I'm a huge fan of authors like JK Rowling, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, Chess Desalls, Diana Gabaldon, and Patricia Briggs. I love it when authors can hook me into their worlds and I lose sleep at night wanting to find out what happens next to their characters.
One of the first authors I devoured books by was Anne Rice. She really helped form my love of supernatural and magical stories. I've been hooked ever since.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I'm a huge fan of series books, and my favorites are: 1. Harry Potter by JK Rowling: because it's magical and the characters are amazing, and it's Harry Potter. 2. Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs: I adore Mercy and the trouble she finds herself in. (I mean were's, vampires, fae and a kick-butt heroine? What else could a girl ask for?) 3. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas: I love Calaena for her love of books and frilly girly clothes, as much as for her ability to be ruthless when it's needed. Sarah J. Maas creates such great well-rounded characters. 4. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon: I adore Claire's ability to be a strong 20th century woman thrown into the 1700's. This series is for when I want to sink into a story and let hours pass by. 5. The Shadow Demons Saga by Sarah Cannon: This series is fun and what I call book candy. I can devour them fairly quickly and it helps be destress from life. I mean, who wouldn't want to read about demon possessed cheerleaders?
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Germany and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when I was 4 years old. I spent several summers visiting my family in Germany as a kid and love the forests, castles, and the sense of magic and mystery of the landscape.
I love it when you're driving around and just happen to see a castle pop into view as you round a corner. I am absolutely fascinated visiting castles, with my favorites being ruins. I can't help imagine what it must have been like to live there and what life would have been like for them.
I was also super enchanted by the forests, and nature around my grandparents. It was so different from what I saw at home and it was like stepping into a whole other realm. Those experiences definitely made their way into my writing. There are several scenes in my stories that are directly related to things I did as a kid.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When I wake up I wonder what possibilities the day will share with me. Will I get an inspiration for a new story? Will the world shift under my feet as I read about a character that I relate to doing something absolutely magical? What can I create and release into the universe? There are so many things that can happen in 24 hours, so why not wake up and see what happens.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a big reader. If I could spend most of my day reading, going to bookstores, or hanging out in libraries, I'd be a very happy girl.
My day job is working in a specialty veterinary hospital and I spend my days taking care of pets and their families. I love working with animals, helping them feel better, and helping keep pet families together as long possible.
I'm also a huge music nerd. I love Broadway, Disney, and dance music. I try to see Broadway musicals as much as I can and it's a dream of mine to take a trip to New York and see a play on Broadway. When I'm listening to music at home it depends on my mood what I'm listening to. I can stand just about anything that's not 'hard-core' of any one genre.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I wrote was in kindergarten. It was very basic, but I also really liked drawing the pictures for my story. I had a great time creating it and I remember being very proud of it especially when my parents loved it.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love young adult fantasy fiction, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. Pretty much give me magic and a strong female protagonist, and I'm happy.
What is your writing process?
I am a plotter for sure. I usually get inspired by places or unusual stories. I picture those magical places and wonder what could happen there. Turning on instrumental music, I grab index cards and plot out the story arch. Once I've got the basics of the story structure, I start writing in a program called Scrivener. There is always music playing when I'm writing. And there's usually tea brewing. I try to write whenever I can since I give myself a deadline to finish. I've written in coffee shops, airplanes, restaurants, at work before clocking in, and of course my desk at home.
Once my draft is done, I get feedback from my beta readers and my editor. Several revisions later it's finally ready and then it's time to publish.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I'm a very visual person, so I look at book covers to see if it pops out at me. (I know! Never judge a book by its cover. But I can't help it!) Then I'll usually check out the description, and finally the preview. If it sucks me in, I'll buy it. I'm also part of several online book clubs and love recommendations from people that read similar genres.
How do you approach cover design?
I spent a while looking for artists that I liked. I have a background in visual arts, so sometimes I'm too much of a snob. I narrowed it down to several artists that I liked what they previously made. I finally found Studio Bukovero, and fell in love with her artistry. She designed the cover for 'Luminata'. I talked to her about some ideas I had, especially bringing in the moon, and the tattoo that Jessi gets over the course of the novel. She took the ideas and ran with it. She created an amazing cover and I hope everyone else likes it as much as I do.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Being an Indie author is something that I am very proud of. I spent a long time learning about the industry, and I continue to do so.
I wanted to have control over my story, cover, distribution; and I knew these were things that I could take care of myself. I also want to remove the stigma attached to being an Indie author. I have put in just as much effort to create my novel as a traditionally published author. I worked with a cover designer, beta-readers, my editor, copy-editor, and made sure my books look professionally formatted. I also want to have control on when and where my stories are available.
My biggest reason is that I would like my stories to reach as many readers as possible. I have the ability as an Indie Author to reach a world-wide audience, which is pretty awesome!
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