Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Grand Prairie, Texas, which is a suburb of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I had a very "normal" childhood, filled with "normal" childhood experiences. But, I'm not what is considered "normal". I didn't know it at the time, but I struggled with anxiety and depression starting around middle school, and I still fight the battle today. There were two things that always filled me with joy and sense of peace: music and writing. I had notebooks upon notebooks filled with poetry and short stories that I wrote with my favorite music playing in the background. I would get lost in the worlds I created and my characters always seemed to show a side to them that mirrored what I was feeling inside. It was a release for me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing is the feeling of peace that envelopes me as I immerse myself in the stories I'm creating. Writing is powerful! Your words create the doorway into new worlds for readers, where they can escape from reality for awhile. The impossible becomes possible in your hands, and I can't think of anything more exciting than that.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Writing drives me. If I didn't have a single reader, I would still write, because that is what is in my soul. I knew when I started this adventure that I wanted to retain all rights to my work and be the one with the final say, whether it be cover design, editing, or anything else. It's a difficult journey doing almost everything yourself, but the rewards are worth it. I know, at the end of the day, that the stories inside me are meant to be written, whether a literary agent or publishing house wants to represent them or not. It was a natural decision to become an indie author, and I'm proud to call myself that.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I love vampires! I'm a real fangirl when it comes to the paranormal genre. If there's a movie, TV show, or new book series centering around vampire lore, I'm there. When I decided to write a novel for publication, I sat down and just started putting words on paper. Before I even fully realized it, I had a vampire story. I knew I didn't want a young adult novel or vampires that didn't want to be vampires. I wanted my characters to embrace their nature, be unapologetic for what they are. As I wrote Everlyn, she came to life and showed me her fierceness. I fell in love. I wanted a story that displayed her strength but also had the romance element that most people secretly crave...a passion between two people that defies all odds.
Describe your desk
My desk is my creative space, and everything I have displayed on it is there for a specific reason. My friends laugh at me because I'm an office supply junkie, especially when it comes to pens and sticky notes. You might call me a hoarder in that respect! I have every color of ink you can imagine, and they are all proudly displayed in a handmade pen holder my daughter made for me. There is a file folder holder on the corner, filled with unique folders all carefully labeled. It's unfortunate that none of my papers actually make it into them! I love my desk. It's a little messy, but I feel at home when I sit down.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on book #2 in the House of Kesteel series, as well as a non-fiction project to turn my blog, Sassytown, into a book. I've been blogging for three years about living with depression and anxiety while juggling the responsibilities of being a mother and wife. I've learned a lot through trial and error and I'm passionate about giving a voice to mental health issues in order to help others who struggle realize they are not alone. I'm your average woman, wife, mother, and for a long time, co-worker. Nobody knew I was suffering until I began to self-harm. When I survived that, I realized why I'd never told anyone. I was ashamed of the word "depression". The stigma attached to it is keeping so many from reaching out for help. I want to change that.
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