Kimberly Gardner spends her days luxuriating on the sparkling white sand beach of her own private island paradise, sipping umbrella drinks and being waited on by gorgeous men wearing nothing but loin cloths and smiles. At night she crafts erotic tales of sweet romance and steaming sex, so hot they are sold with warning labels and tiny fire extinguishers.

Okay, so most of that is a bold-faced lie. Ms. Gardner really spends her days in an 8×8 cubicle, writing computer code for a soulless government bureaucracy and dreaming of the day when she can bid au revoir to the daily grind. She actually does spend her evenings reading and writing romance with a cat on her lap and a glass of wine near at hand. The part about the steaminess of her stories is true too, though you’ll have to provide your own fire extinguisher.

Oh, and that stuff about her island paradise is all in her head. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two cats, a Labrador retriever named Willow and all the characters jostling for space in her imagination. She possesses many and varied opinions on everything from the socio-political situation in Tibet to the mental and physical benefits of yoga and the only way to make a drinkable martini—vodka, never gin, olives not lemons and shaken rather than stirred.