author, Falling Like a Rock
Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)
I come from a dysfunctional (no more than many, however) family of seven children, am married, have two kids, three grandkids. I spent many years using my writing skills in p.r. and communications for nonprofits but always have freelanced, too. Over the years, I visited Ireland twice (my husband’s family’s background), other places in Europe, and Bulgaria twice, which is somewhat unusual for an American. Adventures include breaking my ankles several times, once in a movie theater, climbing ONE Colorado mountain, blowing up a gas furnace, and getting hit by a semi after an ice storm. I used to enter cooking contests and was twice a finalist to the National Chicken Cooking Contest and once to the Pillsbury Bake Off. One of my strong personal beliefs is volunteer involvement. Another is doing the best I can. Over the years, my beliefs have become simpler and my goals more modest.
What is one silly fact about you?
I’m an anarchist. Not the bomb-throwing type, the take-responsibility-for-yourself type. Years ago I read a book titled “In Defense of Anarchism” (still available), and I was converted. It answered all my questions about how to live in this world. Consider what you believe is right, wrong, worth changing, worth preserving on every matter; then live your life based on those points. I think this point of view has lead me to value each person for his inherent self and treasure my experiences.
Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance? Do you write steamy romance as well?
There are no heaving bosoms and throbbing loins in my books. My characters have sex, believe me, or, more apt, they make love. They just don’t do it on-stage. Any psychologist—or writer—will tell you human emotion is the key factor in sex. Without it, the act is mechanical, not much different from eating or defecating. And if a writer’s going to have good sex scenes, he’ll emphasize emotions. So that’s what I emphasize in my writing. Being the old-fashioned person I am, I also prefer not to risk offending readers. I take enough chances with that in the realm of social activism.
What other things do you have planned with your writing for the rest of the year 2015?
I’m working mainly on two manuscripts. Writing doesn’t come quickly to me, and Never Retreat is now heading toward two years in the making. The protagonist, Ramona Soto, a struggling single mom, faced harsh reality 18 years ago when she got knocked up by a roving con man only to discover after several other relationships, men aren’t the answer. Now at thirty-something she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm in Denver, but with son Andy preparing for college, she longs to break the glass ceiling and leapfrog to a better position. The company retreat provides the opportunity. Top executives plan to award bonuses and promotions based on the skills shown by key employees. Enter Desmond (Des) Emmett. Newly transferred from another base of operations to handle the security department, the ex-serviceman fills every negative qualification Raye carries around on a mental list for the guy to avoid. He’s matched with Raye as teammates at the isolated retreat location. Initial conflict and antagonism turn to hidden attraction, when they collide with an insurmountable obstacle. Only one of them can achieve the top honor. Mother Nature intervenes with the perfect summer mountain storm accompanied by a massive flash flood. Cut off from help, their very existence endangered, they and their co-workers confront a wall of water sweeping down the rocky canyon. I also am working on a satire about government and government employees entitled Civil Servants. Not a romance, this one’s been in progress for a good 15 years.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
Plenty. I’ve used my broken ankle, trips to the mountains, Colorado storms, bits and pieces from people I know, my own secret fears, my perspective and philosophy of life about the environment and importance of family, a water heater blowing up, the local gym and weight room, a visit to Ireland. I find it interesting that the writing process rescues many memories and feelings and helps me work through them. Lots of my unpublished material contains even more, but so far few are interested in the wacky ways of my family.
Please share about your book:
When you’re ‘falling like a rock,’ you’ll risk anything, as the couple in my book learn. Unloved and unemployed. That’s Elaine Svoboda, after she’s sacked, then flees across country to her boyfriend who drops her flat. Teetering on the abyss of disaster, she calls an old friend who invites her to a tiny mountain town with fresh prospects. There she meets rugged, hunky Joe Richter-Leon, mayor of Falling Rock. Maybe he can help her find a job. Maybe they can become friends, even share romance. Sparks fly immediately, but major obstacles make a new life on the ashes of the old appear impossible. Joe’s consumed with challenges like the dismal local economy and an impetuous sister. Elaine butts heads with him at every turn in the rocky road. Are her bungling attempts to help the problem? Or does she remind him of a greedy, selfish ex-wife? Before they can build a new life on the ashes of the old, she must overcome a few obstacles like a broken ankle, an eating disturbance, his stubbornness, and her own fears. She’s smothering her hopes when a battle with a forest inferno illuminates their true feelings and desire. Funny and frank, poignant and perceptive, when two people are “Falling Like a Rock,” they learn surrender sometimes means victory.
What are your hero and heroine of the story like?
These are ordinary people whose lives become extraordinary, true for many of the best of us, if you think about it. They aren’t rich, beautiful, or super-talented; but they learn from experience and one another, face their fears in order to grow, and bring out the best in each other. Yes, they make mistakes, but since people learn more from failure than success, I hope readers realize these characters value their journeys through life.