When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing around 5 years old. I was a prodigious reader already, and it just seemed natural. I loved fairy tales and scary stories. I wanted to tell those kinds of stories.
What inspired you to write your first book?
If you’re talking about the very first book I wrote, ever, it was a weird little sci-fi/time-travel story I wrote by hand in middle school. It took up the better part of three spiral bound notebooks, and when my mom found out I’d used up all my school paper, I got in a lot of trouble.
My very first ‘adult’ book was a paranormal romance entitled Muse. I loved haunted house stories and romance. It managed to find a home with a publisher and got a lot of great reviews. It’s not available anymore, but I still love the story.
How did you come up with the title?
For Muse? The plot is about an artist suffering from depression, and even though he’s got an awesome girlfriend, the ghosts in his home become his muse. Leah, his girlfriend, has to figure out if the house is really haunted, or if Miguel is making all the scary stuff happen somehow.
Did you learn anything from writing your first book and what was it?
Don’t give up. People are jerks. Don’t be friends with insecure writers–they’ll never be honest about your work. Some romance writing groups are like Mean Girls from high school. At least plot your book out somewhat. Have a clear idea what the end is, and what the main points are to get your characters to that end.
Who designs your covers?
Are there messages in your novels that you want your readers to grasp?
Dark Consort confuses a lot of readers. They read it and expect it to follow the tropes and archetypes of the modern romance novel formula. It doesn’t. The basis of the characters relationship isn’t based on modern ideologies. It’s a visceral, primitive relationship, no holds barred. There are many times when the characters’ actions are about gaining power not love and affection. When you read Dark Consort, read it like your reading a fantasy novel from the 80’s, not a twenty-first century modern romance.
How much of your books are realistic?
In my contemporary romances, just about everything. I use as much pop culture, current events, and current entertainment as possible. My fantasy, not so much! I wrote a horror novel series several years back that was loosely based on Seminole Indian folklore.
Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think all authors draw from real life events and real people as they write. I think all my heroines are a little bit of me. They either represent the type of person I’d like to be, or something I’ve overcome, or just elements of my personality that I wish I could really explore. All my characters know something I know, experience things I’ve experienced, work jobs I’ve worked. I always took the ‘write what you know’ motto to heart.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I can’t pin down just ONE book. I read every single R.L. Stine Fear Street book, his single-title releases, and all of Christopher Pike’s books as a kid. Garth Nix, Ray Bradbury, William Sleator, Lois Lowry…Robin McKinley and Cynthia Vogt’s fantasy novels made me love fantasy. One of the most influential books is a collection of Twilight Zone stories that my dad has. It’s older than I am, and held together with copious amounts of flaking Scotch tape. I used to read it constantly. Philip K. Dick, Stephen King, Dean Koontz. Tim Lebbon, Gord Rollo, Julia Quinn, Rae Carson, Lauren Destefano, Lauren Oliver…So, so many.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Hard to say–I think I read more Stephen King and Dean Koontz as a kid than any other authors. They were like a religion. Even know, King’s On Writing is like my bible.
Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Again, impossible to pin down a single author. Dean Koontz is always at the top of my list, even though I don’t really like his latest books. King is right up there with him.
What book are you reading now?
I just finished Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher and I haven’t decided what I’m going to read next, actually!
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I read so much, it takes a really strong book to make me actively seek out more books by the same author. I really liked Mia Sheridan’s Archer’s Voice, but the reviews of her other books are so poor, I’m hesitant to read them. Nothing kills a good-book-glow faster than a bad second book in a series.
What are your current projects?
I’m working on another new adult novel, as well as the sequel to Dark Consort. There’s actually a 1.5 in the Dark Consort series that’s in the works, too.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write. Get drunk and write. It’s fun, and you’ll get a kick out of what your mind vomits out when you’re not thinking too hard about the story. Make a few friends in the industry, and always have one or two friends who have published a lot more books and have higher reviews than you–they’re great for beta reads and helping you get word out about your book. The most important thing is learn your genre, learn your market, and don’t be scared to take chances. Don’t let people who have no clue what the industry actually is to dictate what you do and how you do it. And NEVER, EVER pay someone to publish your book. Always pay an editor. Always pay a cover artist. Quality pays off, in the end. Leave reviews for books you read on blogs, Amazon, and Goodreads. It gets your name out there as well as helping the other author!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you’ve read my books, please leave a review on Amazon and Good reads!