Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I love to read, travel, and spend time with my family. But writing isn’t just my profession, it’s my passion. So, I spend a lot of what should be spare time writing.
Q: Did you like getting your MFA? Should I get my MFA?
A: Before attending Seton Hill University to get my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, I’d never taken a single creative writing class. So, I really, really needed the help. I had a lot to learn, and Seton Hill was an amazing place to learn the craft. The community there is amazing and so incredibly supportive. I found a second family there, and I’m so thankful for my time there. That said, you have to do the research to find a program that fits the kind of writing you want to do and figure out if the financials make sense. With any program, you get out of it what you put into it. So, are you ready to take notes and grow? That’s another question that only you can answer.
Q: I’m a writer, too! Can you read my work?
A: Unfortunately, no. I’m so sorry! I wish I could read everything! But when I critique something, I go over it word by word, and it takes me FOREVER. It takes away from my writing time and pulls from the same creative well that writing does. I used to edit for a few people and had to quit a few years ago. My turnaround time was in the dumps, and I had to accept that I couldn’t do both writing AND editing. So, I had to pick. I’ll give you one guess which one I chose. 😉
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring authors?
A: With the caveat that every writer is different, I say know what you want to write. What genre do you love? Read a bunch of that. Know what’s out there. What are the genre conventions? What do readers want and expect? Can you give them that and then make it 20% different? What rules do you want to break?
Then write. Finish a draft. Then, find an editor or reader or critique group that you trust. And when they give you notes, take them. Because what you think is on the page might not be what the reader sees.
Since grad school, I’ve seen that the writers that have succeeded are the ones who were the best editors. Who took notes and then made their work shine. Being open to suggestions and changes is essential. Once you’ve found your voice and know what you want, then you can start deciding when to take a note and when to ignore it.
Q: How do you get past the common feeling of “This is awful” when you write?
A: The inner editor can be really harsh. Every writer has to deal with that voice in their head from time to time. It doesn’t bother me as much anymore. I think that comes with experience. The more you write—taking classes, sharing with people and getting feedback, and eventually finding your voice—the easier it gets. And for me, it’s gotten more fun with every book I write.
Q: How long does it take you to write a book?
A: From start to finish, it takes about 4 months, give or take a few weeks.
Q: How do you name your characters?
A: Characters are actually hard for me to name. I have a few baby name books to help inspire me, which sometimes helps. I also like to look for character aspects and see if there’s a name that could help describe a character further. I usually end up renaming characters a few times before I find the name that fits.
Q: Where do you get ideas?
A: Everywhere! By living life and observing everything.
Q: Will you ever write a book about [insert character name here]?
Q: Do you use an editor?
A: Yes! Every writer needs one! I have a developmental editor, Kime Heller-Neal of Wordsmith’s Key. I do three rounds with her before I read through for my final polish. Then, I send it to my copy editor, Sharon K. Garner.
Alpha Girls Series
Q: What’s the reading order for the Alpha Girls Series?
Q: How many books will there be in the Alpha Girls series?
A: As long as I have a good idea and readers interested, I’m going to keep writing. I don’t have a planned end for the series.
Q: Will you write another Claudia book?
A: I hope so! There were a few loose ends that I want to tie up for her. So, I’m planning on it, but no set timeline for it.
Q: Will there ever be audiobooks for the Alpha Girls series?
A: Yes! I’ll be posting like crazy once they’re ready, but they’re in the works!
Q: Will you write Becoming Alpha from Dastien’s POV?
A: Probably not. I never like to say a firm no, but I don’t think I’ll ever rewrite the story from Dastien’s POV. I’m excited to finally get his voice on the page in Alpha Erased, but going back to redo something just seems like a money grab for me. If I ever did anything, I’d rewrite the first few scenes and give it away for free. It just doesn’t feel creatively fun to go back and redo that book. Sorry!
Shadow Ravens Series
Q: Will there ever be a sequel to Cipher?
A: As of now it’s not planned and I’ve moved on to other projects, but Lola Dodge’s Quanta trilogy keeps the story going.