Please start by telling us a little about yourself (education, jobs, significant other, children, pets, etc.)
I am married for 17 years to my wonderful husband, who works in law enforcement. That’s a job in itself. We have two boys, fifteen and eleven. They make the world awesome. I went to college right out of high school and worked in the medical field for two years. I was a stay at home mom for eight years, with no ambitions to write. I started reading everyday for an outlet about 7 years ago and the rest is history. Reading was so enjoyable once I found books that I loved to read. A couple of years after that, I really started thinking about why I hadn’t read when I was a teenager and how many good books I’d missed out on. I decided to write a book that I would’ve read when I was fifteen. Eight weeks later, I had Hooked.
Tell us about your latest New Adult book and what inspired you to write it.
My latest is a series called, Dream Girls. I’ve always had good girlfriends. We’ve had so much fun hanging out, going to concerts, etc. I wanted to have a series about three friends that take a journey together, one where they had to grow up. Some of the best years of one’s life are those years right after high school. I’m also a firm believer in a great female lead. I wanted to show great friendships and good times that would take the reader back to that time in their lives where they are just trying to find their place in the world, or make a younger girl look forward to it. Of course, I can’t write anything without romance, so hot, funny men are involved too.
The New Adult genre is fairly new. What's your definition of it? How does it differ from Young Adult or just regular Adult books?
To me, it’s that sweet spot between being a teen with zero accountability where you have an idea of who you want to become, and actually becoming that person who has to be responsible for all your actions and being accountable for your own life and how it turns out. YA books tend to be more innocent. They are about first experiences, which is cool to write. The first cut is the deepest, so expanding on that can make for a really good story. To see how characters fight out of tough spots, fall in love for the first time, or get betrayed by a friend is exciting for a reader. New Adult books to me, are less about the outside influences and more about the main character finding their way and the decisions they make while getting there. It’s sort of the first few years of really being able to do whatever you want, which makes for a good story because some people just don’t know what to do with that much freedom.
Do you belong to any critique groups and/or do you have other people read your work as you're writing it? Who's brutally honest and who's a cheerleader? Which do you prefer?
Okay. I’m probably the outsider with this one. I’m not involved in any groups, which to be perfectly honest, was solely because I didn’t know of any in the beginning. But, I’ve found my own groove with my sisters and a couple of reader friends of mine. Both of my sisters are completely honest with me (probably because they don’t want to be embarrassed) and they are my biggest cheerleaders. All. Day. Long. They are literally the reason I ever had the courage to self pub or take the first steps to get published.
What are your all-time favorite authors/books?
Geez, there are so many. I read a lot. Jay Crownover, Kristen Ashley, Penelope Douglas, Abbi Glines, Sherrilyn Kenyon, SC Stephens, Kirsty Mosely. There are really too many to name. I could go on and on. My favorite books change all the time. Right now, Bully is at the top of the list. And Chaos series by Kristen Ashley.
Do you outline before you write or just dive head-first into a manuscript? Do you maintain a schedule for writing, or is it more haphazard?
I usually start off with an idea and just take off. That ends up being an outline. It’s not how I plan it necessarily, but I normally end up with somewhere around 55,000 words on my first drafts. Once I know where I’m going with it, I just go back and plug in scenes here and there.
Where do you do your best writing? (Ex: desk in your office, public library, under a tree in the park, in front of a Real Housewives TV marathon, etc.)
Do you like music or some other background noise, or do you need quiet? I write all of my books from my recliner. Most of it done late at night after my family is in bed.
What are the best and worst parts of writing a book?
The best parts are being creative, completing it, and having someone relate to it, love it and voice that to you. The worst parts for me are the frustrations during the process. Edits, proofreads, and trying to get the word out about your books. I’ve said it before—you need a degree to be a blogger. That job is—it just blows my mind how much time and effort it takes. I’ll never forget the feeling I had after I wrote my first book. I was shocked that writing the book was actually the easy part.
When you're driving and you have a sudden, brilliant idea for the new manuscript you're working on, what do you do? (Ex: pull over and fire up the laptop, keep driving while scribbling on a McDonald's bag, tell Siri, etc.)
I usually yell out to my kids or whoever is in the car with me, “Don’t let me forget this!” If I’m alone, I scribble it down on whatever I can find. I’m not good with technology, so the note thing on my phone is out.
Imagine you have a whole day free for shopping. Where do you go? (Mall, unique boutiques, flea market, antique shops, bookstore, home improvement store, etc.)
Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you want to look at it, I am not a shopper. In fact, I really dread it. But, I can browse a bookstore for hours. I love finding new authors and books.
Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?
It changes. I go back and forth all the time.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
New York City. I try to go every year. I love museums and anything involving art. Music is everything to me too! And of course, Jimmy Fallon is there too. I went to one of his shows and got to dance behind the band New Order once!
Do you have any advice for people who want to write a book?
Just Do It! Write everything you can even if you don’t think it is a good idea. I’m my worst critic, like most people, and some of the things I thought wouldn’t work in a book are the things that people loved the most. Finish the book and get, steal, BUY a great editor. Edits are important. Edit your work 3 times, then go back and have it proofread.