What genre(s) do you write?
Christian Teen Romance, but every now and then I have to take a break and write a little horror.
What genres and authors would we find you reading?
I love romance, Meg Cabot, Stephanie Meyer, Gail Carson Levine. I’ve always had a thing for classic as well, Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier,
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting up the courage to send it out to a publisher. Writing it was pretty easy, editing it was harder but still fun, but after it was finished it sat in my computer collecting digital dust for over a year. Finally a very wise woman asked me, why not? I’m so glad I listened to her and sent it out into the world.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A little of both. I hate to have everything plotted out and I never plot on paper, but I can’t get things done if I don’t have at least most of the major scenes figured out in my head. So, I guess I am a plottser?
Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?
Because even though fairy-tales are big and there are a lot of choices out there right now, my stories are different because they deal with real life. They don’t have magic so in the end my characters have to deal with the messes that they have made without a magical spell to set them free. I’d like to think this is a fresher take on the old tales.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?
That there is hope and love in the world. And that they might feel a better sense of the fact that there is a purpose for their lives. That’s what I want my characters to learn, so that’s what I am hoping to show the reader through my characters.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That everything has beauty in it and that God uses that beauty to do great things. I want every girl, (or guy) that reads my book to feel like they too are beautiful and that they are important.
How long have you been a writer?
Since I was about 9. I started my first novel, The Mystery of the International Twins. It is a completed work that I hope will never see the light of day!
How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?
About three years. A year and a half to write and edited; and the same amount of time in procrastination.
What other careers have you had?
Wow, I have been everything from a receptionist at a funeral home to a full time nanny. I’ve been a homeschool teacher, a personal assistant, a waitress, a dog/cat sitter, a sales person and I’ve worked at a dry cleaners. I feel like there are far too many interesting things to do out there to just pick one, but throughout it all I have been a writer. I think all of those jobs have helped me not only be a better person, (ie. I try to tip better now) but a better writer.
Do you write under more than one name? Why?
Nope. My parents gave me a superhero name, (double initials, like Peter Parker, or Lois Lane), and because of this I think it’s kind of catchy.
Are any of your characters based on real people or events?
Yes and no. My characters all seem to have a little bit of me in them. It’s hard not to write in first person and not give them a little of yourself. Also, the character Sammie, (Petals), is based on a lot of different people that I know. He’s a mixture of my brothers and other teenage boys I grew up with. Some of the things he says are direct quotes from those guys and it makes me happy to see them alive in Sam.
How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?
I’m a very loving, girly, loud laughing, deep feeling person. I’m a true romantic and I try to find the beauty in everyday life. Mostly, my relationship with my Jesus is the centerfold of my life. As I learn to fall more deeply in love with Him, I hope that I am becoming a better person along the way.
What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?
Oh, that’s so hard. When you live in your own skin, your life seems sort of boring, but I guess, the fact that I played drums in a rock band from the ages of nine to twenty, is pretty cool. I grew up in this exclusive world of local independent (or indie) bands. It’s a very close knit community and I learned a lot from those years. I never wanted to be a professional musician and i am glad I chose writing over the band, but I still miss those days. There is nothing that compares getting all the beats just right. It’s a thrill like no other.
What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
That it’s fun. I write about hard topics, but in the end I really want to write a good story.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
Meg Cabot’s All American Girl had a big impact on me as a teenager. It’s all about a girl wanting to be anyone but herself, but in the end she realizes that being herself is the best person to be. I wanted to write books that made girls think about themselves in a better light. Also, Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted. It was the first novelized retelling of a fairy-tale that I ever read. It made me want to write a new version of a fairy-tale for myself.
How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
They have all been so excited and supportive. It’s been really wonderful seeing how many of them have stepped up and not only bought a copy but are being little foot soldiers and getting the word out there. I couldn’t have gotten this far without them.
Where are you from?
I am Texas born but Oklahoma bred. I guess you might say that I have red dirt in my veins.
How do you come up with the titles?
Petals was originally called, Calla and Griffin: A Modern Day Version of Beauty and the Beast. I laugh now, when I think about how long that would have been. After I came to my senses and realized I didn’t need the whole storyline on the cover, I changed it to simply Petals because roses are such an important theme in Beauty and the Beast as well as my novel.
Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?
I think my writing finally has some weight behind it. When you have spent years just typing on a laptop pr scribbling in a notebook and claim to be a writer no one really takes you seriously, but after you are published suddenly they are asking you to edit things for them. It’s funny how that works. In a lot of ways I feel like I just graduated.
Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?
I can’t multi-task well. I try to keep up blogs and facebook, maybe a short story, while writing a novel, but I can’t get my brain around more than one novel at a time. I get distracted too easily, and that is how projects go unfinished.
When not writing, how do you relax?
I love to go to the movies. I try to see anything that even looks halfway good. When I was a little girl, my dad and I would watch a movie at home every night and we would go out to the theater at least once a week. I still love to watch a good movie, but I am much more apt to fall asleep these days.
Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.
I am 24 years old.
I’m an avid walker, I take the twins that I nanny out on a walk every morning and I love to go walking by myself or with a friend.
I played the Scarecrow of Oz in my church’s huge interactive play and I just got the cast list, so I am excited to be playing it again this year.
Before I went gluten-free my favorite snack was cold egg-rolls, now I love to chop up a banana and put a little salt on it.
What Projects are you working on now?
I am working on the sequel to Petals, a novel called Sheltering Snow. It will be a modern version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which in my mind translates into: A teen runaway, with a secret, is befriended by a family of quirky siblings who have a few secrets of their own.