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Interview with Tina Radcliffe

It isn’t so difficult to understand that a nurse could pen award-winning romance novels. After all, isn’t a nurse a veritable beacon of compassion and empathy? A touchstone bearing the emotional threads of patients and their families?

Imagine then, the wealth of experience and insight a Certified Oncology RN could bring to the page . . . especially one with a dash of humor and a smile that could defrost any curmudgeon. Or persuade any seeking heart . . . like a lonely doctor’s?

How do you stay prolific in writing romance; how do you find new romantic stories to pen?
The real question is how will I find the time to pen all the ideas I have? I keep an idea box (a recipe box converted to an idea box) where I jot down bits of dialogue I overhear, crazy dreams, what ifs and anything else that spurs a story idea.

Early on, we learn that Ben, your main character, has lost someone close. How has that loss impacted him? For example, has it spurred him to relocate?
Paradise, Colorado, my fictional town that is set in the vicinity of the real town of Del Norte, Colorado, is a place where the sheriff of Paradise says folks come “to hide, to heal or to forget.” This is true on all counts for Ben Rogers. In fact, I have a whole cast of characters ready to show up in future books who find their way to the little mountain town with a population of 1,700 to find their way back to the Lord.

Your novel just moves right along so that the reader just has to find out what happens next. Would you share your secrets about pacing your story and how important it is to a successful novel?
As soon as I find out my secret you will be the first to know. I’m a visual learner. The single best technique I know is Michael Hauge’s “Six Stage Plot Structure.” It really forces the story to move from stage to stage and allows even those who don’t plot to form a story road map that eliminates sagging middles. My DVD of this technique, "The Hero's 2 Journeys," is well used.

How much of this or other books is anecdotal to your experience as a nurse?
I resisted writing medical for a long time. Working oncology and geriatrics for ten years, always working two jobs and up to eighty hours a week kept me immersed in medical—really, I was drowning in medical. I left nursing quite burned out.

Once I was able to grieve and heal, I found I could channel some of the emotions into positive stories. But it wasn’t until my editor suggested I utilize my background that I decided to stop fighting the inevitable, and now I am really enjoying myself. So to answer your question, everything draws from my background.

What would you like readers to take away from your story?
A long time ago I realized one thing about my relationship with God . . . I will always have questions. The bottom line remains the same: will I choose to walk with Him or away from Him because of those questions? My characters, like me, always choose to walk with Him. Turn all those questions, those cares, those burdens to Him and keep walking. He’ll direct your path. The fictional story is the character’s journey to that decision.

What’s the next project for you?
I’ve got a few more Paradise stories coming up. Mending the Doctor’s Heart was originally, Welcome to Paradise. Right now I’m revising A Postcard from Paradise, and I’m looking at the book after that, which is Stranded in Paradise.

What few words of advice would you offer aspiring romance writers?
Anyone who knows me knows I have the same theme song, a quote from author Karen King, “What have you done today to make your dream come true?” I am the queen of Plan B, and I encourage every writer to never give up on their God-given dream.

Thanks for sharing with us, Tina!

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