Now that I’ve done a few author interviews, I thought it would be only fair to answer my own questions myself. So this week you get to learn a little more about me!
1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.
I live with my husband, two boys, and one country cat who shows his love by jumping out of the bushes and attacking my legs. I bake oddly shaped bread and almost always forget the dough at some point in the process. I volunteer for my church in any capacity that doesn’t require standing on a stage. And I watch a lot of Jane Austen and Disney princess movies to make up for all the testosterone tromping around my house. If you ever catch me humming, you’ll have to tell me, cause I almost never realize I’m doing it.
You As A Reader
2. When did you first fall in love with books?
My earliest memory of books is my mom reading The Chronicles of Narnia to me and my siblings at bedtime. The moment I truly fell in love with books, though, is when I asked my mom for a recommendation in Jr. High and she handed me The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. I’ve been in love with books ever since.
3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?
Aside from The Blue Sword, which is still one of my favorites, I most remember the Little Critter books and the Henry And Mudge books. I love how simple they are, even for picture books. There aren’t any heavy themes or lessons to wade through, just fun stories about some fun kids. And who doesn’t love St. Bernards?
4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?
Second to the Bible, I would say The Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce had the biggest impact on me. Alanna is such a brave, determined girl and I was able to fight through many difficult moments because of her example. I still channel her courage sometimes, when life is especially tough.
5. What’s the last book you read and your current favorite?
I just finished reading Six Of Crows by Leah Bardugo and I’m in awe of her plotting skills. I hope to someday be capable of writing that well. As for current favorite, I recently fell in love with An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Laia is exactly the kind of YA heroine I’ve been waiting so long to find. As great a role model as Alanna was and is, I always wished I could read about a heroine who wasn’t naturally brave or courageous. So many strong YA heroines are the kind of girls who act first and think later, who put their neck out for the ones they love even if their necks aren’t long enough. There’s nothing wrong with those kind of heroines, but it was nice to be able to experience learning how to step up and be brave with Laia. We wouldn’t have the phrase ‘fight or flight’ if there weren’t fliers. But the fliers need heroines to help them learn how to be fighters instead of just showing them how to fight.
Sorry, I’m a bit passionate about this book.
6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?
I would love to meet JRR Tolkien. I know, original, but I’ve been reading the book The Letters Of JRR Tolkien and he sounds like he could hold his own in this century just as well as in his own. I mean, what fantasy writer wouldn’t want to chat with the godfather of fantasy who spoke of his writing as a “silly fairy language” that he just couldn’t leave alone?
You As A Writer
7. When did you first know you were a writer?
My junior year of high school I took a brave leap and signed up for a Writers Workshop class. That was the first time I realized how much writing helps me process my emotions. I’d always focused on music before then because it’s what I knew. It was the easiest road. But the first time I put a piece of myself into words, a crack shot through the dam holding back all my stories. Over time, more and more words dribbled out, until a few years ago I decided to put all my effort into becoming a working writer and busted that dam wide open. Now I couldn’t build that wall back up even if I wanted to.
8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? If so, what was it about?
Yikes, I don’t remember much, but I know it had something to do with horses. In fourth grade we all made books by hand, drew the pictures, bound the covers, created the whole thing from beginning to end. Mine was plastered with horses. And if I remember correctly, most of them only had two legs because I hadn’t yet learned the concept of foreground and background. I just told my teacher the other legs were hiding.
9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey? The best part?
The most difficult part has been believing in myself. There will always be someone out there better than me, more experienced than me, more intelligent than me. Oftentimes it’s hard to remember that that doesn’t make me insignificant, inexperienced, or stupid. When I make mistakes it’s easier to compare myself to who I want to be and become discouraged, than to look at who I used to be and feel proud of how far I’ve already come. I still have a long way to go, but I’m getting better at taking pride in the work I’ve already done and am still doing.
As for the best part, I have to say it’s the rush I get on those rare nights when I get to sink into my stories, my characters, my worlds and let reality disappear for a little while. I haven’t yet mastered the art of writing amid distraction, so those are the nights I make the most progress. Writing is mostly a lonely endeavor, but in those moments I’m in such awe of the power of imagination that I forget to be lonely.
10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?
I’ve read it, heard it, seen it over and over and this one observation keeps me writing more than anything else. It’s that the most important difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer, is that the published writer didn’t give up. Determination isn’t a guarantee that I will get published, but quitting is a guarantee that I won’t. So any aspiring writers reading this, no matter what people tell you, you only fail if you give up.
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you’ve already done.” – Newt Gingrich
11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.
Right now I’m editing/rewriting my first novel, The Ambassador’s Daughter. You can read the full description on the books tab of this website, but it’s a YA high fantasy about a 16 year old girl who, after a mysterious near-death experience discovers the Fae and learns that a lot of people want her dead. It’s the first in a planned trilogy and will be followed by The General’s Daughter and The Siren’s Daughter.
Another novel I have outlined, but haven’t started writing yet is The Suncatcher Stone (you can read the full description for this on the books tab as well). It’s an undersea adventure about a young Undine boy who finds himself on a quest for the legendary Suncatcher Stone to save the one Undine he loves most, his half-sister. Think Indiana Jones as a merman.
Until I finish those, you can read my short stories which can be found at the short stories tab on this website.
Fun Stuff About You
12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?
I was going to share the things I actually find time for these days, but seeing as that’s mostly sleeping, I’ll share a few of the crazy career ideas I came up with during my oldest kid’s first year when baby brain temporarily broke my common sense filter.
Let’s see, first I was going to knit until my hands fell off and sell everything I made on Etsy, but I quickly realized I don’t love knitting that much. Then I was going to open, manage, and run a summer camp for foster kids, something I’m much more passionate about, but have zero experience or qualifications for (I mean, I’d just become a mom, when exactly was I going to find time for all that?). So I went back to the crafty options and came up with the craziest idea of all. An alpaca farm. I guess I was gonna stash them all in the basement of our apartment complex? With the washers and dryers? Yeah, that’s not nuts or anything.
Anyway, I mostly play around on the piano and doodle in my sketchbook when I find a rare few minutes to myself these days.
13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?
Time management. If I could manage my time like an expert, this book would be done by now. But I suppose the gift of a powerful imagination must come with the curse that is constant distraction. Of course, Twitter doesn’t help with the focusing either.
14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world. Where would you go?
New Zealand. Or Ireland. Or Scotland. Hawa’ii? Okay, I can see why the authors might hate me for this question.
15. How can people connect with you?
I’m on Twitter far more often than I probably should be. I also have a Facebook page and a few Pinterest boards full of art to inspire my works in progress. You can also find a few of my short stories at the podcast 600 Second Saga, created and edited by the fabulous Mariah Avix. You can find her interview here if you’d like to learn more. And of course, I’m the creator of this blog/website, but you already knew that.
16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?
This “interview” was a lot harder than I thought it would be and I’m much more sympathetic to the complaints of the authors who’ve endured the punishment. Not enough to change the questions though. 😉
Also, I cohost a weekly Twitter chat under the hashtag #turtlewriters where slow writers can get to know each other and encourage each other in our goals. You can read more about that on the #turtlewriters tab on this website as well.
If you made it this far then I give you a solid round of applause! Congrats! Thanks for reading about me and please stick around and explore the website.