Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis? No I don’t think all authors have to be grammar Nazis. I know myself I am a bit, but my co-author BJ isn’t. That is what editing is for right?!
How important is research to you when writing a book? It plays a decent role in our writing. Mostly to make sure some of the things in it are right such as places, or weapons. Even types of animals.
What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand? Both BJ and I use computer to write our books. We both keep notebooks for our notes and other little things, but everything is always on our computers.
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer? When I was twelve years old, but English teacher entered one of my short stories into a local contest I won second place. She told me I had gave it a little more effort I’d of won. Up to that point I’d been writing in a journey, and writing poetry. As asked me to write another story and I didn’t give it much thought till I sat down to write and it just came flowing out of me. I knew then I wanted to be a writer some day.
What inspires you to write? It depends really sometimes its just that I got all these characters in my head chattering at me. An other times its for the readers. The ones who come to me and say “Come on what happens next I need to know?” An then there is my co-author BJ Cunningham. We try and push each other to write, and sometimes it’s something she’ll say about a scene or character an it sparks an idea.
How often do you write? I’d like to say daily. *laughs* But that’s not always the case. I have two children and a house to take care of. So I’ll say five days a week. Whether its editing the book we’re on or writing for the next one. I count the notes I make in my notebook as writing too.
How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something? Some days it’s harder than others. Why? Mostly its having the peace and quiet to write. Other days getting in the right mind set to write, but once I’m in the zone I’m off like a rocket.
Writers are often associated with loner tendencies;is there any truth to that? I think that there is some truth to that. As writing for the most part is just the author and the page so to speak.
Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you? I prefer to go where the idea takes me. We find that trying to plot things out makes it harder on me. Because the stories seem to move and change a lot. So trying to make them conform to an idea we had thought to start with makes things harder. It’s best to just let the chaos flow as it were.
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you? We edit and proofread all our own work. We can’t afford someone to do it for us. An even if we could I don’t think we’d do it. Well the editing part. We are to hands on.
What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion? That is makes you feel. The story takes you on a ride, and the end you feel like a little kid wanting to yell “Again!” or “More!”. To me if a book doesn’t do that then it didn’t do its job.
Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process? Like with eating you eat with your eyes first. For my personally the cover is very important in selling the book. It had to grab you and make you want to pick up and read it. An it should tie into the story in some way. Even if at first it doesn’t make sense to you, when you close the book and you look at the cover you go “I get it now.” To me its the start of the story. You wouldn’t write a book about vampires and put puppies on the cover if the book had nothing to do with puppies.
How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing? At this stage in the game if anyone came I’d be shocked, but in all honestly I’d be a little heart broken. Everyone wants to think their fans would come out to support them, but I know some of our fans can’t always travel or afford to come see us. So not having anyone there is reality for us.
Do you read and reply to the reviews and comments of your readers? I read all the reviews yes. We both read and comment back to our readers. Their voice is very important to us. We want to know what they think and how they feel about our books.
Does a bad review affect your writing? Yes, but not in a negative way. I look at them as way to grow. I try and take their thoughts and comments an use them to make the next book even better. We know not our books aren’t going to be for everyone, so we are prepared for bad reviews or comments.
Do you read any of your own work? Well when we edit and proofread our books yes, but in all honesty when the books are finish an published I do sometimes go back and read them. To try an put myself in the readers shoes and see how they may react as first time reader. Also to make sure it flows good. Its important to keep up on your series as the books unfold.
How much of yourself do you put into your books? I put a hundred of myself into my books. My characters all have a small part of me in them. Whether its my attitude or my fears. When I write I put myself in their shoes and the emotions they feel I feel too. There have been many times when writing hard scenes I’m crying right a long with them. Same with when laugh.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels? Yes! *laughs* Things that have happened to me as a parent I’ve put in my books. Stepping on legos an baby proofing the house. The things Jared had to deal with I’d been there and done that. Aren’t all fictional stories based on some bit of real life you can relate to?!
How realistic are your books? Our books are fiction, but we try to make them as realistic as we can in the limits of the world we’ve created and make it so people can relate to them. And both BJ and I’s background in different areas have helped with adding realism to the stories, but at the end of the day its still fiction.
Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers? Well we are working on ‘Omen’ right now that will come out October 13th. I know they have been asking more about what happened to Brock Navarro and his pitbull Bob from our book ‘Kismet.’ They can’t seem to get enough of those too and want to know what happened to them. So we maybe giving them a little more on what’s happening with them. Also they be meeting new characters in ‘Omen.’ An those characters may lead to other book series. Not sure yet, but it will be interesting to see what happens next.
When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession? As I said already I decided when I was twelve I wanted to be a writer. I always thought it was one of those dreams that I’d keep to myself, but when BJ asked me to take our writing and put into a book I was totally blown away. I mean never thought I’d be a published author. Let alone putting out five novels in a year! That’s crazy if you ask me, but the fact of the matter is have. It’s amazing!
Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing? My day job is a house wife and as easy at that sounds it does put a cramp in my writing at times. When you have two children an three dogs. Finding peace and quiet is rare. I write mostly late in the evening or early in the morning. I take the moments of down time seriously. They are slim to none.
Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that? *laughs* For BJ and myself that is not true at all. She works more than one day job for a while. And myself I don’t work a nine to five. Being a writer at the level we are at takes money. And I don’t think we break even, but you know what they say “It takes money to make money!” so unless you get someone to fund your books no I don’t think that is true at all.
How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion? It started out a hobby for me, but it’s always been a passion for me.
Is it true that anyone can be a writer? Anyone can write a story, but not everyone can be a published writer. I know a few people that have been sitting on books they’ve wrote many years ago. Only ten percent people of who write a book actually follow though an get it published.
People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true? Well maybe if their Stephen King, or James Patterson. On my level not really. I’m just a normal person. The most exciting thing that has happened to me is getting invited to Hard Rock Author Event in Tulsa next year. It’ll be our first author event.
What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any? All my books have been co-authored. I get ask a lot how we do it since we both live other ends of the country. It’s not always easy making it work, but I think it makes our books unique. Why? Well it have two people with their own thoughts and views on things working together to create one world. One of the biggest pros of working together like we do is you always have someone to bounce an idea off of. You got someone to kick you in the butt when you’ve dropped the ball on writing. You have some other person to lean on when get blocked. I think being a solo writer would be more scary. I love co-authoring. I think everyone should try it at least one. You will learn a lot about yourself doing it.
Do you make your own vocabulary words in your book or resort to the existing ones? I personally make up my own words not always meaning to. In our books there are words you’ve made up to fit our world.
Is writing book series more challenging? It had it’s challenges yes, because of timelines, and keeping everything straight. Making sure everything is consistent through each book.