives. “I can take you home and do this by myself.”
Penny wiped away her tears and stepped back. “I want to help.”
Lilly pushed the door all the way open and peered inside. The condition of the apartment shocked her.
Penny gasped. “Mom, what happened?”
Lilly’s gazed swept the living room, dining room, and kitchen. It looked as if a tornado had ripped through the place, throwing things everywhere. Chairs and end tables had been tossed on their sides. The sofa had been turned over, and the cushions ripped and thrown around the room. The kitchen cabinets stood open; boxes of cereal and spaghetti spilled out from the shelves. Broken dishes and glasses littered the countertops and floor.
“I don’t know." Three days ago, when she’d been inside this apartment to get one of Peter’s suits for the funeral, everything was fine.
“I wonder if Dad’s bedroom is this way.” Penny started down the short hall.
A loud noise came from the bedroom.
Penny froze. When she turned her head, her frightened gaze met Lilly’s.
Lilly motioned for her daughter to come toward her. Penny turned and ran to her mother. Lilly rushed them out of the apartment and down the stairs. They retreated to Lilly’s car and Lilly whipped out her cell phone.
“Nine-one-one. What is your emergency?”
“I need to report a burglary.”
I'm totally hooked. Can't wait to get my copy of the book. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I also blog on http://ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/ and http://loveinspiredauthors.blogspot.com/
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