High school, really. I hated it, at first, because creativity does not thrive inside gray-scale walls, and that is exactly what a research paper is most of the time. Then, I got into fanfiction (don't ask, most of them didn't turn out well), and a friend of mine told me, "I hate alternate universes." When I asked why, she simply said, "Because if you're creative enough to do that, write your own ---- story."
I took that to heart, and started creating my own worlds and creatures and myths, and I haven't been able to stop.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The people. And by people, I mean characters. I'm not the one writing when I pick up the pen or sit at the keyboard. I'm just telling the stories I hear from those lovely voices in my head that only tell me parts of the story...then laugh later when they finally mention some small detail that changes the whole manuscript. Is it crazy? I don't know, but it works for me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Well, I do have a day job at the moment. I'm also headed back to school for massage therapy - something I'm hoping to use to pay the bills until the big projects start doing that. Really, though, if I'm not writing, and not at work, I'm usually thinking about what I'm going to work on as soon as I sit down to write. Or I'm listening to my characters chat, argue, or explain some random detail at the most awkward times.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Actually, I still have that notebook somewhere in my room. It was a fanfiction, based around a few different Japanese anime, and it turned into an all-encompassing monstrosity that was never finished. I've since learned that many attempts I make at short stories simply end up being novels by virtue of too much back story.
What is your writing process?
My process? Hmm. That's a good question. Step one: Voice recorder or much scribbling with black pen in a notebook. Step two: Type it. Step three: Hate it and rewrite it until I'm (mostly) happy with it. Helps to have a lot of support from friends who don't understand why I hate it. Step four: Re-read, and hopefully like it. Step five: Smashwords.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't say I remember the very first, but I remember the one that had the most impact. The Hero and The Crown by Robin McKinley. I searched for years to find that book again after I read it in middle school. I remembered the heroine, and how she never gave up, and refused to be controlled by so-called destiny. It was then I realized, I could relate to this world of magic and monsters and heroes. It took another year or two before I started writing, but during those years, I read everything I could find. It's made for an interesting mental outlook.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Good question. It has been my dream for a while to see some of my work published, yet traditional publishers irritate me, to be frank. I have heard of authors I feel needed - to be diplomatic - a bit more help with their work offered ridiculously high advances while others with better stories to tell struggle for acceptance. Often, these rejections are little more than a lack of know-how on the part of the author in the attempt to gain the attention of one person sitting behind one desk scrolling through manuscript after manuscript. It should not be up to a single person to decide the sale-ability of a work, but on the readers. Do they want to keep reading? If they do, they should. If not, move on.
Indie publishing is a fantastic solution to this problem, especially here at Smashwords (though I may be biased.) It gives the reader the option to browse, sample, and buy if they feel like it. No middle man deciding what that reader would or wouldn't like. No middle man telling the author what does or doesn't sell. The author knows by the sales what works or doesn't, and what audience likes it best.
This manner of publishing also helps build a solid fan-base that many traditional publishers have a hard time seeing before a book is published. It often opens the gateway for an author to gain the attention of the brick-and-mortar institutions, and play for the best advances and contracts they can, rather than waiting to be thrown the table scraps of the last serial name best seller. In short, it works better, as far as I'm concerned.
What are you working on next?
Next. Well, I've got one large project that overshadows the small things I'm working on. Immediately, I'm working to finish the Osiris Myth from all major perspectives. My large project is a full length series inspired by the question: What would happen if you put a Drow and a High Elf in a rock band together? It started simply enough...until the percussionist got talkative.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything, just about, though lately, I've been on an odd non-fiction kick. Business and finance, mostly.
Describe your desk
A mess. I'm not overly tidy, especially when I have other priorities, so I tend to just use the notebook in an armchair or in bed, and there is enough room amongst the overcrowding to fit my computer. Odd fact: I have no desk chair. I use a balance ball (or exercise ball, if you want to call it that) which really helps my back to not be miserable even after long days. I like it.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.