Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Finally, one storyline idea took hold and just wouldn't let me go. I couldn't come up with a worthwhile answer as to why I couldn't turn it into a novel, and so it began. I do have a full-time job, working in marketing for Coca-Cola (so you'll probably notice my characters drink only Coke products). Writing was part-time. Evenings, weekends, days off, vacation time—all spent with Becky and Jules.
There was a huge learning curve, and the cutting room floor is littered with my schooling. If anyone wants to see some great deleted chapters, let me know. There are tons!
I started to love spending time with my characters, and sometimes even I can't wait to see what happens to them. Watching a blank page suddenly craft a story is exhilarating!
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I'm a huge animal lover. About a year and a half ago, my son (and me as his mother, of course!) started fostering kittens to meet his service hours requirement for high school. He surpassed his hours early on, but somehow there is still an endless parade of sweet fosters that come through. I'll give you one guess who's doing the majority of the work!
We have kept a couple of favorites, but for the most part, we have a completely different mindset when we foster. We're there to give them tons of love (and get them used to people, other cats, and a rambunctious puppy) until they're ready to go to their forever home. The day they go home with their new family makes me feel amazing.
Some of my favorites tug at my heart a little, but that's when I call the nonprofit I foster for and send up an SOS—need new kittens!
What do you do to unwind and relax?
This will probably sound terrible, but my DVR is filled with what my boyfriend calls "murder TV." I love true crime shows! I also can't resist anything about DNA or reunions. I'm beyond excited about the new show, The Genetic Detective, and Long Lost Family just gets me every single time.
Otherwise, a true treat is time to read a book. I mostly read suspense/thriller, but I'm not a read a chapter per night kind of girl. I need to read the entire book in a sitting or two. It's usually a weekend plan where I ignore the laundry and responsibilities calling me. I tend to read very fast but retain very little. Once a book is finished, and I'm on to the next, only the truly extraordinary stories stay with me. Lately, that would be Verity by Colleen Hoover. I can't stop thinking about that book!
How do you spend your spare time?
When I'm not writing, I can't resist a good DNA hunt and have helped numerous friends solve their own family mysteries. One friend looked for her birth mother for two years, and I found her in two hours. I called her up, and in my best Lisa Joyner Long Lost Family voice told her, "I found her." If you've never researched in Ancestry or on your family tree, it's completely addicting. When you look up from your computer, how long you've been sitting there will astound you. Right now, I've been working on my father's maternal line. My eleven-times great-uncle is the brother of the first Governor of the Plymouth Colony who came over on the Mayflower. Any other Carvers out there I could be related to?
The most intriguing part of a DNA hunt, which I tried to capture in Jules's storyline, is the overwhelming coincidences that seem to turn up. The woman above who I helped had adoptive parents named Fred and Caroline. Her birth mother's parents? You guessed it. Fred and Caroline. Another friend and I searched for years for her birth father. We had his name, but it was a common Hispanic name. We didn't have a middle name, which made it very hard until a close DNA match solved the case. Her biological father's middle name turned out to be Benjamin—the same name my friend had given her only son. These coincidences happen so often, it really makes you think about the forces at work out there.