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I was born in California, and spent my formative summer vacations on the beach near my home and on my grandparents’ small ranch in Colorado, as well as with family in Montana. Studying the cowboys, the surfers and the beach volleyball players, I spent long hours developing my concept of 'the perfect hero.' (I occasionally write the hard-driving intense business man, but inside, I fear, he owes a lot to my cowboys and beach volleyball players. There's a bit of a renegade in him!)
One thing I did do early on was develop a weakness for lean, dark-haired, handsome lone-wolf type guys. When I finally found one, he was in the university library where I was working at the time, but that didn’t matter. I knew a good man when I saw one. We've now been sharing 'happily ever afters' for lots of years. We have four children, an increasing number of grandchildren, and a couple of beloved dogs. We live part of the year in the upper midwest and spend increasing amounts of time in Montana and Texas where a bunch of the grandkids are.
Before I started writing romances, I taught Spanish, capped deodorant bottles, copyedited textbooks, got a masters degree in theology and even ghost-wrote sermons. It all became grist for the fictional mill – as has the family history I like to learn more about every chance I get. Sometimes I am tempted to write historicals – especially now that I’ve learned more about that second great-grandfather who claims to have shot forty men!
I have won two RITA awards from the Romance Writers of America, for both Cowboy Pride and The Stardust Cowboy – and have had nine other books which were RITA finalists.
My books have also been finalists for the National Readers' Choice Award. In 2000, I was named Midwest Fiction Writers 'Writer of the Year' and also received Romantic Times' Career Achievement Award as 'Series Author of the Year.'
But while the awards and sales are wonderful, I think the best part of writing is telling the story. With every new book I write, I meet new characters – or get to know old ones even better – and discover what makes them and their relationships tick. It's the relationships that interest me most. The question 'where do you get your ideas?' always astonishes me as they seem to be everywhere I look!
Charade and The Cutting Edge