During a snowstorm to shut my niece up that wanted something to read. Less then 10 years later and over 35 million words and dozens of stories, I'm still going strong.
How do you approach cover design?
Just like with a nicely prepared meal, we eat with our eyes first. If a cover doesn't pull a reader/buyer in, they will walk past it regardless of how amazing the story inside is. Sometimes a simplistic cover can say all the words the author is unable to articulate, and other times the cover paints the picture so seamlessly that the reader feels as if they know what's inside without reading a single page. Personally, I try to modify and customize purchased stock art used in covers and stay away from popular stock art since you'll find the same man or woman or couple on 25 covers in the same genre. Sometimes it's a simplistic as changing skin tone, eye color, or hair color, and other times it's as complex as removing an entire head and placing another's one it, enlarging a bust size, or enlarging a waist size. The biggest problem that I find for my covers is finding ethnic cover art models because the mainstream literary world is extremely whitewashed. I try to have very diverse and colorful characters (inside and out) in my books. Something for everyone, really. My biggest pet peeve with book covers are people that don't know the rules, that don't understand that you have to purchase rights to photos, fonts, filters, etc. One legit cover can have up to 10 rights licenses purchased for just ONE cover. So many indie writers don't take the time to learn the legality and it causes those that do it right to lose amazing photographers and font artists that don't want to deal with the indie publishing world because of one bad apple.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
R.A. Salvatore's the Dark Elf Trilogy. Blew my mind and brought me into the world of reading, elves, battle, action, adventure, and description.
Chuck Palahniuk's Choke, Fight Club, Snuff, and Rant. His writing style is mind blowing and the cynical minded characters are so beautifully done that it's jaw dropping.
Charlie Sinn's Mistress Shade's School of Skin, and Romancing The Dead Trilogy. Not a big erotica reader, I found Charlie's world building beyond beautiful and realistic even in fantasy settings. The banter between characters, how they stand alone and are memorable, his detail to his BDSM art form is beautiful. The stories are meant to be dark, sexy, sensual, and leave you rooting for everyone, even the bad guys.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Nook died so I'm down to a Kindle paper white since I can't stand to read on anything backlit.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth. I rather write than spend hours marketing with little reward, in most cases.
Describe your desk
Cluttered at the moment. We're in the process of moving.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
The beautiful Pacific Northwest. I've based many stories in my own backyard in order to share our small, green region with the world.
What's the story behind your latest book?
As the moment I'm working on wrapping the Bound but not Broken Trilogy. I started it a couple of years ago, because Prince George was conceived even. What started as a single book was too long for a standalone so I broke it into three.
An English soldier with an unimaginable burden that’s ready to make the ultimate sacrifice… A bound American hiding from the world becomes the target of a deadly obsession…
When their worlds collide it’ll either save them or destroy their hearts.
Shea was a rising star on the Seattle cooking scene. She was an Olympian, humanitarian, volunteer, world-class athlete, daughter and big sister. Everything in her life was perfect until a freak accident took everything from her in the blink of an eye.
Megan had always been the troublesome baby of the family. She went through life without a care in the world. But the moment she lost her sister, the only world Megan knew was taken from her, and it was only a matter of time before Megan was forced to say goodbye.
Liam was in the middle of the desert fighting for freedom. After four tours with the Royal Marines, Liam just didn’t have it in him anymore and was giving up. What awaited him when he returned home was worse than dying in the desert, so he made the choice to end it when he took point on an open engagement.
Family meant everything to Arnold, and that was why he was in the middle of a war struggling to keep the nightmares away. It was only a matter of time, he knew, before his brother lost the battle and gave up. The burden he was forced to carry upon his shoulders could only be carried so long before he broke, and it happened in front of Arnold’s eyes when his brother took point and was hit by an RPG… When the smoke cleared, the lives of four people would be changed forever.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Being screwed over by agents and having publishing houses (reputable ones) demand that I make "ethnic" characters white and christian and remove the gay or lesbian characters. I told them to fuck themselves because that wasn't the real world.
What do your fans mean to you?
If it wasn't for the fans, for the readers, I wouldn't bother doing it. I don't need to share what I write with the world. I'd be completely content and happy just keeping them on my hard drive or deleting them when finished. Their demand and support is what causes me to put them out there.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
With my boys, husband and dog. I enjoy home improvement and interior design as well so I tend to fix up our home.
What are you working on next?
Wrapping the six book Wolves of Haven series. The sixth book, Resurrection, is proving to kick my ass. Once I get it done I'll be moving back over to the fourth book in the Prophecy Saga: Atonement.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.