I met N.D. at an author takeover event. Her sense of humor is wild and I can see going out for a drink with her. We’d never stop laughing!
If you weren’t a writer, what would be your dream job? Political consultant/hitwoman. I have two degrees in political science and I would probably be gathering up dirt on political opponents and figuring out the best way to use it against them. I did it briefly before I realized I was too good at being bad and decided to go back to my first love, writing.
Where do your ideas come from? Pretty much everywhere. Sometimes a line on a TV show will spark something which leads to something else that turns into a story. Feels Like Love came about simply b/c one of the victims on Law & Order: SUV was a Julliard student. Then I created this whole background and decided to make her Amelia’s stepsister.
What is the best writing advice have you received and what would you advise new writers? Write what you know. My high school creative writing teacher told me that when I did my best to channel Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson (two of my favorite poets). Write what you know—first—so you can focus on telling the story. Then as you grow, branch out. And the more you know, the more you can write about. 😊
Tell us all the genres you write. I write primarily romance but I do have a political satire out and I have a political thriller in the works.
Do you consider yourself a pantser or a plotter? Yes! Hahaha, I always try to have an outline and usually, I get a pretty good one going before I even start writing. But somewhere along the way the characters stop listening to me and do their own thing.
Describe your dream vacation. I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately so at the moment, the cold, gray, drizzly moment, my dream vacation would be a month in Australia or New Zealand, but I’d settle for a week in Tenerife or some other tropical island.
How do you decide on names for your characters? I keep a running list of names I love, unique names and names that give off a certain personality trait. And I’m a name shortener so it has to be a name that, when shortened, reads easily. And if anyone comes across a unique name…I’m always accepting ideas!
Describe any writing rituals you use. When I get stuck, usually about the time my outline runs out and the characters are creating chaos in my head, I light an incense, lie on a yoga mat and crank my power singers like Nina Simone, Adele, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse until my mini-concert clears my brain or causes it to wander someplace interesting enough to kick my arse or knock loose an idea.
What snacks do you eat while you write? Either salt & vinegar chips, which I’m trying to get away from or baby carrots. Something about that crunch is soothing and makes me feel like I’m doing something productive. Do you listen to music? If so what kind? Yes! Mostly I listen to murder documentaries while I write (I know, weird) but music always comes in handy. If I need to think something through, it’s power singers but if I just need to get into a certain mood, I go for rock. Jimi Hendrix, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Metallica. If I need nostalgia…Bob & Janis all the way!
What is the last book you read and why did you choose it? I just finished reading Jane Eyre for about the millionth time because I always enjoy reading it around Christmas time. It’s one of the few real books I still own and I feel like I find something new each time.
What was the first book you remember reading? I can’t say which came first that I actually remember but it was either Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret or a Babysitter’s Club book. Both were important to me for different reasons, but I have a much clearer memory of Judy Blume so I’d say that. Me and Margaret had the opposite problem and despite the fact I’d read the story more than a decade (maybe two) after it had been published, it really resonated with me. For all the wrong reasons, my very religious grandmother would tell you.
You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they and why? That’s a difficult one, but I’ll try.
Pride & Prejudice because it’s a classic, always hilarious and Jane Austen
Team of Rivals because it is an excellent book and a reminder that sometimes the best people to have on your team are the ones you least expect.
Jane Eyre because I’ve read it every year since I was 18.
The Collected Works of William Shakespeare because he is the greatest storyteller of all time.
Mind Hunter because John Douglas is a genius and his insight into the minds of killers, gives great insight to human behavior full stop. A compelling and academic read yes, but I love it. Don’t judge 😛
What motivates you to travel as much as you do and live in so many places? When I was young I always wanted to see the world, visit all the places I read about. I loved walking through the gardens of Versailles knowing Marie Antoinette walked the same path and standing where the wall used to divide a country in Berlin. I am obsessed with history and seeing it all for myself, and my husband is happy to oblige. Travelling is like the best field trip each time, you get to immerse yourself in a culture and experience it fully…for a time.
You said that all of life’s answers could be found in an episode of Dawson’s Creek. You have to expound on this a little more. Hahahaha, well as a teen I was a wee bit obsessed with the show. In college I would rush home from Mock Trial practice just to watch it and lock out any friends who didn’t make it before Paula Cole started belting out the theme song. It became a running thing in the dorm and each time one of my dormmates (or anyone else) had a problem, romantic or otherwise, I’d find a corresponding episode to guide them. For example, the topic of soul mates. Dawson and Joey were CLEARLY soul mates, but not in a romantic way. So the lesson is that your soulmate might not be your HEA.
Most of the towns where you have lived are big cities, yet your series, Mustang Prairie takes place in a small town. What is it about small towns that made you choose that as your setting? I went to college in a very small town in central Illinois and it was great. I think it allowed me and my friends to be silly college kids without facing the same big city style consequences. A group of girls could stumble home drunk without ‘really’ worrying because the town was so damn small. The university made up 50% of the population to give you a hint. I love what big cities have to offer—nightlife, museums, 24 hour food of every cuisine—but I like the quiet of small towns. I’m just a bit too nonconformist for small town life but I love it.
Favorite Judy Blume book? Easy, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. I grew up religious but I started have issues/questions around the age of 10 when I discovered this book. She was looking for religion and I was trying to find a way to hang on to mine. That didn’t happen but this book will always be special to me for that reason.
You can have anything you want for your “last supper” what will it be? Ooooh that’s a great question! I am such a foodie and now that I’ve gone vegan I have to get creative. But I do love pretty much all Asian cuisine so I’d probably say some type of curry noodle dish, well any curry noodle dish really.
N.D. is a very busy lady and has a ton of great books to check out. You can find them on Amazon. Thank you for joining us here at terriluvsbooks.