Have you done all the super-secret things you talk about in your suspense novels?
It depends—if it’s written as top-secret in my Silver Valley PD series, for instance, it’s fictional because the super-Secret government shadow agency I invented, Trail Hikers (called this as a cover in the Appalachian Trail community, see Her Christmas Protector, book one of the series), is completely fictional. In the Whidbey Island series I drew more on my actual Navy experiences, like the prologue for Navy Rescue. I’ve never been in a P-3C or other aircraft that had to ditch (thank God!) but I have earned my own flight hours as a Naval Aviation Observer and I spoke to aircrew who’ve been involved in ditches.
What is always authentic in all of my series is emotion—because we all have those, and they’re universal, right?