Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY until I was 8 and then in Tampa, Florida. Brooklyn taught me to see people as individuals and to look past color, religious affiliations, and other outward trappings. This was the foundation that let me live through moving to Florida in the late 70s and being the only (or one of the few) black kids in my neighbor and school. Tampa taught me to go outside in nature, to be curious, to be a true friend and a deep listener. Both of these places colored my writing interests and style. I'm open to the story ideas that come to me from the sweet, funny, zany children's book ideas to the mysterious, suspenseful, romantic or deep person-level self inquiry of adult books. Luckily, I've lived in other places in my life and have been the recipient of many points of view that have validated and challenged me and my own points of view.
When did you first start writing?
Some people know they want to be a writer at an early age and others stumble into that fact. I am one of those stumblers who have a love of the written word and am terrified of it at the same time.
I knew I enjoyed coming up with stories when I was a pre-teen and penned my first story called “The Lebonski Chronicles”. The story was written as a Mad Libs where you fill in the blank with verbs, nouns, adjectives, pronoun, etc. and was based on my love and utter devotion to Duran Duran. While my heart beat hard for Simon LeBon, my best friend RuthAnn’s heart sang for Roger Taylor. This was my first try at “real” writing and, given what it was, I think it was pretty darn good. I still have that story, and no, it will never be shared.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
For a long time now, I have been contemplating where I fit in the publishing world. For years and years, I have done my due diligence: I have written, edited, re-edited a million times, been critiqued by my writing group, by agents and by editors at major houses and smaller presses. I’ve gone to conferences and networked, meeting some really amazing and artistic people. But in the last couple of years I’ve realized that my story and, indeed some of the things I want to accomplish as a writer, may not happen or not happen in the way I wish it to. So a few months ago, I made the bold announcement on social media that I am going Indie. It was a decision not made lightly.
Traditional publishing is awesome, if you can get them to see you, read you, like what you’ve written, and support where you want to go with your journey. The truth about the traditional publishing route, is that for all the thousands upon thousands of writers – published and not published – there are only so many slots publishing houses fill each year, which means that the majority of writers will never see their books placed with a major publisher’s house. That’s the truth. A hard truth, but it is the reality for writers.
After much thought, I created my own publishing company called Pug Paw Press. Pug Paw Press is for my own work and will allow me to follow my writerly instincts. It is my platform to become the type of writer - Children’s Books and Adult Suspense/Romance Novels - I wish to be. I even named my website “Storyteller ~ of Tales & Tails” as my ode to the genres I love. Tales (adult) and Tails (children) are me to a tee. Walking the lines of both worlds with a shimmy and a shake.
Going Indie is not for the faint of heart, but I have felt immense satisfaction in taking the reigns and driving toward my own heart's desire of being a published author.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When a scene, character, plot, or sentence stops me in my track and forces me to commit it to paper or to stare off into the atmosphere and ponder, "What if..."
What are you working on next?
I'm working on Book Two of The Hoppernot Series called "Caught In a Web". It's fun discovering what happens after the end of Book One.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Today, it's the bird's that sing outside my window at 4:15 a.m., the yoga I perform when I'm barely awake, the hot cup of coffee that will clear the webs from my brain, and the possibilities of the day.
What is your writing process?
I am a Pantser, which means I do not plot out the story before I begin to write. I do see scenes and "hear" sentences which I jot down, but I don't really know what's going to happen until the next word shows up on the screen. I've tried being a Plotter, but I became overwhelmed with all the planning and jotting, cutting and pasting, etc. I wasn't even in the writing part of the book yet and I hated it.
There is no right or wrong way to a writing process. If you are a writer, the right way is YOUR way.
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