Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was named for a grandmother I never met, I’ve lived in seven states and five countries, I once had 17 cats, and I’ve been writing since before I could spell properly.
Of course, my spelling has improved, and I no longer write in crayon. The cats had to be given away because it’s insane to try to move to Germany with 17 cats (my 5 year old self was very sad, but at least I got to keep ‘my’ cat). And, despite being named for my grandmother, I spent the first 13 years of my life being called by my middle name, which I have come to think suits me better, but which I haven’t started using again because… hassle.
Ah yes, books that I’ve written? Well, I’ve written five so far, but I’ve only published one of them. It was the first one to make it through sufficient revisions to be good enough for the public eye. In addition, I ran a Kickstarter campaign for it, hired a professional editor, cover artist, cover designer etc., so it’s quite pretty and professional now, which makes me happy. I’ve also published a handful of short stories with small literary magazines and even put a collection of them into one tiny volume that is available for purchase.
When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy playing bass, rock climbing, trail running, backpacking, and general adventure having.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book (and debut novel) is entitled Blade’s Edge and it was initially inspired by the time I spent wandering around mountain shrines in Japan while I lived there teaching English.
As I spent more and more time hiking through the local mountains and encountering the various shrines everywhere I asked myself what the world would be like if all of the shinto spirits existed and were able to interact with the world? That was the initial spark.
From there the story evolved and eventually became something that was loosely inspired by feudal Japan, but was, in fact, it’s own completely imaginary world.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I write at a standing desk. I can write sitting down, of course, but I prefer to write standing up for a number of reasons, not least of which is that I enjoy dancing while rocking out to electronica/dubstep violin music on pandora. Yep. I look ridiculous.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Well, hundreds of them, honestly even the books I don’t like have most likely influenced my writing in some way, even it was simply an example of what not to do.
That said, here are some of my favorite authors who I would be elated to find myself compared to (as in, I like them so very much that I would be suspicious that anyone comparing me to these great writers is actually my mom incognito):
1. Kristin Cashore
2. RA Salvatore
3. Anne Bishop
4. Tamora Pierce
5. Karen Chance
I’m going to leave it at five, but honestly the list goes on forever, and those are just the authors who write in a similar genre to my debut novel.
What are you working on now?
Well, I’m currently doing a lot of PR and marketing for Blade’s Edge, but next up on the list is to finish revising a contemporary fantasy novel entitled Gwendamned.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Goodreads has worked wonders for me so far in terms of exposure. Running a Goodreads giveaway has gotten hundreds of people to look at my book (and request it) who never would have seen it otherwise. In addition, facebook ads have worked well for me, and I’m looking into the benefits of doing a blog tour as well.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Hire an editor BEFORE you publish. It is always worth the money, I don’t care how good your significant other is at catching typos.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Well… that’s a strong superlative… But off the top of my head, this quote from Hugh Howey is pretty solid: “Don’t be miserable. Be happy. And nice. And work hard. And get discovered. How, exactly? I have no f@#$ing clue.”
What are you reading now?
I am currently reading a Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Keep publishing! I have a number of books that are in need of revision and then once they’re pretty and polished are ready for public consumption. I hope to release at least one more book this year…. Preferably two.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Ok… That changes periodically, but most days my answer is Graceling by Kristin Cashore.