What inspired you to write your first book?
I literally had scenes and dialogue that became more vivid and grew louder in my head. It wasn’t all connected, but I decided to listen to it and just write whatever flowed out. I figured I would worry about connecting the dots once the initial urgency I felt was satisfied. That is how the Keeper Trilogy was born.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel?
Remembering to write for the reader can be difficult at times. That may sound crazy but perspective is everything when it comes to creating a story. As a writer, I have the advantage of omniscience, but that same edge may mean that I inadvertently leave out some bit of information that the reader will need to make sense of a particular scenario, or to connect with a character. All throughout the writing process, I step back and read what I’ve written as if I don’t know what’s coming, as if I am just learning about the people in the story. I also ask myself what questions I want answered, as not only the author, but a reader, too.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
It would be a dream come true if I could make writing my career. However, if that never happens, I will still be happy. I’ve already accomplished more than I ever thought I would when it comes to writing. Self-publishing has given people like me a process by which we can express ourselves and offer even more choices and voices to readers.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
I will always be developing my writing style—whatever that is. I’ve been told that I have an easy-to-read style, but I know that there will always be room for improvement, and I can see the progress in each book that I’ve written. It’s like anything in life, the more you do it, the better you get at it—or at least that should be the goal.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Oh, of course, I’ve had writer’s block. I step away when I feel that I’m just spinning my wheels. I don’t believe in forcing the story. I like the story to come to me when it’s ready. If it’s the type of situation where I’m only having trouble with a particular scene, then I simply move on to other scenes that flow more easily. However, if it’s an overarching writer’s block that has to do with major plot line issues and character development, then I literally put the whole story away for a while. This usually happens when the story I started out to write collides with the characters I’ve developed and no longer rings true to me. Then I have a decision to make: change the story, or change the characters. So far, I’ve remained true to my characters.
How did you come up with the title?
Chain of Title has a double meaning in my story. First, it has to do with the way Shayna describes her relationship with the men in her life: father, brothers, and husbands. Second, it also has to do with a large parcel of land for which the chain of title is at issue and becomes a contentious catalytic point in the story.
Can you tell us about your main character?
Shayna Montgomery is in the middle of life, having just ended a long-time marriage. For the first time, she is without a man and rediscovers who she is during the three-year separation and subsequent divorce from Frank Chastain. She is strong, independent and reevaluates the life she has been living, deciding to dust off the dreams she shelved long ago in order to follow her husband’s aspirations. She is flawed just like the rest of us and doesn’t always make the best decisions–those are often made in hindsight anyway–and has to come to terms with her own demons regarding acceptance and forgiveness of others. She makes a choice in Chain of Title that I suspect some readers will vehemently disagree with, while others may understand her decision, even if they don’t feel they themselves would, or could, make the same choice.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
When I started this story, I didn’t know the ending–I never do, because through developing the characters, the story comes to life in my head. I have ideas about the direction and the players in the story, but it’s not set in stone. Writing is an organic process for me. The more I write, the more clearly I see their faces, feel their moods, and before I know it, they are telling me what needs to be written. I tell the story that is true for the people in it. It becomes their story, not mine.
Genre – Women’s Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Romance
Rating – R