I enjoy reading thrillers and romance. Ever since I was teenager, I've been enthralled with crime fiction and I enjoy tales that can sweep me away.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my I-pad because it gives me so many options when it comes to reading. I have an app for the Nook, Kindle and of course the i-Book, but also being able to borrow books through Overdrive, which I can read in my browser. I may not have the library of my dreams yet, with books lining the walls, but having books just a click away makes the stories easily accessible.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
For me, it is all about the conversation. I enjoy book fairs, speaking at conferences and introducing myself to readers. Nothing compares to sharing a love for books, be it online or in person.
Describe your desk
My desk is quite small. A little over 3 ft wide and 1.5 ft deep, on it rests my monitor, keyboard and an array of papers--that seem to spill over to the nearby printer and side table. The cleaner my desk is, the more clutter I have in my head. So, when my desk is a cluttered chaos, it just means that I'm working.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I moved around when I was a child, and my family eventually settled in Virginia, which I consider home. Having grown up in an impoverished area, books were my refuge from the crime and violence. When I wanted to date, I grabbed a romance; when it was time for action, I grabbed a thriller or mystery. Books have been my companions through the years.
I am very much influenced by Thomas Harris. In fact, reading his book "Red Dragon" when I was younger, is what prompted this journey into writing. In high school, I wrote my first murder mystery, but it took me years to re-find that passion again. I'm a law enforcement fan, and due to the dark nature of my writing,I'd say that nothing compares to Thomas Harris's great work. Every time I read "Red Dragon," it leaves me on the edge of my seat.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing professionally in 2009. Working in a law firm, as a criminal paralegal, surrounded by the sights and sounds, everything seemed to just come alive (and being afraid that the office was going to be shot up at any moment, didn't help). So, to work through it all, I started writing. My novel, Thou Shall Not, started out as a romance set in Scotland, and over the course of time, it changed to a grisly mystery--I believe it is part and parcel of being involved with criminal law.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I write because I have to. It is cathartic. I share my joys and pains on the page.
Ever since I was a kid, I've told stories, and over the years, through the different mediums I've used to express myself, those stories have become more vivid. My desire to write professional came about in 2002, while living abroad, but for me, the timing wasn't right. It wasn't until I was able to dive head first into my story, and not worry about the reception my dark imagination would garner, that I truly began to create.
What do your fans mean to you?
That someone actually enjoys my work is the most rewarding. It means that I've been able to transport them and tell them my tale. That they've journeyed with me and continue to follow my work means the world to me. Words cannot express my sheer gratitude at their kindness, and trust in me and my storytelling abilities.
What are you working on next?
With the recent release of my novella, "Angels Cry," which tells the story of Detective Peter Lazarus, I am working on the third story in the series, titled, "Numbers." It continues where "Thou Shall Not" leaves off.
The goal of the novellas is to help build the world, so that readers understand more about the main cast. Although "Thou Shall Not" has a large cast of characters, there is a reason for that, which should become more evidence in the coming books.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was supposed to be a romantic suspense about a young girl, who gets invited to a party, and someone dies. It was a mixture of Clue meets Sweet Valley High. My high school English teacher enjoyed it enough, and encouraged me to continue writing. For a time thereafter, my nights would consist of me spinning tales and scribbling them down on lined notebook paper, and then reading them to my mom.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is quite strange, from what I've been told. I write my stories in snippets, but knowing the end of the story. Although I have a rough outline that I follow, since I am a discovery writer, when I sit down to purposefully type, I sort of end of transcribing the scene as it reveals itself to me. The characters appear with their inflections, build and background. I then have to "interview" them -- sometimes they cooperate, but more than naught, they don't.
To connect with a particular mood, I also listen to music -- one song on repeat until the scene is over. It is sort of like digging up a dead body, I suppose, because for each emotion, I have to try to pull from myself, and remember how an incident made me feel (now this does not mean that I have experienced everything that I've written about, but to find a correlating emotion within that I can focus on).
Once I am in my character's head, I stay there until he/she lets me go.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was a child, my favorite book was "My Teacher Sleeps in School." For a children's book, it was it's own sort of mystery because the students were looking at the clues and piecing them all together, they assumed that the teacher indeed slept in her classroom.
That book made me more perceptive. Now, I make sure to look at all of the clues, not just the ones I wish to see.
How do you approach cover design?
I did an experiment with the covers. Initially, I used my own cover. I wanted to garner feedback. Being a novice (and still a baby now), I wanted to understand the process more. My first cover left the impression that my story was steam-punk; the second cover that it was horror, and for my current cover, I went to a designer. The professional look resonates better with readers, and is a look I can use for my entire series.
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