How did you first get published?
I first wrote a contemporary very loosely based on some charming passion I’d experienced. Then I purchased a copy of WRITERS MARKET, read the introduction on query letters, etc, (I was a complete novice) selected three publishers and mailed out the first three chapters. The publishers all asked to see the complete manuscript, but none bought it. Well, I thought,- no one wants that story.
I decided to write another-this one a historical based on my great-grandmother’s unhappy love affair that I’d just learned of. Being a romantic at heart, I decided to give my great-grandmother a fictional happy ending to her life instead of the suffering she endured. But this time, I had no intention of writing an entire book that perhaps no one wanted. So I wrote the first three chapters and an outline and mailed it out to just one publisher this time. WRITERS MARKET suggested an author select a publisher most likely to publish your style of book and at the time Playboy Press was one of the biggest romance publishers. They published a great range of romances, including the hot and steamy stuff I wrote.
I received a letter from Nancy Coffey asking to see the rest of the manuscript. I took three weeks sick leave from the University of Minnesota where I worked as an Art Curator and wrote a rough draft. Once I was back at work, it took me another couple of months to clean up the manuscript and then I sent it to Playboy Press. They bought it, SEIZED BY LOVE was published about six months later, and I’ve been very happily writing ever since.
Where do the ideas come from?
I have a pretty good sized library at home (over 10,000 books) and I’ve been an avid reader for years. Also, there’s so much history that interests me, I consider what kind of hero would fit into that milieu and then find a woman who will make his life interesting in a variety of ways. These days I find a lot of inspiration online through Google and Pinterest.
Where did you grow up?
I was raised in a small town in northern Minnesota where the road literally ended just four miles past our house. At that point the highway ran into the lake and across the water lay Canada. So I know what boonies means. Now in my adult life, I’m living in another kind of boondocks in central Minnesota, this time in a forest of hardwoods surrounded by corn fields. Inspired by this propensity to find myself in sparsely populated areas, I’ve been forced to rely on my imagination for amusement. And making up stories that I can people with gloriously handsome men and clever, beautiful women who say and do whatever comes to my mind is as close to heaven as any creative artist would wish.
Are you from a Finnish background?
Yes, I am. Both my grandparents were from Finland. My paternal grandparents were from an area near Vasa and my maternal grandparents were from Viipuri. My grandparents didn’t speak English, so I understand it or at least did-fairly well. My sister spoke Finnish as a child, but I never learned. Now, I’m sorry I didn’t.
Have you written under any other names?
Hot Streak by Jill Barkin and my new billionaire series as CC Gibbs. Many of my older titles have also been re-released with new titles outside of North America as written by CC Gibbs as well.
How long does it take to write a book?
It depends on the book and on how much research I have to do before I begin writing. But generally, it takes me about six months to finish a story. The novellas, of course, take less time. Rafe’s story kept getting longer and longer-which is often the case. I never have a hard a fast plan when I begin writing, so my characters tend to take me where they want to go and I just follow.
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