1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
My most productive time is when the inspiration strikes me. The second most productive time is when I make myself sit down and write something, whether I want to or not. There doesn’t seem to be a particular time of day.
I do have a routine that helps. I should be well-fed, have a candle lit, a steaming cup of tea on the warmer, and my earphones in with some kind of electronic music playing.
2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I usually prefer to do everything on the computer, though I do keep a notebook and sometimes I will jot down notes to sort or keep track of things that don’t yet have a place on the screen. I use a combination of MS Word, yWriter, and Evernote. (Though I am searching for a better alternative to Evernote.)
3: What do you draw inspiration from?
Anywhere I can. My biggest source is my dark subconscious, which comes pre-stocked with plenty of imagery, ideas, life experiences, and personality quirks. External sources, like art or music, are merely mirrors to show me what’s inside.
My latest story was based off of a music video back in 1997 that got inside my head and wouldn’t leave until I finished the first draft. A fantasy novel I’m working on started its life as a dream, and I built a whole story around that one dream-scene.
My favorite stories start out as free-writes. I will sit down, type out a weird sentence, and suddenly there is a character who is doing something interesting… what will she do next? I keep typing to find out.
4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
Yes. And often I set my goals too high. I’m generally good at meeting or beating word count goals, and the act of writing is so satisfying that anything more than 1000 words will leave me blissful, even if I miss my mark.
But my other goals are unrealistic, like “Get this published by next Monday”, or “Finish the cover design today”. I’m never satisfied with the outcomes, so I should be more gentle with myself.
5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
I am self-published.
For the cover of Make Willing the Prey, I had a simple concept I thought I could do by myself. The idea was an all-black background with a spider web and a rose bud. I’m not good with graphics software, so I quickly became frustrated. Then two of my teenagers offered to help. I made it a contest for them to do the cover design, and Betsy won with a beautiful sketch of a rose being held up by webs. Even though she hasn’t read the book, she captured what I wanted better than my original idea.
Once I had the art, layout came easily.
6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
The act of writing is the best part. When I get an idea and it’s flowing out onto the page, it’s so exciting. I love manipulating my world, and the imagery, and the characters (or are they manipulating me?) It’s the best feeling ever.
7: Do you own an ebook reading device?
No, but my girlfriend has a kindle and my fiancé owns an iPad. I have the kindle software installed on my desktop computer.
8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
My favorite authors include Madeleine L’Engle, Isaac Asimov, Douglas Adams, Orson Scott Card, Ray Bradbury, David Brin, William Gibson, Anne Rice, Greg Bear, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Ayn Rand, Jerry Oltion, and many others.
I also really enjoy reading non-fiction.
I am currently reading Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert.
9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I like the funny ones, like the one for Sense, Sensibility, and Sea Monsters.
Unless you can come up with something that is entertaining on its own, I don’t really see much point – if you can draw people to watch your trailer, why can’t you just draw them to your website or product page on Amazon?
10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
We have so few tools for marketing our self-published work, so I knew both the cover and title were very important. I wanted something that reflected the dichotomy of my book: fae and dreamlike, yet creepy and horrific. In the story, a stalker lures the main characters into his world, so I wanted something that captured all of this.
So I made a long list of words and phrases, and from there got a list of about 30 titles. Then I chose my favorite 12, and showed them to the people in my family who had helped with the final edits. They voted and we settled on Make Willing the Prey.
11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I’m working on a follow up to Make Willing the Prey. It was originally meant to stand on its own, but after the final rewrite, I grew attached to the characters. They went through a lot, and have a few traumas to work through. They may as well do it out in the open for the world to see, right?
It’s still in the conceptual phase, so I’m not sure if it will be a direct sequel, or just something set in the same world with some of the same characters.