It is so very nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
Thanks for having me, Eve. I was born in Phoenix and spent the next twenty years of my life moving all over the western U.S. My father was bipolar and had a bad case of wanderlust, so we never stayed anywhere for long. I went to twelves schools in twelve years, then went on to college and got my degree in journalism from Arizona State University. Now I really enjoy living in one place – Idaho! My favorite thing to do besides writing is sewing. I especially enjoy designing and constructing clothing.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I have been writing since I was a little girl, but didn’t consider it as a career choice until I was in college when I changed majors from accounting to journalism. I find inspiration everywhere. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll die with a handful of story ideas still unwritten in my head. Hopefully, I’ll have time to write the best ones!
Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?
My favorite author is M.M. Kaye, who wrote wonderful novels about nineteenth-century India such as The Far Pavillions, but also delightful mid-century murder mysteries like Death in Zanzibar and Death in Kenya. Her name is not well known, but she was a master at weaving history into her stories, creating realistic characters and building suspense that would literally get my heart pounding. And yet, she didn’t really see financial success as a writer until she was in her seventies, which reminds me to keep at it, no matter what.
If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
I am in the process of writing a trilogy for young adults. The first book, Stealing Liberty, was published by Clean Reads in 2017. It is about a group of teenagers who are locked in a re-education facility by a post-American government because their parents are deemed enemies of the state. While there, they discover a secret cache of books in tunnels under the school that tells them a different story than the one they learn in class. Then they learn the government has plans to sell the Liberty Bell… so they decide to steal it. The two sequels to Stealing Liberty are Weeping Justice, which I am writing now, and Chasing Freedom, which will round out the story.
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?
Yes. I love Jane Austen and have a story idea about one of her minor characters that I would love to write someday.
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
Shortly after I published my debut novel, Dream of Me, my sister called and asked me, “have you seen your review on Amazon?” I quickly logged on and found my first review. The reader gave it five stars, said she was “completely mesmerized” by the book and that she was amazed it was the first novel. I cried, of course. Having a complete stranger praise my work that way was the most amazing feeling!
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
Both? I definitely plot the major points ahead of time, but as far as what is going to happen to my characters in between, I am flying by the seat of my pants. My characters often respond to the crises they face in ways I don’t anticipate, which means I either have to work them back toward my outline or rewrite it! Sometimes my best writing comes from these acts of rebellion by my characters, so I just go with it.
Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?
Oscar Wilde said, “I was working on my poem all morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon, I put it back again.” I think that proves even the best of us struggle with the little beasts.
So… where can we get your books?
Barnes & Noble and iTunes
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I spend SO much time doing research. I majored in journalism at Arizona State, and learned that with both interviews and research, you generally want to use about 10 percent of what you learn, which, if said a different way, means you want to research ten times as much information as you will actually put in the story. I find it necessary, though. Hopefully it makes each story richer. The most research I ever did was for my second novel, A Place Between Breaths, which was set in Mexico’s Copper Canyon and revolved around a serial killer who believed he was the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca reincarnated. I spent so much time researching Mexico, the canyon system, the Raramuri people, Aztec legend and even the Aztec calendar. I also researched the FBI and the Mexican federal police, along with border issues, drug cartels, even the subway system in Mexico City! It was a lot of work, but I believe it paid off. Writer’s Digest gave A Place Between Breaths a perfect score in their 23rd annual self-published book competition in the very competitive genre fiction category.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Most of the time they are from my imagination, but sometimes someone real is my starting place. For example, in Stealing Liberty, Xoey began as my daughter and Sam began as my son. Physically they are similar to my kids and some of their broad characteristics are the same. It didn’t take long for Xoey and Sam to insist on their independence, though. By the time I finished the book, they were their own people.
Tell us about how you develop your characters?
Character development is very important to me. I feel like if I can get to know my characters thoroughly, then I don’t so much have to push them to do this or that. Instead, when something happens in my story, I simply have to ask myself, “what would he or she do in this situation?” One technique I use to develop characters is based on Multiple Intelligence Theory. MIT is the idea that there are eight types of intelligence: language, math/science, kinesthetics, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, music and nature and that everyone has strengths or weaknesses in these eight areas. I used this technique when I created characters for STEALING LIBERTY.
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