Born and raised in Nebraska – in a city, not on a farm – she is a devoted fan of football, British period drama, writing in bars and her cats, Jane and Bingley.
Q. What inspired the plot for "Hard Hats and Doormats"?
My first job out of college. I traveled across the country – including the Gulf Coast – interviewing men and women who worked for railroads. I had a lot of time to think about the story while I was driving, and I realized I wanted to write a story about a young woman who was exploring a different part of the world then she ever imagined when she was in college. Only, instead of being a journalist, Lexi works in HR, and instead of talking to railroaders, she works with a chemical company.
Q. Who would you cast as Lexi Burke if Hard Hats and Doormats ever became a movie? Why?
Jennifer Lawrence, and simply because I have a huge girl-crush on her and want to make her my BFF. But… JLaw is undoubtedly in high demand, and I’d be surprised if the studio execs would want to shell out the money to hire her, so I’d also recommend Anna Kendrick, because she can play cute and bubbly, which is how I imagined Lexi.
Q. Would you say that you and Lexi are just alike or the exact opposite?
Lexi and I share a few similarities, but are mostly different. Lexi is a much more patient, flexible and motivated than I was at her age. She also does a better job of going after what she wants. We both like margaritas, gentlemen and our smart phones.
Q. At what age did you realize writing was something you wanted to pursue?
I’ve kind of always known I wanted to be a writer, but I came up with my first serious novel when I was 19. I never finished writing it, but I had an outline, character sketches and plans for three follow-up books. After that, I tried a few more books before I got serious about writing the first draft of Hard Hats and Doormats when I was 24.
Q. What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
The most rewarding part of writing is having a reader tell you how much they enjoyed your work. Even when I wrote articles for newspapers and industrial magazines, it made my day to receive an email or phone call from someone saying they’d read my work and liked it. The most challenging part is consistently finding time to write. I work full-time, and some days I’m too tired to write before I head to the office of when I get home. Editing is also tough.
Q. What are you currently reading?
After taking a couple of months off from reading while I was heavily invested in writing the first draft of my third novel, I now have a few books lined up in my to-read queue this month: Heartbreak Café by Cindy Arora, Sugar Spun Sister by Anna Garner, Zoey & the Moment of Zen by Cat Lavoie, Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London and Chocolate for Breakfast by Martha Reynolds.
Q. Would you ever consider writing an autobiography about your writing journey?
I don’t know if that story would be interesting enough to tell. I have toyed with the idea of writing a memoir about the few years I spent traveling around the country for work. I was fresh out of college, and the places I visited and people I met taught me a lot about life and helped me grow up. But I’m not even sure if that would carry on for a whole novel. I’m a pretty boring person!
Q. Describe your writing ritual.
I write wherever I can whenever I can. But, when I’m sitting down at my desk to write, I start by lining up all of my supplies – notebooks, notes, pens, etc. My attention only lasts for so long, though, so I’ll often change locations during a writing marathon. I’ll do some writing at the desk, some on my couch, at a café, and so on.
Q. What is your favorite thing to munch on while writing?
When I’m being healthy, my favorite writing snack is clementine paired with a cup of English Breakfast tea. When I’m off the wagon, a big fan of Diet Dr. Pepper, cinnamon gummy bears and cheese crackers.
Q. What is your favorite novel that you've read this year?
That’s a tie between Brea Brown’s Daydreamer and Meredith Schorr’s Blogger Girl. Brea and Meredith are super talented ladies, and both of their books kept me flipping pages. I even took short breaks to read the books on my phone while out for the evening.
Q. What can your fans expect next?
I’m finishing my second novel, a modernization of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and just wrapped up the first draft of my third novel. I’m hoping to publish both in 2014, and I have a few other stories next on my to-do list.
Q. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Carry writing utensils with you everywhere you go. You never know when inspiration will strike. I keep a notebook and pens in my purse. I’ve also been known to write anything from bits of dialogue to full scenes on my iPhone.
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