Okay, this seems self-serving, but I just filled out this author interview for a spotlight post next week, and thought some of the questions were interesting. And it gives me a venue to say, “Want to be interviewed? Let me know!” Seriously. I’m going to be traveling a lot in the next couple of months, and would love to preschedule author interviews and guest posts. An interview will look something like this, so if you’re willing, let’s do it!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a wife, mom, business owner, and I founded a non-profit to Uganda (and recently Andros, Bahamas) four years ago. I’m a 5th generation Floridian who is living in NC, so I try to get to the water as much as I can!
When did you start writing and what made you start?
I have always been “a writer” in that I journaled, taught classes for kids, did a lot of editing, and played around with words. I didn’t start writing novels until November 2011, when I did my first NaNoWriMo. That novel became Solomon’s Throne.
Tell us a little bit about your latest books.
The IXEOS Trilogy is a YA sci-fi dystopian adventure, with an alternate earth and humanoid aliens. I know, that’s quite a mouthful! In the story, teens from our Earth find themselves in the alternate earth, Ixeos, and enlisted in a rebellion to free the planet and its people from alien domination. The main theme of the story is that everyone has a purpose, and can choose whether or not to fulfill it.
Where did you come up with this idea?
It was a combination of an article in National Geographic magazine about the two hundred miles of tunnels under Paris, and a kayaking adventure I had with my daughter where a flock of ducks disappeared. For a few weeks, we’d text each other silly stories about “where the ducks went.” One day I texted that they went to the tunnels in Paris… And that was the beginning of the story!
Who did the cover art for your book?
Glendon Haddix at Streetlight Graphics. They’ve done all my covers, and are amazing to work with.
Did you learn anything about yourself or your writing while working on this book?
This book was different than my other novels, since I was thinking YA from the start. I enjoyed writing a little more casually, and have had fun with the dialogue. I didn’t start out to have a theme, really, but I really believe that everyone DOES have a purpose, so it was a natural expression of that belief.
Who do find to be a huge inspiration for your writing? And why is that?
I don’t really have a person or other author who is a huge inspiration. It’s more the love that I’ve had over the decades reading great books. I like books that entertain – I’m not a literary fiction aficionado – and that’s what I strive to write. Books that people read and enjoy, characters they like, and situations that offer excitement.
Which one of your characters would be the best to meet in real life?
Oh, that’s hard! As far as the most mysterious and interesting, that would be Landon, who brought the outsiders to Ixeos. But if you want a fun time, probably Marty is your best bet.
What are you reading right now?
I always have several things going! I’m reading Steve Berry’s The Tudor Plot on my Kindle, Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager on my iPad, The Heist by Janet Evanovich on my phone, and listening to Book 1 of Rick Riordan’s The Lost Heroes in my car!
Besides the genre you write, what genres do you like to read?
As you can see from the last question, I’m all over the place! I like books with adventure in them. That’s probably the unifying factor. Action adventure, YA adventure, mysteries, the occasional romance as long as there’s adventure. I actually don’t read a lot of sci-fi, but I love sci-fi in movies.
What is the most embarrassing mistake you’ve made as a writer?
When I first published Solomon’s Throne, it was full of typos and grammatical errors. I had edited until my eyes felt like they were going to pop out, but I had never edited a 90k+ book before, and my patience gave out before it should have. I have since republished it, but that was embarrassing! Now I spend a lot more time on editing.
If you had to pick one trait that makes you a better writer, what would it be?
I think stick-to-it-iveness, as my first boss used to call it. I write quickly, which is great, and I just keep going. A lot of great writers never become authors because they can’t finish their novel.
What is the one thing that seems to always get in the way of writing time?
Life! There’s always something going on, and I have to be creative sometimes to work around it. I did well from January until mid-February this year, when I went to Uganda for my non-profit. Since getting back, we’ve had 2 graduations, a milestone birthday, a wedding, remodeling, putting our house on the market, more remodeling, and the rest of life happen. I’ve learned to go with the flow, though. If I’ve had a long day, my creativity isn’t good, and I try never to write after dinner (I can’t sleep if I do!). I don’t beat myself up over a missed day.
When you are not writing, what are you doing?
I’m almost always editing something, and I have a writing related blog. As a long-time homeschool mom, summers are pretty sacred to me for family and beach time, so besides my daughter’s wedding in June, I’m taking it a bit easy. I’ve got 2 international work trips coming up in August and September, though, so I have to work some!
What is one of your favorite places to write?
We have a sunroom on our house that is surrounded by trees, with a creek running almost right next to it. That’s my favorite place.
What is one of your favorite places in the world?
Uganda, definitely! I’d move there in a heartbeat.
What is one thing about you most people find interesting (or unusual etc.)?
Most people think my starting a nonprofit and venturing out into Uganda without any outside “institutional” support is interesting. Or crazy. Depends on who you ask!
Are there any more projects you are currently working on? Do you know when we might get to see those?
I’m currently working on the final book in the IXEOS Trilogy, Darian’s War. It should be out in November.
What is your favorite quote?
It’s never too late to be what you might have been. George Elliot
What secrets would you share with aspiring authors?
My favorite writing motto is stolen from Nike: Just do it! So many people ask me how to be a writer, and an astonishing number haven’t actually written. Just write!
Name one author you’d love to meet and tell us why.
I’d love to meet CS Lewis, but obviously that’s not possible. The Chronicles of Narnia is probably my family’s most treasured series, other than Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. But a living author? Probably Janet Evanovich, because she is obviously having fun when she writes.
You’re throwing a fiction character party. What fictional characters would you like to invite (name and where they are from (book/TV/Movie/etc.) and why?
Oh boy, that would be awesome, wouldn’t it?? Okay… all the hobbit main characters from The Lord of the Rings (Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin). Reepicheep the mouse, from The Chronicles of Narnia. Stephanie Plum from the Janet Evanovich novels. Mma Ramotswe from Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Percy Jackson from Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus books. Jamie and Clair Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. And, of course, Aslan, from Narnia.
Yep, I’m a bestseller! (What???) And you can find all my books on Amazon!