1. How did you get started writing?
I started keeping a journal at age 7, and at age 10 I made a list of life goals that included publishing a story, so I kind of always wanted to be a writer. But it wasn’t until my husband dared me to co-write a romance novel with him that I actually tried my hand at (and finished) something novel-length. It’s not a good novel (it lives in a drawer), but it proved to me that I could do it. After that I got serious—I started I SHALL BE NEAR TO YOU (which became my first published novel) and I used it to get into the MFA program at St. Mary’s College of California. I really wanted to study the craft, and I figured an MFA would allow me to teach (I was a high school English teacher at the time). I finished the novel in the MFA program and queried with it the Fall after I graduated. I really wanted to be traditionally published, so that was the path I pursued and it worked out really well for me.
2. Out of all your books, which one is your favourite and why?
I’m going to say I SHALL BE NEAR TO YOU because I just fell in love with the protagonist and because it was my first published novel.
3. What is your favorite thing to do outside of writing?
Horseback riding! I used to show competitively in three-day eventing and dressage, but since having a kid I mostly ride at home in our pasture and out on trail rides.
4. What do you love most about the genre you write?
I love the research part of writing historical fiction and I love discovering the ways in which the past still resonates in our present. I also really love finding untold stories of women who did amazingly brave things and bringing them to a wider audience.
5. What do you want readers to take from your books?
I want readers to come away with a sense of how important women are and have been in every historical moment, but I also always have a thread running through my stories that is about loving and accepting who you are, and finding those people who value that in you.
6. What made you decide to write in your current genre?
I don’t think it was a decision! Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read, and so when I set out to write, that’s what I naturally gravitated towards.
7. What does your writing space look like?
It used to be the kitchen table, because there’s a big window overlooking my neighbor’s cattle & goat ranch, which is peaceful and not distracting. But then COVID happened and my husband started working from home at the other end of the table, which was very distracting. So now I’m at the family heirloom Secretary In the guest room. What’s great about that is my family forgets I’m there (“Dad! Where’s mom?” “I don’t know, out with the horses?”) and so it’s a little easier to focus.
8. Do you find it hard to kill off your characters?
I mean, it makes me cry sometimes to do it, but I’m always killing off main characters. Then I often end up bringing them back to life in revisions.
9. How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
I often have a person in mind who reminds me of the character I’m writing, but people who know me and read my work see a lot of me on the page, which makes sense— I can’t divorce myself entirely from my own world view.
10. What are you working on now? Can you share a teaser of it with our readers?
I’m working on a big historical novel set in the American Revolutionary War about a female spy working for George Washington. I’m really excited about it, and it’s nearly ready to go to my agent.
I’m also working on a contemporary romance that’s my “just for fun” project that I actually really adore.
11. Is there one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing?
I would really love to write a Western with a badass woman at its heart.
12. What do you do when a flash of inspiration hits you at an inopportune moment?
I type ideas into the “notes” on my phone all the time—out doing barn chores, in line at the grocery store. I used to have a little spiral notebook I’d jot ideas in while I was driving () but now I try to dictate it to my phone (which often ends up with hilarious nonsensical notes).
13. What keeps you going while writing?
No, but seriously, my sprint partners. They are life savers and amazing champions of my work and my goals and dreams.
14. Where can we find you on the internet?