Where do you get your story inspirations?
A: Tough to say. Some life experiences, some dreams that I wish would happen to me, so I create them on the page. I think everyone lives with stories in their heads, though. Some people just find it more difficult to quiet the voices than others. When I'm brainstorming a story, I try to think of plots, characters, scenes, and situations that I would enjoy reading. Hopefully, it works well and the readers will have as much fun reading the stories as I do writing them. I do find that story ideas feed off of each other, especially when writing a series. While trying to think of one scene, another great one that has absolutely nothing to do with the story I'm working on, will pop into my head. I know that I have to stop right then and write that scene down so that I can file it away for future reference.
Where do you write? Do you have to have anything with you when you write?
A: My office is located in the garage of my home, and it is the perfect writing space. It's not a real room in the house so it seems like separate space, and I find that I am much less likely to be tempted to work from the couch in my slippers if I get up and go to my "office" to write.
As far as anything I have to have with me when I write—probably candles, especially pumpkin- scented candles. I'm obsessed. Last year, the company that makes my favorite pumpkin candle didn't release their best pumpkin scent. I was devastated. This year though, they brought it back. Needless to say, I stocked up...big time.
Do you have a favorite quote?
A: "It's the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important. People have forgotten this truth, but you mustn't forget it. You become responsible forever for what you've tamed." —The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I'm not sure if when taken out of context that this quote packs quite the same punch, but I assure you, it's amazing. If you haven't read this book, do it now. It's amazing, surprisingly deep, and it makes me cry every single time.
A: I feel like maybe I don't have quite enough life experience to get too wordy in the realm of advice, but I do know that you are the only person who can create the life you want for yourself. No matter how outlandish your dreams may seem, chances are somebody is going to do it, why shouldn't that person be you?
Tell me a little bit about your writing process. When do you find the time to write? Do you outline? Those kinds of things.
A: Finding the time to write is tough—even if you have free time. It requires such mental concentration that it's easy to come up with a dozen other tasks you think are more important at any given time than sitting down to write, but you just have to do it. Force yourself to sit down in front of the keyboard with no distractions, that's the only way it's going to happen.
As far as outlining—the answer is yes. Absolutely. I am an insane note taker and outliner. Before I sit down and write a story, I have every chapter outlined—beginning to end. I also have a giant storyboard where I pin up the plans I have for every chapter so that I can see the overall plan while I am writing. Granted, sometimes the characters take over and the plans change, but before I ever start, I have a very detailed game plan.
What's your writing schedule?
A: While I love writing, it isn't just a hobby. It's my job, and I treat it as a business. Every weekday, I start my hours early, and I work late (most weekends too). What a lot of people don't realize is how much "business" is involved with writing. Writers are constantly working on so many other things besides writing, and I know if I'm not careful, I can let the business stuff take up the whole day. I try and write first thing, taking a break every hour or so, just to refresh and allow my brain to take a little break. Once I've completed my writing for the day, then I deal with all of the business tasks.
Are your characters based on real people?
A: The short answer is yes. Not so much the men, as of yet anyway, but the women are inspired by little pieces of women in my own life. And if you were to ask my family, I feel sure they would tell you that more than a few of my own characteristics have found their way into a character or two from my stories.
Tell me five random things about yourself?
I am a Disney fanatic! Seriously, if I could live at Disney World...I would.
I am terribly and completely irrationally terrified of sharks. I live nowhere near the ocean, but I can genuinely freak myself out in the bathtub.
I'm completely in love with Gerard Butler (He's in love with me too—he just doesn't know it yet).
I am an expert at organization, often taking it to an extreme. Something I should really try to lay off of a little.
I play the piano. Not well, mind you, but it is one of my favorite ways to spend free time.
I'm a librarian and am interested in getting your books for our collection. Is there a way to get your books in our library?
A: Paperback copies can be ordered on my website or through Amazon.com. You can also now get eBook copies of my novels as well as lots of other novels from many great authors through a new site: eBooksAreForever.com.
A: The best way to stay up-to-date on my writing and other events is to sign up for my newsletter. Peruse the website for more information on books and upcoming releases, and visit my contact page to learn about how to find me on social media, or you can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.