1. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was 9. I started passing time by writing stories using my classmates as the characters. It was fun finishing a story and having my classmates read it and others beg to be in the next one.
2. Do you see writing as a career?
I do. Even though I'm studying to embark on a career in education, I've always seen my writing as a career, even if it doesn't pay the bills. I think the difference between a hobby and career can be surmised by the level of seriousness a writer brings to it.
3. How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by reading and writing. Reading something that I really dig gets me motivated to create my own work and writing feeds into a need to keep writing, if that makes sense. When I finish writing after being totally "in the zone,” it's a feeling like no other for me.
4. Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Sorta...? I have an idea of how the story will go but I never want it to be concrete because as I write, the characters may do something different that turns the story. So I'll do an outline for only a few chapters at a time, that way, if the story turns, my outline is flexible.
5. Do you have a specific writing style? Genre?
I don't have a specific genre; I write what my muse inspires me to write whether it is science fiction or literary. As far as writing style, I tend to lean more toward character driven stories.
6. Is there a message in your stories/poems that you want readers to grasp?
Sure and I think most writers, even if subconsciously, try to convey a message within their stories. I think each story I write conveys a different message. With "The Wish,” the story could be seen as a metaphor. Are you going to let your mistakes take away your entire existence? But I'm a firm believer in that every reader will get their own message from a story, whether the writer intended on that message or not.
7. What are your current projects?
Right now, I'm revising several older stories and compiling them by genre into a print edition. They will be available to buy online but the main purpose is to sell them locally since over 95% of my print sales come from local fans. I'm also getting ready to start the third story in my Barrier (science fiction space military) series.
8. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Since I'm editing older stories right now, here's an excerpt from my published short story "The Crazy Ole' Bird Lady":
“Ah...” I said, trying to give off the impression of being attentive while at the same time trying to inch away.
“I had a little girl. Her name was Sara.”
I hadn’t known she had any children. I’d never seen anyone come around her house.
“Yup, she was about your boy’s age when those bird things came and carried him off.”
She really did believe all this bird stuff. If she hadn’t scared Kevin into nightmares the day before, I would’ve felt sorry for her. As it was, I despised the woman and I didn’t care whether or not she’d had one or ten fictional children carted off by mythical creatures. She had violated my child’s right to feel safe on our own property.
“And my husband used to beat me too.”
“Excuse me?” I’d never told her that. I wasn’t about to stand for her snooping where it was none of her business.
She read my startled expression. “I seen that look you got in your eyes before. I seen it looking in the mirror. You’re all tough now, ready to kill the sonuvabitch if he steps foot in your world. Tell me, is he a doper or a drinker?”
I was acutely aware of every beat of my heart. It drummed in my ears.
“A drinker,” I muttered.
“Yeah, mine, too.”
All I could do was look into her face while she stared off into the past. I had to swallow hard to keep back tears from horrible memories gone by.
My thoughts were broken by the sound of shattering glass from one of the offices. The old folks flew into a hushed panic.
“Get them kids into the courtroom!” Gerty ordered in a frantic whisper.
9. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes. Time. Probably not in the way most people think, though. I am so full of project ideas and story ideas that I sometimes feel like I'm going to burst with them. I just don't have time to do them all when I want to do them. I have to force myself to focus on one thing at a time. I know there are writers out there that have a dozen projects in their current buckets but if I don't focus on one thing at a time, I don't finish anything.
10. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Aside from the typical "read a lot and write a lot" advice that we usually get, I'd like to recommend that beginning writers read raw work. I've learned so much about my craft by reading others' rough drafts and stories that weren't quite finished. It's also encouraging to see that other writers don't just pop out perfect manuscripts on the first go around.