What inspires you to write?
Reading. I love to read, and it makes me want to create good books of my own.
Tell us about your writing process.
Once I know the major conflict of a novel, I brainstorm with pen and paper for the chapter titles and sequence. Then I come up with the significant conflict for each chapter. This serves as a rough outline, but is always contingent upon the new ideas that come spontaneously (the most thrilling part of the writing process). Almost every day, I sit down with the current chapter and flesh out the details around that conflict, researching when I need to (also fun), and building each chapter, like blocks, toward the tower that is the story.
Before each session, I will usually read the previous chapter, so that I get recapture the voice and the flow and keep the story unified. As I reread, I edit and fill out details as needed. Occasionally, I will go all the way back to the beginning to recapture a sense of the whole story before moving forward, but I try to limit how often I do this for the sake of time.
My first draft then goes to about six beta readers who provide feedback and some editing. Once I receive their feedback, I plunge headfirst into deep edits, perfecting the story in every way possible and combing through it, over and over, until I feel it is as good as it can be.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Absolutely. More often than listening to them, I become them. I become them and then figure out what I need to do next in the story to get what I want. In order to do this, to sort of “channel” them and take on their personalities, I usually lie down in a quiet room away from my family, get into a dreamlike state, and then experience the next scene unfold. As soon as possible, I return to my laptop and write it all how I saw it in my “vision.”
What advice would you give other writers?
If you are writing because you love it, I don’t think you can go wrong. Keep writing and keep educating yourself about the industry. Make alliances with other professionals, attend conferences and writing workshops, read books in your genre, read books about craft, read books about publishing, and read books about marketing. If you want to sell books, learning how to promote them is paramount to success.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After attending several writers’ conferences and meeting successful writers who had published either traditionally or independently, I made the decision to self-publish. It made the most sense for me, my lifestyle, my personality, and my goals. I’m a control freak, and i love holding the reins to my own career. But I enjoy all aspects of it, including marketing. All writers must weigh the pros and cons of the various paths for themselves. In some cases, a hybrid career–in which some books are published traditionally and others independently–might be the path of choice. The key here is choice: writers have more choices than ever before!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think this is the best time in the history of the printed word to be a book lover–whether as a reader or as a writer or both! The Internet and digital media have democratized the industry, making it possible for more people than ever to make a career out of their love for books–not just as writers but as readers, reviewers, bloggers, publishers, editors, graphic artists, you name it. I am so glad that I’m alive in this day and age to be a art of this awesome evolution!
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
young adult, mystery/suspense
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print