Surrogate mother Shelby McDougall just fell for the biggest con of all—a scam that risks her life and the lives of her unborn twins.
Shelby McDougall, recent college graduate, is facing a mountain of student debt and carting a burden she'd like to exorcise. A Rolling Stone ad for a surrogate mother offers her a way to erase the loans and right her karmic place in the cosmos. Within a month, she's signed a contract with intended parents Jackson and Diane Entwistle, relocated to
But Jackson and Diane have their own secret agenda, one that has nothing to do with diapers and lullabies. With her due date looming and the clues piling up,
Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?
After I finished the first draft and multiple edits and rewrites of Due Date, I started working with Mary Carroll Moore (http://www.marycarrollmoore.com), author, teacher, editor, and writing coach. She teaches writing classes, both in a classroom setting and online, and is the author of Your Book Starts Here, a toolkit for turning a manuscript into a book. Her approach helped me understand the elements of a novel, and I was able to figure out what was missing in Due Date.
Who is your favorite author?
I have a lot of favorite authors, so it’s hard to pick! I tend to read mysteries, so here are some of my favorite authors in that genre: Sue Grafton, Laura Lippman, Nevada Barr, Sandi Ault, Cornelia Read. All of these authors create strong female protagonists and write series.
When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
I write in the morning for about an hour before I have to get ready for work.
What do you think makes a good story?
Believable characters in a realistic setting. A rich inner story that compliments the outer story. I like characters who mature and learn something about themselves. I also love twists, those plot turns that take you by surprise. Even better are character twists, where everything falls into place for the character to learn something about themselves.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
The hardest part of Due Date was keeping up in the suspense in a plausible and believable way. I wanted my character,
, to be in enough danger to maintain a high level of anxiety so that readers would want to keep turning the pages. But I had to balance that with realism and with keeping Shelby in just the right amount of danger so that she wouldn’t get hurt. Her pregnancy added an extra element of vulnerability, so I had to be make sure that what she was doing physically was realistic. Shelby
Where do you research for your books?
Mostly on my keyboard. I had to do a lot of research on surrogacy and adoption. Because I set the book in
, where I live, I also did a lot of research on the ground, using locations in the city and county that I am familiar with. Santa Cruz
Plotter or Pantser? Why?
I’m a plotter. In life, I’m a planner, so plotting the story arc out ahead of time was the only way I could write. I created a chapter diagram that gives me an idea of where each chapter is heading. I definitely deviate from the outline as I go, but the diagram provides the direction. It’s a living document that I update and revise as I write.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
I found that reading everything I could get my hands on in my genre was very helpful; especially reading first-time novelists. This helped me understand what was popular. I also studied my favorite authors to see how he or she put the mystery together. In addition, I found that listening to audio books, in addition to reading them, helped me discover plot and character nuances that I missed while I was reading.
I’m a newly published author. My mystery/thriller, Due Date, was published on May 28, 2012 by Solstice Publishing. Due Date in a series featuring heroine Shelby McDougall. It took me years (five of them, to be exact!) to write Due Date. I am working on the sequel, which, I’m hoping, won’t take quite that long.
I live in
, with my family. My daughter just graduated from college and I have a son still in high school. When I’m not reading, writing, or working, I like to be outdoors, walking, mountain biking, or motorcycling. I started studying classical guitar last year. It’s much more complex than I thought, but it’s fun and engages my brain in a different way. Like writing, I feel like I could spend the rest of my life studying it and still have more to learn! Santa Cruz, California
You can connect with me here:
Enter to win a PDF copy of Due Date.
Comment on this post for a bonus entry.
Giveaway ends August 18th 11:59PM Central Time.