Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am the author of two published novels, with a novella coming out very soon! I write dark epic fantasy and fairy tale fantasy. I’m a character writer and I love to put a hero through her paces.
I wanted to be a writer in elementary school, and every day since. Now, I write every day in a cabin in the woods of upstate New York, which I’ve filled with fairy statues and dragon bookends. I adore the privacy of the woods and the gloominess of the Atlantic ocean, and those loves make it into the settings of my novels.
If I could have any pet I wanted, I’d have a dragon. Since I haven’t been able to get ahold of one yet, I have backyard chickens. Each one is named after one of my favorite characters.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book, The Woods, is a dark fairy tale retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.
My imagination has always looked to fairy tales, folktales, and myths when it seeks the foundation for a new story. When I sat down to write my latest novel, I was in a new relationship with a partner who came from a different world than me. We are different colors, different ages, and had very different early life experiences. A lot of my friends didn't get us. It was thoughts of this divide floating around in my head that provided the first seeds of The Woods, which explores love that crosses boundaries. I'm happy to say my partner and I are still together…as for The Woods, I won't give away the ending. 😉
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Yes! I can’t type without wearing fingerless gloves. Though I started wearing them years ago for comfort, now it’s become a ritual. I have a special set that I wear when I’m diving into a first draft and need to be at my most creative.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
One of my biggest influences as a teenage girl was Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. Like so many teenagers, I had a tough time in those years, and McCaffrey’s books transported me to a world full of heroes, dragons, and the deep bonds between them. She’s remained an inspiration ever since.
As a writer, I was also heavily influenced by Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art. It’s all about overcoming procrastination and sitting down to Do The Work of actually writing (rather than just talking and dreaming about writing). It was a game-changer for me.
What are you working on now?
I have moved away from fairy tale fantasy for the moment, and am working on Book 1 of an epic fantasy trilogy. It is so fun to build such a complex story with multiple viewpoints, cultures, and huge stakes. I won’t say much about it yet, but I’ll tell you that it draws from selkie mythology to tell the story of a mother who seeks her lost daughter as the world ends around her.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
You have to define what success is for yourself. We all want to be successful, right? But what does that mean to you? Without an answer to that and concrete strategies to get you to your goals, you’re unlikely to stumble onto it.
That said, my other piece of advice is: Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you can’t do it. You can.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Allow me to get woo-woo for a second. The best advice I’ve ever heard comes from Eckhart Tolle, the spiritual teacher and author. Live in the now. Your whole life is lived there—in the present moment. This is the only moment where you can take action to bring yourself closer the life you want. Don’t waste it.
The less woo-woo version of this great teaching? Don’t spend so much time fantasizing about the awards you’ll win that you waste time that could be spent writing the books.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Writing a novel is like juggling. The more balls in the air, the harder it is to balance them all. As a baby writer, just writing a whole book that made actual sense was really hard! Now, I’m ready to scale up. Epic fantasy trilogy, here I come!
What is your favorite book of all time?
I have to pick just one??! This question is very mean.
I’d have to say The Wayfarer Redemption trilogy by Sara Douglass. That is an underrated fantasy series that defined, for me, what “epic fantasy” really means.
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