Where are you from? Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tell us your latest news? My very first book is out: Project S.K.I.E. It’s the first book in the series.
When and why did you begin writing? I started writing at the age of 7 and I still have all the stories I wrote back then, including a “book series” inspired by my younger sister Laurynn. I wrote to escape. I just loved to escape to my world and daydream about the fantastical worlds I would concoct. I also love giving other people a wondrous world to fall into.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? I would say college, even though back in high school I would write a full length novel like the next Harry Potter book and what I thought it would be, or some form of fanfiction. It helped me practice writing and I would get inspired by other writings, but in college when I was taking my creative writing courses at the University of Michigan, I was writing my very own original stories. I had stories from when I was a child, but those of course had so many grammatical errors and plot holes so I don’t consider those professional.
What inspired you to write your first book? Just my love for fantasy and sci-fi. I actually was first rewriting the series I started when I was 12, inspired by my sister, but then this idea struck me and I had to put that series on hold. I’ve always wanted to write a book and in some ways always have been during my practice in my classes and also in my spare time.
Do you have a specific writing style? Definitely. I think every author has a unique style. I would say mine is an introspective third person POV. I know some writers don’t like to put in a lot of detail. I on the other hand love detail, but I do have to be careful to leave some things to the imagination.
How did you come up with the title? So I actually started this series back in 10th grade and it was very different back then! It was titled Project X. But then later in life when I came around to it again and was completely revising the story line I realized that Project X sounded too cliche. So once my characters started coming alive and my world, including the advanced technology I made up, the title just easily came with it. I like to make up new words and names that have never been heard before and I wanted it to have an easy and compelling acronym. Once I found the acronym I wanted, SKIE, I researched words that described what I felt it was and then made up my own word to incorporate the use of the AI technology in my world.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Well, besides that illegal experiments are wrong, there’s no real message. I do hint at human errors like global warming and environmental pollution, but other than that it’s just about escaping to a fantastical world that’s more exciting than our own. Hopefully readers will come to love the world and the characters as I do.
How much of the book is realistic? Well, besides the scientific research I used as its base, such as genetic engineering, I’m going to say not much. That’s the whole point, right? That’s what makes it so exciting is that it’s not realistic; it’s a fantasy world. But it is something that I believe isn’t entirely impossible, at least some aspects.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? The experiences aren’t exactly based on people I know or my own life, but my characters have traits of people from my life. I will say the scientific research/studies in general is from my life. I have experience with scientific research through my previous job and through my dad who was an amazing and brilliant scientist out to find the cure for cancer and he wrote several articles of which I can’t understand a word.
What books have most influenced your life most? Well Harry Potter was definitely one of my favorites as well as the Resident Evil series. I have to be honest with you, I spent way more time writing than reading. I’m still in the search for other great books that really transport me to another place and I have some great events coming up where I get to meet some amazing authors so I can’t wait to read their books!
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? I would say J.K. Rowling. She came from a very humble background and the one thing she really had in spades was her imagination and that just changed her whole world. I think that’s such an inspiring situation.
What book are you reading now? Does my own count? Through the editing process I’ve had to read it so many times. I haven’t had much time to read between my job and editing and working on the next book, but I want to finish the Throne of Glass series. I haven’t started the next book and it’s been sitting in my room for months now. So I’d really like to get started on that.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Yes! Lots of authors that I have been in contact with recently as we are all attending the same writers’ event. I wouldn’t say they’re all “new” authors, but they’re just new to me like Jessica Cage and Stacey Rourke. There are lots of authors that I want to get to know more and learn about the books they write.
What are your current projects? Currently, I’m working on book 2 of the S.K.I.E. series. I also have another kids/young adult series that I put on hiatus to work on the S.K.I.E. series and it’s based off of the stories I wrote for my sister when I was 12. And of course more ideas pop into my head all the time. I want to write so many things but I’m trying to focus on one at a time.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. I would say my publishing company Grey Wolfe. They gave me a chance, encouraged me, and provided me a second home.
Do you see writing as a career? No, I don’t look at it as a career. It’s a hobby; a wonderful hobby that I’ve had since I was little that I’ve nurtured and will continue to nurture in my spare time. I have a career that pays the bills. Writing is for fun. If it starts to feel like a job, it doesn’t flow as easily and it loses some of its charm.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? After four edits back and forth I hope not! Since my first book has just been released it’s hard to say. That’s one of my fears but I feel like once you start writing more books and you look back on the older books, more ideas come to you later on that would have worked out well. But what’s great about the writing process is that as you write your characters help build the world and then as ideas flow you can incorporate more and more into the next books. I think we can always find imperfections in things. Nothing is going to be perfect. My first book was an amazing experience and it’s not one that I would ever change, no matter how much my writing improves in the future.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Yes. I was four years old and I wanted to write about a cat. I discovered even back then that even if I couldn’t have something, like an animal, I could invent one so I write about one. And that spawned many more stories as a kid that finally led to this series.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? The SKIE Series is a young adult sci-fi/fantasy series set in a futuristic world where AI technology capabilities are spreading like wildfire. Medicine and technology have changed drastically which makes room for fun gadgets. It’s a third person POV that follows Selie, my main heroine, along with some friends she meets along the way. Selie is starting up her first year of college and it doesn’t go as planned. She discovers that students have been going missing from various states and she soon becomes a victim herself. And it wouldn’t be a fantasy series without some supernatural abilities, right? I won’t spoil it but let’s just say Selie surpasses being an ordinary college student. It’s an adventure series with fantasy, sci-fi in the form of futuristic genetic engineering, AI technology and of course romance.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Yes! So genetic engineering is extremely complicated! Just doing the bit of research that I did to provide a stable base for my world was mind boggling. When you create a world you want it to be believable and sometimes you delve into things that you don’t know anything about and while it is fantasy and you can make up whatever you want, you still need a believable base to build off of.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? My favorite author I would say is J.K. Rowling just because I’ve read all the books and years ago even attempted to write what I thought the next books would be about. I think what strikes me about her work is that she took many different myths and legends and she created a solid world out of that with endless possibilities and characters.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I do have to travel some. I haven’t had to travel out of state thankfully but I do have to travel around Michigan. One of the events however is in my home town of Ann Arbor, which I’m thrilled about.
Who designed the covers? Renée Barratt from The Cover Counts.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? I think just being able to hone in all the ideas swimming in my head into one cohesive mass. Great ideas only flourish if they can lead from one to the other with elegance and mastery, which is why editors are so handy.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? Yes, I’ve learned that editing is an important but time consuming process.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Yes, be true to your own voice. Every author is unique. You don’t have to write exactly like other authors. And definitely don’t give up. Writing is a process and it takes practice and patience, but the great thing is that editors are there to help. So just believe in yourself and the passion you have for your writing. Also don’t be afraid of writer’s block. It happens to everyone. It happened to me for several years when I was working and going to school and my brain was just overloaded. You’ll get through it and find ways of tapping back into the writing juices.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? I want to say thanks for taking the time to read Project S.K.I.E. and I hope it’s a world you come to love and enjoy falling into.
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