Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a self published author who has released five full-length books, although I’ve written more. My first novel was historical spy fiction, then I wrote two historical mysteries involving a female ghost. The series I’m currently working on is a YA fantasy thriller about the threatened existence of a system of libraries where books can come to life. I’m a former television journalist, but I much prefer writing fiction over fact, that way, every story ends just the way I want it to.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is called “Third Chronicles of Illumination” and it continues the invasion of the libraries that started with the fifth adventure of the Library of Illumination series. The subtitle of the book is: “Games.” There are a few obvious competitions going on in the book including a new sport called Bullaroot, which I created just for the under-15-year-old residents of one of the worlds in the library system. There’s another competition on a different world to determine the ranks of women in their militia, but the biggest game is between my two protagonists, who love each other but are not necessarily adept at showing it.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I wouldn’t call it unusual. I write about several different worlds and while all the stories are interwoven, I strive to make sure each culture retains its individuality. I usually write in short scenes, so I may write several scenes all at once for one world, and then mix and match them with scenes I’ve written for the other worlds—to create my chapters. Writing several scenes at once helps with the continuity and keeps me in the mindset of one particular world until I’ve said what I need to say for that particular section of the book.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Charles Dickens and I share a birthday, and I’ve always been a fan of his writing, even if I felt some of it was a little dark. Like him, I’m an episodic writer. I’ve read Catherine Coulter’s entire FBI series and enjoy the way she integrates a love story in every one. And Mary Higgins Clark’s use of shorter scenes and chapters has influenced the way I format my fiction because I believe it adds tension and flow to the story. I also modeled my pen name after the “initial” authors: J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowlings, and George R. R. Martin.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on “Fourth Chronicles of Illumination,” which is the next book in the Library of Illumination series. I’m also working on the “Illumini Compendium,” which is a short companion book about the different worlds and cultures in the Library of Illumination system.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Groveling comes to mind when I contact bloggers who have written about my books in the past. I spend a lot of time researching promotional sites (like Awesome Gang) that list a book for a reasonable amount, or for free. Fiverr promotions work well for me. And then there’s paid advertising on AMS—Amazon Marketing Service. I combine them all. I also sign up for a virtual book tour for every new full-length book. And I have an email list of fans whom I write to four times a year to tell them about upcoming releases, or reduced prices or giveaways.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
If you want to be an author, read, read, read. I can’t understand why some people who hate to read want to write books. Reading familiarizes you with language usage, and the memes of writing in a particular genre. And it teaches authors about their competition, and shows them what has already been done. Not to mention, it can be inspiring.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I ever heard was not about the craft of writing but about the business of it. Roughly, it said, “don’t quit your day job.” But more specifically, the advice was to have your finances in order with no outstanding debt before giving up a regular paycheck to write full time.
What are you reading now?
I have about a dozen books written by indie writers on my Kindle app right now that I read when I work out on the treadmill. I especially love young adult fiction, time travel, fantasy, mystery, thrillers—the genres I write it.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I want to complete the Library of Illumination invasion trilogy, and then continue the series as one-off books. I ‘d love to return to my Evangeline’s Ghost series and continue with that. I only published the first book. The second book is written and needs to be edited. And the third book is fully outlined with tons of research, which is odd for me, because I’m what’s known as a “pantser,” which is someone who writes by “the seat of their pants.” So having a book fully plotted out is a rarity for me.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I’d cheat. I’d bring my Kindle e-reader, which is the size of a small book, yet could keep me entertained for years. I love to read. On average, I read two to three books a week, unless I get one I don’t like. Then the pace slows down. I will try to get through it because some books perk up after a while. But I will stop reading a book if I think it’s awful.