Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
One thing I really hate is talking, or in this case writing, about myself. I’m intensely private and talking about myself feels intrusive to me. I’m outdoorsy; I like animals and nature, and I love yardwork. I also like solitude quite a bit. I’m not highly social, but I do value close friendships. I don’t have a favorite hobby or hangout. I can have fun doing almost anything anywhere as long as the company is good.
Writing has always been a natural compulsion for me. Nothing triggered it; it’s just always been there.
Tell us about your books.
“The Presence” is the book I’m currently promoting, and is my first published novel. It was inspired by the death of my grandmother. I suppose writing was my way of dealing with her loss. She was a special person. Exactly how she inspired a horror novel is a mystery to me; she hated scary stories. I poured all of my grief and questions about mortality into the book. The central character is actually a house. I suppose I turned my grandmother into a dwelling place. I don’t know how flattered she’d be about that, but there it is.
The story focuses a great deal on the concept of opposites creating balance. The idea that the truth, and by extension reality, isn’t on one side or the other, but somewhere in the middle and individual perceptions don’t always show the whole picture. One of the main characters, Heather, is a highly educated professional. She’s level-headed, practical, and rational. She relies heavily on her intellect to interpret the world around her and eschews anything that might be the byproduct of imagination or emotional upset, but she’s not a walking machine. Heather is generous and compassionate, and has a moral compass that she rarely wavers from. For Heather, reality must be knowable; anything that can’t be perceived by human senses, or is incomprehensible to the human mind is not real.
Heather’s cousin, Ethan, represents an opposite extreme. To Ethan, logic is a waste of time, a pointless mental exercise that dulls the senses. His interpretation of reality is purely emotional. Ethan is impulsive and imaginative, and his perception of the world is as changeable as his mood. The world is a mystical place and reality is such a huge concept that it’s well beyond intellectual comprehension; it can only be understood through faith and feeling. Ethan is also compassionate, but his sense of right and wrong fluctuates with his mood.
Both characters are very rigid in their beliefs and perceptions; neither will yield to the other. The situation they find themselves in is so extreme, so paranormal, that logic no longer applies. Ethan’s faith in the spiritual and his unwavering beliefs in the bizarre are constant irritations to Heather. Her sense of reality begins to unravel, and she’s forced to rely more heavily on Ethan whose paralyzing fear of evil spirits has made him dangerously irrational. Heather’s fortitude begins to weaken as her confidence in her intellectual abilities and her trust in her cousin diminishes.
The cousins’ survival depends on relinquishing dearly held beliefs and opening themselves up to new thoughts and perceptions. Ethan has to learn how to disassociate his imagination from the supernatural beings and events that terrify him. He must learn to be willful, to choose a path and stick to it. Heather must learn that emotional perception is as relevant and useful as logical deduction. She must learn to be less obstinate, to bend a little.
The ghostly beings that surround the cousins are aware of their weaknesses and use them to cause discord. The entities attempt to confuse and manipulate them into making fatal errors. The existence of the ghostly beings and the power that they wield depends heavily on the choices that the cousins make, and their relationship with each other and the house they live in. A supernatural battle, a war of good and evil, will inevitably be waged and the cousins’ choices will tip the balance.
How did you go about getting published?
I’m self-pubbed because I’m a control freak. I never even considered going the traditional route.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
Inspiration can strike me anytime, anywhere. I always have a pen and a small tablet on hand. I run through scenes and characters in my mind until they’re developed enough that I can start writing their stories.
For me, focused writing requires solitude. As long as it’s quiet and I’m not disturbed, I can write at any time of the day or night. Writing space isn’t that important to me, but I don’t generally like to be too near a window while working because I tend to daydream too much. I also can’t write in a cluttered space.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I’m very outdoorsy. I like hiking, biking, swimming…anything that gets me outside. But I’m an animal lover so hunting is out of the question.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
The general consensus is to hire a pro, and that’s good advice. I’m not sure about other people, but I generally like very simple book covers. Bold, busy imagery isn’t as enticing to me as something simple.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
I’m new at the book promotion gig, so I can’t really answer that question accurately. I don’t keep a blog because I can’t be bothered coming up with posts; it takes away from my other responsibilities. I generally use WattPad as my central online hub. There are a lot of creative kids over there who are honing their craft, and I’ve found a few professional authors there whose work I like.
What’s your favorite book?
I don’t have a single favorite; there are too many good ones. I like anything by Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Dickens.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently going over an amateur story on WattPad. I get asked fairly often to help young writers improve their craft.
What’s your next book project?
I have a list of story ideas in my desk right now, but I never discuss my projects or the characters in them until the story is complete. It kills my writing mojo.
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