Stanalei and I hit the writing circuit and the world of social media about the same time, fumbling through the learning curve together. She was one of the first friends I made online and has been a wonderful supporter since. I’m delighted to have her as a guest on my blog sharing about not one, but two, of her releases! So grab a cuppa, sit back and please welcome this wonderful writer!
Stanalei, you have two releases out right now, IMPERFECT DREAM-PERFECT REALITY and LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE. The first is a short fantasy and the second a full-length novel. Tell us a bit about IMPERFECT DREAM-PERFECT REALITY first.
IMPERFECT DREAM, was exactly that—a dream. I woke up one morning after having a very lucid, very real dream and wondered, what if? I wrote the short story in about 3 hours. Later, I polished it and sent it to The Wild Rose Press to publish. Ebooks weren’t selling like they do today and it wasn’t distributed at all through Amazon. A couple years later, I got my rights back. Recently, I decided to polish it a bit more and re-title it, (it was originally titled The Twilight – and was published long before the Twilight series of vampires). I self-published it with the help of Wildflowers Books. I’m pleased with how well the timing worked in conjunction with LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE.
And now, a bit about LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE. Most of my blog followers know I love time travel romance. I really enjoyed reading LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE. You did such an extraordinary job immersing me in the lives and times of the people who lived in the past. Was White Rock, Idaho an actual town, or did you create it from scratch? If the latter, what was your inspiration?
Thank you for that great compliment, Mae. I think every author hopes they’ll immerse the reader in their fictional world. I very much appreciate you sharing that with me.
White Rock, Idaho is a fictional town. It’s a composite of what things I’ve learned about most old mining towns in Idaho. I had the town of White Rock, the mill, and the aspen grove inside my head for a couple years before I started writing. An opportunity came to visit the area where I wanted the story to take place. I found two ghost towns near each other along the Yankee Fork river between Stanley and Challis, Idaho. I was even fortunate enough to meet the owner of one of the ghost towns when my husband and I toured an old dredge that had mined the Yankee Fork in the 1950s. Upon visiting the second ghost town, I discovered my White Rock, the mill and the aspen grove—exactly as I had envisioned. From that moment on, the ghost town of White Rock came to life for me. For the purpose of the story, my fictional town was much closer to Boise than the real one.
What an awesome history for your setting! I also really enjoyed the disparity between your hero and heroine. Annie Crawford is concerned about her family’s heritage and retaining the integrity of the past. Developer, Luke Maxwell, is focused on progress. At least when the story starts. I liked seeing their relationship grow in a realistic way. Without giving too much of the story away, do you have a favorite scene between them?
My favorite scene between Annie and Luke is when he tries to convince her she’s really time-traveled to 1891. Annie asks about the keys to her car and Luke replies: “Damn it, Annie, there are no keys! There is no car. For all I know, they haven’t invented gasoline yet.”
LOL! I loved that! LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE had some really inspired twists and turns, especially at the end. I remember how difficult it was to work out the time loop properties when writing WEATHERING ROCK. Sometimes, just thinking about it gave me a headache. What did you find the greatest challenge of writing a time travel story?
I have to say, Mae, that you handled the time-travel properties in WEATHERING ROCK in an amazing way. I’ll try not to give too much away, but your Rick character twist was so well done!
For me, just finding the time-travel mechanism was the challenge. Believe or not, the medallions were more of an afterthought. When I came across an article in TIME magazine, I was totally enthralled with the idea of two minds sharing the past, present and future. I knew I’d found my time-travel trigger point.
Thanks for that wonderful compliment about WEATHERING ROCK. I was hoping what I did with Rick would come as a surprise for my readers. And now, I always have to ask this question of time travel authors: Is there anything from the past (a custom, social attitude, way of doing something, etc.) that you wish still existed today?
Because writing LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE was somewhat of an anomaly for me, I don’t really consider myself a time-travel author. That said, I do wish mankind had the innocence and integrity that we had before the blast of media, reality shows and the over abundance of technology.
I heartily agree with that! If only…
When it comes to writing, do you develop characters before plot or vice versa?
Usually a plot will arrive first, quickly followed by the character’s occupation or goal and thus a character is born. I’m extremely left brained and a stickler for plot logic. So in my outlines, I need to lay out the plot or the characters won’t get very far.
Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to write?
It seems like my best ideas hit in the morning as I’m waking up or in the shower. Unfortunately, the day job prohibits my ability to rush over to my computer and open my manuscript. Notepads abound at my house, (and everywhere else), and I try to make the most of my writing time I get when I get it.
As a writer, I dabble in a few genres but, as a reader, my taste is all over the board. Do you read mostly in your chosen genre or enjoy various types? Please share a few of your favorite books and authors.
Like you, Mae, my taste is all over. I’ve never really delved into the “classics”, but cut my teeth on Grimm’s Fairy Tales and comic books. Alistair MacLean is the reason I started writing. My favorite book of his is H.M.S. Ulysses. When it comes to romance, I started out reading Barbara Cartland, Betty Neels, Janet Daily and Margaret Way. I’m a huge Harlequin fan and my go-to author is RaeAnne Thayne. I have every one of Tom Clancy’s books and many of his spin off series. James Rollins is in there too. But the best kept secret in published techo-thrillers has to be Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens—a husband and wife team who hit it big writing Star Trek books, but I absolutely love their mainstream thrillers.
I’m going to have to check them out. I love thrillers. What are you reading right now?
To see my current reading list, check out my page on Goodreads. As of this writing, I’m reading Threat Vector, by Tom Clancy; McLain’s Law, by Kylie Brant; Finding Your Voice by Les Edgerton; Internal Affairs, by Alana Matthews; Operatives, Spies and Saboteurs: The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of World War II’s OSS, by Patrick K. O’Donnell. And do I keep them all straight? Yes. But don’t ask me how, because I’ve never been able to figure that out.
Amazing! I can only handle one read at a time. And now for some quick question/answers:
Favorite thing to do when you’re not writing or reading: Watch either the NFL or NBA. I’m a huge Utah Jazz fan…somewhere along the line I became my mother in that regard. But mostly I enjoy spending time with my best friend—my husband. Whatever we do together makes the day perfect.
Favorite color: Green, although if you looked in my closet, you’d think it was gray, white or black.
Favorite TV show: It’s a tie, Stargate: SG-1 and Firefly. I own the entire DVD series of both.
Favorite season: Fall
Chocolate or vanilla: Yes… vanilla covered in chocolate.
Causal or dressy: Causal
Marshmallow or peanut butter: Peanut butter
Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy-godmother, all expenses paid: A visit to Washington D.C. I’ve never been and would love to spend a month in the museums, cemeteries, and monuments.
Thanks, Stanalei. That was a lot of fun! Before we wrap, do you have a current WIP you’d like share?
I’m currently working on the books from contemporary romantic suspense I call my Northstar Series. You can find blurbs for each of the 5 books on my website.
Blurb, LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE:
After her grandfather’s death, mounting debts force Annie Crawford to sell her inheritance to uphold her family’s honor and avoid bankruptcy. Financial stability comes with an even higher price: her heritage. She must rebuild her legacy from nothing.
Purchasing Annie’s property means three things to Luke Maxwell: financial burden on Maxwell Development, opportunity to propel his career to the top by developing the old ghost town, and, ultimately, approval to take over his father’s company. All of which take precedence over his attraction to the pretty seller.
While touring the property, Annie and Luke are whisked back in time to the 1891 mining community. Together, they endure antiquated hardships and turn to each other for familiarity. Comfort soon becomes passion. As they face a lifetime in the wrong century, Annie and Luke discover a predestined responsibility to the future. Can the love they’ve propagated in the past take root in the present?
Excerpt, LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE:
Annie leaned toward him and sniffed. “Perhaps you’ve been celebrating Founders’ Day with more than coffee.” She patted her pockets. “Do you know what happened to my keys?”
Luke slammed his fist on the sideboard, rattling the dishes and making her jump back. “Damn it, Annie, there are no keys! There is no car. For all I know, they haven’t invented gasoline yet.”
Apprehension filled her face. “Okay, I’m leaving now.” She glanced behind her.
The door was only two feet away. She turned for it, but before she lifted the latch, Luke grabbed her shoulder and spun her around. She opened her mouth to scream, but he clamped a hand over it.
Wide, fear-filled eyes stared up at him. He swallowed, regretting the actions that caused her fear, but he couldn’t let her go. As he pulled her closer, her breasts flattened against his chest. Warmth spread through his limbs and the constant fuzziness that plagued him since his arrival vanished.
Annie must have felt the change too. She stopped struggling.
He lowered his head. His whiskers scratched her smooth cheek as he whispered in her ear. “I’m not going to hurt you. I promise. I just need you to believe me.” Without releasing his hand from her mouth, he tilted his head to see her face.
Indecision replaced her earlier apprehension. She nodded slowly.
He eased his hand away and she let go an earsplitting scream.
Damn the woman!
Without thought, he covered her mouth with his.
My love of writing romance stems from reading favorite such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Barbara Cartland and Alistair MacLean. I have over twenty years in the martial arts and hold the rank of Sandan, a third degree black belt in Aikido.
After a taste of life on both U.S. coasts, I now reside in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with my hero, who just happens to be my best friend and husband. Together we enjoy the open road astride a Harley, visiting museums and exploring our National Parks.