Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a child of the Midwest and though it’s not considered “cool” to be okay with that, I am. Sure, I’d like to wake up every day to an ocean view, but I’m not interested in the hectic life on the coast. I prefer the slower world of rural America, where it sometimes takes a week to get something done. Maybe that’s why I’m slow at writing books. I’ve managed to publish roughly one a year, bringing the total of books in the Amaranthine vampire series up to six. Of course there’s also a short story collection, and the controversial “list book” 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Children of Shadows is the sixth book in the Amaranthine series, and will be available on March 15, 2014. The title was actually inspired by an online title generator who gave me one title with Children in it and another that had “Gate of Shadows”, so I combined the two.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I used to be a very linear writer, but now I’m more “timey-wimey”. I tend to hop around through the book adding, deleting, changing, and writing bits. Sometimes, by the final version, I can’t remember what order events actually ended up in.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
VC Andrews actually had a big impact on me when I was in junior high (the real VC Andrews, not the replacement writer who’s written 90% of the books). I loved the book My Sweet Audrina because there are all these normal things that VC Andrews manages to turn sinister, like the shelves of teddy bears in the “first” Audrina’s room. It’s the paralells and contrasts; all these things which should be sweet, but are evil instead.
What are you working on now?
I have started book 7 of the Amaranthine series (which currently needs a name!) and I’m working on a short story collection, Tales of the Executioners; short stories about members of the Executioner squad – the vampire’s elite police force. The first story, Aine, is available for free on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and several other sites.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I haven;t found a magic bullet yet. The best results I had as far as sales was when I ran a paid advertisement on a website (You gotta read, I think it was), but how many of those sales translated into people who actually READ the book and/or went on to buy the rest I don’t know. I do know that free books don’t work the way they used to on Amazon, though I have had success with free short stories on Barnes and Noble. the stories, vampire Morsels, are about secondary characters in the book series, so there is a connection to the novels, but they aren’t a *part* of the novels.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Edit. Then edit again. Then cut out at least 10,000 words and edit five more times. We love words, and we love to splatter a lot of them on a page, but wordy books don’t always make good ones. If I don;t cut out at least 12,000 words from my final book, I don’t feel like I’ve done my work.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don;t give up. It’s pretty much universal.
What are you reading now?
I just finished Escape from Harrizel By CGCoppola. It was an awesome, awesome book! I literally could not put it down, and in fact got behind on my own work because I took a day to read the last half in. It’s the first in a series, so now I have to wait for the second one.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I plan to turn out my little vampire stories until I die, get bored, or everyone else does. Whichever comes first. I’m also working on a comedy vampire story with Jonathan Harvey, the co-author of 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire. It’s going to be fun.
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?
Faun and the Woodcutter’s Daughter by B. L. Picard, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien,