Book Extras

Author’s Note on The Moorewood Family Rules

I’ve wanted to write this book for a long time, and it took a few years to get right. The book originally started off as a family heist book. Its current form, as a family hijinks novel with some romance and a touch of mystery, is the third version of the book. I’ve never had a book take so long to figure out what it wanted to be.

The idea came from a rewatch of the movie, Ocean’s 8. At one point, Sandra Bullock’s character talks about how her entire family, except for one person, is made up of grifters. I remember thinking, what if I wrote a book about a con artist getting out of prison and instead of going off to pull a new con, she goes back home to her dysfunctional, messy scamming family and tries to get them to go legitimate? The idea of a con artist getting out of prison and going home to fix her grifting family seemed too good not to try writing it. And Moorewood Family Rules was born.

The research for this book was pretty fun. I spent a lot of time (probably too much) looking at real estate listings in Rhode Island to get the setting in my head. The house Jillian lives in was roughly based on a real house that was owned by relatives of John Jacob Astor, who died on the Titantic. As for the other details in the book that required research — I’m a lawyer-turned-author. Coming up with ways to break the law always entertaining for me.

Author’s Note on The Secret She Keeps

I write a lot of heroes who are mysterious. They have rough histories and aren’t emotionally available. They tend to act in ways that might be described as odd (I’m being nice here). Some are commitment-phobic —okay, a lot of them are. Most aren’t looking for a relationship and have been taught by life to be skeptical them.

So, I thought, what about giving all of those same self-protective, tough, and people-averse tendencies to the heroine instead?

And Maddie Rhine was born.

Maddie showed up in the shadows in the first book in this series, Her Other Secret. In The Secret She Keeps, she steps into the spotlight, which is something she would hate. She’s mysterious, quirky, and yes, odd. She’s someone who has seen some ugly stuff. She lived through a terrible situation and came out as a wary and careful survivor.

That means Maddie doesn’t always make choices that seem reasonable, and she often does the unexpected. All of that was great fun to write. I hope you enjoy Maddie and her offbeat charm. Hero Connor certainly does!

Author’s Note on Her Other Secret

I watched a lot of episodes of Murder, She Wrote with my mom when I was growing up. In case you weren’t a fan…(are there non-fans out there?)…the show is about a mystery writer who lives in Cabot Cove, Maine, and solves crimes on the side. For the record, I want to write crime and solve it in my spare time. That is the dream.

The joke of the show was that it took place in a lovely small town and about 500 people died there during the run of the show. If this happened in real life, the FBI would be all over the area and we’d have nonstop documentaries about the place. But, it’s fiction so it worked.

When my editor asked if I’d ever thought about writing a romantic suspense series set in a small town, I thought about Murder, She Wrote. I also thought about how cool it would be if the small town were actually an isolated island. And then there was my love for the Pacific Northwest. Combine all those things and the fictional Whitaker Island—the setting for Her Other Secret—was born.

Whitaker is the place people move to when they want to start over or hide from their pasts. The people are a bit…let’s use the word “quirky”. It’s the perfect home for Tessa, who is on the run from a scandal, and Hanson, the handyman who is more than he seems. They find each. The only problem is that dead body no one expected to find…

Author Notes on Stranded

I love writing romantic suspense. The adrenalin. The danger. Two people falling for each other while everything is falling apart around them. Fitting the romance and the suspense together in an intricate puzzle. Actually, that last part is hard, but that’s what makes writing the books so much fun.

One problem is the “save the day” moment tends to come close in time with the couple realizing they are each other’s “one” and, well, the book ends soon after. I wanted to know more…and the idea for Stranded was born.

Stranded is about what happens after the danger is done and the characters have had time to physically heal. They are no longer running, hiding, hunting and saving. They go back to their “normal” lives and…then what?

I knew that’s where things could get interesting.

Brax and Cabe dealt with survival and it led to betrayal. They’ve lied to each other and sacrificed for each other. The idea of delving into that was too delicious to miss.

In Stranded I got to look at the “after the suspense is over” time and see if I could put their relationship back together. It was a huge challenge, and I loved it. I hope you do, too!

Author Notes on Waiting for Him – More about the expanded story

Sometimes characters just won’t be quiet.

The first version of this story was a short novella entitled His for the Holidays, which came out in the anthology Reindeer Games — a super fun collection with eight other authors. The book released, we all had fun (especially Cam & Jonah), and I moved on to other love stories.

But readers just kept emailing me about them. You all wanted to know more.

And I wanted to know more, too. I just couldn’t help myself — I love Cam & Jonah. So what happened? I wrote FIFTEEN THOUSAND more words about them.

Here’s what’s new in the updated version:

The original story focused on the time around the holidays in the later years of the six years Cam & Jonah have known each other. The updated version has a lot about the beginning and getting to know each other… wanting each other… hating being apart.

In telling more of their story, I expanded the book significantly so readers could learn more about the beginning of their relationship and see their attraction and longing build.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed the writing — both times!