author, The SEAL's Angel
Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)
Thank you for allowing me to spend time with your Clean Romance Reviews readers and to share my newest release, The SEAL's Angel.
My background includes a degree in zoology -- no help for writing there, but a great career if you love the outdoors. I spent a few years working for the state of Florida surveying lakes, streams, and marshes for aquatic vegetation, using every type of floatable craft and more often than not airboats. The rest of my career was spent as an aquatic biologist for the Walt Disney World Resort. I worked in the land of fairy tales by day and wrote my own fairy tales at night. I gave up my wonderful day job last summer to write full-time.
Most writers are readers. What are some of the books you have on your nightstand and/or on your "must read" list?
The books presently on my nightstand are Diana Gabaldon's Echo in the Bone and Grisham's Sycamore Row. My must-read list contains any new books by Monica McCarty [sadly, no relation], Rachel Gibson, Tessa Dare or Cathy Maxwell.
And of course, whatever follows Evanovich's Top Secret Twenty-One.
What is your favorite genre to write?
Contemporary romance, though my present WIP is a time-travel romance.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Any genre of Romance. I'm addicted to happily-ever-afters. *grin*
What other things do you have planned with your writing for the rest of the year 2015?
I've started work on a second series: The Cinderella Romances -- fall in the love with the fairy tale all over again. Not a true series with returning characters, but a series of love-at-first-sight tales guaranteed to make you believe there’s a Prince Charming just for you.
The first story -- Cinderella Busted -- is complete and being reviewed by a publisher. The romantic fairy tale shifts to present-day Jupiter Island when a beautiful gardener is mistaken for a wealthy socialite by a billionaire resort developer.
Anxious for one fabulous date with her handsome prince, the gardener cultivates her inadvertent masquerade. Love at first sight controls their mutual attraction, and feelings run deep before her deception is inevitably discovered.
Well-meaning friends on both sides are determined to intercede and resort to inept high jinks to reunite the estranged couple, while a vindictive ex-girlfriend plays dirty to keep the couple apart. Just when the concocted reunion schemes are about to succeed, an explosive finale disaster threatens to submarine the “happily ever after.”
I also have a WIP titled Duke Du Jour. The fourteenth Duke of Reston falls into a fountain in an overgrown section of his ancestral estate and wakes up in regency England in 1816 where he is mistaken for his great-great-and-so-on grandfather, the seventh Duke of Reston, who has been missing since the battle of Waterloo.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
There is no greater feeling in the world than to have someone approach you or email you and say, "I just read your book, and I loved it!" We don't write for the money. We write to entertain others.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
I love this question. In my first published novel Everglades, the heroine Kayli Heddon is sent on an airboat safari into the famous and dangerous River of Grass to do a photo-essay for the governor and ends up stranded overnight with her hunky, though mysterious airboat guide.
I spent two years of my career doing aquatic plant surveys all over Florida usually aboard airboats. Everything that happens to Kayli Heddon on the airboat safari in the story happened to me at some time in my career: the bug storm, swimming with a gator, the leeches, the heart-stopping airboat maneuvers. Everything, that is, except getting stranded overnight with a sexy, hunky airboat guide. I never got one of those. *sigh*
How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published?
I've completed a total of eight novels and have three other partials more than half-done. Of the eight completed novels, five are under contract to Desert Breeze Publishing and a sixth under review by a publisher. My first two novels are happy to be stay-at-home manuscripts. *wink*
What are the elements of a great romance for you?
Every reader is different, but for me, the best and most memorable romances have a hero who isn't gorgeous or ripped. Instead, he is smart or funny or a little quirky, and he does things for the heroine that make you sigh, "Awww!"
Nora Roberts' character, Carter Maguire, in the first of her Bride Quartet, Vision in White, is a perfect example. The "professor" wasn't a hunk; he was adorable with his quirky, sweet nature. I recently read another great example in Megan Bryce's To Wed the Widow. Her hero George Sinclair was sweet, funny, and carried a Pomeranian puppy in his pocket. Altogether a memorable hero.
Please share about your book
In this new MAR, Navy SEAL Sean MacKay's teammate is murdered after stealing a deadly nerve-gas formula from Syrian terrorists. Naval Intelligence believes MacKay's teammate was a traitor and shipped the stolen formula to his sister in the states for safekeeping. MacKay is given orders to find the sister before the terrorists do and to retrieve the stolen formula at all costs.
Foreclosure looms for Cory Rigatero as she struggles to keep her rustic resort near Mt. St. Helens afloat after her brother deserted her to join the SEAL Teams. Cory's whole world dives into a tailspin when Sean MacKay shows up at her resort with the news of her brother's death and the wild suspicion her brother may have sent her traitorous classified documents for safekeeping. No way will Cory trust MacKay -- the man who once seduced her and then vanished into the night without a trace.
What are your hero and heroine of the story like?
Both the hero Sean "Mac" MacKay and the heroine Cory Rigatero have trust issues -- Mac because he is a product of the foster system, and Cory has only her Bel Tesoro resort family for support. Thrown into a double melee -- Syrian terrorists are coming after Cory and someone local is sabotaging her resort -- Mac and Cory are forced to depend on and trust each other, so they can save Cory's resort and prove Cory's brother is no traitor.
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
With a colorful supporting cast, The SEAL's Angel provides scene-to-scene suspense that will have you rooting for the delightfully "flawed" hero and heroine both.
Do you have a favorite character you have written so far?
Hands down, it's Skye Landers from my novel, Everglades. I never got to survey with a sexy, hunky airboat guide, so I wrote my own. *grin*