How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
As of today, March 14th, 2023, I have written four individual works: “Stages of Grief: A Short Story,” Without You: A Novelette, Dealings in the Dark, and Bound and Betrayed. “Stages of Grief” and Without You are two short installments in the same world that explore unexpected loss from the perspectives of two different characters. They’ve also been published in a compilation book called Tales of Grief and Healing. Dealings in the Dark and Bound and Betrayed are the first two books in my supernatural horror/thriller series. I have two more full-length novels (The Ruin and Legacy of Lies) and a short story (Working Title: Deadly Seven) coming out this year as well!
As far as favorites go, I feel equally proud of Dealings in the Dark and Without You. They are two incredibly different works in vastly different genres, so it’s hard to choose!
How long does it take you to write a book?
It truly depends on the book. “Stages of Grief” took me five days to write the first draft. Dealings in the Dark, Bound and Betrayed, and Without You took me roughly three weeks each from start to finish. The Ruin, which releases in May of this year, took me six years! Each book progresses at its own pace. It depends on the plot, the characters, the complexity, and what’s going on in my life at the time.
What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?
Several things have been a hindrance to my writing goals. One of them is imposter syndrome, which I think all authors deal with. I never thought anyone would want to read my stories. That’s why it took six years to publish The Ruin. When I got out of my own way, things went much faster. Another hindrance is time. I have two young children, so the dedicated time to write doesn’t come as often as I would like it to. Also, I have Multiple Sclerosis. My autoimmune disease impacts me in many ways, such as making my hands numb, horrific headaches, and unbearable fatigue. These things definitely slow me down!
Things that have helped me write include my husband’s unwavering support, the encouragement of my close family and friends, Google Docs (so I can work from anywhere), diving back into reading, connecting with other authors, and a quiet space to sit with my thoughts. I can’t write with background noise.
What characters in your book are most similar to you or to people you know?
Every main character in my books has some connection to me. I think most writers would be hard-pressed not to feel similarly. Of all my main characters, I relate to Owen from Without You the most. He is an amalgam of the raw pain I’ve felt when I’ve lost people over the years. I poured my struggle to keep going into his character, and reading his story makes me teary-eyed.
If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them?
If I actually met my characters, I would sincerely need to apologize. Happy endings aren’t my thing. They all have serious trauma and life-altering struggles. They’d probably hate me! But, I love them, so it’s okay.
If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?
Actually, the basis of the Cursed Souls series is that I’m starting it with individual accounts of characters’ stories. These stories weave together to create the world in which future events will take place. Dealings in the Dark was about Alexandria, and the sequel, Bound and Betrayed, was about her childhood best friend, Selena. The next book, Legacy of Lies, which is slated to come out in September will be about Alexandria’s mother and grandmother. I love telling the side characters’ stories!
If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?
Absolutely! Legacy of Lies is the third installment of the Cursed Souls series. The plan for this work is to discuss Corinne’s unexpected pregnancy, the serious complications she encountered, her original deal with the demon Iroth, and Elizabeth’s (Alexandria’s grandmother/Corinne’s mother) course of revenge. This is still a work in progress. It may end up being two stories. We shall see!
How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
Whenever someone dislikes something about my work, I try to take it with a grain of salt. Not all books are for every reader, and that’s okay! Look at superstar authors like Stephen King or Anne Rice. Even they have one-star reviews!
I try to consider the reader’s perspective. If there’s something I agree with, I’ll work toward doing better next time. If I disagree, I let it go. That bit of advice is not for me. However, if a large number of my readers feel the same way about an issue, I make sure to pay special attention to it so that I can address it right away.
For those days when the rain clouds hover above my head no matter which way I turn, I save some of my positive reviews so I can read them again and be thankful. Always try to stay positive!
How do you use social media as an author?
As an author, I have three goals whenever I use social media. The first is to build a community of people who have similar interests. This is really important because we’re all looking for someone we can relate to. Building a robust and positive community gives us more than just places to socialize. It also gives us people to ask for guidance and help and others to share our victories and shortcomings with.
That leads me to my second goal. I try to be transparent on social media. Of course, I set boundaries that I feel comfortable with so that I can still have a personal life outside of being an author, but I also try to present my true self so that my readers and the community can get to know the real me.
Finally, social media is great for marketing. I’ve found that marketing requires a constant presence. The more I post, the more readers I gain. Every KU page turn and purchase is important to indie authors, especially when getting started on this crazy adventure.
What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
I would say write your book and get out of your own way! If you’re anything like me, you’ll doubt yourself and your story constantly, but the truth is that no one can tell your story like you can. You’ve got this!
Use the resources of the writing community to learn and grow. Ask questions, make connections, and get that first draft out. Let the draft be messy, then find other professionals who can guide you toward success.
However, I strongly advise new authors to refrain from writing only one draft and submitting it for publication. Your story needs to be polished. Sit with it. Work on it again and again. Make sure it represents who you are before it’s released.
Coming Soon: The Ruin (5-16-23), Legacy of Lies (9-1-23), and “Deadly Seven” (TBD)
Happy Hauntings and Happy Reading!