Writing was never a hobby to me. When I started writing novels, I never viewed it as a hobby—even before I had earned a cent. I took it seriously and with a view to publishing for public consumption.

I started writing as a teenager as a way of processing my emotions. Oh, the angst of being a teenage girl! My father used to describe it as being in the elevator business with all the ups and downs. Well, one good thing came from all the emotions—my writing. I started by getting my feelings out in poetry, then moved on to romantic-suspense novellas. I didn’t finish writing my first novel until I was thirty.

My parents had no idea that I wrote to Harlequin for their submission guidelines as a teenager. I still remember hunkering down in the basement, next to the furnace, and reading the submissions guidelines. It felt like I was in possession of a great treasure and secret.

I wrote my first book on a sort of a dare—and this was after thirteen years of not writing! I was working for a company, and my department was facing a layoff, but we didn’t know exactly when it was coming. There was little motivation, and at the end of one workday, a colleague emailed me and said, “Tell me a story.” I fired back a paragraph or two from the top of my head. She wanted more, and I gave her more. She told me I needed to finish the story—and I did. That ended up being my first full-length book.

Dogs rock! I love ’em and have two beagles—Max and Sophie. Hubby and I never had human babies, but we’ve adopted the canine variety. They’re a couple of spoiled pooches, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dogs—all animals, for that matter—deserve to be cared and loved for.

When I’ve taken some time off writing, I start solving murders in my dreams. It happens all the time! It’s like I can’t fully shut off my characters, but that’s a good thing. I just know it’s time to get back to writing when I start hunting killers in my dreams.

Whenever I finish the first draft of a book, I watch Romancing the Stone. I’m not even sure when this ritual started, but it’s been around as long as I can remember. It’s a great movie and has it all—mystery, adventure, and romance.

I would love a house by a lake. I live in a beautiful house right now, surrounded by nature. It’s so peaceful and blissful. Even the breeze going through the leaves sounds like waves coming into shore, but one day, I’d love to live next to the water.

I’ve been known to munch on popcorn while I’m writing, because my stories play out in my head like a movie. This makes writing so much fun—not so much the popcorn, but the way the characters and scenes come to me in the manner they do!

So much for good posture… I often sit cross-legged on my office chair, leaning forward. Sort of like my issue with the popcorn, but more calorie conscious. I just get so absorbed in my writing, I tune out all else.

*This article first appeared on Female First UK here.

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