Name Angela Ruth Strong
Age Under 40 for a little bit longer…
Where are you from
I was born in southern California, but moved to Missouri for preschool, Kansas for elementary school, and Oregon for high school and college. I attended the University of Oregon for journalism though I started my family young and ended up staying home to raise kids and write children’s stories. I live in Idaho now.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Today I was offered an extension to my contract for the Resort to Love series to write book #4. Finding Love in Eureka, California releases next February. Book #2, Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana, is currently under option with a movie producer and being pitched this month to Hallmark for a Christmas movie. Then there’s novella 3.5, which will come out in August. Finding Love on the Oregon Coast is a collection of novellas with some author friends about what happens to the bridesmaids after the bride runs away from her wedding. And, of course, I have to mention Finding Love in Park City, Utah, which releases NEXT MONTH!
Oh, and this month Presumed Dead came out.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
My mom was a writer, so I grew up with stories about me being published in magazines like Women’s World. When I wrote a story about myself in high school, I submitted it to a magazine figuring, “That’s just what you do, right?” They bought it, and I was hooked. Though it’s never been that easy since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always been a writer, but for a long time I had this obsession with proving it to the world. My mom came close to publishing a book then moved on to other hobbies. I was afraid that would happen to me, and I didn’t want it to. I was really blessed to sell my first book only two years after attending my first conference. It was the third novel I’d written, and actually it wasn’t even finished yet when I sold it. I know that was a gift from God, and since then, I’ve given this whole crazy career to Him. I’m a writer because He created me to be, and that’s never going to change.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first manuscript was titled Fake Blond. It was inspired by the chick lit genre, thus never published because that trend didn’t last very long.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to think of my writing as a mix of heart and humor. I laugh and cry when I write, and I hope my story makes readers do the same.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Okay, now I’ll talk about Presumed Dead, which is my romantic suspense novel out this month with an imprint of Harlequin—Love Inspired Suspense. I had a few friends who wrote for them, so I decided to try it too. My first manuscript I submitted was titled Presumed Dead. They didn’t buy it, so I wrote a second manuscript with a different name. They bought it. My editor asked, “What do you think about the title Presumed Dead?” I don’t know if she realized the connection, but I was like, “That’s a GREAT title!” Though it does confuse my critique partners who know the first story as Presumed Dead.
Apparently I like to write about survivors.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
This one is about the fine line between being a lone ranger and getting into bad relationships because you don’t want to be alone.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Thankfully, since someone is trying to kill the main character, this is not based on my life. The idea of a girl spending her summers at a family cabin on the lake and meeting a childhood sweetheart there came from a cabin that’s been in my ex’s family for sixty years, but that’s about it.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The Scarlet Pimpernel. I fell in love with it in 8th grade and have loved hidden identities ever since. (Hence all the presumed dead stuff.)
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Becky Wade. She writes with even more heart and humor than me. Plus, my husband will listen to her audio books with me because she has such macho male characters.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
God. He’s the author of life.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Bahaha. Always. Some authors won’t read their books after print because they see things they wished they would have changed. But I’m currently reading Presumed Dead just for fun. I won’t stress about mistakes; I will learn from them.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Presumed Dead: Framed for a sabotaged military operation, Preston Tyler has allowed everyone to believe he’s dead—until he witnesses someone planting a bomb in his childhood sweetheart’s cabin. To save Holly Fontaine’s life, he must blow his cover. Holly is shaken…both by the explosion and the sudden appearance of a man she thought she’d lost forever. But their reunion is short-lived when the bomb planter returns, forcing their escape into Lake Tahoe’s wilderness. As they struggle to survive, memories of their shared past reignite old feelings. Holly refuses to lose Preston again, but with their pursuer closing in, will the ultimate betrayal tear them apart for good?
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I want to express emotions deeper. I want to improve my description. And I want to write better first chapters.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Because my first book was part of the Love Finds You series that was set in real towns across America, I learned to research and pick real settings. My husband and I rode our Harley up to Big Sky for my book set in Montana, and I volunteered at the Sundance Film Festival to research for Finding Love in Park City. I also just started working part time at an airline so I can travel for free to do book-signings and attend conferences.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publishers have designers, and I get a little bit of say. It’s harder than it looks.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The moments where I’m almost finished but I hate it and think it’s trash and want to chuck my computer out the window.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
For Presumed Dead, I had to change the whole ending for my editor. I learned that I could do that. Before, the ending was always set in stone in my mind. Now I realize I can change ANYTHING. There’s no right or wrong. It’s about finding what works best.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead
Chelsea Kane—she has the right amount of sass.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Do it because you love it, and out of your love, opportunities will arise.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Write me! I want to hear your story too.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Most recently I downloaded Submerged by Dani Pettrey. I haven’t started it yet, but I’ve heard good things.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Monster at the End of this Book with Grover from Sesame Street. I get excited whenever I see it in stores now.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
More than anything, I cry over infidelity and abuse and abandoned children.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I’m a big fan of the band Train, and I heard that a bunch of the ticket agents got to meet Pat Monahan when he flew in for a concert here in Boise, and I’m hoping to get that chance, as well. It may sound shallow, but he’s a great writer of music lyrics, and many of his songs play on my mental soundtracks for my books. Plus, my husband used the song Marry Me in his proposal. I’m sure we’d become the best of friends.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I don’t know. Presumed Dead? 😉
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I teach yoga and kickboxing, and I scrapbook. Oh, I also ride on the back of my husband’s Harley. I seriously think we should have a reality show titled The Writer and the Rider.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Madame Secretary is the best. And not just because one of the characters was presumed dead…
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
- Homemade bread and anything with cream cheese
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have liked to travel and trained aerobics instructors.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Thanks for the interview! And thanks to those who read this whole thing. You probably now know more about me than my own mother.