It wasn't a planned-ahead choice. Creative writing gave me a complete mental block in school until a class my senior year of high school. I could do a short story based on prompts.
I didn't write until 2005, though. When a TV show I loved went off the air in 2003, I read a lot of fanfic to get my fix, and ended up inspired to do my own story to give my favorite character a happy ending that didn't get one in canon. That spawned over 200,000 words from May - Dec. '05.
I didn't get my first original idea for a story until 2006. That story is still a WIP. Beth and Jacob were born May 13, 2007, and it took me years to finish a first draft. Lots of learning and failing and learning more.
I knew writers that started self-publishing in 2007, but I didn't jump in myself until March 2010. I'm glad I made the decision and now wish I'd started even sooner.
What made you decide to write a book about Beth and Jacob?
The first scene I ever wrote for Beth in 2007 was her dream in the hospital. That whole dream was inspired by an episode of "Supernatural" where Dean is poisoned by a djinn and sees an alternate happier life than his real one. He chooses to leave the dream (the djinn's power) because he knows it's too good to be true.
It got me thinking about a character who was offered a second chance by seeing what their life could've been if they chose differently in the past - or finally acted on making their dreams come true.
Beth was an introverted nerd, Jacob was a spoiled rockstar, and Beth's mother's circumstances was the same. Those were the earliest elements of the story. The first draft started on the day before Beth's accident when Jacob is being difficult. I knew they had back story to high school, but I didn't start writing their past until 2010. Everything grew from there, and the series still isn't done, LOL.
As for Jacob's music career, I'm both a music fan and trained vocalist, so it was something I felt I had enough expertise to write. I was a performer for most of my life, so I know exactly how he feels on stage.
Did you have to do a lot of research to write your books?
More than people probably realize. A lot of research has gone into the My Once and Future Love series. Some of it is just to help with inspiration and other parts have been to get details perfectly correct.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The control and flexibility. I like being an entrepreneur. My parents both ran home businesses at one point, so it's a natural thought process for me, and I've always been independent. My family said my first full sentence was, "I can do it myself!"
I'm grateful for having a few author friends that started self-publishing in 2007 to watch and learn from. That let me know this was possible in the first place.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I've affected a reader emotionally with my words. If they tell me I made them laugh or cry, that makes my day.
What do your fans mean to you?
A lot! They pay my bills.
What are you working on next?
The final story for Beth and Jacob.
What is your writing process?
Butt in chair. I'm what writers call a "pantser" - writing by the seat of my pants. I have an end goal in mind, but I don't outline. I don't think that way, and trying to impose too much structure on my work just blocks the words.
And I require quiet. No music. No voices in the background. Nothing but the subtle hum of computers and the AC.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Offering a free book. I'll always have at least one title permanently free. It's the best way to get people to sample your work and want more.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Watching TV. Spending time with Tech Guy, my other half. Talking to friends online. I'm part of 3 very active writer communities, so I spend a lot of time there, too.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Nope. I started reading at age 2 and don't remember that far back. My mother was a teacher, so reading was important in our house.
I can say that one of my favorite early books was a book on dinosaurs. I wanted to be a paleontologist for several of my formative years.
What do you read for pleasure?
Paranormal romance and urban fantasy, mostly. I pounce on new Dresden Files books.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Born and raised in Southern California. Many of my stories are based here because I know it best.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Breakfast. I'm hungry!
Describe your desk
It's black/brown. "Espresso." I have a Samsung 23" widescreen monitor in front of me in the center. The desk has a drawer and cabinet built in to my right. My computer case sits on the left edge. 2 speakers and a sub sit behind the monitor.
I type on a Saitek keyboard. They're marketed to gamers, which means it puts up with abuse and they therefore last a long time for me. It glows blue under the keys.
My mouse is on my right. It's a Razer Diamondback that also has a blue glow.
My computer is also black with blue lights inside it. Blue is my favorite color and it's easy to find computer parts in black to coordinate, so there you go.
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