When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was really young. I was always a very happy and bubbly child. When my mother was in an accident that took most of her fingers on one hand, I became very inverted. My school counselor got involved and started working with me. One day, he asked me to write a story. He asked me to write about why a little girl might be happy one day then really sad the next. I wrote out everything. How it was the little girls fault that her mommy was hurt because she wanted to go to a friends house. If she had just stayed home, Mommy would have too. My counselor used writing as a therapy. I haven’t stopped writing since. I still will write to cope with things, but I also found the fun in writing. I found that I could create worlds, not just write about the one I lived in. Twenty years later, I am still writing and I am so very grateful to that counselor for seeing that I needed something to help me get through a very confusing and tough time in my life and for guiding me in a direction that has continued to help me no matter what life has thrown my way.
Are you a pantser or a planner?
Hmm, a little of both. I always have an outline. But my characters tend to tell my outline to get lost. I always know the main points of each section of my books. How the characters get from point A to point B is all their doing.
Can you give us an idea of your writing process?
First off, I have to have pretty much silence to write. I even invest in ear plugs. When I get an idea, I let it simmer a bit. If the story keeps bugging me, I jot the basic idea down in a word doc and save it in my plot bunny folder. That folder has a TON of yet to be written ideas. When I finish a project (I can never write two stories at once) I go through the folder and read all my plot bunnies. When one stands out above the rest, I start with my characters.
I have to be able to answer 5 questions about each main character before I write out my basic plot. 1) Who are they? 2) What do they want? 3) Why is it so important to them? 4) What is their weakness? 5) What are their strengths?
Once I know all of that, I go on to plot out the story while keeping in mind those 5 things. Then I search for inspiration images. I love having images to look at for certain scenes, settings, or even the characters themselves.
THEN I start to write. And I will stay on one book until it’s done. I can usually get a first draft of a novel done in a few months time. Sometimes faster, sometimes longer. But I never put out a novel I am not 100% proud of.
Which authors have influenced your work?
This is such a HUGE question! When it comes to the magical/paranormal aspect of my writing I love JK Rowling (she was my first dip into the magical realm of books) and Charlaine Harris. I like to think that I manage to write paranormal romance that has just as much plot/mystery as it does romance which is something I always admired about Charlaine’s books.
What are you plans/future projects/new releases that we should be aware of?
I have so many future books planned that this is hard! But The Mackenzie Duncan series will come to a close this year and another contemporary novel will be out this year as well. Next year, I have much more paranormal stories planned including a vampire series and a series about the long lost son of King Tritan, Ariel’s older brother that no one knows about…
Any tips for new writers?
Keep writing. Never stop. Never. Ever. Stop.
Any tips for old writers?
I would have to say to remember to pay it forward. The author community can be amazing and it can be frightening. Help the newbies to learn the way of the AMAZING community and maybe we won’t have so many frightening moments as well.
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