Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a former communications executive with a Fortune 500 company who now writes full time and loves every minute of it! I live in Missouri, where I sing, take long walks, read and garden in my spare time. I have a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in journalism, and my books have been honored with a number of awards, including the RITA and Daphne du Maurier. I’m also married to my very own romantic hero!
How did you get started writing Christian fiction?
When I began writing novels 20+ years ago, there was very little Christian fiction in the marketplace. And to be honest, I wasn’t familiar with the genre. I just wanted to write books that featured values consistent with my beliefs. That meant no graphic sex, gratuitous violence or four-letter words. As Mary Higgins Clark has said, you don’t need those to tell a good story.
Because my books reflect a Christian worldview, they have been classified as Christian fiction. And I’m honored to be part of a genre that is home to a rich and diverse spectrum of thought-provoking and entertaining novels.
How did you come up with the concept for Fatal Judgment?
Fatal Judgment is Book 1 in my new Guardians of Justice series. In my first series, Heroes of Quantico, I featured the FBI and its Hostage Rescue Team. In this series, I wanted to focus on three siblings who are involved in justice-related professions. In doing some initial research, I became intrigued by the U.S. Marshals Service and decided the first brother would be a deputy marshal. As I delved deeper into the kinds of situations they deal with, I discovered the sovereign citizen movement—and found my plot. What’s interesting is how timely this turned out to be, considering that public sentiment has shifted against big government, higher taxes and increased public spending, and that there are growing concerns about the government taking liberties with the Constitution.
How much of Fatal Judgment is factual?
The story is completely fictitious, but because I do painstaking research and work closely with law enforcement personnel and experts in other fields, the factual parts of the story are accurate. With this book, I worked with a U.S. marshal, a judge, an attorney, a former FBI agent and other authorities. So the legal, judicial and law enforcement details are real. And so is the sovereign citizen movement!
How closely is Fatal Judgment based on your life experiences?
It’s not—happily! As part of my research early in my suspense career, I attended the local citizen police academy. That included a white-knuckle ride-along with a patrol officer who responded (at very high speeds!) to a burglary call and a domestic violence incident. As I discovered, I much prefer my suspense between the pages of a book—not up close and personal!
How long did Fatal Judgment take you to complete?
I didn’t track the exact time, but I always allow at least nine months for a book of this length and complexity as I have to juggle commitments from two different publishers.