I’ve always been a writer: stories when I was a kid, plays for my cousins to perform, terrible adolescent poetry. For the price of a few cigarettes, I ghosted love letters and “Dear John” letters for classmates in nursing school. During a checkered and wildly varying work life, I wrote speeches for politicians, brochures, fact sheets, press releases and newsletters for anyone who asked me to, and the occasional proposal and/or report for consulting clients. On vacations, I wrote memoir pieces, a number of which ended up being published in anthologies and magazines.
A couple years ago, I began writing fiction–although writing for a politician is considered by some to fall in that category. It all started with characters who obsessed me. I carried on conversations with them, listened to them talk to each other, figured out how they’d dress, what they’d drive. Then I wrote it down, which sounds easier than it is. The obsession has carried over to my computer–I’ve created Pinterest boards for each book and one board just for clothes and hairstyles.
So far, I’ve contracted with Crimson Romance for three books about characters linked together in the way most of Portland, Oregon is–by about two degrees of separation. The first book, “Beginning Again,” was released in June of this year. It began with Liz Fairchild, a character I’d created as a minor actor in another novel. Sorry to have to cut her out of most of the other book, during National Novel Writing Month last November, I decided to gave her thirty days to tell her story. Liz being who is, was more than happy to comply.
This fall, Liz and Collins, the hero and heroine of “Beginning Again,” will be joined by Sam and Amanda, the couple in “Loving Again.” Amanda shares with me a passion for working with glass. Except that she’s a far more talented artist than I am. She shows her work at The Fairchild Gallery in Northwest Portland. I doubt that Liz will ever ask me to show in her gallery but if I can stretch my skills enough, some of Amanda’s work may show up on my glass website this fall when the book is released.
The third book will be released next year and I’m working on numbers four and five. Stay tuned for details!
Thanks for joining us, Peggy! It seems you have always wanted to write…can you tell us more about your ‘Dear John’ letters you wrote for classmates when you were younger?
Sitting around our dorm one night, a friend was moaning about not being able to find the words to break up with the boyfriend she wanted to shed but not hurt. I suggested a sentence or two and she bribed me with a pack of cigarettes—I smoked in those days—to write the whole letter. When he didn’t come unglued after he got the letter, she told another friend about how good I was and I was off and running. It only lasted for about six months but it was fun. Maybe I should have figured out then that I was a romance writer.
Awww. I hope you saved copies of your ‘Dear John’ letters. 🙂 So, can you tell us more about your latest book?
“Loving Again” combines both my passions—art glass and writing. Amanda St. Claire, the heroine, is a glass artist and through her I get to be a better glass artist than I am and share some of my love for the art form. The hero, Sam Richardson, is a Portland police detective. He’s not exactly the stereotype of a cop— although he lives in jeans and cowboy boots, he has season tickets to the symphony and hangs out at art galleries, which is where he first meets Amanda. They become involved after she’s accused of murdering her boyfriend and Sam has to find the evidence to prove her innocence. Of course the course of any romance can’t be smooth, so I throw in a few curves—a jealous artist, another murder or two, someone from the past returning for revenge.
Loving Again sounds interesting! Where does the inspiration behind your writing come from?
In the course of the series I’m writing, Second Chances, I will have covered all the careers I’ve had— medical, political, artistic, literary—as well as many of the places I’ve lived or visited. So, I guess I have to say the inspiration has come from knowing people who find interesting enough to write about, doing things I’ve enjoyed doing in places I love.
What a great form on inspiration! Please, tell us about your main characters – are they people you would be friends with in real life?
That’s part of the fun I’ve had writing this series of books—creating people I would love to know in real life. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know hot cops, sexy sculptors and—in book #4—a Cuban-American coffee broker to die for.
Sounds good to me! Why did you decide to begin writing fiction?
I’m not sure I decided to write fiction. One day about three years ago, a couple characters started rattling around in my head. I have no idea where they came from. But they arrived fully-grown, already named and ready to rock and roll, not to mention fall in love. No matter what I did to shake them loose so I could work on the outline of a non-fiction book a friend and I were talking about writing, they stubbornly stayed in my head. The only way to get them out was to put them in my computer. So I did.
If you had an entire week to read uninterrupted, which books would you pick up and why?
I have 27 unread books on my iPad, ranging from “A History of Wife” and “Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brulee” to eight books by my fellow Crimson Romance authors. I would read as many of them as I could so I could buy some more the week after my indulgence.
LOL – nothing like having an endless supply of books! Tell us about your writing process, do you have a daily writing routine?
I haven’t always been this lucky but writing is now my day job. When I’m in the middle of either drafting or revising a book, I write every day for a big chunk of the day. Mostly, as soon as I get up, often while still in pjs. If it’s going well and I don’t have other commitments, I’ll write in the afternoon and evening, too. I’m a big believer that butt-in-the-seat and hands-on-the-keyboard are more important than waiting for a mythical muse who may or may not appear.
I agree! So, do you have any advice for budding writers?
Don’t listen to anyone around you or the editor in your head telling you to give up or give in. Writers write. Period. Just write.
What can we expect to see from you in the future and where can we find your work?
I’ll finish up the Second Chances series for Crimson Romance with #5 and #6 in the next three or four months and hope my editor likes them well enough to contract for them. Then I have an idea for a couple books that will require a bit of research on women’s history, specifically the early suffragists. They may be young adult books or they may be romances. I’m not sure yet. They will be fiction. Having discovered how much fun it is to create characters, I’m not about to give that up.
If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
Shakespeare, so I can find out if he wrote all that stuff. Amelia Earhart so I can find out what happened to her. Jimmy Hoffa as long as he can tell me where they buried him.
Excellent answers, Peggy! Now for our Rapid-Fire round!
Chocolate or Wine?—is chocolate wine a possibility? (YES!)
eReader or Paperback?—this week, eReader
Shower or Bath?—shower. Always.
Bra or No Bra?—bra, as long as it’s lacy
Beach or Pool?—I live in the Northwest. Beach is way too cold. Pool it is.
Shoes or Bare Feet?—Again, Northwest—cold and wet. Shoes, sadly.
Pink or Blue?—Red
Cats or Dogs?—definitely cats.
Thanks again for joining us today, Peggy! I look forward to picking up my copy of your book. 🙂 If you’d like to follow Peggy – check out her writer website and glass website or follow her on Facebook.
One spring evening, at an art gallery opening, Portland police detective Sam Richardson meets Amanda St. Claire, a talented, young glass artist. He’s immediately attracted to her. Trouble is, they’re introduced by Amanda’s boyfriend, restaurant and club owner Tom Webster.
Then, Webster is murdered and Amanda’s accused of killing him. Amanda and Sam grow closer as they try to clear her name. Strange things begin to happen. Another glass artist publicly accuses her of stealing his ideas. She’s stalked while out running errands. The sensor on the back door to her basement keeps going off, as if someone is trying to get into her house. Her studio is repeatedly broken into.
Then, two more people are killed and the evidence points, again, to Amanda as the killer. And this time, Sam’s life is threatened, too. On her own Amanda comes up with a plan to protect him. A plan that means she will have to shut him out of her life. But she can’t let anything happen to him, not after everything he did for her.
Even if it means losing the only man she’s ever loved.