Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
When it comes to a favorite character from a book…I would have to go with Darby Carter from the, “Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island” series. She was a strong, loveable, intelligent, and very brave YA character who felt very real. I was about her age when I read the stories so I looked up to her. Her character development over the series was incredibly fun to follow. She went from a shy, city girl to a strong, determined ranch woman in Hawaii.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I wanted to become an author because I have a very fast-paced head that’s always filled with stories, and this is my outlet. It was most certainly the right decision. Now I’m also finding that another outlet for this is screenwriting.
A day in the life of the author?
I have a normal job outside of writing. I take a little time everyday working on my spirituality (reading Bible verses and praying), spending time with my family, and keeping up with the daily tasks of having a home. At the end of the day, if I have a little down time, I work on marketing my books and writing.
Advice they would give new authors?
Everyone is subjective. You can have one person tell you that your world building in your book was terrible, and the next person will say that the world building was their favorite part (go figure). You also have to be open to constructive feedback. Try not to get offended and really think about what was said. If you really don’t agree with the advice, you don’t have to! So it’s all about that perfect balance. Just do what you know is good writing for your story. Also, it’s always good to practice and hone your skills by writing and reading. Also, please, please look up how to do a good book launch before you publish your first book. I found that out much later in the game. Start with a Google search on book launches.
Describe your writing style.
According to one of my reviewers, “The author keeps the reader glued to pages with a keen eye for detail and a taut writing style.” I’m concise in my writing.
What makes a good story?
I feel like likeable characters are key to a good story. I can read a book and the story and the main idea can be awesome, but if the character isn’t likeable or doesn’t become likeable by the end of the book, then I have a hard time relating. That is my subjective opinion.
What are you currently reading?
My current read is, “Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble” by Kelly Brady Channick. It’s super awesome!
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I usually will write a very light outline but will add in a lot of storyline as I go along, and I don’t always follow the outline. I usually don’t know how the book will end until I get there.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Feeling like writing a book is going to be too hard and you could never do it. Trust me…if you have a story to tell, it’s not like writing an essay. It’s like watching a really good movie. And don’t worry about making it perfect right away. This is a first draft. Just get the ideas out. Don’t worry about the sentence structure or how many times you start a sentence with, “I.” If you get stuck on a scene, skip it and write it later. You’ll be able to go back and change all of this later and more effectively. The most important thing is to just get the ideas out.
Also, I think many aspiring writers worry about getting published. There are plenty of avenues to publish your books that won’t cost you anything. Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace were my platforms! Send out your query letters to agents. Dream of making it big with HarperCollins or Scholastic. I still do! But also appreciate your self-publishing options in the meantime and know that the industry is changing and self-publishing has proven to be just as, if not more, effective than going with a larger publishing house. But once you self-publish, prepare for the marketing. That’s the hardest part. Do your research, find other authors who were successful in self-publishing, network with them, and do what they do.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I love having a fully charged laptop, a cozy room or couch, and a Friday night where I can type until 2am. I get some great scenes out when I’m tired and my mind is looser hahaha.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to be original and true to myself, although I’ve been pondering and weighing the pros and cons of writing what I want versus what’s popular in the world right now. You have to do what feels right to you. Never stray away from your values or beliefs for a story. You don’t have to. I always want to deliver what the readers want. For example, I kept hearing positive feedback about Wolf and Juro’s characters. Originally, I wasn’t sure how involved they were going to be for the remainder of the series, but once I heard that feedback from my readers, I continued involving the characters heavily into the storyline and developing them, which only made the readers love them even more.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t let your need to market overshadow your love of writing. There are some days where I market and market but I’m not writing, and then I start to lose sight of why I’m doing it in the first place. Marketing is important, but make time for creation. It’ll refresh you and fuel your passion so you keep moving forward.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I have to be honest, I don’t find any issues with writing male characters. Maybe it’s because I grew up with brothers, so I was able to see firsthand how boys work and that their feelings aren’t all that different from girls. We all want the same thing at the end of the day.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
If I stuck with a good schedule, I could probably write one in about two months. But my life outside of writing is busy and I usually end up writing one book every six to twelve months (from first word to absolute final draft). I think my record was a few weeks because I had some time off from work (that was, “Perception and Deception II”).
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. I’ve written about this topic online before. I deal with writer’s block by taking a rest from my writing. Sometimes, you have to let the inspiration build up in your mind from your own life experiences. And then suddenly, you wake up in the middle of the night with ten chapters worth of ideas! It’s very interesting how our minds work.