As a romantic suspense author, in your opinion, what are some of the biggest misconceptions about the romance genre?
Amazingly, people still believe it's about heaving bosoms and helpless women waiting to be rescued by Fabio. It still carries a reputation of being smutty and written for the bored housewife. Are there romance books that are exactly that? Absolutely. Does the whole genre deserve this reputation? Of course not.
Most readers of romance are looking for entertainment and escape; the same as any other genre readers. Romance authors deliver that in a million different ways. Personally, I prefer books where I learn something. I love to have forensics, science, technology, history, or travel incorporated in the books I read. Include a story with characters I want to root for and I'm hooked. Romance authors include these sorts of elements in their stories all the time.
My books straddle the fence between romance and suspense. I manage to appeal to both genres. I feel it's the perfect place to be. Romance readers are the most voracious readers of any genre. They spend the most money and devour countless books. The mystery readers are second.
Do you have a favorite among your many novels that you’d like to see made into a movie? Who would play the leads?
I'm probably the only author in the world that never spends any time thinking about this. I don't visualize my characters with actors like a lot of authors do while writing. That being said, my agent has been pitching my release from earlier this year, A MERCIFUL DEATH, to Hollywood. I leave that sort of thing to her. If she has good news for me, I'll take it. But I know what an incredible long shot movies and TV are for authors.
If you could co-author a book with anyone you haven’t worked with before, who would it be and why? (feel free to time-travel on this one—it can be any author, living or dead)
I would love to write with Lee Child. I love his books and his writing style has been a big influence on me. But when I read his novels I'm always wanting more of emotion out of poor Reacher. I loved the time he spent with the one woman early on and I was rooting for him as he made his way across the US to meet a woman whose voice he heard on the phone. But it's never enough. I think I could help Lee satisfy more of his female audience by developing more of an emotional arc for Jack.
BUT Lee created him that way: Reacher simply doesn't have certain emotions…he has a an emotionally stunted feel and is socially inept in many ways. Who am I to say "change this"? As an author, it'd piss me off if someone decided I needed to change one of my favorite characters just to please themselves.
Do you have any advice for aspiring romance writers?
Read, read, read. Write the damned book. Get feedback from reputable sources, not your family and friends. Guess what? It probably sucks, so write the next book. Read more. Join RWA and other professional organizations. Take courses on developing your craft. Listen to authors who have been successful. Take every bit of advice with a grain of salt. Continue writing more books and reading.
The zombie apocalypse has hit (as we all knew it would one day). Which TV or movie characters do you want as part of your crew? (no superheroes…that’s cheating)
I'll start with Woody Harrelson's character from ZOMBIELAND. Add Dwayne Johnson for muscle, Milla Jovovich from the RESIDENT EVIL franchise for brains and guts, and throw in a few heavy-set guys like John Goodman, Kevin James, and Jonah Hill who I simply need to outrun.