- Tell us about yourself and about your latest book.
Considering the genre of my writing, I’m a surprisingly ordinary (aka – boring) person! I’m a single mom of six children, and I own and operate a cleaning business. My “day job” allows plenty of time to think, so I suppose I’m always entertaining myself thinking of the many ways that a person could get into trouble.
As a child, I loved a good book more than anything in the world. My mother actually grounded me from reading once because I hid in the corner of my room with a book, instead of doing my chores. I’ll never forget the school librarian’s expression when I informed her that I wasn’t allowed to check out a book that week. It was quite funny!
My latest book, How a Monster is Made, is a dark, domestic thriller. It is a prequel to my first novel, Hidden in the Dark. In Hidden in the Dark, everyone has a voice, except for the bad guy Randall Carter. He is an abusive sociopath. I wondered what would cause someone to commit such horrible atrocities, especially toward his own wife and daughters.
How a Monster is Made is the story of Randall Carter’s childhood. Born post-WWII in a rural Texas town, little Randy must make sense of the world around him through the filter of violence, alcoholism, and mental illness.
- When and how did you start telling these stories?
I began to write the first novel in 2012, but I think storytelling was always a part of my life. Writing is a fun way to make up stuff without getting in trouble for lying. Honestly, I didn’t have a plot or a plan when I begin to write. Hidden in the Dark seemed to unfold before me as I typed words on my laptop.
- I loved your first book. Looks like you put a lot of research in writing your books. What difficulties did you face during your research?
Thank you! I do put a great deal of research into my work; however, the research is almost always done after the scene has been written. I tend to write a chapter, then ask myself if the situation is feasible. My research is more of a form of covering my ass than an advanced analytical process. As a result, I’ve learned so much about narcissism, sociopathy, and abuse trauma. In addition, I’ve discovered trivial facts about a multitude of topics. Investigating is one of my favorite things about writing!
- How did you manage to excel in characterization? Each one of your characters seems fleshed out so perfectly. Was it easy or difficult when it came to that?
At the risk of sounding bizarre, the characters in my stories begin as a part of myself or someone that I’ve known. As the story progresses, the characters take on a life of their own, and then I feel as if I’m simply observing and recording their thoughts and actions. It seems to me that all people, both good and bad, have some of the same basic needs and desires. Almost everyone wants to feel loved, admired, and important. Most people are capable of both good and evil. The really “bad guys” are out of balance in the extreme measures they will take to get what they need.
- How do you deal with ‘writer’s block’?
When I experience ‘writer’s block’, I edit a section that I’ve already written. Often, the process of editing inspires more creativity.
- Who are your favourite novelists and have any of them inspired you to write?
Anne Rice blew me away with her sensual and descriptive writing. I couldn’t get enough. Stephen King is another author that completely captured my attention. Rose Madder stayed with me for a long time. I would say that his approach to writing without a planned plot or outline gave me hope that I could squeak out a story or two. I don’t like planning and rather enjoy the process of developing characters, then seeing what kind of trouble they can get themselves into. The storyline is a surprise to me as I’m writing it.
- What’s your favourite genre to read?
I really love psychological thrillers, mysteries, and sci-fi; but I’m game for any well-written story.
- Last but not the least, do you have any advice for the aspiring authors who want to go for the option of self-publishing?
Fall in love with the process of connecting with other people. As a writer, it’s natural to be reclusive, however, developing a social platform is crucial to finding your perfect audience. Listen to advice but take everything with a grain of salt. You will need to spend money on editing and cover design to make your book the very best that it can be, but if you’re on a tight budget, it’s wise to find your readers through social networking instead of paid advertising.
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