What is your writing process?
I always start with a mental outline. For the most part my books are mapped out in my head before I even put pen to paper. Yes, I actually do write out some things the old-fashioned way. :-) My process is a combo of jotting things down in my notebook, which I carry with me everywhere because who knows when inspiration will strike, as well as just sitting down and typing. I don’t write in any particular order from the outline. With my first book I actually wrote the last chapter first. I prefer to write whatever section inspires me at the time. So I end up having multiple documents with names that are keywords to cue me as to what each section is about. The hard part is weaving them all together and creating those filler chapters that make it a holistic story. But when it happens, it’s like magic.
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How do you approach cover design?
My cover aesthetic was somewhat of a happy accident. I had a vision for my first novel of two silhouettes leaning in for an almost kiss. I hired a company to do the design but they just couldn’t capture it. I started freaking out, but then I realized I worked at an agency with an entire creative department. How lucky was I to have that kind of talent at my disposal? I talked to one of my art directors and he said he would help me. He shared some different stock image approaches, one of which was this double exposure concept. I loved it and it’s never something I could have come up with on my own, but now it’s a key element of my brand. My books are set in Chicago, so each cover features the Chicago skyline embedded in the art. Since he and I left the agency, I’ve been working with Sarah Hansen from Okay Creations on my covers. She’s helped me to evolve my brand identity by establishing a consistent color palette, typography, and photography style. So whenever you see my covers they feel like they are part of the same family. I think they're pretty awesome. Hopefully readers will agree.