After falling in love with reading at a young age, becoming a writer was something that she was to become destined for. After publishing her well received debut, Finding My Escape, she is about to release her sequel Finding My Way Back.
Your first book, Finding My Escape, seemed to have some fantastic reviews. What do you think the secret to writing a successful novel is?
Good question! First, I think you have to love to read. Reading gives you a feel for how a book should flow, how to make your characters interesting, etc. Second, I think you have to be willing to really scrutinize your plot, your characters, and every single line you write. I threw away 30,000 words of the sequel to Finding My Escape because the story just wasn't as good as it needed to be. I started over from scratch, and the sequel is much, much better. Finally, you need to listen to the criticism of people who have been writing longer than you have. That's how you improve.
Your new novel, Finding My Way Back, the sequel to your debut is about to be released. Do you have anything that you want to share with your fans to ease their anticipation?
I'm sure everyone is anxious about Matt and whether he is still in a coma or not. The answer is 'yes' he is at the beginning of the book, and that's all I'm saying.
Your books so far seem in the suspense and thriller genres, do you seem yourself exploring any others?
Funny you should ask. At the moment, I'm co-authoring a romantic comedy with Bryden Lloyd entitled Five Strikes. The story is about a single dad who's trying to start dating again and the attempts his five daughters make to thwart him. It's been a fun story to write because it's such a departure from the other. I'm also outlining a series based on the actual Grimm Fairy Tales, which should be pretty fun to write.
As social media plays a more prominent role with many authors, many seem to shy away from it. What are your thoughts about its relationship?
I think social media is a vital part of connecting with your fans as well as other writers. Last week I was tickled when a young fan sent me a Twitter message asking for my autograph. Of course since my genre is YA, most of my fans are going to be extremely comfortable with social media, so I have to be up to date with it as well.
However, I think the key to social media is realizing the power of exposure. The more social media sites you are on, the more people can become familiar with you and your work. It has an exponential effect. Here's an example. A few months ago, I jokingly told my daughter I'd buy her back-stage passes to the OneDirection concert if I sold 10,000 books. She took my promise to heart and began tweeting all her friends. Within two hours, she had over 300 retweets! While I only sold a couple of books, my book's title was getting out there in front of the kids. Several even posted pictures of themselves holding a picture of the book on their reading devices. You can't buy that kind of exposure!
Who would you consider as an author who has influenced you as a writer?
Wow! There are so many - every writer I've ever read, in fact. To name a few: Ted Dekker, Amanda Peters, Terry Brooks, Douglas Preston, Louisa May Alcott, Roald Dahl. I've also been influenced by some of my Indie writer friends: Tammie Gibbs, J J DiBenedetto, Mishael Witty, and Bryden Lloyd are part of an ever-growing list of authors who influence me every day.
Are you currently working on anything that you can share today?
In addition to the books I've mentioned above, I'm working on Finding My Way home, the third book in the Finding My Escape triology. There are some interesting twists and turns yet to be revealed!
What advice can you give aspiring writers?
Read a lot. Invite and be willing to listen to criticism. Learn your craft. Don't be afraid to change what you've written. Edit well, then have your book professionally edited. Spend the money to get a good professional cover.