How did you become a writer?
I've always had a pretty active imagination, creating dialogue and scene settings in my brain to help get through the mundane parts of my day. The decision to start putting my day-dreams to paper started as a challenge to myself. I filled a little journal, then typed it out at one-hundred pages, then two, and finally, lets see if I could finish. The novice romance was the classic first attempt, almost laughably cliche, and filled to the brim with adverbs and eye rolls. But it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment and the desire to push forward and learn the craft.
What inspires you to write?
This is an important question for anyone who enjoys story-telling. In short, the answer is 'Life.' Whether it's bumping into a foxy fella in line for coffee, decompressing a crisis or tragedy, or basking in a good juju up swing, I find stories create themselves with a simple 'What if.' In medicine we face these situations constantly (often all within the same twelve hour shift) and as a swooning, hopeless romantic, I am always in search of that happy ending because in real 'Life' true love and a happily ever after can be the most epic of fantasies.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I love character driven stories, and those are the stories I write. I always start by journaling as my characters and imagining their regular life; what do they order at McDonald's, what is their most guilty pleasure, what is their nervous tick? 99.8% of it doesn't touch the actual page, but it helps me to create three dimensional people that readers can relate to. Swoony, sexy Docs who talk big and love hard and smart, ass-kicking, kind hearted nurses make the best heroes and heroines, but getting to know why they are that way is important when wanting to keep characters and stories fresh. Plot for medical romance usually starts and finishes in a hospital. Medicine is in some way part of the over all plot and individual character arcs. I consider big medical scenes 'a boss battle' and are fun to write. Most of which have come from my personal experiences as an ED and Neonatal nurse.
Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?
Find me one-thousand authors and I'd bet my last dollar we'd all say the same thing. As a writer, the biggest challenge we face is usually ourselves. Imposter syndrome is real and can be a terminal threat to an author's confidence. Writing is a solo sport. Sure, you can be apart of team writing sprints, and critique groups, but when it's boiled down, writing is you, your butt in a chair, and a blank screen. Writers have to deal with a bunch of voices in their heads, and the worst is always your own telling you don't bother trying or putting forth the effort. For the occasional times your character voices are jerks and stop talking at you, take a walk. Talk it out. Hop in the shower. Drive. Find something routine and mundane and see where your brain takes you. I usually end up in my hospital parking lot, BUT I've got a plot bunny figured out.
Tell me about your protagonist. What's your favorite trait and/or weakness?
The best part of romance... you have two protagonists! Two people to cheer for and two people you want to shake your fist at because as the reader you know they're being silly or making a bad choice! ED nurse Olivia Aberdeen and Trauma doc, Dr. Anderson Cole are my southern transplants escaping their pasts in Chicago. My favorite trait for both characters is their commitment to their patients and to the ones they love, and how they both struggle to let go of what they believe are stains on their past. Carrying around guilt and regret is something so many of us do, it's uplifting to see these two overcome it together.
How does your antagonist create conflict?
Considering I'm the evil one constantly trying to keep them apart, conflict comes from their own guilt and their own perceived inadequacies. I take true to life internal/emotional conflicts that make it difficult for my characters to imagine a happily ever after. Physical conflict plays out in the medical story lines and adds a touch of "Grey's Anatomy" melodrama, which is fun to watch them overcome.
What are your current/future projects?
I have more story ideas than I do pairs of shoes... which is a fete! Currently I'm working on another steamy story about Tessa Hardt, a neonatal nurse by day, philanthropic, couple's sex therapist/dominatrix by night and her dreamy, billionaire Doc hero Dr. Fitzgerald Fox who is an alpha everywhere except the bedroom. The cue of stories go on from there!
I also have a little YA passion piece about the all star QB and his childhood love - in the marching band. It's Dawson's Creek meets Friday Night Lights.
Do you have a routine you follow when writing?
Not particularly. I find routine very limiting, and while I'm hella superstitious I don't find myself needing to repeat scenarios that bring me success. We're all busy (kids, pets, sports, jobs, volunteering, working out, texting folks back, getting 6 hrs of sleep) if I held out to follow a routine, I'd never write a single word. That said, everyone is different. Lots of people thrive on that kind of writing style, one isn't better than the other.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Trust your voice, and write every story with the passion you did the first- like the only person who will read it is you. Write what you'd want to read, so you love writing it. I think writers get stuck in their head (we flipping live here) and when we don't enjoy the writing - it's seen in the work. I struggle with this daily, and I think if I had known it was coming, I could have prepared myself a little better.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
FIND YOUR TRIBE. Like I said before, writing is a solo sport. Find yourself at least one or two people you can connect with and trust to talk out your story, and to give you honest, hard to hear feedback. I am fortunate enough to live in the Dallas - Fort Worth which has the DFWWriters' Workshop and yearly writing conference. These folks truly helped me improve my craft and gave me a creative outlet I have nowhere else. And... of course... just write. Grocery list, an ode to Monday morning traffic. Write a little something, or day-dream everyday. Your brain is a creative muscle that needs to be worked everyday or risk it starting to sag and be lazy when you need it.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?
Please hit me up on all forms of stalker media and my website where you can subscribe to my mailing list, read my blog (I dish about love, writing, and life as a nurse) and check out all the stuff I'm working on.
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