My motivation for writing the books: I have always loved stories—reading, watching, and creating them.
And, most of all, getting to know the characters. Aurelia first
introduced herself to me several years ago on a yellow notepad and
began complaining about being stuck at a boring party with an itching
ankle. I probably chose to write her story first because she was the
most demanding. All of my characters have their own lives to lead, and
I am extremely fortunate that they let me in, with the provision that I
honestly tell their side of things.
How long does writing one of my books take: Quite
a while. I’m not sure when I began most of my stories. I remember the
experience, but typically I have scribbled down the opening pages,
imagined the rest of the story in my head, and left the characters
languishing in notebooks for years prior to tackling a complete first
draft. I pledge to do better, but we shall see. In general, I would say
the process of that first full draft through the final copyedited
revision takes about three years.
What surprises me the most about the process of writing: How sneaky the villains are. In Aurelia, the villain changed. I did not realize who was the real villain until the fourth revision of the book. In Academy 7, two of the villains introduced themselves as main characters. Very duplicitous.
What is Aurelia about: It is a young adult fantasy about a princess who should not be a princess. Think Cinderella inside out, and with an assassination plot. See my About Aurelia page to learn more.
What is Exile about: It is the continuation of Aurelia and Robert's story! See my About Exile page to learn more.
What is Redemption about: The—dare I say epic—conclusion of Aurelia and Robert's trilogy. See my About Redemption page to learn more.
When does Redemption go on sale: October 17, 2016
What is Academy 7 about:
It is a young adult science fantasy about two teens who risk everything
to attend the most prestigious school in the universe. See my About Academy 7 page to learn more.
What is Salvation: Salvation
is a young adult contemporary novel about Salva (Salvador Resendez), a
young man who doesn't want to be everyone's salvation, and Beth, the
walking disaster area. See my About Salvation page to learn more.
Where and how to purchase the books: See the Perfect Places to Purchase My Books page.
Possible sequels: Aurelia, Robert, and I are thrilled to say that their trilogy is now complete, with book two, Exile, and book three, Redemption! I would love to write still more about Aerin and Dane!
What is it like working with an editor: I
have been blessed to work with Angelle Pilkington and Kristin Gilson,
both editors who have provided wonderful insight for bringing the
characters in my stories to life. Aurelia, Robert, and I are so blessed to have had Angelle's creative support throughout their entire trilogy.
What is it like working for Penguin: They’ve been very supportive. The covers of all the books are gorgeous! They put Aurelia
on the back cover of their spring catalogue and released it in larger
numbers than normal for a first time author. I hope the readers like my
books as much as they do!
What are your goals for your books: I hope people read them and fall in love with the characters and want to read them again and again.
What are your goals for the future: I
would like to support the literary community as much as possible. I'm
presenting community workshops and visiting schools, libraries, and
bookstores (guest speaking page). Mainly, though, I
want to write and share all the other stories that are in my head.
What events do you have coming up: See my event schedule.
Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers: Write
the stories you love! Choose the one that is the most demanding, the
one that refuses to leave your head, and write that one first. Then the
next and the next and the next!
How do you deal with writer's block: I
have far more ideas than I have time to write about them. That said,
when I am working my way through a manuscript, it isn't always fun or
inspiring. I deal with the tougher sections in three main ways: 1. I
have a scheduled time for writing, and I make myself stick with it.
Generally, once I sit down, the section I have been worrying about
works itself out. 2. I write down the questions I have been struggling
with. I find that once I actually make myself write them down, I often
know the answers. 3. I try researching about the topic with which I'm
struggling. An hour or so on the internet or reading the encyclopedia
can give me all kinds of ideas I did not know were available.
How did you become published and do you have any tips for writers who would like to become published: First
I committed myself to finishing a book that could actually be
published. Aurelia volunteered for the position. Then I committed the
time to completing the manuscript and learning as much as I could about
the submission process. I have created a Submission & Publishing Tips page based on my personal experience which I hope is helpful.
There are many wonderful writing organizations that offer workshops,
classes, and retreats for aspiring writers. See my Friends and Writing Resources page.
Who would you like to thank for helping you accomplish your goal: My
parents who let me live in their basement while I was revising full
time. My critique group members and other proofreaders who read my
drafts and gave me suggestions as well as support. Maria Patla and Dawn Sheirbon for my website design. My first editor,
Angelle Pilkington, who decided to take a huge chance on a princess who
should not be a princess and an author who has never been very good at
staying inside the box. My second editor, Kristin Gilson, for stepping in to help polish Academy 7 and to edit Salvation.
Michael Frost, Linda McCarthy, Theresa Evangelista, and Maria Patla for their absolutely breathtaking covers. And all the readers, students, friends, librarians, teachers, co-workers, parents, and bookstore workers who
have been so supportive on this crazy learning curve!