Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I love stories in all shapes and sizes, and when I was a toddler, I wouldn't go to sleep without a pile of books next to me. I really enjoy writing in all different types of mediums, too. Some favorites are song lyrics, musicals, film scripts, and, especially, novels.
I've written about ten novels, and three have been published so far. I was working on a series of fairy tale retellings, and put some of those up on Swoon Reads to see what kind of reader feedback I could get on them. I wrote them each to be a standalone story, but there are parts that overlap so they're also companion novels. For those, I really wanted to take the idea of happily every after and challenge it, to give a beginning and end to fairy tales that we kind of ignore because we don't want to think too much into them.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book, which just came out in September, is called Silhouettes. It's about a girl who's killed in a car accident, but a part of her remains in this world so she gets to see how the people she knew react to her death. It's a bittersweet story about the impact a single life can have, no matter how young it is.
The initial idea for the book hit me one day when I was walking outside my house, but looking back now, there were a lot of different things going on that led to that moment. My larger community of friends was going through a rough few years, as four different families we knew buried children who died too young, and for different reasons. It felt like we had been steamrolled, and thinking on it now, I think Silhouettes was somehow born from all that.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don't think so. I'm a pretty disciplined and straightforward writer. I will add this one tip, though, I keep different size sticky notes and pens near my bed for those great ideas that hit just when I'm about to fall asleep. Sometimes I just write them in the dark, so it might take me a while to figure them out the next morning.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Overall, I'd say every book and every author has influenced me, because even the ones I didn't love taught me something. There are some books I'd recommend over others, but that also depends on who's asking for the recommendation. The biggest thing in reading is to be aware and just pay attention to what you do or don't like about the way the book was done, how the characters develop, etc.
What are you working on now?
I started a book a while ago that I stopped mid-way, because it wasn't quite working. Giving it some time and space helped me reevaluate it, so I'm eager to go back and get it right.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I've tried a few things, but have yet to really figure that one out.
It is true for most products though that word of mouth beats out anything else. It's very important to get people who've read and liked your book to talk about it with others. Many people just trust fellow customers over sellers.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read a lot, pay attention to what you're reading, and know you're market.
Always be a student of the craft, and your next book will be better than the one before it.
Apply yourself, don't make excuses, and know how to step back from a work so you can fix it with an open mind.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I once spoke with a writer and told him that I'm trying to be a writer, too.
He told me, "You're not trying to be a writer, you are a writer."
That mindset is so important, it changed everything.
What are you reading now?
I just finished a book, so now I'm staring at my TBR and deciding what to read next.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I recently completed a YA historical fiction novel, and I have to get that right so I can explore my publishing options.