What are your favourite books?
A.S. Byatt’s Possession, Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian and John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, are three of my all-time favourite books, but if you go to my Goodreads page, you will find many more there including my favourite YA novels.
What is the next book in the Viridian Chronicles called? How many books will there be?
Book II of the Viridian Chronicles is called Morosa. It should be ready for release in the fall of 2018. The series will include four books, Liornabella, Morosa, Octovilian and Wisterian.
Are Elle, Naomi, Martine and Elan based on people you know? Are the places in the books real?
Some minor character traits of my characters are based on people I know ~ but I am not writing about my own life. These characters are very much themselves. Occasionally they incorporate aspects of people I know, or have met, like Naomi’s sense of humor or Elle’s athleticism. (It is noteworthy that I do not mention any comparison to my athleticism ~ I wouldn’t have been admitted to Eidolon. 🙂 ) Elan is the guy everyone crushes on and Martine is the best friend we would all like to have. The sports and adventures vaguely align with sports my children compete in but to the extreme. Horses have always been in my life, so writing them into the story was easy ~ they are grazing outside my window.
As for the places in the books, I based the four countries on the UK in the beginning, just to give me a visual layout but that changed over time. Each of the Universities have characteristics from schools in these countries as well. When you travel or if you live in the UK, perhaps you will be able to spot some similarities!
Do you have a writing routine? A place where you write or a certain amount of time you write per day?
I do not have a set routine. I get the family out for school and work, do barn chores, a quick tidy of the house, and then sit down with my coffee and hope it is a day where the words will flow. If they do, I can write all day, if they do not, then I focus on marketing, catch up on my social media and any other book related work. You cannot force writing and some days are just not writing days. It does not mean they cannot be productive days though. I often step away from my computer and take out my notepad and jot ideas down if I am struggling with what happens next. I also go back and review my older notes to see if I find inspiration ~ often I do find just that so this exercise is most helpful!
As for where I write, I have an office in my house, just big enough for me to make a mess and with enough room on the floor for my giant St. Bernard, Bert, and my tubular Bassett Hound, Ellie Mae. Two walls are filled with bookshelves; the other is where my desk is with my computer and all of my notebooks. I have the map that I drew of the Viridian Isles on the wall in front of my desk so I can keep my sense of direction and ensure my characters are not heading out to the sea instead of into the mountains. I have a good sized window that looks out to our property and I do some of my best thinking while gazing out that window, watching our horses and the occasional neighbourhood cat. That is if I am writing at home. If I am writing elsewhere, I use my laptop and make many typos … the keys are small and therefore the going is slow.
What kind of music do you like? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
I like all kinds of music depending on my mood. I do listen to tunes when writing; it helps to keep me focused. If the distracted part of my mind can be humming, tapping or zulu clucking, along to music, it interferes less with the part of my mind that is trying to create. I wander less when there is music.
I listen to my kids’ playlists because I am just super hip that way, until Lil Wayne comes on …, and then I might go back to something more relaxing like the soundtrack from Out of Africa or The Sweet Hereafter.
Why teen books?
Teen books have always been top of my list. That stage between adolescence and adulthood can be filled with so much angst and unrecognized freedom. Teens can be quirky, awkward and cool with a side of nerd, but any teen can go on an adventure ~ friendships are vital and the mishaps can be gargantuan. The teen years are about breaking free, bringing down walls and discovery. I love the excitement of this life stage. And, when you add a wee bit of magic, fantasy, and the odd vampire to the mix, could it get any better?
Would you ever write books for adults?
I can imagine writing an adult book, not erotica (just to be clear) but I would like to write a thriller or detective series someday. A sort of Sherlock Holmes meets Big Max from the King of Pooka Pooka type character, maybe taller.
Do you know where the story is going when you sit down to write it? Do you outline?
For the most part, I am a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ kind of gal with writing; however, I do make a flow chart/story board for each book. Whether I stick with it is another story (notice that play on words there) but I at least start that way. A storyboard is a fantastic tool, which helps me plot out my work so I can see the peaks and valleys of conflict and resolution. It gives the book flow. It also help to identify where I might have gaps or areas that need to be flushed out or flushed down, as the case may be.
Did you always want to be a writer?
No. I wanted to be a gymnast for a time but my nonexistent flexibility, love of chocolate, and lack of bounce put an end to that aspiration. I have always been the creative type and enjoy being whimsical and a bit off the wall. I worked in many different jobs before landing at the writing desk but I have written along the way. I have a love of reading and like nothing better than getting lost in a book. I think losing yourself in other people’s stories is what makes someone a better writer. Books inspire and encourage you to use your imagination. They set you loose on adventures in your mind. Writing is the next obvious step ~ you just capture that imagination and pen those adventures to paper. I do not think I could ever have become a writer if I did not already have the love for books that I do. I still read as much as I can, and find if I am writing and reading, it is much easier to stay creative and inspired. One leads to the other, it is a natural progression for me.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Drink wine? Probably not the right answer. I also make coffee consumption a bit of a thing. I have that in common with Elle! Riding horses used to be a past time but my lack of bounce, as previously mentioned, hindered my successful equestrian career. Who’s kidding who, I didn’t have an equestrian career in my future, but I did fall off, rather spectacularly, a few years back. The resulting compound ankle facture makes me walk, on a bad day, a bit like Mad-Eye Moody. I would like to emphasize that I did not incur a head injury ~ I was just as odd before. When not writing, I like to spend time with my family and my crazy dogs, cats and horses despite their incessant flatulence … the animals not my family … 🙂