Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
The idea of writing children’s books came to me when my daughter started growing out of watching Sesame Street and Blues Clues. I started looking for fantasy/adventure stories with characters that looked like her and quickly realized that I couldn’t find any. At first I thought I wasn’t looking in the right places, but the more I looked the more I realized that they just weren’t out there. It was during that time that the first story concept started to develop. It was vague, but I wrote it down. At the time, I was working on producing and directing my first short film, so I didn’t give writing much thought.
The short film turned out well and I started turning the story concept into a TV series. When I got to the third episode, I realized the show wasn’t what I wanted to do; I realized I would rather be creating stories that I would love to have been able to read to my daughter.
I currently have three books published; Talee and the Fallen Object, Talee and the Fallen Object Coloring Book Adventure and Anyia, Dream of a Warrior.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Talee and the Fallen Object is very interesting to me. Her adventures are simple one-plot stories with very few characters and locations. There is something intriguing about that—although I do love epic stories. I’m currently working on the second book in the series; Talee and the Enchanted Flower.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
The process itself varies depending on the book. Since Talee and the Fallen Object started out as a coloring book, I always start her books with images. It helps to keep the story simple because the story must connect through a limited number of images. The one thing I have noticed that is consistent with the beginning of new stories is that I always begin with a character in mind. From there I work on the world. I sometimes will see a scene in my head and I can’t write it down fast enough. Sometimes a sentence from a character will come out of nowhere and I’ll write it down only to find out minutes later a scene has developed on page. Then other times I’ll write a rough draft of a chapter and then go back to build it up, finding the details and the action. I always have music playing in the background—soundtracks, specifically, so that really helps, especially if a song comes on that fits the mood of a scene I’m working. I can still hear my painting teacher say, “Paint to the music.”
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I think my biggest influence is movies. I’ve always been a reader but I’m not sure reading is what influenced what I write as much as movies. I see my stories play out in my head so I think I’m inspired by visual stories more which is why I also have started to illustrate my own books. They go hand in hand for me.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on Talee and the Enchanted Flower; the only thing left is the illustrations. The second book in the Anyia series as well as Ava Brooks, whom I think is a fun feisty character that people will love. And I’ll continue to work on more stories and more worlds for readers to enjoy.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m finding that attending festivals and events work well. I get to meet readers and take pictures of them standing by my character cut out which is great for social media. I also created an activity booklet that has promo of my books in the back. I give them out to parents and kids when they come up to my table and I’ve since seen my online sales go up. I also have the activity booklet available for free download on my site which helps to drive visitors to my site and we all know the more visitors we have the more e-newsletter signups we get which will ultimately be our best direct online marketing tool.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Adventure, curiosity and something magic! When I read, I want to be immersed in a world that can give me all three of those things, and I think that’s one of the things that inspires me to write and inspires people to read.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Don’t give up.”
Times will get hard, lonely and seem impossible but don’t give up. Every journey has hills and valleys and it’s those ups and downs that make-up your story so don’t give up. If it were all easy you wouldn’t know how to write characters who find a way to stand and make it through the impossible. So, don’t give up because you are the main character in your life and you can make it to your happy ending if you don’t give up.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently jumping between a variety of books Extropia by Robin Bootie, Epoch Shift by Jake Lingwall and Configured by Jenetta Penner
What’s next for you as a writer?
To keep writing, illustrating and creating one character and one world at a time. And to also create a puzzle for the Anyia series. I have puzzles for the Talee series which do well at events so puzzles are a really good product add on 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 don’t know. Can I just take an iPhone loaded with ebooks, movies and a solar battery?