1. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I started writing at the age of thirteen when my school essays were returned to me with a bunch of “A”s scrawled over the top. Teenagers are impressionable. Being much more impressionable than most, and believing that my teachers knew what they were doing, I figured I was destined to be a writer. It’s only taken me tens of thousands of hours of work since then to be halfway decent at writing (and I’m still learning each day), but one has to start somewhere.
2. When did you start taking writing seriously? In November 2010, my husband challenged me to stop writing for fun and to start writing as a career. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2010 was the trigger. I spent that month writing Perfection Unleashed, my debut novel.
3. How many books have you written? I released Perfection Unleashed in June 2012. To date, I have published six books; I’ve just released Perfection Challenged, the conclusion of my seven-time award-winning Double Helix series. I have another novel, Eternal Night, a paranormal romance/fantasy set in the future (sounds odd, doesn’t it?), scheduled for release in 2013.
4. What was your journey to becoming an author like? Rocky, as most journeys are. For a while, I explored traditional publishing, but then decided I was too much of a control freak to take to traditional publishing. I preferred having creative control over my writing, artistic control over my covers, and process control over my publishing schedules. In the end, self-publishing made the most sense for me. That said, I do have a foot in the door of traditional publishing. McSill Literary Agency represents Portuguese rights for my Double Helix series.
5. Is there anything specifically that helps you write better/inspires you? I think I’m past the stage of needing inspiration; writing is more of a compulsion now. In general, I have a compulsive personality; people like me should never get exposed to alcohol, cigarettes, or recreational drugs—we’re easy prey. Years ago, computer gaming and writing used to go hand-in-hand for me. My characters from my computer games inspired my writing. Since then, however, my characters have taken on a life of their own and thus, I have been freed to happily obsess about them without needing the occasional computer gaming boost to sustain them.
6. What's the hardest part of writing for you? The hardest part is stopping. After multiple rounds of self-editing, several weeks of working with my editor, and several rounds of proofreading, I have to put the manuscript away and say “done.” I think it is entirely possible to edit forever, but at some point, you have to stop and send the book out into the world.
7. Do you have a specific writing style? Third person past tense? To be honest, I’m not sure I know the response to this question. Some people say my style is much like one author or another (which would be an interesting feat, considering I’ve never read some of those authors.) Broadly, I’d say that my style tends to resemble serials or movies. I grew up writing fan fiction, and got accustomed to writing sections of chapters that almost inevitably ended on a cliffhanger just because that’s the way fan fiction is usually consumed on online fan forums. In addition, I write the movie I see in my head, and not surprisingly, people have commented that reading my books is like watching a movie.
8. Who is your favorite author? Neil Gaiman is pure genius in his storytelling ability. I’m a huge fan of his Sandman series.
9. What are your favorite books and what genres do you prefer? Science fiction and fantasy are my favorite genres to read and write. I’ve especially enjoyed the Belgariad and Mallorean series by David Eddings. To unwind, I settle down with a sweet and satisfying romance, preferably Nora Roberts. I also enjoy thrillers, especially some of Robert Ludlum’s novels.
10. What is some good advice/tips for young writers/aspiring unpublished authors? Success in any new career takes time. Be patient. Invest in yourself—understand your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and be committed to continual learning and constant growth. It is said that it takes 10,000 hours of work to become an expert in a field. That’s approximately 5 years of full time 8-to-5 work, and you need to be prepared to make the investment of your time and resources for the long haul.
11. Advice for getting rid of writer's block? I think writer’s block is just an excuse. Writing is a discipline, like going to school or work each day, like exercising and eating healthy. It’s just something to have to do because it’s an expectation for achieving your career goals as a writer. Maybe that particular scene isn’t working out the way you want, well, work on another, but work on something. Thomas Edison said it best, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Today, you may not have the 1%, but you sure can muster up the 99% because that is under your control.
12. A favorite quote of yours you'd like to share? Neil Gaiman’s character, Death, from the Sandman series, utters my favorite quote, “It always ends. That’s what gives it value.” That quote reminds me that what makes any experience, even life as a whole, valuable, is the fact that it ends. Because it ends, every moment is that much more precious and beautiful. Savor it.
13. What would you be if you didn't become an author? Well, I’m already several things. In addition to author, wife, and mother, I work full time in an education company in the area of business and learning strategy. I enjoy my job very much and don’t have any intention of quitting. People often ask how I find time to do everything I do. My response is always the same, “You’ll always manage to find time for the things that matter. Oh, and I don’t sleep much.”
14. Can you share some info about your current work with us? Danyael Sabre’s hard-won normal life shattered the day Zara Itani freed the genetically engineered perfect human being, Galahad, from his laboratory prison. Three years have since passed. Danyael has survived months of brutal torture and the grind of quiet despite without losing the core of compassion that makes him the most compelling and infuriating man Zara has ever known. Danyael’s greatest challenge, nevertheless, lies ahead of him. In Perfection Challenged, Danyael is forced to confront his own mortality and Galahad’s hate. At the end of his road, will he remain true to his convictions or sacrifice all to protect the woman he loves from the man who hates him?
15. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Only that I’m thrilled you’ve enjoyed my novels. To every one of you, thank you for sharing this journey with me. Your enthusiasm, support, and love for my characters are the reasons I keep writing. I hope you keep hanging around. The best is yet to come.