Denise is a Southern girl. She has lived in Louisiana all her life, and yes, she has a drawl. She has a wonderful husband and two incredible children, who not only endure her writing moods, but also encourage her to indulge her writing passion. Besides writing romantic suspense, she enjoys traveling, reading, and scrapbooking.
Accounting is a skill she learned to earn a little money to support her writing habit. She wrote he first story when she was a teen, seventeen handwritten pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She’s been writing off and on ever since, and with more than a few full-length manuscripts already completed, she has no desire to slow down.
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
Using my imagination for something creative. I am a proficient daydreamer, and I used to spend a lot of time dreaming about being somewhere else, doing other things, with other people. I felt a little guilty about how much time I spent in my own thoughts, and I’m not sure all that daydreaming was healthy. Then one day I was hit with a bit of inspiration. Why not put those daydreams into a book? That’s when my writing career was truly born.
What genre(s) do you write?
I began writing romance with a hint of suspense, but over time my focus has shifted toward suspense with a hint of romance. I love the build up of the tension and the release of energy when the suspense hits its peak. Lately, I’ve been adding a third, paranormal thread to the romance and suspense. I’ve found this to be the perfect genre mix for my imagination.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Until recently, I’ve been a pantser. I have the beginning and ending in mind, and maybe a few of the plot twists in the middle already developed, but to get from the beginning to the ending, I usually allow my characters and their development to lead me. For my current work in process, I used a storyboard before beginning the writing process. I haven’t finished the project, so I’m not sure how well plotting will work for me yet.
How long have you been a writer?
I wrote my first “novel” many years ago when I was a teen. It was seventeen pages on school ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last Harlequin romance I’d read. Over the years, I’ve started novels only to push the projects aside unfinished. It wasn’t until about ten or twelve years ago that I seriously began writing with the intent of publication. By the end of 2010, I had fifteen unpublished manuscripts on my computer that needed a lot of polish before they were publishable. In 2011, my first short story was contracted for an anthology released in April 2012. The funny thing about that story? I wrote it to the writing prompt for the anthology right before I submitted it. As of 2015, some of those older manuscripts are now published.
What other careers have you had?
My college degree is in accounting. I sat for the CPA exam in 1986. I’ve worked in accounting ever since then. Currently, I work for a CPA firm doing books and preparing tax returns. I actually tried to quit this summer and pursue my writing career full time, but my CPA boss talked me into staying part time. I tell people that accounting is a skill I’ve learned to earn a few bucks to support my writing habit. Accounting is a job, but it’s not my passion.
Do you write under more than one name? Why?
No, I have only one pen name. I chose to write under a pen name because I wanted my public life and my private life separated. However, I have been playing around with the idea lately of moving into a very different genre under a different pen name.
Are any of your characters based on real people or events?
My characters all have a little bit of someone I know in them, but I’ve never based a character entirely on a real person. I think when I add real mannerisms, personality quirks, or habits into a character’s persona, it makes the character seem more relatable to the reader.
I very often add real events into my stories. I have a notebook where I collect incidents that I think might be an interesting scene in a story. My family, friends, and co-workers often get the question, “Can I put that in a story?” In one of my first published stories, I added a scene where an older woman is picking figs from her neighbor’s bush and is attacked by an angry mockingbird that doesn’t want to share them with her. This actually happened to my mother, and the event seemed exactly like something that would happen to my character.
How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?
Writing is my passion. I write romantic suspense, often with a paranormal twist. When I’m not pursuing my dream, I spend time with the people most important to me, my family. You can find me and my books on the web; just Google my name.
What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?
I confess that I indulge in searching the web for ruin porn. There is a sub-culture on the internet that photographs and posts the ruins of abandoned buildings, amusement parks, resorts, schools, houses, etc. I find the ruins fascinating and the haunting images are fuel for my imagination.
How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
My family and friends are very supportive of my writing career. My husband is probably my biggest fan. He reads all of my books before anyone else does and gives great feedback. Probably the best thing my family does to support me is endure my many writing moods. When I’m in the writing zone, I can get a little cranky if I’m interrupted.
Where are you from?
I’ve lived in Louisiana all my life, and yes, I have a drawl. I can’t hear it, but I’ve been told it is there. I tell people I’m not talking with an accent, but rather they are listening with one.
Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?
Yes, my life has changed very much. Most of my life, I’ve been a shy, introverted person. Since publication, I’ve developed quite a bit of self-confidence. I feel that I’ve achieved a level of success with my published work and my dream of being an established writer has come true, which is such a tremendous thing I’m still in awe of it. The path my career has taken has not exactly been smooth or straight, but it’s set me in the direction I want to go…and I’m only really just getting started.
Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?
I usually have one project that I’m primarily focused on writing, but there will be two or three others that I have percolating in the concept stage.
When not writing, how do you relax?
Okay, confession time. I’m one of those people who will curl up on the sofa with a cup of coffee (or five) and watch Netflix marathons of my favorite television shows. Right now, I’m deep in the middle of Leverage. My daughter and I have watched countless seasons of American’s Next Top Model and Australia’s Next Top Model. We just finished the entire series of Gilmore Girls.
Now for something fun…
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Colorado. I think I’ve been there ten times during my life, and I’d go back there again this minute. We might retire there.
Which food could you not live without?
Tex-Mex. I would eat it every day.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you travel?
Scotland. I have Scot in my heritage.
Do you have a favorite beverage that you drink when you write?
Coffee, the elixir of life.
What genre of books do you enjoy reading? Do you have a favorite author?
I read an eclectic mix. I just finished an historical fiction about the life of Isabella of Castile, a contemporary women’s fiction about a group of people born under different astrological signs and how their lives interacted, and a paranormal romantic suspense by my favorite author, Heather Graham.