What are your writing influences?
I’m a horror fan so Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Anne Rice
I love fantasy too so Marion Zimmer Bradley, Tolkien and David Eddings
I’ve written most of my life, I read every genre out there including science fiction and even romance. (Although I am not a fan of contemporary fiction or chicklit)
Did you always want to be a writer? And what inspired you to write?
I think the answer to that would be a categorical Yes! I've always wanted to be a writer but sometimes life demands you do other things in the interim, but even when you take a different path in life the dream never dies.
The actual step to taking writing seriously was something that happened gradually. After spending years in an industry, and a job that, quite frankly, was uninspiring if not emotionally draining and unsatisfying, I realised it was now or never. I changed jobs to one that was less challenging and very near my home, and began to write every day (including weekends). And every chapter I completed just inspired me to write more because I realised I was capable, and it was possible for me to write a book and fulfil my dream!
Do you think you’ll still be writing genre YA fiction or do you think you’d like to try something else?
I love writing YA, and I do certainly see myself continuing within the genre, although as we speak I have a psychological horror and a good-old fantasy well and truly screaming to be written so who knows what the future holds. I also have an Urban Fantasy coming out soon that can be classified as New Adult or Crossover fiction.
Valkyries aren't popular in YA books. What made you decide to write a book about them ?
I love Mythology, and though I'd seen Greek based YA, I hadn’t seen Norse based Paranormal YA out there- it’s the least done I think. So I mulled over mythological beings that would be cool and that I have always loved and in the end I went with the Valkyrie. I’ve seen a bit of it in Carrie Jones’ NEED Series and Jennifer Esteps’ Mythos Academy. I'm hoping it will soon become a popular subject for the YA genre ;)
Tell us something about yourself you haven’t told anyone yet?
My first manuscript, the first time I ever attempted a full novel, died with my PC. I’d written about 60 000 words, and though I lost about half of them, it hit me so badly that I didn’t feel like writing again for almost 7 months.
And every time I think about rewriting the novel or completing it I get this terrible ache in my tummy. So I guess I will leave that manuscript alone until I gather sufficient courage.
The moral of the story? Backup, backup, backup.
What makes the Valkyrie Novels so unique?
This series brings both the fantasy world of the Norse realms, with all their gods, tales, manipulations and trickery, head to head with the modern world. It’s a setting in which the modern meets the mythological , plus the lead character is no simpering miss.
Why did you choose to write a twist on Mythology? What is it about that genre that’s so alluring?
I’ve always been a mythology nut. I have a deep respect for the concept of a mythology in that it is a representation of a society and its vision of what the world and life means. Each culture has a unique way of explaining how life works and what life and all its complexities really mean. But even then one can identify the similarities, the sharing of myths among cultures through trade and time.
I mulled over which Norse mythological beings would be cool and I went with the Valkyrie- although dragons do warm my heart (but that may just be another story entirely) *grin
What is your advice for our readers out there that want to become writers?
Never give up. That’s the main thing, I guess. I had entered a contemporary fiction competition, worked really hard on my three chapter submission and got my chapters slammed. The problem was, my submission was a paranormal fiction with Egyptian themes. Why wouldn't it be tossed out on it’s little tush? It was the wrong genre.
The best thing you can do is learn the craft, learn the rules of the industry. Learn the do’s and don’ts, and polish your manuscript until it shines. Whether you are submitting to agents or publishers, always, always put you best foot forward.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I'm very honored to say that I hear from readers all the time. They have such wonderful things to say about Dead Radiance that sometimes I have to read it over and over just to believe it. Most readers love Bryn, and Aidan. Some readers want to see more of Fen, and some readers think Joshua's way better for Bryn. I simply love that readers feel the characters and the writing enough to totally love the story. The best part of reader feedback is the kind that says 'where the h*ll is the next book, I'm dying here...' Love it!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
There was so much in my head as I wrote, so many scenes, so many twists and turns that it was difficult trying to keep them all in order. I always thought I was a pantser- writing off the cuff, and indeed I think I am most of the time but I've slowly developed a strategy of putting ideas onto paper or writing them up in Scrivener, the writing program I use. I think in the long run, it pays to be organized, to have a plan.
Who designed the covers?
My covers were created by an amazing artist – Eduardo Priego. He is an extremely talented young Mexican artist that was such a pleasure to work with. He brought my design and idea to fruition and I can honestly say there is nothing I don't like about the final product. It's just perfection.
Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?
I usually work from 8.30 to 11.00 then take a break to work out (when I’m good) and have lunch (when I remember). Then it’s back to work from 12.30 to 3.30. I take a break when the teens get home or when I cook. After dinner and a walk with DH to clear my head, I usually get back to my PC and work until midnight. That’s the weekly routing. Weekends I try to do more reading and research unless I’m editing or on a writing deadline.
I used to be a full on pantser but I’ve found that creating a plan really helps my momentum and my productivity too. I’ve started using scene cards recently and I’ve found them to be a total success.
Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?
We have a small apartment so space is at a premium. I have two areas- my main study is just a corner of our living room- this is where I work when the troops are out. And I have a little alcove area behind my bedroom door that I escape to during school holidays or when the people in my house watch movies and pretend they have surround sound!
Inspiration for my Writing
Everything inspires me to write. The world. People. Life.
Conversations I overhear in coffee shops of supermarket inspire possible plot options. I usually people watch- which makes me wonder what kind of lives people live and where they will go next. Family interaction, disagreements, life experiences. It's never-ending the kind of plot fodder that life throws at you.
I write fantasy/paranormal, so my inspiration is my reading of world mythology and legend, my intrigue with those subjects and my overactive imagination.
Sometimes an idea will slam into my brain while I am watching a movie or a tv program, so I scribble it down immediately (DH and girls generally roll their eyes when this happens. I'm sure they are thinking 'There she goes again.')
Sometimes is something I've read in an interesting book that makes me think about how I would interpret the topic or idea. Or sometimes I'd just get a flash of a scene while reading a book that is totally unrelated. Who knows how that happens or why?
Curiosity. I have many ideas floating around in my head and sometimes one idea or character will bug me more that the others, and then I will simply die of curiosity if I didn't write and find out what happens next.
The human condition- I've always been fascination by the human mind, how we are built psychologically, why we are the way we are and do the things we do. What breeds evil in the mind of a simple man? What creates kindness in the heart of an abused child? What fosters hope when everything seems hopeless?
And lastly it's the word WHY. I'm perpetually curious. I have to know the answer to everything (and yes, I was a nerd when I was young and quite frankly I think I never grew out of that condition).