Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My defining characteristic is my ability to be personally offended by Apple Music’s recommendations. My non-writing job is taking care of my two daughters, and I’ve mastered pig and pony tails.
My debut novel A Necessary Act was published in April.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My debut novel is a psychological thriller called A Necessary Act. Ever since I saw Silence of the Lambs as a kid, the psychology and profiling of serial killers – especially the idea that most of these monsters share the same traits from an early age – fascinated me. If we see these characteristics early, what can be done? Anything? And if so, should something be done?
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I can’t write in my house, because every time I get stuck for more than 12 consecutive seconds, laundry or some other chore starts calling my name. And no matter how much I insist that I can “think it over” while doing something else, it never happens. If I get up from the keyboard, I may as well pack it in for the day. So I work at the local coffee shop. That way, even if I run into a roadblock, I have to sit there and work through it. More often than not that extra few minutes gets me through. Writing in public brings its own challenges, but it is nothing a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and some LCD Soundsystem can’t cure.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’ve been a lifelong fan of Stephen King. Misery was the first “adult” book I read – probably in 7th grade.
More recently, I’ve been in awe of Caroline Kepnes. Her book You took writing creepy psychos to a new level. Then her follow-up, Hidden Bodies, was able to avoid all the typical traps of a sequel and enter Godfather II and The Empire Strikes Back territory. She’s setting the bar really high.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m writing a MG novel for my girls. I’ve never done anything like it before, and it’s a blast. It’s so off-genre for me that it is serving as a perfect literary ‘palate cleanser’. I tried to start my second ‘real’ novel shortly after A Necessary Act was finished and had a really tough time. I couldn’t get out of edit mode and back into first draft mode, so I was getting about one frustrated page per day. Doing this, with no pressure, has allowed me to just have fun and write again. And who knows, maybe I’ll find snarky cats are my true calling and leave my creepy psychos behind for good.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’ve hit social media very hard, with good results. Beyond that, I’ve been submitting to review sites, and that is starting to pay off as well. Just today I found out I was given a 5-star review and named a Top Pick by Underground Book Reviews. As such, A Necessary Act was nominated for their Novel of the Year. I’m very interested to see how that will affect sales.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Treat your writing like a job. Set aside a certain amount of time for writing every day and protect it, especially for a first draft. Writing a first draft is like building a house. Re-writes are decorating (and remodeling) it. You have to get the building up before you can make it pretty.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Spend your money on two things, cover and editing. A book will never be successful without top-notch editing and a great cover. Skimp on either and you will look like an amateur.
What are you reading now?
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein. I listened to a decent amount of Sleater-Kinney while writing my book.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Finish my snarky cat adventure book, then spend my summer coaching my daughters’ softball team while kicking around ideas for the next novel. Then when fall (and school) starts, back to the writing world.
What is your favorite book of all time?
The Stand by Stephen King. I devoured every page of that “expanded” version and wished there were more. End of the World books have been done a million times, but that’s the gold standard for me.