First question, what do you like least about the writing process? What do you like best?
The hardest part of writing for me is when I’m just getting started with a new work in progress. It’s always frustrating to have a few pieces of a story, like pieces of a puzzle, but I haven’t figured out how to put the pieces together yet. Once I’ve figured that out, though, it seems like the rest of the story will come together fairly quickly. Getting to a point where I really know my main character, really understand them, is great because that does so much for the story as a whole. Sometimes I have to write quite a bit for that to happen, but it’s always worth the wait.
Tell us about your most recent release.
Bring on the Night is an urban fantasy novella about a vampire tasked with stopping a gang of monsters who’ve gone on a killing spree. They’re killing innocent people, something she abhors, and they’re attracting too much attention from mortals, something that could be dangerous for the world of vampires and other creatures. I’ve always loved those anti-heroes from noir, the tough guys on the fringe who believe in protecting society even though they are separate from it for whatever reason. I also love anything paranormal, so having a vampire as the main character just kind of happened naturally. I made my vampire a female because I get tired of gender stereotypes.
What genre do you prefer to write? Is there a genre you’d like to write in that you haven’t tried yet?
I really love urban fantasy because you can do so much with it. There’s all sorts of things that go bump in the night that you can craft stories around, and you can make those things either the good guys, or the bad guys, or both. At this point my vampires have been mostly good guys, but I’d like to write something eventually where they are full-on absolute monsters. As far as another genre, I’d like to try romance. It might be tricky for me to write a romance because I find a lot of the alpha male tropes a bit stale. How about a romance with a bookish, handsome nerd instead? And it’s the woman who is daring and worldly and seductive? I don’t know if anyone would want to read something like that, other than me. And yes, I have a thing about gender stereotypes. I like to flip them on their heads.
What do you like to read?
I love a lot of urban fantasy and some paranormal romance. Mystery novels, horror. I’ve got about a hundred books on music – history, criticism, biographies. If you want me to talk your ear off, ask me about music. I will tell you way more than you ever wanted to know, especially about Southern music - jazz, blues, country, rock and roll. As much as I love fiction, I’d have to say some of my favorite books are non-fiction about music.
Where do you see your writing career taking you?
To be honest, I don’t really have a career plan. I know that I should, but my priorities have changed. I guess most people who grow up dreaming of being a writer think about being on the New York Times bestseller list, getting a movie deal, making enough money to go live out your expatriate dreams in Ireland or maybe Spain. (That was a big dream of mine.) Now I care more about being good than being financially successful. I care more about being able to point to something I wrote and say, this is damn good, and I know it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get there but I’m going to keep working.
Do you ever use people you know as characters in your book?
I might borrow a characteristic or some little something but I’ve never based a character on someone I knew. I don’t think it’s a good idea to do that because what if they read it? The idea of people I know reading my work is strange enough without adding that into the mix.
What’s your favorite leisure activity? Why?
Does my obsession with music count as a leisure activity? It’s certainly something I enjoy. I live halfway between Memphis and Nashville and I’ve visited a lot of music-related places, both in Tennessee and Mississippi. I love discovering music that is new to me. I’m not sure why I love music so much, it’s just always been a part of who I am.
What are you working on now?
At the moment I’m having commitment issues. ;-) I’ve had a second novel contracted by Lyrical Press called Mojo Queen and I have ideas for a sequel for it. I’ve also got ideas about a romance with a sexy nerd and a female paranormal creature of some sort (haven’t picked a creature yet.) Neither of these ideas have gelled enough that I know what’s really going on in the story, if that makes sense.
Do you have an evil day job, and if you do, how do you find time to write?
No day job right now so I’m able to devote a good amount of time to writing.
What does your family and friends think about you being a published author?
My husband is very supportive of my writing. He enjoys reading what I write and he’s very proud of me for getting published.
Do you identify with the characters you write about?
I’m not sure how to answer that. I mean, I guess I must to some extent or I wouldn’t be writing them. It seems like I’ve always got at least one character that’s a music lover like me, which gives me a chance to work that in. And they’re usually outsiders to some degree, so I guess that comes from a lifetime of never quite fitting in. I’ve noticed that my outsider characters seem accepting of that status now – make of that what you will. ;-)
Where do you go when you need to recharge?
To the stereo. ;-) What kind of music helps depends on what kind of mood I’m in, though usually Miles Davis is always a winner.
When and why did you begin writing?
I think the oldest stories I have are from the second grade, and at thirteen I knew that I wanted to be an author. As for why I write, it’s like with the music – it’s just always been who I am. It’s not something I’ve ever tried to decipher. I’ve tried to figure out why I like urban fantasy and paranormal so much, and I think it has to do with metaphor. Monsters serve as a good metaphor for things I might not otherwise want to write about, at least not with my name attached.
Does reader’s feedback help you with your writing? Is feedback something that is very important to you?
I’ve never been part of a writer’s group or had a critique partner, so I’ve never had a whole lot of feedback. It never really bothered me until the last few years when I started to get serious about writing. I would love to have feedback and as scared as I am about getting my first reviews, I’m also looking forward to it. I want to know what I need to do better. Anyone that reads Bring on the Night is more than welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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