1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I was a big reader growing up and always wanted to write my own books. It wasn’t until I was in college that I was able to finish a novel (which will never see the light of day!) by taking creative writing classes and literature classes.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I like to write at night and in the early morning when there are no distracts. I do business/admin type-author work in the late afternoon and evening. I used to be able to write with music in the background, but now I need silence—I swear, I’d hear it if a squirrel sneezed outside! I like to get the admin side of writing out of the way first. I find that if I have a long to-do list that it weighs on my mind and makes it harder to slip into that creative mind-set.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I don’t write every day and there are times that I have to step away from the laptop because nothing’s working. I find that reading and watching movies and television can really kick start your mind into that storytelling mode. That’s what always helps me.
4.Are you a plotter or pantser when it comes to writing a story? I’m pretty much a pantser, but when you have a series (I have two: the Landry’s True Colors Series, and the Star Series) you need to have an idea where you’re going with a story, so I have a general idea of what main events will happen in the books.
5.Are you traditionally or self-published? I am traditionally published.
6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? I would suggest taking classes and having professional critiques done at conferences so you learn how to critique your own work before you being submitting it.
7.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Getting emails and messages from readers who said my work made them feel less alone in what they were dealing with be it with friendships or love relationships. I got an email recently from someone who got my book, Landry in Like, because she wasn’t feeling well and was going to be stuck in bed all day and someone told her it was a good book. She hadn’t read the other books in the series, but got so into the story that she forgot how she was feeling for a while. She went on to buy two more of my stories and said it was a great escape for her from her world and she was grateful.
8.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience? My latest book is Competing with the Star and it’s a young adult book, but clean, so suitable for ages 12 and up. The story is about a teen named Hadley who had trouble fitting in when she first moved to the beautiful beach town of Grand Haven, but now her life seems perfect. She lives by Lake Michigan and she’s formed a deep bond with her boyfriend over his grandfather’s dementia. However, insecurity hits when Hadley discovers Nick used to like her friend, Simone—the former TV star. Nick claims he loves Hadley, so she’s blindsided with the news that Simone and Nick kissed after school. Now Hadley must determine who’s telling the truth. Who needs TV drama when you’re competing with a star?
9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) The main thing is to be authentic. What people see on your social media sites is what they expect to see when they pick up your books. If you’re copying what someone else is doing or not being yourself, people will pick up on it fast. So always be yourself when posting content.
10.How long on average does it take you to write a book? It depends on each story. True Colors and Next Door to a Star took longer, but Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star took less than a year. Best Friends…Forever? was started earlier, but I took time off before finishing it.
11.Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. With the Landry’s True Colors Series, I got to pick from photos of models and for Best Friends…Forever? I really wanted Ashanti and Peyton on the cover with Landry instead of just her and the guy (Vladi Yagudin) to show it was a story about friendship as much as it was about relationships. I had a lot of say in Landry in Like and I love that cover. I didn’t pick the model for Next Door to a Star, but she is the perfect Hadley. I did get to pick the photo and backdrop for Competing with the Star and I love how it turned out. Cora Graphics did the Landry’s True Colors Series covers and Redbird Designs did the Star Series cover.
12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I like to read, I love shopping—trying on clothes and accessories is the best stress relief for me. I like to go to museums and I like movies, too. I also like to watch sports like American football (Detroit Lions), football (Real Madrid), and basketball.