- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t remember ever thinking I wanted to be a writer. I just always wrote. I loved reading from the time I could read, around three, and then I started writing when I realized I could tell stories, too. I think I finally made the decision to be a writer earlier this year. I was tired of work, of my life as it was, and of always saying I would do it eventually. Finally, I just wanted to see what happened if I actually did it.
- How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends. If the characters are speaking to me, I can write really fast. I am a binge writer. I don’t write every day. Some days, I intend to, but the story doesn’t work. Other days, I start writing and look up and realize half the day has passed. I would estimate a couple months if I am totally focused on it, but I have stories I have been working on for years that are not moving along at all.
- What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
My real work schedule or my writing schedule? My writing schedule is whenever I can find time between work, family, chores, my editing jobs, and sleep (luckily I have insomnia, so I don’t do much of that). It tends to be in the middle of the night.
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t have any, actually. I am not a very interesting person. Maybe that I won’t read books in my genre when I am writing one? Because I don’t want to be influenced?
- How do you plan to publish? (self or publisher)
I am officially a hybrid now. That’s really exciting to me. I self-published because I am an impatient control freak. However, I always knew I wanted a publisher. So Bitter Fruits will be releasing under a big publisher in December and the rest of my titles are self-published. My goal for the future is to write two a year for the publisher and two a year on my own. I think it’s a lovely system to be a hybrid writer, because you get the best of both worlds.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
My own life. I don’t write stories that go very far from my own experiences. Although none of my characters or stories are specifically based on anyone or anything in particular, they are all based on things I know and experience. For example, Forget Me Not (and soon Lily of the Valley) is about figuring yourself out in college (and having lots of sex). Those are experiences I am familiar with, given my educational background. Bitter Fruits is based on Biblical mythology and set in college. Again, I know college well and theology is something I am very interested in and have a lot of knowledge about in my personal life. Scandal is about a former high school teacher and an actor, two professions I have held.
- When did you write your first book and how old were you?
That’s hard to answer, because a lot of things I have jotted down over the years have become books. I wrote my first full novel when I was about 23. It is not published under my name and it’s not the same genre. It took me several years to write and I don’t even like it very much.
- What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Play a ton of video games. I have a serious problem.
- What does your family think of your writing?
They don’t know. All I told them was that I write and that it’s under another name. My husband is supportive and knows, but he is the only one.
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Honestly? How unbelievably cruel some people are and how kind others are. There are a lot of people out there who want you to fail and will make it their mission to try to make you give up. On the other hand, there are so many who will refuse to let you give up.
- How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have several short story collections, two novellas, and one novel available. I have written another novel and two are on the way. I have also written several under another name – although only one is currently published. My favourite right now is Forget Me Not because it hits close to home for me.
- Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
My biggest pet peeve is poor editing. I know how hard it is to afford to write, but I wish everyone would have someone edit for him or her. I know I am willing to be flexible on my own rates and there are a ton of people out there who are happy to help make it affordable. I want the indie publishing industry to be taken seriously, just like the indie music scene and the indie film industry, but in both of those, you need to invest some money to get your album produced or your film made. I don’t think you should have to pay to publish, but I do think it would be nice if people would put the money into editing. It’s a matter of professionalism to have everything spelled correctly (and I am not talking about a few typos, because those happen in every book!). I’m an editor myself and I have a ton of background in writing – and I still use a team of editors!
- Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes. I am lucky – I have an amazing group of readers who check in with me almost daily. They are really supportive and I am so grateful to them.
- Do you like to create books for adults?
I do, but I don’t write “adult” books. Well, I mean, I write smutty books, but most of my characters are young. I love YA and read and write it outside of this gig. NA is so much fun for me, because I love college and I love the experiences of your 20’s. Scandal will be about adults in their 30’s, but for the most part, my books are about younger adults.
- What do you think makes a good story?
Good characters. People you feel like you know in real life. I do read for escapism to a point, but I want characters based in reality. I love a character who feels like someone you wish you could talk to outside of the book.
- As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to do everything – lawyer, oncololgist, vet, firefighter, actress. Now I just really want to be a curator at the Met in NYC.