I come from an average family even in today’s meaning of an average family. I was born just outside of Philadelphia as the youngest of three. At the age of five, we pulled up roots and moved down to Oklahoma where I spent my youth and young adulthood. Like others, I graduated from high school. (I’m still trying to figure out how I managed to get in the top 25% with the grades I had)
Early in my school years I discovered books, starting with Encyclopedia Brown and the Xanth books by Piers Anthony. These, along with a popular cartoon at the time, and my siblings’ AD&D sessions played each afternoon in our living room, inspired me to start creating my own imaginary worlds and creatures. My first written work didn’t come until 9th grade for an English assignment. Until then, and for a while after, I used my creativity to draw the worlds and species that swam in my head.
At the ripe age of 21, I left Oklahoma with the intention of going to Georgia to complete my computer training, but found myself staying in Arkansas instead where I had my first son. While life was good, it wasn’t easy and eventually my husband and I split soon after the birth of my second son. Then, about five years ago, I returned to Oklahoma where I’ve spent my time writing and trying to make a better life for my boys.
It wasn’t until 1998 after I discovered the online realm of roleplay that I was introduced to NaNoWriMo. It began with a short story set in a world a friend had created and it grew from there. During this time, I also discovered the furry fandom, a group who uses anthropomorphic animals instead of humans in their writing, art, and roleplay. My own art had a comfortable home, as well as my writing. I also started taking writing more seriously.
From that first month of writing furiously on, I’ve spent hours writing or contemplating new story plots to use. There are several completed NaNos under my belt, but there are a few where circumstance wouldn’t let me reach that 50K goal.
What inspires you to write?
The biggest inspiration I have for writing are my sons. They are my life. I am lucky to have both of them. After them, my inspiration comes from different sources; work and the people I encounter there, TV, radio, or even a simple conversation.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a pantster in style. I don’t work well using an outline. I found this out back in high school. I come up with the idea, figure the characters, maybe flesh them out enough to have an idea what they’re like, then I start writing. Later, I’ll go through and rework scenes and dialog when I’m ready to revise and edit.
One thing is for sure once I have the basic story idea down; I figure out the characters who will be doing the work and where the story will be taking place. I have to be able to visualize the setting and the characters before I can make a successful attempt at writing their story.
What happens along the way comes at the spur of the moment. Silly things, violent things, mundane stuff, it all occurs at random.
If I try to outline parts or all, it ruins my flow and I tend to get blocked more easily. hence I don’t outline. But, if someone wants an outline bad enough, I can write one up later when the story is done.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Of this, I can say without a doubt, yes, I do talk to them and I listen to them. Some characters don’t like getting down and dirty while others love to get into the meat of the story and get their hands messy. They tell me their life stories, what they’ve done, how they to be where they are and why they act the way they do.
Most have full backgrounds written with details being added all the time. One has asked to be retired after my current trilogy is finished. Others haven’t spoken much about themselves, but they are biding their time until they are ready to talk my ear off.
What advice would you give other writers?
My advice to other writers is to be persistent. Don’t back down once you’ve set that goal. Even if it means losing sleep to reach it, do not back down. No writer is sane by any definition. The only reason we aren’t in those padded cells is because we let those voices come out to play on a blank page for everyone else’s enjoyment.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I did some research when I was writing my book, Black Friday. I looked into publishers who took unsolicited manuscripts and independent publishers. Admittedly, I was impatient and I wasn’t expecting to hear anything back to the inquiries I sent out so soon. The company I went with was the one who answered first.
For the curious, independent publishing isn’t bad, but you really have to get out there and promote your work yourself. You can’t just sit idle and let the universe decide for you if you’ll do well. If people are to know you’re published, you have to shout it to the world.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I try not to think too much, it hurts. Seriously though, the future of book publishing will probably stay the way it is now with avid readers having their dead tree in hand to smell the ink and glue as well as their digital books handy for when they can’t have those books with them; such as on flights or long car drives.
There will always be a need for traditional publishing no matter how we look at it. EBooks may become more popular, but they don’t have that feel that a paper book has.
What do you use?
What genres do you write:: I write high fantasy mostly, but I also write fiction, sci-fi, and urban fiction. But, I will always write in the furry genre of these.
What formats are your books in: Both eBook and Print