"Love's Secret Fire" is a romantic suspense loosely based on a real-life arson case I covered as a Pittsburgh-area news reporter. Valerie Daniels is determined to prove her twin brother is not responsible for the rash of suspicious fires in Benton Falls, despite all the evidence that leads undercover investigator Adam Michaels to believe he's caught his arsonist — Valerie's brother.
Arson turns to murder and sparks fly between Adam and Valerie. But the real arsonist has his own plans to heat things up. To defeat the killer and his deadly trap, they must learn to trust each other. When they do, they also learn to love.
Galen: What was the inspiration for "Love's Secret Fire."?
Rena: As a reporter I was assigned to do a "ride along" one night with one of the firemen. The police and firemen had added extra patrols in an effort to catch the arsonist. It was after midnight when we crept down side streets and back alleys trying to catch him. I was nervous — the experience stuck in my mind and gave birth to this plot.
Galen: What’s your favorite line from one of your books?
Rena: My favorite line is an internal thought of Valerie's: This would be the swing of her life.
Galen: What started you on the road to writing romance?
Rena: I've always been a writer and always wanted to write romance novels, ever since I read "The Flame and the Flower." Romance novels have come a long way since those bodice-ripping days.
Galen: Do you remember the first romance book you read? If so, who was the author? What made it stick with you?
Rena: "The Flame and the Flower" was my older sister's book that I swiped and read. Kathleen Woodiwiss was a pioneer author of historical romances. I wanted to be just like her except I don't write historicals. But I love to read them. I've read "The Flame and the Flower" more than three dozen times.
Galen: Are you a pantzer or plotter?
Rena: I'm a pantzer. I have a general idea about the story I want to tell but the characters actually take me through the pages from beginning to end.
Galen: What are the three books you’d have if you were stranded on a deserted isle?
Rena: "The Flame and the Flower" – Kathleen Woodiwiss, "No Place Like Home" – Barbara Samuels, "The Client" – John Grisham
Galen: Describe your workspace.
Rena: Cluttered, with a dog bed close by.
Galen: Where would you like to travel to if you had to research an area?
Galen: What do you do when you are not writing?
Rena: Usually, I'm thinking about getting back to writing.
Galen: What was the best piece of advice given to you?
Rena: Write. Write every day. It's a full-time job, treat it like one.
You can find out more about Rena here:
You can purchase LOVE'S SECRET FIRE here: