It was a few days before Christmas break at the school where I taught, and I was playing around with the novel I’m currently writing. My agent asked if I’d be interested in doing a novella, which was something I’d never attempted before. Around the same time, I got intrigued by the idea of what would happen if someone brought the war to the homefront and the story was born! Unlike most Christmas stories, it was actually written over a Christmas vacation. Later, I found out the two other writers involved were Susan Sleeman and Debby Giusti, and I could not believe I got to be a part of a project with two women who I consider to be amazing suspense authors.
What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
If you want the truth, people falling down on TV. I’m sorry, I know it’s not high brow humor, but I can’t help it. I love the old school comedians who had really learned the art of physical comedy, like Tim Conway, Don Knotts and Carol Burnett. They could get a laugh without saying a word and play completely deadpan while doing it. On the Carol Burnett Show, Tim Conway could get the rest of the cast completely out of the zone to the point that they’d break the fourth wall and look at the audience to share the laugh. Priceless. No matter how many times I see it, the skit where Conway improvs the story about the Siamese elephants makes me laugh until I cry. That particular era and group of comedians went to a place I think is totally unappreciated today.
Tim Conway's a favorite of mine too! What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
So many! I grew up very close to my eight cousins and many of my second cousins. We were always in the backyard at my grandmother’s playing Ghost in the Graveyard or catching fireflies. Those moments… and our traditional Christmas Eve get-togethers, all blend together in a blend of incredible memories. One year, my aunt was visiting from Connecticut and put together the most epic water balloon fight you can imagine. It involved hundreds of balloons and probably twenty of us total. You can’t beat a moment like that.
Hatteras Island, North Carolina. There’s a tiny little town south of the Point, Frisco. In all of the world, my favorite place is on the beach right by the old Frisco Pier. God and I have had a whole lot of very important conversations there. Out there, it’s just you and the ocean, not a whole lot of people, and there are places where you can drive and not see another soul. You’d have to see it to believe it, and I’m currently plotting two novels set out there, one a suspense and one a contemporary romance.
Sounds wonderful. Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
Hatteras, obviously. The last time we went, I drove the five hours home by myself, and a character just wouldn’t stop talking to me about her life out there. It was awesome.
What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Anything you can throw on a charcoal grill. My husband makes a knock-your-socks-off burger stuffed with sharp cheddar and bacon. And my dad makes the best shish kabobs you ever ate.
Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?
My office. When I was growing up, it was my grandmother’s sewing room. When we bought her house after she died, I made it my office, and my desk sits right where her sewing table sat. The light is great, the trees outside the window are beautiful, and it’s my space with my chair, bookcases, and all I need to do whatever I need to do that day. There’s peace in there, and that sense of history that comes from knowing I’m creating in the same space as my grandmother. Sometimes I just sit at my desk and relish the view and the feeling that she’s still here with me.
Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
Zephaniah 3:17 (NAS)-- "The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
For me, this is my relationship with God, born out of a long season of condemnation that I battled with. God is my warrior who saves me and delivers me, and he loves me so much. When he sees me, he rejoices over who I am in Christ, who I am washed clean. He doesn’t see me as the sins I’ve committed. And he sings over me, like a father over a child. That’s just… wow.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Quilted by Christmas, from Abingdon, has just released. I’m currently working on two more for Love Inspired Suspense, tentatively titled Smokescreen and Ricochet, about a specialized military unit that deals with cyber investigations. Smokescreen should be out later next year.
Thanks for sharing today!
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