I like to look and see who's new on the market. I look for fresh ideas and distinct voices. In all, I'm drawn to character driven stories that hook me and won't let go.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I like to spend time with my family, going hiking, biking, or anything that gets me outdoors.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I have been a storyteller my entire life, but the first story I wrote was in fifth grade. It was about a dog who's a afraid of the dark and how he learns to overcome the fear.
What is your writing process?
I like to brainstorm, write a summary and an outline, but give myself wiggle room for cool new ideas that may pop up along the way.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Lets see, as a kid I really liked The Boxcar Children and Goosebumps books. Bu the first book that really got to me was Go Ask Alice. I loved how raw it was and how much I felt for Alice. I hoped for her, and got mad when she mad bad choices. I didn't know a book could make me feel like that.
How do you approach cover design?
I like to incorporate elements from the story. For example, in For What I'm Not, Amanda discovers who she really is and who she wants to be while at a punk concert, so the concert flyer seems like a good way to go.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Oh man... Just five? Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis because he puts things so simply, you wonder why you never thought of some of his points before. The Fault in Our Stars by Green because I've known people who struggled with cancer, and feel like he depicts the battle perfectly. Catching Fire by Collins because out of all three, this one was the best. The Screwtape Letters by Lewis because I like satires, and this one is the best. The Fifth Wave by Yancy because it keeps you on the edge of your seat. I can't wait for the second book!
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything and everything
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use a kindle, the old school one.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Facebook, word-of-mouth, and making sure my writing is the best it can be before I release it.
Describe your desk
My desk is a mess of notes and junk, so I write on my laptop, usually at the kitchen table.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up mostly in Colorado, I love the outdoors and spending time in the mountains. However, as a kid, my parents were missionaries, and I got to spend time in other cool places. And for a while my mom lived in Illinois and I visited her every summer. Traveling around, I've met all sorts of people and this has helped me write authentic characters. Not everyone is going to react the same way or say the same things, and it's important to diversify personalities in writing.
When did you first start writing?
Like I noted before, fifth grade was my first book, but I knew I wanted to be a full time writer when I started college and I signed up for every writing class I could. I loved learning new techniques and finding my voice.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is about a girl in a comma who has just learned she's living her last day. Her parents plan to pull her off life support at the end of the day. Through her memories and people coming to visit, the reader gets to find out how she got there and why.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I worked for a literary agency for a summer, and I did some freelance work for another one for a while, and the industry got really tiring. There are so many hoops to jump through, and it's so subjective. By the end of the experience, I wasn't sure if that world was right for me. Writing gives me pure joy, and sharing my stories is even better. I aim to create a story that people can read and love, something they can get caught up in. My favorite thing someone can tell me is that they couldn't put my story down. I'm driven by people, not by anything else. So it seemed more fitting, when I finished my stories, to put them out there right away where people can hopefully love reading them as much as I loved writing them.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords made the world of indie publishing approachable for me. It took a lot of the anxiety out of the process and allows me to do what I love the most... write and share my stories.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love getting to share with people and hearing what they thought as they read. No matter what you write, people will read it through their own lens and this makes for interesting feedback.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean everything to me! I love getting to meet them, talk to them about upcoming ideas and so much more. They are the reason I keep writing.
What are you working on next?
My next project is called Alive. It's about a girl who died sixty years ago who is being brought back to life.
Who are your favorite authors?
C.S. Lewis, John Green, Rick Yancey, Suzanne Collins, Amanda Hocking, Sharon Rogers, and many, many more.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My kids, my husband, my faith, and my work. I want to make a difference in the world, and it begins with all of those things.
Do you have any animals?
I have a Pomeranian named Shelby and a cat named Penny.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.