Hi! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. It’s lovely to be here.
You asked me what resources I used to write a book about a fire inspector—great question!
So… I grew up a fireman’s daughter. My dad worked for the local city fire department and retired just a few years ago. While mulling over concepts for the book he started talking about former investigations and incidents. We got to talking about how chemical fires work and the psychology and motivations behind them and the book’s kernel idea was born.
I ended up reaching out to my local fire department as well and reading book after book about fire investigation practices and fire behavior. I totally geeked out when it came to writing this one—though, admittedly, I enjoy the research end of my job.
Here is a photo of my local firefighter source, Mel, and myself when I gave him a copy of the book. I hadn’t told him, or the men of the department, that the book had been picked up… so it came as quite a shock when they received their copy (and saw they named in the acknowledgments). I couldn’t have done it without the support of my community and the firefighters and law enforcement officers who gave their time and energy in making this book a reality.
I also gave my father a copy of the book that day and, though he is normally the typical firefighter type-A, super macho/alpha guy, he was incredibly proud. Smoke and Ashes was a long time in coming and I’m excited to say it was my “break-through” novel.
I’m most proud as it is a novel that eviscerates the rules of romance. The heroine is married when the book starts and she must escape the bonds of an unhappy and abusive marriage in order to find love. It’s definitely not your cookie-cutter, cupcake romance (though I do enjoy a good cupcake romance from time to time). This is a book that pushes boundaries and mirrors real life… Not all choices are easy, not everyone would do the same thing… but the characters are trying to do the best they can and live each day like it could be their last.
Last thing… To celebrate the release of this book, I’m also hosting a benefit raffle for my local YWCA. I think it is important to start a conversation about domestic violence throughout the United States. Though I live in a rural area, we have had several murders in the last few months that were directly at the hands of their abusive partners. This needs to stop. We must open up the communication about this silent epidemic so the victims of abuse can step out of the shadows and start receiving the help they need without becoming victims again thanks to the stigmas involved with the label “abused man/woman.”
Domestic violence can happen to anyone at any socioeconomic or educational level.
If you, or someone you know, needs help escaping domestic violence, call the Domestic Violence hotline (1-800-799-7233) or check out the DV website: Or you can contact your local organization, like my local YWCA. You are not stupid, you are not worthless, you are strong. If you have/are suffering at the hands of the loved one, I urge you to reach out and break the cycle.