2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?
I can spend hours getting lost in a book. But, I live in a family full of guys and they aren’t much for sitting around with a book. Off-road motorcycles rule in our house. I never thought I’d be someone who would do that kind of thing, but it was either learn to ride or get left behind, and I’m not fond of being left behind. So, most weekends when it’s not too hot or too cold, we’re usually out on some trail somewhere, riding motorcycles. I also adore snow skiing, but don’t get to do it as much as I’d like. We spend a lot of time camping at the lake in the summer. I also paint and draw, but finding time for it is always hard.
3. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.
I have written ever since I was a kid. I took a lot of writing intensive classes in high school and college, but I was never an English or Creative Writing major. I wanted to be a chef, so I followed that path for a while. After I finished going back to school and changing my career in 20005/2006, I finally had time to read some non-textbook and school assigned books. I was reading a certain YA series that was popular around that time and I remember thinking: I could totally do this. So, I wrote a “practice” book just to see if I could really write something from beginning to end. It was a cheesy story, but I proved I could start and complete something. Since then, I have written 8 novels. Most of them were just for the fun of it and will never see the light of day. I have also written and published a few short stories (writing short stories is like boot camp for your writing career). Midnight Burning was the first novel I thought stood a serious chance of being something “real”.
4. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?
My favorite genre to write and read is anything that falls in the “speculative fiction” category. For me, reading is all about the escapism, and nothing is more escapist than fantasy and science fiction. In those genres, absolutely anything is possible, and that’s an alluring and very freeing concept.
I try to be writing something, always. I intended from the start for Midnight Burning to be the beginning of a series. I have already finished the second book, and now I’m working on book three.
6. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?
I tend to be a “pantser” writer, meaning I just jump in and go for it. That’s probably not the most efficient way to write, but too much organization tends to kill my momentum. I like the anticipation of not knowing exactly what’s going to happen. However, writing that way often leads the story into a corner or dead end that’s hard to get out of. So, sometimes I’m forced to sit down and plot out the next few steps, but I keep it general and leave room for the characters to take it in an unexpected direction, if they want to.
7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
My strength, I hope, is originality of concept. Meaning, I think I’m pretty good at coming up with new ways to look at things. Midnight Burning relies on a lot of Norse mythology , which is old and frequently used in writing, but I think I’ve put a unique spin on it. My weakness is my lack of organization. I could write and finish things faster if I was better organized. But, like I said, that takes a lot of the fun out of it for me. I think it means I have to spend a lot more time editing, too, but that’s okay. I like editing.
8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?
Fortunately, Red Adept Publishing, my publisher, is excellent about fostering a mentorship community among it’s authors. The ones who’ve been around a lot longer than me, and who have published more books, are great about sharing advice and experience. From them I’ve learned the value of the book blogger/reviewer. Reviewers and bloggers are an amazing network, and they wield a great deal of influence. Respecting and utilizing that influence is my first priority. I also believe in being present and available on social media, but not using it as a tool to aggressively pursue your potential audience. The relationships an author develops with her readers needs to be genuine, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Patience and persistence is key. Most importantly, I plan to continue to publish. One book is a small drop in a big pond. The more books you have the bigger your drop grows.
9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
My mother once told me: There are a finite number of “no’s”. You have to use up all the “no’s” before you can get your “yes’s”. So, find your thick skin, put it on, and never take it off. The writing life is all about rejection, and you must learn to take it and shrug it off if you’re ever going to find your “yes’s”.