You've asked me why I write as if I have a choice in the matter. There's so much constantly going on in my head ~ stories starting or picking up in mid-stream ~ that I think NOT setting them down would be impossible for me. Even while I'm writing one book, I'm jotting notes for another. I LOVE writing even more than I love reading and you'd have to understand my thirst for books to know how deep that goes.
2. How many books have you written?
I've completed three, a trilogy, and am working on a fourth. My trilogy is called Sarah's Story and consists of Maiden, Mother, and Wise Woman. It's hard to label genre-wise so I try not to. For me, it's a story I needed to tell and I hope I've done it justice. It's somewhat fantastic but I'm encouraged by reader reviews saying they believed in the characters and the events so much that they continue thinking about the characters after finishing the final book and wondering what they're up to.
3. What inspired you to write your (latest) book?
I'm planning to surprise with the book I'm writing now so I think I'll continue talking about the three I've finished, if that's alright. To be honest, in a rather odd way the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer inspired me. Although I really enjoyed all four of her books and can't understand the Twilight-bashers out there, my concept of a vampire is very different from hers. I wanted one that made more sense to me, scientifically speaking. I also wanted one that wasn't quite so full of angst and regret, as so many "recent" vampires have been. That led me to think about other literary vampires, witches, and supernatural creatures. Although I think Anne Rice's Lestat is fabulous and her Mayfair Witches are legendary, even they weren't what I was seeing in my mind's eye. And so I started sketching out my own concept, which led to the birth of Silvanus, one of my two main characters.
4. What is your favorite genre to read?
I am with books as I am with music and movies ~ I love everything. Maybe that's why my own books don't fall easily into a particular category.
5. Is your writing style at all influenced by those of your favorite authors?
I'm not sure this counts as being influenced by him but I've always loved the way Stephen King writes. You're not so much READING one of his books as listening to him (and his characters) tell you stories. And, no matter how outlandish one of his plots might seem from a blurb, you absolutely believe in his characters and storylines as you're immersed in his novels. I know he's a huge bestseller and an icon but I don't think that man can possibly win too many awards or be too celebrated as an author.
6. Which is your favorite book that you’ve written?
My next one! Seriously, I suppose Mother is my favorite. Maiden was a lot of fun; I enjoyed introducing Sarah and Silvanus. But I'm not much of a secret-keeper and I had to try hard not to look too far ahead; to keep the reader guessing about what was coming up next. I think I did a good job of that as readers tell me that, each time they thought they knew what was going to happen next, it didn't. Given my nature, I take that as a great compliment. And writing Wise Woman was fun, too, but there was always that niggle at the back of my mind that Sarah's Story was coming to an end ... and I didn't want it to.
7. What is your opinion of the art of writing?
Writing is as varied as people. Each author has a unique voice and something important to say. All people do but few invest the time and energy in setting down the stories they have to tell.
8. What advice would you give someone who is just beginning their own novel?
I honestly think the best piece of advice is to NOT listen to anyone's advice. If you converse with ten successful authors, you'll get ten different versions of the best way to write a book. I believe each author needs to find his or her own best way of doing it just as each person needs to find his or her own best path through life.
9. Do you have any funny and / or interesting stories about how you’ve come up with plots or characters?
I don't know if anyone will find it funny or interesting but I'll tell you how I do it. Creating Silvanus was easy. I knew what I thought a vampire should be. I also knew the kind of man I find attractive and sexy. And I've long had a fascination with late Republican Rome. There he was, in all his glory, fully formed. Sarah was a bit more difficult. I wanted her to be strong and independent yet sensitive. I needed to find a way of making it believable that a creature like Silvanus would fall in love with her; what would he find fascinating? At the same time, I needed her to be supremely curious and a little ruthless in her own right. I didn't want her seeking immortality solely to spend forever with Silvanus and I didn't want her to leave all the "dirty work" to him. I wanted her to be a witch but I also wanted to raise questions about the characters of gods and goddesses in the way that The Prophesy raised questions about the characters of angels. As for the plot, it wrote itself. Once I had the characters as I wanted them, it was more like watching what they did and setting it down to share with others.
10. Coke or Pepsi?
This is the most difficult question you've asked me as I like them both. Can I be really specific and answer Vanilla Coke?