Q. Tell us about what you write. (Genre, specifics)
A. ALL the genres, lol. I love to try different things, but they are always LGBTQ+. I wouldn’t say I tow the romance line that closely, because my stories aren’t really about the romance. Romance is a given, but it occurs within an external story line. I love spec fiction. My next release is a rerelease of my first book, a dystopian. I got the rights back last year and rewrote it to align it more closely with my brand. But I also write contemporary, mystery, and paranormal. I love injecting suspense elements into pretty much everything I write.
Q. How long have you been writing and how did you get into it?
A. I was born with a pen in my hand! Honestly, I’ve been writing since I could write, and making up stories in my head even before that. It’s how I rearrange the world to suit me or find a better place in it. I wrote my first “book” when I was nine. It was about a boy, his horse, and his best friend. *wink wink* Of course, even then, the friend was quite a bit more. I remember the boy fell off a cliff and had to drag himself back up. Always struggling toward a happy ending lol.
Q. How you do find character names and do world building?
A. It varies. There’s no one way I do anything. Sometimes I use baby name books or websites. Othertimes the names just pop up. When the idea for Doll Baby came to me, all I knew about the two characters, other than one being scarred, was that their initials started with T and B. I looked through a baby book until I found their names. Names are really important to me though, and I can’t develop the characters completely without knowing their name. In A Vampire’s Heart, I misnamed one of the main characters. He started out as Prince Morning Glory Senera, and I could never get a good handle on him. After the first draft, I came on the name Jessamine in a book and instantly knew that’s who he was. Jessa. When I rewrote the draft, he blossomed, just like his name.
World building is a blast. I naturally live in my head, so creating whole worlds out of nothing is my jam. I brainstorm as much as I can about what I “see,” and do some research about what I know needs to be. More research will come later as I’m writing and the world and story start to come together. Recently, I’ve been creating Pinterest inspiration boards. I love finding pictures of characters and scenery that match my vision. I also really enjoy researching what my characters know or do. I’ve taken up photography, improved my chess game, made jewelry, and started playing a recorder so I’d know what my characters know. It’s a definite perk of the author life.
Q. In what space do you normally write? (room, desk, bed, couch, Starbucks?)
A. I can write anywhere. I’ve written in cars, buses, and waiting rooms. I’ve written in Panera’s with my writing group. When I was a kid, I wrote on my bed and often in class. Now I rotate between the recliner in my family room and my desk in my office. I converted the unused living room into my office—spacious and filled with light. I love it. I also sometimes stand at the breakfast nook. I have a lot of back and neck damage and moving around helps with pain and mobility. I prefer the recliner when I’m writing by hand and my office when I’m typing.
Q. How do you go about pulling yourself out of a writing slump?
A. I don’t have them. This is my job. That said, I only have so many spoons. Some days, the writing’s not great, but I always write. Can’t fix a blank page.
Q. If you were going to recommend just one of your books/stories, which would it be? Tell us about that piece.
A. Impossible to answer this. I’m really just sticking a pin in the donkey when I say Jesus Kid. I wrote the first draft in less than a month, but spent about a year and a half on it after that. I lived that book and the world it took place in. It’s still so vivid in my mind. Some of that is because I used real places—though I invented Wish City—but it takes place in the vicinity of Victorville, CA—starts there, goes to Ventura and Santa Cruz Island, and back to Wish City. I went every step of the way with those characters, creating the ways the world was different, but anchoring it in real places. The character of Ori is how I imagine good people—people chosen to do good things—really are. He definitely wasn’t an evangelist. He did not want to save the world, and book was the story of him coming into himself. He has a special place in my heart, but they all do.
Q. If you were going to step out of your comfort zone, what might you try writing?
A. A contemporary series set in an imaginary town with ensemble characters. It’s not my favorite thing to read, though I know it’s popular. I’ve been very casually brainstorming ideas for it, and what I like about the idea, and why it might tempt me, is the fun of writing different tropes and mixing suspense, mystery, ghost stories, and warm and fuzzy in the same series. I definitely have ideas, so it might be coming.
Q. What inspired you to write paranormal/vampires?
A. I wanted to lol. I’ve always LOVED vampires. Gary Oldman as Dracula—Oh. My. God. So I wanted to write about a vampire. I had no idea what I wanted to write though. I also like mystery and dystopian, so I thought I’d mix those in. It went through a lot of possiblities, until I got a picture of a human. Dark, almost buzzed hair, crouching down by a body, so I knew he was cop then. He looked up and saw a redhead in the distance (this scene is quite different in the book; in fact, it’s two scenes), and then I had my vampire. I brainstormed how I wanted my vampires to act, how they came into existence, what their culture and families were like, and the answers to those questions started to form the dystopian aspects of the book. So anyway, it all started from deciding I wanted to write a vampire story and letting my imagination do the rest.
Q. Do you have a favorite trope to read and/or write?
A. I like story. I’m not a fan of pure romance where it’s all about the relationship, growing it, weathering the challenges, etc. I want that to happen INSIDE of a story, so I like to read plot heavy books like mysteries and suspense. Even my contemporaries have a bit of mystery. I really enjoy seeing how a couple meets and cements their relationship within an increasing dangerous or difficult external situation. I need that external situation in both what I read and write.
Q. Are your books considered “dark?”
A. Yep! But humor is very important to me, so I like my characters to be funny, and they often are. Usually dry and sarcastic, or prone to bizarre, laughable behavior. But I write about challenges to the heart and soul of people, and darkness is often a part of that.