Click to read original interview at Wicked With Ink!
- What influenced you to write your first piece?
Originally it was reading that really influenced me, and my curiosity about the hidden sides of people. I read voraciously all my life, but at some point I started searching for more diversity in books, especially within the erotic realm. And then I started imagining how I would write the story if it was me, or daydreaming about writing characters I hadn’t read about yet. When I started the first scene of what would become ‘Sunday’ that was the turning point. I went from daydreaming to saying, ‘I will do this. I will write something and share it with people.’ And that was in part due to making big personal life changes, like joining the military, which got rid of my squeamishness about making choices for my characters and sharing my work.
- What’s your favorite genre to read?
I read pretty much everything, but I am drawn to stories that contain some form of romance or eroticism. Still, if it’s a good story I will read it. Maybe the only thing that stands out across genres is a strong female presence or voice somewhere in the story.
- What’s your favorite genre to write?
Anything with erotic elements. I like writing physicality or physical response, whether it’s a fight or a love scene. I don’t feel like those things, or emotional depth, are limited to any one type of story, which is why I get just as excited about writing a paranormal story as I do a contemporary one. It’s the characters and how they deal with their world that intrigue me, and that’s why I will write in every genre at some point.
- What do you do/how do you keep your creative muse happy?
I listen to a lot of music, watch movies/TV that inspires me. I don’t read as much as used to, but I’m doing that more. It doesn’t give me ideas, especially since I already have 5 or more waiting to be written at this point. But it does help me process different ways to express emotion or approach symbolism. That and getting out of the house, participating in things, laughing and talking with friends helps. Reminding yourself that the world is bigger than your head, that there are still new things to explore, can keep it from feeling like a scary prospect to spend the alone time needed to write.
- What are your writing goals for the next year?
Next year I would love to have at least two new books available. Specifically the second novel in my ‘Loose Ends’ series, which is the story of Gabriel Roberts, an up-and-coming musician, and Nicole Langley, his friend’s younger sister who becomes much more. The first book in the series should be out by the end of this year, barring any issues. Then there’s the first installment of my paranormal series, which follows a psychic girl who disappeared and is trying to piece together memories of her disappearance.
- What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Patricia Briggs’ ‘Iron Kissed’. I haven’t read anything paranormal in a while so I figured that was a decent place to start.
- How do you develop your writing ideas?
I start off with a sexual catalyst for contemporary erotic works usually. I envision a scene that pushes these two people together and start filling in the pieces. How does this catalyst unravel preconceived notions of a relationship? How does it push people together or tear people apart? From there I start crafting scenes and just let the characters talk to me, I let them tell me where they want to go so that there’s a bit of nuance and unpredictability to how they will respond to each other. For other genres, like horror or paranormal, I start with a scene that is atmospheric and makes you ask questions. But it’s always a matter of asking ‘who is this character, what do they want right this second?’
- What makes you unique as a writer?
I think it might be my male leads. I find them as much fun to write as the females and identify with them equally. It creates a balance for me. That and I don’t write interracial erotica that focuses heavily on racial divides. It’s not to say that it doesn’t exist and will never be broached in my work. That would be unrealistic and limiting, and I want to write about everything I can. But as of yet I haven’t written characters that find attraction to another race or culture strange, let alone problematic. That and I use the erotic scenes to further understanding of the characters. I don’t see sex as separate from plot and dialogue; I see it as a peek inside of the character’s psyche. It’s a conversation between their bodies, and an allegory for where the characters are in their relationship.
- Any advice for new writers?
Don’t give up on yourself. Read, write, and tell a story you’re excited about. Trust yourself. And if you don’t trust yourself, keep writing until you do. In order to do that you have to silence your doubt, that voice that tries to stop you by telling you all the things you’re afraid others will say. Don’t listen to the voice that tells you can’t, and that will leave room for the voice that will lead you towards completing your work and getting better.
- If you have written a series, was it a bigger commitment than you originally imagined? What made you decide to split your story, rather than writing it all at once?
I actually wrote my first book, ‘Sunday’, and my first series, ‘Gabriel/Loose Ends’, for Literotica, so I’m used to approaching writing from a place of incremental sharing, writing on the fly. I’d craft a chapter or chunk of the story, submit it and get feedback, almost like writing one little book at a time. I had no concept of crafting a series in a premeditated way; I’m just long-winded, lol. It was a big commitment though, to follow characters for that length of time and I didn’t expect it when I first sat down to write. The decision to split future stories up, like my paranormal series, was just instinctively knowing that world building, characters, plot and erotic elements wouldn’t all fit in one book.
- How has your success grown since the first work you published?
It’s been amazing! I’m not a New York Times Best Seller or anything, but I didn’t expect the response I received. I can’t even describe how thankful I am to my readers for their support and kind words. I think it’s really sharpened my desire to continue not just writing, but sharing my work. It’s made me hungry to improve and exceed what I’ve done.
- Do you prefer to write your stories with pen and paper, or type them out?
When outlining scenes, I like to write by hand in my writing journal. It keeps me from feeling like what I’m writing has to stick, or like I’m wasting my time because I’ve done all this typing but I’m not using any of it. Once I work out all the issues, I like to blare the music and type out the scenes. Writing by hand is me digging into my brain and uncovering what I want to say. Typing is me quieting everything but the impulse to tell the story.
- Describe your ideal writing space.
I’d love to have a home office, with a window facing out into a beautiful uninterrupted view. It would have all my books, everything I need to write. And maybe a comfy arm chair so I could read when I need to take a break from my own head. I don’t need much.