Multi-published author Mindy Steele recently stopped by my blog to share some about her writing life.
Why did you start writing romantic suspense novels?
Ha, that’s a good question, especially when most readers know me better for writing Amish romance. It was my agent’s doing. The blame, or credit, is hers. She asked me to write a short story for the Christmas Cookies and Mysteries Anthology inspired by the Oak Ridge Boys. They had a couple extra slots needing filled and she leaned on me for a quick story. I was instantly hooked. A Brookhaven Christmas was just a delightful small-town whodunit and I knew then I might possess a mysterious side too.
When do you find time to write?
Somewhere between edits and grandchildren! I write full time. Some days I’m lucky to get in a full six hours. Other days, it’s write until your eyes cross and your elbows hurt.
What is your favorite spot for reading or reflecting on your current work-in-progress?
The front porch. I have the perfect surroundings. Amish buggies traveling the road. Long fields and farms to my west. Birds darting in and out at my feeders. My garden right in view. And behind me is my mountain. Nothing like listening to the wild things out there too. There is so many views from my front porch, inspiration isn’t far.
How do you connect with your characters?
I am a stickler for connecting with characters. If my hero raises bees, then so do I. If my heroine is a hunting guide, well, I need to sit in the tree stand and see what she sees. I might have even stalked a few game wardens. Getting to know my characters has been the hardest, and easiest part of writing. I have met so many amazing, talented people through my own process. My current works has me corresponding with an Amish healer and monthly trips to an Amish doctor!
Why do you like writing romantic suspense?
I like the whole process. As a storyteller, weaving together a community, characters, doesn’t strain me at all. I love to tell a story, but my favorite part is letting the story lead me. In my first romantic suspense, Bones on the Mountain, I had no idea who the killer was, until I did. I’m no plotter, so that was such an amazing experience as a writer, to simply start writing and let the story suck you in.
What’s the weirdest way someone has died or been killed in your novels?
How do you research ways to kill someone for your books?
Very carefully. I am almost certain my computer has been flagged at this point. I mean who researches flesh eating beetles, nightshade concoctions, and serial killer victims in one week! I find it best to use our local library now.
How do you pick the location/setting of your romantic suspense novels?
My surroundings. I never travel far to choose a setting, as Kentucky will always be my favorite location to write about. I do however change town and road names often out of respect for those around me. I mean, we don’t need anyone knocking on a neighbor’s door wanting to know if they really had bodies buried outback or anything. That would be weird.
What is one of your favorite ways to connect with readers?
In-person. My first book was published at the beginning of the pandemic. Thankfully social media allowed me to virtually meet readers. But I love face-to-face. I try each year to travel to various places to meet them. There is nothing like hugging your reader and thanking them for supporting you.
What do readers ask you when they meet you?
When’s the next book? How do you come up with your stories? When will you be traveling in my direction? I’m sure every writer has the same answer here.
Who’s your favorite romantic suspense writer and why?
Oh, that’s hard. There are so many greats. Off the top of my thoughts, I would say Jamie Jo Wright, especially during rainy days or when I have been submersed in to too many sweet romances lately. I’ve recently been reading Susan May Warren and love her!
Raised in Kentucky timber country, Mindy is a best-selling and award-winning author who writes in favor of her rural surroundings. Her books are peppered with humor, and sprinkled with grace, charming all the senses to make you laugh, cry, hold your breath, and root for the happy ever after ending. A storyteller at heart, she enjoys coffee indulgences, weekend road trips, and researching her next book.
Amazon Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/mindysteele
Years ago, journalist Emery Bishop survived the unthinkable. Now the single mother is heading home to her grandparent’s bed and breakfast in Kentucky to seek sanctuary. With a dark past looming all around her, Hickory Cove is the one place Emery has always felt safe. Only this time, Emery finds herself the center of attention she doesn’t know how to protect herself from.
Corbin Peachy is the local game warden. Protecting nature is his calling and leaves a man little time for romance. But he is instantly drawn to the guarded journalist. Corbin’s protective nature wants to help her, but can his patience tear down the walls Emery has built all around her or will a string of recent murders send her running again?
Emery has to decide if she is willing to trust the local game warden with more than just her heart.