I began writing when I was 13. It started with poetry and flourished into novels. I was never much for writing short stories, as I am a Southern story teller. Come sit a spell and let me tell you about my characters.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My current book is the fourth installment of my Soulmate Series, which follows the journey of Heaven Lewis and Dylan McBride, empathic soulmates. The story has evolved since the first book released in November 2011. The threats against Heaven's life continue. Dylan is willing to do anything to keep her safe, as is Layne. Tensions rise between the former best friends in their mission to find out who wants Heaven dead. A lot of information comes out in this book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It was seeing my mother get one of the worst publishing contracts ever. I know not all publishing houses are like that, but facts are facts. Publishing houses take a good chunk of royalties, and being with a publisher isn't as great as it used to be. I have a good friend who went traditional, then switched to indie. She made three times as much money her first year of being indie than she did the entire time she was traditional published. It's not all about the money, either. It's about being in control of your story, from cover art, content, to marketing. Marketing is hard at times, but I like being in control of everything that I put my heart and soul into. No one knows my stories like I do.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I can't say that it has, but I'm hoping that will change within the next year. I was exclusive with another publishing platform for a couple years. Once I started getting messages from readers asking for the epub versions of my books, I decided to branch out. So here I am on Smashwords.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are two things that bring me a lot of joy: creating something from nothing, and connecting with readers. A true artist can take a small idea and turn it into something spectacular. I've had a brief clip of dialogue come to mind and I've created a story from it. Not just any ol' story, but one that is meant to make the reader laugh, cry, even shout. Evoking emotion from the reader is something that brings me the greatest joy and makes writing, as well as dealing with this crazy industry, worth it.
What are you working on next?
I will be participating in NaNoWriMo 2014, and this year, I'm working on my novel, Heartstrings. It is a previously released short story which was included in a Valentine's Day themed anthology. I will be reworking and expanding the storyline. Though it will still be a paranormal romance, the elements of this sub genre will be light, so those who aren't keen on heavy paranormal elements should like this one. Plus, it deals with a topic many people can relate to—depression. I can't wait to share this story with the world.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love classic authors, especially J. R. R. Tolkien, and modern authors such as Stephen King and Johanna Lindsey. I'm a huge fan PC & Kristin Cast. I also love indie authors Amber Scott and Elena Gray.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Normally my alarm clock, lol. On a serious note, I'd say life. It's too short, and I want to enjoy every day. I have a beautiful family, good friends, and great health. I feel fortunate.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm always writing, even if it's inside my head. Writers don't get days off or vacations. I do enjoy listening to music, creating graphics, crafting, and an occasional movie. I don't watch much TV, but I do have a few shows I'm devoted to watching.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Mostly through recommendations, or I read other authors I know.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was also the first book I published—What the Heart Wants. I began writing this story years ago, and it went through many revisions, including a title change. I wrote poetry before I wrote my first novel, though. I still do on occasion, and I've written a couple songs.
What is your writing process?
I used to be a pantser, and even though I still have a lot of those traits when it comes to writing, I'm turning into more of a plotter. I even do outlines now. lol
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not really. I've been staring at books since I was a little girl. I used to make up my own stories to go with the illustrations in my books.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm a huge fan of romance and most of its sub genres. My favorite is paranormal and fantasy. I like unusual things.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Normally my iPhone, but I do use my tablet, too.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth. I have a street team and they work hard at promoting me. Many of my readers say they found me through referrals.
Describe your desk
Depends on where I'm writing. I don't have a specific writing area or desk. I write a lot when I'm away from the house, so I use my iPhone to store notes.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love my fans. I've met some really great people and a few have become good friends. I always take time to interact with them. There part of the reason I write.
How do you approach cover design?
I try to relate as much info about the book in the cover without giving away important details. In my last few covers, there have been clues regarding the plot. I've only had a couple readers make the connection. I design my own covers. It's fun.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Lancaster, Ohio and lived in Baltimore, Ohio until the age of 12. My mother and I moved to Charleston, WV where I lived until I was 26. I think living in the south has influenced my writing because I'm what some consider a southern storyteller. I write detailed and somewhat complex stories. And I'm a little longwinded…
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Devil Who Tamed Her by Johanna Lindsey, because I love the chemistry between the main characters. Fierce Dawn by Amber Scott, because the storyline wasn't like anything I'd ever read and the hero, Elijah, gripped my heart and refused to release it. Carrie by Stephen King, because even though I'd watched the movie years before reading the book, the book scared the *&%$ out of me. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, because it's so full of detail. This man paints pictures with his words. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, because it was after reading this book that I decided to start writing again after years of being blocked. I also love that she brought a new concept to vampires. It was original.
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