When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have been scribbling down stories for as long as I can remember. But I think the day I read the back flap of a book and saw an author photo and bio–when I realized books were written by humans and didn’t just fall from the sky–was a pivotal moment. I wanted to have my photo and bio on a jacket flap too.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Like all writers, I’m a big reader, so fills a lot of my time. I also like hiking and camping, but I’m also a new mother and camping with a baby doesn’t sound like a ton of fun to me, so I might be taking some time off from that until next summer.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing Vengeance Road?
This is a lesson I learn again and again, but every book will demand to be written in its own, unique way. With VR, I got a first draft on paper with almost no effort. The story poured out. My muse was on fire. I didn’t hit any walls. It’s a writer’s dream! Of course, nothing is that easy, and in revisions I realized the second half of the story was broken, and completely overhauled it, throwing out tens of thousands of words. But even still, none of this was possible until I found Kate’s voice. Once I heard her dialect in my head… that’s when the project took off.
Do you have any suggestions for amateur or aspiring writers? If so, what are they?
Read a lot and write a lot. It sounds so simple, but it’s the first thing I always suggest. Piggybacking on that, watch TV and movies too. No matter what type of story you’re digesting, always dissect it. What works for you? What doesn’t? How can you apply that to your own writing.
Secondly: find critique partners that you trust. A friend once told me that “writing is revising” and this is 100% true. The revising and polishing is what makes a story, so find people who’s writing you admire and who’s advice you trust, and work with them to make your story as strong as it can be.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I’ve been able to connect with a lot of my readers on Twitter, which is fun. I often hear from my younger readers through email. I have a contact form on my website and they’ll drop me a line saying they loved one of my books, or wondering if there will be a movie (not at the moment, and I have no control over that but fingers crossed!), or telling me about their favorite characters and plot twists.
This is hands down the best part of my job. I write because I have stories to share, and knowing those stories have moved a reader enough to email me always makes my day. It’s a really special moment.