Besides being an author of clean, romantic suspense, Cami Checketts writes about health and fitness and even works as a trainer. Of course, I would imagine that having four healthy boys keeps her easily in shape. I just can’t figure out how she finds the time and space to write.
ME: Let’s cut right to the chase. I know you get all your story ideas from nightmares. The question is, what happened in your childhood to cause such anxiety and fitful sleep issues? Seriously, what was your childhood like? (And please supply a picture of you as a child.)
CAMI: Haha! Sadly, I had a very normal, happy childhood. (Rats! I thought I might uncover some deep, dark secret.) I’m just an extreme wimp who was scared of everything. My dad is the most patient man. He checked my closet nightly for bears and never told me just to go to bed.
ME: Where did you grow up, and if you lived in more than one place, which was your favorite and why?
CAMI: I grew up in Clifton, Idaho. A beautiful town with almost 120 residents. (Wow! That’s even smaller than Parker, Idaho where my dad grew up.) My parents lived just off of a lake where my brothers taught me to waterski by throwing me in with one ski and telling me I couldn’t get back in the boat until I got up. Brotherly love.
(And yet effective, I’m sure.)
ME: What was your favorite subject in high school and why? And did you get any encouragement from your English teachers?
CAMI: Definitely English. My high school English teacher was an amazing man and is still a good friend of our family. I don’t recall him saying I had potential as a writer until after I was published. Then he claimed, “You were always such a talented, hard worker. I knew you could do it!”
(Hindsight is everything.)
ME: Having received a college degree in Exercise Science, how would you advise writers with regard to balancing their hours at the keyboard with some physical exercise. And how much does your family add to your own exercise? (I’d love a picture of you running a marathon . . . the sweatier, the better! And I hope you’ll let me post a photo of your family.)
CAMI: The cool thing about being physically active and trying to eat healthy is that it’s been proven to make a person more creative and intellectually successful. (Time to hit the treadmill again.) For me, all of my creative ideas come when I’m running.
I don’t know that my family adds to my exercise, except when I’m chasing my two-year-old to put him in timeout! (Exactly.) I’m usually the one who forces them to be active, but whenever we get out on a run, bike ride, or swim, we have a great time. For me, it’s quality time at its best.
ME: I’m aware that you mom urged you to attempt your first book as a way to pull you out of post-partum depression after the birth of your second child at age 28. Why writing, though? How did she have an inkling you might have a knack for creating a story?
CAMI: I was always writing, even if it was just a journal, and I’ve always been a huge daydreamer and reader. But, honestly, I think she was just desperate for me to have some kind of productive hobby!
ME: Have you ever considered therapy to take care of those nightmares, or are you afraid it might dry up your well of imagination? And what is the most frightening nightmare you’ve ever had that you haven’t turned into a book?
CAMI: I haven’t ever thought of therapy. What a fabulous idea! I usually just say a prayer, write about it, and most of the time I can go back to sleep.
I honestly can’t share with you the worst nightmares as you would think I was psychotic. Sometimes I worry about that myself.
I’ll share a semi-funny one. I had a nightmare about my husband cheating on me and woke up and slugged him. (Ouch! That must have been some vivid dream.) I was mad at him for two days until he finally convinced me he’d never cheat on his perfect woman (haha!).
ME: One of your first books, DEAD RUNNING, seemed to coincide with your discovery of the joy of running. But your most recent book, POISON ME, is set in a retirement home. What experiences have you had, good or bad, with such places?
CAMI: My parents managed a retirement center and I loved going to visit the people there. They were hilarious, kind, and had such great stories to tell. When my mom told me they had four deaths in one week, I was shocked and asked, “What did the police say?” She shook her head and said, “They said they were old.” And the ideas for POISON ME started rolling.
CAMI: Family. There is almost always a strong family core and adorable children in my novels. I love children, especially my four crazy boys.
ME: How debilitating was your accident some months ago with the lawn mower, in which you lost three of your fingers? Have you had to change or adjust your writing routine in any way?
CAMI: I did cut three of my fingers off, but they were able to sew on parts of two of them so they’re shorter but serviceable. (That was certainly fortunate!) My middle finger is an ugly nubbin, but it’s fun to scare my sons’ friends with.
As far as writing goes, it was pretty awful for the first few months, then I threw away my prosthetic finger and my Lortab (That’s a pretty powerful pain relief medication . . . not to be confused with the Lorax) and taught myself how to type again. I honestly don’t notice it much anymore.
ME: Finally, what are you working on now, and what stage is the story at? Also, please describe where you developed it (in other words, your writing space of choice) and provide a picture of your work area.
CAMI: I’m working on a story about a mom who blogs against a violent video game company and is stalked by a hit man. It’s definitely not a light murder mystery like DEAD RUNNING or POISON ME, but there’s still some great romance and comedy in it. I’m in the polishing stage, hoping to release it mid-September.
I love my office. My cute husband positioned my desk so I look out my window at trees and mountains. (That must have been after you slugged him.) But I develop most of my stories during my nightmares or out running. Then the trick is typing everything before I forget. With four boys that rarely happens.
(Do I spy two monitors? Doubly effective)
Thanks for having me on the blog!
(My pleasure. Happy running and writing!)
Be sure and come back next Wednesday when I talk with Whitney Finalist and historical fiction author Amanda Sowards (aka A.L. Sowards).
Originally posted 2013-07-31 06:00:22.