Becky: Sure … Even though I’m not tall and buxom, I am educated, culturally savvy, and able to leap moderate buildings in a single bound. I’m a world traveler, problem solver, and crusader for human rights and equality. I’m the mother of a superbly cool kid, wife to the world’s most handsome man. A mental-marathon runner, freelance writer and photographer, faithful companion to Magnolia May the beagle, and a prolific reader and writer. In my down time (and in the real world), I love to spend time with my husband and son; we live in the urban wilds of central North Carolina. I am an avid gardener, hiker, kayaker, bicyclist, knitter, and community volunteer. I spent over a dozen years working as a writer, graphic artist, photographer and PR whiz in the pharmaceutical advertising, hi-tech, performing arts, and HIV/AIDS (grant writing) fields before venturing into my current status of full-time author.
Jen: Tell us about Icing on the Cake and where is can be purchased.
Becky: Icing on the Cake is the second story in my Carolina Oak Leaves hockey trilogy, and is a sexy tale of redemption following a public fall from grace.
Right now it’s available through my independent publisher, XOXO Publishing: http://ow.ly/5GBrN.
Becky: I’ve always enjoyed writing, but began to focus on it in college. I spent my first three undergraduate years at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington working toward a double-major in marine biology and writing … I fancied myself the next Jacques Cousteau. But then I fell in love and transferred to be closer to my husband, and finished up my last year and a half at North Carolina State University (Go Pack!). They didn’t have the marine biology, so I focused on English, with a concentration in Writing and Editing. While at NCSU, known for its engineering and veterinarian programs, I worked for the school paper and found that journalism was a natural ease for me. My work with HIV/AIDS, writing grants that relied upon epidemiological data and mortality rates weighed heavily on my emotions, so I started writing fiction at night, after we’d put our son to bed, to get a glimpse into a happier world.
Then, there was the blizzard of 2000, where central North Carolina was blanketed with 24 inches of snow. I had a bag of library books to return, and a handful of my mother’s romances were in there. Having re-read a handful of books from my shelves, I broke into her stash. And was hooked! There was a Kinley McGregor book in the pile and on the last page was a teaser from the publisher … sort of a “you think you can write a romance?” kind of thing. And I thought, well, why not? So I started shifting my nighttime writing to romantic slanted stories, and a couple years later decided to make an effort at finishing an actual novel. And wa-lah!
Becky: Well, we’re all Southerners, which means we’re natural born storytellers with a penchant for exaggerating … but I’m the only writer in the family. I come from a long line of dry-humored charmers.
Becky: Water and music. My body’s hard-wired for eight to ten glasses of water a day, and the music helps drown out background distractions.
Becky: I’ve always been a big note-taker, so there’s nowhere I go without a notepad. It drives my husband crazy because he’s a network security specialist and goes on and on about how anybody could find my notes, but really, there are no state secrets in my imaginings. I keep a small notepad in a drawer next to my bed, and a small hardback Moleskein notebook in my purse. And years ago, when I worked as the Marketing Director for North Carolina’s largest performing arts theatre, I got in the habit of carrying a five-subject wire bound notebook. It’s not pretty, but I keep a chronological account of my days and my thoughts. Sticky notes wind up in there, printed pages and brochures are stapled in, there’s freelance news stories, novels, advertising, and full-time work notes in there. The subject dividers have pockets, and there’s tons of things stuffed in there. One of those big notebooks lasts about 15 months, so the one I’m finishing up right now has photos and my GRE test scores tucked in the pockets. Alas, I did not score high enough to make it into Duke University’s Master of Education class … go NCSU!
Becky: There’s always something of myself in stories I write; I think that’s just human nature. I’m a big people watcher, which worked really well in my work as a journalist. Everybody’s got a story to tell, no matter how important or invisible they are in their world. Most of the time, it’s the invisible people who are the most interesting. But my husband has dark, dark hair and deep dimples bracketing his mouth, and long eyelashes, so some combination of those traits make it into the characters in my stories. Plus, both my husband and I have had really varied lives and careers through the years, so I have a lot of personal experience to draw upon. I’m a big believer in immersing yourself in the things that interest you, either by volunteering or by working in the fields. One thing is definitely for certain: in my books I get to lose the mommy-hips. That’s a plus!
Becky: I think I probably most identify with Jane Porter from my first contemporary romance, The Right Words. For some reason, people talk to me. About EVERYTHING. I’m a pretty laid back, comfortable person and it tends to put other people at ease. Whether it’s freelance newspaper or magazine stories, writing grants for HIV/AIDS funding, volunteering in the community or at my son’s school, I can typically break down barriers very quickly to get to the meat of what needs to be done. Jane has that same effect on people. And like Jane, it’s something that I’ve always been okay with. Sometimes people just need to talk, and for somebody else to listen. Since I’m curious about everything and can find something compelling in nearly every person or situation, I’m happy to listen and observe.
Becky: I would probably have to put that inspiration on my mother. I mean, I have my favorite authors like Julie Garwood and Linda Howard, Peter Mayle and Michael Chabon, Virgina Lee Burton and Harper Lee … but the pure love of reading comes from my mother. I grew up heavily shadowed by emotional fallout from the Vietnam War; my mother struggled as a single parent and we never had extra money to do anything. But the library was free, and held the key to endless imagination. If you could read it, then you could imagine it and experience it.
We always loved the symphony, but watched it on cable on the A&E channel. Every summer they broadcast the Boston Symphony Orchestra and fireworks. At first, John Williams was the conductor, but then he left to work on movie scores and the young kid came in. We loved it. Now, as an adult, my husband and I have season tickets to the North Carolina Symphony. My son just turned 13, and he was about three months old when he went to his first Summerfest concert (the NC Symphony plays concerts on Saturday nights during June and July outdoors, under the stars). So this was his fourteenth summer enjoying the music. My mother may not have had the money to take me to the symphony every week, but she always found a way or us to have access to it. And that’s just one of her innovations. Much like Alice peering through the looking glass, books always were—and still are—a window into another world of possibility.
Becky: Oh, man, I found out that XOXO Publishing, a small independent e-publisher in Canada, wanted to contract The Right Words the day after Christmas in 2009. My husband and son were there with me and we were still in our pajamas, with a fire roaring in the fireplace. I read the note, then walked away from the computer to get another cup of coffee. Then it hit me what the note said, so I rushed back to the computer and read it again. The three of us jumped and whooped and hollered, and I called my mother, who got a little teary (as is her style). We had champagne with dinner. We’d gotten my husband a Kindle for Christmas, but the day before New Year’s Eve we were heading to the movies and just as we were getting our shoes on the doorbell rang. Fed Ex was dropping off a package, which was not unusual given my husband’s work. So he opened the box in his office and fiddled around up there for a few minutes and headed to the car. He called out behind him, asking me to grab the Kindle on my way out the door. So I picked up his Kindle, which was resting on a side table, and he said, “No, not that one. The other one.” Since I knew we had given him the only Kindle in the house, it confused me. So he told me to run upstairs and get MY Kindle. It took me a second, but I finally caught on that he’d bought me a Kindle, too. “You need an e-reader if you’re going to have an e-book,” he said, with a saucy wink. He got a big kiss for that.
Becky: Traveling. I have horrible wanderlust. It comes from reading fourteen gazillion books and watching as many National Geographic documentaries as a kid. I’d like to visit countries on every continent, swim in every ocean, see all of the historical wonders of the world, walk through the Parthenon, glide down the Amazon like Bogart and Hepburn in The African Queen, go on a treasure hunt … my spirit’s adventurous even if my pocketbook isn’t.
Becky: I would love to find a literary agent who believes in me, and can help me get into some of the larger publishing companies. I love publishing e-books, but my visions as a child and young professional included print books. I’d like to have my feet in both worlds … and I’d also like to publish a wider range of fiction, including children’s and mainstream adult fiction. I love to read it all, and I love to write it all. But you have to start somewhere, and I’m proud of where I’ve started. Everything happens for a reason, you know.
Becky: Absolutely! Why do you read? Is it to escape, or to experience other lives and emotional situations? Do you only read romance, or do you spread your literary wings? Who is your favorite author, and what’s your favorite type of story?
- We have 2 pdf copies of Icing On the Cake.
- The contest is open to everyone over the age of 18.
- You must leave a comment for entry.
- A valid email address needs to be included in your comment. If you’re worried about spam, please modify your address, such as admin.bookblog AT gmail.com. You can also send a message to this email after your comment has been posted.
- While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
- The contest ends on Sunday, August 14.