When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
In my opinion there’s a difference between a "writer" and an "author." The word author is past tense to me. It means "I wrote a book." Whereas the word writer is present. It means "I currently write. I write every chance I get. I’m addicted to writing. I write when there’s nothing to write and I would write even if there was no such thing as a reader. I can’t stand to be without my laptop – I take it everywhere I go just in case I get a second to jot something down." In which case, I AM a writer and have been for as long as I can remember.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Back in my glory days I use to write a full length novel in about ten days. I’d cry when it was finished, spend about a month mourning the loss of the friendship I’d had with my characters, toss the manuscript in a box in the closet and then repeat the process by starting a new story.
Those manuscripts stayed in storage for, ummm, about ten years. But now, one by one, I’ve been getting them out, revamping, updating, editing and getting them ready for print, which takes about three to four months. Depending on how much time I’m required to spend in the real world.
What genre would you place your books into?
I’ve never written with a genre in mind. I didn’t even know what the word genre meant when most of my books were originally written. I’ve always just written whatever feels right at the moment. So, needless to say, I have a real eclectic mix of books. I have three books out now. Sweet so Fragile, is more of a family/real-life drama. Taking the Fall is a romantic action and 101 is for the older YA and has a hint of dystopian.
As far as my favorite style of writing – I like first person from a guys point of view, like 101 is written. Most of my manuscripts are written that way, so that’s most likely what you’ll be seeing from me in the future.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
This wasn’t a written review, but it’s been my greatest complement so far. It was from a woman who was currently reading my book. She said, "Dang, this book! I can’t get nothing done." She was pretty upset too, and actually used a curse word, but I want this to be a family friendly interview. (Wink) I loved the comment because it meant she liked it enough that she couldn’t put my book down. I like when I’ve interrupted my readers sleeping, eating and daily routine, it means I’ve done my job as a writer correctly.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
NO! If I’m going to go to that extent I may as well make up a bunch of aliases and go write my own reviews of my books. I mean seriously, what does a writer want reviews for? To see what people really think of their book, right? That’s certainly what I want out of a review.
Now, of course, I don’t think there’s any need for a reviewer to be crude, rude or overly cruel when reviewing a book. It is someone’s "baby" after all and that author does have feelings. But I think it’s perfectly fine for someone to say they didn’t care for the book and list the reasons why.
I personally appreciate an honest review because it helps me to improve as a writer. (I can’t fix it if I don’t know there’s a problem.)
I understand that not everyone is going to like everything I write. I can live with that. Each person is entitled to their own opinion, and it doesn’t make me a better person, or have a better book, to try taking that away from them.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I’m just a pawn. I don’t make up my characters, they are just suddenly there, inside my head, pressing, pressing, pressing to get out. When I meet them for the first time, I’m able to feel, see and know them in their whole form. About the only thing I make up for them is a name. And to be honest I’m not even sure I do that. Because so often I’ll choose a name and . . . nope . . . just not the right one. Try again. Sometimes I go through a dozen plus names before "The One" presents itself to me.
Most of my books have been written because a character came to me. Rarely have I written a book for the plot. My job as a writer is to tell my character’s story in a way that does them justice. That will earn me the right to have the next character choose me as their voice.
How do you market/promote your books?
Oh, that has been the hardest part about being a self-published author for me. I just don’t know how to really get my books out there. So far I’ve been doing giveaways, and asking bloggers to help me gain exposure. My problem is this: Yes, I want people to read the books I’ve published, but I’d rather be writing the next one than promoting the last one. I’m a writer, not a marketer. But if I don’t market the book, no one will ever know they are there. And, though, I’ve never figured I’d ever make a living off my books, I have gotten a pretty cool rush just from the enjoyment others get from reading them, so I’ll keep trying. Gotta feed my need, you know.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller?
Emotion. At least that’s what I like about a book. I like a book that makes me "feel" something. I think emotion is what makes characters believable, memorable and love/hateable. If hateable is even a word. Emotion is a universal language, something that connects us all. I might not understand the things you say, but if I see you smile I can tell how you feel and it makes me feel good too.
A really good writer can turn emotions/ feelings into words.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Yes and no. My book Sweet so Fragile was based on a combination of real events. However, there is so much fiction thrown in that the lines are pretty blurred. But I’ve written over fifty manuscripts and that’s the only one I can think of that was based on events or people I know.
I guess you can find small pieces of me, magnified in each character that I write about, but I’m not sure that qualifies either.
Most of the time just the opposite happens. A character will pop into my head, want his or her story told and I’m left thinking, "How am I supposed to write that? I don’t know a single thing about it. Oh, man I’m really going to look like an idiot, this time." But doing research has been a lot of fun for me and I’m always glad for what I’ve learned.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Big YES on that one. My books have so many hidden messages and morals that they are oozing out of the bindings. Nah, just kidding, not that many. But, yes, all of my books have at least one major moral. So what is the moral of the story? Well, that depends on who’s reading it. Every reader will find their own answer to that question because each person will pull from it what is most valuable to them.
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I’ve never been the best reader in the world. I was one of those kids that read like this; See. Sp.. Sp... Spot. Run. Well, okay, not that bad but, you get the point. Besides not reading all that fluently, I had a very hard time finding books that appealed to me and kept my interest. So, I wrote my own books to fill that void. As I got older I was able to read better, but then due to some issues with my eyes, I’d get headaches if I read too much, so I just didn’t read. Again, I wrote to fill the void. Now that my eyes are getting much better, I’ve read more books than ever before. However, I’m still not a huge reader. Probably just because I never formed the habit. I do love books though! I could live in a library with books all around me and be happy as happy can be.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I don’t use a pen name but I have to admit, I’ve thought about it. Day dreamed about how cool it would be to be some famous writer that everyone loved but no one really knew. It just has that mysterious feel to it. You could be sitting in a restaurant somewhere and people could be talking about you and your book, and you’d just smile to yourself cause they have no clue they’re in the same room with you.
Where can readers follow you?