Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
With the release of my latest work, Behind the Badge, I now have three full-length novels and a short story published. Bounty and Blood Ties are the first two novels in the Jill Andersen series, and Behind the Badge is the latest in that series. My short story, Boundless, is a Kindle-exclusive and serves as a prequel of sorts to Bounty.
Bounty first published on June 1, 2015… meaning I have published three novels in a year’s time. I self-publish, using CreateSpace to publish my paperbacks and KDP to publish my works on Kindle. I self-publish because it gives me more creative control and a better handle on the publishing timeline.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Behind the Badge is my latest release, and unlike my previous two books (Bounty, Blood Ties), this one is inspired, in part, by real-life events. Police brutality has been an epidemic in recent years, and the case of Freddie Gray in Baltimore was the impetus behind the plot for Behind the Badge. I tackle the issues of racism, police brutality, and internal politics in a way that makes my opinions on the matter clear — and given who my protagonist is and what she stands for, this felt like the sort of story I had to write.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t really have any habits, per se, other than the fact that I try to write something every day. I can write almost anywhere at any time — a necessity, given how busy and on-the-go by day job keeps me for much of the year. I guess the closest thing I have to a habit is not being able to write in complete silence. I just can’t do it. So I either write with music playing (anything, really, but the heavier the better), or I leave the TV on in the background. So long as there’s noise of some sort, I can concentrate.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Comic books are probably the biggest influence on me, creatively speaking. Jim Lee, Stan Lee, Michael Turner… these are some of the creators who I’ve looked up to over the years, along with Joss Whedon. His TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are just as responsible for my creative growth as anything else… proving that not all inspiration has to come from traditional means.
What are you working on now?
I have three novels in the works at the moment:
Behind the Mask, the fourth novel in the Jill Andersen series;
Notna, a supernatural/fantasy epic that leans heavily on pagan lore;
and The Keeper, a supernatural thriller that follows a former homicide detective turned death mage.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Twitter, Goodreads, and word-of-mouth have been my most reliable methods of promotion to this point. Simply telling other people about a book you enjoyed is a surefire way to generate publicity; there’s only so many “Buy my book!” posts one can manage before people start tuning out, but a simple “Hey, I read Such-and-Such by So-and-So and it was great” works far better.
The fact is, the independent publishing market is a crowded one — perhaps over-crowded, and it can be hard to get yourself noticed among the throngs of other books.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just write. That’s the only way your book will ever get done, and it’s the only way you’ll ever improve. Just sit down and write. It is at once the simplest and most complicated thing you’ll do, but no amount of not writing will accomplish anything.
But make sure you give yourself time to read, too. Reading will also help you as a writer — especially if you don’t limit yourself to reading stuff similar to what you’re writing. You never know when inspiration might strike.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“That book’s not gonna write itself; you gotta do it.”
What are you reading now?
“Dirty Deeds” by Christy King and “Station Breaker” by Andrew Mayne.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m hoping to have Behind the Mask ready for a January 2017 release, with Notna and The Keeper hitting shelves sometime in late 2017.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Oh, wow… um… honestly, I can’t pinpoint one book. But I will say this: Age of Apocalypse is one of the best comic book crossover stories I’ve ever read, and it was a huge part of my teenage years.