So, tell me, what inspired Ensuing Darkness for you?
Well, I guess I’d have to say Stephenie Meyer did. My dislike for the Twilight Saga inspired my own, very different story.
What did you dislike about the Twilight series?
Bella was definitely not a character I would look up to. She didn’t make smart decisions, she was too negative, dramatic, and when Edward left she got flat-out stupid and suicidal. Everything seemed so dramatic (including how the Cullens acted as a whole), emotions were exaggerated, and like everyone else I heard say, I also dislike sparkly vampires.
But you did read all the books? There must have been something good about it if you finished the series?
Yes, well her style of writing was good enough to keep me interested, but apart from that, I think I finished it mostly to see how it turned out. I guess I hoped that in the end Bella would decide not to give up her soul? I was very disappointed.
How is your series different?
Well, [smiles and chuckles] in almost every way. My character is bright and happy, she has friends that stick with her, and she is very strong-minded. I try to slip humor in there whenever it’s possible, because who doesn’t like to laugh? My vampires are also different from Stephenie’s because they weren’t once human. My vampires were born vampires and they drink human blood, but from blood banks instead of actual humans.
Now, I don’t want to spoil anything, but in the next book, there will be several other creatures introduced to the books, one of which I know most people will be unfamiliar with, and Kota herself will find out just how much she has changed since the Peters’ arrival. That’s all I’m willing to divulge at this point.
What age group would you say this is written for?
It seems that doesn’t apply now as much as it did, with younger and younger kids reading books meant for a higher age. My series is meant for about fifteen and up.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? What are your hobbies?
I like doing a lot of things, whether it be playing video games with my fiancé [he’s a nerd], reading, cooking, inventing recipes, drawing, things like that. I also try to be more active, because you know how sedentary a writers’ life can be.
Do you plan your stories?
Yes, chapter by chapter. I must have something to go by, a guide, so if I have to stop writing in the middle of everything, I know exactly where I’m at and where I need to go when I come back to it.
Where do you write your books?
I write where I am comfortable and where I know I can focus, which means not in front of the TV when it’s on unless it’s playing music. Currently, I write on my couch with Athena splayed out at my feet and Chaos, my cat, constantly trying to lay on the keyboard or attack the cursor as it moves across the screen.
Who is your favorite author or authors?
It’s hard to say I have just one. I like J.K. Rowling for obvious reasons, and also Richelle Mead, because reading her style of writing actually changed how I wrote. The way she describes things in so much detail without compromising the flow is amazing. Frank Peretti has been my favorite since I was little because I loved how he put a Christian twist in regular Fiction. Gospel and Fiction are usually separate, but not when it comes to him or other writers like him. I love it.
Which of your characters is most like you? How?
Kota, most definitely. When I wrote her, she was the person I always wanted to be. Not too long ago, my sister, my mother and I were talking about my book when my sister said that I had become a waitress just like Kota. That I was Kota. In a way, I had become her just like I wanted, but at the same time my mother said I had always been her and I just had to realize it.
Who was the first to read your book?
My mother and sister have read this book chapter by chapter both at its birth and rebirth. They are my most loyal editors. My fiance refuses to read it until it’s finished because he doesn’t want to have to stop and wait on me once he starts, but he’s contributed a lot to this book by helping me so much with the ideas and setting it up. They are my unwavering support system.
Did you do any research for Ensuing Darkness?
Definitely. I live in Texas, and we all know that Texas weather is completely different from Colorado weather, so I researched that. Then I researched the dance competitions. The resort in California is real, as is the Hotel Baglioni in Italy, the seasonal events, even the Italian weather for that Month.
What do you want readers to remember about your books?
I want them to remember the friendships, the hardships, Kota’s character, and that life is full of surprises but that not all of them are as bad as they seem in the beginning. Sometimes the best things happen in the worst times of your life.
What is your worst habit?
Procrastination. It has haunted me my entire life, and is a hard habit to break. Sometimes I put off writing because I feel like I should be doing something else, or I write when I know I should be doing something else.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Writing, true writing, is a lifestyle, and a secluded one at that. It’s hard having a full life in writing and full life outside of writing. I’ve been told so many times that I’m too social to be a writer, and it is so true. I want to write, I need to write, but I don’t want to miss anything going on in my life. I want to spend time with my family, friends, I want to go and do things, be active. There are so many things I enjoy doing besides writing, that it gets hard to juggle them at times.
What do you wish you could do better?
A lot of things, I would say everything. There is always something in our lives that need improving in.
What do you love most about yourself?
I like my humor, because I’ve always loved making people laugh and laughing myself. I love the rebel in me, my strong-will and the unyielding urge to push things as far as they can go. I also love my passion, whether it be for people or animals.
What do you hate most about yourself?
I hate that I’m too hard on myself, always. I’m my worst critique on all things, and whatever I do I think I could’ve done better. Sometimes it’s a good thing because it pushes you to do your best, but sometimes it gets to where you put your standards to high and expect results so quickly that it always ends in disappointment. The key to this is acceptance, and to be content, because sometimes you’ve gone as far as you can, and as far as you need to.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely a morning person. My juices start flowing as soon as I wake up and no matter what I have to do that day, writing is always # 1, even if it’s only long enough to get the basic idea out.
What, to you, would be the best writing day?
I always want to do things when it’s nice out, so that’s definitely not it. A good day would be when it’s raining outside and I snuggle up in a blanket. It’s winter, so I’m wearing one of my fiancé’s sweaters that’s a tad too big for me, and I have a cup of hot cocoa with a peppermint stick and marshmallows. I’m listening to my music while the sounds of my fiancé playing video games play in the background.
What is your favorite time of year? Why?
Fall and Winter are my favorite seasons. I love the colors of Fall, the feeling of the weather makes me want to stay outside all day every day. I love winter because of all the things you get to wear, soft sweaters, scarves, beanies, gloves, coats (I have an obsession), and furry boots. It snows, you get too snuggle up in a blanket and drink hot chocolate or apple cider, you can build fires without it being too hot, and I think I love it because of all the holidays that happen at the end of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, but I think Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite. It’s the time of year you get to cook a lot, which I love, it’s a time for family, and this time of the year is when everyone seems just a little bit nicer to each other. It makes me swell with passion and excitement.
What used to be your dream job?
I used to dream about my first job being able to work at Barnes and Noble. I used to say I could walk in there blindfolded and I would be able to tell if it was Barnes and Noble or another bookstore, because they smelled the best. [laughs] I know it’s weird, but it’s true.
What are you most afraid of?
There are a few things that all tie in together; hurting the people I love, letting them down, not being able to help when they need it, or saying or doing something that causes so much damage I can’t fix it. It has actually given me nightmares on many occasions, and still sometimes does. Those things, to me, will always be worse than any scary movie they could ever come up with.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Making my family happy, making them laugh, and making sure they always know I love them.
Family seems to mean a lot to you. Every time I’ve asked you a question, even a question about you, you’ve always talked about them. You don’t seem to think much about yourself, it’s always about them.
I’ve been told that before. Family is everything to me, because without them, who would I be? I owe my life to them, who I am to them. I don’t think I would know what to do if I didn’t have family.
Do you have questions for me that this didn’t cover? Feel free to ask me anything you want below!