Where did your inspiration for a Heart’s Safe Passage come from?
While I was studying midwives in grad school, one of my fellow students ran across a book she thought I might find interesting called Seafaring Women. It had a passage about a midwife who went to sea with expectant mothers who needed to sail. That was all it took for my brain to begin to plot.
Do you have a favorite character in Heart’s Safe Passage? Why?
The hero, Rafe, of course. My reader’s soul can never resist an emotionally wounded hero who keeps going in the face of adversity, even if it’s the wrong direction.
How much research did Heart’s Safe Passage take?
Besides little details such as the exact dimensions of a brig at the time, once I started writing I had already completed most of the research over the years through my own reading interests and research for Lady in the Mist. If I add it all up, however, I probably read about five thousand pages worth of materials from original sources, to simple, factual data.
What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Heart’s Safe Passage?
Possibly the most interesting tidbit is the age of the practice of trephanning (also spelled trepanning). Evidence shows that it may be the oldest operation performed. What is more interesting is that people survived it thousands of years ago.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Keeping disciplined. When one works from home, other things easily draw away one’s attention. Also, when one works from home, others think one doesn’t work and therefore should be able to do this or that and saying no … Well, it makes me feel bad. Then, when one sits down to work, one can’t wait until the spirit moves; the writing must get done regardless of how one feels.
What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?
I belong to Romance Writers of America and two subchapters of that, The Faith Hope and Love chapter which is the inspirational authors chapter, and The Beau Monde, which is Regency era focused, though we do slip into Georgian and Victorian a little. Those groups have been encouraging and full of information for me respectively. I am also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and I belong to some private Yahoogroups like one devoted to the age of Sail, which proved invaluable to me.
Do you have a critique partner?
No, I actually do not. I might ask someone to read a few chapters at the beginning to see if the story is on the right track, but I tend to write too much and too fast for anyone else who is busy writing to keep up with me. Fortunately, I have wonderful editors at Revell.
When you meet someone who has a passion for books and writing, what advice do you give them?
Write. Take some classes, join writing organizations of like-minded writers, and write, and finish. Absolutely finish, and then submit. I say like-minded because too many people, including myself, have gotten held back by getting involved in groups that hate their genre so can say nothing nice about it. If you write romance, don’t get into a group of romance haters.