Frequently Asked Questions
1. How did you find the time to write Three Rivers and hold a full time lawyer job?
I basically write in every free moment I have – on the Stairmaster at the gym, on the subway, in bed, every weekend – whenever and wherever! Luckily, my husband is extremely supportive and helps do everything else so that I can focus on writing.
2. Is Three Rivers autobiographical at all?
Some parts of it, yes. Some of Althea is based on me – I am an attorney, I have two very close girlfriends from college who mean the world to me, I met my husband in college and I am a Pittsburgh transplant. I also highlight a lot of my favorite Pittsburgh locales in the book. Aspects of both Jack and Griffen are inspired by different facets of my husband. Other than that, these characters have minds of their own, for sure.
3. Will there be another book about Althea and Griffen?
Yes. Book 2 is Jenna’s story, Book 3 will be Trey’s, Book 4 will be Aubrey’s, and Book 5 will be another Althea and Griffen book. I get sad thinking about this series ending, so you never know, I may continue it even more. Also, Althea and Griffen’s relationship will develop in each book.
4. What is your favorite feedback from readers of Three Rivers?
I appreciate any and all feedback, of course, but so far it’s been really thrilling to hear what they responded to – what they found funny, what made them cry . . . what made them blush. You live with these people and these stories by yourself for months and it is scary but fun to hear what speaks to the reader after you finally share it with the world. I also adore hearing whom they picture for the characters – Griffen especially, of course.
5. What inspired you to write a book about life after losing a spouse?
This is a tough question for me to answer, but it is by far the most frequently asked question I get about Three Rivers, so it’s only fair that I respond honestly.
I had a lot of mysterious health issues starting when I was 12. They escalated as I got older but no doctor could ever figure it out. For several years my husband and I were on an emotional roller coaster wondering what was wrong with me – in fact, at one point, doctors (inaccurately) thought it was a form of leukemia and told us to brace ourselves that I could only have a matter of months to live.
After my first trial as an attorney (a very stressful high-profile white collar crime case), I became severely ill and it was really touch and go. I made it through, but the severity of the symptoms finally revealed that I had been living all those years with undiagnosed and untreated Lupus – a chronic autoimmune disease. This meant that my immune system was ruthlessly attacking and damaging my own cells, tissues and certain organs for 17 years, completely unchecked.
That near-death scare was terrifying to me, but what was worse was seeing what it put my husband through. He is a total hyper-protective alpha male type and for him to see me fading away before his eyes, yet not being able to do anything about it, tore him apart.
One night we were listening to the song Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men, which is about living with the ghost of a dead spouse (on the Three Rivers playlist here on the website) and he said, “Losing you is the worst thing I can imagine happening. It would be a life sentence, because that grief will never go away. You don’t come back from that.”
Those words – and the memory of his fear, anger and guilt while I was sick – haunted me so much that I wanted to write a novel for people that went through that actual ultimate loss, but did manage to come back from it.
Nothing would make me happier than to know that this book helped people deal with the death of a loved one or their illness. That’s why I spent hours intensely researching grief and recovery through written resources and with a grief counselor to make sure it was true to such a traumatic experience.