What made you want to write this book?
I’ve had 2 previous San Valentino books published by Wild Rose Press: 3 Wishes and A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights. In both those books, the character of Uncle Sonny San Valentino played small yet pivotal roles. After AKUTCL was published, I had many readersask me to write Sonny’s story. I knew I had to give him a wife would be able to love him unconditionally and a big family of his own, so when I sat down to start planning out the plotline, I let myself imagine what life with an overbearing, charming, pseudo-wiseguy wanna would look like, and was able to bring life to the family characters immediately and without any hiccups along the way. The first draft took me two weeks to complete. And I loved the family so much, I didn’t want the book to end.
Where do you get your storylines from?
Certainly not ripped from the headlines, hee hee. The way I approach most of the books I write is from the characters first. I’ll see interesting faces in Panera or at church and try to figure out what makes then tick. I’ll build elaborate backstories for them in my head and then when I’ve got characters I feel comfortable with, I’ll devise situations to put them in. For instance, with CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS, I knew I wanted to make Regina a professional baker and the owner of her own bakery. And since it was going to be a holiday romance, I figured what does a baker’s life look like during the holidays? Hectic, busy, and time-crunched came to mind. Well, what would she say if a guy showed up one day and needed a custom cake for a holiday event? Would she say no because she’s too busy and can’t take on one more project? Too booked? What if the guy told her the cake was for a charity function to support a children’s hospital – one she was intimately knowledgeable about? Would she still be able to tell him no? That’s how the storyline came to me for this book – the what-ifs?
Was this book easier to write than others? Yes
Why? Part of the reason was because I already had a character foundation for Sonny Valentino. I knew the kind of person he was, the things he would do for his family, and how he handled himself in situations surrounding his family. Once I knew he was going to do something to muck up his daughter’s life, it was easy to figure out what that was and run with it. The other reason it was so easy for me to write this book ( first draft completed in 2 weeks!) was because the characters felt so familiar to me. I grew up with people like Ursula and Sonny, Trixie and GianCarlo and the rest of the family. They were recognizable to me from their vocal intonations to their facial expressions to how they reacted to news they didn’t want to hear. From those touch points, the hardest thing for me was to slow down my mind while I was writing because I think and create way faster than I can type.
Do you only write one genre?
I write only the contemporary romance genre, yes, but there are a few sub-divisions of contemporary that I explore, such as small town romance, Romantic Comedies ( RomComs), and large families. It’s not all sex-in-the-city stories by any notion!
Do you have a specific place or setting where you write?
I live in the woods in New Hampshire and my house is 4 stories high, so my office is in my finished attic, overlooking my treed property. I love watching the seasons change from the window in my office.
Describe what made you want to be a writer?
I honestly don’t know that it was a conscious decision to become one. I’ve always written. From the time I was given my first Diary at the age of 8, I’ve written. Every single day. Back