How closely is Love on a Dime based on your own life experiences?
It’s really not. My story ‘people’ lived at the turn-of-the-century, a really different era than our own. I’m writing about the millionaires, and believe me, I have no personal experience with the very rich or being rich! But people have similar desires, strengths and weaknesses no matter where or when they live. Emotions and yearnings are universal.
How did you choose the location for the setting?
When I decided to write a historical romance, Newport was a logical choice. Both the resort and the Gilded Age intrigued me. Since I was a kid I spent a lot of time in Newport so the town was really familiar. I’d also read many books about both the society and Newport. I could have picked Bar Harbor or Saratoga Springs instead, but I love Newport and never considered any other place to set my story. Growing up I spent many vacations there visiting friends and family, touring the mansions, and playing on the beaches.
How long did Love on a Dime take you to complete?
It seems as if I’d worked on it forever, but actually it took about a year and a half to write.
What is the symbolism for the title Love on a Dime?
The heroine, Lilly Westbrook, secretly authors dime novels for a publishing house recently purchased by her former suitor. He’d left her years before without explaining why. Her dime novels bring them together both professionally and romantically.
How much research did Love on a Dime take?
I researched a lot, but I’d been doing it for years without realizing I might someday use the information I gathered in a novel. My mother was from Newport so we spent a lot of time there. I was as familiar with Newport as I was with my home town in Connecticut. The Gilded Age fascinates me so over the years I’ve toured the mansions many times, bought books about the era and researched on the internet. I also dredged my memory for stories my family (especially my mother) told me about that time period. Although she wasn’t born yet, she remembered stories her aunts and uncles and grandparents had told her.
What was the most interesting tidbit that you learned while writing Love on a Dime?
I was amazed at how much money the Gilded Age millionaires spent on themselves! They certainly indulged themselves, and yet they weren’t nearly as happy as you’d expect them to be.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Finding enough time to write every day, planning my time so I meet a deadline and still have energy for my family. I think being disciplined is the key. And that’s not always easy.