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When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was an avid reader from a young age, and as soon as I figured out you could lie for a living, I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I might have still been in the womb, actually.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I am unfortunately a veeeeery slow writer. I have some health problems that impact my writing (I wrote a book about a nerdy girl trying to cope with a chronic illness in my second book, “The Migraine Mafia” that addresses these kinds of problems a little). My first novel, The Sock Wars, took 6 years. I wrote it while I was still working in the tech industry, very long hours, with not awesome health. Right now, it takes about a year for a full-length book, but I’m hoping to improve on that this year.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
On a good day, I get up, check email and sales, mainline some caffeine, and then get cracking. I keep a late schedule because I’m a night owl, so I don’t get to bed until 2 or 3ish, so all of this is not happening at an ungodly hour.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmmmm… I don’t know if I really have a quirk. While working on a book, I’ll read it on a million different mediums; on my computer screen, on a Nook reader, a Kindle, a Kobo, an Ipad…and I’ll print it out. It’s hard to keep the words fresh when you’re reading them a zillion times, so I find a different screen helps with that. I also read it out loud.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
My husband and I sail in the summer and ski in the winter (health permitting). I’m in Toronto, steps from Lake Ontario, so all that water is too inviting to pass up.
What does your family think of your writing?
Everyone is very positive. My husband is my alpha reader, and he’s incredibly supportive of my work. He and I have had a great work partnership for years; we actually met working in the tech sector, and we’ve been bouncing technology ideas off each other ever since. I’m thrilled that he is so involved with my writing. He’s also a very funny person, and doesn’t mind when I steal all his good lines. So he’s a big help.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing Wake?
The End Times series is about a world that’s a lot like ours, but different enough that everyone needs to find new ways to approach their lives and the world around them. Originally, I was going to use a magical/fantasy approach to explain why things were so similar but different. But when I started doing research, I realized that global warming could explain everything perfectly. I’m surprised at how precarious things are currently, and how little is being communicated about it. I used to buy bottled water all the time, and after watching a few documentaries about it (“Tapped” is a good one), I just don’t anymore. And I’m more aware of water conservation now. So, I’ve actually changed my behaviour as a result.
Do you have any suggestions for amateur or aspiring writers? If so, what are they?
Read, read, and read. Check out “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott and “On Writing” by Stephen King. Take an interest about what’s going on in the book business, and stay on top of how things are changing. I always recommend that people swing by Kboards.com’s Writers’ Café … which is where you and I met, Mark ☺.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I love to hear from my readers! I get the most feedback from The Migraine Mafia readers, who often talk about their own experiences with chronic illness.
What other fiction influences your work?
I like writers who take a humorous approach to their stories, like Jonathan Tropper (who wrote This is Where I Leave You). And if we’re talking about the Apocalypse, I’d take Shaun of the Dead over Dawn of the Dead any day ☺
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Wake?
Nope. I spend a long time writing and editing and stressing so I can get it where I want it before I release.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
The next in series; it’ll be set in Iceland, where I visited a few years ago. I really enjoyed it there and can’t wait to finish!