When did you first fall in love with romance as a genre? As a teenager. I was an avid reader of Sweet Valley High and Christopher Pike in my early teens and then at sixteen I discovered my mom’s Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins books. Those two awesome authors were my first true romance genre experience and they had me diving into the deep end. I think I devoured everything they wrote in the late 80s.
Who are some of your authorly inspirations? I have a few, old and new. I would forever love SE Hinton. The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, although not romance, left a huge impact me. Modern authors, in this genre, I adore Helena Hunting and aspire to write male POV as well as she does. Also Lex Martin’s work inspires me. She writes really witty and realistic dialogue.
Fill in the blank: romance is what makes the world go round.
What makes a good romance novel, hero or heroine? Imperfection. Truly. I fall the hardest for characters with believable and honest flaws. He’s rich but he’s scared of the dark because of childhood trauma. Or she’s a heart surgeon but she’s addicted to bacon. People can be imperfectly perfect.
Tell us about your newest book? My new book, Score, is the first book in my San Francisco Thunder series. It’s about Jude Braddock, who is known for his antics off the ice just as well as on. But Jude isn’t the one-dimensional boy toy everyone thinks he is. He has sisters he loves dearly, a dad he’s losing to illness, and a best friend who betrays him. With a lot of regrets, he looks back at one closely, a disastrous first date he had when he was seventeen with Zoey Quinlin. When she drops back into his life, he decides to rewrite their history. But it quickly gets complicated. Zoey is going through a divorce, struggling to start a new career and has ultimately lost her sense of self. Jude reminds Zoey of who she used to be. However, she’s cautious, she’s heard the rumors about his past, and she has to decide out if he’s worth risking her already damaged heart.
What’s your all-time favourite fictional love story (it doesn’t need to be a book!)? There are so many. I’m always looking for the love story, a couple to “ship”, in everything I read or watch. If I had to pick my all-time favourite it’s probably Brian and Justin from Queer as Folk. They grew so much together, emotionally. Brian is my type of perfectly imperfect.
What are you reading now? I’m currently working on the last Hometown Players book and I can’t read while I write, but right before I started I finished Royal Affair by Parker Swift and loved it. I’ve got Riot Street by Tyler King planned as my next read.
What are some common misconceptions people have about romance readers or writers? That it’s all fluff and reading/writing books in this genre is nothing to be proud of. It’s not all fluff and smut. Sex is in there, but romance books also have deep characters and tackle real, sometimes gritty issues like death, addiction, career challenges, money troubles, etc. Readers of this genre are intelligent and come from all walks of life. Authors in this genre are skilled and work hard to develop characters and plots just like authors in other genres. I’m proud to read and write romance.
Describe your dream date (and your dream date partner). Spanish tapas on a beach at sunset with a tinto de verano (a Spanish drink) or tickets to a Stanley Cup game where your favourite team is in the playoffs. Both types of dates I’ve had with my husband, who is my dream date partner.
Speaking of dates, if you could choose anyone, living or dead to have a coffee with, who would you choose? I’d have to say Glenn Frey from the Eagles. I wish I could have been a teenager in the seventies because I’m obsessed with 70s music and the hippie culture of Laurel Canyon. I’d love to get the inside scoop from him and find out the meaning behind all the Eagles songs, especially Hotel California. I’ve got some of the lyrics as a tattoo.