|WELCOME| SHORT BIOGRAPHY| AUTOBIOGRAPHY| PHOTOS | PRESS | MEDIA Q&A|
Q: What inspires your writing? Where do you get your ideas?
A: I think most writers will tell you that their ideas come from everywhere. The restaurant you ate at the week before, the family reunion six years ago, the hot date you you haven’t had in ages…etc. Some imagine the life they always wanted, never wanted or have always loved. Conversations in public, on the job –you name it. I also grab ideas from combining or extending older concepts or just allowing my imagination run wild. It starts from an initial idea and if you’re lucky, your characters develop and take you on an amazing ride.
For Tempestuous Tales, I tapped into feelings and childhood memories of three short stories: The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, Night Drive by Will F. Jenkins and Bluebeard’s Bride by Sarah Holland, based on the works of Charles Perrault. Even then, barely entering junior high, I knew that one day I would add my own twist to these stories and introduce them with strong women centered in each plot.
My story Vanishing at Mountain Creek, combines my love for –unsafe but enjoyable—night drives. It also pulls from the short story Night Drive. I wanted to bring the story to current middle class urban America. In Flickering Candles, I used the influence of Bluebeard’s Bride. This story is realistic, as many people jump in and out of relationship prematurely, not really knowing much about their significant others.
Trip Back Home was tricky. I used the influence of the short story, The Monkey’s Paw to tie in all three stories. It’s really a story within a story, but it has an unexpected twist that many readers have “informed” me that they are waiting for a Part II. LOL
Q: Describe your writing process; a typical day in your life.?
A: Goodness. I don’t think I had a ‘defined’ writing process until Tempestuous Tales, it took me through a lot of ‘moments’. But I learned what worked for me and my schedule. As writers, we can become so engrossed in creating our characters and their lives, that honestly, the day turns to night and night into day, and soon it’s three months later. You go into the writer’s cave and that’s all you think about, it’s all you breathe and focus on it.
I also have aggressive book release deadlines over the next twelve months, so that factored into a haphazard writing process. There’s only 24 hours in a day so I try to w rite as much as possible in between the day job, school, critique groups, conferences, reading, working out and spending time with family. I block out certain days for travel and REAL downtime. I don’t get the required daily hours of sleep so I try to reserve weekends for that and socializing.
It doesn’t always line up like that, especially when a book is about to be released or I get requests to speak or graphic design work, but you just shift the schedule around at that time to accommodate. Sometimes I have to forego classes for a semester to pack it all in. My life is very full, but I have learned to always reserve time for your loved ones. Being a writer is an autonomous lifestyle, and if you’re not, careful, you can look up from a book one day and wonder where the time has gone. LOL
Q: Who or what have been major influences on your development as a writer?
A: Other than the experiences of being a military kid for twenty-two years, and having exposure to different cultures and a “quirky imagination”, the influence has definitely been other writers. My favorite authors are Terry Brooks, Larry Niven (oh goodness, the Integral Trees, classic!!) Johanna Lindsey and Beverly Jenkins, however, I have also recently discovered Clive Cussler, Susan Mallery and Carly Phillips.
I’m all about crossing genres to discover great stories and their creators, however, I will admit, epic fantasies, paranormal romances and adventure books are my fave. If it’s romance, I’m mostly into historical romances dealing with Viking /Nordic lore or other nationalities including African-American. In between books and networking, I take writing courses, and participate in critique groups or writing competitions.
Q: What is your advice for aspiring authors?
A: My advice is for them to realize it’s not just about talent. If anything, within the last decade (especially), the digital publishing revolution (eBooks) and reality shows have shown us that you do not have to have artistic talent to acquire some aspect of success in this industry (publishing). However, just because you have talent doesn’t automatically grant you ”cuts to the front’ of the line” either. eBooks have increased the competition. It’s not enough to write a book; you also have to promote and publicize, using social media platforms. Technology has given some a short attention span so you have to grab people quickly and keep them. You have to change the mindset of being that reclusive, intellectual constructing stories in the writer’s cave. You are a business…period. That includes everything for customer service, administrative work flow, process and procedure to product development and distribution to adverting and marketing. Handling your finances, understanding your bookkeeping and staying ahead of the curve.
There are thousands of talented writers—with amazing stories, who never sell. You have to have dogged persistence, faith in yourself, because you will doubters and you must continue developing your craft. Define what success is for you and know why you’re writing. Why are you in this publishing game? And you have to ask yourself, even if you never sold a book [traditionally, e-publishing or self-publishing] would you still do it? The road can be long and discouraging, but if you stick with it and believe, develop a work-life balance you’ll succeed in your d reams eventually.