1) Describe your relationship with a good book.
A good book is like a long lost love. I saw a meme once that read something like: An unfinished book is like an unfulfilled romance. A little sappy, but I liked the sentiment. If a book is written well, you fall in love with the characters, the world. You root for them, laugh with them, and cry with, and sometimes for, them.
2) When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?
I’ve always written, either parts of novels that never went past a few chapters, or in my journal.
Trying to pick a piece of work that I’m most proud of is difficult. Each book, each character touches an author’s life in a different way. So it’s difficult to judge them the same. For instance, PODs was my first YA novel, and was the first traditionally published. But Unspeakable is a novel that SPOKE to me. It was truly a labor of love. I’m proud of both books for different reasons.
If pressed, though, I’d have to say my first novel—Concilium—is the one I’m most proud of. It’s the first novel I ever finished, and the first time I told my family that I loved writing (I’d finished a 400 page book and no one even knew I was writing!) The book, although indie published, didn’t go far despite the handful of good reviews it received. I’ve since pulled it from stores and plan to rewrite some areas and republish it.
3) Please describe your work ethic as an author.
My work ethic is pretty simple. There are two parts to it. First, I live with the belief that anything worth having is worth working for. My dad taught me this. He gave me an excellent example of what hard work entails. And taught me to use it in all areas of life. Since I love writing, it is definitely something worth working for.
Second, always tell my story. This doesn’t mean tell a true story about myself—you wouldn’t want to read it. Trust me, I’m not very interesting. No, it means tell the stories I’m passionate about. I want to find new stories and new ways to tell them.
So my bottom line: Work hard to tell my story.
4) How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?
Um… I’m not sure I’ve ever been balanced. Things overlap. Life intrudes on my writing time, and sometimes writing intrudes in the other areas of my life. But I try to set limits to keep different areas of my life separate. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. But I think being aware that I need to keep things in check, helps… even when my balancing act is dangerously unbalanced.
5) Why did you write this book?
The Innocent is the ending of Milayna’s journey. I wrote it to give her a happy ending. As for why I wrote the series as a whole, I can’t tell you. The notes and partial scenes I’d written were on my computer. One day I read through them and then started writing.
That’s kind of how it works for me. I have over fifty novels in various stages of the writing process on my computer right now. Some have a good deal of notes, character studies, and scenes already written. Others just have a sentence or two—just an idea that sparked one day and I wanted to write it down before the spark fizzled. It doesn’t mean that all the ideas I have jotted in notebooks all over my house, or I’ve saved on my computer will develop into books—it doesn’t work that way. An idea might sound great, but when I start to write or outline (what little I do), I find it can’t sustain an entire book.
So short answer to my long babbling explanation: I can’t tell you what sparked the idea. The books were written in 2013, I’ve already forgotten what gave me the idea for them. But I can say, I loved writing them.
6) What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?
Hmm, that’s a hard question. I know that I do draw from real life while writing, but I don’t do it intentionally. I’ve never sat down and said, “I’m going to make this character just like my husband.” But, when I’ve finished a book and reread it, sometimes I do see characteristics or personality traits of people I know in a character’s behavior. But it’s totally random and, for the most part, unintentional.
I’ve only written something that was pulled from my life twice. The first was a conversation my son, then nine or ten years-old, and I had that I thought was hilarious, so I modified it so it would fit into my second novel (Concilium: The Departure). The second would be the plot for Unspeakable. I pulled a lot of inspiration from my own life for that novel… although, please don’t think it’s autobiographical. It’s not.
7) What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?
Well, I’ll start with my life outside of writing, because if that part of my life isn’t taken care of, I can’t write.
In my “normal” life, and I use that term very loosely. There isn’t much about me that is normal. My daughter bought me a shirt that reads: Normal is boring. That’s my philosophy. I happily embrace my inner weirdo. In the next five years I hope I’m where I am today. I don’t mean where I am physically… I can go anywhere. I don’t me financially… but, honestly, a few hundred thousand dollars is always welcome (ha-ha). I mean the stuff in life that isn’t tangible. The love I give, and receive from, my family. The way my husband crunches his potato chips that drives me freakin’ insane… but, at the same time, I love the sound because I know he’s near. The way my kids bound in the door after school. These are all things I treasure. So in five years I’d want to believe, hope, pray, that they are still a constant in my life.
My life as an author in five years? Well, I hope that I’m still writing, and someone is still reading what I write. I’m not going to say I don’t care if I’ve won awards, made the NY Times Bestsellers list, signed a movie deal… because, let’s face it, any author who seeks publication would want those things. They all validate that our work is good enough… and we all seek validation in whatever we do. So, yes, I’d like to write the next sparkly vampire… or whatever. That goes without saying. But what I want? Where I want to be? Again, where I am. Writing things that make me happy.
8) Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.
I’m an excellent speller. I won three straight district-wide spelling bees in elementary school.
Here’s one thing that’s not a lie… I’ve really enjoyed your interview. Thank you for hosting me and the third book in the Milayna Series: The Innocent. I appreciate it so very much!
- If US, the winner will receive a mystery box from Clean Teen Publishing
- If International, the winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.