NS: First and foremost, you’re a bestselling author of over a dozen novels and novellas, co-founder of The Bookworm Box and Book Bonanza, mother, wife, and so much more. What’s your secret to balancing a successful career, staying present in your creative work as well as in other areas of your life?
CH: Honestly, I have no balance. I’m a very disorganized person. I actually, for the first time, downloaded a digital calendar last week to try and keep up with due dates. I think the key is that I’ve surrounded myself with very organized people. I don’t even try to control my own chaos anymore. I’ve accepted that I’m a very scattered human. I like that I don’t follow a routine or a schedule, I think that helps my creative process. Thankfully, the people in my life find it more endearing than annoying. 😉
NS: In a 2020 interview with Goodreads while discussing your writing process, you mentioned that once you’re done writing a book you’re on to the next one. Is the same true with Verity, a novel that continues to skyrocket in popularity and was recently published for the first time in print by Grand Central Publishing? Aside from having to wear a fresh pair of socks when starting a new manuscript, are there any other rituals you’ve developed over the past year?
CO: I do move on pretty fast from each book but that has slowed down over the past couple of years. I used to write a book, submit it and then start writing the next, but now I like to put a little space in there to let my books simmer. I’ve got a lot more going on now than I did in 2012, so I had a lot more ideas back then that I was ready to start. It takes a little longer to form an idea for a book nowadays, so I take time to let those ideas simmer now. As for rituals, it’s still just the socks.
NS: Speaking of Verity, the novel has become widely known for its nail-biting conclusion. Has there ever been a book or movie that has shocked you as much as the ending of Verity has shocked many of its readers?
CH: I’m a huge fan of M. Night Shyamalan films. He has the most epic twists, but nothing got me quite as much as The Visit did. I love that movie.
NS: If you were in Lowen Ashleigh’s shoes, which author’s series would she want to ghostwrite?
CH: There’s no way I could ghostwrite for someone else. It’s hard enough putting my own ideas on paper, I couldn’t imagine the pressure of having to please a publisher with someone else’s storyline. But I used to binge-read every release of The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, so I’d definitely love to write something in that world.
NS: What’s the most unlikely place you’ve found inspiration for writing?
CH: Always in the middle of a conversation with someone. I have a hard time concentrating on one thing at a time, and sometimes I’ll be having a conversation and I’ll get an idea I desperately want to write down in the moment, so I’ll have to figure out how to continue to be an active listener while simultaneously trying to hold onto the idea without being rude. My husband is used to me cutting conversations off in the middle of a sentence.
NS: You’ve written in a myriad of genres from romance to thriller and a bit of paranormal. What are the challenges of genre-blending or writing across such different genres and is there one that’s closest to your heart?
CH: I honestly wrote my first novel having no idea it was classified as romance. I’ve never paid attention to genres. I write whatever idea it is that comes to me. I think it’s why I’m all over the place with my genres and age ranges. I haven’t really found that one thing has been easier or more difficult than another, but I did enjoy writing Verity the most. I don’t know if it’s because it was so different from my other stuff or if it was because I loved the thrill of it. But I plan to write more thriller novels for sure. I’m just waiting for a good enough idea.
NS: We know there must be a lot, but we wanted to ask what’s your favorite thing about writing?
CH: I think a lot of people have solitary hobbies that satisfy them on a deep, personal level, whether their thing is hiking or boating or writing or painting or reading or fishing. Writing has always been that thing for me—the outlet where I find the most joy. It doesn’t matter if people read what I write, it’s the act of writing I enjoy the most. People still go fishing and hiking without an audience and I believe writing is very much the same. I’d do it whether I shared what I wrote or not because creating stories is the outlet I find joy in. The fact that it has now become my career is icing on the cake.
NS: Which book characters that you’ve written (or not written) would you love to take a road trip with and why?
CH: I’d love to go on a road trip with Daniel and Six. They seem like a fun and hilarious couple who would make the longest road trip fun.
NS: What book is sitting on your TBR pile right now?
CH: I just bought WILL by Will Smith. I’m excited to start that one.
NS: Can you tell us about a new project you’re working on? We would also love to know what’s new with The Bookworm Box and Book Bonanza.
CH: The Bookworm Box and Book Bonanza are going through some big changes this year! We’re super excited to start upping our game in the subscription box world and our focus this year is to help more charities. We just got a new logo so we’re excited to update our products.
As far as myself, I’m working on a book I haven’t announced yet, but I think readers are going to be extremely excited for. And of course, Reminders of Him releases January 18th! I can’t wait for it!
Read the Book
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity's recollection of the night her family was forever altered.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents could devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue loving her.