Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I think it is eight … ish… is it bad that I’ve lost track? I’m an easily distracted writer who can’t seem to stick to an audience. I have one book I wrote specifically for my seven-year-old, a couple of tween books, an epic fantasy aimed at general fantasy audience but with some darker themes I think makes it best for older teens and adults, and a clean but definitely romantic fantasy series which is primarily aimed at women. However, in all my books there are themes of family and faith. Even in my darker series where my characters endure the losses of war and the pain of betrayal, there’s a good deal of hope involved. So I would say people who want character driven fantasy with a little bit of humor and whimsy. They’re my general audience.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
An Ordinary Knight is actually a rewrite of a book I wrote about ten years ago. At the time I was single and lonely, so I made up a love story involving the perfect knight, who wasn’t necessarily the most charming or flashy individual, but who had strengths I wanted in a man, like intelligence, kindness, and loyalty. I made a few changes to it to appeal to a slightly younger audience during the rewrite (for instance, I took the main character’s age from 20 to 17 and made him a little less self-assured to match with this), but it’s still has a message of a person’s character being more important than their ability to make fancy speeches or big gestures.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
mostly just the usual abuse of coffee. I do a lot of ten minute sprints, racing myself to see how many words I can get onto the page before a timer goes off.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have an eclectic top three authors: J. R. R. Tolkien, Kate DiCamillo, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. I also really love Gail Carson Levine, Shannon Hale, and Neil Gaiman and whimsical fantasy like the Princess Bride and The Last Unicorn.
What are you working on now?
I just finished my NaNoWriMo project, a middle grade fantasy called “Dessa and the Nurse Dragon.” It’s set in a world where kids can by packs of dragon eggs to hatch at home, like sea monkeys. Most hatch into short lived mayfly dragons, but my main character Dessa longs to find a rare … only to get more than she bargained for.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’ve had success with Ereader News Today, Book Barbarian and BKnights, but I find for long term pay off, nothing beats just putting out new books that people love enough to talk about.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t worry. Just write. I see so many writers never get started because they are afraid of failure. Or they’ll ask their friends what they think of ideas, hear, “Isn’t there already a movie about that” and give up immediately looking for something more original. The other thing is to find people to read and give honest opinions of your work so you can improve your craft.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you. Neil Gaiman
What are you reading now?
I’m simultaneously beta reading a book for a friend and reading a collection of short stories called Nag, Nag, Nag by Kathy Steinemann
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have editing to do … so so so much editing … Since I literally just finished my first draft of my last book two days ago, I’m in that “what do I write now?” stage. I also have a couple of books waiting to be critiqued by my long term critique partners … I’ll probably concentrate on continuing my Epic Fantasy series, Elemental Realms. I wrote book 2 over the summer and really should get started on book 3.
What is your favorite book of all time?
The Lord of the Rings, which still counts as one. I own a big red book with all of them in one volume … which is really too heavy to read, so I keep stealing my husband’s copies.