WHERE DID THE IDEA OF THIS STORY COME FROM?
My editor suggested I write a companion book, and she was right. I hadn’t planned on doing it, but as I reviewed the novel, I realized there was so much more to this story. I wanted to show Jenna’s empowerment in business and with her family. I wanted to show the next stage of Gladstone Shoes and a merger that threatens their good name. I felt both Jenna and Mrs. Gladstone were ready for a new adventure and I was, too.
WAS IT EASY TO TAKE CHARACTERS YOU KNEW SO WELL AND PLUG THEM INTO ANOTHER BOOK?
I absolutely thought it was going to be! But it wasn’t. That’s because they had both grown so much in Rules of the Road — like we all do when we go through a transforming time — and I had to keep them at the new level to write the book. A fascinating experience. I love these characters even more now.
QUALITY AND TRUTH SEEM TO BE THEMES YOU WEAVE INTO YOUR NOVELS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS?
I believe we have to try to do our best — it won’t be perfect, but I feel we owe it to ourselves, other people, and our greater communities to try. I like spending time with people who reach for excellence, who speak the truth, and don’t play games. I don’t like people who say truthful things in nasty ways, but I so applaud those in the world who aren’t afraid to point out wrongdoing and hypocrisy and lies, and who don’t stop there, they get in the middle of it, roll up their sleeves, and try to make a difference.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PAIR OF SHOES?
A pair of black leather walking boots. They come up just over my ankles and zip up the sides. I can walk in those boots forever. I swear, when I put them on my toes say, ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
WHEN WAS IT HARDEST FOR YOU TO PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD?
When I was in a serious car accident and struggled to be able to write again. I had so much doubt and fear during those days, but I had wonderful people supporting me, too.
ARE YOU LIKE ANY OF THE CHARACTERS IN BEST FOOT FORWARD?
Yes, Jenna and I are alike in many ways. We’re both tall, have auburn hair, come from single-parent homes, our dads were alcoholics, we both have younger sisters, both had beloved grandmothers who had Alzheimer’s Disease, both of us were so empowered by after-school jobs, we both love selling, we’re both determined. I can be stubborn like Mrs. Gladstone. And Tanner Cobb and I share a special connection: I know what it’s like to think you can’t get too far in the world; I know what it’s like to have someone come up beside you, hold out a hand, and help.
WILL THERE BE ANOTHER BOOK USING THESE CHARACTERS?
I’m not sure.
DO YOU LIKE YOUR FEET?
I’m grateful for them; I put them through a lot, I really do. But do I like them? Honestly…No!