SJ: I have been writing stories since I was in third grade. By fifth grade, I was writing my own mystery series about an amateur sleuth named Cathy Summers. I loved to read growing up and writing was a natural progression. Since I was introverted, writing was a way for me to express myself. I sold my first book, Face-Off, when I was 18 and that inspired me to continue writing for publication.
SJ: I’ve written two adult mystery/romantic suspense novels: Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim; two young adult novels, Dark Before Dawn and Face-Off; a children’s picture book called The Flag Keeper and a children’s bundle titled the Teddy Bear Town Children’s Bundle; and an anthology called 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back. Even though I write in different genres and for different ages, all of my books are about characters at a crossroads in their lives. They are at a fork in the road and can either take the safe familiar path, or take a risk and venture into the unknown.
SJ: I get ideas as I go about my daily life. Twenty-Five Years Ago Today was inspired by my previous job as a newspaper editorial assistant. One of my tasks was compiling the 25 Years Ago Today items from the microfilm. I got the idea of having a newspaper editorial assistant stumble across a cold case on the microfilm. Sink or Swim was inspired by the reality TV show craze. I made my protagonist Cassidy a personal trainer who works at a health club because I was an exercise science major in college and once worked for a gym. Dark Before Dawn stemmed from my interest in the metaphysical and in psychics. My most recent book was inspired by a family trip to a theme park.
SJ: Yes, unfortunately. I outline my books so that I can minimize writer’s block. I like planning out the plot, subplots and character development, though sometimes I tweak it as I go along. Once in a while though, when I sit down to write, I can’t focus. Usually that means I have a lot on my mind. If I take some time to meditate and exercise, I’ll have better luck the next time I sit down to write.
SJ: I am finishing up a romantic comedy/sweet romance called Fooling Around With Cinderella. It’s a fun book about a marketing coordinator who moonlights as a theme park Cinderella for the summer and falls for her boss.