Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I've been writing poems and short stories since I was in second grade. I've also kept journals and diaries on and off throughout my life. Writing has always been what I've used to express myself in one way or another. But I really began thinking of myself as an author and a writer about ten years ago. I took a few courses on writing for children and adults and I discovered that I could find time each day to write. After that, I committed myself to write a little bit every day and I've set goals for myself to complete different writing tasks. Now writing is a natural part of my day and life.
What makes writing your passion?
I love the creative aspect of writing - creating characters and a world where lives interact, deciding how they'll approach problems or challenges, and adding mystery and suspense within the story. I also love the thought that a reader might actually connect with the characters, setting, or plot in my story and maybe even take away something meaningful or important. Writing is therapeutic for me as well. As soon as the pen is in my hand or my fingers are tapping the keys, I immediately escape.
How long have you been writing?
I've always loved to write and have done so since I was a child, but I've become serious about sharing my writing with others in only the last ten years.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I was ECSTATIC! The feeling of accomplishment in taking a simple idea all the way through to publication was an overwhelming feeling of joy. Seeing my book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and actually holding my book in my hands was so incredible. I'll never forget it.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
Since I like to read about characters who are layered and flawed, I tend to write about these kinds of characters as well. I find that characters who have inner conflicts that they're trying to overcome, something in their past that might come back to haunt them, or something they're trying to deal with in addition to the problem(s) within the plot are the most interesting characters to read about. In my opinion, these kinds of characters add depth to the story. I like characters to have learned/grown in the end, even if the ending isn't perfect.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
That there are SO many choices and not knowing exactly what I should do next. I'd love to have a writing coach! Being my own boss is great but it can also be overwhelming and time-consuming to do the research behind every decision that has to do with writing and publishing a book. However, I have learned a lot - definitely more than I would have had I traditionally published.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
That's a good question. Usually, music inspires me. If I'm writing a suspenseful scene or a serious scene or even a romantic scene and I'm feeling stuck I'll listen to music in that genre - sometimes the lyrics or just the tone of the music helps me breakthrough. Other times I'll do some yoga or I'll take a little break for a half hour and then try again.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Here is some advice:
*Don't give up ever.
*Writing a little bit every day will accomplish a lot in the end.
*Connect with other writers and don't be afraid to share your work. It's the best way to grow as a writer.
*Make a goal for yourself - what do you want to accomplish in a week? A month? A. year? Make a plan and follow it.
*Find someone who can hold you accountable.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would say start writing now when you're young. Pull those stories out and show them to people and ask for their honest opinions. Start your writing career now.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes, I do read them. I feel a little disappointed at first but then I remind myself not to take the bad ones personally. Not everyone is going to love my book. I don't love all of the books I read either. It's okay if it doesn't connect with a couple of people, thankfully the majority of them are good.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I love it! I enjoy reading why a reader loved reading my book or how it made them feel. It makes me feel so good and motivates me to keep going!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes - my stories often have some aspect of real things that have happened to me or to people I'm close to. I might incorporate the personality of someone I know within a character in my story or an actual event that happened. Doing this allows the event or character in my story to be more real and believable. I find that I can dig deeper and my writing is stronger.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I can compare parts of myself with my main character and also with her mother. I didn't base those characters on me specifically, but parts of my memories and experiences are within those characters.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I think the book cover is just as important as the book but for different reasons. The book cover must reflect the most important aspects of the story - the heart of it. It must also be appealing to readers in that genre. The cover is the first thing that readers see and it will either pull them in to want to see more or they will go right by it. So a cover is extremely important to the book.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love connecting with my readers and welcome that connection through a chat or whichever is easiest for them. At times we've connected through Facebook Messenger or email as well.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I mostly feel grateful. Even though I don't feel comfortable being the center of attention. I'm very grateful for the recognition.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
That's a tough one. I have many favorite authors for different reasons. Shari Lapena, Ruth Ware, Janelle Brown, Kate Morton, Tana French. The reasons are varied - I love the atmospheric writing of Janelle Brown, the element of suspense that Shari Lapena provides, the twists and turns of Tana French, and everything in between.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Tana French - that would be amazing.