1. How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Whirl was my debut book, so I can only speak from my experience with that. From the moment I conceived the original idea, it took me three months to write the first draft. There were additional revisions after that before I sent it on to my editor and beta readers. With Whirl, the revisions took about three months because of complications from my every day life. The manuscript spent another three weeks with my editor before I released it to the public.
2. What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Right now, my priority is to complete the remaining three books in the Ondine Quartet series. But I’m also taking notes for a new YA series, a rather dark fantasy with some aspects of horror. I’m also planning an adult series, that would be a mixture of sci-fi/post-apocalyptic / romance.
3. What genre would you place your books into?
Regardless of what books I write in the future, I primarily consider myself a fantasy writer. This allows me the freedom to work within a wide range of genres.
Whirl and the Ondine Quartet series fit in the young adult paranormal genre. I would also classify it as urban fantasy because it has elements of mystery, horror, action, and a simmering romance.
4. Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
I never start with the plot. I always start with the world and the main character’s emotional and mental arc throughout the story. I know my protagonist will start at point A at the beginning of the book. By the end, she has to have changed or transformed in some way, so that she ends up in a Point B state of mind.
The question then becomes: what happens to my character within the confines of this world that I’ve created that causes her to change in such a way? Given what I know about her and her personality, what can happen to her that will force her into a high-stakes situation, one that will shake her enough to change her emotional or mental state?
Thinking that way helps me to create a strong character arc and also allows an organic plot to emerge.
5. What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
I don’t think the two are necessarily connected. There are some books that I think are marvellously written and have not achieved bestseller status, an example being literary fiction and the works of authors such as Kenzaburo Oe or Milan Kundera.
I believe bestsellers are usually stories that tap into widespread cultural psychology. That’s why we have terms like Twilight phenomena. Something inherent in the story resonated with a wide variety of individuals, and this, in turn, propelled those books to bestseller popularity.
6. Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I haven’t suffered from extended writer’s block yet, but I have had days where my writing is sluggish and I feel as though the words are not coming the way I’d like them to.
I think the best way to deal with it is to recognize that pushing and forcing yourself is not going to get you anywhere. What I usually do is just walk away from my desk and do something else. Anything that keeps my body moving. I’ll jump on the treadmill for an hour, or take my dog outside for an extended walk. Sometimes, I’ll jump in the shower, cook a new recipe, or even do some cleaning around the house. The physical exertion away from the desk is usually enough to trigger a new thought or revelation to get me past the block.
7. What do you do to unwind and relax?
Reading is one of my favorite activities. I also enjoy watching movies and Japanese TV shows (j-dorama). I’m very passionate about art and love going to museums and classical music concerts, especially on the weekends. I also spend quite a bit of time with my dog, training her or going out for walks with her.
Another passion of mine is food, so I’m constantly trying out new recipes and exploring new restaurants with my husband. I also practice vipassana meditation daily.
8. Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I think ebooks will eventually become the majority share of the market, just as digital mp3s have completely taken over the music industry. But I don’t think ebooks will ever completely replace printed books - there will always be a market for it, even if it’s just for collectors who enjoy having their own physical book library (just as there are people who still collect music LPs and CDs).
Where can readers follow you?