1. First off, welcome to the blog. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up on California’s Central Coast in the town of Arroyo Grande and then later earned a scholarship to UC Berkeley for track and field (shot put and discus). After college, I moved back to my hometown and currently work at my old elementary school as an instructional aide. I hope to soon transition over into a full-time writing career.
2. How old were you when you decided that you wanted to be a writer?
I was twenty-four and on the verge of graduating from college. Being an artist, I had sketch books full of character drawings and maps and such, and it suddenly hit me that I needed to be writing all this down into a book. I think that’s when it dawned upon me I wanted to be an author. I don’t remember it being a gradual thing, but a sudden flash of realization.
3. For those readers that haven’t had the pleasure of reading your work, can you tell us a little about the work included in the set?
Certainly. Ehriad is three scenes from the first novel in my Otherworld Trilogy, Faelorehn. The first three books of the Otherworld series are told from Meghan’s (my main character) perspective, so I decided to write Ehriadin order to give readers a glimpse into Cade’s (my mysterious hero) world. The three scenes I picked are the ones I think most give my readers a better understanding of Cade and why he does what he does in Faelorehn. A Single Thread of Magic gives Cade’s take on meeting and finding Meghan, The Morrigan’s Game shines a little light on Cade’s relationship with the war goddess, the Morrigan, as well as his sister in the Otherworld, and finally,Broken Geis tells the climax of the story but through Cade’s eyes. It is best to read Faelorehn before Ehriad in order to get a more complete story, butEhriad is a great way to decide if the Otherworld Trilogy might be a good fit for your personal library.
4. Do you see yourself in any of these characters?
I can honestly say I see a little bit of myself in the main characters of my books. Sometimes they’ll have traits or hobbies much like mine, but they are still their own people.
5. Do you have any odd writing habits or rituals?
When I’m on a writing rampage, I like to get up really early before anyone else (4 am) and write for a few hours before work. When I’m in this mode, I’ll hide away in my writing/craft room (or the dark corner of Starbucks – they open at 5 am) with a cup of tea, my instrumental music, and the determination to get 2,000 words written over the next few hours. Other times I might take my laptop out onto my patio and write whilst enjoying the great outdoors. It really depends on my mood and the time of year (I write early in the morning during the school year, before work, but during the summer I can write outside during the day). I always like to have my music, though. Either straight Classical or new age Celtic.
6. All writers have them, but what was that a-ha moment that inspired you?
There was the initial I want to be a writer light bulb that went off, but with the Otherworld series (which Ehriad is a part of), I do clearly remember a few factors that got that ball rolling. Firstly, I had been thinking for some time I should write a series rich in Celtic myth (I have a minor in Celtic Studies from UC Berkeley, so I studied all the great Celtic legends and such). Celtic mythology isn’t something too many people know about, so I wanted to create a way to get others interested. Secondly, I had read a few of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books and saw that he was using Greek mythology in a unique way. The final instance that finally got me sitting down and typing out the Otherworld books was Amanda Hocking’s Switched. She had taken the Norse side of mythology (the changeling myth) and had huge success in doing so. She was also an indie author, like me, so I thought that maybe I could find success with my Otherworld books. I will admit I have not yet made it big like Hocking, but I’m very happy with the direction in which I’m heading.
7. What are your most difficult scenes to write?
Probably the scenes that involve intimacy. So far, I’ve kept them relatively tame (I write YA, after all), so it hasn’t been too bad. Those are very private moments for my characters, and it feels intrusive at times (and totally awkward when writing in first person perspective!). Some other scenes that I find difficult are the ones when everything seems to be falling into place at the end of a book. I’m so paranoid that I’ll miss some major detail, or that the build-up, in the end, will be disappointing, that it takes me a while to get those areas just right.
8. Describe your ideal writing place.
I have three, so far, that I prefer: in my Renaissance Room (my sewing/writing nook), out on my small patio (when the wind isn’t blowing too hard), or in a café, tucked away in a small corner with my headphones in. I prefer writing in the morning when not too many people are out and about, and I do love writing in local cafes. I just pop in my headphones and get to work, taking a break every now and again to glance around and people watch. Plus, since my books are set in my hometown, it feels right working on them in the areas my characters frequent.
9. When you first started out as a writer, what were some of your biggest challenges?
Getting the book written and getting over the fear of telling people about it. I didn’t tell my family I was working on a novel until I had the first fifty pages written of my first book (my Legend of Oescienne series). I was totally nervous; terrified to tell my mom and dad, as if I was admitting some horrible crime I was guilty of. When I did, all they said was, “Oh, okay.” For some reason, I had expected disbelief from them, but they have always supported my pursuit of an art degree, encouraged it even, so I guess, in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been too worried. The second big challenge was figuring out what to do once the manuscript was written.
10. Any advice for other writers that are just starting out?
Write, research, write some more . . . The main thing is to just write, even if the story doesn’t make too much sense. Get those first fifty or one hundred pages done, keep at it. In the meantime, check out your options. Do you want to self-publish? Go traditional? Look into what each of those options entail and if that’s the path you want to take. Start building your social networks now, make friends with other authors, read their blogs with regards to writing and publishing. There is a lot of information out there, but if you are willing to invest the time, it can be really helpful when your book is ready to meet the public.
11. Are your family and friends supportive of you?
Yes, they are. My dad has accompanied me on many a long book event journey, as well as some of my friends. They give me feedback and, although I don’t always apply it to my writing, I appreciate that they take the time to let me know what they think. My friends also never fail to share their ideas with me with regards to reaching a wider audience. It’s great having others who want to see my books do as well as I do.
12. What writers have inspired you?
Some of the top ones are Sharon Shinn, Maria V. Snyder, Sherwood Smith, Ilona Andrews, Lindsay Buroker and J.K. Rowling. These authors have either inspired me by their attitudes and success, or their books and characters have given me ideas for my own novels.
13. Who is your favorite character from another author’s work?
Oh, this is a tough one. I like so many characters! Having said that, one character that really stands out to me is Amaranthe Lokdon in Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge series. Amaranthe’s an independent person who manages to gather together a band of misfit men (a cold assassin, a bumbling scholar, a disgraced pretty-boy noble, a mute ex-slave, and a young street thug with a bad attitude) and keeps them in line. Somehow, Amaranthe earns their respect and gets them to work together toward a common, positive goal. I just love the dynamic among these characters and how Amaranthe is able to pull it off.
14. What do you do when you are not writing?
I enjoy doing so many things: sewing (especially making quilts, tea cozies and Halloween costumes), reading, camping and hiking, gardening, bird watching, drawing, photography, cooking and baking. I also love to just sit out in my yard early in the morning with a cup of tea and just absorb the morning activity in the yard.