Weird as it sounds, I start my books because something plays out in my head, and then I got write it down. From there, I just keep writing and I usually don't have any idea how's it's going to end until I'm at least a third of the way through, sometimes longer. I make more conscious decisions during the editing process, but for drafting, my characters just do whatever they want and I'm the scribe.
How do you approach cover design?
I always outsource cover design. An important part of being an indie author is making sure that your work is professional quality, and I'm terrible at visual art, so I always make sure that someone who knows what they're doing designs my covers.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
In no particular order:
Everfound by Neal Shusterman - This is the third and final book in the series, and it's powerful for me because Shusterman managed to introduced a lot of characters over the series and managed to bring their stories together in a beautiful way that is rarely accomplished with the final book.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman - Modern dystopia may not be quite so compelling as classic dystopia, but this book is an exception. It kept me up reading until 2 a.m., and it was worth every minute.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - It's a short book, to be sure, but it's also powerful. I like books that make a point instead of just existing for fun, and this one has an important point: what happens when we surrender to the darkness inside of us.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - I really like dystopia, but this one for me is the most powerful of the classic dystopia books. It's not about government intervention from the top down, but it makes the point that society influences the laws. I found that very intriguing, and I think Bradbury is probably more spot-on in that regard than anyone else.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - I reject the notion that fairy tales are just for children; or even that children's books are just for children. These are great, imaginative stories, and I've learned a lot from them both as a reader and as a writer.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was 12 years old. I actually finished a first draft of a book when I was 14, but I thought it copied what I had been reading, so I deleted it. Don't ever do that. I've regretted it ever since.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm a bit of a control freak, and as much as I wanted to be an author, I always wanted to have control over my author platform and my appearances and how often I wrote. I also didn't like the idea of only releasing a book once every couple of years, because I had and still have a lot of stories that I want to get out. So when I found out that indie publishing is a very viable platform, and doesn't cost a fortune, I jumped on board as quickly as I could.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have a long list of to-reads that includes classic literature and other recommendations, mostly from friends and family. However, I also do a lot of browsing on the Kindle store, and when I find something that looks interesting I'll bookmark it, and I sometimes come back and read those.
What do you read for pleasure?
Other than classic literature, I read fantasy and science fiction almost exclusively. I am open to reading in other genres, but I almost never go looking for them.
Describe your desk
Cluttered. Very, very cluttered. I have a sort of homemade corner desk set-up, with my desk in one side of the corner and a small table at about the same height at the other side of the corner, and that helps; but like many creative types, I'm not very organized.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Since I don't plan out my stories, I'm a bit like a reader when I'm writing in that I discover the story as it comes out. That's really exciting for me. It has a lot of the same joy of reading, except it's a lot more personal, like I'm discovering new sides to my own personality.
What are you working on next?
I have two books in the woodwork for 2015. The first is A Gray Crusade, which is the sequel to Finding Sage, again set in a dystopian future where a global government hunts down people with supernatural abilities, and their fight for freedom. The other book, which doesn't yet have a title, is my NaNoWriMo 2014 project, and it takes place in a future where homeschooling has been outlawed and all children are sent to a year-round boarding school from ages 5-20. Additionally, that's set in a dystopian future where the world is obsessed with sex, the institution of the family no longer exists, and those who want to be pure are shunned as outcasts. The story follows three friends who determine to be pure in an impure world, regardless of the cost.
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