The Golden Boy Returns is something that I really wanted to get out there but at the same time was something I was really afraid of publishing because it's so close to me. Let me back up: it's not that I'm someone who works in politics or is heavily invested in the minutiae of how municipal government works, but I'm someone who has been following politics since I was very young and I have a lot of things to say about what's going on, especially in my city. It's the story of how David Hwang rises and falls and (maybe) rises again, and it's also the story of how Kasi Panchal loses her idealism and (maybe) regains it. There's romance here--that's just how I roll--but that isn't as pronounced as it is in my other titles.
This title and the short story that precedes it (The Art of the Next Best) also kicks off the more "adult" phase of the New Pioneers. The power was that shadowing over the characters when they were younger becomes more pronounced now. It's dark here, and then it's darker still in the upcoming sequel.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I pursued the traditional option for over a year, but at that point I had my manuscripts sitting on my computer for almost five years. I'm not the first writer in that predicament, but everything I was reading indicated that agents- and editors and publishers- were still trying to find their footing as the indie market shifted everything.
At the time, it also seemed like everyone in traditional was very interested in paranormal, and nothing could be further than what I had written. Also, my characters are a little older than the usual Young Adult characters, but two agents recommended aging the characters down to make my manuscript more marketable. Unfortunately that would have completely changed the story.
Being an indie gives me the freedom to write- and market- the way I need to.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Making a character that has been living in my head or otherwise tormenting me come alive. When a reader *gets* one of my characters I am over the moon.
What are you working on next?
As of this writing, I'm waiting to hear from my editor about changes to the sixth full-length (and eighth title) in my series, Needs Wants and Other Weaknesses. If The Golden Boy Returns was, to some extent, me writing what I know, this title is me stretching way out of my comfort zone. It's about human exploitation and an incredible person who can't pretend it doesn't exist. We're also going to see a bunch of characters from the previous titles return in some very surprising ways.
I'm currently drafting the seventh full-length book in the series, tentatively called Justice Mercy and Other Myths. It's going to answer a lot of questions, but it's also going to be filled with surprises.
Who are your favorite authors?
Possibly the most impossible question! I love Judith Krantz, but I also love Erin Cawood, Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba, Caroline Fardig, Sarah Woodbury, and Claudia Hall Christian. And Geraldine Brooks. And Vincent Yee. And then all the other non-fiction stuff I read.
Like I said, an impossible question!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Homeschooling my children, following the news (best reality show ever!), connecting with other writers and, invariably, writing guest blog posts.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
As of right now, I tend to stumble into things: I'll connect with a writer and want to check out their work, or I'll browse a retail site and find a title that piques my interest. I also recently joined a book club, and I'm trying to get a lot of the titles that the other members recommend as an ebook. But it's a little frustrating; when I walk into my library, I can easily find a curated list of titles that the librarians recommend, and I can always find a title that appeals to me. I hope I can eventually find something like that electronically.
What is your writing process?
I plan it out from the beginning to the end, but I leave enough room for the inevitable changes that the characters demand as I go. I get everything out, then return and edit as much as I can, then edit some more. Now that I've got an editor "on staff" I have her take a look- and then we edit some more! Then I think I'm done and discover a number of little things no one else will notice but that I have to change so I won't go crazy!
How do you approach cover design?
A book cover is the most important piece of marketing, so I try to make sure that my cover grabs your attention and hints what the story will be about. As my writing is character-driven, I've made my main characters the focus on most of the covers. That, however, might change for the tenth title, which is going to involve everyone.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Tainted Love by Erin Cawood- we get to see how someone becomes involved in a violent, toxic relationship, why they can't leave, and how they ultimately do.
Bird of Prey by Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba- not yet released, but I had the pleasure of being a beta-reader. A smart mystery with an equally smart and sexy detective.
The Tenant at Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte- you know, the *other* Bronte sister. The story of how a naive young woman married the wrong man and had to take great risks to find her own life.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- Jane only has herself to depend on, and even the forceful Edward Rochester isn't going to get her to compromise her values.
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky- The writing is incredible on its own, but when you learn the author's backstory (and end story), it's impossible not to be astounded.
What do you read for pleasure?
I know other fiction writers will understand this: when you're in the heat of creating your own characters, sometimes it can be hard to read someone else's. So when I'm in "create" mode, I tend toward non-fiction. (Because I homeschool, sometimes I actively enjoy reading curriculum guides!) If I do read fiction during this period, something dissimilar to mine-- like historical fiction-- is easiest for me to deal with.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.