Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in and near the Rocky Mountains. In this environment I felt so close to nature and to God, which was very inspiring for a creative young mind, even if some of my first stories involved kids collecting boogers for show and tell at kindergarten.
When did you first start writing?
The first story I remember actually writing down was a homework assignment in first grade. I wrote and illustrated a story about a ladybug and a unicorn who took a walk together and found a rainbow. Yup. I did that.
Who are your favorite authors?
Beatrix Potter is one of my inspirations. I admire her talent in both writing and illustrating her own children's books, and her perseverance in getting her work published during a point in history when it was not common for women to pursue such a career.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Brutus the Crab Becomes a Lifeguard was actually a writing assignment while I was a student at the Institute of Children's Literature. It's been through many revisions and edits, and even put on the shelf for a while. But Brutus has become a beloved character, especially now that I have given him a smile for readers to see, and now it's time for him to say hello to the world.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There are a couple of reasons. One is that I am a DIY person. If I can figure out how to do something myself I will, and I get a huge amount of enjoyment in doing this. It is the same with creating a book. And being an indie author I have the freedom to write and illustrate my books in my own way and almost immediately put them out there for readers where they belong.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
This is actually what my bio on Smashwords is all about. It is a joy for me to think up a story that will have some sort of positive impact in my readers. Humor plays a large part in my children's books, and I endeavor to make all my writing uplifting.
Describe your desk
My desk is usually my dining table. On this table is my laptop, piles of books, a printer/scanner, drawing pencils, and anything else I might need for inspiration while I'm working. Sometimes I move to the floor and have many of these things arranged around me in a semicircle, my laptop on top of a decorative storage box. Sitting cross-legged on the floor is where I've done some good work.
What is your writing process?
It all depends on what kind of story it is. If it's a funny children's story, most of the process flows easier than any other kind of story I write (creativity really does flow better when a person is relaxed and happy). This kind of story might start out as just a goofy character doing really silly things, and then I'll build an environment around this scene. Other characters will pop up in the story as I go along. Many of my humorous children's stories come about organically - I rarely work with an outline. If I get an idea for a story, I will make basic notes, start writing and see what happens next!
Some of my children's stories have a more intentional message or the characters are animals that I want to match their real life counterparts in looks and behavior, and this is where a lot of time is spent doing research. With these stories I will take much more extensive notes and may even create an outline.
I usually edit extensively as I go and work continuously from one draft. However, I can see my editing process is evolving and if huge rewrites need to happen, more drafts are better.
You can probably see that I don't have a strictly regimented writing process. What works really well for one story might not work well for the next. I like to have a balance of sticking with things that I know work consistently well for me and at the same time having an open mind about trying out something new in the process to see if it helps me out or not.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Much of my time is spent helping out my family, especially my younger siblings and my canine companions. This last year I found cooking and baking are things I really enjoy and allow my creative energy to flow if it is stuck in other areas. I love to learn, so there are always books I am reading or certifications I am working on. Prayer and quiet time with God are also very important for me - this is how I receive strength and energy to do all that I need and want to do in my life.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Each day is a new day in which something good can happen. I've seen God do amazing things in my life, and when I get out of bed in the morning I have hope that more amazing things will happen.
Will you ever publish something other than children's books?
Writing and illustrating children's books is something I'm focusing on right now, but I do have many ideas for other books for adults, fiction and non-fiction. When the time is right, I will write and publish these as well.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.