Yes! I was six or seven, and just learned the idea of adoption. My mother explained it to me as "sometimes, parents can't afford to take care of their baby, so someone else does." I held on to the word afford for some reason (connecting it the car commercials on TV as well) and decided to write a story about that scenario exactly. It was a family of talking dogs (or perhaps deer? The memory's getting fuzzy) who could not keep their baby, and it included my atrocious handmade drawings and was bound together with masking tape.
What is your writing process?
Thinking. A lot. When I'm in the car, before I fall asleep at night, in the shower, any moment I'm alone. Honestly, once a novel starts in me, I have problems controlling it. When it's really started to evolve, I start write down the thoughts as they make sense and come together. I switch between paper and electronic, sometimes making elaborate charts on Excel and other times getting ideas that so urgently needed to be written, I used the back of receipts. Once I feel ready to write a draft, I do. It's always terrible but helpful. Once you really see a novel, you can see the holes, the discrepancies, your repeated mistakes, etc. So, I start addressing the larger overarching concerns that the next draft must address, and then set to work fixing the big and large. I repeat the process until the work is done.
Describe your desk
I'm going to describe my entire office, because the desk alone is a small fraction of the picture. The desk itself though, is amazing. It was a free, large desk I got off the side of the road during a junk weekend, and while it's a little rough around the edges, it's gorgeous. Surprisingly, I keep it quite clean. There's a clear spot for the laptop, and then I have space to spread out my journals where I keep my written ideas. I have a large space in the middle of the office for pacing when I need to move and think aloud. Of course, some days are beyond pacing, so when need be, I have been known to lay down on the floor and just stare at the ceiling. In the corner, I have the most comfortable chair ever, and honestly, probably half of my last novel was written curled up in the chair with my computer in my lap and Pandora's "How to Train Your Dragon" station on in the background.
When did you first start writing?
It's difficult to say. School throws this off because in my basic middle school English classes, story writing was compulsory. This actually benefited me greatly as it was the only writing assignment I seemed to earn A's on! Additionally, I was in a technical writing class at 14 that probably pushed me quite a lot as around that I started formulating novel worthy ideas. I dabbled at times, got ideas, developed them some, but I never had a chance to start writing a novel until I was 18. A few short stories for various contests popped up along the way, but when I was 20 I finally finished a full manuscript for a novel.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Encapsulating passion. Passion drives me, as an author, as a reader, really in any aesthetic form. I believe it is what we truly find beautiful. When I'm rereading or editing work, and I find a line or paragraph that grasps a moment's essence so perfectly and so purely, it creates this near giddiness in me.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Well, technically Kindle. I used one for quite some time before it was pickpocketed out of my bag on the Roman Metro. This does mean that I am an e-book author whose only e-book capability is the Kindle app on my computer.
What are you working on next?
My current work in progress it titled The Mind of War. It's a futuristic novel that follows Maia Weaver. When she only 15 in a boarding school far from her home, Maia was captured by the Enemy and a prisoner of war for three years. We see her first as she is escaping back to her former country of Arcadia, where is accepted back but with conditions. Her POW status must be a secret, and she must assist the military in helping prevent future attacks from the Enemy, to the point of fighting if necessary. In return, she gets to have the protection of the military, and the opportunity to live a normal, happy life in Arcadia. The deal is simple; the reality is not. As she attempts to navigate her way through her new lifestyle, she learns that fighting does not always happen only on the battlefield.
I urge readers who maybe don't usually read novels like this to have an open mind. It sounds a lot like science fiction, and there are distinct elements of it, but this novel is so much more. It is a much a war or science fiction novel as it is about a coming of age and the the tale of a powerful relationship.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Caring for others. I work day jobs that involve taking care of others in need. For example, I've been a nursing assistant for years, and I've worked in hospitals, nursing homes, with the mental health community, etc. Helping others makes my world make sense.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
What time? Honestly, between the day job and writing, I'm lucky to relax a little!
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