author, The Keys of the Watchmen
Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)
I was born and raised in a small town in Utah, and my world view was rocked after spending a semester abroad in Paris, and later marrying a Frenchman. We lived in New York City while my husband studied at Columbia University and then with a newborn baby moved from Manhattan to a small island in French Polynesia, where he conducted his doctoral research. Talk about culture shock! After obtaining his doctorate, my husband was hired as the principal of a private school in Tahiti, where we lived on and off for a total of eight years and added two more children to the family. Back in the States, my husband’s employment allowed us to travel throughout the world, often with our children, and I have visited over fifty countries. My children are all bi-lingual and are now married with children of their own. Our latest adventure has been to renovate a family cottage in Brittany, and my husband and I manage to visit France three times a year.
What is your favorite genre to write?
Historical suspense, but always with romance as a key element.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Mystery and suspense.
What is one silly fact about you?
I am a certified scuba diver and once came to the rescue of a crippled Korean Fishing ship when its fishing line became entangled around the ship’s propeller. My diving friend (also a woman) and I were able to cut away the rope deep under the hull with some 80 Korean sailors looking on!
What got you started on your writing journey?
I was raised by parents who valued education, proper grammar, and good literature. My father was a master wordsmith who wrote brilliant poetry, and my mother is a voracious reader. She is over 90 now, and every corner of her home is filled with books. So, I didn’t have much of a choice! I was already writing stories and poems as a child, and as a senior in high school, I was named the outstanding English student at my school because of my writing, which helped me obtain a college scholarship. I have published a non-fiction book and many non-fiction articles, but it has been a thirty-year quest to get a novel published. With the support and constant encouragement of my husband and children, I finally made it happen this year, and I see no end in sight!
Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance? Do you write steamy romance as well?
I have strong religious beliefs and morals, and I am not willing to compromise my standards by writing steamy romance. I do not and will not write erotica because I believe it cheapens both women and authentic and lasting relationships. Besides, I have found that if the storyline is compelling enough, graphic love scenes are not needed to draw the reader into the romance. Romance is all about the quest.
What other things do you have planned with your writing for the rest of the year?
I am currently working on Book II of THE WATCHMEN SAGA, and hope to have it in print by the end of the year. My husband and I just returned from France where we took 1500 photos and visited sites that will be featured in Book II. We will also go back to France in May and September before the final manuscript is completed.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
The mysteries of France are my muse, and after having received bachelor’s degrees in both French and Humanities, being a professional French translator, being married to a Frenchmen, having lived in France (where my husband and I have a cottage), having traveled extensively throughout France, and having taken tourists to France for nearly ten years, my settings and plots are absolutely a result of my life experiences. I write about what I know. As for my personality being a part of my writing, once again, I write what I know, so I am influenced by my own personality traits, but also by the personality traits of the members of my family and close friends.
How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published?
With a university history professor, I co-wrote and published a religious history, and I have also written two romantic suspense novels (also set in France) that have not been published, THE PEACOCK STONE and THE SIGN OF THE OWL. I haven’t given up on them though, and hopefully you’ll see them in print in the coming years!
If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?
Sarcastic, techie, strong-willed, resourceful, evolving
What are your hero and heroine of the story like?
My heroine is an average American teenage girl, who is bitter over her parents’ divorce and is placed in extraordinary and life-threatening circumstances. She has a sarcastic—but not mean—nature, although her strong personality can sometimes be overpowering. She quickly learns that in order to survive, she has to squelch her natural inclinations, become a team player, stretch herself, and use every resource she has in her possession to save a population and fulfill her unexpected destiny.
My hero is conservative, trustworthy, obedient, loyal, devoted to his aging mentor and their mutual cause, and initially judgmental of Katelyn, who doesn’t fit that mold. He detests her belligerent attitude, but is troubled when he realizes that he doesn’t detest Katelyn! He quickly comes to recognize that true bravery doesn’t always come in a standard package and that he can learn to trust someone who is completely different from his expectations.
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
You should read my book because you will enjoy trying to discover a centuries’-old secret , and solve the puzzle of how a 17-year-old American girl can save medieval Mont Saint Michel, one of the most magical places in France. You will be drawn in by the setting, the connection between Katelyn and Nicolas, and the suspense of whether they will be successful in their nearly-impossible task, survive their ordeal, and ultimately be together.
Do you have a favorite character you have written so far?
My favorite character has to be Katelyn Michaels, the main character in THE KEYS OF THE WATCHMEN, because she wrote herself! Her personality just flowed out with little effort on my part. At the beginning, she is in no way exceptional. In fact, she is quite sarcastic and snarky, keenly aware of the fact that everyone believes her younger brother is her intellectual superior. However, she is able to evolve when faced with a threat to her family and new friends, stretch herself to achieve the unimaginable, and forgive what she thought was the unpardonable. She retains her strong personality, but she learns that she doesn’t need to rely on sarcasm to discover her untapped potential and abilities.