Q – What was the first book you wrote? Published?
The first book I wrote was a masterpiece called MY ETERNAL, and answered the question “What if Twilight had less character development and more purple prose?” I am still surprised that I received kind replies from the poor literary agents I queried, because it was pretty cringe-worthy. The last 10% of the book featured a love triangle in a comatose, bizarre stream-of-consciousness state, which I used in the sample of my writing included with the query. You know, instead of the first chapter like you’re supposed to include.
THE BELLS OF BLACK MAGIC is my first published book. No one is in a coma in this one.
Q – Which author do you most look up to?
Sharon Creech. I devoured her books when I was in middle school, and they had such an enormous impact on what I wanted to read and write about as I grew older. Her voice is uniquely her own. I love her haunting magical realism and ability to snatch readers out of their homes and throw them right into the story.
Q – What is your ultimate goal as an author?
I think that what I want as an author, more than anything, is to create a large body of work that I can be proud of. I want to fill a shelf with my name. I hope that every year I write a novel that I love more than the last. I want to avoid following trends or letting industry noise shape my work, and focus only on stories that are fun and satisfying to write. I love the idea of being a hybrid author, and producing both self-published and traditionally published titles.
Q – What is your favorite genre to read? Why?
Fantasy! Particularly, YA Fantasy. The future seems so open when you’re a young adult. Anything can happen, and in a fantasy setting I love to see underdog teens gather up their courage to conquer evil forces and save the day. It also helps if there’s swoon-worthy romance involved. I like a mix of magic, romance, and humor, with bonus points for spooky atmospheres.
Q – What is your writing process like? Do you have a writing routine that you follow?
My process begins with a handful of disjointed notes. I dive right into writing, because if I plot first I end up plotting it to death before the story even begins and lose the desire to write it. So I get ahead of myself, hammering out a couple of chapters to establish the tone, and once I’m about five chapters in and I know the novel is something I want to complete, I get to work on a light outline. Nothing too dense, and I leave plenty of room for spontaneity. I try to think of the outline as a suggestion. When I write I can’t listen to actual music, or else I start singing along and stop paying attention, so I listen to rainymood or atmospheric sounds on ambient-mixer.
Q – What do you consider your greatest strength as an author?
Probably my perseverance. You need it when you’re staring rejection in the face just about every day. Authors are rejected by agents, by editors, by readers, etc. I could write twenty books in a row and have all of them labeled failures and I’d still jump right back into writing the twenty-first. I never hesitate before getting back on the horse. I have to trust that someday it will take me somewhere.
Q – Tell us something fun about yourself, completely unrelated to writing!
I try to be crafty, but usually don’t execute my ideas very well. Last Halloween, however, I tried my hand at a homemade witch cabinet (inspired by Pinterest) and it was a lot of fun! I painted a shelf with streaks of black, green, blue, and purple and filled it with “potions” – old jars and bottles I decorated. Then I turned a snow globe into a crystal ball, stuffed Spanish moss into a cauldron, added candles and tarot cards I painted myself, and finished it off with orange and purple fairy lights. Wha-la! Halloween by my computer desk all year round.