Q: When you return to a character from a prior book (i.e., Dylan from Winter Oranges), how do you go about getting back into his mindset after time away?
A: The first step of course is to re-read the first book. In the case of Winter Oranges and Dylan, this also meant paying special attention to the scenes Dylan appears in and thinking about exactly what his motivation was each time. Then, I sometimes write a bit of freehand from their point of view. I let them introduce themselves to the me (or to the world), just to see what kind of tone and attitude comes out. I never end up using this exact intro in the book, but bits and pieces of it often find their way into the story.
Q: Who is your favorite character that you have written and why?
A: Oh, this is so hard. For many years, Angelo was my favorite. I just loved how impetuous he was. Then Frances and Dante from Oestend became my favorites, Frances because of his fun, quirky sense of humor, and Dante because he was so unpredictable. Of course, having just wrapped up Winter Dreams, Dylan and Ben are my current favorites. They're very different people, and yet they adore one another, which makes it fun to toss them into a room together.
Q: Any sports romances in the future?
A: Possibly! Given my love of sports, it's surprising I haven't written one yet, but it's never felt like the right time. I've had an idea for a football story for many years now, but the point of view of the secondary character is complicated (so far out of my wheelhouse that I'm afraid I'll mess it up) and that's kept me from diving in. I've also had an idea for a hockey story for maybe the past five years. I keep thinking I'll write it next, but then other characters butt their way to the front of the line. (I'm looking at you, Dylan!)
Q: How do you keep track of your stories character names? White board? Tablet? Excel grid? so to prevent duplication story to story.
A: Honestly? I don't. 😂 I'm terrible at accidentally re-using names. I tried putting together a spreadsheet several years ago, but I never kept it up-to-date. It does occasionally cause problems, like when I accidentally gave River the same last name as Taylor's mother's maiden name. 😆 Oops.
Q: Are you isolated as an author or do you have other authors where you live that you can bond with?
A: I have a few author friends here in my area, namely Cari Z, Matthew Angelo, and (more recently) AJ Clarke. And although they don't live near me, I'm still good friends with Ethan Stone and Wendy Russo as well.
Q: Do news stories ever result in your story lines?
A: Not usually, although they very much played a part in writing Spare the Rod.
Q: As a reader, I find that I sometimes rewrite the ending (or other parts) of books in my head if they don't quite work for me. I was wondering if writers might be even more prone to doing that; do you ever find yourself writing a new ending for yourself of books that you read?
A: Yes!! It doesn't happen often for me, but every once in a while, it does. Back in about 2008 or 2009, I read a m/m fantasy series that started out strong, but I absolutely loathed the ending. I spent about a week obsessing over it, being annoyed AF and thinking how I'd rewrite it if I could. In fact, I think to a large extent, that was the incident that made me think, "I could write books like this." And it wasn't long afterwards that I started my first novel, Promises.
Also, that epilogue in Deathly Hallows? Yeah, that doesn't exist for me. I'm in 100% denial over that. No way would Harry work for the Ministry after everything they did to him in books five, six, and seven. Give me a break. 🙄
Q: What is your favorite trope to read and write?
A: What I read and what I write are very different. My favorite things to read are thrillers, specifically ones with recurring characters (Lisa Gardner and Tami Hoag are two of my favorites). As for writing, my favorite tropes are friends-to-lovers and opposites attract. I also like to occasionally write very damaged characters (like Ayo and Taylor), or to redeem bad guys (like Dante or Dylan).