When I was sixteen, I was asked to babysit at a family party held on the Connecticut shoreline. The house was incredible, and decades later, when writing LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES, I remembered details and used them to create Sheerwater, Genevieve London's beautiful home.
The Tweety bird scene in NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT comes from my own family history. Fun fact; I used to have a bird phobia but got over it after being attacked by a bird.
The title of the first book (the first in the series set in the Finger Lakes wine region in upstate New York), is THE BEST MAN. I always try to incorporate a double meaning into my titles (sometimes more successfully than others).
My sister served as my advisor for design on a budget for SOMEBODY TO LOVE. I
In JUST ONE OF THE GUYS, I used the names of my nieces and nephew for the kids in the O’Neill clan. But my nephew Desmond hadn’t been born yet, so he gets a cameo in MY ONE AND ONLY.
I like to have a song that captures the mood of the book I’m writing. For the last book, it was a song suggested by a reader: Make You Feel My Love, sung by Adele, written by Bob Dylan.
I try to mention Derek Jeter at least once per book.
Every one of the Blue Heron books has received a starred review from Kirkus and at least one other review journal, including Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, New York Journal of Books, Romantic Times and Shelf Awareness.
Davey Dunn, the heroine's brother in ANYTHING FOR YOU, is loosely based on a kid I met while volunteering in a respite program for parents of special needs kids.
One of the funniest comments my editor made on the manuscript of IF YOU ONLY KNEW was, "You've used the word 'whore' 15 times so far. Maybe another choice?' I tweeted that one.
The car accident scene from IN YOUR DREAMS was written with technical advice from my husband, who's a rescue diver with the fire department.
I seem to have a twin fascination: three of my books feature them.
I had a hard time picking the hero's name in THE PERFECT MATCH. I wanted a nice blue-collar name, none of this Jayden or Caeden stuff, and ended up going with Tom, named after my fierce crush on the actor Tom Hardy.
Colonel from CATCH OF THE DAY (possibly the greatest dog of all my books) was named after my neighbor’s Golden Retriever, and the first dog of that breed I knew well.
Finding a hero’s name is harder than finding a heroine’s name for me. As you might know, I gravitate toward the Irish/Anglo names (Liam, Ian, Callahan). Originally, Malone from CATCH OF THE DAY was going to be named Clancy. But then I made a friend whose last name was Clancy, and it just didn’t feel right.
I've been known to toss as many as 265 pages and start over if I think a book is going too far off-track.
I always interview people who are in the same situation or careers as my characters. Some of the subjects covered: adoption, widowhood, fashion, donuts (very fun interview), eating disorders, medical school, self defense.
UNTIL THERE WAS YOU is the first time I wrote from a male perspective.
Posey, the heroine of UNTIL THERE WAS YOU, lives in a half-restored church. My sister-in-law and nephew live in a fully restored church, and it’s gorgeous (been featured in a magazine and stuff). I got a lot of the details for the fictional house based on their experiences.
I have a love/hate relationship with epilogues. I hate them in the first draft, because getting to the end is hard enough! But in revisions, I love to write the epilogue. The last line of the book is especially important, as is the first. Only CATCH OF THE DAY didn’t have an epilogue, but readers see them again in SOMEBODY TO LOVE.
Picking out names is always hard for me—I use several baby name websites, including one from the Social Security Adminstration, so I can be accurate in choosing names of people born in a certain decade.
I like to visit the settings of all my books to try to get things just right. The only time a reviewer criticized my depiction of setting was in Too Good To Be True, which is set in my home state.
To get an idea of what it was like to design a wedding dress in IF YOU ONLY KNEW, I took my daughter to a wedding dress designer to be our practice bride. My Princess still has the sketch from the designer.
The names Kate and Ainsley, the sisters in ON SECOND THOUGHT, come from my high school friend, who generously loaned me her daughters' names.
The secondary character Christian in GOOD LUCK WITH THAT is a real person: a wonderful guy and incredibly fast runner who mentored my son on the cross-country team in high school. May every kid be so lucky. Dearest Son is a better runner than Mason in the book, but both Mason and Dearest benefitted hugely from the friendship and guidance of Christian.
The title for SOMEBODY TO LOVE comes from the song by Queen. :