I sort of want to cheese this question and say that "I've been writing for as long as I can remember" because it's true, mostly. I remember in second grade...our teacher always had us writing, and I always looked forward to it when most of my classmates did not. The first piece I recall writing was actually a story about the characters from the board game Candy Land. I wish I remembered the story itself, because at the time I thought it was gold, haha! I also remember having to write a story about a made up bug, and my mom had helped me paint a small styrofoam ball a really, bright, obnoxious hot pink, and then we stuck these silver, glittery pipe cleaners in it for legs and then taped him to my paper. Oh, and we gave him (or her) big googly eyes.
I started to take writing more seriously when I was about 14. I had just been introduced to the world of "fandom" and "fan fiction". My mind was blown. It had never occurred to me that I could use characters and settings from books or movies and other media to start crafting my own work. Of course, stealing is frowned up. DON'T STEAL. Still, it was an immersive, competitive way to start out planning, plotting, and crafting my own story lines and eventually, my own characters and settings. It gave me time to develop research skills and really analyze and get down to the root of the story, and not just what we read and saw on the surface.
Who are your favorite authors?
Admittedly, I should read more. I don't read nearly enough to give an enthralling or inspiring answer.
Still, an answer is an answer. I was inspired from a young age by J.K. Rowling and the world of Harry Potter. I think that if I hadn't read this series, I wouldn't be where I am today. The way she paints the magical world leaves me in awe.
What are you working on next?
As a student nearing the end of my Bachelor's Degree program, school is my priority right now. I'm in the process of choosing two or three projects that I want in top shape to put in my portfolio. At the moment, I'm leaning towards two screenplays, and a video game concept, but that's still to be determined.
Where publishing is concerned, I have a couple of ideas that I've been churning in my head. Both of them are pretty dark and deal with a lot of inner exploration, but they take place in two very different periods of time. The first one is set in sort of a Renaissance time period, where as the other is set in a universe that is completely digital. I'm really excited to start laying down the ground work for both of them in the future.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
A little bit? I was in second grade, and we had these little clubs that we could choose every month. One of them was a story writing club, and I remember writing a Candy Land fan fiction. I don't remember anything about it other than Princess Lollipop got lost in her own woods.
I guess we could say I subconsciously knew I wanted to write for a living even then.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Sleeping. I'm not kidding. I love sleep. There is nothing like being able to sprawl out in your underwear on cool sheets and curl up with a nice plush pillow and snoozing.
Okay, maybe I'm kidding a little.
Anime conventions and cosplaying are one of my biggest hobbies. I travel all over the east coast attending conventions year round. About half of my closet are costumes, wigs, and accessories. As of today, I have been to twenty-two conventions in seven years and have fourteen cosplays in my closet.
Between conventions I spend time with friends, go shopping, watch anime, and make beaded charm keychains.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I have a problem getting out of bed. I will stay in the comfort of my pillows and blankets and nest for as long as I possibly can before starting my day. When I finally feel like I can put my feet on the ground and be vertical, I think about the day. Sometimes it involves my job or school, other time I have plans with friends or family (that usually makes me want to get out of bed faster). In the end, what inspires me to get out of bed is living the day. The day is what you make it, and ultimately, you can't live life to the fullest by living in the comfort of the bed.
What is your writing process?
The writing process is sort of the same for every writer, I think, just with a few minor differences. Everyone starts with a base concept. For example: Time travel. From there it's pretty elementary, and I ask myself: Who? Why? When? Where? How? Every answer I come up with from those, I ask myself again the same questions. Before I know it, I've created a sound, more complex story.
And then I write. I take everything I have written down and being smashing it all together into coherent words and sentences. Cue the glitter and magic and boom. You have a book.
Okay, it's really not as simple as that. I read, and re-read, and then re-read it again (which is tedious and I hate it but it has to be done). Once I am comfortable with how things read I usually send it to a friend of mine to take a look at. We'll talk about it, discuss what should be changed, what's really good, what is absolutely horrendous and should be omitted immediately, etc. Then, finally, I have something publishable.
And caffeine. For the love of all that is good in the world, I have to have a constant source of caffeine.
Describe your desk
I love my desk. Aside from my bed, it is my favorite place to be in my apartment. It's fairly new; I ordered it this past March, and it was $200 well spent in my opinion.
My desk has 12 cubby holes and is made of blond wood. In these cubby holes I have a variety of things that range from my school books and my art supplies to anime figures and more books. My printer sits on the top of my desk in front of the hanging calendar on the wall.
I also have Remus's wand and some pretty sweet Barbie headphones.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy in writing is that you're constantly thinking in terms of stories. I find now that even having small conversations with some of my regulars at McDonalds spawns conversation ideas for characters in my stories. Menial tasks like grocery shopping are turned into brain adventures of Character A and Character B bickering over cereal, and then that gets me thinking, "I bet Character A is a huge health nut." Thus, I've slowly begun to develop a character and build up scenes surrounding that idea, all from picking up a box of Cap'n Crunch.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"Wildflowers" was actually supposed to be a composition of 26 short stories based on Serra and Quinn's time spent in the orphanage with each small chapter starting with the next letter in the alphabet. (I have a weird obsession with things being alphabetized). I had started working on it initially about two years ago and finished one short piece of it which I titled "Solace". After completing that one snippet, however, I stopped working on it. Life had taken me by the horns and had begun throwing me for a loop.
Some time later I began my Publishing and Distribution class at school, where we were required to submit and publish something that we had been working on. I quickly found myself in a snag. None of the stories I had worked on were anywhere close to something publishable, and the pieces that were I didn't care enough about to keep working on. As I searched through folder after folder on my computer I finally came across "Solace" again. I was instantly reminded of how much I loved writing Serra and Quinn and everything that I had planned for them began flooding back to me one insistent wave after another. With time running out to edit and publish a work of mine, I spent four days, three nights, several edits, and about twenty-four cups of coffee writing and rewriting until I had what was to be my first published work, and "Wildflowers" was born.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have fans? Haha, I'm joking!
I would literally be nothing without fans. I could promote myself until I'm broke and blue in the face gasping for my last breath, but none of it would mean a thing if people didn't actually ENJOY what I write. Word of mouth advertisement is the best way of getting yourself and your brand out to the rest of the world. All I did was put the bug in someone's ear that I'm a writer and I've published a book. The fans bought the book. The fans read the book. The fans review the book and pass it along to their friends and family (and ideally create more fans). I just write. My fans do the work for me, and that kind of support and love mean more than the world to me.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.
Quinn and Serra Calder, young, orphaned twins growing up in a small New Jersey suburb, learn the value of their relationship through the struggles of understanding one another despite their extreme differences.