- If you could work with any author who would it be?
I’ve never thought much about collaboration, but if I did it would be with someone who has skill sets I’d like to broach in my own work at some point. I’m very insular sometimes, I like character study, so I really admire those that can branch out and write sweeping stories with political intrigue and strong plot twists. Gillian Flynn is a favorite of mine. Jacqueline Carey has amazing scope in her fantasy works. CJ Roberts isn’t afraid to delve into taboo themes that take her characters all over the world. And Tiffany Reisz does the BDSM underground with a twist and a wink. I also like authors who aren’t afraid to go to dark places with their work, like Francette Phal. But really there’s just too many to name!
- Who is your favorite author and is you writing style similar to theirs?
I have a lot of favorites, it’s too hard to choose just one! I hope what I share in common with them is good, realistic dialogue and sensuality, this feeling that you’re right there with the characters as if it’s a movie and you’re the star. You feel what they feel whether it’s heartbreak or lust, and that drives you to turn the pages. My hope is that my work does that for the reader, that it allows them to be fully invested in the journey not just in the outcome.
- What’s your favorite part of a book?
I love when I’m reading and the desire to learn more outweighs the desire for sleep or food. When I start negotiating with myself about whether I can fit in just one more chapter, I’ve got a favorite on my hands. More specifically though, I love a really good emotional scene where the characters say everything you want them to realistically. Dialogue and sexy scenes are my faves.
- When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
I think in hindsight I gravitate towards names that can be turned into a nickname. I like strong last names, especially for my male characters. Like Cameron Flynn in Sunday. I think it’s sexy that he gets called Flynn all the time, and I thing it’s sweet when Gabriel in #1 Crush calls Nicole ‘Nic’. I put some effort into making sure that the names don’t sound repetitive, and if their culture or ethnicity plays a part I do research into that as well. But as far as choosing names for the characters during the initial writing process, I just meditate on it and let a good sounding name find me organically.
- Did you always want to write?
I always liked to write, but I didn’t always want to do it as a career. Like most of the things I love , I stumbled onto it by accident. If it’s artistic I’ve probably dabbled in it, that’s just how I’m wired. I wrote my first story at age 12, but it was a fluke. For the rest of my adolescence and through college I acted, wrote poems and songs. But when it came to writing stories I never finished anything unless it was an English class assignment. Then I took a creative writing class in college. I loved it because by then all that secret practice and all the reading I’d done had finally helped me hone my voice, which prepared me for finishing my stories and doing writing exercises. But I didn’t see it as a thing I wanted to do for a career until I finished my first book Sunday.
- What do they consider to be their best accomplishment?
So far, returning to writing and getting Sunday, The Fifth Day and #1 Crush published on my own terms has been the greatest accomplishment for me. I wrote all of these stories years ago, and after I finished the draft of the Loose Ends series I didn’t know if I would ever write again. Sunday had been published briefly by a bad start-up press, and then just as quickly they folded and I was left with the rights to Sunday and no clue what to do next. I joined the military not long after getting Sunday published and after getting the rights back for it, decided to post the first version of Loose Ends online. By that point #1 Crush had already been posted as a free read called Gabriel. People wanted to know what happened next and I wasn’t sure if I would get published again, so I decided not to make them wait to find out what happened. I finished Books 2 and 3 and posted as I went during an incredibly difficult time in my life. And when it was done I just caved in on myself artistically. I was on a completely different career path and didn’t write anything for 6 years. So I feel like the biggest accomplishment is that after that period of doubt and distance I bounced back and found my audience was still here for me, cheering me on. That’s the best thing that could have happened after so many years away and so many trials. Now I’m editing the rest of Loose Ends for publication and working on new material.
- If you could give advice to someone starting out what would you tell them?
1. Don’t let any particular day or project control how you feel about yourself as a writer. It’s a marathon, whether you’re an overnight sensation or slaving away for years in obscurity. If you feel crappy one day about your progress, your writing, your sales, whatever, don’t let that become a confirmation of your worst fears about yourself. Press on.
2. Write first, then edit. That voice that tells you “this sucks, you suck, quit now” before you even touch the keyboard isn’t doing you any favors when you’re just trying to get the scenes down on the page. Tell it to wait and then make it work for you when you edit later. You have a story to tell, so trust yourself to tell it.
3. Appreciate your feedback but try not to become a slave to it. Some will love your work; don’t rest on your laurels. Some will hate it; don’t internalize every bad comment. Find the middle ground, find the constructive criticism and put it in your arsenal. At the end of the day you’re the person who has to do the heavy lifting and live with the finished product. So make sure you’re writing the story that calls to you for the right reasons.
4. Take a break sometimes so that you can enjoy life outside of your head. You need to recharge your batteries and observe every once in a while. Soak in life, do stuff that scares you. Perspective really helps keep this from being torture.
5. Be kind to yourself and others.
6. Take everything that I say with a grain of salt. Some of this will work for you and some of it won’t. That’s fine though. Everyone has their own path, their own story, and there is no “right” way. There’s just the way that gets you to the finish line.
- Has social media helped you connect with fans?
It really has. I find that when you give people options on how to reach you it makes them a bit more open. Not everyone wants to write an email. Sometimes people don’t leave reviews to let you know they enjoyed your book but they loved it. And not every author is in a position to meet their readers face to face. One day that would be awesome, but for now I can honestly say that social media really helped me get my footing, helped people spread the word about my writing. If it weren’t for the groups and boards, and messages from these sweet people I’d probably be the only one that knew about my books, lol.
- When you started writing did you plan to use a pen name or not?
Well I started writing on Literotica under the name Tangledin You, lol. So yeah I definitely had the idea to use a penname. It was everything that came after, people commenting and sending me such sweet messages that was unexpected.
- If a fan would like to turn one of your series into a movie/television series; would you be up for this idea?
Oh, absolutely! When I’m writing I see the scenes playing out like it’s a film, so it would be great to see my work come to life onscreen! It’s actually pretty funny, even when I listen to music I’m directing little imaginary music videos in my head, constructing stories. So under the right circumstance I’d love for people to experience my work the way I do when I’m writing it.