1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t say there was a single “aha” moment. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. The dream came and went as I was growing up, but it became a reality for me when I started freelance writing at 17. At 19, I tried my hand at fiction writing, and I haven’t looked back since.
2. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I work week days from about 7 am to 4 pm. Sometimes I work in writing later in the evening as well. During this time, I work on my freelance writing, fiction writing, marketing, and everything in between.
3. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure I have one…At least not one I can think of off the top of my head.
4. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
My ideas typically start with just a small seed and evolve from there. For the Crystal Frost series, it was the idea that I wanted to write about a teen psychic. For Distant Dreams, the concept grew from the idea of astral traveling.
5. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first book was a novella called Where the Darkness Ends. I wrote it in 2013 and was 19 at the time.
6. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
You mean there are other things to do besides writing? Lol
I take backpacking trips every summer, but in my day-to-day life, I enjoy cooking and watching Netflix while doing it.
7. What does your family think of your writing?
They have all been very supportive. Not everyone in my family has read my books, but the ones who have say they’re good. But they’re my family. They’re supposed to say that.
8. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I have to say I’ve learned a lot about myself by writing fiction. I don’t know if it’s necessarily surprising, but it has helped shape me as a person.
9. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
So far I’ve released five novels, a novella, and a short story (plus another short story in my newsletter). Distant Dreams is my favorite, but that’s probably because it’s the one I’ve worked on most recently. I always tend to love my latest best.
10. Speaking of favorites which is your favorite character, couple or thing to write about?
Don’t make me choose a favorite character! I love them all.
My favorite couple is probably Kai and Collin from Distant Dreams because I spent more time developing their relationship than the romances in my other books.
My favorite thing to write about is everyday teens with a paranormal twist.
11. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I have a couple of tips:
1. Keep writing. You won’t get better unless you keep at it.
2. Rewrite. I don’t mean rewriting whole stories, but go back and improve your scenes and wording. It teaches you a lot about how you can improve as a writer.
3. Get feedback from other people. Let them help you. They’ll see things that you won’t, and it will help you improve.
12. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I connect with readers on Facebook, so I hear from them frequently. Not all the discussions are about my books, but when they are, it’s generally positive. Then again, I don’t think people who hated my books would necessarily tell me.
13. What do you think makes a good story?
Obviously there are a lot of aspects, but I think one thing that makes or breaks a story for me is the characters. If I like the characters, I enjoy the story more overall.
14. What have you found most helpful in marketing your book? What have you found least helpful? Is there anything you want to warn authors to stay far, far away from?
One of the biggest things is to network with other authors. You make friends and learn so much from them, but you can also share marketing opportunities and cross promote. I have also found that some paid ad services are worth it; others aren’t, so it depends. Also, making my book free has helped with marketing.
It probably goes without saying, but stay away from toxic people. Befriend people who will build you up.
15. Who created your cover art? If you did it yourself, could you explain how you did it? If someone else did it, how did you hear about their services? What was it like working with them?
For Distant Dreams, the artwork was done by Shardel from Self Pub Book Covers. It was a premade cover that was just too perfect for my book. I felt it represented my characters, the theme of “dreams,” and the tone of the book well. I added the text myself in Photoshop. I didn’t work closely with the designer at all on this one. However, I have done custom covers before, and I found that designer through a Google search. It can be a long wait, but with the quality you get from a good designer, it’s worth it.
16. Do you have an editor? Did you edit your own manuscript? Do you have advice for other authors editing it themselves or hiring someone else?
I always hire someone who line edits for me. I also have beta readers who help catch inconsistencies and make other suggestions. You should self-edit, but that doesn’t give you a free pass to skip the editor. Always work with someone to help you clean up your manuscript. You can find editors through recommendations from author friends or in author-centered Facebook groups.
17. Where have you decided to publish your books? (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.)
Right now a few of my books are exclusive to Kindle (and print) because they’re in the Kindle Unlimited program. The others are on Nook, Kobo, and iBooks as well.
18. Did you format your own book? Did you run into any trouble formatting it? Do you have any advice to fellow authors about formatting their books?
I do format my own books. There’s nothing fancy about the formatting, but I think it works out well. At first I ran into trouble, especially on the digital formats, because I had no idea what I was doing. Then I started Googling how to fix the problems (one of the issues was weird and inconsistent indentations for paragraphs), and I taught myself how to do it. My advice is to read up on formatting for whatever platform you’re going to place your book on. Then make sure you have a device you can test the file out on. For example, send your book to your Kindle so you can see how it will look to readers. Once you figure it out, make a template for yourself for future books.
19. Do you have a current work in progress or a book coming out soon? Tell us about them
My fourth Crystal Frost book will be coming in the beginning of 2017. I’m also working on a new clean YA paranormal romance called Split that will be coming sometime next year. Other ideas are always brewing!