Category Archives: Author Feature

THE RANCHER RISKS IT ALL: Release day blog post featuring Debra Holt

How to Write a Book When You Have a Life Too

Everybody has a story inside them, and everybody should have the opportunity to share that

story with the world. But how do you do that when you have so many other demands on your time?

Make it a priority

Pastor and author C.J. Mahaney said, “We make time for what we truly value. We build habits and routines around the things that really matter to us.” This is never more true than when it comes to writing a book around an already busy schedule.

What that looks like is up to you. Maybe you’re a morning person, and you can get up 30 minutes earlier every morning to write. Or maybe you’re a night owl, and staying up 30 minutes later works better for you. In either case, it’s a simple way to get more writing time in your busy day.

Delegate to others

You don’t have to iron love into your spouse’s shirts, or cook love into your dinner casserole. In fact, you don’t have to do any household chores again if you don’t want to. You can hire a housekeeper. Drop your laundry off at a dry cleaner or laundromat that has wash, dry, fold services. Hire someone in your community to fix your meals and freeze them for your convenience.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, either; high school students and college kids often work for low wages, or in exchange for being able to do their own laundry while they clean your home. Use that creative brain to channel other ways you might delegate and free up time for your laptop.

Divide your book into chunks

The obvious chunks to break your book into are the chapters. But chapters have sections, too. And those sections have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Divide your book down into the smallest component parts that make sense. Then write one at a time. Don’t get trapped into thinking you have to write whole chapters in one sitting.

Set little goals

“Write a book” is an enormous long-term goal. You must set short-term goals if you want to succeed in achieving the long-term one. Don’t even set “write a chapter” or “write a section of a chapter” as your goal.

You want your goal to be actionable and continuous, meaning you need your goal to be something entirely under your control, and something you can keep doing over and over. “Write for 15 minutes” fits that bill. You can’t control if you manage to write a whole section at a time, but you can control how long you write. And you can write for 15 minutes over and over again.

Schedule time to write

William Faulkner was once asked if he wrote on inspiration or on a schedule. He replied, “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired every day at nine o’clock.” It’s easier to write a book for some authors if you write on a daily schedule. Whether it’s 30 minutes or three hours, set a schedule and stick to it.

Use every spare minute

Use every spare minute you can find to work on your book. Use something like Google Docs to write, so you have access to your work on any device. Here are some examples of where you could squeeze in extra writing time:

  • Riding in the car, bus, or subway
  • Breaks at work
  • Waiting for other things to happen, like when dinner is cooking or you’re sitting in the doctor’s office

You can also use a voice-to-text feature like Google Docs’ Voice Typing to dictate your book in those spare minutes, so you don’t have to find space in those spare minutes to go typing everything in.

When I write my novels, I’m working around a full-time day job, a husband with more than a few health issues, weddings I’m planning for my son and for my daughter, and a dozen other real life obligations. I’ve found ways to steal time away for my books, because writing is my passion and my escape from all else. And if I can do it, you can too.


Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers.  Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most.  She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!).

Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!)  When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure.  She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances,  is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

Tule Author Q&A: Melissa McClone wants eclairs from her heroine’s bakery!

Melissa McClone stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the second book in her Silver Falls series, A Slice of Summer!


Where did you get the inspiration for A Slice of Summer?

A Slice of Summer is a sequel to The Christmas Window so I knew when I created Taryn, who worked at Lawson’s Bakery, that she would be the next heroine. I just hadn’t decided which of the Andrews brothers was the one for her.

As for the situation with the bakery, I wanted to have some sort of trouble there so we could see Taryn’s strength. Of course, this led to trouble on different levels—with her father and with a new competitor in the next town over.

And I’ll be honest, I loved watching shows like L.A. Law and the Practice. I’ve always wanted to write a hero who could have been a character on one of them. I only show a little snippet or two of Garrett’s occupation, those series were the inspiration for him.


How do you relate to Taryn, your heroine, and how do you hope readers will relate to her? How do you relate to Garrett?

Taryn works hard and wants to do the best job she can at the bakery and as a daughter. I see that in myself with my writing and being a wife and mom of three. Also, my father wasn’t that supportive of me quitting my engineering job to write romance, so I totally relate to her issues with her dad thinking she’s not the right person to run the bakery. Oh, I can be stubborn like her, too!

I hope readers will understand Taryn’s motivations to want to take-over the bakery fully and that her goal/desire will be relatable to them, too. Many of us have thought our lives would be one way until someone tries to step in and change things. And roadblocks to our dreams can come in many forms, but it’s up to us to continue to go after what we want or let go of that dream.

As for Garrett, he’s a strong alpha-male, who does what he thinks is best. He and Taryn share that trait, and so do I. But sometimes “best” isn’t always “right” and that’s something we have to learn through experience and time.


Top view composition of sweet vanilla eclairs topped with hazelnuts and placed on brown table amidst chocolate marshmallow and coffee beansIf you went to Taryn’s bakery, what dessert/pastry could you not leave without?

Oh, boy. I’d probably walk out with boxes and boxes of things, but I’d want to have one of her eclairs. I love them. I’m sure Taryn and her staff would put their own twist on it.


This is a sweet second chance romance. What drew you to this trope? What’s your favorite trope to write?

I love the idea of a relationship not going right the first time whether it be one date or several, and then the couple getting a second chance to try again in the future. Sometimes it’s not just the timing or circumstances that are wrong. But later (weeks, months, or years), we’re at a different place emotionally and can make a go of it. This happened with my husband, and we’ve been married twenty-five years. I’ve used the trope in several books. I love it that much. I’d say second chance and friends-to-lovers are my favorite tropes to write.


What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading a non-fiction book called Deep Point of View (Busy Writer’s Guide) by Marcy Kennedy.


About the Author

With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa McClone worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. She’s now a USA Today Bestselling author and has also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, a spoiled Norwegian Elkhound, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

Tule Author Q&A: Nicole Flockton welcomes us to Bunya Junction!

Nicole Flockton stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the first book in her Welcome to Bunya Junction series, Home to the Outback!


Where did you get the inspiration for Home to the Outback?

There’s a song on my writing playlist by Samantha Fish called Go Home – the first few lines are “Daddy was a drunk and your Mama ran away. Sceneries change but the story stays the same. Go Home. Go home.” The song has always stuck with me and then when I sat down to write this book, and pressed play on my music—this song started.


Tell us all about the new town you’re writing in, Bunya Junction!

It’s a town in rural New South Wales. It’s not huge but there’s a pub and a clothes store and café along with a green grocer. Oh and a doctor’s surgery! It’s a farming town and the residents are friendly, but they also have long memories and if they feel you’ve hurt one of their favorite people in town, they’ll let you know. It’s a little dusty and has a beautiful watering hole that the residents like to visit.


How do you relate to Sindy, your heroine, and how do you hope readers will relate to her? How do you relate to Ryan?

Sindy is a character who’s had her confidence knocked out of her a little and well, sometimes in life I’ve had my confidence knocked out of me but I’ve got up and soldiered on and this is what Sindy does. So I hope the readers can see a little of Sindy in each of them whether it’s her determination or her caring nature.

Ryan is complex and well he’s coming home and in a month or so my family and I will be returning back to Australia where nothing is the same as it was when we left. But we have family who are happy to see us return home, Ryan not so much ;)


Are your characters set before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go? What did that development process look like for Home to the Outback?

I have a basic idea of who my characters are and their backstory, but as I write them they become fully fleshed out and some do change a little than what I thought they would be in the beginning. 

This book and series concept changed a lot from when I first submitted it. I cut a lot out of it and added new things in to fit the new direction Kelly, my editor, and I decided the series was going to go in. It was a challenge and a little sad to cut out so much but the story is much better for all the editing that I did to it.


What are you currently reading?

I’m actually reading Untouched Queen by Royal Command by Kelly Hunter. It’s the third in her Claimed by a King series.


About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author Nicole Flockton writes sexy contemporary romances, seducing you one kiss at a time as you turn the pages. Nicole likes nothing better than taking characters and creating unique situations where they fight to find their true love.

On her first school report her teacher noted “Nicole likes to tell her own stories”. It wasn’t until after the birth of her first child and after having fun on a romance community forum that she finally decided to take the plunge and write a book. Now with over 20 books published she hasn’t looked back.

Apart from writing Nicole is busy looking after her very own hero – her wonderfully supportive husband, and two fabulous kids. She also enjoys watching sports and, of course, reading.

Tule Author Q&A: Jamie Dallas daydreamed about her characters!

Jamie Dallas stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the first book in her Hartman Brothers series, The Best Man’s Bride!


Where did you get the inspiration for The Best Man’s Bride?

Hailey came to me while I was daydreaming at work. She popped into my head marching down the sidewalk in the middle of a rainstorm in her wedding dress. She had just run out of her wedding; her dress and veil are soaked and weighing her down. All she wants to do is grab her stuff out of the hotel room and leave Houston before her ex catches up with her. Of course, the one person she least expects to find her and save her is the last person she wants to see, and it’s her ex’s friend, business partner and best man, Jace. 

And the story just started from there. I went home that night and wrote the first chapter for The Best Man’s Bride


How do you relate to Hailey, your heroine, and how do you hope readers will relate to her? How do you relate to Jace?

I really liked Hailey because she goes the extra mile. She’s successful at her job because she gives it her all. However, sometimes she lets other people (for example, her ex-fiancé) dictate what success is for her and lets other people’s goals become her goals. I find myself at times doing just that. Sometimes I have to take a step back and think about what I really want out of a situation or what do I want to do next. 

For Hailey, once she realizes what she wants, I love that she has the courage to put her foot down and decide that enough is enough. This is what she wants.

Jace is stoic and tries to keep a careful distance between himself and Hailey. He’s been hurt in the past by someone he loves, and if he doesn’t look out for himself, who will? However, despite the fact he needs Hailey for his business launch to go well, he also wants her to do what is right for her.


What song would be in the soundtrack to Hailey and Jace’s love story? Why?

Can’t Help Falling in Love – These two are stuck together at Jace’s place trying to meet a deadline. They are dancing around each other, trying to avoid their attraction while at the same time falling in love as they peel back the other person’s layers. They couldn’t help it, even if the timing wasn’t ideal.


What was your favorite scene to write and why?

Hands down the opening scene. Hailey was so miserable in that damp wedding dress with a veil that she didn’t even want to begin with, and of course, so put the cherry on top of the messed-up cake, someone drove through a puddle, soaking her to the bone. 


A cold wave of water washed over her. Her breath stuck in her lungs at the sudden shock of cold. Goose bumps pricked her skin as tiny rivulets ran down her back and through her hair. 

She was in the middle of Houston, soaked and dirty and a runaway bride. 

Shit, shit, shit. The tears battered at the emotional barriers she struggled to keep up. 

What had she been thinking, walking so close to the gutter? She should have known to stay on the other side of the sidewalk. 

Peering through the tendrils of hair glued to her face, Hailey spotted a dark gray Porsche stopped a few feet ahead. The car that ran through the puddle. 

She straightened, her muscles stiff and her dress limiting every movement. Her throat constricted as she worked her tight jaw. 

The driver’s door opened, and a tall, dark-haired man stepped out of the sleek sports car.

Stunned, she could only stare. And for some unexplainable reason, her heart began to throb, the pulse full and hard. 

Before she could open her mouth, she found herself trapped in the piercing gaze of Jace Hartman, Evan’s business partner, and only an hour ago, the best man at her wedding. 


What are you currently reading?

Karen Foley’s Swipe Right for a Cowboy. It’s soooo good!


About the Author

Jamie Dallas has been creating stories in her head for as long as she can remember. When not writing, she can be found either buried in a book, dreaming about storylines while out on walks, or baking yet again to avoid housework and chores. She lives with her husband and two demanding cats.

Tule Author Q&A: Eve Gaddy discusses her Walker brothers!

Eve Gaddy stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the third book in her Texas True series, Texas Made!


Where did you get the inspiration for Texas Made?

Marshall, the hero, is in the two previous books, so of course I wanted to write his story. He’s a pure country guy and I thought it would be fun to pair him with a pure city girl and then see what happens when they fall in love.


How is Marshall different from the other Walker brothers, Gabe and Chase? How is he the same?

Gabe is a metal artist and Marshall is a horseman, so their professions are quite different. He’s probably more like Chase, in that Chase is a saddle bronc champ and also part owner of the ranch, so they have the ranch and horses in common. They all have dark hair and similar builds. 


How do you relate to Jaclyn, your heroine, and how do you hope readers will relate to her? How do you relate to Marshall?

Jaclyn is someone I admire for going after what she wants and being successful at it. She’s also a good friend and is somewhat vulnerable when it comes to men. So Marshall has to work hard to convince her to let him in.

I hope that readers will relate because she has some hard choices to make concerning her career and her love for Marshall. I think how she manages both, and her setbacks trying to do it make her very relatable.

Marshall loves horses and dogs. So do I. :)


Where and when do you get most of your writing done?

When I’m in Texas I usually write in my office or my den. We spend a lot of time in Colorado and when I’m there I’ll write at the kitchen table or on the deck. The drive there is over 15 hours, so I write in the car as well. 

When is harder to say since I’m very erratic. Sometimes in the morning. Sometimes in the afternoon. Sometimes in the early evening and sometimes around midnight when I’m about to go to bed and realize I haven’t written enough, or I have an idea about a scene or something.


What are you currently reading?

Just finished Legacy by Nora Roberts. Repeat by Kylie Scott right after that, and am now reading a Carly Phillips book—Take Me Again. I haven’t ever read anything of hers and it was on my Kindle. Next up is Jane Porter’s Montana Cowboy Daddy


About the Author

Eve Gaddy is the award winning, national bestselling author of forty novels. Her books have sold over a million copies and been published in many countries and several languages. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, romantic mystery, and a bit of paranormal romance as well.

Eve’s books have won and been nominated for awards from Romantic Times, Golden Quill, Bookseller’s Best, Holt Medallion, Daphne Du Maurier and many more. Eve was awarded the 2008 Romantic Times Career Achievement award for Series Storyteller of the year, and was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Innovative Series romance. She loves her family, books, electronics, the mountains, and East Texas in the spring and fall. She also loves a happy ending. That’s why she writes romance.

SAY I DO: Release day blog post featuring Joan Kilby!

I’m super excited about the release of Say I Do, Book 2 in my Sweetheart, Montana series. Readers first met Brianna and Angus in Book 1, Long Lost Christmas. When we last saw the young couple they’d just gotten together and were madly in love. By the time we meet them again in Say I Do, they’ve broken up, Angus went away to college and five years have passed. Brianna is now tourism director and organizing the first annual cherry blossom festival. Angus, now an architect, is back in Sweetheart for a short visit and gets roped into overseeing the construction of the community center where the festival is being held. Forced to work together, they have to figure out what went wrong with their relationship, rediscover what is right, and figure out if their love is strong enough to hold them together when their individual goals threaten to separate them again. 

One of the things I loved about writing Say I Do was the cherry blossom festival. The town of Sweetheart is named after Sweetheart cherries, which the Flathead Lake area is known for in real life. Brianna goes all out to promote the festival, including a countdown to peak blossom with townsfolk posting photos of the stages of blossom on the tourism website. She even invites a contingent of Japanese, known for their famous cherry blossom festivals, to be special guests. It’s all cherries, all the time, around Sweetheart.

Photo of Cherry Blossoms

I grew up on an acreage with cherry trees so as a kid I developed a deep affection for the delicious fruit as well as for climbing the trees. Many was the happy hour I spent perched high in the limbs of a cherry tree, (with a book to read, naturally), feasting on ripe cherries. Say I Do isn’t the first book I’ve written in which my heroine climbs a cherry tree and it might not be the last! 

I hope you enjoy this story and cheer Brianna and Angus along as they find their way back to true love.

HISTORY OF US: Release day blog post featuring Stacey Agdern

History, Change and Memories

By Stacey Agdern

As the world changes  yet again, we’re starting to revisit places and people we haven’t seen in a while.  Each of these places have memories attached to them; some of the places have good memories and some have bad ones.  But they’re all formative in so many ways.  This is something that Anna, one of the two main characters in History of Us is dealing with.

For so  many reasons, Rockliffe Manor, one of the two locations in History of Us, was a formative place for Anna.  She spent childhood summers there with her grandparents from the time when she was 4 and a half. It was there where she built one of the most formative relationships of her life — the one with Jacob, the other main character in History of Us.

As an adult, because her relationship with Jacob is fractured, returning to Rockliffe Manor is hard despite how much she loves it.  Her reaction is to try and see the town as it is now, as opposed to the one that lives in her memory.  To make the best of the present, she dives into the social life of the town as it is.

As we return to places we haven’t been, I hope your journeys are full of good memories and new joys. And I hope that like Anna and Jacob, out of the darkness of the past you find light.


Stacey Agdern is an award-winning former bookseller who has reviewed romance novels in multiple formats and given talks about various aspects of the romance genre. She incorporates Jewish characters and traditions into her stories so that people who grew up like she did can see themselves take center stage on the page. She’s also a member of both LIRW and RWA NYC. She lives in New York, not far from her favorite hockey team’s practice facility.

Tule Author Q&A: Justine Davis never wants to leave Last Stand!

Justine Davis stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the first book in her Raffertys of Last Stand series, Nothing But Cowboy!


Where did you get the inspiration for Nothing But Cowboy?

The idea was born out of my husband’s tendency to adopt people. Not always kids, he was always willing to help anyone, but throughout his adult life he had numerous boys who gravitated to him because he could teach them things they wanted to know. He could build anything, from houses to cars (such as my own classic Corvette) and fix almost anything that broke. One came around because he loved cars and his father didn’t, another because he’d lost his own father. Some were around for years, not simply to learn but because they could talk to my husband in a way they never could to their parents. But he had rules and they respected them, and him, and more than once he got them started on a better path. And that was the kind of huge heart I wanted to portray in this story. 


This is the first book in the Raffertys of Last Stand series, but it isn’t your first time writing a story set in Last Stand. What was it like to come back? Will we see any familiar faces? 

Actually, I never left Last Stand, mentally, anyway. I’ve been in love with the place since we first dreamed it up! It was great fun to set up a new family, with some of the same Texas themes but very different characters. And you will absolutely see familiar faces; Keller Rafferty, the hero of Nothing But Cowboy, is a close friend of Shane Highwater’s, and he and Kane Highwater’s beloved Lark Leclair are a big part of an important scene. In fact, all the Highwaters make an appearance of sorts, either on stage or off. 


What song would be in the soundtrack to Keller and Sydney’s love story? Why?

Definitely a song written and performed by my dear, much-missed friend, Hal Ketchum. It’s called “I Know Where Love Lives” and the lyrics could easily be said by Keller to Sydney. It starts with all the places love doesn’t live, like grand hotels, beach houses, and big yachts, then goes on to say love lives in places full of laughter and tears and toys. It ends with “You keep your mansions of gold, I don’t care/Because I know where love lives.” Keller could easily be saying this to the wealthy, world traveling Sydney. 


Are your characters set before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go? What did that development process look like for Nothing But Cowboy?

I usually know the bare bones of a character, or something significant about them that I think I can build on. Sometimes I’ll start with an image that catches my eye and makes me think “Hmm, there’s a story there.” Sometimes I know their backstory, roughly, but haven’t worked out how that will affect the character today. But they also develop and sometimes change as I go. And I never know everything about them, nor would I want to, because one of my favorite moments in writing is when, later in a story, it suddenly hits me: “So that’s why he did/said that back then!” In Nothing But Cowboy, Keller was who he was, rock solid and Texas strong. It was Sydney who was trickier to figure out, especially how the way she’d grown up had affected her. And how despite an awful beginning, she’d built something amazing.


What are you currently reading?

I’m currently—and very belatedly—reading J. K. Rowling’s adult series featuring war hero turned private detective Cormoran Strike. I’d meant to long ago and got sidetracked, but now that I’ve started I’m gobbling them up! I love the complexity of the stories, and the way the hero’s mind works, his inner battles, and the London setting. I even enjoy having to look up the occasional British-ism that I don’t know. 


About the Author

USA Today bestselling author of more than 70 books, (she sold her first ten in less than two years) Justine Davis is a five time winner of the coveted RWA RITA Award, including for being inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame. A fifteen time nominee for RT Book Review awards, she has won four times, received three of their lifetime achievement awards, and had four titles on the magazine’s 200 Best of all Time list. Her books have appeared on national best seller lists, including USA Today. She has been featured on CNN, taught at several national and international conferences, and at the UCLA writer’s program.

After years of working in law enforcement, and more years doing both, Justine now writes full time. She lives near beautiful Puget Sound in Washington State, peacefully coexisting with deer, bears, a pair of bald eagles, a tailless raccoon, and her beloved ’67 Corvette roadster. When she’s not writing, taking photographs, or driving said roadster (and yes, it goes very fast) she tends to her knitting. Literally.

PRICE TO PAY: Release day blog post featuring M.A. Guglielmo

M.A. Guglielmo’s Price to Pay comes out today, June 17th!  In this third book of the From Smokeless Fire series, Zahara, a sexy jinn more interested in shopping than haunting, has to save the world from one fallen angel, while trying and failing to save her heart from his brother. 

Price to Pay takes readers on a tour of destinations both actual and imagined, including real-world locations like Marrakech in Morocco, Mount Damavand in Iran, and Mont St. Michel in France. Maria stopped by the blog today to talk about her travels and how they gave her the inspiration for the scenes in Price to Pay.

How often do your travel experiences influence your writing?

All the time! Traveling and books are two of my favorite things. Combining them is even better. In some cases, I’ve had an idea in mind for a story or scene before a vacation, and I’ve tried to delve into research and take notes while I’m there. Other times, memories of a trip pop into my mind as I’m writing, and I decide to put my characters into the places I’ve visited and see what happens.

Tell us about one of the trips that ended up in Price to Pay.

After my oldest daughter did a student exchange program in Brittany, France, I traveled there with my family to meet up with her. In addition to enjoying the beautiful coastline and fabulous seafood, we drove to one of Northwestern France’s major attractions—the stunning abbey of Mont St. Michel, which sits on a tidal island off the coast of Normandy. That visit inspired a scene in the novel where Zahara’s human friend Daniel has to hold off the bad guys while trying to rescue his jinn boyfriend from the famous Atlantic tides which periodically cut off Mont St. Michel from the land.

What’s a top destination featured in the novel you haven’t visited?

(Mount Damavand in Iran—creative commons Wikipedia photo)

The beautiful Mount Damavand in Iran, which features stunning views and even skiing in the winter! In the series, this famous Iranian landmark—it’s actually a dormant volcano—was the prison Zahara’s lover Harut and his evil brother Marut were trapped in before they were released into the human world. I’d also like to tour other sites in Iran, like the famed Persepolis, and the beautiful ancient city of Yazd.


Food from different locales and cultures also shows up in Price to Pay. How did you research those tasty details?

By trying them out whenever possible! The wonderful buckwheat galettes Daniel and Zaid share with a bottle of French wine during a romantic picnic in Mont St. Michel were a staple during our France trip. They’re a savory version of a crepe, often filled with eggs, cheese, and meat. The delicious couscous served with mint tea and Moroccan beer Jo and Parisa try in Marrakech was a meal I enjoyed both in Morocco and in one of the many amazing Moroccan restaurants in France.


(Moroccan couscous—creative commons Wikipedia photo)

Tell us about future trips and your book research.

The pandemic has limited my travel recently, but I do have a domestic vacation planned this year—to a dude ranch in Arizona, where I’m hoping to enjoy desert hikes and learn more about riding horses. My characters are always charging off on their trusty steeds, and I can’t even name the parts of a saddle. I’m also working a new novel about a mysterious metropolis of necromancers in a vast cave, which I’ve based on the underground city of Derinkuyu in Turkey. That destination is high up on my bucket list!


M.A. Guglielmo is a neurosurgeon, mother of two awesome daughters, and a life-long fan of speculative fiction. Her Italian grandmother may or may not have been able to cast the evil eye on difficult neighbors, and Maria loves telling a good story, especially if magical curses and witty villains are involved.

Her interest in Middle Eastern politics and culture inspires her to incorporate mythology and folklore from the region into her writing projects. After having the wits scared out of her by ghost tales told to her over a campfire in the Moroccan Sahara, she’s come up with a plan to travel to all the potential settings for her novels. Since those include the mountain-ringed home of the Jinn and a modernized version of the Greek Underworld, some items on her bucket list might be harder to achieve than others.

Maria was born and raised in Rhode Island, and graduated from Yale University with a degree in biology. She completed her M.D. degree at Brown University, and went on to finish her neurosurgical residency there. After several years enjoying the company of sunny friends and overcast skies in Portland, Oregon, she moved back to Rhode Island, where she’s a neurosurgeon in academic practice. She lives there with her two daughters, assorted pets, and is always dreaming of the stories that can come out of her next travel destination.


Tule Author Q&A: Candace Havens loves chocolate chip cookies!

Candace Havens stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the fifth book in her Ainsley McGregor series, A Case for the Cookie Baker!


This is the fifth book in your Ainsley McGregor series. Do you find it harder to write the first book in a series or the subsequent novels?

The only problem with the Ainsley books is there are so many fun characters and I want them all to be in every story. So whittling them down to who is most important for that book, is hard. I feel like I’m dissing my friends. 

What has been your favorite part about writing stories set in Sweet River?

I love, love, love writing these books. These characters are real to me and I created a town where I would want to live––sans the murders.


In your Ainsley McGregor series, Ainsley owns the shop Bless Your Art. Have you ever dreamed of owning a shop like this? What would you sell?

I would love to have a shop like this. And I have thought about having a store like this that also sold books and coffee. Who would want to leave?


In honor of the title, A Case for the Cookie Baker, what’s your favorite type of cookie?

In honor of the title, A Case for the Cookie Baker, what’s your favorite type of cookie? I’m very good at eating cookies, not so great at baking them. I love ALL the cookies. But I’ve been a big fan of chocolate chip since childhood. I like them soft and gooey. Now I want cookies. Cookies On Square White Ceramic Plate


What are you currently reading?

Growing Boldly by Emily Ley. I love her organizers. They are the only thing that keeps me on track.


About the Author

Bestselling and award-winning author Candace Havens has had more than thirty novels published. She is one of the nation’s leading entertainment journalists and has interviewed countless celebrities from George Clooney to Chris Pratt. She does film reviews on Hawkeye in the Morning on 96.3 KSCS.