It really is a small world. S M Spencer isn't that far from my corner of the world as I am a Kiwi and she is Australian. I love the internet and how it can bring people together.
Tell us about your latest novel or project:
I'm currently working on a murder mystery. Although it will be based in the same town as my five Copperhead Creek romances, Willows, the main story is solving the murder (so in this story, romance will take a back seat).
What got you started writing?
I fell in love with books from an early age, reading romantic suspense and mysteries. When I read Daphne du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek, I knew I wanted to be a writer--in fact, I wanted to rewrite the ending of that book. That's when I knew - I wanted to create stories that moved others the way that one moved me.
What challenges did you face when you first started writing?
Time. I was still working full-time, so I wrote at night and on weekends. It took quite a while to get the first series written. Now, with the luxury of being retired, I write when the mood strikes me, and I don't stress when it doesn't.
Who in your life is your greatest cheerleader or support in your writing?
My husband 😊
Do you read your book reviews? How do you handle the good and the bad ones?
Absolutely. The bad ones sometimes sting, but I try to remember that I don't like all music that others do, and when it comes to movies, I often can't stand ones that have gotten great reviews. So, I try to remember we all have different tastes, different likes and dislikes, and I try to learn from the bad ones, if they say something constructive.
It seems like everything has Easter Eggs (surprise reference to your other work) do you have any Easter Eggs in your books?
Since my books are a series, there are some continuing aspects to the books, but the main characters do find romance in each book. I recommend reading my books in sequence, but each one should be able to be read as a stand as well.
Where did you get the idea for your first or latest book?
The first book in my Copperhead Creek series came from my childhood dream of living in a small town with lots of animals (mostly horses). I set my heroine into a town that I could fall in love with, and her story took off from there. The continuing stories (there are five now) just sort of happen as the characters come to life and start making plans of their own. The women are strong, the men are decent, and the town is supportive. I could live there, if it actually existed!
How important do you think marketing is for authors today?
Critical. I've read many really good books that haven't been promoted and don't have many reviews -- but they would no doubt be popular if the author had the time/inclination to market them.
Do you have any book you have written that won’t ever see the light of day and why?
My very first book. I took a romance writing course a little over twenty years ago. I wrote a story, but it's pretty awful. I learned a lot about structure and perseverance while doing it and, importantly, I learned that I could actually do it. It was about fifteen years later that I started writing more seriously, when I retired.
What quirk or trope of your genre do you like or dislike?
A lot of sweet romance stories seem to have the couple meet, fall in love and get married/engaged all within a matter of days. Sure, it happens occasionally, but I prefer stories that take. Little more time and that are a bit more realistic.
Often writers get to approach some serious subjects. Which serious subject are you most proud to have written about or was the hardest to write about?
I intentionally keep my stories fairly light, although I do touch on topics like domestic abuse, divorce, infidelity and manipulation. I see my books as light entertainment, giving the reader an escape to a place where dreams really do come true.
I love escapism in books but it amazing how something light can also be a vehicle for some serious topics. Thanks for sharing some of your story. Good luck with your projects.