Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I started writing as a teenager, and started self-publishing nearly two decades later after a brief hiatus to focus on my day job. As a child I hated creative writing but after reading a quote by an author, who said she wrote the book that she most wanted to read, it changed my perspective. Now I write the books I want to read, and it makes me so happy that I wanted to start sharing my stories with other bookworms.
I’ve self-published 5 books so far, but have written around 10 more novels in the past.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book, Flash Photography, was inspired by the cute guys I’ve met who tease and flirt and generally make me feel weak in the knees! I tried to convey that feeling of butterflies into this story. I have always loved stories about characters who hate each other and learn to love each other, and most of my stories, including this one, incorporate that trope.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not so unusual, but I always have a certain album/playlist associated with different books. I started out writing on an ancient Windows 95 laptop without internet access. All I could do was use the word processor, and listen to a CD – so that’s what I did! If I needed a break, I’d play Solitaire and listen to music until I was ready to return. Other than reading, it’s the only thing I could do! Now I’ve got full access to WiFi as well as a car and the city, but I still like to hole up on the couch with my laptop and my songs and write away.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
So many – Louisa May Alcott, the Babysitter’s Club Books (#33 is what made me fall in love with reading when I was six years old!), Meg Cabot, Katie Fforde, Jane Green, Madeleine L’Engle, Nancy Drew books, Sweet Valley High books, Jennifer Weiner, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Crusie, J.K. the Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Prydain, The Chronicles of Narnia, Jane Austen, Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickham…I’m sure I’m forgetting some more, but these are the books/authors I read over and over again
What are you working on now?
I’ve got four projects and only a week left before I go out of the country for a month to participate in a global health mission. I’ve got an erotic short, a romance novel, a book I wrote in 2009 that I’d like to adapt and publish now, and a book about mental illness at the top of my list right now – I haven’t decided which to work on first in my limited time! The erotic short and the already written novel would be the smartest use of my time, but I’m really excited about the romance I’ve got in mind, so we’ll see.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Booksprout has actually been unbelievably amazing – it gives me easy access to tons of enthusiastic ARC readers and I’ve built a following in a short amount of time. Even if it doesn’t (directly) contribute to sales, the reviews and feedback I get are so helpful. Other than that, I’m not sure what works – I’m use twitter, Google+, tumblr, Goodreads, my blog, Amazon ads, and a few paid promos – and I’m still collecting data!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write, read, write, read – you can take a class in creative writing, and I’m sure that might be more efficient, but learning by reading what you love and practicing writing is the more pleasant and organic way, at least to me. As mentioned, I try to write books that I want to read – so if I’m not loving it, I know I need to change it. Read books you love by authors you admire, read books you’d like to change, read your own work – and think critically about WHY you feel how you do about each piece. I’ve learned a lot of lessons by myself but this is the most important.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write the book that you most want to read.
What are you reading now?
I’m working my way through a certain famous bestselling erotic novel. I’ve also been obsessed with British romcoms (“chick lit” if you will) for years. I just discovered Kat French and read all of her books in like a week, and I’m trying to find other books that give me the same things that I loved in her works. Lastly, I’ve got a long list of literature I’d like to read, as well as non-fiction about medicine, and memoirs and collections of essays. My Kindle is chock-full!
What’s next for you as a writer?
My day job is about to get busier this spring, and then a LOT busier beginning in the summer. I’m hoping to write as much as I can so I have some momentum. That way I may find it easier to continue when I’m working 80+ hour weeks. Specifically, I’m going backpacking around Europe soon, and I want to use my experiences there to drive new stories!
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?
1. Bridget Jones’ Diary
2. Little Women
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
4. Taran Wanderer