Welcome to the Author Spotlight, CD and congratulations on the release of ‘A World Apart ’ the second book in your ‘Love Where you Roam’ series! Could you tell us a little about it please?
Originally, the series was inspired by my own backpacking adventures when I was (much) younger. The heroines travel out into the world, looking to find themselves, to figure out who they are and what they want from life. (U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” comes to mind). And along the way, they fall in love when they least expect it.
The stories revel in those “first days” of falling in love, the wonderment and confusion, especially when it comes to individuals from very different cultures. They are sweet romances, humorous and light-hearted. Not too much angst or drama, but plenty of characterization and action and watching what happens when worlds collide. Put two very different individuals into an intense environment, equals the perfect formula for a great story.
You write series with a difference. Could you explain it to the readers?
Yep! Each book can stand alone, you don’t need to read the one before to be a part of it. You can jump right into the middle and work your way around the series in any direction you’d like. The series is connected through concept and characters; a secondary female character in the previous book will get her own chance at love in the next one.
What sort of plotting is involved in this kind of series? How do you tie all the loose ends together?
In Watershed, Irish Maggie travels to the Australian Outback where she falls in love with Gray. A secondary character in this story, the Aussie jillaroo Lizzy, then stars in the next book of the series. She travels to Scotland where she falls in love with Hamish in A World Apart, my most recent release. The third book of the series, Dusting of Light, has Scottish Sophie (secondary in A World Apart) travelling to Alaska and is still a WIP. (Man, I need more time to write!) And the last book has an Alaskan woman travelling to Ireland. So the series comes full circle where Maggie is a secondary in the last story.
Your books are all based in different countries. Have you travelled to all these places?
I have! I totally believe in writing what you know. Because without that intimate experience, I couldn’t portray the environment and setting in an accurate or dramatic way. And the setting is so important to the books, used to propel the conflict forward. If I hadn’t lived in those places, the vivid imagery – the smells, the sounds, the culture – all the description that I believe adds to the voice of the narratives would be lacking.
I lived in Scotland for two years when I got my MPHIL in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling. A World Apart is set in Bridge of Allan where I lived, like Lizzy, in the Queen’s Hotel, working for reduced rates on my rent. There, I fell in love with an Irishman and moved to Dublin. The Irish fella didn’t work out but Ireland did and I ended up living there for 7 great years of my life. Living it up in Dublin, travelling the Emerald Isle and Europe and just plain enjoying myself! There, I met my Australian husband (okay, I sound like a nutcase, but I couldn’t have made this shit up if I tried) and we moved to Australia. We were married and both of my sons were born in Queensland. After five years, we just recently moved back to Michigan where I grew up and are now waist-deep in snow!
As for Alaska? Gutted fish at a fish-processing plant just outside Anchorage one summer when I was at university. All of my travels have touched my heart in some way, and in another way some of my heart still remains there – so I use my writing to keep those memories alive.
Your books in the ‘Rugby, Love and Other Stuff’ series are written from the male point of view. What challenges did you face in doing this?
I actually love writing in all male POV. It’s different and that’s what makes it unique. My Love Where You Roam series has a very lyrical voice, descriptive and often poetic. The Rugby, Love & Other Stuff (I love this series title but depending on who and where it is published, this might change) was straight out LAD voice. I got to cut out what the girls were wearing and just stare at her boobs. I didn’t have to think about things too much, my introspection sometimes didn’t wander too far from “I’m feeling hungry and horny” or “I’m pissed off”. In all seriousness, I found the challenge delicious, so tired of the same ol’ voices in romance. There’s more action and less I-wonder-what-he’s-thinking. There’s more cuss words and less crying. More locker scenes (hot!) and less shopping. LOL Unlike LWYR, this series is quite saucy. Maybe I’ll contract it to Hustler in instalments.
But really, what woman doesn’t want to know what a man is thinking? What compels their actions? That are often so foreign to us ladies. I had to pull teeth to get info out of my husband, who is a total Aussie bloke, so perfect for misinterpretation and confusion. J
Do you have a male beta reader to check for authenticity?
Yes, and he is doubling as my subject matter expert as well. Current president of the Traverse Bay Blues Rugby Club, Anthony Dell’Acqua, ex-player and coach has been so kind to talk to me for hours about the rugby in the US and the clubs over here, which are very different than those in Australia and the other large rugby nations. Both him and his wife will beta read for me – they both know rugby and I get both perspectives. Because really the book is for both men and women.
What would we find on your shelves or e-reader?
Submissions! LOL. Since I am also an Editor (Acquisitions and Content) for Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing, my Kindle is always full of subs to read. Please don’t critique my grammar now in this post. Ha ha.
But on my bedside table, I have Dan Brown’s latest, The Inferno. Because when I’m not reading romance (mostly subs at the moment), I like the variation of other genres. And also, “Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions” as I have a five-year old with special needs and life is a challenge with him every day.
Can you share with us one thing your readers wouldn’t know about you?
I’m missing the tip of my right ring finger so typing is awkward sometimes. That’s why I had to give up the clarinet when I was in middle school. Couldn’t cover the hole. Lost it in a freak accident with a foldable lawn chair, Mother’s Day picnic, when I was 3-years-old.
Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘A World Apart’, please?
Hamish squeezed the steering wheel repeatedly as if it was a soother ball. At least he refrained from grinding his teeth. He turned to Lizzy. “And how do you find this funny?”
“I don’t find it funny, ha ha,” Lizzy stressed. “More funny as in fun.”
“This is fun to you?”
“Sure! Why not? It’s an adventure! Out here on the side of a beautiful mountain under the stars. So we sleep in the car. Sounds good to me. There can only be a few hours until light, anyhoo, right? Not to mention, my adventure is with a fine and handsome Scotsman.” She playfully punched Hamish in the arm, an exaggerated smile on her face. “That’s you, Hamish.”
Luckily the darkness hid the blush that rose from his neck. Even now, he found it hard to believe women found him attractive. Too many embarrassing and awkward moments with girls when he was younger made him think otherwise.
He cleared his throat. He could tell her now about his interview tomorrow, but it wouldn’t help the situation. “I’m worried about Rennie.”
Barely the words were out when Lizzy had hopped over the center console of the front seat and launched herself into the backseat. The jacket she wore caught on his travel coffee mug, spilling the contents onto Lizzy as she landed with a hmph.
“No worries,” she said, smearing the cold coffee into her jeans.
Lizzy peered over the seats, then reached over to stroke each dog’s head.
“Both are sound asleep. Charlie is even snoring–” Lizzy broke off suddenly, turning around to face front. She pulled her knees to her chest. Her teeth were chattering.
“Lizzy, get in with the dogs.”
“Wh-wh-what?” She looked at him as if he was a complete tosser.
Her body had begun to convulse to counterbalance her heat loss.
He drew in a deep breath through his nose and tried again. “Please, get in the back.”
“You wa-wa-want me to go sit with the dogs?”
“You’re a real shit, ya know. I don’t deserve this. Sure, I know I was out with them all day, but it was ba-ba-better than waiting on your girlfriend.”
“Eh? What are you talking about?” Maybe she had already reached delirium. He needed to get her body temperature up as quickly as possible.
“That princess Marie at your house this morning, she said you said I would cook her breakfast. And there I was serving her food like a ser-ser-servant girl. It wasn’t gourmet cuisine or anything, but I still cooked it for her!”
“You’re telling me you don’t even remember her name? And here you came across as such a refined gentleman on Sunday. I should have listened to the rumors. They are obviously all true.”
Hamish hadn’t the slightest idea what Lizzy was going on about. Unless she meant his colleague’s daughter who had spent the night. He had barely said two words to her before he excused himself to prepare for his interview. His brother Alasdair had taken her to the Crooked Arm for the pub quiz night.
“I was hired to clean your house and cook some tea for you, not to wait on your shags. You never said anything about cooking for the girls you brought home–”
“I’m going to fold down the seats.” Hamish interrupted her before she got herself worked up any further.
“What the bloody hell for?”
“Lizzy, please! You’re having a delayed hypothermic reaction.”
A confused look passed over Lizzy’s face. “From the cold coffee?”
CD is kindly giving away an ebook of ‘A World Apart’. All you have to do to be in the draw is answer the following question:
Have you ever tried Haggis?
This competition is open world-wide.