The short answer? ANYTHING. I will read the back of the cereal box if that is the only thing that is available. If I have my choice, I tend to choose books with darker themes. I also tend to gravitate to horror and thrillers, both from the past and present. Shirley Jackson is always a favorite. I also love Stephen King, Peter Straub, Lauren Beukes, Paul Tremblay, Ania Ahlborn, and Gillian Flynn, just to name a few people still writing books today. I can't commit to one book at a time, so I usually have four or five that I am reading at once.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle. Nothing fancy. I only use e-readers when I travel though, simply because I can carry a library full of books in my bag without adding much weight. If I'm at home, I prefer the real deal. I like the weight of a book in my hand. Plus, an e-reader can't give me the intoxicating scent of a book.
Describe your desk
It is usually cluttered, but underneath my mass of papers and books is a beautiful wood and metal desk. I'd describe it as "industrial."
When did you first start writing?
As soon as I knew how! I was one of those kids who wrote stories on paper and then stapled them together to make books. Somewhere in college, I thought I would just publish academically, but fiction writing just wouldn't leave me alone. Eventually, I found my way back to my first love.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I wanted to pay homage to a few of my favorite writers. One is Stephen King. There are definitely nods to Carrie there. The other is Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. She's like a ghost haunting most of my works. You'll have to read the book to find out how.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A good cup of coffee and my two boys, who usually wake me up much earlier than I would ever want to get out of bed.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Spending time with my two boys and my husband. I also love movies.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. Friends tell me what they are loving. I listen to the fan "squees" online, on sites like Twitter and Goodreads.
What is your writing process?
Write one word and then write another. Continue until I am finished. Every project is different. Sometimes I work from an outline. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I have a clear idea of character and plot. Sometimes I have to write my way there. Revision is key. I have learned not to be afraid to edit and revise. I delete words and pages if they don't work. I welcome critique.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My mother tells me that it was "Poky Little Puppy." Apparently, I was obsessed and made her read it over and over again. Once I could read, I read everything. Growing up, Babysitter's Club was a favorite series, as was anything by R. L. Stine. Those made me really want to create my own stories.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I am Southern girl. I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, and while I swore I would leave the South as soon as I could, I only ended up deeper. I moved to Mississippi in my twenties and never left. Most of my stories are set right here.
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