Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a mother of two living in rural Ohio with my fiance. I read, I write and spend time with my family. I love nature, libraries, bookstores and horror. So far there’s only Eyes Like Blue Fire in print but I have several others in progress. One of them being the sequel.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Eyes Like Blue fire started life as one of the longest pieces I’d ever written as a teen all of 10-15 pages. I was not a happy kid (I know not many are in the teen years) and I spent a lot of my time dreaming about finding someone who could understand me on some level. At first a lot of it was about getting that feeling out of my system and sort of having a conversation with myself on that but over time it grew into something more.
I’d been reading a lot of books on writing at that point and I made myself start over. I knew it needed to be longer and that I would have to write everyday to keep myself focused. I wanted to be a writer and if I was going to do that I needed to learn how to do it well. In many ways ELBF was my learning novel but it was also a labor of love. Most importantly a companion when I needed it most. While at first it was about all those teenage emotions and early writer’s ideas eventually with time and sporadic edits it grew into something better, a sort of life lesson for myself.
I was in the habit of dwelling on that sadness, that feeling of being separate and alone. It persisted into my adulthood and even the relationship that would prove to be the one that was going to be the closest that reality gets to true love. I was very like Katja thinking only of the things that hurt me and not moving on. Well eventually Katja is faced with her future in the guise of Raven, her instincts are to run no matter how much he makes her feel but eventually she had to come back. Raven was in danger because of that past she dwelled on and because she ran. Well I had been doing the same thing. I dwelled and I ran and I hid from my chances at happiness in life even when Todd came to pull me out of that darkness I hid there because it was what I knew, what I expected. It was always going to be me that had to pull myself away from that sort of thinking and I was the only one that could make me stand up and fight for the future I deserved. It took me years to stop procrastinating about finishing ELBF and that was because it took me years to believe I was worth the effort. I had to learn the lesson to complete the novel.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really. I just put on some music that seems to set the tone and then I type away. I don’t want to convey that I can do that every time but that’s how it’s done when I have the ideal setting and time.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
A lot of the authors are going to be obvious like Anne Rice, Stephen King and Clive Barker but there are a lot of others too. I love Alice Borchardt her voice was so-I don’t know-clear and enchanting I guess would be the best way to put it. I also like Jennifer Weiner for the same reason, she has a gift for writing something that doesn’t seem like it takes any effort. Not because it’s light but because she does all the work for you, makes it so real you just eat it up. Gary Braunbeck would be the writer who taught me about giving your characters soul, his books are as much about the hearts of his characters as all of the strange things that happen to them. He gets tragedy and what it does.
What are you working on now?
For the moment my focus is on self-promotion mostly, but I’ll be getting back to my other books soon. Out of the five books I have in progress I think focusing on the apocalypse novel and/or the sequel to Eyes Like Blue Fire would make the most sense. The sequel will go to self pub since it’s predecessor has but I’m going to give Other Dangers (the apocalypse novel) a shot at being published through the usual means. It doesn’t have the crazy market difficulties that ELBF did being romantically influenced but largely horror ELBF had a hard time finding a home. Other Dangers is more clearly defined as horror. It has fantasy elements but I don’t think that will hurt it. The premise is that an author ends the world and then she tries to save it. There’s more to it than that but I don’t want to reveal too much. It’s about 3/4 done at the moment I think. As for Cool Green Waters (the ELBF sequel) it’s about half completed and focuses more on Zero and Michael as they try to help Katja resolve some of Anton’s unresolved past. There’s a lot of dark stuff in it, it’s a much darker book than ELBF which was (while dark) more about loneliness. I can’t say too much more without risking spoilers for those who haven’t gotten to read ELBF yet.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m honestly just starting on promotion but I find that Goodreads is one of the better sites to use for a lot of reasons. There are tons of resources in one place: giveaways (haven’t tried this yet but maybe down the road), groups, blogs, quotes, lists and best of all a real community of readers and authors who can communicate with each other. Without author groups I don’t think I’d have have found even half as many sources of promotion and ways to get your book reviewed. It’s also very satisfying to be able to see who added your book to their To Be Read shelf or better yet Currently Reading. You also have your reviews in one easy to navigate location.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Be Polite and Appreciate What You Get: Never behave rudely with readers or other authors or you’ll make a bad name for yourself just when you need a good reputation the most. This is doubly true of advice and offers of promotion. It’s fine to say no but do it kindly and make it clear you appreciate the offer. If an established author offers some help take them up! They’ve been where you are a thousand times and many of them are still fighting the same battles. When you get that advice show them you appreciate it and thank them as often as you can.
Read!: Please don’t be a writer who doesn’t read. It’s a thousand times harder to write when you don’t have tons of examples to draw from and no writer ever stops learning how to improve unless they stop reading. When you stop learning how to do something the skill begins to degrade. Your imagination and your mind need the tune up just like your car.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t Give Up: Try and try until you get some criticism you can improve your work with and then when you’ve fixed it up, try again.
Writing takes trial and error, courage, integrity and spirit. If you think a great imagination and an idea are all you need think again! You have to be able to get kicked in the gut and get right back up again.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading What Hides Within by Jason Parent. It’s an unusual novel and I’m just starting to get into the meat of the book. It’s horror and it goes a lot of places that you wouldn’t expect. Several character paths travel in parallel patterns and then crash into each other from times to time. It’s fun.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Well I hope Eyes Like Blue Fire will be selling well soon. Beyond that I think it’ll be about getting all of these novels finished up and either submitted or self-published over the next couple of years. I try not to plan so far ahead that I can’t keep up with the pace I’m setting so I’m taking it one step at a time.
What is your favorite book of all time?
I have quite a few favorites. Off the top of my head I’ll go with Stephen King’s The Stand.