Where did the idea for The Best Part of Me come from?

When I first came up with the idea for The Best Part of Me, I was on vacation in Ireland. We were staying at a small B&B just outside of Killarney and I started thinking what it might be like to live in such a quiet, stunning place. Quinn Adler started to come to life in my head.

In fact, the first draft of the manuscript was actually based in Ireland. Quinn was still American, but all the other characters were Irish. But once I finished the story I didn’t feel like I knew the Irish culture well enough to do it justice. I didn’t want to sound inauthentic, so when I revised the book, I switched the setting to just outside of Boston, MA. Ewan and a few other characters remained Irish, but a lot of the other characters became American.

It was actually quite challenging to switch the setting to a different country. Ballagh was a fictional town from the beginning so that name stayed the same. But Killarney National Park and the Gap of Dunloe were switched to the Blue Hills Reservation. Mentions of Dublin and Cork had to be switched to other East Coast American cities. It really became a whole different story. But in the end it was for the best because everything fell into place, and now the characters truly belong where they are.

What’s the best way to stay informed of your new releases?

Though I'll have some info on my website and social media, the best way to keep up with the McKenna’s and any new upcoming releases is through my monthly newsletter. To sign up, please click HERE.

What is the heat level of your novels?

On a scale of one to ten, with one being nothing sexual at all and ten being erotic, I’d say the McKenna Series is about a 7.  I definitely wouldn’t recommend anyone under the age of 17 reading the books.  I look at it like it’s an R rated movie.  It’s definitely a little sexier than PG-13, but I don’t think it would be quite NC-17 either.  There’s foul language, violence, and sexual content.  Sorry, Mom!

What’s next for the McKenna Series?

Sean and Darcy are set for release for February 7, 2017 in NOT IN MY WILDEST DREAMS. It starts out as an unrequited love story but turns into a friends-to-lovers theme that I hope has a few new twists and turns for the reader. Both Sean and Darcy have so much character that it was seriously fun to write them. I can’t wait for you all to see what happens next!

The third and final book in the McKenna Series, WHERE I NEED TO BE, is about Megan, Sean’s older sister.  There is a mention of her in THE BEST PART OF ME but you’ll get to meet her in NOT IN MY WILDEST DREAMS.  More on her story later!

How did you get interested in writing?

To be honest I’m not one of those authors who aspired to write from a very young age. When I was a kid I wanted to travel the world. I majored in International Business thinking that I could travel and make money at the same time. But let’s be honest, to make money you have to work. And when I’m traveling for work, I’m not sightseeing or getting to chow down on local cuisine.

So I realized that to do the kind of traveling I wanted to do, I needed to make money and negotiate a hefty vacation allowance into my compensation package! I ended up with an HR career which, at times, was rewarding, but at other times was stressful and demanding.

I started to read in the evenings to unwind. And it was then that I truly fell in love with books. I started paying attention to the different ways authors told their stories. I learned to truly appreciate the craft of writing from a reader’s perspective, and then I started thinking about trying to write a book myself.

What are your favorite and least favorite scenes to write?

I’d have to say that internal narratives are my least favorite scenes to write. In the romance genre, the internal narrative is really important because it helps form a bridge between thought and action. In the character’s mind, they’re going over how they feel. Maybe it’s a reaction to something they’ve seen or what someone said. Maybe they are making assumptions about another character or they elaborate on what they feel at that moment. It’s all FEELINGS. EMOTIONS. It’s just not my favorite thing to write. I struggle with it because in my mind, it’s clear what the character is feeling. But maybe to the reader it’s not. So I’m always trying to work on my internal narratives.

My favorite thing to write are action scenes. Whether it’s a fight scene, a sports scene, or a sex scene.I find that writing a sequence of events comes naturally to me. Much more so than emotions.

What is your writing process?

I’ve tried writing without an outline, and it just doesn’t work for me. I prefer to start with character sketches of my hero and heroine, and then outline the entire book before I even start to write. Throughout my writing process, I’m constantly sending pages to my critique partner for feedback and I usually try to address any problems or hiccups in the story as I write. Sometimes, that requires changes to the outline.

Once the first draft is done, I let it sit for a while. Then I go back through it and revise as necessary.

Do you set word count goals for yourself?

No, unfortunately, I don’t.  I try not to be so regimented when I write because invariably, life gets in the way.  The moment I start aiming for 3,000 words a day, that would be the day my son comes down with a cold or the dog decides to tear up the carpet in the living room or I have eleventy million loads of laundry to do and run out of detergent.

When I’m writing a rough draft, I try to set weekly goals.  Instead of word count goals, I aim to complete 1-3 chapters per week.

Do you have plans to write any other series?

Yes!  I have a couple ideas stewing, actually.  Another contemporary romance which may be a stand-alone or a series.  And I’d love to stretch out of my comfort zone and write something like a paranormal.  Or maybe even an epic fantasy!  I have a couple characters who are begging for their story to be told and they’d definitely fit into the high fantasy genre.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I have so many!  In no specific order, some of my all-time favorites are Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Karen Marie Moning, Jeaniene Frost, Kristen Ashley, Sarah J. Maas, JR Ward, Michelle Moran, Darynda Jones, Susanna Kearsley, Diana Gabaldon, Sara Donati, K. Bromberg, Lisa Kleypas, Indu Sundaresan, Stephen King, and Jane Austen.

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