Let’s welcome today’s special guest to Reading Reality, author Theresa Stillwagon! She’s here to talk about her both heart-warming and spine-chilling romantic suspense Winter Creek Montana series, where the local ghost population involves itself in the romances of the modern-day inhabitants.
The first two books in the series, Forgotten Memories (review here) and The Dressmaker’s Dilemma (review here) are a fascinating blend of sexy romance, historical mystery, and romantic suspense. And it’s all set in a ghost town!
Let’s hear what Theresa has to say…
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who is Theresa Stillwagon and what are your other loves besides writing?
I was born and raised in Ohio, but now I live in Georgia. I’ve been married for almost thirty years, loved cats, reading, playing online games, and spending time messing around on Facebook and Twitter. I love learning about new things and visiting historical sites.
What made you choose a ghost town as the setting for your Winter Creek, Montana, series? And is there a real Winter Creek?
I don’t really remember the reason. But I think it was because I recently visited Gettysburg, which is supposed to be haunted. (I was so disappointed when I didn’t see or feel anything strange.) Plus I was working in a nursing home where strange things happened every night. My story seemed to evolve from that.
The Winter Creek, Montana series is a fascinating blend of paranormal romance, contemporary and a little bit historical. Along with some historical mystery for spice. And ghosts. How did you come up with such an interesting mix of genres for this series?
It just kind of happened as I wrote it. Originally it was only meant to be a single story until I realized I left so many unanswered questions in Forgotten Memories. I needed to answer those questions.
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
My parents. My dad also wrote some, but was never published. The favorite thing he’d written was a Christmas song called Happy Birthday Jesus. My sisters and I used to sing that song. I can still remember the words.
Who influenced your decision to become a writer?
It was one of my teachers in grade school. I went to a Catholic school and one of the nuns praised a poem I wrote. I don’t remember her name but I still remember her words and how I felt. It was rare when anyone praised me when I was growing up.
I don’t really have one book except the Bible. There are so many good writing books out there. One book I read over and over again is an old one by Helene Schellenberg Barnhart called Writing Romance Fiction, For Love and Money. It was written way back in the 1980s and is a bit outdated, but the tips and suggestion are still good.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I’m a bit of both. I need to know the characters pretty well (but not completely) and I need to have a few possible scenes and a possible ending before I can start writing. Some of the scenes are never used or changed, and the ending may or may not be the same.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
Yes, and I let them. It’s their story, isn’t it? Usually when I get stuck it’s because I’m trying to have the characters do something they don’t want to do.
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming projects? And what comes next in Winter Creek, Montana?
Right now I’m finishing up a short sexy book called Winning the Bet, then I’m going to work on the fourth book of another series, with another publisher. I’m in the thinking stages of the third Winter Creek book. I hoping to start it as soon as the first drafts of the other two are done.
Can you tell us three reasons why everyone should read your books?
Fun, edgy, and sexy.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. Which reminds me, I haven’t had any yet today.
From Ohio to Georgia, huh? That trip sounds familiar. Us Buckeyes have to stick together! I have to find out where in Ohio, because me, too. But what I really want to know is when that third Winter Creek book is going be out. I have a feeling it’s going to be Rose’s story. We’ll see.
Thanks so much, Theresa, for answering all of my questions. I’ll be looking forward to more adventures with the present-day inhabitants (and the ghosts) of Winter Creek, Montana.