What's the best/worst part of writing a series?
By far, the best part of writing a series is being able to continue on a journey with your beloved characters past their “happily ever after,” because let’s face it, there’s always WAY more story to tell after your typical romance novel ending.
The hardest part of writing a series, particularly a romance series, is keeping the story (and the relationship between the hero and heroine) fresh. Romances in particular can suffer from the “Moonlighting Effect” (If you don’t know about the TV show Moonlighting, go look it up on the interwebs, kids.) and readers can lose interest after the “will they or won’t they” tension is out of the way. As an author, you have to keep trying to find believable, interesting ways to pull your couples apart, then push them back together again. It can get old quick if you’re not careful.
You've written some blog posts about TV shows (TWD and GoT) and movies (Capt. America). How much do they influence your writing?
I don’t see how anyone who creates worlds for a living can avoid being influenced by what’s going on in the real world around them—and in our culture, TV and movies are ALL around. But even beyond that, in my opinion, some of the best writers in the business today are working on scripted television shows like TWD and GoT. There’s a ton writers can learn from watching these masters at work. I mean, I credit Joss Whedon for teaching me how to write dialogue. (Not directly, of course. We’re not friends, and I’m not cutting him in on my profits or anything, but still, he’s an amazingly talented dude and I learned a lot from him.)
What's a typical day like for you?
This past April, I made the decision to give up my soul-sucking job in marketing/advertising to focus on my writing full time. So now, getting up every morning and going to my writing cave is my actual job. I usually do social media stuff and email correspondence in the early morning, and writing in the late morning/early afternoon. If I get bogged down and can’t focus, I usually take my dogs for a walk just to clear my head. And because I’m also a wife and mom, my days occasionally include proofreading business proposals before my husband sends them out (he has a serious comma problem) or shuttling my kid to the orthodontist so he won’t end up looking like a warthog. (He has a really weird bite. Seriously, it kind of looks like a vampire on Supernatural).
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading book 6 in the Purge of Babylon series by Sam Sisavath. This series has been providing my zombie apocalypse fix while I wait (very impatiently) for TWD to return in the fall. I also just finished Neighbor Dearest by Penelope Ward, because who doesn’t need a little angsty friends-to-lovers drama every now and then?
If you could co-author a book with anyone who would it be?
This is a tough one because I think there are some authors who would be on everyone’s list (*cough*Stephen King*cough*), but because of my ties to the romance world, I choose romance superstar Jennifer Crusie. I’ve about hurt myself laughing while reading her books, and her characters are always so...real. By the end of one of her books, you feel like you’re friends with the hero and heroine. She writes smart, tough heroines and strong, confident-but-often-adorably-befuddled-by-their-feelings heroes. She’s an auto pre-order for me, and I have to think I could learn a thing or two (or twenty) from working with her.
The last time we spoke, you said the Harper Hall series would be four books. Is that still the plan? If so, what's next?
There will definitely be a book 4. But because I’m not the best planner in the world (or even the best planner in my own house, really), I can’t say for sure there won’t be more books in the series. Who knows? I just go where Harper tells me to go.