Interview with Hope Queen

Describe your desk
I use a table, rather than a desk. It is untreated wood, and covered in self-made graffiti. As usual, it is covered in papers, paints, pastels, and any other creative tools I left out from my last project.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Gold Country foothills. It directly influenced my writing, as my book is set in those same hills and mountains I spent my whole life enjoying. My love of Gold Rush history plays a pivotal role in the central plot of my book as well!
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing since I was in Fourth Grade. I had grand visions of becoming a writer, but school and work got in the way. Journals were my only outlet until I started creating short stories for my classroom, to exhibit the exact type of story or story element I was trying to teach. That started my journey from children's books to Romance Novels.
Where did you get your inspirations for Quartz Lake?
There is a place called French Meadows in the Tahoe National Forest. I spent every summer there as a kid. The road there winds along the edges of some steep canyon walls. I used that road and the lake there as the beginning setting for my main character to hike out of the campground after her boyfriend hit her for the first time. The first line was inspired by my son's crying jag from being exhausted. I wrote those words and then continued writing for the next three hours.

My ghost came to me from descriptions of my great-great grandmother and how she used to run through the house with her long white hair flowing behind her tiny body, making it look like she was flying.

I love Gold Rush History as it pertains to women coming out and making a name for themselves, so I took a mash-up of those women, and my great-great grandmother and made Rose Gordon.

The rest of the story flowed from those points, and I'm rather proud of the end product.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My book has been written for two years, and I have had over 30 Beta readers who loved it. They pushed me to continue on after 8 rejections from Literary Agents. Because my book is an odd mix of genres, it doesn't fit neatly into a box. Having one of the 4 main characters be a ghost, while there are definitely thrilling moments, it is clearly a romance with the sexy scenes. Its a tough sell to an agent who wants a clear niche, but I have the support of my readers! They range from 65-18 years old, and their tastes span from Non-fiction only to usually only erotica. I feel confident that, if given a chance, people will fall in love with my book. I just needed a chance!
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean everything. I love hearing from people what they liked about the book. I love hearing how they couldn't put it down! I also enjoy hearing how people reacted to different characters. Those comments push me to find my voice and continue to write.
Who are your favorite authors?
Some of my favorite authors are Sarah Addison Allen, Kurt Vonnegut, Deborah Harkness, Tennesee Williams, and Joanne Harris. I love a little magic in my stories, but I also love a well-told tale.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I teach, so I always have a new challenge in getting my students to be successful. I may not get to write for pleasure every day, but my creative juices are always working as I find a way to inspire my students.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Teaching, reading, and on a good day either doing yoga or going for a nice long hike! I'm also a mother to a very precocious 10 year old, so he keeps me busy!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do. I wrote about a boy who came to rescue a young girl from her hum-drum life. She was sitting on the hill above her small house, and he appeared from the woods behind her. He promised her no harm, and they sat for hours, night after night, talking. Soon, they fell in love, and that is when she found out he was a ghost. I guess I've always been writing ghost stories.
What is your writing process?
I take a moment in time, a piece of visual or emotional inspiration, and I write that down. Once I write down the first few sentences describing those moments, my brain turns into a Choose Your Own Adventure Book, and I start making choices about where the next moment is coming from. I choose the words the character says, and then let the reaction I think I would have determine what the other characters do next. Most of the time, I'm not more than 50% sure where the story is going until I've reacted to the events in my mind. It has its pluses and minuses, but I like authentically reacting to the story. I think it makes the chain of events more believable that if I tried to push the dialogue in the direction I already wanted it to go.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My favorite part of writing is getting the stories in my head down on paper. Even if it is a journal entry or a quick note on my phone, I love taking my thoughts and making them permanent. The best part about writing my book, was that I finally was able to see one of the thousands of stories that start in my head all the time, flesh itself out into a full story. My inspirations found a place to go. It was and is very fulfilling.
Published 2015-02-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.