Where do you get your inspiration for your novels?
Well, the big ideas for the first book in a series either hit me on the head out of nowhere, or start with a desire to write a certain genre or pairing. The novels grow from there. I take a ton of notes every day for all aspects of my books—settings, scenes, snippets of dialogue. Those usually come to me from something I’ve seen or heard during the course of daily life. And I’m generally working on three different series at a time in various stages of development.
A lot of settings for my books are real places here in the South Carolina lowcountry, and this area plays a huge part in Carolina Bad Boys as well as Lowcountry Heat.
I’ll give you one specific example though: I was driving myself nuts trying to come up with a profession for Josh Stone. I just could not nail it down. Then I got a flat tire on my mommy van, and had to take it in to get changed. I was waiting outside of Gerald’s Tires and Brakes when lo and behold, this big, yummy hottie mechanic came strolling toward me. He kind of ducked his head to the side when he passed me, with a little smirk-grin combo and boom instant inspiration. That, my friends, is how Josh Stone, At Your Service was born.
How do you decide physical features, names, etc. for your characters?
That’s easy: David Gandy, David Gandy, David Gandy. Jason Momoa, Jason Momoa, Jason Momoa. Oh, and Stuart Reardon. Bah ha ha!
Um, where was I? Oh yeah…I like my characters within a series to have very different looks, so I sort of just switch things up. I like my men big and buff for the most part—who doesn’t, right? But their specifics depend on their life story. Would so and so have a tat? A scar? Etc.
Now my women? I like them to be not-your-typical romance goddess types. They’re voluptuous and curvy, or maybe lean and tall. Some of them are completely A-typical. Take Liz Grant from my Don’t Tell series—she’s a soldier. And she’s just basically badass to the core. I love that woman.
Names are so much fun to come up with! Sometimes I ask for help on Facebook and give a book or such to the person who comes up with the winner. One of my fans/friends came up with the name Stone. Nicky Love just had to be Nicky Love—it was instant and perfect. For my Don’t Tell series, things were different because those books explore two opposite societies: cold and urban vs. rural and utopian. So the names for people from each faction were based on those ideas. Cannon, Linc, Mayce instead of Rice, Hawke, Eden, etc.
Do you find yourself identifying with some of your characters? If so, which character?
There might be a little bit of me in each of my characters—even the evil ones. Muah ha ha. Truthfully though, I don’t identify myself with them all that much, aside from those who have a wicked sense of humor (and many of them do).
I feel for them. I laugh with them, cry with them (many times during the course of writing a book), and I do the most wonderful things to them as well as the most horrible. I’m sort of their fairy godmother and malicious puppeteer all in one body.
Is there a novel that you’ve written that you consider your best work? What is it?
Oh lord, no. Each of my series—even the stories within the series—are so different it’s hard to compare them from a basic level. I’m proud of all my people and my stories, but that doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from pre-publishing jitters, post-publishing jitters, and all the jitters in between.
Who is your favorite author? What book by that author is your favorite?
This is tough one! I can’t name just one author because I read tons of everything all the time. I’ll tell you my favorite books at the moment: The Discovery of Witches series (so lush!) and The Bone People by Keri Hulme.
Did this author influence your writing? In what way?
Every single book I read influences my writing. I read for entertainment, but I also read to perfect my own craft. I compare styles and voices and descriptions. I think Oh my God, I want to write like that! all the time.
Do you have a favorite genre that you read? What is it?
Absolutely. All of the genres! Kidding. Top three: M/m romance, YA, and Paranormal.
What do you feel would be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
I’ll take hitting the NYT Bestseller List for a thousand, Alex Trebec, please and thanks ;-). Barring that, just being able to continue what I’m doing because writing is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life.