Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a quirky, rock n’ roll fan girl with unhealthy obsessions. My house was built during the Civil War. I drink tea out of a cup used in the original Dark Shadows TV series. Sam always wins over Dean and Damon over Stefan, though I wouldn’t kick any of them out of bed.
What inspired you to start writing?
Movies play in my brain, especially once my head hits the pillow. Often they stem from something I have watched or read, a face, or a line of dialogue. I then project that into an alternate universe. It’s kind of like watching the movie Clue over and over again. “It could have happened this way, or it could have happened this way, but what really happened was…” I also have a theatrical background. Years of acting help me develop the characters that tell the story. Since my brain already explores this madness each night, why not get it down on paper?
How would you describe your writing style?
Personal—in that the reader sees life the way the main character does. Writing in the third person makes me feel like I have a dissociative identity disorder. Since my attention span is horrific I like to keep things moving. Rarely is life all comedy or all tragedy, so you need both. Creating characters and situations that encourage a few chuckles provides a balance that helps the reader ride the emotional rollercoaster while avoiding monotony.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you get through it?
Definitely. With me it is brought on by a lack of confidence, either about my work or myself. Once I find the source, I just need to work my way through it. Life then falls back into place.
Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?
I forced myself to take a moment to really appreciate and take pride in the accomplishment. At first I was so nervous that I didn’t want to look at it, but then I reminded myself of how much work went into it and how many times I have heard people say they want to write a book yet they never have. I did it, and I let myself be proud.
Tell me about your writing process.
Inspiration will hit and I find myself scrambling for a computer, note pad, or voice recorder. Recently I have been using my phone’s voice recognition to dictate chapters. Since my first draft is always horrible, it works well!
How long did it take you to finish your first book?
The first draft took about a month, and then I spent a few more adding all of the little twists, turns, clues, and messages. Months of editing and refining followed. Overall it was just over a year from the day I started writing until the day I published.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I had a definite system in the Forbidden Flower series. The characters that I wanted pulled into the foreground all have three to four syllable names. Background characters have only one or two syllable names. It was an intentional way to guide the reader, designating who was good and who was bad. I felt it added depth.
Has your life changed any since you have published your books?
Dramatically—and on a very deep, personal level. The people whom I have met as a result of hitting the publish button have changed my life. I see the world so differently now. Readers have opened up to me with beautiful stories. I wish everyone could see the world with the same love and light as they do. I’ve also made some incredible friends and acquaintances. I never expected this journey to be so intense and fulfilling.
What has been your biggest challenge on your journey?
Knowing that while you can’t please everyone you need to try to please the masses while pleasing yourself is a huge challenge. There are certain expectations that readers have. Many do not want to read about a character they cannot relate to, which is why many main characters are often a little sterile. I refuse to write characters that lack solid personality. The two don’t often work together.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write the story you want to tell. We live in a wonderful era of a publishing revolution. There is no one out there who can stop you from writing and distributing your work. However, don’t just write and hit the publish button. Get as many people as you can to read your story and give honest opinions. Make the improvements you feel are needed and edit, edit, edit! Hire an editor. Do the best you can to catch every tiny misusage of a comma, but respect that even major publishers miss a lot or errors. Hit the publish button with pride. Know that bad reviews are inevitable. (Even the greatest classics get bad reviews.) Celebrate that you have done what so few others dare.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. From the absolute bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing my words into your life. You’ve given me a precious gift.