What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I haven’t been on very many literary pilgrimages, but my most memorable was when we were visiting a friend in England and she took us to London on our last day there. You best bet that we rode the tube in the London Underground, and though we didn’t stop everywhere Richard Mayhew did in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, I at least recognized each stop. We also stopped at Platform 9 & 3/4 at King’s Cross.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Hmm, good question. Probably Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Oh, gosh. The Research Rabbit Hole gets me every time.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I am currently editing a spin-off to The Techno Mage that could act as a standalone… but as a Pantser, I don’t have a preference on if my books connect or not. Whatever happens at the time I write is good enough for me.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I learned so much from my debut novel The Techno Mage. And while I really should apply what I learned to the writing stage (using all five senses in description, no info-dumping, showing rather than telling), I have to apply it to the editing stage, instead. When I write, I write bare-bones. I just need to get the idea out of my head, then I can embellish it.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I had to laugh at this question because the only thing that I could envision was a dog with “squirrel!” syndrome. That’s probably my mascot!
What did you edit out of your books? (keep it family-friendly, please)
There are a few things that I edited out of The Techno Mage, but one of the biggest things was that I edited out an entire character. It pained me so much, but that’s alright: he makes his appearance proper in the spin-off!
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Definitely my perfectionism. I could go without sitting there for hours on end trying to find the correct word to describe something.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss has always been my favorite. I made sure it was part of my son’s bookshelf before he was even born!
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
The editing process. I still haven’t perfected it, yet.
What is the easiest part of your writing process?
As long as I don’t have writer’s block (because as a Pantser, it definitely happens), then the actual writing—and subsequent info-dumping—is the easiest part.
A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
I think that being an author has nothing to do with it. There are authors who are great at being social. They’re great speakers, they’re super friendly…. My own social ineptitude stems from anxiety. I’ve always been the shy kid even before wanting to be an author.
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be an author?
I’ve always loved creative writing in school, and that love was definitely what started my desire, but it wasn’t until 2011 that I decided to get serious about it (or as serious as I could without knowing anything about the process).
Who are your biggest literary influences?
Neil Gaiman is at the top of that list, by far. I also really love Margaret Weis and Wilbur Smith.
What’s your favorite movie which was based on a book? Why?
Hmm. Probably Inkhart, and not just because Paul Bettany is in it (*wink*wink*). I enjoyed the premise of being able to read stories to life enough that I eventually bought and read the trilogy.
How did it feel when your first book got published? How did you celebrate?
It felt exciting, yet at the same time very stressful. Like….you work so hard for so long and now it’s finally out and people can finally read it! But at the same time oh no! That means people will read it and judge! On release day I celebrated with delicious cupcakes from a baker friend. She put my book cover made of fondant on the cupcakes, it was cute! I also did some live readings throughout the day on both Facebook and Instagram.
What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about authors?
I think that readers don’t know about the amount of work that it takes to not only publish a book, but also launch it. I think they are aware that it is hard work, but don’t know exactly how much hard work is put into it.
When it comes to research for your books, are you a hunter or a gatherer? Talk about your research process.
Both! I’ll hunt for some info and because I’m prone to Research Rabbit Holes, I’ll find interesting tidbits of info and I’ll save it for later.
Could you be housemates with your characters? Why or why not?
I could definitely be housemates with the MCs of The Techno Mage, and even with the MCs of the spin-off. I think we’d all complement one another and help each other out around the house.
What’s your typical writing routine or schedule?
Believe it or not, I actually only write during November for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My routine for November 2020 was drastically different than previous years because I no longer had a 9-5 job in the way. My schedule in November was 4k words a day, which had been cut up into 2k words in the morning, 1k in the afternoon, and 1k in the evening.
Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit.
How do you recharge?
Mindless TV, mindless gaming, and mindless scrolling through social media.
Do you prefer music or silence when you write? Do you have a writing playlist? What’s on it?
I have no preference. I can just as easily write in silence like I can with instrumental music, or even music with lyrics. My playlist for the spin-off wasn’t too long, and actually only contained four songs: Brass Goggles by Steam Powered Giraffe, Roundtable Rival by Lindsey Stirling, Dark Carnival by Frenchy and the Punk, and Steampunk Revolution by Abney Park.
Which celebrity would you choose to narrate your audiobook?
Paul Bettany. Definitely Paul Bettany. *swoon*
What well-known author, living or dead, do you wish could be your mentor? Why?
Neil Gaiman, without a doubt. When I first moved to the USA, my husband took me to Borders (remember those?). I grabbed this book called American Gods by this author that I had never heard of, and was instantly blown away. I then went on to read everything else that I could that was written by him, including children’s books. I absolutely love his storytelling.
What is your favorite of the six senses (touch, taste, smell, sound, sight, intuition) to write about, why?
Probably sight. I always love trying to describe exactly what I see in my mind’s eye, and I am constantly looking at pictures to better describe things.
What is a favorite location you’ve written about? Have you visited that place? How did you choose which details to include?
In The Techno Mage, Ikarim and Arteus briefly fly over a forest that has been freshly hazed. I specifically chose the Hoia Baciu forest in Romania because of the mysterious shape of the trees, which could have easily been the result of the haze. Personally, I’ve never visited, but I would absolutely love to! I’ve done a lot of research on Vlad Tepes (Dracula) and the haunted and mysterious forests and castles surrounding him. How could I NOT include it in my novel?
Travel back in time (without negative effects for you or the timeline) what year do you visit? Why?
Ohh! I want to go back to Ancient Egypt. I’ve always had a fascination with it. I’d probably specifically choose the reign of Khufu (2589 BC – 2566 BC) to see the Pyramid of Giza being built.
What is something about your hero or villain that drove their character, but you didn’t specifically tell your reader?
Though he is a minor character, the sky pirate Captain Keenan saves Magaliana from one of his crew...and there is a very specific reason as to why, which I delve deeper into in his spin-off!
Have you ever resuscitated a project you'd shelved? What helped it work better the second time around?
I am currently working on a previously shelved project as we speak! I have an Urban Fantasy manuscript that just seemed far too complicated to be the first book that I release, so I shelved it for later. I pulled it back out after releasing The Techno Mage, and I am slowly working on it. There is no rush to it. And now that I’ve published once, it seems like the confusing pieces of the puzzle are falling in place better.
What do the words “literary success” mean to you? How do you picture it?
To me, literary success is writing books that I’m proud of to a loyal readership who are as excited to read them as I am to write them.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
Rise of the Sky Pirate (working title) is a spin-off of my debut Steampunk adventure The Techno Mage featuring the infamous sky pirate Captain Keenan and how he came to gain that notoriety.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?
My best advice stems from a Neil Gaiman quote: “Trust Dreams, trust your heart, and trust your story.” Don't let doubt pull you down. If Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head, talk to someone. If you don't know where to start, don't be afraid of investing in yourself. Don't let anything get in the way of your dreams. As for the writing itself, double quote win from Neil Gaiman: "This is how you do it: You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard."
Please provide links and/or instructions about how readers can purchase signed copies of your books.
You can purchase signed copies of The Techno Mage by visiting http://www.swraine.com/shop
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