I start with an outline! Having written many research papers, I knew that organizing the book was crucial. There had to be a flow.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first stories I can recall, beyond comic books (which were AWESOME), were from Beautiful Bible Stories. It was part of a set belonging to my grandmother. I read it at every opportunity until it fell apart.
How do you approach cover design?
The first book cover was conceptualized by my son. We both knew we wanted it to look old and worn, like an ancient Bible that had been unearthed. I knew I wanted fire, just not how. He helped to bring both ideas together. I want the cover to hint at the story but still remain mysterious.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Woo! LOTR (and, by extension, The Hobbit), Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Twilight series, Stephenie Plum - I gravitate towards books dealing with the supernatural. Vampires, werewolves, fantastic gifts and epic adventures. I think it's rooted in my early exposure to the Bible stories. I still have the heart of a child and enjoy reading about impossible things.
What do you read for pleasure?
The heroes of the Bible comfort me. Because of them, I can believe I have a great future ahead of me, despite present troubles. I'm a Sookie Stackhouse fan but not of the True Blood series. Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy. PC and Kristen Cast, House of Night series. Too many to name.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My tablet or phone, even. I've used my laptop, too, when I was truly desperate to read a long-awaited book, LOL! Again, I'm a purist. Given a choice, I'd rather hold the book in my hands, feel the cover and riffle through the pages.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Actually, I love meeting folks one on one and talking to them about the series. Talking with my fans is one of my most favorite things to do.
Describe your desk
Right now, it's a purple table. My sister gave it to me for my public events. She's cool like that. There's a peace lily plant, which she assured me I cannot kill. So far, she's been right. It faces a window, and I get plenty of sunlight, but also a corner so that my back is to distractions. My notes and laptop take up about half of the space, my cell phone and tablet are nearby.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the inner city, Chicago. I was about turned eleven or twelve just after we moved. I think it was a pivotal point in my life. I retreated into my world of books more afterward.
When did you first start writing?
My teachers encouraged me to write early on, seeing that talent in me. I think my entire family has the gift of crafting words, inherited from my father, who was given to storytelling. But the realization of becoming a writer came once I began blogging in 2009. That lead to the idea of my first novel, Touched, in 2010.
What's the story behind your latest book?
So, one day I had a thought - as I sometimes do: Whatever happened to the children that Jesus prayed for? There's an oft-quoted scripture, "Suffer the little children..." Jesus said this to his disciples when they would have kept parents from bringing their children to be blessed. But the Bible doesn't say anything more about them. I just thought that would be a great jumping off point for a story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A friend of mine worked with a vanity publisher. She told me the process after she had published her own book. I'm a just-do-it kind of person. Once I made up my mind to publish the book, I went that route.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have several, LOL! Meeting my fans is always wonderful! Reading a passage at random and seeing it with fresh eyes. The joy comes when realizing I've pulled it off! Holding my very first book in my hand after a hard day.
What are you working on next?
Book four in the series! Book three was really meant to be a two-parter.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Regular stuff - cooking, working, cleaning. Hanging out with friends or chilling with my dog and watching TV.
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