Where are you from?
Central Michigan, currently living in Mt. Pleasant.
Tell us your latest news?
Well, I’ve got my novel up on Amazon and my website set up and ready, so that’s the big thing. I was never a huge social media person before, but I’m getting accustomed to using it more.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve enjoyed writing since childhood, and I wrote a lot of unconnected scenes all through college for my own amusement, thinking that maybe one day I would start connecting them. I can’t really give much better a reason than that I wanted to.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was 5 or 6, I believe I had series of picture books concerning cats. Then I took a rather long hiatus.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I had the very basic idea for the premise for several years, and then one night, in December of 2012, with no motive except boredom and the vague idea of doing a late, unofficial Nanowrimo novel, I sat down and wrote what became the third chapter of The Foreigner.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not sure there is a specific writing style that I aspire to, but I have noticed that I tend towards a certain briskness and that, compared to a lot of what I read, I tend to stay a bit external to the characters (focusing on what they’re physically doing rather than what they’re feeling or thinking, and trying to convey the latter by way of the former).
How did you come up with the title?
I tried to think of something pithier and cleverer for the longest time, and I have a suspicion that one day, when I am very old, the perfect title will finally hit me. Ultimately, The Foreigner was the shortest and simplest way to say what I wanted in the title, so I went with that.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
First, I should clarify that I never write with the intent of lecturing readers about what they should do or changing their behavior in any way. That’s just not the part of writing that interests me. I’m not even judgmental about my characters. I’m telling a story, that’s all. That being said, there can be many layers and themes buried in any given story (don’t think your story has some kind of theme or hidden message? Read back over what you’ve written, you might be surprised). If I had to sum up The Foreigner, I would say that it is ultimately about a young woman who decides she would rather take the chance of becoming a monster than remain a victim. There’s also a running theme dealing with power of words-how words that are only slightly different can change the message’s meaning, and the transformation of the protagonist from a passive reader of narratives to a writer of them.
How much of the book is realistic?
I suppose that depends on just how much we’re willing to stretch the definition of “realism.” I do try to make everything I write “realistic” in the sense of feeling real—the situations may not be real, but they should seem like they would be if they were real.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think most writers bring something of their own lives into what they write, and I think they really should do this, even if it’s something subtle and not obvious to the reader. Obviously, The Foreigner is far from autobiographical (thank goodness), but there are certainly moments that resonate. For instance, I think that many of us, myself included, can relate to the scenes in the early part of the novel when Adeline is working as a tutor, knowing she can’t survive without her position, at everyone’s mercy and with no safe place to go.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I’m sure I’ll be leaving some out, but Michael Swanwick’s The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, and the novels of Victor Hugo have been huge influences. I should also cite several non-fictional history books, too. History itself can be a great inspiration for writing.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I remember being very influenced and encouraged by Hilary Mantel’s writing advice (She’s the author of A Place of Greater Safety, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies). She was one of the authors who told writers to write the book they want to read.
What book are you reading now?
The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, by Toby Wilkinson.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m absolutely certain that there are new authors who will grasp my interest. I can’t wait to find some time to read their work.
What are your current projects?
I’ve got several that I’m toying with at the moment, and whichever one shows the most potential first will likely be the next one anyone sees.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My editor, Julie Gilbert, has been extremely helpful and supportive ever since she agreed to take a look at my first draft.
Do you see writing as a career?
Given the success of best-selling authors, it’s inarguable that writing can be a career (keeping in mind that these stories are not the norm). I think it helps to treat writing with the same discipline and professionalism you would put into a career, while keeping the realities in mind. Short answer: keep a writing schedule and don’t quit your day job.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Oh, probably. I try not to worry too much about the content of a book after the book is done though. Now is the time to make changes to current projects, not past ones.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always loved books and stories, and it always seemed natural to make up stories of my own, even if they were just nonsensical things I told myself.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
As soon as I have something I’m sure will be included in my next project, I’ll post an excerpt on my website.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I tend to start out a story idea with scenes and images that are, at first, disconnected with each other. Then my job is to fit as many as these scenes as I can into a coherent narrative, and that, my friends, is the tricky part.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have several favorite authors, or to put it better, I have several favorite books that are written by different people. If I had to choose one thing they had in common, I would say that nothing is wasted in their books. Even the sections where there is no action or direct forward movement of the plot serve some purpose. The less I want to skip or feel like I could skip, the better. This does not mean that I don’t want any build-up, description, or sub-plots. Quite the opposite actually. I love these elements as long as it feels like the author really cared about them and wanted them in the book.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Who designed the covers?
My cover was designed by the fine folks at Ebook Launch
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Probably the organization of plot points, which I referred to above, and learning to simply write, trust my instincts, and then write some more rather than forcing the story to go in any one direction at first.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Many things, yes. One is that it really is a lot of work to write a book (which I already knew, but knowing is different than actually experiencing it first hand). Another thing that changed is I read differently now—I’ve started trying to think like the writer even when I read something, and I’m finding the man behind the curtain as fascinating as anything happening in front of it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m going to repeat what I say on my website, and what many other writers have said: For one, keep writing. It’s a bit like that old tabloid newspaper adage, “slander, slander, and something will stick. Keep writing, and you fill find something you can work with. Secondly, write the story you want to read and don’t waste time writing something in which you have no interest.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Yes. I want to thank my readers for their interest in my book. I hope we can continue this relationship in which I make things up and you enjoy reading them.
More From The Author: http://www. catscoffeeconspiracy.com/
Purchase The Foreigner @: https://www.amazon.com/dp/ B01MG59X3Y