I’ve had a cup of coffee, read my email, and can jot down some ideas. I composed most of this in my head as I drove in to the office (and figured out how I was going to handle the downed tree in the yard. I suspect that won’t be as easily dealt with). 

My surroundings definitely come into play in my books. All of my books are set in the Midwest, where I live. Grace is set south of the Twin Cities, on a farm (and I have a friend with a small farm south of the Cities), plus the book goes to Iowa where I grew up. I experienced the critical event in ‘Grace’: I witnessed a brutal beating in a bar when I was 18 years old. It’s something you never forget. When I started to write, I decided I wanted to incorporate that into a story, and that’s how ‘Grace’ was born.

In the Brownie book (as my friends call it), the setting is in a suburb of the Cities which is suspiciously like the one in which I work on a daily basis. The office building, too, is very like it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen food in the lunchroom and thought, “Man, it would be so easy to poison someone …” Sorry. That’s how my mind works. So when I came up with the idea for the Brownie book, it seemed natural to incorporate an environment I know.

I have a book coming out in September that’s a time travel/reincarnation love story. That’s set in Northfield, Minnesota, which is just south of the Cities. I went there several times for research. I’ve always like that town — it’s got a great small town feel but with several colleges in the area, it’s also somewhat cosmopolitan. I always wanted to write a book about the Jesse James raid on the bank in Northfield in 1876 because that was a turning point for the James gang. They were defeated — by farmers and townspeople!

In my History Patrol books, two people are sent back in time to ‘observe’ history, in this case the Northfield Raid. Well, I said ‘people’, but one is a shapeshifter who can only be in animal form until he obtains forgiveness for his past sins. And the other is the person he sinned against (but she doesn’t know it). Check out my web site for information about that book and others in the series (I hope it’ll be a series, anyway. I’ll be submitting the next in the series to my editor soon. Fingers crossed!)


Other books are set in Pittsburgh (where I used to live), but most are in Minnesota and Iowa because it’s what I know best. I have one coming out in December (If Not For You) and it’s set in a suburb near me and Layla’s townhouse (she’s the heroine) is based on the floorplan of my friend’s house.

Of course, I do go to imaginary places sometimes. I’m working on a rewrite now to submit to a publisher, and it’s set on a different planet centuries in the future. Sometimes I just have to let my imagination have free rein!


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