What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
Leigh Bardugo, Robin McKinley, Naomi Novik, Sarah Maas, JK Rowling, Madeline Miller, Ken Follett, VE Schwab, Brent Weeks, Jane Austen, Brandon Sanderson…. I must stop, but it is so hard. There are so many great authors out there!
What is your writing process? Every book has been a little different, just like humans, I think each of my books comes with a personality and unique challenges.
Dragon Blood is a trilogy, and I did more outlining on that project than any other because I needed to be very organized to plan three books ahead. But with Betting on Love that’s coming out in 2021, I saw in my mind a scene from it and just went with it with very few notes. With the book, To Unite a Realm, I saw an idea I wanted to explore. I wondered what it would be like to marry someone you hated and what kind of pressure would a person need to be under to accept that kind of marriage.
I have another manuscript that I’m working on that is an adult fantasy, and it’s the hardest draft I’ve ever worked on. This story is big and important and it’s really testing my patience and commitment and creativity. I’ve left it and come back to it three or four times now and I’m still not done with the first draft, but I think in the end it will be that much better for the work and effort.
Usually I like to buzz through the entire first draft start to finish within about three months. I live and breathe and sleep the story, and it’s so much easier for me to stay deep in it than to come in and out and try to keep finding the voice and narrative. Now that I have deadlines and edits due, it’s harder for me to carve out exclusive time to one book, but I’m learning and adjusting.
I will say that with each manuscript, I’ve had to see where I was going before I felt comfortable starting. I don’t usually have a full-fledged outline, but I know several important plot points I’m aiming for and that helps the draft flow. I usually have a notebook full of ideas and have spent months just thinking about the characters and the scenes before I ever start on the first draft.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? I have to spend a good bit of time with my main characters walking around my head before I start writing, but they are far from fully formed until after I start writing and truly seeing them act and come to life. Secondary characters get even less prewriting meditation time so it’s a lot of learning who my characters are as I write and they start to do this. It’s especially exciting when they start to do things on their own and unexpected and interesting things happen.
Do you see writing as a career? YES!
Do you read and if so what is your favorite genre? I read as much as I can. I think it is one of the best ways to improve craft and creativity. I read all the genres—except horror and erotica. My favorites are fantasy and historical fiction, but I love so much that it was hard for me to even narrow it down to those two.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? Silence. Sometimes if I am really all over the place, I’ll put on some classical music to pull myself together, but I just like to really focus in silence. I very difficult for me to draft when my husband or kids are home making noise.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose? Harry Potter. Lol. Is there any other answer to that? But I also thought of the Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? That’s a range as wide as 5 months to 5 years.