How long did "Prints Charming" take you to complete?
I had to chuckle when I read this. Do you mean the first time I wrote it or the second time? Ha ha! The first time was seven weeks. Then the most fabulous editor in the universe, Karen Ball, was hired to read it. She came back to me with 18 single-spaced pages of suggestions and changes. The main thing? The story was good, but it’d be even better if it took place a year later. A year later!

I nearly had a heart attack. The book was due in 7 days. Moving the timeline would necessitate almost an entire re-write. But Karen’s suggestions were dead-on.  I knew it would be a better book if I made the changes. So, I got to work.

On the seventh day of re-writing (I scrapped nearly everything but the first chapter), I was still needing about 10,000 words and I was tired. I got an instant message from a friend of mine, Kathleen Y’Barbo, who was working for my publicity firm at the time and who knew about my re-writing frenzy. She asked how it was going and I told her I thought I’d finally found something I couldn’t do.  Something that I had promised I would do, but in reality I proved to be incapable.

Kathleen kicked my tail through the IM box. She told me to unplug my laptop and turn off the phone, go out to my porch, and sit my behind down and write until I was done. She told me I could do this and I would do this. It was just what I needed.

I emailed the finished manuscript that afternoon to my publisher – and promptly consumed 40,000 pounds of chocolate in celebration.

Do you have a favorite character? Why?
Jane’s my favorite because she’s a lot like me. Jake’s my favorite because he’s a lot like my wonderful hubby. Mac’s my favorite because she’s a mix of my mother and another good friend. Lydia’s my favorite because she’s quite a bit like my sister. Mari’s my favorite because she shares many things with my best friend. Wilson Wellington is my favorite because, in reality, I’ve had him by my side for five years. He’s the best dog in the world! 

How much research did "Prints Charming" take?
Not too much since I’ve been a scrapper for nearly a decade. I already knew the ins and outs of the scrapping world. I did, however, have to do some research about juvenile delinquents and young adult offenders so that I could accurately write Tabitha’s character. And I had to bug Mari for hours on end to brush up on my Spanish skills again.

Do you prefer to write contemporary fiction? Why?
Definitely! The stories that play in my head begin in the world in which I live. Last week, I was at the beach in Naples, Florida visiting my in-laws (lovely people!). I was all relaxed on a warm beach towel, hearing the sound of seagulls in the air, enjoying the beautiful picture of my toddler and husband playing in the breaking waves in front of me, when I caught an incredible sight out of the corner of my eye.

About 15 yards down the beach, an elderly woman in a black bathing suit was standing at the water’s edge. She was leaning forward, hands on hips, and her posture clearly indicated she wanted to go into the water. I watched her for a few seconds, wondering if she would get up the nerve to go in. (The water is pretty cold this time of year.) Then I watched an elderly man stand up in the water, step over a breaking wave, and reach out for her hand. He was wearing black and white trunks and had that paunch that nearly all old men have. But the way he took her hand … It took my breath. When she put her hand in his, every ounce of hesitation left her posture. She stepped right on into that water as if she’d never thought of staying on dry ground. I watched her make her way across the breaking waves and out into the calmer waters, never letting go of his hand.