So I read your author bio on Amazon and I have to say, especially since it’s Valentine’s Day, can we start there? Tell me how your husband and you met! And how did he propose?
My husband and I met at Camp Easter Seal where he was the manager of the equestrian program and I was a camper. He told me the first day that we met that he was going to marry me and be father to my children. Need this to say, I laughed at him. At twenty-one, I was not impressed with his green polyester pants and white snap up cowboy shirt. However, he eventually won me over with his sense of humor and huge heart. We just celebrated our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. Leonard asked me to marry him a week after we met and I told him to ask me when it was reasonable. We actually got engaged five months after we met and I was facing a life-and-death surgery. At my bedside in the hospital, Leonard said, I love you so much, I can’t let you go into surgery without knowing whether you’ll marry me.” I finally relented and said, “Okay, fine. I love you too. So, I guess I’ll marry you.” That is how I gyped myself out of big fancy romantic proposal.
In your bio, you also mentioned that you’ve volunteered toward a variety of causes, and I noticed your new release (that’s out today!), Tough, deals with sexual abuse. Have you ever volunteered or worked to aid women in abusive relationships?
Yes, I have been in several positions where I have helped at risk populations including as legal counsel for a domestic violence shelter. However, unlike Love is More Than Skin Deep, Tough is not based on a specific person. It is purely fiction.
You have such an interesting background working in social services and being a Civil Rights Attorney – have you drawn any inspiration from your work/volunteering for your stories?
I think my role as an advocate, clearly colors all of my writing. My characters are a little banged up and have many of the same flaws as all of the rest of us. They struggle with life and things are not always perfect.
Are any of your characters inspired from real people?
Yes, in Love is More Than Skin Deep, Shelby is my main character. She is an ongoing fight with skin cancer. I was inspired to write this story by Judy Noble Cloud. Judy very bravely shared all of her pictures of her personal battle with skin cancer on Facebook and I knew when I saw those pictures, I needed to help her spread the word about the dangers of sun exposure and tanning beds. So I wrote and asked her for permission to fictionalize her life story. The result of that conversation is Love is More Than Skin Deep. Judy chose the Skin Cancer Foundation as the charity involved. If you purchase Love is More Than Skin Deep, 15 percent of my net profits go to the skin Cancer Foundation.
What is your favorite story or character that you have written?
I don’t have a favorite story, it’s like choosing between your children. It’s impossible. However, it has been fun to watch Mindy the child from my first book Until the Stars Fall from the Sky grow up through all of my books. For all of you who are wondering, Mindy will soon have her own book. It is tentatively titled, Tempting Fate. With any luck, it will be out at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year.
Where do you draw energy and inspiration from? How/When do you come up with ideas for stories?
Some writers have difficulty coming up with story ideas, I am not one of those people. Story ideas come to me from everywhere. It can be from a conversation I overhear in the grocery store line to a song on the radio. I suffer from too many story ideas and not enough time.
What was your favorite subject in school?
Hands down without question, my favorite class in school was art.
What or who inspired you to love reading?
Believe it or not, Judy Blume books turned me into a bookworm.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for about 2 ½ years.
Do you write full time or part time?
I write full-time.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Was it a gradual decision or did you just suddenly know?
I started writing pretty much on a dare. I was beta reading for another author and she told me that my story ideas were pretty good and I should write them down. So I did. If you had told me that I would ever be an author, I would’ve told you you were crazy. When I was in the seventh grade, my English teacher told me I was the worst writer he had ever taught. I believed that about myself for decades.
What made you decide to write in your genre? Or if you write in several genres, what do you like about each one?
I typically write what I like to read. So, most of my stuff is contemporary romance.
What time of day to you prefer to write?
I generally am most productive later at night when I have less distraction.
Do you have a special writing space?
I have severe cerebral palsy. For the most part, I am pretty much bedbound. I have my whole writing station set up here.
Do you outline your books ahead of time or just go for it?
I am a complete and unabashed pantser. It’s me and a blank sheet of paper.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
Typically, I start another story.
Who are your favorite authors?
Linda Kage, Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, Robyn Carr, Brenda Jackson, Shiloh Walker and Marie Force
I’d like to thank Mary Crawford for taking the time to answer some questions about her and her work – thank you!