Why did you pick rural Ohio for the location of your book, WHERE ANGELS REST? Did you visit Ohio to get a feel for where your story would play out?
I visit all the time; I grew up in the town where this book takes place! Well, sort of. I created a fictitious town for the story, but I grew up there, nonetheless. And after I graduated from college, I got my first job teaching high school in another town in rural Ohio just like the one I grew up in. So I lived in that area as an adult for several years, too.
So the town in ANGELS—Hopewell, Ohio—is a compilation of the small Ohio towns I know so well. It was important to the story that it be an Andy Griffith-Norman Rockwell type of place, where nothing bad could possibly happen.
Except it does. At least, in the book, it does. Let’s hope that in the real towns, there were never any serial killers lurking.
Do you have nightmares or dreams that become a part of what you’re writing? Or does your writing cause nightmares before the villain is caught?
I have nightmares all the time about the books I write. But they aren’t about serial killers or plots or police chases. They’re about deadlines. Finishing the book. Geesh. I have nightmares about that regularly!
Actually, this cover art is an interesting story—and no, it’s nothing like I imagined. I’ll preface it by saying that I have a liking for sinister-looking cover art and when I first saw this, it looked very different than it does now. It was the same picture, but the colors were spring green and sky blue, and the fonts were lovely cursive. With the angel (albeit, drooped) in a sweet spring garden and the beautiful script, the book struck me almost as an inspirational read.
Especially since the title could be interpreted as peaceful, that wasn’t the type of cover art I had envisioned. And I would have never dreamed they could make that particular image creepy. But, oh my gosh, when they went back in and messed around with the color scheme and the fonts—Voilà! A sinister, creepy, intriguing cover. I love it!
What’s your favorite memory from your publication journey?
I think every writer remembers “the phone call.” The one when you find out your first book has actually sold. I was vacuuming the living room rug.
But the other memory that stands out is winning the RITA® Award for my first book. And as wonderful as that was, it wasn’t winning that made it so special. It was the fact that my husband flew to Orlando to join me for the awards ceremony. What a support system he has been—in life, as well as in writing.
Okay…And winning was cool, too!
What’s the best part of the writing process?
For me, the best part of writing is that first draft…Before I know what’s going to happen, before the characters are fully-formed, and—let’s face it—before the book has any problems. I’m not a plotter, so I never know what’s going to happen until it happens. I sit down at my laptop to find out what happens next. And occasionally something happens that I never expected. That’s when writing is the most fun!
You’ve decided to throw a dinner party. Will it be an intimate affair or a wild one that the neighbors will still be talking about next year?
First one, then the other! I love to entertain and cook, especially since we remodeled our kitchen into a magazine-worthy space equipped with every chef’s perk. (A short-out to the husband, again…He did it all himself and it’s bee-ooo-tiful!) So if I have my druthers, I’ll have an intimate dinner with close friends on Friday and then throw a big party on Saturday. Then maybe on Sunday, an impromptu cookout. That’s my kind of weekend.
Can you give us a tidbit or teaser about book 2 of your new series?
In WHERE ANGELS REST, the hero is the first of the Mann siblings: Sheriff Nikolaus Mann. Ee also get a sneak peek of his brother, Luke Mann. When I wrote Luke into Nick’s book, I didn’t know too much about him, but then came the sequel to ANGELS, and Luke became one of my favorite heroes. He is an undercover FBI agent posing as a drug cartel hit man, and he gets thrown for a loop when a beautiful assistant district attorney (who once prosecuted him for murder) hires him to kill someone: her.
I hope you’ll enjoy Nick in WHERE ANGELS REST and keep an eye out for Luke in the second book of the series.
Interview by Dorine at Romance Junkies.