As seen in the February issue of Uncaged Book Reviews

Uncaged: Can you tell readers about your Caked with Pleasure series? How many books are you planning for the series?

Someone once said “in order to write well, you must write what you know.” Well, here’s what I know. Baking and racing. With my love of writing, the two seemed to come together naturally.

Jacqui and Nick were supposed to be a one-off, however, her friends had other ideas. Peri and Cami insisted I give them their own stories. There are 2 books currently available in the series, with the third in progress.

There are possibilities for more, but for now I’m sticking to three.

Uncaged: On Track with Icing was your first full length novel, and honestly, I never thought about the pairing of a bakery owner and a racecar driver, but it works. What was the inspiration for these characters?

I drew on my own personal experiences when I created these characters. I’ve been a race fan for as long as I can remember, and I come from a family of bakers. I even worked in my family’s bakery for a few years, and drew on that experience to create Jacqui’s Bakery.
NASCAR brought me together with my husband, who spent many years working with a female driver at our local track, and he was a wealth of information when it came to getting the mechanics of the cars and accuracy of the on-track action.

Uncaged: You also have a “day job,” do your co-workers know about your books?

I honestly don’t think my coworkers are interested in reading my books. Or if they are, they haven’t approached me. I have the covers on my desk, but as yet no inquiries about them.

Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them?

Of course I read reviews! I want to know what my audience thinks of my books, good or bad. If I don’t know where my mistakes are, I can’t fix them. Being a part of an amazing critique group, I see every review as an opportunity to improve both my craft.

Uncaged: Can you tell us what you have coming up next?

I get asked frequently about when Cami’s story, Knotted Up with Passion, will come out. I still have a huge, gaping hole in her timeline that I need to fill (because she’s in captivity and I don’t want to bore my readers when she’s stuck in her cell), and I need to get her reunited with her man (whom I have not officially announced yet, though readers will probably pick up on it pretty quick. I kinda left a trail of bread crumbs in the first two.)

In addition to Knotted Up with Passion, I’ve also started a massive project I call my Romantic American Tour. One romance story for each state. One of my favorite authors created her Americana series back in the 70s and 80s, and she inspired me to write my own series.

I’ll be writing my own stories, using different locations of the states as backdrops. I have Wisconsin and North Carolina done, with Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Maine currently in progress. I also have outlines for Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and Virginia. Without outlines I would probably go stark raving mad with this project!

Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books?

Someone told me once that Jacqui’s story made her cry, that she could relate to Jacqui’s inability to have children. Hearing how someone else, even if she’s just a fictional character, dealt with endometriosis and the subsequent consequences, helped her cope with a similar situation.

Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite?

My favorite part about being an author? Writing of course! Creating fascinating characters in exciting locations. I also love meeting fellow writers and readers. Encouragement from the readers helps keep me going.

My least favorite part? Probably everything else. Promotions are the hardest thing, because I’m extremely introverted. I’ve always hated drawing attention to myself, and now I’m forced to in order to promote my work. And there’s no magic formula for instant readership, so it’s constant trial and error.

Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I love reading, of course, which inspired me to get into writing. I read a number of badly-written romances, and had the “brilliant idea” (said with a sarcastic smirk) that I could write better. So I put my pen where my mouth was, so to speak. On Track with Icing was the first novel that I felt was worthy of publication.

When I need a break from writing I enjoy crafting. Crochet, loom-knitting, counted cross-stitch, sewing. Last year for Halloween I made my own Ursula costume from a pattern I had left over for a different costume. I even turned my front porch into Ursula’s Lair, which was a huge hit with the kids.

Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book?

The hardest part for me is probably just sitting down to write. Between the day job and other demands on my time, I have to make time to write. The easiest, I’d say, is the actual writing. Once I get in my zone, I can easily get several chapters written.

As for how long it takes to finish a complete book, well, it varies. On Track was 3-year project, however Icing the Competition was written within a few months. Knotted up with Passion is currently going on 2 ½ years from the first moment I started the first chapter.

Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?

I want to thank the readers. Without them no author, me included, would be where they are. So please, show them your appreciation by leaving a review and passing along the word about their books.

Reading and writing have always been a part of CJ’s life. Ever since she can remember, she’s been putting pen to paper, creating complex characters in rich environments. She lives in Western Wisconsin with her husband and fur-baby. When she’s not working or writing, she enjoys baking, cake decorating, and of course, watching NASCAR. She picked up her first piping bag at age fourteen and started decorating full-time at age twenty-three. Using the experience she’d gained while working in her family’s bakery, along with her love of racing, she created the setting for her first series of novels. She also enjoys volunteering at the local animal rescue shelters and advocating for those who are unable to speak for themselves.