Rae over at A New Look on Books asked me to to an interview and I can finally share it with you!
Tell us about your journey of becoming an author and publishing your first book. Any extra advice to fellow dreamers?
I wish my journey to being a published author was inspirational, something novelists told themselves to bolster their spirits as they were working toward publication. I spent years wanting to be an author, writing in my spare time, and thanks to National Novel Writing Month in 2010, finally writing what would become my first book. I half-heartedly revised Witch for Hire several times, but life marched on, and I abandoned the book.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that I started to get serious. At the time I was horribly depressed and was clinging to anything that I enjoyed. I went back to work on Witch for Hire. Over more than six long months I did the best editing I could, had a cover made, and figured out how to format an e-book.
The entire time I spent working on the book, I held onto the project with dogged determination, not letting anything get in my way. My fears and doubts didn’t matter any more. I didn’t care if I failed, so long as I tried. I knew, with absolute certainty, that I would regret never trying far more than I would regret failure.
January 11, 2014, I published Witch for Hire. I published it without telling my family because I didn’t believe the book would do well and I didn’t want to fail in the eyes of my loved ones. To my total shock, the book did well and in the spring of 2015, I quit my day job and started writing full time.
As for advice to fellow dreamers, I recommend finding a happier path to publication. Aside from that, you should find some likeminded friends, work on your craft, and you absolutely must read and write a lot. Odds are you’ll end up working two jobs to support yourself the one that pays bills and writing. It takes a huge amount of self-discipline to write after work, and on your weekend, instead of sleep, Star Wars, or friends. Along with the work ethic of a god, you’ll need an iron will, and the determination of a starving dog guarding a juicy bone.”
Looking on your website I see you have multiple writing projects at once. How do you manage to juggle all the characters, themes, and arcs for each project?
It isn’t easy, but after several years of working on my Witch’s Path Series, I wanted some variety and Fey Hearted wanted to be written. The story arcs are the easiest things to keep separate because Fey Hearted and its sequel are stories of personal growth, while the Witch’s Path Series is adventure based. In addition, the characters, worlds, and themes are distinct, which helps.
The Witch’s Path series is typically somewhat humorous, with magical absurdities, snark, and a strong connection to the world we live in. Fey Hearted is serious and thoughtful, focusing on themes of love, happiness, and consequences. The themes have helped shape the world and story into something very different from my other works.
The most confusing part is the creatures. Often when I dream up a new creature there’s the potential for it to go into either world depending on how it’s presented. I’m still working on that issue. Hopefully that aspect of the two worlds will clearly delineate while I’m writing the sequel to Fey Hearted.
Why focus on the fantasy/supernatural/science fiction genre?
Dragons! Unicorns! Magic! Things I always wished were real.
Wait, I should give a serious answer. Growing up I read so many novels with fantasy elements and I fell in love with the genre. Not only does it transport the reader to a wonderful new world, but it’s allows you to enjoy adventure without living through the hardships. Plus, many of the problems characters face in a fantasy world mirror ones each of us face in life. To me, that gives the reader a way to process a problem that they may struggle with in real life in a much less threatening way.
What is your favorite element of writing about the supernatural?
The ability to create anything. The only limits are my imagination and ability to convey the information to the reader.
How do you go about creating one of your characters?
It depends. Every character develops slightly differently. Some are created because of what the story or other characters need. I find my main characters usually shape the characters in the rest of the story. Michelle, my main character from the Witch’s Path Series, came to me in a dream. Rose, from Fey Hearted, was more a creation of the world. I really wanted someone different from Michelle, and who could still be fierce. When I started to develop the world, I realized that it wasn’t enough for her to be fierce. She needed to be strong enough to fight convention, live with harsh consequences, and be passionate about family and happiness. Rose developed into a much quieter character, which was more challenging to write, but well worth it because I found new ways to demonstrate her abilities.
Originally published at A New Look on Books June 11, 2016.