Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Interview with novelist Olga Werby

Novelist Olga Werby joins me today and we’re chatting about her new hard sci-fi novel, Harvest.

During her virtual book tour, Olga will awarding 2 books to a randomly drawn commenter (Lizard Girl and Ghost, and Suddenly, Paris
. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning experiences. She has a Master's degree from U.C. Berkeley in Education of Math, Science, and Technology. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley, and the Princeton Review. Olga has a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from Columbia University. She became an accidental science fiction indie writer about a decade ago, with her first book, "Suddenly Paris," which was based on then fairly novel idea of virtual universes. Her next story, "The FATOFF Conspiracy," was a horror story about fat, government bureaucracy, and body image. She writes about characters that rarely get represented in science fiction stories -- homeless kids, refugees, handicapped, autistic individuals -- the social underdogs of our world. Her stories are based in real science, which is admittedly stretched to the very limit of possible. She has published almost a dozen fiction books to date and has won many awards for her writings. Her short fiction has been featured in several issues of "Alien Dimensions Magazine," "600 second saga," "Graveyard Girls," "Kyanite Press' Fables and Fairy Tales," "The Carmen Online Theater Group's Chronicles of Terror," with many more stories freely available on her blog.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
“Harvest” was published in May, 2019, after almost two years of writing and editing and illustration. It got three 5-star reviews from ReadersFavorite and has been entered into a few completions.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’m a scientist. I’m very interested in the development of life, consciousness, and civilization. Over the past several decades, we’ve learned a lot about human biology not only on the molecular level (DNA) but also the chemistry and physics of biology. We can see the range of possibilities for behavior and emotion programmed into us by our evolutionary development. We’ve also learned about other human species that didn’t survive to the present day but whose echoes we carry in our very genes—Heanderthals, Homo floresiensis, Homo denisovans, and the newly discovered Homo luzonesis. There are many more, of course, but it takes time and luck to find evidence.

Only the Homo sapiens are alive on our world today. And only a small percentage of those developed the capacity or desire to take over the world and impose their culture on the rest of the peoples. Why? Why did some Hominids made it and some didn’t? Why did some civilizations flourished and others fell? We can answer some of these questions with psychology, sociology, paleontology, anthropology, biology, and simple luck.

Luck seems to have played a huge role in human evolution and survival on our planet. Those who were lucky enough to live in fertile environments with species of plants and animals that were easy to domesticate won the life lottery, so to speak. The unlucky ones didn’t make it to the present day or ended up colonized…

We have some ideas about what it takes to survive and thrive on Earth. But what does it take to survive in the galaxy? Can we use the same principles and apply them on a larger scale? “Harvest” is a book that focuses on galaxy-wide civilizations and what it takes to become one.

Excerpt from Harvest:
(Please note this book is fully illustrated.)
Chapter Two
Vars slept on the plane…or tried to. She was too confused, too keyed up to really sleep. That coffee might have been a mistake. Ian said that he couldn’t tell her anything until they arrived at his EPSA office in Seattle, which was conveniently her own hometown where she lived with her dad. The man just smiled a lot and talked about how much he had enjoyed reading Vars’s new book.
There was a strange edge to their interaction. If Vars hadn’t believed Ian’s credentials, she would have bailed on him a long time ago. Even so, she felt like she was being kidnapped. And, in a way, she was. She’d had to cancel the last two lectures of her book tour and apologize to her agent over and over again. Ian had promised that EPSA would send an official excuse letter, but Vars still felt like she let her agent and publisher down.
They landed at a general aviation airport, and another black car whisked them to EPSA’s headquarters, just outside of Seattle’s city limits. She was taken to a conference room on the top floor of the EPSA science building, which Ian called the “tree house.” She immediately understood why—it was surrounded on all sides by a balcony planted with a row of trees and some shrubbery. It was quite nice, but Vars couldn’t enjoy it; she was simultaneously exhausted and adrenalized. It was just a matter of time before she crashed.
She must have looked it, too, because someone handed her a very big, very steamy cup of coffee. She sipped it gratefully, completely oblivious to how she came to be holding it. It was still very early in the morning, way before Vars even liked to get up, much less attend a meeting.
About a dozen EPSA people joined her and Ian around the conference table. Vars noticed that several paper copies of her book were laid out; some even looked read, with cracked spines and dog-eared pages.
“So,” she said to Ian. “Is now a good time and place for you to tell me what this is all about?”
“Now is perfect,” Ian said with a big smile. “We are very grateful to have you with us today, Dr. Volhard. This is my exobiology team.” He pointed one by one to the people on one side of the table. “Dr. Alice Bear. Dr. Greg Tungsten. Dr. Bob Shapiro. Dr. Saydi Obara. Dr. Evelyn Shar. And Dr. Izzy Rubka.”
Vars had heard of some of these people by reputation, of course, but never met any of them personally. EPSA people were a reclusive bunch, tending to mix with their own to the exclusion of others, even with the same research interests. It was one of the reasons Vars always wanted to join the organization—to get access to the best and the brightest minds and a chance to discuss the origins of life over coffee... But the introductions were happening so fast, there was no chance that she would remember how any of these names linked up with faces. Vars doubted she would even recognize these people walking down the street.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently finishing up “God of Small Affairs.” In some ways, this is the opposite story from “Harvest.” While “Harvest” focused on real science and extrapolated it as far as possible, “God of Small Affairs” is about mythology, about gods who walk the earth and help shape the human race into what it has become. It is a more intimate story. It focuses on a small town in Wisconsin and it’s aging population that is in the process of becoming irrelevant due the pressures of civilization and progress. During a murder investigation, a god tries to find the best path into the future for this community. It’s human drama with a mythical twist.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote my first full-sized fiction book in 2009, “Suddenly, Paris.” I wanted to write about a strong, smart girl who was up to the task of saving the world by herself, if necessary. In some way, it was a rebellion to “Twilight.” As a teacher, I saw lots of middle school girls reading that book. When asked, they tended to reply that what attracted them the most to “Twilight” was the idea of someone loving a girl like that and providing for her and protecting her. From the psychological standpoint, the relationship described in “Twilight” is not a healthy one. No girl/woman should feel like she is going to do die if her current romance doesn’t work out. I wanted to write a character that showed another example. In my story, the heroine is very much in love, but she is willing to fight and to save the world. She is willing to do what’s right. She doesn’t sulk…well, not much.

So that was my first book. Since then, I’ve focused on developing strong characters, interesting plots, and ideas that are heavily influenced by real science and current events. Humans learn best when information is wrapped in a compelling story. I also wanted to write about people that are not the usual heroes of books—homeless kids, misfits, grandmothers, mobility-impaired, autistic, the underclass of our society, the forgotten. Fiction is great at developing empathy. I wanted to turn the full power of fiction into empathy engine! Sounds a bit preachy, I know, but I think my stories are good and fun read in addition to being meaningful.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I would love to write full-time. But I do have other work to do.

But even those lucky to devote their lives to creating fictional universes and amazing characters to populate them have to do more than just write. A modern writer has to do more. She has to promote and market her books. She has to talk about herself and hopefully inspire readers to pick up her book next. She has to be on social media and post and tweet and talk, talk, talk, talk… For a shy individual, this is a very hard thing to do. I try…

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Here’s something that blew me away. The fictional characters in stories I write have a lot more power over their fate than I thought they would (or should). I always knew that stories changed when they were written down in a tangible form. That’s true for paintings too. What’s in my head is not necessarily going to be what’s on paper. But it surprised me the extent to which characters take on a life of their own. Oh I can try to push them in the direction I thought I wanted them to evolve, but it never works out. When I push, the characters rebel. When a hero of the book is well-drawn, she doesn’t allow the writer to pull strings for her. And so the story tends to change…sometimes drastically. Is that just my writing quirk? I don’t know. Perhaps other writers fight with their characters too. Somehow I think it is a very common phenomenon.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I first thought I was going to be a children’s book illustrator. Then I was “taught” a thing or two. I freaked out and double majored in math and astrophysics, working at NASA while still in college. I decided that I wanted to be an astronaut. But I was a girl, and soon after graduation I was runover by a car and now have to use a cane to walk. I don’t think these should have been showstoppers. I still wanted to go into space. But then I get to do that by writing about it. I go farther in my books than I can in any of the latest rockets. So I’m living my dream, right?

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Read more. Review more books. As readers, we have an incredible power to shape the societal discourse. By shining light on ideas and characters, we can change the direction of the world. There are books that changed my life…again and again. It is incredible that a story can make such an impact. I feel grateful every time I find another amazing book. And as soon as I do, I tell everyone about it. Perhaps they will be just as taken and fall just as much in love with it as I did. It is an incredible power.

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thank you! This was a very thoughtful interview. I loved your questions. I am grateful for the ability to talk about my stories. I hope my answers have been interesting enough to read some of my stories!


Thanks for being here today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 9, 2019

Interview with YA author Dmitriy Kushnir

Novelist Dmitriy Kushnir joins me today to chat about his new YA fiction, Thea Reeves and The Tear of the Morning Star.

During his virtual book tour, Dmitriy will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops, too.

Dmitriy Kushnir is a Sarasota, FL local and is a student of life. In his younger years, he had served in the military and received various degrees from multiple universities. One day, Dmitriy Kushnir realized that he had just too much to share with the world and began writing in the fields of philosophy, business, religion, history, fantasy and science fiction. To this day, he has written more than 40 books under various aliases.

Welcome, Dmitriy. Please share a little bit about your current release.
I chose to write Thea Reeves series in order to inspire my daughter to read. I created a character, Thea Reeves, as a hero a young girl could look up to. It is a story about an ordinary teenager, who is entangled in extraordinary circumstances with mythical creatures and beings.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by my young daughter. I also wanted to write a series with a female character in the lead, and to have a book that is easy to read and does not leave a bad aftertaste.

Excerpt from Thea Reeves and The Tear of the Morning Star:
The girl took her eyes away from the pug and redirected all of her attention toward the raven, who sat just a few feet away from her. She talked softly, so no one, especially not even one of her neighbors or her parents would overhear. People these days may get the wrong idea from just a few misheard words, and the witch hunts and trials can begin again. Women have always been identified as the weaker sex throughout the centuries, and every time a woman spoke out or displayed any kind of strong character, she was met with oppression ... especially from the side of organized religion. Not long ago, Thea learned about Salem Witch Trials a few centuries back, and about how many ordinary women were tried by the church and by their neighbors and were executed. History tends to repeat itself.

I am no longer ordinary. Thea thought to herself, and immediately understood that no longer being ordinary could actually have a negative impact, rather than a positive one.

What exciting story are you working on next?
This will be a bit of the spoiler, but the next book (this will be book 5 of the Thea Reeves series) will be about Thea Reeves meeting the dwarf king.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The first time I earned a royalty from the sale of my first book, I considered myself a professional writer. Only once you earned any kind of income/royalty/commission, can you consider yourself to be a professional in any kind of venture.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, I have other ventures I pursue full-time. Writing has always been a hobby, even if I spend ten or twelve hours a day writing, it will always be a passion and a hobby.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
We have a vacant RV trailer on our property. If it ever gets too loud or too crowded in the house, I usually escape to the trailer in order to write. Once I went an entire day with my family thinking I was in the city, when I was only a few steps away in the trailer ... writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I honestly do not remember, but definitely not the individual I currently am. I currently inspire thousands on daily basis and have the thousands I inspire, inspire me in return.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
The reason I do not include images in my books is because images kill imagination. So put your tablet or smartphone aside, pick up a book with no pictures and give your imagination a mental exercise.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

New interview with thriller novelist Stephen Clark

Novelist Stephen Clark joins me today to chat about his new crime thriller, Hands Up.

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the Washington, D.C. bureau of Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and son.

Hands Up will be released on September 28th and is now available for pre-order at a special discount.

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews. Please tell us about your newest release.
Hands Up follows three people who are on a collision course after a deadly police shooting spins their lives into chaos. Officer Ryan Quinn, who was on the fast track to detective until he shot an unarmed black male, embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to choose between conscience and silence. Jade Wakefield, an emotionally damaged college student who lives in one of the city’s worst neighborhoods, wants to find the truth and get revenge after learning that there’s more to her brother’s death than the official police account. Kelly Randolph, who returns to his hometown broke and broken after abandoning his family 10 years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But when he is thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.    

What inspired you to write this book?
After a series of high-profile police shootings of unarmed black people in recent years, I wanted to examine race relations in America in a fresh way. A way that illuminated persistent challenges and evasive solutions. But instead of offering another tearjerker, fiery sermon or racial morality tale, I set out to create a unique story with unbearable suspense and memorable characters for an unforgettable experience.

Excerpt from Hands Up:

I’m not a murderer.
I’m not a murderer.
I’m. Not. A. Murderer.
Oh, who was I kidding? No matter how many times or ways I said that to myself in the bathroom mirror, it didn’t change the fact that I had just killed someone. A teenager. An unarmed black teenager. Yet everyone kept telling me not to worry: My partner. My superiors. The lawyer I just met. They all said it was a justified shooting. But truth be told, I wasn’t so sure about that. I wasn’t so sure about anything anymore – especially whether I’d get away with it.
I splashed some cold water on my face and studied my reflection in the grimy mirror. My eyes were bloodshot and my face paler than I had ever seen it. I looked like shit. Even worse, if I held my head at a certain angle, I resembled a mugshot of a deranged suspect I recently collared. I smoothed my close-cropped brown hair and tried to pull myself together, but my mind was still in a fog. I needed to snap out of it – and fast. Internal Affairs would arrive at my station any minute now.
As I wandered back to the interrogation room, adrenaline was still burning through my veins like a raging wildfire. I should’ve never agreed to do an interview so soon after the shooting. My partner convinced me I would be able to remember all the details better if I gave a statement right away. But I didn’t realize I would get caught up in a whirlwind of emotions after the numbness of the initial shock wore off. I tried to buy myself some time by telling the lawyer for the police union that I needed a few days before I’d be ready to answer questions. But Harrison Clyne advised me against delaying the interview because he thought it would look suspicious. Although I had just met him, I had complete confidence in Mr. Clyne. Maybe it was his graying temples, professorial glasses or formal manner of speech. Whatever it might have been that inspired confidence, it definitely wasn’t his shabby off-the-rack suit.
I hated the interrogation room we were waiting in. It reeked of body odor, stale cigarette smoke and burnt coffee. I looked around the poorly lit, windowless room and saw cigarette butts scattered on the floor. Even if I was a potential suspect in a criminal investigation, they didn’t have to treat me like a criminal. It was bad enough when my supervising sergeant took my .45 caliber Glock after escorting me back to the station. They could’ve held this interview in the carpeted conference room with the fancy swivel chairs that overlooked the parking lot. I suspected my bosses wanted to send me a message: I wasn’t going to get special treatment.
Finally, a man in a charcoal suit walked into the room and introduced himself as Nate Wiley, the internal affairs detective. My insides froze as soon as I saw that he was black. With supreme confidence and an unmistakable intensity, the detective took a seat in one of the metal folding chairs across from me and Harrison. Dark-skinned and bald with a vaguely sinister mustache, he appeared to be in his early 40s. He was articulate and polite, but I still didn’t trust him. There was no way he’d let me slide if I hesitated, even for the briefest second, in my recollection.

What’s the next writing project?
A missing girl thriller set in the Deep South with a deaf female protagonist.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
The biggest challenge in writing Hands Up was depicting the harsh realities of policing and living in a high-crime neighborhood without perpetuating racial stereotypes or glorifying violence. Adding to that challenge was trying to navigate this current cultural minefield of extreme political correctness. In fact, my initial editor split with me over creative differences after taking offense to how some of the black characters spoke and were portrayed. This editor wanted everyone to speak the King’s English, but that’s not the world I recognize or want to portray. I believe as artists, we should strive for authenticity, no matter how controversial the subject matter.     

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
Research plays a never-ending role in my novels. From conception to outlining to writing and rewriting to final edits, I am constantly researching, among other things, the jobs my characters hold, the cities they live in and the specific incidents they’re involved in. For example, in Hands Up, I needed to learn everything I could about the administrative process for cops after they’re involved in controversial police shootings. My research aided me in every stage of the writing process and affected the events of the book from the very first chapter.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
It’s been said that a clean desk is a sign of a sick mind, and a messy desk is a sign of genius. So I’m happy to say that my writing space resembles a disaster area. In my house, I have a den all to myself for writing. But I’m not sure the isolation and relative silence is the best place for me to invoke my muse. I believe I was more inspired when I had to write my first novel and most of my second one amid chaos in a crowded living room of my apartment in the Bronx.     

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
My good friend Jonathan Abrams recently released his second book, “All The Pieces Matter,” an oral history of The Wire, an HBO drama rightfully considered one of the best shows ever.  

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog again and giving authors a platform to discuss their books. I hope to continue this discussion with readers on social media.  

Facebook | Twitter 

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!

Don't forget! Hands Up will be released on September 28th and is now available for pre-order at a special discount.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Interview with contemporary romance author Katie Mettner

Contemporary romance author Katie Mettner joins me today to chat about her new novel, The Secrets Between Us.

During her virtual book tour, Katie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Katie Mettner writes small-town romantic tales filled with epic love stories and happily-ever-afters. She proudly wears the title of, 'only person to lose her leg after falling down the bunny hill,' and loves decorating her prosthetic with the latest fashion trends. She lives in Northern Wisconsin with her own happily-ever-after and three mini-me’s. Katie has a massive addiction to coffee and Twitter, and a lessening aversion to Pinterest— now that she’s quit trying to make the things she pins.

Welcome, Katie. Please share a little bit about your current release.
The Secrets Between Us is a story that I actually wrote based on a writing prompt. A rich guy goes off and hides in a place that would be totally out of character for him. For some reason, I just saw a billionaire CEO wearing a trapper hat and hiding out in a fishing camp in North Dakota. Go figure, right? I absolutely loved writing this book. Mercy is damaged, a real black widow she believes, but she’s still trying to succeed in life. She’s been knocked down so many times most people would have given up. While she hasn’t given up, she also isn’t participating in life outside her little camp. It isn’t until Hayes arrives that she starts to see she might be missing out on a lot in life by hiding. Unfortunately, her past has left permanent scars on her body and mind, and Hayes is in no way equipped to help heal her. At least he doesn’t think he is. He definitely starts out the book as the guy you love to hate, but slowly, you start to see what’s resting on his shoulders and how that has changed who he is. Mercy, in all her brokenness, is the one to offer him the mercy he needs to move on in life. I ended up falling for these two and their stories and I hope the reader does too!

Excerpt from The Secrets Between Us:
The woman was magnetizing and she didn’t even know it. She was this tiny, beguiling, alluring vision of the woman who belonged in my bed, under me, and around me every night for the rest of my life. A jolt ran through me and then a shudder.
No, Hayes, you know how that will end. You have enough commitments with work alone. You don’t have the time or energy to keep a woman happy, loved, and in Mercy’s case, protected. You’ll fail at all of those, miserably, so don’t even attempt it. She’s not like all the other women who throw themselves at your feet.
She’s different.
She’s afraid.
She’s broken.
She’s strong
She’s damaged.
She’s fierce.
She’s lonely.
She’s independent.
She wears her past every day.
She hates her past.
She hates him.
She hates what he did to her.
She hates what she did to him.
She knows who she is and she accepts she will never be anyone else.
She has more depth in her little finger than you’ll ever find in this life.
She is more in this one place than you’ll ever be running the multibillion-dollar company that holds your name.
You are weak compared to her.
Get up, walk out the door, and don’t look back.
I shook the inner voice off. I wasn’t going to walk away. I was going to stay here and spend the rest of the night with her first. Then I’d walk out of her life and she’d be all the better for it.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am always writing a story! I just finished one that I am going to submit to Harlequin, so I can’t get too vocal about it yet. I will say my next release is the third book in The Bells Pass Series, which is my Christmas Series. If you’re reading along you want to start with Meatloaf & Mistletoe, Hotcakes & Holly, and this year’s release will be on November 1st and titled Jam & Jingle Bells. It’s a fun, contemporary romance series that takes place in Michigan. You don’t want to miss it if you love Christmas romances!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always loved to read and write, but I don’t think I really considered myself a writer until I had published a few books and had a few people who read them every time. Honestly, I still don’t think of myself as a writer. I think of myself as a writer-in-training. I suppose after 42 books I can probably drop the trainee part, but the way I look at it, it keeps me striving to always do better. To reach deeper and do more to give the reader a story they will never forget. I am pretty sure I will still feel that way when I hit 100 books, 200 books, or 300 books. I will always be in training because there is always something to learn.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full-time. I’m disabled, so I write when I feel well physically. It helps that I use voice recognition software to write. I can get a lot of words down at once and that saves my hands from all the typing. Then, once the story is told, I go back through and fix what needs to be fixed in edits. I usually write early in the morning, since that’s when I’m the most rested and when my house is quiet (I have three teenagers!) I also love writing when it’s dark and the coffee is fresh. There is just something about that combination that really gets my writer’s heart going all pitter-patter.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Probably that I don’t use a desk. I sit in a recliner with my laptop on my lap in my living room. I’m disabled, so it is the only way I can find a comfortable place to write.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
It depended on the day? LOL While that wasn’t untrue, the one thing I always wanted to be was a mother, and I am, three times over, so I guess that part came true!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for hosting me today! I appreciate what you do for us as authors to help us tell the tales and get them into the hands of readers. I have over 36 published novels on my Amazon dashboard and they are all part of the Kindle Unlimited program. They range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense in various series and stand-alones, so please, feel free to check them out! I love reader feedback and interaction, so feel free to follow me on Twitter (I’m there WAY too much), join my author group on Facebook, or sign up for my newsletter. Thank you!


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 26, 2019

Interview with romantic suspense author Sylvie Kurtz

Romantic Suspense author Sylvie Kurtz joins me today as she starts relaunching her books. Today’s focus is on the novel One Texas Night.

Sylvie Kurtz writes stories that explore the complexity of the human mind and the thrill of suspense. She likes dark chocolate, knitting with soft wool, and movies that require a box of tissues.

Please tell us about your current release.
I've had great fun revising old friends—giving them new covers, sprucing up the insides, especially refreshing the technology. I love that the digital revolution allows me to keep sharing my books with new readers.

One Texas Night is the first contemporary romantic suspense novel I wrote and it contains one of my favorite types of story conflict—amnesia. In Melinda's case, seeing her neighbor murdered triggered memories of a past trauma, making her want to run away. But to have a chance at life—and love—she has to finally face what happened when she was a little girl. She won't be alone. She'll have the handsome Grady by her side as she navigates the twisted corridors of her past.

What inspired you to write this book?
The way the mind works fascinates me. A lot of the reading I do is non-fiction and a good chunk of that is psychology related. Amnesia invites so many possibilities to use in stories that it stirs up the creative juices. Humans are primed for survival and the brain will use any means it can—even making you forget something traumatic.

Excerpt from One Texas Night:
Murder didn't happen in this slice of Texas. In the twelve years since Grady Sloan had served as an officer in the Fargate Police Department, the department hadn't handled a single homicide. Now, less than twenty-four hours into his tenure as interim police chief, Angela Petersen lay dead in the Tarrant County morgue awaiting an autopsy.
As he'd inspected the small brick home on the edge of town, no bold clues had jumped up at him saying, "I did it!" Only blood—a lot of it—splattered over the lace curtains, ruffled pillows, and feminine frills strewn about the living room. No muddy footprints had marred any of the pink carpeting. No bloody knife had lain close by with accusing fingerprints on its handle. No signs of forced entry had marked any of the doors or windows.
Nothing, except the strange woman. And the undecipherable drawing she'd held.
He'd have to use every ounce of his resourcefulness to crack the case.
A lot of fun that would be with the critical town council breathing down his back and watching his every move. After his fiasco with Jamie—his otherwise spotless record notwithstanding—they'd expect mistakes, and be more than ready to point fingers.
In three weeks, Fargate would host their annual Fall Festival. The council had planned Seth Mullins' retirement celebration and the announcement of his replacement as their crowning event.
That didn't leave Grady much time to prove the town council wrong. Or to get answers from the woman who claimed not to remember her name.
His office door blustered open.
"What took you so long?" Grady snapped at his sister. Tension had him strung tighter than sun-dried leather.
"Well, hello to you, too." Desiree Sloan dumped her briefcase and large leather purse on top of his desk, ignoring the pile of papers she scrambled in the process. Flyaway wisps of light brown hair escaped from the French braid that couldn't be more than half an hour old. While she removed the jacket of her bright red business suit, she juggled a cup of take-out coffee between her hands, sloshing drops onto the carpet. Good thing it was the color of industrial grime.
His sister was a brilliant psychologist, but grace wasn't one of her attributes. She plowed through life like a scatterbrained bull in a china shop, but when it came to business, she focused single-mindedly as if facing a matador's cape in a ring. No one garnered more professional respect than Dr. Des. Which was why he'd sought her opinion this morning.
"I got here as fast as I could." She plopped into a chair, popped the loose cover from her cup of coffee and blew on the hot liquid. "You know I'm not a morning person." She leaned back into the chair and crossed one leg over the other. "So, what windmill's got your shorts in a torque this morning, brother dear? Vigilante cow-tipper? Mad donut snatcher at Mamie's?" She slapped one hand on the chair's armrest. Her blue-gray eyes twinkled. "No, don't tell me! Some low-down snake took off with the high school's royal-blue street sign again."

What exciting story are you working on next?
This work-in-progress is a little different. No romance. I tried putting it aside several times, but the characters keep haunting me. It's a mother/daughter story. Grief over the loss of their husband/father has driven a chasm between them and, when an arsonist starts burning down their small town, they have to find a way to heal before there's nothing left but ashes.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It took a long time. I've always loved by words, books, stories, but never thought I could actually be a writer. Even after I sold my first book, I kept waiting for the phone call telling me they'd made a mistake. Over the years, I was finally able to say out loud that I'm a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don't write full time, but I do try to make those butt-on-chair hours regular. I teach yoga part time and take care of my grandson part time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have to have the right name for my main characters before I can start writing their story. I also need quiet so I can hear the characters come to life. I always wanted to write in a café, but I never get anything done when I try.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
So many things. An Olympic dressage rider. A horse vet. An RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), but only to participate in the musical ride. A pilot. I was a chicken, but still had a taste for adventure.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
One Texas Night is set for free at all your favorite e-book retailers for a limited time.