Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m currently an Indie Writer and love to write weird fantasy, fantasy, and dark fantasy with bits of thrills and mystery. I also like to write some forms of horror fantasy as well. I’ve been writing since I was about seven, caught the writing bug from Roald Dahl, and have had a love/hate relationship with my process for a long time. I even quit writing a couple of times. About ten years ago, during a yoga class, I realized that I needed to get back to writing and find a way to reconcile what I didn’t like about the publishing industry. By this time, print on demand companies had already started up and I saw a way to go after what I wanted without relying on the yay or nay of publishers. To date, I’ve written and published two novels and two novelettes.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is called The Other Castle, the second volume in A Xiinisi Trilogy. It was in fact inspired by the first book in the trilogy, The Forgotten Gemstone, which was inspired by a phone call with my best friend. We’d chatted about how later in life sometimes you get away from yourself because of life events and how important it is to get back to yourself. The idea of a second, adult coming of age story stuck to me as I went about my business. Then one day I came across a couple pages of printed prose, a scene about a child god being punished for destroying a world she’d built, and I knew I had my foundation for the first story about a character “finding herself”.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Perhaps, but I can’t really gauge what’s weird and what’s normal anymore. I think I’m pretty boring compared to other writers I’ve met. I put my seat in the chair and I write, and when new words don’t come, I switch over to another part of the process–research, outlining, sketching, et al–to keep moving forward on a project.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Most of what I read influences me in one way or another, but the most profound shifts in my writing skill occurred after reading Roald Dahl, Stephen King, and Tanith Lee. Other overt influences include CS Lewis, Edgar Alan Poe, William Hope Hodgson, William Blake, HP Lovecraft, and some of the books I’ve read in the past that have left a lasting effect include Johnny Got His Gun, House of Leaves, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Grendel, Perfume, Interview with a Vampire, The Stand, Silence of the Lambs, and so many more. I’ve been unable to catch up with modern fiction. 🙁
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the final installment in A Xiinisi Trilogy. The third book follows the main character through the final stages of her learning who she truly is and undergoes a final transformation. Did I mention the main character is a trans-dimensional world builder who can manipulate energy and matter at a quantum level, which makes her a shape-shifter?
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I still feel incredibly new to the marketing and promotion side. The most effective way I’ve been able to promote myself and introduce my stories to the local writing community has been by vendoring at conventions. However, after four years of doing this, the cost to maintain this kind of promotion is no longer viable. Last year I started looking into the various ways of promoting online.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read and write. It’s really that simple. From reading fiction and non-fiction you’ll learn the mechanics of writing (both good and bad), you’ll learn how stories can be told and the different ways to create effective narrative; you’ll learn what’s been done to death; what you like and what you don’t like. From writing, you’ll get to practice what you’ve learned from reading as well as learn about yourself, which in turn will inform your writing process.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Most recently, I read a book on writing process called, Writing Into the Dark by Dean Wesley Smith. I immediately recognized that I write very similarly to him. His insight about his process helped me to better distinguish between the attributes of my Muse and my Inner Critic, which in turn made me more accepting of my Muse’s quirks. Oh, and it’s made me a faster writer, too.
What are you reading now?
I always have several books on the go (print, digital and audio), depending on which room of the house in and how my eyes feel and my mood. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of trades with other Indie authors, and I’m just getting around to reading a few. Currently, I’m reading The Red Ring by Jen Frankel and Shiv by Cameron S. Currie. I’m also reading Simon A. G. Spencer’s debut novel Soul, Light and Wings, which is published by Brain Lag Publishing. Also on the go: Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner, At Home With Monsters by Guillermo del Toro.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m looking forward to wrapping up the trilogy I’m working on by the summer and looking forward to focusing on shorter fiction for the rest of the year (short stories, novelettes, novellas) and doing as much promotion as I can before I return to a stand alone vampire novel I wrote last year during NaNoWriMo.
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?
When I was about ten, my grandfather gave me his edition of Alice and Wonderland/Alice Through the Looking Glass that he used at college, so I would definitely take that. And I’d take the entire series of Tanith Lee’s Tales from the Flat Earth series.