What is your favorite writing and reading genre?
I started out writing science fiction and fantasy, and those are still my favorite ones to write. My next goal in my career is to sell a book in one of those genres. As for what I read, I also read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but I'll try just about anything once. For me the quality of the writing and plotting matters more than the genre. I like books that have a clever twist to their plots and writing that is rich and evocative.
Where and how did you get your idea for your books?
Since I've been working on my writing career for almost twenty years now, it's hard to answer that question. I used to struggle with ideas when I was starting out and I would jot possibilities down in a notebook I carried for a while, but after all this time I've amassed a lot of practice coming up with ideas. I'm not really sure how my brain does it anymore; I just know that when I need an idea, one is much more likely to pop into my mind now than it did ten years ago. My guess is that I've trained myself to constantly search for new and interesting concepts, and that this has become second nature. These days it's mostly happening in my subconscious.
If a movie or TV show would be created for your books, which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead roles for you books?
I have a couple of friends who have TV shows of their books, and the thing is, I know how long that can take. In the very unlikely event any of my books ever get filmed, anyone I pick now will likely be much older than they are now. One reviewer dream-cast Matt Lanter as Jason Vanderholt, and I have to agree, they look very similar. Like Jason, Lanter also married in his twenties and is clearly very devoted to his wife. He'd probably play that role very well. I have no idea who would play Chloe, though for what it's worth, she looks the most like Demi Lovato or Selena Gomez.
When did you decide to become a writer?
When I learned where books come from! Someone laughed at me for taking my five year old son seriously about what he wants to do with the rest of his life, but the thing is, I knew what I wanted to be when I was five. I didn't know if I'd be able to accomplish it, but it's what I've wanted for as long as I can remember, and I have a very long memory. I can still describe my first day of preschool in detail; I was three.
How did you get your book published? How long did it take for you to get it published?
I got my first rejection letter for a novel when I was nineteen, and my first published book came out when I was thirty-two. I sold it to a small press called Covenant Communications and the book was released in 2008. It wasn't a great publishing relationship, though, and we parted ways after that. I had a couple of other chick lit/light romance novels sitting on my hard drive by then, though, so when indie publishing took off, I decided to take the plunge with those in 2011. I'd been sending Someone Else's Fairytale around to agents and editors for years and by then had a very clear message back from them. They liked the book, but they didn't see it as marketable, which is fair enough. I figured if I published it myself, I could keep costs down enough that it could be profitable for me, and so that's what I did. By then I'd been in a professional writer's group for over a decade, and had worked as a lawyer, so I knew a lot about publishing, contracts, distribution, and so on. I was able to make good use of that knowledge as I worked to get Fairytale off the ground, and it ended up being very profitable for me in the end.
Do you ever get writer's Block? If so, which book did you get the worst while writing?
Writer's block, I find, is a symptom of something in the book not working on a technical level, so whenever I get it, I have to go back to the drawing board. Recently I rewrote a novel I'd first written ten years ago, and I hit a lot of blocks along the way. In ten years, I'd just learned so much more about the craft that a lot of the basic setup of the book didn't work for me anymore, so I had to go back and re-outline the plot, and then I was finally able to write the book. It's a YA science fiction novel, so we'll see if it goes anywhere.
What is the average time for you to write a book?
About eight months, though it can take as little as five or as much as a year. It really depends on the book.
For your own reading, do you prefer kindle or paperback books?
I've moved around a lot in my life, so I prefer digital books because they aren't as heavy. Anyone who's moved knows how heavy a box of books is. I also like that when I'm reading on, say, an airplane, I can finish one book and go right on to another without having to carry all that extra weight. I do love paper books too, but I'm very selective about the ones I keep. Most of the books on my shelf are signed or are classics I want to make sure my kids read.
How are the covers made for you books?
Most of my covers are designed by Sarah Hansen. I've really loved the work she's done for me. My first cover designer was Jenn Reese of Tiger Bright Studios, who I highly recommend as well. If I end up self-publishing this science fiction novel, I am definitely using her (provided she can slot me in!) It's important to get a designer who knows your genre well; Sarah does a lot romance and new adult covers. Jenn is a science fiction author.
What advice would you give writer wannabes and future/young authors?
Learn the business of writing, and make sure you enjoy the work. There's a stereotype all professional artists have to face, that we basically lark around and do our hobby for a living and therefore it's easy, when the truth of it is, work is work. Even if you like writing, it is hard to make yourself write day in and day out. Loving it will make that bearable, even enjoyable some days, but not easy. A friend of mine does a lot of her writing in her local coffee shop and she points out that you can spot the wannabe writers there. They're the ones with the fancy notebooks and pens, or the laptops that they gaze at while casually sipping their lattes. She, on the other hand, is like any other working adult. She's writing, or rewriting, or has her head down while she replots a scene. She's there every day, rain or shine, and is there much longer than most of the others.
I write at least 2,000 words a day, and when I'm not typing, I'm plotting or blocking scenes. I don't watch movies for pleasure anymore, not because I don't want to, but because the more time I spend analyzing how good plots go together and what does and doesn't work about the story, the more I'll learn. People sometimes hate sitting next to me in the movie theater, though, because I'll mutter commentary the whole time. Books are much the same way. I wouldn't trade my job for anything, but it is a job, and I work harder at it than I ever worked at school or law, and I still make quite a bit less money than most people who have my same degrees and who are my age.
What do you do during your free time, how do you relax?
I like to sculpt polymer clay, and I think what I like about that is that I know enough about visual art to make stuff I like but not so much that I have any idea what I'm doing wrong. It's much easier for me to be happy with the finished product. My books are the best I could make them, but I can tell you all about all the mistakes I made when writing them. My favorite past time by far, though, is spending time with my family. My kids are still little, and I don't want to miss a second of my time with them.