Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Since I was a kid, I refused to sleep without a stack of books beside me. Now that I am older the stack has grown into the multiple bookshelves lining my walls that must frequently be rearranged to make space for just one more. I did not always know that I wanted to be a writer, but now I cannot imagine life any other way. I enjoy writing stories in all shapes and sizes, especially song lyrics, musicals, film scripts, and, above all, novels. So far, I have written about ten novels, three of which are published, but I almost always have an idea for another story simmering in the back of my mind.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is a contemporary YA novel called Silhouettes. It is about a girl who is killed in a car accident, but a part of her remains in this world. The idea of it was that I wanted her to see how her family and friends react to her death, and really explore the belief that we can all have an impact on others, no matter how young we are.
I am not entirely sure what the exact inspiration for the book was as it came to me very suddenly, but looking back at what was going on in my life then, I can understand why this story came when it did. It was over a few years when four families part of our wider community of friends buried children too young, all for different reasons. I think this book was my reaction to that terrible time, even though it does not directly represent any of those families. The book, however, is dedicated to those four.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really. I am a pretty disciplined and straightforward writer.
I do keep sticky notes and pens near my bed for all those great ideas that come just as I am about to fall asleep. Sometimes I write them in the dark, though, which makes them a bit difficult to decipher the next morning.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
There are books and authors that I like or admire or credit with greater impact than others, but I think every book I read influences me somehow. If I see things I like then I take notes and try to figure how to include those elements in my writing. If there are things that I did not like, then I take that as a note of caution.
What are you working on now?
At present, I am polishing up a work of YA historical fiction. This was something new for me as an author, because, while I have worked with non-fiction before, this was my first try at writing a novel bound by historical events. It is very different than writing fantasy where the rules of the world are mainly my own, and from contemporary, of course.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Still figuring that one out…
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read a lot, and pay attention to what you read. This is not about escape or entertainment for you, this is about learning your craft.
Which leads into, know thy craft and nothing in excess. There must be a reason for every word, scene, and character. Write with purpose.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I once told a writer that I was trying to be a writer, as well.
He told me that I am not trying to be a writer, I am a writer.
That mindset changes everything.
What are you reading now?
I am in between books, so I get to stare at my TBR shelf and decide what I am in the mood of next.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I hope to get back to a sort of light YA thriller that I began some time ago, but had to put aside because it was not really working. The time away was the best thing I could do for the story, as I think I have a much better handle on it now.
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?
Can I create 3 or 4 anthologies of all my favorite books?