Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I loved it because it was so fast-paced and crazy and green--bright lizard green! It made me love stories because I caught on very quickly realizing that these yarns did not have to have every toe of their footing in reality. Green eggs? Characters who are not anatomically correct? More to love and more to attract me to the craft of writing fantasy fiction!
What is your writing process?
I create as a I go. I then pause and go back and connect the dots to each other and then to the larger themes. I love not knowing what is coming from my imagination. Once I have given myself time to let it all tumble out, I begin to construct, deconstruct and wrap the parts up into their logical sequence. It is not what I do when I write non-fiction, which I am required to do in my profession. So, I love fiction writing where I do have the opportunity to float in a sea of delectable uncertainty with my characters and muse about what my story will eventually be.
How do you approach cover design?
I love cover design. My cover has to send me to the heart of my novel upon first glance. I have to gasp when I see it or it is not the cover for my book. I visualize what images and symbols will reveal my themes and shed light on the drama of my prose and relay these to the designer. For my Butterfly Prophecy Series I imagined black and white covers with images basked in shadows sending a cautionary and yet at the same time, enticing message to the reader. I like my covers to tease the reader into my novel.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood, The Awakening by Kate Chopin and Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins. The women in these books are heroes because they are so fallible and vulnerable. Their triumphs are rooted in all of the things they do wrong. Somehow out of the mishaps and mistakes they find themselves and their strength emerges over time in the novel...but it can be missed easily if you do not look deeply enough and stay with the main character long enough. You have to be loyal to your characters and stay with them as readers and as writers. This is very important to me.
What do you read for pleasure?
Novels mostly. I enjoy love stories, fantasy fiction and action and thrilling works! I do also read non-fiction--mostly political books and some history and biographies.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My e-reading device of choice is the Kindle.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I am about to publish so I have not yet ventured into this arena. I will update the answer to this question once I have had some experience.
Describe your desk
When I am writing I have post-its and papers all over my desk. My novels demand that I keep all of the concepts and facts clear, aligned and consistent. The clarity in my mind is deeply rooted in the clutter on my desk!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I love Montreal and I love Quebec. Growing up in a francophone milieu and learning a second language helped me to delve a lot deeper into the structure of language and it got me fascinated with the gymnastics we can perform with words. Montreal is also a city of artists, and I grew up being exposed to art, poetry and fiction especially at university where I became involved in many writing projects.
When did you first start writing?
When I was 10 years old, I wrote my first series of short novellas entitled: A Girl Named Joe. I cut out pictures from Teen Magazine and pasted them on pages opposite my prose to make these novellas similar to comic books. I loved doing this because it was a place where I could go--writing--where everything was exactly how I wanted it to be.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Belinda Benson lives in Coriander, New Hampshire, a small town on the eastern seaboard, with her adopted family, Kevin and Sheila Benson and their 13-year old daughter, Rhea. Belinda seems like a normal, intelligent and attractive 18-year old who is about to graduate from high school until disaster strikes the town in the form of a life-threatening viral outbreak that claims the lives of several of the town's inhabitants and causes 18-year old Damien Garant, Belinda's new love, to fall dangerously ill. Luckily for young Damien, Belinda is not who she appears to be, but an immortal with healing powers who has lived for many centuries.
To save Damien, Belinda must discover emila by travelling to her origins in the sixth century where she was Lady Cerridwen, a mortal High Priestess of the Isle of the Mists in what is now modern-day Isle of Man. As Belinda and Lady Cerridwen come to terms with sharing one mind and one body, Belinda must reconcile Lady Cerridwen's deep and abiding love for Sir Gareth, a powerful Knight in King William's Court, when she is in love with another man in their future and is trying to discover emila to save him in a race against time.
Belinda must also come to terms with her relationship with Michael, the Old Immortal, who has been her protector and her teacher for as along as she can remember. It is Michael who gives Belinda the elixir that allows her to journey to her past. Michael has loved her like a sister, a daughter and as Belinda discovers from their old friend, Thomas, as a lover in waiting. Their steadfast centuries-old bond is tested, and in this first novel of the series both immortals must begin to face their true feelings for each other as Belinda 's secret is revealed. The Butterfly Prophecy has come true posing a threat to the established Group of World Servers, but making a promise to heal human and immortal suffering and building a bridge between the two worlds that will advance human science, inform immortal practice and deliver Belinda into the arms of the one man she has always loved.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have learned the greatest lessons of my life from fiction. I have great respect for it and I think I have stories to tell that can also help others to learn about life. Sometimes you just have to ride on the back of a character and experience what she or he is going through to learn the most valuable lessons in your life!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is light at the end of my writing tunnel. It gave me the way to publish my novel so that it is real and worth the sweat and long hours. Ursula Le Guin has this wonderful quotation that I can only paraphrase here. Essentially, it says your novel is only a novel when it is read and you have readers. Smash words is helping me to transform my writing into novels that are read and I am grateful for this.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My characters. They are with me always and whenever I am lonely I can reach out to them and write their stories. They are the best and worst of what I imagine our humanity is. They are my reference point and a springboard for how much more deeply I should delve to truly know who they are and of course, who I am.
What do your fans mean to you?
I do not have fans yet, so I am sure I do not know; except, of course, my children and my doodle, Willy, who find comfort when I am with them!
What are you working on next?
The second book in The Butterfly Prophecy Series, The Butterfly Child. And, of course I am working on marketing my first novel, Dark Matter: The Secret Revealed.
Who are your favorite authors?
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Anita Shreve, Margaret Atwood and Carol Shields.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My children, my writing, my lovely husband and my doodle, Willy and not necessarily in that order!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I browse on my Kindle online and I am part of a book club which is a great source of information about new ebooks.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working as the head of a national organization dedicated to advancing health research and spending time with my family.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.