You are an avid traveller, so which is your favourite destination?
My favourites are walkable cities or cities with good public transportation: Boston, New Orleans, Washington, DC are some places I love. I like to start in one spot, wander, and see where I end up.
About a week ago I was hanging out with a friend in Boston. We started our day at the Boston Public Library. That library has a gorgeous courtyard. It’s a great place to read, write, or people watch, so go there if you ever have a chance. We spent a couple hours there, then started walking toward The Commons. After we sat on a hill near the carousel, we headed toward Newbury Street. My friend bought a couple pairs of sandals, I read a funny book about cats, and then we ate lunch at an Irish Pub. I love that kind of day, just wandering around, seeing whatever there is to see.
Also, I like museums. It might sound strange, but I like to go by myself. That way I can stay as long as I want. Last time I was in New York, I went to the MoMA and saw the Century of the Child exhibit, a fascinating collection of toys from the past 100 years. Some of the awesome things I remember seeing are Colorforms, Globie from Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and a whole bunch of sweet wood furniture from the 60’s.
I also love beaches—but who doesn’t?
What I don’t like: camping, unless I’m doing it as part of a distance bike ride, and shopping.
Which person sticks in your memory the most of who you have met on your travels?
There have been a lot of them, but here’s a recent one. Last winter, I was at a Dunkin Donuts having a coffee and two chocolate frosted donuts before heading to the airport. I was sitting at a counter near the window, watching people trudge through the deep, wet snow. Everyone who passed the window was bundled up in scarves, hats, gloves and wearing boots. Everyone except one guy who was wearingboots, bulky grey sweats, and a sleeveless t-shirt. No hat. No coat. He was walking a dog, a boxer I think. He stopped in front of the Dunkin Donuts, right next to a bike rack that was mostly buried in the snow. Then he padlocked his dog to the bike rack. I’d never seen someone padlock their dog to a bike rack before and thought it was really interesting.
At what point did you decide that travelling was the answer to meeting people and finding story ideas?
I was working on a story set in the Florida Everglades and needed inspiration. At first, my plan to go visit the Everglades was a joke, but I found a cheap flight and a great place to stay. The place is called ‘Tween Waters Inn, in case you ever need to an awesome place to relax on the beach. Once I got to Florida, I bought a guidebook to Everglades National Park. I used the book to take myself on a tour. I drew plants, birds, made maps of the places I went to. Pretty nerdy stuff, really. But it worked. The experience really brought the story to life and I’ve used travelling as a source of inspiration ever since then.
The books in the Invitations series have been compared to EL James and Sylvia Day, so how does this make you feel?
Awesome! Writing books that readers love is my goal. Sylvia Day has written many books, but she consistently produces original stories. That variety is probably just one of the reasons readers adore her work. EL James, well, wow…period.
Why did you decide to set the series in Washington DC?
DC is sexy and exciting, filled with intrigue and buzzing with possibilities. Because it is the capital, there is always something exciting going on. The city is also has a touch of Southern charm. And lastly, setting my stories there gives me a reason to go back and do research.
What is your writing process?
I write a rough outline and then get started on the first draft. I’ve recently started writing some scenes of the story out of order. For example, I’ve written the end and the middle of one of the ones I’m working on now. I’ll write the beginning next. I’m finding doing the writing this way gives me the chance to capture the scene that is most vivid in my mind at the moment I’m writing.
Which writers do you most like to read?
Of course I read a lot of romance, way too many go-to romance authors to name. I’ve just finished Star Island by Carl Hiaasen. On the top of my to-be-read stack is An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro.