Do you have a favorite character in Dawn Comes Early? Why?
I really identify with Kate Tenney because she’s a writer and her vivid imagination never fails to make a bad situation worse. Ask my husband and he’ll tell you that’s me to a T.
Luke Adams is a favorite hero of mine. He has little formal schooling so he’s put off at first by Kate’s college education and “twenty dollar words,” but he’s wise and knowledgeable and a man of great faith.
I’m also fond of the ranch owner Eleanor Walker. She’s one tough lady but, as we gradually come to learn, her hard-as-nails exterior hides a soft heart.
How much research did Dawn Comes Early take?
It took quite a bit of research because I knew nothing about running a cattle ranch back in the 1800s. Since Kate is a writer I also read several dime novels. My hero is a smithy so I had to visit a blacksmith shop and I practically memorized the Boston map of 1895.
What was the most interesting tidbit that you learned while writing Dawn Comes Early?
Most interesting? Bovines are the only animals that pee backwards.
How many books will be in the Brides of Last Chance Ranch Series?
There will be three books in the series. I’m currently working on book two.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
In my other life I was a teacher. At a teacher’s workshop I attended years ago the instructor asked the following life-changing question: At the end of your career which statement will be most accurate?
That you taught for 35 years? Or that you taught one year 35 times?
I use that same philosophy in my writing career. I don’t want to write the same book 35 or 40 times. So the most difficult challenge for me is to stay fresh and original.
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
I love hearing from readers. Recently I receive an email from a reader who picked up my book after a tough and discouraging week. She said my book made her laugh. Knowing I added a little sunshine to someone’s day is what I most enjoy.
What writing clubs or organizations do you belong to?
I belong to Romance Writers of American and American Christian Fiction Writers.
What were your favorite books as a child?
I loved Little Women and pretended I was Jo, the writer. For some reason The Little Engine that Could stands out and I remember being fascinated with Fernand The Bull.
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in between?)
Plan a book? I don’t even plan dinner. Give me a setup or opening scene and I’m off and running. This method fills my life with surprises—never more so than at dinner time.
Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?
They really do—some more than others. Some even wake me up at night. Now that’s annoying.
What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
Right not I’m working on book 2 and 3 in the Last Chance series. Though I’m predominantly a fiction writer my non-fiction book Grieving God’s Way: the Path to Hope and Healing will be published July 2012.
Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?