What inspired you to write?
I’d like to say I’ve always been a writer. As a child, I would create entire stories in my mind while swimming in our pool. I’d act them out. In my teenage years, I wrote poetry and short stories, and by the time I was thirty, I decided to sit down and write my first novel for the readers in my family. I believe I was born to write.
Was your inspiration sudden or did it take time?
My inspiration to write was life-long but my inspiration to write my first novel was sudden.
Did you use an outline or just write your story from start to finish?
When writing my first novel, I sat down and let the story unfold. It was a nightmare. Although the story took on a life of its own, the rewrites were horrendous. By my fourth book, I’d learned the art of outlining, having a direction and being able to see the end from the beginning. I wrote TWELVE books that year. Now that I’ve written over SEVENTY novels for my name and a couple of my pen names, I'm definitely a plotter AND panster. I bullet point three chapters at a time, and then I let the characters decide if that’s the direction they want to go. At the end of the third chapter, I reassess the storyline, make any necessary plot changes and outline the next three chapters. This process continues until the book is finished. I ALSO write my book in TWENTY days, and it only requires TWO drafts. Over the past SEVEN years, I’ve perfected my novel writing process.
Do you work alone or get encouragement from family or friends?
Of course, I write alone. However, I have some key people in my life that range from my support system to my muse. I remember seeing the writers room in a behind-the-scenes video for the television show Breaking Bad. They had a team of writers, and they sat around that table with their sticky notes and props, and they discussed each episode in detail. I find value in the opinions of my support team and muse and therefore, I bounce ideas off them often. But at the end of the day, being a writer is a lonely, albeit rewarding and exciting, job.
What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Writing the last word. It’s a bittersweet moment when I become overwhelmed with emotion. A magnificent victory. I throw my fist in the air with absolute excitement. Minutes later, I experience a flood of emotion that my relationship with my characters is over—that I must say goodbye. I know it sounds a bit unstable, but I’m quite sure most writers can relate.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
Hands down, getting to know my characters. They have hopes and dreams, and they weather through their issues, making decisions that could alter the outcome of the book. It reminds me of the butterfly effect. If they make one decision over another, the book will have an entirely different ending. The best part of it all is going through the journey with them.
After the book was published, were you changed?
That’s an interesting question. I wouldn’t say I'm changed each time I publish a book, but I will say I feel enriched and blessed to have completed another story with characters I can share with my readers.
Have you received any awards for your books?
A few of my series have hit #1 on Amazon. But my awards come in the form of fan mail from my readers who share with me how much they enjoyed my story or thanking me for writing such a wonderful series. There is no greater feeling than that.
Are you working on a new book at the moment?
I’m always working on a new book. Although my writing is slower these days because I started a business geared toward writers and that takes a lot of my time, I still write every day. I’m currently working on Moon Crimes, the third book in my Vampire Crimes Special Unit Series. I’m also working on Guardian Planet, Mermaid and a two book series called The Elemental Projects with a co-author. They should all be released over the next two months.
Do you have any book giveaways, contests or events coming up?
Most of my series have the first book free. Anyone subscribed to my newsletter will receive my books on audio FREE if they request them.
What gets in the way of your creativity?
I try not to let anything get in the way. I have a local travel blog where I venture out to haunted places or anything that will spark my creativity. On one of my blogs, I visited the San Juan Capistrano Mission. The ghost story associated with the mission became the plotline of my book, Moon Hunt. It was so much fun to write.
What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
I’m not sure if I can link this here, but I just wrote an article on my blog, The Squeaky Pen, about How to Handle Negative Reviews. The article is personal and explains my views on criticism. In essence, there are destructive reviewers and constructive reviewers. Those who are constructive, I stop and listen. Those who are destructive get thrown into my mental trash can. Here’s a link to that article: http://bit.ly/TSPbookreviews.
What is your favorite / worst childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory: My mom and dad loading us up in the yellow station wagon with our longboards on top and The Beach Boys playing on the 8track (I know. I’m old. Ha) while we drove to the beach. My sisters and I learned to surf as kids. Those were great times.
My worst childhood memory: Truly, I can’t think of any. I had/have a great life, awesome parents, fantastic sisters and now amazing sons.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Anything inspiring. My dad used to say (and maybe it came from somewhere else) A problem is not a problem, it’s an opportunity to be solved. I like that one.
What is your favorite show on TV?
I don’t watch television. However, I am a Netflix / Amazon junkie when I have the time. Therefore, I will binge on a TV show until I’ve completed the entire series. And each one I’ve enjoyed for different reasons.
I’m a Korean Drama fan BIG TIME. If you have never watched a Korean film, you’re missing out. They have what Hollywood has lost—a remarkable connection between the characters. It’s riveting. Here are a few of my favorites:
The man from nowhere
A Werewolf Boy
The Secret Reunion
Now and Forever
The Old Garden
Love So Divine
There are too many to name. With all the great indie authors out there, my Kindle is spilling books.
Is there a talent you wish you had?
Singing. I can’t sing at all!
What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I was a breakdancer in my teens. Seriously good. Windmills, headspins, backspins, hand-spins, and I performed in many shows, including a huge engagement with some 80's famous artists. Those were great times.
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Dedicated, Kind, Helpful