Tour stop #5: Bunny’s Book Reviews. The dogs and bunnies went crazy over this interview. Check it out for yourself. And don’t forget: download your copy of Out in the Open for only $0.99 – today only!
What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m a working mom, so most days are hectic juggling the demands of my client and my kids (my other clients)! I work at an advertising agency and love being part of a creative industry. It’s fun to see an assignment brought to life in ways that I never imagined. The creative team I work with has so much talent, I’m hoping that one of these days it will rub off on me. 🙂
Where do you get your ideas?
I must admit, I’m an eavesdropper. People reveal the most interesting things in elevators, on the train, and around the office. I’m like a sponge, absorbing these snippets of conversation. I use them to inspire my writing. For example, I overhead a girl telling her friend about a recent date where the guy got so drunk he forgot about her and left—not only the bar but the bill as well. That guy will be making an appearance in book #2!
Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
No. I always prefer the book to the movie. A movie can never capture the intricate details that an author so vividly creates and I think that detracts from the story. I also prefer to use my own imagination as to what the scene and characters look like. Once they are cast I lose the freedom to visualize how they are portrayed.
Do you buy a book by the cover?
I do on those occasions when I stumble across something that interests me but hasn’t been recommended. I think the cover is one of the most important and powerful tools an author has to hook a reader. It can be the deciding factor as to whether or not someone chooses to engage further and read the jacket copy. So when I find something that catches my eye, chances are I’ll read it.
Do you write under a pen name?
Yes, I decided to use my initials. I liked the idea of being more anonymous and I think it creates a bit of intrigue. Plus, J.K. Rowling and E.L. James have had a lot of success, so perhaps they’re on to something!
Night owl, or early bird?
Definitely a night owl. I hate waking up early and resent my alarm clock going off at 5:43 each morning. I prefer to wake up at odd times! Having young kids has definitely been an adjustment because there’s no sleeping in on the weekends—or ever!
Do you prefer coffee, tea, or hot cocoa?
Hot cocoa. It has chocolate. Need I say more? I’m not a coffee drinker because it was a taste I could never acquire. The lack of a daily dose of caffeine does not bode well with my night owl lifestyle.
Do you prefer print books or ebooks?
Like my protagonist, Lexi, I prefer printed books. I don’t have an eReader because I much prefer holding something tangible vs. reading on a screen. I tend to get immersed in what I’m reading, so it’s helpful to flip ahead and see how many more pages are left until the next chapter. I’m guilty of the “just one more” page approach, which inevitably turns into many.
What was your first date like?
My husband took me to an intimate wine bar. We shared a bottle of Pinot, appetizers, and good conversation. On the ride home he asked me out for a second date, which flabbergasted me. What about the three day rule where I’d sit by the phone waiting for him to call (this was before texting was popular)? I didn’t know about him—it almost seemed too easy. My friends thought I was crazy. I found someone who I had a lot in common with that I found attractive, and he didn’t play games. I think back then I somewhat liked the games. But in the end it’s what won me over. He was genuine from the start and I always knew where we stood.
What is your favorite theme park?
Disney World. Even at my age, I still think it’s the most magical place on earth. I took my kids there last year, and I loved seeing them experience it for the first time.
Do you like feather pillow or foam?
Foam. I can’t stand a soft pillow. I have a Tempur-Pedic and that thing is as hard as a rock. It’s difficult traveling for work because most hotels have super soft pillows and I end up piling three to four on top of each other. I fall asleep better but might not be able to turn my head for a few days after!
Coke or Pepsi?
Neither. I can’t stand carbonated beverages. Beer is out too. I wish that weren’t the case because it makes me seem more high maintenance than I am. There’s nothing like going to a dive bar for Happy Hour and being the sole person with a glass of wine.
Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
I’ve always loved writing and English was my favorite subject in school. I thought about majoring in journalism but it lacked the creativity that I craved. So I pursued a career in advertising and thought copywriting could be a good fit. But I had a hard time coming up with concepts and pithy headlines, so I went into account management. Now I get to help lead and evaluate the work without being the one to actually craft it. But I still had a desire to write. So I started a blog, wrote a novel, and the rest is history. I still have my day job at the Leo Burnett advertising agency in Chicago, which served as inspiration for my novel. I’m also a mom, marketer, referee, short-order cook, maid, chocoholic, shopaholic, and multitasker extraordinaire.
What types of books do you write?
Romance. I’m a big believer in Happily Ever After. Life is stressful and we are all too often inundated with news of tragedies, so I like books that offer an escape from reality.
Do you manage to write every day?
I wish! I have a day job and I’m a mom to two young kids who need constant attention. So having free time is pretty much non-existent these days. But writing is my passion and keeps me sane, so I try to squeeze in pockets of time whenever I can. Even if I’m not writing I’m always thinking about plotlines, so I have books three, four and five all mapped out in my head. It’s a start!
Do you use your OWN experiences?
Yes, my experiences shape both my storylines and my characters. They may be influenced by big life events or some small detail that inspires me. For example, I bought myself a Tiffany heart bracelet when I began my first job. While my husband and I were dating it mysteriously went missing. I thought he took it to have the charm monogramed as a surprise for me. It turned up a few weeks later buried under some papers in my desk drawer. In hindsight he probably didn’t even know I owned the bracelet nor was he likely aware the monogramming service existed. But I always liked the sentiment of it and so the Tiffany bracelet worked its way into my book as a symbolic thread of love, trust and luck.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
My book is a contemporary romance about two coworkers who struggle to suppress their intense attraction in their pursuit of climbing the corporate ladder. My protagonist, Lexi, always has played by the rules to get what she wants, but when she meets coworker Jake Hartman, she realizes the thing she wants most is off-limits. As their innocent flirtation escalates into something more, Lexi realizes she is in deep and must play by a new set of rules—if only she knew the game they were playing. The story idea came to me while I was lying in bed one night and couldn’t fall asleep. It was important to me that the book feel authentic, so that meant writing about what I know best. Research can only take you so far. I’ve worked at an advertising agency for fifteen years, so I channeled those experiences. It’s a fun and fashionable industry that served as the perfect backdrop for my story. While it’s a workplace romance, it’s really more about the character development and the struggles they face in balancing love while trying to advance their careers.
What inspired you to pen this particular novel?
It’s always been my dream to write a novel. But between working and raising two young kids it was something I put on the back burner, thinking I’d get to it later. Then a few years ago, my husband suffered a life-threatening brain hemorrhage—out of the blue. One moment I was going about my daily routine, and the next I was faced with the thought of raising my daughter and unborn son alone. I am truly fortunate that he has since made a full recovery, but it reminded me just how precious life is and the importance of not living with regrets. So I decided it was time to put pen to paper and fulfill my dream.
What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
During my husband’s medical scare, hope is what helped me get past the darkest moments. When I set out to write the book, I knew that hope would play a central theme because I wanted women to feel empowered and never lose faith that happily ever after is attainable. It’s easy to get swept up in the daily grind, but I think it’s so important to have a hand in leading the life we want to live as opposed to letting life just happen to us. Many people ask me how I found the time to write the novel. I tell them I didn’t find time, I made time because it was important to me. I hope my story will inspire others to follow their dreams.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
I knew the title even before I had the first chapter written. I like knowing the title first because I try to weave it into the storyline. Readers will find a number of references throughout the book. I already know the titles for my next few books as well and use them to help shape the story.
What was your vision for the book cover?
I dedicated a page of my website about the journey to my perfect book cover. I had a specific vision for what I wanted, which proved to be a challenge because it took a lot of coaching and patience before the cover art measured up. My vision was two silhouettes leaning together in a moment right before a kiss. I wanted it to be simple, dramatic, and provocative. I liked the idea of silhouettes because I wanted to leave it up to the reader to come up with her own idea of what the characters looked like, plus it adds an element of mystery. The art director I worked with brought in the Chicago city skyline using a double exposure technique. I loved the addition of bringing the setting into the cover.
Where can your followers find you?