It actually turned out to be kind of hilarious. I knew the calls were going out that morning, so I was sticking close to my phone, fingers crossed. We don’t have caller ID, so when the phone rang, I grabbed it—and about went through the roof when it was RWA. I mostly listened, doing a lot of “wows” and “I can’t believe its.” My husband passed by my office in the middle of all this, and I frantically waved him in and jotted down the news. He peered at the paper, gave me a blank look, and shrugged. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t more excited! When I got off the phone, I found out why. He didn’t have his contacts in and had no idea what I’d written. He couldn’t even see my face that clearly. Based on my end of the conversation, he thought I was talking to our accountant about what we owed in taxes for the year. Needless to say, he was thrilled to discover I had much happier news!
After finding out you were a finalist, who did you call first and tell?
Since my husband was standing right there during the call, he was first to know. Then I emailed my editor and other key people at my publishing house with the news.
What other cool things have happened now that you’re a RITA finalist?
Getting the RITA finalist pin in the mail was thrilling, along with the invitation for the finalists reception in New York. I’ve also had fun sharing the news on social media. Other than that, though, it’s been life as usual. Daily page counts don’t go away!
In addition to writing more than forty-five contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels, I have a BA in psychology and an MA in journalism. For many years I juggled two careers, but I finally gave up my executive corporate communications position with a Fortune 500 company to write full-time. I’m happy to say I have no regrets! Leaving behind the rush-hour commute, corporate politics, and a relentless BlackBerry that never slept was no sacrifice. In my spare time, I enjoy performing in community theater productions, and I’m a soloist at my church. I also love dessert—but usually satisfy my after-dinner sweet tooth with a Fannie May truffle petite!
How many books have you written?
Deceived, my RITA finalist, was number 46. My 48th book, Hope Harbor—a contemporary romance/women’s fiction novel—was just published.
What other kudos have you earned?
Two RITA awards, a National Readers’ Choice award, three HOLT medallions, a Daphne du Maurier award, a Retailers Choice award, a Booksellers’ Best award, a Carol award, and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. I’m also a two-time Christy award finalist.
One piece of advice you have for other authors...
Never stop learning and never give up. Okay, that’s two pieces!
Tell us a little about this book?
Deceived is Book 3 in my Men of Valor series, which features three ex-law enforcement operatives (and former college roommates) who establish a private investigation firm. However, even though it’s part of a series, it can be read as a standalone novel, as can all my series books. I don’t like books that leave me hanging at the end, so I don’t write them. All my plot points are neatly tied up by “The End.”
Genre: Inspirational fiction, romantic suspense
Publisher: Revell (Baker Publishing Group)
Plot: For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she’s convinced it’s her son. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help. As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating “accident” begins to look increasingly suspicious. But if Kate’s son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden—and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m thrilled to be a RITA finalist! The RITA is the Oscar of romance fiction, and the competition is fierce, the judging intense. Making it to the finals is a huge accomplishment, and I’m honored to be in the company of so many fine authors. That is a win in itself! Also, please visit me on Facebook. I love to chat with readers!