Where are you from? I live in West Michigan, been here all my life. The fact that I’m minutes from Lake Michigan makes up for the mosquitoes and arctic winters.
Tell us your latest news? Sahmara, my first fantasy novel, was recently released.
When and why did you begin writing? I’ve been writing for the past thirty-some years, but only seriously for the past eleven, which is when I’d finally wrote the end of my first novel. I started writing because I was a very quiet kid grown up and my teachers suggested it was a good way to express myself.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? When I finished that first novel, which was terrible by the way, but I’d finished something big and that’s what made the difference.
What inspired you to write your first book? I had written a short story about two kids who ended up in space during a tribute to the Challenger space shuttle, and while the story was awful, I liked the general idea of the characters so I decided to turn it into a book; which, coincidentally, was also awful. But eventually, after countless rewrites and years of editing, became Trust, which will be published by Caffeinated Press in the spring of 2017.
Do you have a specific writing style? I tend to be heavy on dialogue and be light on descriptions. I also like short punchy sentences.
How did you come up with the title? The majority of my titles come after the story. Once I’ve finished the first draft and the first pass of edits, I have a better overall view of the story and that’s when the title happens. Sahmara was my first title that came before the story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? In Sahmara, the gods tell Sahmara that her destiny was altered by their war and now she and they must make the best of the terrible things that happened and turn them into something good. I think that’s something we can all relate to in some way.
How much of the book is realistic? Sahmara takes place in a fantasy world and deals with warring gods, so other than the interactions of the human characters with one another, there’s not much realism.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? I don’t base any of my characters on any one specific person, but some situations and characteristics are based on either my own experiences or people I’ve interacted with. Those are pretty loose though.
What books have most influenced your life most? I’ve always loved Stephen Brust’s snarky character Vlad Taltos. It’s very much in line with my sense of humor. Orson Scott Card’s Ender series as well as many other of his books were a big part of my teen years. The Dune series got me through my early twenties.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? That’s tough choice. I suppose I’d have to go with Stephen Brust as his style most influenced mine.
What book are you reading now? I’m on Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, Book 8 of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I like big books and series.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? I happened upon Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick last year and fell in love with it. Snarky sword fighting fantasy characters seem to be as soft spot for me. As soon as I catch up on my towering to be read pile, his second book will be in front of my eyes.
What are your current projects? I’m waiting on edits of the first three books of The Narvan series, which are space opera. I’m currently writing Interface, which is YA science fiction. I’m hoping to wrap that one up this November. Next on the list is writing the middle of Not Another Bard’s Tale, which is a fantasy humor novel that’s been waiting impatiently on my hard drive.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. I’ve gotten great support through Critique Circle, an online writing/critiquing community. Learned lots, met many writers around the world, and found critique partners I can trust.
Do you see writing as a career? I don’t know as I’d enjoy it as much if it were a full time career. For me it’s more of a part time job and therapy session. I have a day job that pays the bills so there’s not as much pressure on the part time endeavors. I can experiment and not freak out when I get to the end of a project and realize it just doesn’t work.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I would have written the entire draft the first time instead of the beginning and end and leaving out most of the middle. It’s a daunting to dive back into an unfinished project years later, having to figure out where you were going with the story, continuing the style, and trying to get back into the mindset of characters. Not that leaving off the end is any better. Finish the draft.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? My fourth grade history teacher saw that I was a quiet kid encouraged me to write short stories. Most of them were about talking cars that went on adventures. I got my research off the back of tissue boxes that featured antique cars. I would slip her the stories with my regular homework and she would covertly hand them back with nice comments. I have no idea what happened to those stories, but I’ve been writing ever since.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? Excerpt is attached.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Descriptions. I often skip them entirely in my first draft and have to go back in and add it all later. I’m guilty of skimming those details when reading, especially food and clothing, so they’re not my favorite tidbits to write either.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? Anyone who follows my blog knows that Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books are my drug of choice. They’re fast paced paranormal romance following a continuing storyline, set in a world I enjoy visiting when my brain needs a short vacation from whatever project I’m working on. I don’t like to read the genre I’m currently writing, and as I’ve yet to venture into paranormal romance, her books are always an option.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I’ve crossed the state to attended events to promote my books, but that’s about the extent of my travels.
Who designed the covers? My husband designed the cover of Sahmara. My publisher did the cover for A Broken Race.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? Finishing that first draft. Everything after, the edits, even multiple rounds of them, was nothing compared to birthing the initial draft.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? As a once die hard pantser, I’ve learned even a smidge of planning comes in handy when the inspiration runs dry – which is usually somewhere in the dreaded middle.
Do you have any advice for other writers? While edits, submissions and even self-publishing have challenges, you have no hope of ever publishing a story you don’t finish.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Thank you for your support!
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