What was the last book that you read that you’d now recommend?
Saint by Sierra Simone. This book is taboo with a capital T but it’s sweet, and moving, smart and, very hot. Sierra Simone paints with words and I get lost in her books.
Have you read any classics lately that you were reading for the first time?
No classics recently!
Do you re-read books? And if yes, what was your last re-read?
Absolutely. I have read or listened to the audiobook of Kulti by Mariana Zapata more times than I can count.
What are your go-to genres?
Romance. Always romance. I love how authors take different twists and turns to reach happily ever after.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I loved The Babysitter’s Club series by Ann M. Martin and the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine. Before that, I was a sucker for Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
Too many to count and they judge me when I buy new ones, but next up on my to-read pile is Pretty Little Lion by Suleikha Snyder, Mulled to Death by Kate Lansing, and Happy Endings by Thien-Kim Lam.
Do you bookmark or dogear your page in a book?
If I have a bookmark handy, I’ll use it, but otherwise, I dog-ear. I do 90% of my reading digitally or via audiobook, so I don’t have to feel *too* much guilt about marring pages.
What is your ideal reading setting?
Stuck inside my lush vacation home on a rainy day with a hot bath and delicious drink. No one I actually live with would be invited!
Tell us about your favorite indie bookstore?
Dog-Eared Books in Ames, Iowa is amazing. They only opened in March of 2021 but have already done so much to engage with the community. Add to that, the world’s most best-behaved dog hangs out there and they have a romance book club. I absolutely love it and I hope folks will visit them in-person or online.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I wrote a story in high school and it made people cry. I had thought about writing as being entertaining up until that point, but that was the first time I saw the power that language can have, the impact that written words could have. I never turned back.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
None I can think of!
Where do you get most of your writing and editing done?
I do most of my writing and editing on my couch or in my home office. My debut novel came out in December of 2020 so most of my writing career has taken place mid-pandemic, meaning all my upcoming books were written in the presence of The Paw Patrol or whatever cartoon my son was interested in at the time.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
As soon as I find the heart of the story, it definitely energizes me!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I don’t have any finished books that are unpublished, but I would guess twenty-five that are in various stages of writing.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I try to not read my reviews unless I’m tagged in a review post. For me, it’s for my own mental health but also, I know reviews aren’t for me, not everyone will love my book, and there’s really nothing I can or should do to influence that. But if I happen to read a bad one, I cry a little and then more on with my day.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
You are more talented than you think. You are stronger than you know. You should keep writing.
When you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing?
I work full-time at a university and come home to a very active five-year-old, so outside of that and writing, I don’t have a lot of time for much else but I love photography.
What are your three favorite things right now?
As fall chugs along, my current three favorite things are long cardigans, the sugarplum cheese Danish from Starbucks, and Ted Lasso.
Your favorite travel destination and why?
I grew up near the ocean and living in Iowa, I don’t get to see it often. I’m not too picky when it comes to a beach, but I can’t wait until I get near the water again.
What’s your favorite meal and go-to drink order?
I am a sucker for good lasagna when I can get it. For a drink, I like a good gin and tonic.
What six people, living or dead, would you invite to dinner a party?
I would invite my two grandmas—two dope ladies who led amazing lives and were taken too soon. I would invite Michelle Obama because who doesn’t want to have dinner with Michelle Obama!? Next up, I’d invite James Baldwin, Jesse Williams, and finally trailblazing romance legend, Beverly Jenkins.
If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, who would play you?
I have to say romance, right? Let’s go rom-com! I think Michelle Buteau would play me. I absolutely adore her!
What’s the last TV show or movie you watched that was really good?
Ted Lasso. Like the rest of the world, I feel in love with the complexity, comfort, and kindness of the show. I’ve loved Daniel Sudeikis for years and this show hits all my buttons for humor, heart, and wit.
You have to sing karaoke; what song do you pick?
I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston. In seventh grade, a boy told me I sang like her and it’s, to this day, the best compliment I’ve ever received.
If you were being taken to a deserted island and could only bring one book, what would it be?
Well, that question is just cruel—I didn’t know this interview would make me imagine a dystopian nightmare. Only one book? I suppose it would be The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata…I can read that book over and over and fall in love every time. Oh, shoot…I should have picked the classic How to Get Off a Deserted Island!