Thanks so much for having me, Ann! I always start with my heroes and work from there. Who are they? What do they do? What are their external and internal conflicts in life? But before I can answer those questions, I have to find a physical inspiration to get my creative juices flowing. *wink, wink* So, I turned to the internet and resigned myself to the grueling task of sifting through hundreds of pictures of sexy men. When I found the picture of Parker Hurley in nothing but shorts and hand wraps, I knew instantly that he was the hero I’d been looking for. Since I’m a huge UFC fan, I was naturally drawn to the idea of a MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter. Everything pretty much fell into place from there.
Do you set yourself strict rules while you're writing?
Yes, I do, daily. Then I break every single one of them. Daily.
I try so hard to be a responsible, mature writer with daily word count goals and set writing hours…but I’ve never been a structured person. I’m a huge procrastinator with an even bigger case of A.D.D., which means if I’m not putting writing off, I’m getting distracted from it. It’s a miracle I’ve finished any books at all!
How do you find balance with your writing and real life?
That’s a great question. I’ll let you know if I ever find it, but I’m not sure such a thing exists.
Tell us something about yourself that is not in your author bio.
I met my husband when I was 16 years old at a Jellystone campground. I was the new lifeguard and he was king of the beach volleyball court. He pursued me on a bet with one of his friends. This year marks 19 years total that we’ve been together (15 years married), which is over half of our lives! I love that we already have so much history together.
Do you have a specific place you like to write/music you listen to, etc?
Not really. I don’t have an office yet, so I kind of write all over the place. But I have lots of plans for my library-slash-office that will become a reality when we build our house within the next year, so I’m excited about that. I generally don’t listen to music when I write, but if I need to drown out my surroundings, I tend to listen to Pandora or iTunes Radio on the stations like John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, or The Fray that give me music similar to those styles. The only consistent thing with my writing habits is that 99% of the time one or both of my cats are laying on me while I’m working.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
In early 2009. After finishing one of Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld books, I laid in bed in complete awe of how deeply the characters had affected me. That an author can make others feel so much for the “people” they create—people who don’t even exist—really fascinated me.
So I began to wonder what two characters I would write about if I were a writer. That’s when Dominic and Angelica came to me. I started asking myself what their backgrounds were, how they knew each other, what their problems and flaws were…before I realized it, a month had passed where I thought about them all the time and had started telling myself their story in my head. And that’s when I realized that if I didn’t write it down, I’d forget it all within a few months (because I have the worst memory ever).
I started typing the story out, merely as another way of exploring my passion for romance novels. I never intended on doing anything with it other than keeping it for myself. But the more I wrote, the more passion I felt for the characters and the story. Eventually I decided to pursue publication with the thought process that the worst case scenario was if no one wanted it and I was back to writing it for myself. That was the moment I started taking the craft of writing seriously and started to think of myself as “a writer.”
As a side note, Dom and Angelica’s book, Desires of the Soul, releases in hardback and digital forms November 2014. I’m so excited for their introduction to the world after all this time!
Are you currently working on a new project? If so can you tell us what it will be about?
I’m finishing up the launch title for the What Happens in Vegas continuity series, which will release on the new Lovestruck imprint by Entangled Publishing. It’s called Betting on Her Best Friend and takes place in Vegas at a romance convention. This book is a lot lighter and shorter than my Fighting for Love series. The release date is scheduled for July. As for the rest of 2014, I hope to release, Sweet Victory (book 4 of the FfL series) and, as I mentioned earlier, I look forward to the much anticipated release of my paranormal romance, Desires of the Soul.
Who are some of your favorite romance writers?
My TOP 3 will always be Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, & Lara Adrian. Paranormal Romance is my favorite sub-genre, if you can’t tell. But some of my other auto-buy authors are Larissa Ione, Roni Loren, Ruthie Knox, & Ella Sheridan. You can see a more complete list of my favorite authors on Goodreads.
Thanks again, Ann, for inviting me over to chat! I had a great time. J
Growing up, she dreamed of helping people escape reality with her sublime acting abilities. It wasn’t until college when she realized she had none to speak of, thereby derailing her lifelong plans. Another ten years would pass before she discovered a different means to accomplishing the same dream: writing stories of love and passion for romance addicts just like her.
Thanks to the support of her amazing family, Gina is now the Boss of the world’s first organized romance mafia, the Maxwell Mob, and living her dream of bringing a little romantic fantasy to the world—one steamy novel at a time.