I was a corporate accountant in my previous career. At the grand old age of twenty-eight, I was forced into early retirement after having four back-to-back surgeries for Crohn's Disease. I was left at home, while my husband was at work and my kids at school, bored out of my brains and feeling pretty sorry for myself. I needed something to do so I started reading again and was then inspired to pick up a pen and put down some words. I had a lot of stops and starts until I had a dream (nightmare?) one night and Seizing Control was born. I typed out 115,000 words in two months, leaving the story to perish on my computer, until I decided one night to put my big girl panties on and independently publish. I knew that with the story being so dark and having a lot of triggering scenes that I'd be wasting my time trying to get a publishing contract, so I researched how to find editors, cover designers, and all the other people you need to put out a quality product. And here I am, five books and nine months later, having the time of my life.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Oh, this question is always tricky.
1, Move the Sun by Susan Fanetti. Her words evoke emotions in me that no author ever has before. Vivid imagery, dynamic characters, and potent storylines that haven't been done to death. 2, Rage by Jonathan Kellerman. This book was one of the first to give me goosebumps while I was reading. The series is over 20 books long now and each story manages to be unique and enthralling. 3, Flowers in the Attic series by VC Andrews. This series awakened my love for "darker" books. 4, The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy. Two words. Jack Ryan. 5, Storm Bay by Patricia Shaw. Her words inspired me to learn more about my country and how it was settled.
What do you read for pleasure?
I mainly read dark, psychological thrillers. I love to be drawn into the psyche of an evil character; to see what makes them tick and do what they do. Crime thrillers are also a guilty pleasure of mine. Whodunit's that leave me guessing always fire up my curiosity. I read a lot of romance as well, however it's not your typical boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, one obstacle is thrown in their way that they overcome at 75% before getting married and living happily-ever-after with 2.5 children. I enjoy romance that has atypical characters. Characters who you shouldn't really be rooting for but the writing makes it impossible not to. I love those types of books because they make me question my own sanity and morality.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting the characters out of my head and bringing them to life is my greatest joy, followed closely by the messages I get telling me that my words have touched the reader on a profound level. I haven't achieved superstar success (yet lol) but receiving even one message a day is enough to make me feel like I'm contributing something worthwhile to people's lives.
^^I know. I know. That sounds a little pretentious but it how I feel :-)
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on my iPad with the iBooks app. I also have a Kindle but it doesn't get much of a work-out, unless a book is only available on Amazon.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I'm hanging with my family, listening to old people's music (as my kids call it), or planning our next camping and fishing trip with our boat and our tent. We try to get in touch with nature and our little family unit of four at least 5 or 6 times a year. It's the best way to recharge and to put what really matters back into perspective.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Getting out there and meeting readers. I've found that growing relationships organically has had the most effect on spreading the word about my books. I also have a lot of sales and try to purchase ads to tell potential readers about it. Making Seizing Control free has worked well, as has releasing a free serial on Wattpad. It gives readers the opportunity to take a risk-free chance on my work, as a new-to-them author.
I've found that writing about topics that affect people in real life has been a great marketing tactic, although it wasn't done on purpose, darker topics are simply what gets my creative juices flowing. I regularly wake up to messages on social media or emails from readers telling me how much they enjoyed my books. Seizing Control, in particular, seems to create a fanatical response in readers because we've all either been in Maddi's shoes or we know someone who has.
Describe your desk
At the moment my little brother is living with us so he has my office. I've been relegated to the kitchen table with my laptop and my various notepads. My stuff is spread everywhere and it's a bit of a pain cleaning it all up every night, but he's my little brother so he's worth it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the outback of South Australia. Literally in a one-horse town in the middle of nowhere. There was 12 people in town and 8 of them lived in my house. It's influenced my writing in that most of my characters are self-sufficient like I was forced to be due to not having anyone outside my family in close quarters. Other than that, I don't feel it's had too much of an impact.
Now, my nomadic lifestyle with my husband and kids (three states, six different towns/cities, and eleven houses) has had a huge impact. I've seen more of Australia than most people so I have a wealth of knowledge to draw from. It means that my books have not only been set in different places, but I've been able to describe the towns and develop the characters authentically because I'm not guessing or using stereotypes...I've actually lived amongst the people I write about.
When did you first start writing?
Gosh, so long ago. I've always had a pen and notepad or a book in my hand for as long as I can remember. The written word has been my hobby my entire life. It's my third love; right after my husband and kids.
I have vivid dreams, and I'm always looking at people, thinking "what if this happened" or "what if they did this". Inspiration has always been everywhere for me. Writing is fun to me; never a chore. Although, I must admit that I put a lot more effort into it now that I've made a career out of writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is Tempting Fate. It's the fourth book in my Black Shamrocks MC series and we're revisiting Mad Dog and Maddi in this story. They are the main characters in Seizing Control, the first book in the series; however, they have had strong story lines throughout Making Choices which was Timber and JJ's book, Seeking Redemption which was Benji and Lacey's story, as well as my novella Conquering Consequences which showed us another side to Beast and Wendy.
We get to follow them in this book as they battle against their differing reactions to the betrayals that have been heaped upon them in the previous three books. Mad Dog wants revenge at all costs while Maddi wants to forgive and forget because it's her family who've been behind the latest treachery to hurt them. The main question is how far will you go to avenge your soul mate when they're not entirely on board with the outcome. It also touches upon the conundrum that every couple faces eventually...when should your loyalty to the love of your life outweigh your devotion to your family. Especially, when your family has hurt not only you but your soul mate, irreparably.
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