- What inspires you to write?
My pets have been my inspiration to write. They provide me with so much joy and love, that I have plenty of ideas for stories. I want my stories not only to entertain children but also to teach them proper pet care.
- How often do you write?
I write five days a week, usually Monday through Friday. I’ve had an idea come to me on Saturday or Sunday that inspires me to write an extra day. Usually, I need a few days away from my work to get a fresh prospective on it and feel renewed to start working again.
- Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
I have a schedule that I keep with very few exceptions. I aim to write 5 pages a day but have found that my quality of work improves when I don’t focus on that goal. I have tricks to keep myself focused. I change from writing to editing to marketing and back. This helps me stay working instead of getting distracted.
- How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
I have always loved writing and find it relaxing and a great excuse to let my imagination roam. If I’m stuck on a story plot, I have to get away from it for a while. Usually playing with my pets or taking a walk will help me come up with the idea I was missing.
- Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I do a little of both. I plot the story out in an outline before I start writing. Once I’m writing, I just write what comes to me. When I follow where I feel the story is taking me, it usually comes out stronger than I originally outlined.
- Do your novels carry a message?
I want my books to be entertaining, but I put realistic growing up situations and pet care information in the books. The series is designed to teach children about the work that comes with having a pet.
- How realistic are your books?
I try to make them realistic and entertaining at the same time. Megan isn’t the typical boy-crazy teenager, but her love of pets gets her into some very interesting situations. I also put realistic details on pet care in the books and emphasize the amount of work and responsibility that goes into caring for a pet.
- Who are your books mostly dedicated to?
My books are all dedicated to my pets. My pets are my inspiration for writing and the key characters in my books.
- Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
My parents are the most supportive of my writing. From a very young age they have always told me I could do anything I set my mind to. Although writing was just a hobby until three years ago, it has always been a passion for me. My mom still has the short stories I wrote as a child. Now, my parents have helped me on my journey of getting published. They are always willing to proof read or talk about plot lines with me. I’m so grateful for their support.
- Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors?
I prefer to stay home with my pets. I’d rather spend time with my babies than travel. My idea of the perfect vacation is not having to leave the house for the entire weekend.
- Which of your books took you the most time to write?
My first book, Megan’s Munchkins, took me the longest to write. I went through many drafts as I developed the characters. The story line came very easily to me; it was getting the characters to be multi-dimensional that took the most time.
- What do you do in your free time?
I spend my free time with my pets and my family. I enjoy watching my favorite tv shows and reading as well.
- Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?
I have a habit of starting a new book, getting one or two chapters into it, and then deciding I need to take it another way. So yes, I have deleted many first drafts of new books.
- Can you tell us about your current projects?
I’m outlining and writing rough drafts of future books for the Megan’s World series as well as developing a picture book series, Sonny the Wonder Dog. The first book in the series will be Sonny from Outer Space. Aliens from the planet Dogstar send Zonny to Earth to scope out food and fuel supplies. While on Earth, Zonny takes the form of a Shih Tzu dog named Sonny. He is accepted into a young girl’s home. However, not being able to say anything but ‘woof’ is a challenge for him. Will his true plan and identity be revealed?
- When can the readers expect your next book in print?
My first picture book, Sonny from Outer Space, is coming out June 21, 2018. My Megan’s World series will continue as well this summer. The fourth book in the series, Megan’s Birthday will be released on July 17th.
- How big of a part does music play in creating your “zone”?
I always put on classical music before I start writing. It is a large part of my being able to concentrate. I can’t concentrate if it’s too quiet in the house. The rhythm keeps me typing at a good pace too. If I’m having a particularly difficult day writing, I will put on other genres of music for a short time. While I can’t write when listening to music with lyrics, it frees my mind from other events. When I feel ready to write again, I put the classical music back on.
- Is writing book series more challenging?
Writing a series has a different set of challenges than writing a standalone book. In a series you may not have to come up with new characters, but you have to keep the characters consistent with their original personalities. You also have to keep track of details from previous stories and find new ways of keeping the reader interested.
- Writers are permanently depressed; how true is that?
I don’t find that to be true at all. I use writing to express my emotions as well as entertain. I make sure to balance my writing with other activities. I enjoy writing and can’t see being depressed doing it.
- Any advice you would like to give to your younger self?
I’d tell myself to keep a journal of all the different situations that I encountered while working at pet resorts. Keeping a written record of the pets I was caring for and their owners would have been a tremendous help with developing characters. A memory can’t hold all the details that are needed to make realistic characters for books.
- Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Do your research. Take your time learning the self-publishing business before you publish your first book. Then once your book is published never stop learning. Keeping up with the latest developments is the only way you will keep your books in front of your audience.