Cara Summers Bio Was I born a writer? Absolutely not. I was born a bit of a drama queen. The very first thing I can remember wanting to be when I grew up was some kind of a missionary nun, praying and struggling away in a far off land. I blame my tenth grade English teacher for nudging me into the writer’s life. Sister Rose Terrence insisted that I enter a short story contest sponsored by the Detroit News, and I won! I still have the dictionary with my name engraved on the cover. (The story was a romance about two teenagers who were brought together by a St. Bernard.) But at fifteen, although I had long since deep-sixed my dream of missionary work, my current goal was to become an actress when I grew up. (Note – the career path has changed, but the drama queen thing is still in play.) Eventually, I majored in drama in college and I did become an actress. My career was short lived because I fell in love, and since my husband to be was in graduate school, I turned to teaching for a steady paycheck. (Lucky for me, I “fell” into a career that I absolutely love – every bit as much as I love writing. I suspect it’s because the teaching – standing up there in front of a room full of students – allows me to indulge my inner drama queen). It was only after my three sons were in school that I turned my full attention to writing again. Was I an overnight success as a writer? Absolutely not. I wrote for seven years and received numerous rejection letters before I sold my first book. (My reaction to the rejections was always to cuddle up in the fetal position on the floor and cry. Very mature!) But I never gave up. Finally, I sold my fourth book, C.J.’s Defense, to Harlequin, and when it was released, it made the Waldenbooks Best Seller List. Since then I’ve written eighteen more books for Harlequin Temptation, Duets, and Blaze, and I have three more scheduled to be released in 2006. My books have been nominated for many awards, including the Holt Medallion, the National Readers Choice Award, the Award of Excellence, the Golden Quill, and Romantic Times Magazine’s Career Achievement Award in Love and Laughter. The Black Sheep, won the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Award. Most recently, Moonstruck in Manhattan won the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence and Short, Sweet and Sexy won Romantic Times Magazine’s Award for Best Temptation of the Year. When I’m not working on my next book, I teach writing at Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College. I am a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops. (Ever the drama queen!) In my spare time, I try to keep tabs on my three sons and enjoy my latest hobbies – inline skating and decorating my new townhouse. As often as I can, I fly to Fort Meyers, Florida, laptop in tow, to visit my two grandchildren – Marian who is three and Andrew who is six months. My last visit included a birthday party with pony rides! (And guess who’s inherited the drama queen gene?) More about Cara... One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is “Where do you get your story ideas?” I get ideas everywhere – news stories, magazine articles, incidents I witness. I got the idea for the subplot of my very first book while I was serving on a jury. The case involved teens assaulting other teens, and I just had to write about it. The romance involved a defense attorney and a district attorney who worked opposite sides of the case – and still managed to fall in love. My very first bigger, single title book (which I haven’t sold yet) was partially inspired by the host on a TV shopping network. (Go figure!) My 2005 Risking It All trilogy for Blaze about triplet sisters was partly triggered by the Clint Eastwood movie, Absolute Power, in which he plays a master jewel thief. And my latest inspiration came from one of my students who gave me a Cong Love Token. She purchased it in a gift shop in County Mayo in Ireland.It looks like a small, squashed rodent – but she claims it has the power to bring you your true love. It worked for her! (In spite of the fact that I’ve been carrying it around in my purse for over six months, my Prince Charming hasn’t shown up, but I’m working on a new story – with you guessed it – a Cong Love Token!) In terms of where my ideas come from, I don’t see a pattern here. Do you? (But I’ll bet my friends and neighbors feel a whole lot better now.) Other frequently asked questions are: “Where do you do your writing? "Do you write everyday?” and “What time of day do you write?” I have two offices in my home. In one of them, I keep my desk top computer and printer. I use that office to print out copies and to work online. However, I do almost all of my writing on a laptop, and for that, I sit cross-legged on a couch in a small den. I learned a long time ago that sitting in a chair in front of a desk for long periods of time gives me a terrible backache. As for thinking up new stories – well, that I can do anywhere. I usually keep a notebook in my purse for jotting ideas down. And because I’m not an organized person, I tape any ideas for new stories on the walls of my little den. That way, I know I won’t lose them. I am just not a “filer!” In fact, the only thing I’m successful at filing (knock on wood) is my income taxes. (I think that’s only because I’m scared to death of my accountant!) And – yes, I write every day. Or at least, I try to. If I skip a day, it’s harder to get back into the flow of a book. If I’m going to take a break, I find that it’s easier to do that in between books. But I don’t break for long. I haven’t tried to analyze the reason for that. It could be because there’s another deadline staring at me in the face, but I have an idea that for me at least, writing has become an addiction, something I can’t really do without for too long. Also, writing every day eventually becomes a habit – like exercise or brushing your teeth. Finally, I write best in the morning. I find that’s my most creative time of the day. I’m an early riser, so I usually start between six and seven AM. I’m still in my PJ’s, with one cup of coffee downed when I settle on my couch and boot up my computer. Following this routine allows me to get five to seven hours of writing in before I run off to teach an afternoon or evening class.