Frequently Asked Questions
You have written books in several different genres. Do you have a particular favorite you like to write?
That’s a tough one. Although it’s more challenging, I’ve enjoyed writing suspense because it’s so important to raise the stakes in each chapter. As a writer, you really have to focus on action and dialogue to move the story along. However, I’ve gained a lot of satisfaction out of writing women’s fiction and literary fiction with more emotional content. Yeah, that’s a tough question. It’s like asking a mother which child she loves the most. We love them all equally.
You are a fairly prolific writer and write in multiple genres. Are you a prolific reader as well? What books would we see on your bookshelf?
The only reason I became a writer is because of my love for reading. Before I started writing I could not get enough of books. Just as I write in multiple genres, I read in multiple genres. Combing through a bookstore to find that next juicy story was one of my favorite things to do. I could not wait to experience a new perspective, a new life, a new world, through that next book. When people ask who my favorite writer is I stare at them like a deer in headlights. A few books on my shelf are: East of Eden, Outlander, Gone Girl, An Inconvenient Wife, Until Today, Apart From Love by Uvi Poznansky, Nora Robert’s books, and a plethora of writing books.
Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Most of my stories have unfolded very organically; no outline or chapter layout. Sometimes all I have is a strong sense of the characters’ personalities and maybe a few key scenes then I’ll build the story around that. That was not the case for this last book that I’m working on. After flailing about for weeks, starting and restarting, and getting nowhere fast, I finally realized that I was going to have to have a completely different approach. That’s when I sat down and did a basic outline. One thing I do consistently though, is to make a timeline. That way dates and events are in a visual and linear picture for me and that helps keep continuity issues to a minimum.
Do you have a method for creating your characters, and what do you think makes them believable?
My characters usually present themselves as whole beings, with pasts, grudges, quirks, fears, and strengths. Krista and Seth of His Salvation came to me in a dream. Their affection toward one another, that love and loyalty, based on a childhood friendship, was what came first. The story came the following day as the characters continued to reveal themselves to me. It’s funny, but it’s often the characters who write the books. I’ve had entire scenes laid out in my mind and then by the time its time to write it I realize that there is no way that character would behave that way and have to revise. That is one of the best parts of writing; discovering the story as you go. What makes the characters believable is their emotions and their reactions to any given situation. It’s like life; it’s not always the circumstance but the way in which we conduct ourselves that really makes an impact on our own path and even those around us. For me, this is revealed through engaging, solid dialogue. But what I really think makes a character believable is when you see all their little imperfections. I can’t stand to read a story that has the perfect guy and the perfect girl and they never make life-altering, decisions and mistakes. You can almost feel the author’s fear of crossing that boundary. Cross the boundary. Make the mistake. And then watch them learn from it, or not. That’s what I want to read.
Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Never in my life would I have ever imagined how good I would have to be at accepting rejection. I’ve sent out hundreds of query letters. I’m still without an agent. But honestly, as we are in the midst of a huge shift of dynamics within the industry, I can’t say that I’m upset about that. I’ve had great experiences thus far with the small presses I’ve worked with. From what I’ve seen, I’d be working just as hard with an agent as I am without one. I used to be devastated with every single rejection. It wasn’t until I’d heard the umpteenth story of a writer finally making it big after twelve years of rejection, that I finally realized this was how it was. It’s like a rite of passage.
Do you have any suggestions for writers just starting out?
Yes. I feel that anyone who wants to do this should really do their homework on how the industry works. By that I mean that they should have a full understanding of how much work they will need to put into the marketing and promotion aspect that is required in order to get your book into the hands of the reader. I had no idea and was frankly overwhelmed and even disheartened when I began to understand what all that entailed. It is work, work, work. That said, it's all worth it and once you put yourself out there you will meet a lot of incredible people, other writers, reviewers, agents, publishers, editors, etc.
What does writing mean to you?
Writing means tapping into that creative energy. It is an indescribable phenomenon that allows you to open your mind to the possibilities of telling a story that otherwise would have never been. Once you tap into that creativity, characters and settings and ideas come to life. As the words flow, that energy moves through you and you can feed off it. It is very satisfying.
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