CAN I ORDER SIGNED COPIES OF YOUR BOOKS?
If you’d like a signed book, email me (email@example.com) with your request, and I’ll send you a PayPal invoice. Each book is $20 if you live in the USA, $23 for Canada/Mexico, and $33 for all other countries. (Vengeance is $9 USA, $13 Canada/Mexico, and $16 all other countries.)
CAN I HAVE A REVIEW COPY OF ONE OF YOUR BOOKS?
I offer review copies of my upcoming books on NetGalley. You can go to the site and search my name to see if I currently have a book available for request!
CAN I HAVE A SIGNED BOOKMARK?
Yes! I’m happy to send a signed bookmark to anyone who wants one. Just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know your mailing address so I can send it to you. (Also let me know which series you want the bookmark for!)
CAN I INTERVIEW YOU ON MY BLOG?
I would love to do an interview on your blog! Please email me (email@example.com) with the five questions you want me to answer the most. I will get to your interview as soon as I can — the response time will vary depending on deadlines I have with writing.
WHAT BOOKS DO YOU RECOMMEND I READ?
My books, of course! Once you finish those, check out this list of My Favorite Books on Goodreads — they’re my all-time favorites that I always recommend.
CAN YOU READ AND CRITIQUE MY MANUSCRIPT/SHORT STORY?
Because of time restrictions and the fact that my to-read pile has more books than I can possibly finish, I cannot read your manuscript or short story. But when I was working on my first book, my family, friends, and teachers were extremely helpful in critiquing my work. I suggest that you ask similar people in your life to read your book!
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER?
I’ve been a writer forever, but I realized it was something I wanted to do professionally when I was a junior in college. I was taking an Intro to Creative Writing class, and when I turned in my first assignment (the first chapter of Remembrance), my classmates and teacher loved it and wanted to read more. I’d never thought I could complete a novel, but I realized I would never know if I didn’t try. So I tried, and completed the first draft by the end of the school year.
DO YOU OUTLINE YOUR BOOKS AHEAD OF TIME OR GO WITH THE FLOW WHEN YOU WRITE?
I create detailed outlines of my books before writing. It keeps me on track with the story. Also, since the plot is already created in the outline, all I have to focus on while drafting is the actual writing. Occasionally a new scene will pop into my mind when writing, and then I’ll deviate from my outline to include it!
DO YOU BASE YOUR CHARACTERS OFF PEOPLE YOU KNOW IN REAL LIFE?
My main characters come from my imagination. Basing main characters off real people makes me feel creatively boxed in, as if that character cannot develop into their own person. However, some of my friends and family have made cameo appearances in my books! And I’ve never based a character off of myself. I worry that if I did that, I would take it personally if readers didn’t like that character!
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?
Remembrance was inspired by Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” music video, and The Secret Diamond Sisters was inspired when I was walking through my favorite Las Vegas hotel, The Wynn. Beyond that, I don’t know. I pluck them out of the parallel world full of ideas. I think some people’s brains naturally create stories, and if you’re one of those people, you should try to be a novelist! (If you’re not one of those people, non-fiction or ghost writing might be a better option for you.)
WILL THERE BE A MOVIE OR TV SHOW FOR YOUR BOOKS?
As of right now, none of my books are contracted for a movie or TV show. I do have Hollywood representation shopping around The Secret Diamond Sisters to TV studios, and will update you all if anything happens with that!
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
The second book in my Elementals series, The Blood of the Hydra, comes out on April 18, 2016!
WHY ARE SOME OF YOUR BOOKS INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED, WHILE OTHERS ARE PUBLISHED BY A BIG PUBLISHER?
In between publishing The Transcend Time Saga, and having The Secret Diamond Sisters picked up by Harlequin Teen, I wrote a guest blog post about this, which you can find HERE. After the experience of being both traditionally and independently published, I can now happily say that I love both, which is why I’m continuing to do both as a “hybrid” author. I’ve written a more recent blog about that, which you can find HERE.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WRITING ENVIRONMENT?
I write on my bed in my room. I can’t have any distractions, which means no one can come in to interrupt me, and I can’t even listen to music! Which frustrates me, because I love music. I like writing on my bed because it’s comfy—I feel so constrained at desks. And I use my laptop—a MacBook Pro. I’ve had the same laptop since 2008, which means every book I’ve written has been on this computer!
HOW DO YOU CREATE YOUR CHARACTERS?
I create character biographies when I’m creating my characters. I start with an image in my mind of what a character looks like, and I’ll try to find actors/models with a similar look to picture them better. Then I’ll fill out the character biographies—these usually end up being about 1,000 words long for each character (although the length depends on how important the character is in the story.) The bios include simple things, like physical descriptions, likes/dislikes, etc., and also past histories with other important characters in the story. Figuring out their histories with other characters really helps me understand characters better!
I WANT TO BE A WRITER. HOW CAN I GET MY BOOK PUBLISHED?
A writer I know once told me, “You have to write one million bad words before you write anything others want to read,” and that is so true. Writing is a skill, and like any other skill, it takes practice to improve. Experiment with different approaches to writing a novel so you can find what works best for you. Most importantly, above anything else, you have to write. Know what time of day you get your best writing done, and force yourself to write during that time, even if you’re not feeling “inspired.” Writing is work, and it’s not going to be fun all the time. There will be parts you will struggle with, that will frustrate you to no end and make you want to hit your keyboard, but you need to keep your end goal in mind. Set a minimum goal of how many words you can comfortably write per day, and reach that minimum five days a week. Make sure your goal per day is attainable for you—if it’s too high, it will be frustrating and will make you want to quit. And remember that even if you’re having a rough writing day, force yourself to reach that minimum. First drafts don’t need to be perfect, since you will edit it afterward. Once your draft is completed, edit to the best of your ability. Show it to friends, family, and teachers to ask their advice on how to improve.
Next you need to research to figure out if you want to self-publish or try to get a traditional publisher. If you want to go traditional, visit http://www.agentquery.com and read everything you can on the site to learn how to query agents. (You can also check out my “How to get an Agent” blog post.) If you want to self-publish, use Google to learn how to increase your chances of success. The Internet holds limitless amounts of information — use it to gain knowledge before jumping into anything. If you believe in yourself and if you want it badly enough, you are giving yourself the best chance for success. Then be prepared for rejection, and don’t let rejection stop you from pushing forward and writing your next book. Your first, third, or even fifth book may not do as well as you want, but you never know what will happen with books you’ll write in the future. Remember: the people who make it are the ones who never gave up!