"I think if you sit yourself down and make yourself write, you can always refashion it later," she said.
Smith, 63, of Hanover, has written more than 80 books since 1991. She said she's written through death, operations, caring for sick relatives and other major life events.
While Smith has written primarily romance -- her most recent novel, "Marry Dr. Maverick," was released in October -- she'll take her first foray into mystery in December.
"After 20 years of writing romance, I thought I needed something more," she said.
For Smith, the plot for her first mystery novel came easy for her. By writing what she knew, Smith wove local landmarks into her fictional story including Shippensburg University and Adams County Winery, as well as Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, York and Lancaster, inspired by the landscape and changing seasons.
"I think this is a beautiful area," she said.