When you met new authors, you never know what's going to come out of their mouths, the types of conversations you're going to have with them...which makes meeting them SO STINKING AWESOME!
I am so excited to introduce this next author to you. A little bit science fiction, a hell-a-lotta FUN...welcome -
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I first started writing because I was fascinated by words and stories. I started with poetry when I was little and was writing little short stories by sixth grade. The inspiration for my first finished book was literally just superheroes. I love superheroes and the superhero genre and wanted to make my own.
I did consider traditional publishing before self-publishing. I tried querying agents but got all rejections. Then I heard about Amazon Kindle and Kindle direct publishing and decided to give that a try. I'm very happy with that decision.
As of right now, I have a total of 12 books published through Amazon Kindle. 5 of them are a children's series, one is a romance novel, and the rest are my superhero series and its alternate ending.
I do have a few things in the works at the moment. I'm working on an urban fantasy novel that I'm really excited for. I'm in the process of querying for a short stories anthology of monster stories and urban legends with a queer slant to them. I also have several ideas waiting mostly patiently for their turn to be written.
Some advice I'd give to aspiring writers is don't give up. Even if you feel like your writing is terrible or someone tells you you'll never make it as a writer. Keep writing, keep improving, and keep moving forward. There are so many other ways to share our stories than traditional large publishing houses and there's a way for you too.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Character names can be important. Sometimes, they just come to me, without any extraneous meaning attached. Sometimes, I go searching through name databases for a name that has a specific meaning. It usually boils down to the character themselves, though. Their actions or personality or the feel of the character in my head will often suggest a name to me.
Do you hand write or do everything on your computer?
I do both. I keep a notebook and pens on me wherever I go in case I get an idea or want to just scribble to keep busy. I started writing before computers were common. But I prefer writing on computers. It's easier and quicker and doesn't hurt my hand as much. Besides, the delete button is a miracle in and of itself. No scratching out and rewriting one or more times if I change my mind.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I think I would have been an archaeologist or anthropologist. It's what I went to school for originally before kind of falling into being an author.
How do you choose what you are going to work on? Do you write one story at a time, or are you working on multiple pieces from multiple storylines at any given moment?
When I started writing seriously, I only had the one story, Gnotret. I started it during NaNoWriMo in 2012 and I had no plans for it other than making it through the month and trying to hit 50k words. Before I wrote Gnotret, I believed that I just couldn't write enough story to complete an entire novel. But afterwards, it felt like the world just opened up. I turned Gnotret into a series, The Accidental Heroes Chronicles. From 2012 to now, I also wrote other stories but I try to focus on one story at a time. That way, I don't lose the feel of the world I'm creating. I'll finish one story, let it sit, and start another one before going back to edit the first.
Do you plan out your books in advance or just go for it, Muse Delight You, as she may?
Sort of both. I don't sit down and write an outline for my books. I've noticed, with other stories I've written for school, that I tend to diverge from the outline for whatever reason. Usually the characters going "let's do this, this looks like fun" and I'm hanging on for the ride. I usually have a basic idea of the beginning and the end and sometimes certain events I want to happen in the middle. Everything else is seat of the pants.
If you could go back to your first book, would you keep it the way it is, or would you change it?
For Gnotret, I read some advice during NaNoWriMo that I wish I hadn't followed. The advice was basically, wrap your story up around the 50k mark. Let the end be around there. It just didn't work for me. I ended up finishing the first draft of Gnotret around 52k words. But when I went back to edit and try to add more detail, I had a really hard time doing it. I'd written Gnotret so tightly that there wasn't really anywhere in the timeline I could expand too much. So I'd change that. I would tell myself that 50k was a benchmark and not the end.
How do you feel about novellas or short stories?
I like both. I've also written both and I'm currently querying a short stories anthology. I think it's fun to write an idea with a smaller focus or a shorter story.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
It varies depending on how inspired and motivated by an idea I am. I wrote the first draft Gnotret in 24 days. A Weight Relieved took about the same amount of time even though it's nearly twice as long because it originated from another story I'd written. The longest I've taken to finish a novel is a year. I put it down because I just had no idea what to do with it and worked on other stuff.
Did you always plan on writing a series or were you surprised to continue to write it after the first book was done?
I'd had thoughts about turning Gnotret into a series as I was writing it but they were waaaay on the back burner since I didn't think I'd even be able to finish. When I did, the writer bug bit me and I started planning out the series.
Your Accidental Heroes Chronicles is what you started with as an author. Do you find that, even when you’re working on other projects, you always return back to them/it, like they’re your first love?
The Accidental Heroes Chronicles is definitely my first love of my writing. I spent so long on it and I feel like this world has become a part of me. It was bittersweet publishing Victory and Victory: The Alternate Ending. Part of me was thrilled it was done and part of me was sad because I had to say goodbye.
How did your writing process shift and change in writing a novel of one genre to another type/different genre?
Moving from a science fiction genre to a romance genre wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I like to think my stories are character-driven and character-held so it was more a matter of changing setting. Also, The Accidental Heroes Chronicles is set in the present day so there was no time period adjustment between the two genres. I think it would be different had I been writing a story in space or in the future. Instead of moving from one car to another, for example, it would have been more like moving from a plane to a car.
If you could choose one author to sit down and have a cup of tea with, and yes, it has to be tea here, who would it be?
I love this question, honestly. It's so difficult to decide because there are three authors tied for my answer. But, I think I'd have to choose Neil Gaiman. His Sandman graphic novels had a large impact on me in high school. Nearly all of his writing resonates with me on a bone deep level.
If any one of your novels was to become a movie or a TV show and you got the chance to work with the casting director for it, do you know who you would want to play your characters or who your inspiration for those characters were when you were writing your novel?
There are definitely some actors and actresses that are my dreamcasts for characters in The Accidental Heroes Chronicles. One of the characters, Dr. Carnesby, I kind of wrote with the actor I want to play him in mind. I would love for Jim Beaver to play him. And I would love for Erica Cerra to play Jane. But I don't really have any other specific casting ideas for the other characters.
When you think about losing yourself in a different world, whether it’s one you’ve written or read about somewhere, where would it be and why?
I usually think about going to the world of Dragon Age or to the world from The Last Dragonlord. I adore both of those worlds, they fascinate me and the magic in both of those worlds draws me.
Which one of your characters is your secret crush? As in, they’re walking down the street and you’ll fall at their feet just wanting to be held by them?
Not so much a crush but I think Billy from The Accidental Heroes Chronicles would give the best hugs. So would Nick.