Hi, Linda, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.
Is your writing style planned or freestyle?
I write freestyle. I’m a pantser, not a plotter. Years ago, I took classes to study plotting. I tried using 3 by 5-inch cards for each scene, colored posted notes for each character and made outlines of the book. This works well for many writers. But I had a bout of writer’s block when I tried it. My creativity shut down and I was stymied. Now I write as Jo Beverley used to say, “out into the mist.” I know where the book starts and ends. After that, I let the characters take me through the events and plot twist. I add characters as I see they are needed. In one of my romantic suspense books, Shattered Rules, I was more than halfway through the book when I realized the person I thought was the villain was a red herring and another character became the bad guy.
If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.
I listen to all kinds of music, rock, classical, jazz, etc. I’ve even listened to the international news for a suspense book I was writing. For the Sierra Creek Series Her Country Heart Christmas Edition and His Country Heart, I played country western music as the books takes place in a small town in the foothills of California, with a strong cowboy and a determined woman.
Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?
Three of my favorite places for a vacation are San Francisco, Carmel by the Sea and Lake Tahoe, California. I’ve used these locations in several of my books, including two suspense and a western contemporary. It’s great to go online and check out cities, but nothing can compare with meeting the people of the area. I experience the food, weather, and atmosphere, things not available online. I’m looking for another place to visit–any ideas?
Can you share a tip about what you do when you get struck in creating a story?
Often, I’m writing two books in different genres and I will switch to the other genre. When I’m really puzzled, I take a break and do something completely different, garden, cook, read, etc. If I have enough time, I’ll take my dogs out for a walk. I bring my phone/camera and take pics of whatever attracts me on that day. Usually an idea comes to me during the outing.
Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?
I grew up with a dog and a cat. Now we live with two dogs, a pure bred and a rescue puppy who barks too much, but is very sweet. I’ve also raised a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind. She lived with us for over a year and then returned to guide a woman in Southern California. I’ve also volunteered as a foster care person for Guide Dogs for the Blind. I always wanted a horse, but it never happened. Still, I enjoyed researching quarter horses for my cowboy in Her Country Heart Christmas Edition.
What do you hope readers gain from your stories?
A review of one of my books said, “…a darn good read.” That’s what I hope for readers, to have a compelling read with characters they care about and are hard to forget. Whatever their mood, I want the reader to get lost in the story and come away with a sense of optimism.
Crazy for cowboys? Want to fall in love?
Will Amy Long have a home for Christmas?
A single mother, she was downsized and then lost her apartment in the city. Hoping to find a fresh start, Amy returns to the small town of Sierra Creek. Does she fit in? Cowboy Wyatt Cameron knows she belongs in the city and he has the power to see she returns. Sparks fly when opposites attract.
“Sierra Creek,” the driver shouted as the Greyhound Bus came to an abrupt stop on the two lane highway.
Amy Long pushed her hair behind her ears and grabbed the worn suitcase. Surprised to see her hand tremble, she seized the case with both hands and rushed toward the front of the bus.
A gust of hot wind slapped her face as she stepped off the bus. Gravel pelted her bare legs when it drove away. She squinted and read a faded road sign, Sierra Creek population five thousand. There wasn’t a building in sight.
After years of living in the city, she’d forgotten how sweltering and desolate it was here. She’d vowed never to return home. Odd it was the first place that came to mind when she and her young son needed a fresh start.
With Granny gone, there was no family left to welcome her. She swallowed a sob. Maybe it was a mistake to come back.
The relentless afternoon sun beat down on her shoulders and her arms began to burn. San Francisco, the air-conditioned city, seemed a million miles away.
Impatient, she cleared her dry throat, wiped perspiration from her forehead, and let out a groan as the minutes ticked by. What wouldn’t she give for some shade and a bottle of ice water?
With a sigh, she pulled out her smart phone and checked the time. Thirty minutes since she’d arrived at the bus stop and not a single car had gone by. Where was the arranged ride into town?
Granny’s handyman was supposed to meet her. He obviously wasn’t a stickler about being on time. She reminded herself she was in the California foothills not in a busy metropolis where time was money.
The sound of a truck rumbled in the distance. With the back of her hand, she pushed her bangs out of her eyes and squinted. Hopeful, she watched the pick-up come closer. A shiny black Ford F 150 with extended cab pulled up in front of her.
“Amy?” A man yelled through the open window as his brown hair fell casually over a high forehead and deep-set blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight. She moved nearer and stared at his wide cheek bones, square jaw and full lips. About thirty?
A flutter of recognition stirred in her as palpable charm radiated from his broad smile, Wyatt Cameron.
His muscular arms flexed as his huge hands squeezed the steering wheel. “Don’t just stand there. Get in.”
Surprised by his gruffness, she stepped back.
“I heard you need a ride into town,” he said quietly as if he understood her reaction. “I’m Wyatt.”
“Hi, nice to see you again.” Even now her cheeks burned with the memory of him. She tightened the grip on the suitcase. As she stared her heartbeat increased and her breathing quickened. “Granny’s handyman is going to give me a ride.”
“You could say that’s me. Toss your suitcase in the back and get in the truck.”
She shook the pebbles from her flip flops and picked up her suitcase. Filled with everything she and her son might need, she grunted and struggled to lift the enormous bag high enough to push it into the raised truck bed.
Wyatt hopped out of the cab and brushed by her. With a sharp intake of breath, she took in his fresh just-out–of–the-shower scent.
Effortlessly, he tossed the bag into the truck.
She quickly hauled herself into the vehicle and slammed the door. “Nice pick-up. Beautiful upholstery,” she said trying for casual conversation. She ran her hand over the black and white leather seat.
“It’s custom. Had it done in Sacramento by a guy who specializes it tuck and roll car seats.”
Pretty fancy truck for handyman. The job must pay better than she’d thought. For some reason she’d believed Granny’s handyman would be an old retired guy gnarled from too much sun and hard work, not the hunk sitting next to her.
“Where’s your son? Thought he’d be with you.”
“He’s staying with a friend of mine in San Francisco. Bobby’s only four. I thought it’d be better if I took care of things here before he comes to the farm.” She paused. “It’s only been a few hours since I left and I already miss him.”
She sighed and leaned back. The purr of the truck’s engine soothed her and her breathing slowed.
“Thanks for giving me a ride. If you drop me at my grandmother’s farm I’ll change my clothes.”
“It’s too late for that. We can’t keep Judge Wilcox waiting.”
“I’m HOOKED!!! …A seriously great book!! and I am so happy it is a series, because I am invested in what happens to Amy and Wyatt.
An author of romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels including “The Sierra Creek Series,” where strong cowboys and determined women intersect. Reggi writes tales of love lost and then found and stories of heroes and heroines who discover love and wonder if they’ll live long enough to enjoy it. Her characters cope with longings and betrayals as each fight to discover a hidden strength.
At University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), she studied screen writing and creative writing and is a past chapter president of Romance Writers of America and current member of RWA.
It makes her day to hear from readers.
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