*Laughs* What doesn't? No, really. I suffered from depression and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) for years. Insomnia to boot. But when both of my parents passed away something in me just kind of clicked. Life is too short to not wake up and live every day like it's your last. I have a son from my first marriage. He has been my reason for years. I've always wanted to do more for him. Give him a better life. But at the end of the day, he learns by watching me. If I'm up every morning, before sunrise, then he sees that. The drive and determination. I want him to be proud to say 'that's my mom'. So I guess that's my reason.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a CrossFit athlete and an endurance kayaker. So I spend a lot of time being active. But normally, I am reading. With a large cup of herbal tea or coffee. Primarily in one of the many mugs I collect.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Normally they all span off of a similar genre or if the cover catches my eye. I occasionally get recommendations from friends or relatives. But mostly it's just one of those 'oh, that looks cool' kind of moments.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was in my eleventh grade honors literature class. Entitled the Origin of the Goldfish. I remember my Lit. teacher making a joke about how I used the word insipid correctly. I guess it wasn't a common word used by other teenagers my age.
What is your writing process?
Different than probably any other writer. I am very much a writer. And by that I mean, I will literally write for hours...and hours. Turning out anywhere between ten to twenty pages a day. I have to have music. In fact I have designated playlists for each book I have written to date. So, at the start I go through and build new ones. Kind of setting the mood for what the characters want to tell me. I normally hit a stopping point in the middle of the book, and I will take a few days to sit back and assess where I am. Evaluate what has happened and just touch bases with the MC's. I also do a lot of my own editing. Rereading the novel multiple times. Reworking, adding and deleting as needed. Until I get something that resonates correctly. It's a unique process I'm told.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Amelia Bedelia and Caps for Sale. I hated reading when I was little. It felt like such a chore. My third grade teacher inspired me to give it a shot. Even going out of her way to help me pick books that I would stay interested in. I had no idea then, just what it would mean years down the road. To this day, I still can't stop reading. And nothing brings me as much of a measure of peace, as filling my lungs with the scent of a library or bookstore.
How do you approach cover design?
With an open mind, honestly. When you have a good designer that can give you a lot of suggestions and different lay outs, you have the luxury to sit down and go back and forth. Tossing out ideas and tweaking things here and there. Not a lot of authors have the chance to do that. So, in those instances you kind of have to go on instinct. Trusting in the process.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Only five? Oh, that's hard. Okay. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. I read it for the first time in sixth grade and was blown away learning about Michelangelo. The La Pieta has always been one of my favorite pieces by any sculptor. The Catswold Portal by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. My first introduction into a fantasy world with cats playing such a main part of the plot. The Last Dragonlord by Joanne Berlin. This book threw my mind into a whirlwind as a young kid. I could see everything that she wrote about, feel it. I still get chills thinking about it, truthfully. The Carousel by Richard Evans. Or I'm pretty sure he was the author of it. It was one of the first 'adult' stories I ever read. And no I don't know that I was ready at thirteen to picture half of what he wrote. However it made me think. To try and better understand what life was about. Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice. She is still the queen of vampire fiction. And the reason I write about the fantasy world as much as I do. Without her influence, and many others, Lost Night would not exist.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything! I actually am trying to stay clear of anything in my same genre right now, only because I then have this terrible habit of questioning everything I have written. But anything Tolkien, Laurell K. Hamilton, Sarah J. Maas, Christopher Paolini, Terry Goodkind, Tad Williams, and way too many more to name.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I actually have an HD Nook, but primarily I use my iPhone. I literally have iBook's, Kindle, Nook, Goodreads, Wattpad, Kobo and Smashwords all at my fingertips.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I like social media to an extent. But most advertising that I get comes by word of mouth.
Describe your desk
Cluttered. I try very hard to keep it clean and organized, but my computer is recessed and it just never stays as tidy as I would like.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I am from Georgia, but I lived in New York for four years. As for influencing my writing, my first series is based in Georgia. Shockingly, most of the characters do not have a southern drawl at all.
When did you first start writing?
Continuously? When I was twenty-two or twenty-three.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Saving the world. Good triumphing over evil. I took a lot of lessons I learned in my own life and adapted them to fit the MC's.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Truthfully? I loved the idea of getting picked up by one of the big five, but the likelihood of that ever being a reality was slim. Still, I wanted to have control over what happened to my story. As much as I can use constructive criticism, there is something that irks on a primal level about having someone take a portion of your work and potentially toss it. I like being able to dictate my own hours, deadlines, layouts and etc. It has been a choice from the beginning. And I feel like for right now, it's the right one to take.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Watching my characters evolve. To grow into who they were meant to be. And you never really know in the beginning. Sure you start out with this basic idea of who they are, but after a time, you're no longer telling the story. They are. They become their own entities. And all you can do is sit back and listen as they tell you everything about their lives. And it's simultaneously nerve wrecking and rewarding.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. Without them...I would not exist. They fuel the fire. The need to continue. To keep striving to make everything more cohesive. Better. They are in a way a different kind of muse.
What are you working on next?
A YA series. My son came to me with an idea for a new series. I can give you two words: teenagers and cyborgs.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are too many to list. Because everyone I read becomes one of my favorites.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
By giving me a chance to do what I always wanted to do. Inspire others
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.