I was always hopping around from one possible future to another. I could never settle on one thing. I’ve always been a storyteller, but didn’t actually believe in myself enough to pursue it as a career. It was something I just did because I enjoyed it. Truth be told, I was kind of miserable because everything I tried I either failed at, didn’t complete, or just plain hated.
Fellow author Adrianne James (Overexposed & The Mackenzie Duncan Series)
I didn’t quite realize it until recently, but there’s a little bit of me in every one of my characters. The people who know me well can see the tiny bits of my soul that end up on the pages of my books. I think writing is always personal. It shines a light on an author’s psyche.
Do you like your handwriting?
Sometimes, my handwriting is pretty. Other times, it’s very messy. Today, my handwriting is clean. Ask me again tomorrow.
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
The idea for the story usually comes first, then the character. The details don’t get filled in until I know whose story I’m telling.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Just write. There is absolutely no secret to success. Just write, and keep your eyes and ears open along the way. Eventually, you’ll find that every rule, every taboo, every cliché, has been and will continue to be broken or used by someone successfully. There are no formulas in this business.How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
I’m rarely frustrated by a bad review. People like what they like, and I can’t hold it against them. The few times I have become irritable over a bad review is when it attacks me, not my characters. I don’t write infallible characters. They’re bound to annoy some readers. The only thing I ask is that reviewers don’t make it personal.
What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer?
Oh gosh, that’s a hard one to answer. People have called me all sorts of things. One person went so far as to accuse me of being a man because of the way I wrote MARITAL BITCH. I think the thing I hate the most is when people attack my editing. I’m a horrid self-editor and I know it. I’m not under any delusions of grandeur about my self-editing skills. Mentioning the poor editing always hits me the hardest because it’s the one thing I feel out of my depth in dealing with. Somehow, I even managed to butcher my editor’s edits. O.o I don’t even know exactly how I did that. I mean, how the heck does that even happen?
What do you do when you are not writing?
I spend most of my non-writing time beta reading. I really enjoy getting my hands on someone’s story and helping them tighten it up. Despite my total inability to edit my own stuff, I have it on good faith that I’m quite competent at looking over other people’s work.
Do you have a day job as well?
Yes, I work part-time as a legal assistant, and I am a full-time student.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I was always making up stories as a kid, but the first time I remember actually writing them down was in high school. The story was, in essence, a contemporary YA. I toyed with writing for a few years after high school, but everything was handwritten in notebooks. I had a co-writer and we filled many a notebook with unfinished tales. I didn’t seriously get into it until 2009 when I had an idea for a book (inspired by my home city at the time—New Orleans). That story eventually became my second book, and it wasn’t until 2011 when I began what would be my first completed novel, MARITAL BITCH. I started the story on January 1st and ended it on December 31st of that same year.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
THE SWITCH is a new adult contemporary romance that likes to live on both sides of the law. Shelby Brignac is a twenty-four year-old never-do-good waitress who has gotten herself into a bit of a pickle. In a moment of panic, she stumbles across the twenty-one year-old, well-intentioned rookie cop, Chase Guilliot. He’s committed to doing good in the world, but finds himself at odds with Shelby’s poor decisions. Still, he’s a sucker for a pretty lady in distress.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
I can get anything I write published—I’m indie. Seriously, I take full advantage of being indie by writing what I please, when I please, and how I please. When I wrote my second book, ANOMALY, I knew it was an unlikely sell. It’s a new adult urban fantasy with vampires… The market is flooded as it is and I just knew trying to pitch it to agents would be a nightmare. Then I started looking at my first book, MARITAL BITCH, and realized that it’s not your typical romance. Instead of feeling discouraged that there wasn’t a place for me in the Big 6 world, I decided to carve out my own little corner.
How did you come up with the title?
THE SWITCH was an easy title to come up with. There are a few switches in the book… man, now that sounds lame.
What project are you working on now?
I’m hopping between the sequel to ANOMALY and a secret project I’m super excited for. The secret project is a new adult contemporary romance series, and that’s all I’m saying.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I always want to go back to Eliza from ANOMALY. She is—aside from my cat—the love of my life. I never, ever want her story to end, even though I already know how it ends. I’m going to fall to pieces when I have to write “The End” on the final book.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism is always aimed at the mechanics of writing. I don’t really care if someone criticizes my characters (they’re totally flawed), or the plot (you can’t please everyone). I think the best compliment I’ve received so far has been when people say they can relate to my characters. I love hearing personal stories from readers’ lives of their own marriages and heartbreak. When someone says “[I] got it right”, I just beam.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you! No matter how much fun I’m having, or how much I love the world I’ve created, it doesn’t compare to a stranger telling me that they were touched in some way. That is, above and beyond, the most gratifying part of this life. So, thank you for lending me your time to share my stories with you.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Write. Make friends and write. Just do it. Tell the story you most want to read.
What made you want to become a writer?
I’m not sure I had a choice in the matter. I kind of suck at everything else.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some experiences in my books are based on real life events, but not very many. I like to draw upon my experiences and pull the most interesting elements out for the story.
How much of the book is realistic?
Regardless of what’s going on in the text, I want the world to always feel realistic. I’m not a felon (as far as you know!), and I have no experience being on the run from the law (or so I’m saying!), so there is an element of imagination there. But I try to do as much research as possible so that readers aren’t pulled from the story by gross inaccuracies.
What book are you reading now?
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (it provides quite an interesting view on food), Walden by Henry David Thoreau (this is so not my choice! It’s for school :P), and Heir Untamed (Royals Book 1) by Danielle Bourdon (I’m not very far in, but so far it is quite enjoyable).
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes! And this is totally unfair, but I’m completely biased. I love the new readers I’ve beta’d for. E.K. Blair, author of Fading, is awesome. Her book deals with sexual assault and its aftermath in such an honest way. You have to check it out. Also, This Love by Nazarea Andrews, is a sweet new adult romance that you’ll enjoy. I’m super excited to see LK Collins release her first book Fatalism.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Reality is so boring! I think this was my stance even as a young child. I’d rather live in the spectacular, even if it is only inside my head.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The idea for THE SWITCH was very simple. I created these situations and characters and decided to see what would happen. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lick of experience in half of what goes on in the book. I just stalled. I didn’t know how to get myself in motion and over the insufferable paranoia over getting it wrong. Eventually I just had to say “f*ck it” and do the best I could.
What is one question that you are never asked in interviews?
Surprisingly, despite MARITAL BITCH’s origins, nobody ever asks about my experience in fan fiction. I think in some ways, publishing former fan fiction is still a dirty little secret. Despite the success of several books, it’s not something the average person wants to shed light on. I’m on the fence about how I feel about this.
What is one question that you are always asked in interviews?
I always seem to be asked about my favorite food. And lately, I don’t know how to respond (I’m working on revolutionizing the way I think of and consume food). I guess I’m just surprised that my taste buds are so interesting to others.
If you were interviewing yourself, what are the top 3 questions you would ask yourself?
What is your coffee to word count ratio? (Approximately 1:1500).
What is the one thing you wish came more naturally? (Motivation).
What is your most detrimental negative behavior? (Comparing myself to other authors).
You’ve just been hired to a promotions position at Kellogg Co. What would you put in a new breakfast cereal box as a gimmick?
No GMOs. Sorry. This is supposed to be fun, not political. Kellogg is a family company. They would fire me for anything I’d try to stick in a cereal box, but a male stripper pen comes to mind. I’d actually have different cereal boxes have my favorite book boyfriends on them with a Q&A for the character on the back. The person who can collect the most covers and answer the most questions correctly in an online survey would win something awesome with a few authors. Something like dinner out. Seriously, if there were more half naked men on cereal boxes, I’d eat a lot more cereal.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Reading, exploring new neighborhoods, and interior design. I also, sometimes, like to play with/torture my cat, Charlie.
If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why?
Ireland, for sure. I’m kind of a melting pot as far as my ancestry is concerned, but much of my heritage leads back to Ireland. It looks absolutely beautiful in photographs, and I’d like to connect with my ancestors in a way I can’t here in the States.
If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be and why?
Commuting. To anywhere. I’d like to just think of Starbucks and magically be there. Unless I’m thinking of Starbucks from the shower, in which case that might prove awkward to the poor baristas working that shift.
Name one funny trait you have, that you would like others to know.
Even though I tend to talk really loudly, I don’t mean to. When I say things that are offensive to the general public, it’s usually meant for the person beside me. It just seems the stuff I usually don’t want the world to hear, I say at an abnormal volume. It actually provides for much amusement.
What’s your pet peeve?
Dirt. I just don’t like the feeling of dirt on anything or anywhere. I even like nature to be clean. It’s kind of irrational, but I’m terribly uppity about cleanliness.
What internet site do you surf to the most?
Facebook, but it’s for work. I swear! 😛 I have to, uh, connect with my readers…
If you were a professional wrestler, what would your ring name be and why?
Rexy Bottom Crusher. (I can’t believe I actually wrote that.) I have short arms and so I’ve been compared to a T-Rex, thus the nickname Rexy. Bottom Crusher… apparently I have a large bottom. I assume it could be an asset in the ring… to crush stuff.
What’s the silliest thing you have heard people say about you?
That I’m angry. I’m really not an angry person. Just don’t get me riled up about something that matters to me. My passion and tenacity comes across as anger, I guess.
If you can be a Disney character, who would you be and why?
Gosh, I don’t know. Disney characters are pretty awful. All of the women are subjected to second-class citizenry by the likes of men and their villainous counterparts. Most of the men are buffoons, ogres, or cardboard princes without names. The animals are subjected to cruelty. I think if I’d be anybody, it would be Rapunzel from Tangled. That girl can swing a frying pan like nobody’s business. Plus, I can respect a chick who can break a dude’s smolder.
How many handbags do you own?
Um. Four? I really only use two, though. The other ones are super small and super large. Handbags aren’t really my thing. Ask me about nail polish…
When people look at me, they would never guess that I:
can hold my own in a fight.
You win a million dollars, but you have to give half to a charity. Which charity do you pick, and what do you do with the rest of the money?
(I assume this is tax free, yes?)
I’d have to research which charity would make the best use of the funds. The charities I support are It Gets Better, GLAAD, RAINN, ACLU, Reading is Fundamental, and a few more. Half a million is so much money. I’d need to know exactly how much of that goes directly in the pockets of those who need it. With that kind of sum, I think I’d rather donate directly to people rather than through an organization with overhead costs.
Gosh, half a million to spend… I’d move out of the SF Bay Area and buy/rent a modest place. I’d get a newer car that uses less gas. I’d help my sister afford college. I’d help my mom. I’d try to save as much as possible. I’d want to make sure the money lasted me so I’d never have to worry. And I’d keep writing and pushing myself to always be working.
If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?
Run away screaming. I’m terrified of clowns. And I object to the mistreatment of the animals. So, after I collected myself, I’d find a way to save the animal performers from their plight.
You wouldn’t be caught dead where?
Abercrombie & Fitch. I’m not a fan of the clothes, but on a personal level, I detest the CEO.
Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?
Thanks for putting up with my endless babbling/ranting? I love you all! <3