I’ve been getting a lot of emails recently asking me questions about writing and my writing process. So, I thought I’d post an interview that originally appeared at Miss Literati (http://www.missliterati.com/ml/home), that answers a lot of those questions.
What’s the planning process like when writing a series? Did you outline what you want to happen in all of your books before writing them?
I call myself a panther because I write by the seat of my pants and I do not plan very well. Even in the synopsis of the series, I didn’t know what the main thrust of the whole thing would be. My plan was to end the first book with finding out what Kylie was. When I got writing it, I was into chapter 12 or 13 and I decided maybe the whole series should be about figuring out what Kylie is.
Having just one point of view was difficult for me and taught me a lot. It was important that everyone had a story. And with all have these things going on, I really needed to get into [everyone’s] heads, but couldn’t leave Kylie’s point of view.
Writing and getting the story from one point of view taught me some tricks of the trade. Kylie had to be very aware of the people around her and be able to read them. She either knew their story and she knew there was a story.
What drew you to paranormal writing?
Well, I’ve always loved ghost stories! As a writer, we need all these different options. When you’re plotting a scene, they tell you to name ten things that can happen. Then they say not to take your first choice or second choice because a reader would expect that to happen. In the paranormal world, anything is possible! I’m drawn to the endless options of what can happen.
This was your first time writing a series. How does it differ from your other writing?
No matter what, a book needs to have a beginning, middle and end and I feel like I’ve been able to feed that to my readers in each book with the mysteries of the ghost. After each ghost Kyle’s story continues. I totally get why readers are drawn to series now!
Is Kylie based off of yourself at all?
As soon as I got into the characters, it was magical to go back and be my 16-year-old self. I definitely plagiarized my life a little with Kylie. But she’s cooler than me. I was a misfit, a quiet wallflower. At 16 my parents got a divorce and my girlfriends took a ride on the wild side. I was stuck and analyzing everything. I’ve always been the type of person that analyzes things. I wanted to think things through.
All the characters have a little of me in them actually. I knew I wanted to have a character also be dyslexic, so I had that be Miranda.
We didn’t know you were dyslexic! What an accomplishment to overcome that and become a writer! Did you struggle a lot when getting started?
Being dyslexic, I suffer from leaving out words. I don’t see the little words like so, is, to. I have a couple people that read through my work and check for spelling errors like that. I will forever have my mistakes and never be able to write a perfect copy.
But dyslexia helped me realize things in life are tough and you don’t always get it right the first time. When I started writing, I didn’t expect to get it right. The rejections I got didn’t stop me. If a rejection came in, I’d still continue to work.
They also say that dyslexia makes you read people and pick up on things better. I think being more intuitive definitely made me a better writer.
That being said, I really didn’t start reading until I was in third grade. I didn’t start reading a lot until I was like 18 or 19. But for me, my love of writing is the same as my love of storytelling. I really am a storyteller more than a writer. Being raised in the south, I was told that if a lie made a story better it wasn’t a lie. So I’ve been telling fiction my entire life.
What’s your drafting process like? Do you have many drafts for each book you write?
Ya know, I don’t have a lot of drafts when I write and I don’t normally have a lot of revisions. I think this is because I write very linear. Something happens, and because that happens, this happens.
About how long does it take you to complete a book?
It varies on whether or not I have a whole lot of interference in my life, but normally a book takes me about two-and-a-half to three months to complete. I find myself finishing about three books a year.
Do you ever get writer’s block?
I was raised by my father who was a plumber and never in all my life do I ever recall my father waking up and saying, “I have plumber’s block, I can’t work.” There are days that I am much more fruitful and then there’s days when I decide to blog or focus on marketing a little instead.
I treat writing as a career. I can’t afford to buy into the fact that there is a muse helping me and if I don’t have that muse then I can’t write.
How is the transition from writing adult romance novels to YA paranormal novels?
The transition isn’t too hard because I am a character driven writer. I write from the character and once I find her, I see life through her eyes and see what her goals are. I torture my characters and give them problems and conflicts. I know what they don’t want to face and then I make them face it.
I don’t think my voice changes a whole lot when writing romance and YA. I think the characters and the age of the characters define what the thought process will be.
What’s one of your goals when writing?
One of the steps I really try to do is make all my characters human. I really want everyone to be able to relate to them. I want everyone to say, “I know someone just like that.” It was important for me to build these characters with human interaction and where people can relate.
Do you see the Shadow Falls series becoming a book-to-movie series?
Well, it has received a lot of interest and I do have a film agent. What he is looking at right now though, is a TV series. These kinds of deals are a long process so who knows what will happen. But it’s definitely something I’m open to!
The winners of last week’s giveaway-a copy of Shadow Falls: The Beginning are Charlene and Shonnia. Congratulations! You have a week to claim your prize by sending you mailing address to email@example.com.
Didn’t win last week’s giveaway? Well, good news! I have two more copies of Shadow Falls: The Beginning to give away to two lucky people who leave a comment here. (Sorry, but I have to limit this giveaway to US residents.)