Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Hawaii (which is really not as glamorous as it sounds! LOL) but now I live in northern California, writing full time and working with the youth group at my church.
I always wanted to write, but then I felt God convicting me that my writing was for me, not for Him. That I was more interested in my name on a book cover than writing for Him. And He told me to lay it down.
Boy, that was World War 3. But I eventually did it, and stopped writing for years. I still had ideas filtering through my head, but I rarely put them down on paper.
Then I got laid off from work (I worked in biology research) and I felt God telling me to take up writing again. From that point on, I studied the craft of writing and God blessed me with my first writing contract with Zondervan in 2006.
You work extensively with budding authors, can you tell us a bit about Genesis?
The Genesis is a contest for unpublished writers run by the American Christian Fiction Writers organization, a wonderful group whose purpose is to promote Christian fiction while encouraging and teaching writers in the writing craft and the traditional publishing industry.
The Genesis had over 550 entries this past year, in nine different categories. The top three in each category are finalists whose work is judged by agents and/or editors in the Christian publishing industry. I’ve had the honor of running the Genesis contest for six years now. It’s thrilling to see entrants who just started writing a few years ago final and win in the contest and go on to be published.
How did you come up with the concept for Protection for Hire?
I love strong, capable heroines like from the TV shows Alias, Nikita, Covert Affairs, and the movies Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. I wanted to write about a strong woman with a heart for God, so I came up with my character, Tessa.
I wanted to give Tessa a reason to keep being involved in different crimes (so that I could have more books with her as the heroine) and the idea came to me that if Tessa had a shady past before coming to Christ, that past would provide good spiritual conflict as well as causing external problems in her life. I am a fan of The Sopranos, including the more humorous parts of the series, and thought that if Tessa belonged to the Japanese mafia, and I created a Japanese version of The Sopranos, it would be both exciting and funny.
For her hero, I thought up the most unlikely pairing--a straight-laced lawyer from Louisiana--and as I wrote, I let the sparks fly!
Do you have any background in law enforcement?
No, although I do extensive research. For Protection for Hire, I did a lot of research into bodyguards and their responsibilities. I have a lot of respect for them and the mental and physical stresses of their jobs.