Hi Michelle, thanks so much for agreeing to join us on the blog today. I really enjoyed meeting you at RomCon. I didn’t realize we had such a vibrant author community in Colorado Springs. Your measuring spoon swag was by far my favorite and most useful item of the weekend.
Hi, Toni. Thanks for having me on the blog – I’m excited to chat with you. I’m so happy you liked the measuring spoon – and I have plenty more (ha!) so if any of your readers need a cute addition to their kitchen supplies, they can let me know. ?
Tell us a little about yourself and your books?
I’m a native Ohioan but have lived in Colorado over twenty years. I love being near the mountains, but still consider myself a Midwesterner at heart. I started writing when my kids were babies, so it became such a gift for me to have an ‘identity’ outside of being a mom (although I love, love, love being a mom). But writing was something I did just for me. It still gives meaning to my life in that same way—plus writing romance it’s a lot of fun to spend all day crafting stories with happy endings. I’m a big fan of happy endings!
How do you decide on the settings?
For me the story always starts with the characters. Usually I know why they shouldn’t/couldn’t be together then the fun is figuring out a way to make sure they discover that they can’t live without each other. Community and secondary characters play a big part in my stories, so I’m typically write small towns or settings that have that kind of vibe—because no one lives life in a vacuum. My current series takes place in a fictional Colorado town – but I used some of my favorite mountain towns as inspiration.
What made you decide to start writing sweet contemporary?
It was most natural for my voice. I love reading historical romance and have a lot of respect for authors who weave in those details, but I’m drawn to telling stories that involve conflicts that could happen to me or my best friend. The sweetness comes more from the line I write for at Harlequin, Special Edition. There is a great range within that series and a lot of freedom, but they are sweeter stories in general.
What do you most admire about your characters?
Josh Travers is a former professional bull rider who retired after an injury and is now raising his almost-teen daughter in Crimson, Colorado. He’s working hard to make Crimson Ranch into a vacation destination to give his daughter a solid home. I loved that Josh was a true cowboy hero – strong, upstanding and trying really hard to make his life work. When readers meet Sara Wellens at the beginning of the story she’s a bit of a hot mess. Raised in Hollywood, she’s out of her element when she comes to Crimson after inheriting her grandmother’s ranch. But she’s perfect for Josh because she makes him see the world beyond the his little slice of life and she helps him have a better relationship with his daughter.
What’s next on tap for you? (What do we have to look forward to!)
I have four books coming out in 2015 with Harlequin, three more in the Crimson series and I got my first chance to take part in a continuity, the Fortunes of Texas. 2015 is the 20th year for the Fortunes so I’m really excited to be part of it.
Dogs or cats?
I love them both (and own both) but probably dogs because my cat won’t let me dress her up and post photos to Facebook. ?
Wine or beer?
Beer – preferably served with wings. I’m a pretty cheap date.
Light or dark / red or white?
I’m embarrassed about how little I know about wine – I do like it bubbly and sweet. As for chocolate, I’m quite an expert. I love all flavors and mainly stick with dark these days. But with Halloween coming next month, I’m sure I’ll be sneaking Kit Kats and Twix bars from my kids’ treat bags.
Beach or mountain?
I love going to the beach – Colorado is such a land-locked state that the huge expanse of ocean is a big thrill. But the mountains are my favorite.
One thing you’d like everyone to know about you?
You know, writing is a pretty solitary activity, so it’s huge fun for me to talk to readers or other authors – either in person or online. Toni, meeting you and your friends at Romcon was one of the highlights of my weekend – just making those connections is such a blessing. So if your readers are online or social media at all, friend me. I love learning about what other people like to read, what they’re interested in, TV show recommendations – going online is a little reward I get for making my word count for the day – so the more people I can ‘talk to’ the better!
Thanks again for taking time to visit with us!
Thanks so much for having me, Toni! I’d love to giveaway 2 copies of A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH to your readers. Just comment below for a chance to win.