Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Like the president, I wear a lot of hats. I’ve been an author, publisher, computer scientist, and teacher (believe it or not, there were a couple of years where I was doing all that at once!) My first novel, Robin: Lady of Legend (The Classic Adventures of the Girl Who Became Robin Hood), was a #1 Amazon Bestseller and 2nd prize winner in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award. I recently released a trilogy of short novels that merge the fairy tales Beauty and the Beast & Sleeping Beauty into a single story, and I am also the author of the Astounding Animals series for children.
I am a California Arts Scholar for excellence in Creative Writing, and possesses degrees in Computer Science and Education. I was a columnist for the Gold Country Times for two years, and the Sales Executive, Website Specialist, and Editorial Assistant for Manzanita Writers Press. In 2011, I started my own publishing company, Platypus Press, which is devoted to helping independent authors achieve success by providing quality formatting, editing, publishing, and website design services.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is Cursed: A Merged Fairy Tale of Beauty and the Beast & Sleeping Beauty (The Enchanted Rose Trilogy: Book 1). It is the first in a trilogy of short novels that weaves the tales of Beauty and the Beast & Sleeping Beauty into a single story.
I got the idea for this book from the rose that is featured in both tales, but its strength came from a desire to keep the romance of the original stories without simply gliding over the darker elements: abandonment, captivity, and true evil. I also wanted to provide an explanation for the parts of the original stories that never made sense: Why couldn’t the fairies undo the enchantment? Why send the girl away until the day the curse was fulfilled? How come the wicked fairy didn’t just kill the child to begin with? My trilogy does all that and more!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I do my best thinking in a car at night, if someone else is driving. I’ll stare out the window at the inky darkness and story lines and plot solutions will come to me like stars raining down from the sky. It’s pretty amazing.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
One book that I really loved as a child (and still love!) was Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure. It is about a girl who wants to be a knight in a world that doesn’t allow women to be one. To achieve her dream, she cuts off her hair and travels to the castle disguised as a boy. The book depicts her triumphs and struggles as she seeks to keep up with the naturally stronger lads, fight off bullies, and protect the kingdom from an evil mage. Like my own characters, Alanna is clever, adventurous, strong-willed, and resourceful. She doesn’t allow her gender to limit her ambitions or achievements, and neither do mine.
What are you working on now?
I have received so many requests for a sequel to Robin: Lady of Legend, that I have finally begun to write one. It will feature more adventures inspired by the classic tales of Robin Hood, as well as others of my own imagining.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I usually rely on Kindle Select’s promotional abilities, though I’m starting to investigate other options.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Writing a book is easy…writing a good book is hard. Don’t be afraid to edit your own work, and to have others edit it for you! Having to change something (or a lot of things) doesn’t mean your writing isn’t good…it just means it can be made better. For instance, I spend about 10% of my time writing and 90% editing what I’ve written. It’s annoying and painful, but the results can’t be argued with.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
You have to treat writing like a business. It’s not enough to just write, because anyone can do that. You have to be willing to be involved with all aspects of publishing: writing, editing, formatting, submission, advertising, etc. If not, you’re doing a great disservice to yourself to and your readers as well. (A DaVinci can’t be admired if no one knows about it.)
What are you reading now?
At the moment, I’m reading several books concurrently, including All the Dancing Birds (about a woman with Alzheimer’s).
What’s next for you as a writer?
I hope to continue writing books that my readers will love just as much as they have loved Robin: Lady of Legend, and that they will want to read to their children and grandchildren in the days and years to come.
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?
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Vulcan’s Heart by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz