QUESTION: What was the inspiration for The Ruby Brooch.
ANSWER: In September 1996, I read my first Elizabeth Lowell’s book Winter Fire. I loved it. Over the next several weeks, I read her entire back list. Then I moved on to Linda Howard, Beatrice Small and several other romance authors. By September 1997, I’d read over 250 romance novels and decided I wanted to write my own.
I knew three things: I wanted to write a time travel romance set in the American west in the mid-1800s, and because I had read suspense and mystery stories for years, my story had to have a mystery element. The idea for using a ruby brooch as a method of time travel came about because of a piece of jewelry I have that has its own remarkable history, sort of like THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS. I started the story the first Monday in October and finished ten weeks later. Since its early beginnings, the story has gone through multiple revisions until I finally released it on March 31.
QUESTION: Would I be friends with the characters in this book?
ANSWER: Yes, all 25 members of the ensemble cast. They are a unique group of people who come together because they share a common goal—to get somewhere—and they need each other to reach their final destinations. They are faith-filled people who hold tenaciously to their dreams. Although they occasionally fail, they find the strength to get back up and continue their journey as difficult as it may be. My husband died suddenly four days after I finished writing the story. My own journey in many ways mirrors that of my characters. And probably through years of rewrites and edits, as I healed, they did, too.
QUESTION: Am I reflected in any of the characters?
ANSWER: There is a part of me in all of them. Although I’m not a paramedic like Kit, I am a first responder. I jump at the call and am there to help during a crisis. I can’t whistle like Cullen, although I try, and I saunter, much the way he does. I butt in sometimes where I’m not needed, and I don’t take myself too seriously like Braham. I am faith-filled like Sarah and every once in a while will come out with some pearls of wisdom, probably not as profound as hers. I have Adam’s curiosity, and Frances’s penchant for occasionally blurting out something that should be filtered. And like Henry, I’m very protective of the ones I love. And then there’s Elliott, who is afraid to open his heart because he was hurt long ago and never fully recovered. Fortunately, I have!
QUESTION: Do Iread the same kinds of books I write? If there are any differences between the two, what are they?
ANSWER: I read mystery and suspense with and without romance. I don’t see myself as a mystery writer though. I’m a romance writer because I enjoy writing those kinds of relationships within the framework of a mystery. THE RUBY BROOCH is a multi-genre story—romance and mystery. Although it takes place in the American west, it’s not a western per se. None of the elements of a typical western are in this story. There is no nomadic wanderer wearing a Stetson, using a revolver or rifle as an everyday tool of survival, or riding between dusty towns and ranches on his trusty steed. The hero is a lawyer who quotes Shakespeare and hums Bach.
QUESTION: What do I think is alluring about my book? Why should someone pick it up?
ANSWER: It has vibrant, complex, non-cardboard characters, great storytelling, and constant action that will keep you riding an emotional roller-coaster. It is also a poignant tale of loss and love and belonging. It will tug on your heartstrings. And, there’s enough steam that you’d want to keep it out of the hands of your twelve-year-old, but nothing gratuitously graphic.
QUESTION: What am I working on now?
ANSWER: I’m currently working on a contemporary, baby-boomer romance. The hero, Elliott Fraser, is Kit’s (the heroine in THE RUBY BROOCH) godfather. Elliott is CEO of MacKlenna Farm and is a commitment-phobe. He meets Meredith Montgomery who owns a winery in the Napa Valley. The reader will quickly make a connection to THE RUBY BROOCH, although you don’t have to read the first book to understand what’s happening in the second one. Meredith has breast cancer and is in the middle of launching a new wine to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the winery. The first thirty pages are included at the end of THE RUBY BROOCH.