Born in Newport, Rhode Island, I grew up in neighbouring Middletown with parents who lived to be on the water. After graduating from Middletown High School in 1984, I attended the University of Rhode Island where I double majored in journalism and political science. I graduated in 1988 and went to work for a small community newspaper, the writing equivalent of boot camp. We worked like dogs for almost no money, but we had a lot of fun and learned so much about writing, editing and life.
I lived in Rhode Island until I was 26 when I did something I had vowed to never do while growing up in a Navy town—I married a Navy guy and moved from the smallest state in the U.S. to Rota, Spain, where he was stationed. To say the change in my life was dramatic is putting it mildly! We had the time of our lives in Spain from 1992 to 1995, where I also earned a master's degree in public administration through a program offered to the military by the University of Maryland. Our daughter Emily was born there three months before we returned to the states.
After we moved to Rhode Island in August 2002, I started to get more serious about the book but still wasn't able to get very far. A year later, in November 2003, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The next nine months were a roller coaster ride, during which I turned to the book more and more often, seeking an escape from the nightmare of my mother's illness. By early August 2004, I had four solid chapters that my mother was the first to read. I made her cry, she said. She died on August 31, 2004.
Something that had lain dormant for years kicked into gear in the aftermath of my mother's death. I asked myself—what are you waiting for? What meaning will it have to finally write that book if you wait until neither of your parents—the two people who always said you had it in you—aren't around to read it? I firmly believe my mother is sending me these amazing characters who continue to pop up out of nowhere and lead me on one great adventure after another. How else can I possibly explain the incredible things that have happened in the years since she died?
I finished Jack's book, "Treading Water," on May 18, 2005, and published it along with its two sequels, Marking Time and Starting Over, in late 2011. (Read more about The House That Jack Built.) I've finished a few since then, including "Line of Scrimmage," which was the first to be published in September 2008.
I finally sold to Sourcebooks Casablanca in late 2007. Line of Scrimmage was my first published book in September of 2008. Love at First Flight followed in July of 2009. In early 2010, I sold Fatal Affair to Harlequin's new Carina Press digital-first imprint. Fatal Affair was released in July 2010, followed soon after by Fatal Justice, Fatal Consequences, Fatal Destiny and Fatal Flaw. Fatal Attack will be out in November 2012 and the early books in the series will be released in mass market paperback through Harlequin's HQN imprint beginning in the fall of 2013. Going back to 2010, authors were getting more and more excited about the opportunity to publish direct to readers via Kindle, Nook, Kobo and later the iPad. I decided to test the waters and published True North in November 2010 and The Fall in December 2010. Everyone Loves a Hero was released from Sourcebooks in February 2011, and I followed that with the release of the following books in 2011: The Wreck, Maid for Love, Fool for Love, Ready for Love, Georgia on My Mind, Treading Water, Marking Time and Starting Over. Many of these books had been written for years and were waiting for the right avenue to get to readers.
When people ask me what led me to the decision to self-publish, my reply is always the same: "No one was interested in these books except my readers." And boy have they shown me the love for my self-published books! The McCarthy's of Gansett Island Series, which now also includes Falling for Love, Hoping for Love, Season for Love and soon, Longing for Love, has turned me into a bestselling author on Kindle and Nook. The success of that series also led to the recent sale of my Green Mountain Country Store series to Berkley publishing. Watch for the debut of that series in 2014. Readers can also look forward to much more from Gansett Island, much more from Sam, Nick and the Fatal Series gang, and another book in the Treading Water series called Coming Home, which I hope to have out by Christmas 2012. It will pick up Reid and Kate's story from Marking Time ten years later—a story readers have asked me to write.