ULM: What was your inspiration for creating the Shaugnessy Brothers?
I had been reading Bella Andre’s Sullivan’s series and loved it. When my agent asked me to come up with a series after the Montgomerys, I knew I wanted something similar to what Bella had created.
ULM: How many books have you written so far?
I have written 55 books total J But I have written all 6 of the Shaughnessy books and there is a possibility of a 7th, but that will be it for that series.
ULM: If you’re single and could date any one of the brothers, which one would you choose?
I am a happily married woman. However…let’s just say – hypothetically – that I am single. It would still be a hard choice because there are characteristics of each brother that I find appealing personally. It would be a draw between Quinn and Riley!
ULM: Do you have any other works planned after A Sky Full of Stars, if so can you share with us, readers?
How long is this article? Lol! Okay, I pretty much have my releases scheduled all the way through the end of 2019! Here’s what the next nine months looks like:
– A Sky Full of Stars (Shaughnessy 5)- June 2017
– Complicating (Preston’s Mill 3)- July 2017
– Holiday Spice (Shaughnessy 6)- October 2017
– Christmas Novella (Silver Bell Falls/untitled) - November 2017
– Ford (7 Brides for 7 Soldiers)- December 2017
– One More Promise (Band on the Run 2)- February 2018
ULM: Out of the many novels you have written in the past, which one is your most favorite?
Oh, that’s hard to say! The Christmas Cottage is one of them because it’s been optioned by the Hallmark Channel to become a movie and that was my dream for it almost since it was published. But I don’t have just one favorite. I can probably say the top three (lol!): Stay with Me (Montgomery #3), A Sky Full of Stars (Shaughessy #5) and One More Promise (Band on the Run #2).
ULM: Using only three words, how would you describe your writing style?
Chatty, informal, fluent.
I think. Lol!
ULM: What was it like writing your latest book, A Sky Full of Stars?
I had a lot of fun writing this book because I was looking forward to it for so long. Owen Shaughnessy was an interesting character to create and I knew that once he had his own story, I could do so much more to flesh him out. You’ve seen him in the four previous books and he was the kind of character that piqued reader’s curiosity and I wanted to do him justice. So I had intended for this book to really have the potential for some humor and lightness – for Owen to learn to laugh at himself a bit – but what came out was a very emotional and deep book that I just love. It took me by surprise and I love when that happens – when I start out in one direction and then the characters take me someplace else.
ULM: When did you publish your very first novel? Which novel was that?
I self-published my first book in November of 2011. I had spent years writing it and I had submitted it to about two dozen publishers and agents and after about sixteen rejections, I realized that I was not someone who handled rejection well. Jordan’s Return was the book of my heart and I knew that I wanted to see it in print so I decided to self-publish. I knew nothing about the process or about marketing and promoting, so that book only sold about 30 copies in the first year – and most of that was to family and friends!
ULM: You mentioned teaching creative writing to elementary students. Describe that experience.
I always loved to write. I homeschooled my older son from fourth grade through twelfth. I was involved in several co-ops and always volunteered to teach creative writing. I’ve taught students from fifth grade through high school and it was the greatest experience! It was the high school students who really encouraged me to take the leap and self-publish! They were all doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and had paperback copies of their books that they showed me and I thought “I can do that!”. I loved encouraging my students to get their thoughts down on paper. And the ones who started the class saying that they hated to write or they weren’t good at it, ended up being some of my favorite students and the best writers! The key? Write about something that you love. Once they had that choice, the rest was easy.
ULM: How did you come with Dr. Owen Shaughnessy’s career as an astrophysicist?
I’m a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory and thought that having Owen be some sort of scientist would be a great distinction in a family like the Shaughnessys.
ULM: When does the sixth novel in The Shaughnessy Brothers series come out? Can you briefly tell us what that will be about?
Holiday Spice is Darcy Shaughnessys story and it comes out this October! She has been another interesting character and we’ve essentially watched her grow up a bit throughout the series. She’s sassy and independent and as much as she complains about her over-protective brothers, she simply adores her family. In the book, she gets snowed in with a very talented artist (he does wood sculpting) and he is a complete loner. He lives up in the mountains in Washington and loves his solitude. Obviously things get romantic while they’re snowed in and once Darcy leaves to go back to North Carolina and her family, they have to figure out if this is a relationship that can continue.
ULM: When did you start writing? Did you always have a love for creative writing?
I wrote my first short story in the third grade. It was for an assignment and that was the thing that told me that writing was a passion. I hand-wrote my first romance in the ninth grade. Then I didn’t write again until I was in my thirties! It was a hobby for me, an outlet, and I started writing because I couldn’t find anything to read that I wanted! So you know the saying “Write the book you want to read!” And I did. I probably still have the binder with maybe fifteen different stories in various stages of completion hiding around here somewhere. I may pull it out eventually and see if any of those stories can be finished.
ULM: What is your advice to those pursuing a career an a writer?
Write what you LOVE. Don’t write to the trends!
ULM: How would you describe each of the Shaughnessy brothers using only one word?
ULM: Where can readers find both you and your work online?