Q & A

Q & A 2017-09-27T15:46:02+00:00

Q:

Where do you get your story inspirations?

A:
Small little pieces of my life find their way into every book, but most of the ideas just come to mind at random times throughout my day. Sometimes, I dream a scene for a book, other times I’ll be in the middle of working on something totally unrelated to my writing and an idea will show up that feels so right that I have to stop whatever I’m doing and write down the scene idea right then so it doesn’t leave me. The “notes” app on my iPhone gets a lot of use. When I’m out and about and an idea comes to mind, I can just whip out my phone and make a note for later.


Q:

How historically accurate are your stories? Do you write about real clans or castles? Are any of the story locations real places in Scotland that I can visit?

A:
Short answer – they’re not – like at all. While as a reader, I love a good, true, historical fiction novel, it’s just not where my heart lies as a writer. I write stories that are driven by characters and storylines. They are intended to help you escape into a different world for a little while, not to reimagine anything that actually happened from another time. If I felt pressured to check my plotlines for historical accuracy, I’d never get another page written. My passion lies in creating compelling characters and really great love stories – it’s where I wish to devote my time building new stories.

While some of the clan names used were/are real Scottish clans, the histories in my stories won’t line up with what actually happened to these clans. It’s best to think of all of them as imaginary.

Finally, as for story locations, while I’ve changed the names, I did actually draw from some real Scottish castles for inspiration. For example, Conall Castle (the book that’s on all of the Morna’s Legacy covers) is actually Inveraray Castle in Inveraray, Scotland. It’s beautiful and open to visitors most of the year. Definitely check it out if you’re ever in Scotland. In addition, McMillan Castle is loosely based on Cawdor Castle, which is just a short drive outside of Inverness – the grounds of the castle are some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It is certainly worth a visit, as well.


Q:

Where do you write? Do you have any special routines/items that help bring inspiration?

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 a separate space, and I find that I’m 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 routines and items, I make a nice cup of tea and then sit down to meditate before each and every writing session. It helps to quiet my mind and allows the story to flow. I also keep a diffuser on my desk and use it when writing – my favorite combination is peppermint and orange. It’s a bright and happy scent, and the peppermint helps with alertness.


Q:

Do you have a favorite book?

A:
There are so many books that I just absolutely adore, and I am definitely one of those people who can read the same book over and over again. If I had to pick an all-time favorite, it would be “The Little Prince,” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It’s a children’s book, but not really. The lessons inside are totally meant for adults.


Q:

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 it’s what you do full-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. The only way to get a book finished is just to force yourself to sit down in front of the keyboard with no distractions – that’s the only thing that has ever worked for me.

As for outlining—the answer is yes. Absolutely. I’m 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 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.


Q:

What are a few random facts about yourself?

A:
1. I’m a very serious Disney fan and am a total pro at planning the perfect Disney World vacay. In fact, I worked for Disney for a semester during college and I loved every minute. The experience I gained working for one of the best companies in the world and the friends that I made during my time there made it the experience of a lifetime. Knowing that for a short period of time, I got to be a part of the magic is something I will always treasure.

2. I have a terrible and completely irrational fear of sharks. I live hundreds of miles away from the ocean, but I can genuinely freak myself out in the bathtub.

3. My favorite thing to do when I’m not writing or spending time with friends and family is to play the piano. I’m not very good at it, but it truly is one of my most beloved pass times.

4. I dropped out of college with one semester left to pursue writing full-time. It sounds crazy, I know, but it was absolutely the best decision I ever made. Having no backup plan gave me no option but to succeed.


Q:

I’m a writer who is thinking about self-publishing my work. Do you have any words of advice?

A:
Learn everything you can about the business and always make sure that everything you present to the world: your book, your cover, your website, etc. is professional and represents your brand.
Also, make sure that the writing is always your main focus. There’s nothing to publish, no business to grow, if you don’t have any books. Always, always, always, put the books first.

Finally, if you’d like more guidance on self-publishing, please visit my other site: www.masteringselfpublishing.com to explore lots of helpful resources and online courses on the subject.


Q:

My book club is reading one of your books and would love for you to speak to our group. Is this something you do?

A:
Absolutely! If time or distance doesn’t allow me to travel to your location, I would be happy to set up a conference call with your group. If you’re interested setting something up, please visit the Contact page of my site and fill out the form. Someone will be in touch with you shortly.


Q:

I’m an event planner/coordinator for a writer group or organization and we are interested in having you come speak. How can I get more info?

A:
I love traveling and speaking to fellow writers. For more information on speaking topics, pricing, etc., please visit the Contact page of my site and fill out the form. I will be in touch with you shorty.


Q:

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 and hardback copies can be ordered through my website or through Amazon.com.


Q:

What is the best way to contact you?

A:
The best way to stay up-to-date on my writing and other events is to sign up for my newsletter and to follow me on social media. You can also visit my contact page if you would like to send me a message.