This Sunday I’m very thrilled to host an amazing writer.
I discovered her first book, Again, Alabama, thanks to an Amazon promo, and now I cannot wait to discover her new projects.
Our guest is…
She writes Southern romantic women’s fiction. She’s also a member of the Atlanta Writer’s Club, Georgia Romance Writers, and Romance Writers of America. Her last novel, Christmas, Alabama, was released on October 26, 2017.
Q. Describe yourself with three adjectives.
A. Intuitive, humorous, capable.
Q. Choose three adjectives for your last novel, Christmas, Alabama.
A. Fun, fast-paced, satisfying.
Q. What inspired you to write the Alabama Series?
A. I grew up in a very small town in Louisiana. I wanted to set a humorous small-town family saga I the South. I chose Alabama because it sits in the center of the region of all things “Southern.”
Q. Are any of your characters based on real people?
A. Not as far as you know…
Q. Who was your favorite character to write and why?
A. I loved writing Ben Laroux in Love, Alabama because getting inside his head was so much fun! Ben thinks he’s got it all figured out, until he doesn’t…
Q. Could you quote a paragraph (or more) of one of your novels which represents Susan and tell us why.
A. Below is a scene from Christmas, Alabama around the Thanksgiving dinner table where Nick, the male hero, is being introduced to the group. I chose this scene because I love to write in funny peripheral characters like Junior, the taxidermist brother-n-law. He kindly preserves pets for all perpetuity to bring joy to others. He also believes it’s acceptable to mount roadkill as long as the said animal is at least an eight-pointer.
So, scenes like these are funny and a little weird, but add color and character to my books. So, this is pretty standard “Susan.”
“Clearly, I’m not worth mentioning, but we met earlier in the living room. I’m Junior, and I’m married to Maeve, father to Lucy.” Junior waved. “I can handle all your taxidermy needs.” Nick tried to hide his smile.
“I guess you’re pretty busy this time of year,” Nick said.
Junior rolled his eyes. “You wouldn’t believe what people want to preserve for perpetuity. I’ve got pictures.”
“Not over Thanksgiving dinner, please, Junior,” the one named Cammie, who Nick recognized as the Southern celebrity television chef said to her brother-in-law.
“Party-pooper.” Junior made a face at her.
“Junior did a fine job on my kitties,” Mrs. Wiggins piped up. “They are still so life-like, you’d never know they passed three and four years ago. I still carry them into my bedroom at night so it feels like I’ve got everyone with me when I fall asleep.” The old woman’s smile showed no comprehension of anything amiss in her words.
“Well, lovely lady, I’m thrilled I could make your loved ones continue to bring such happiness,” Junior said.
Nick’s mother would have fallen face-first into her gumbo by now from the shocking conversation. And by the lack of tradition in the food. Nick tried not to laugh at the absurdity of what he’d just heard. The faces all around the table were a mixed bag of amusement and slight distaste, but no one seemed particularly shocked or horrified at the idea of stuffing a domesticated animal to prolong an old woman’s joy.”
Q. What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?
A. I wrote Christmas in the dead heat of a Georgia summer. It was challenging to find the spirit some days.
Q. What inspires you to write?
A. Everything! People I meet, TV and movies, reading. Sometimes I look out the window wherever I am and envision a new story based on what I see.
Q. How long does it take to write a novel?
A. That depends on which novel…Anywhere from four months to a year, depending on what else is happening in my life, whether I’m under contract for the story, etc. Motivation is key. I’ve never been late for a deadline yet…
Q. If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?
A. LOL! Maybe Emma Laroux, my southern beauty queen from Love, Alabama. She’s tall and gorgeous and doesn’t take any crap from anybody.
Q. What author/s has/have most influenced your writing?
A. I adore Karen White. She’s been a true friend and mentor. She’s a fabulous southern storyteller and I admire her work immensely. Kristan Higgins is another author who blends humor during serious situations without making light of them. I really try to emulate that in my writing.
Q. Is there a genre you want to experiment with?
A. I have a special, secret project I’m developing that is very different in tone and style to my normally more light-hearted stories. I would say it falls more squarely into the Southern fiction and general fiction slots. I’ll keep you posted…
Q. What is the most difficult part of your writing?
A. Sitting down and opening the file. Getting off Facebook and tuning out the world enough to really dive into the story.
Q. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
A. I’ve been told by a few people that my books have helped them through really tough times. One woman read my book to her dying mother in hospice, the last book her mother read, and that it made her smile and laugh at the end. There’s no greater compliment.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. I’m revising a story set in Louisiana, and hopefully will begin submission through my agent to editors in early December.
Q. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
A. Hopefully rolling in grandbabies!! And still writing books, of course.
Q. Could you share with us a happy photo of you and tell us more about that moment?
This selfie was taken with my dad about a year ago. He was smiling and walking and aware of everything going on in that moment. He is now in memory care with advanced dementia. So, it was a happy moment….