November 5, 2015, Fresh Fiction posted this interview with me. In case you missed it there, I thought you might like to read it here. Lots of good Della information!
1.) I love Della Tsang and her determination and loyalty, despite her parents (particularly her father) turning their backs on her. Which scene was the most difficult one for you to write? And conversely, which one was the most fun?
The hardest scene to write was the scene where Della finally confronts her father. I’m not gonna lie to you, there have been times I seriously plotted to kill that man. He hurt Della and that hurt me. But Della wouldn’t let me whack him. She loved him. She was loyal to him, even when he never offered her an ounce of love in return. But people make mistakes, and when we love them, those mistakes, even the bad ones, can be forgiven. The fun scenes were always those where I got to let Della’s sassy side come out and party. Those round table diet coke discussions that Kylie and Miranda and her held we’re so much fun. Those scenes were all inspired by some of my lunches with good friends. When you are around good friends, you can say what you think, what you feel, and you can laugh about life’s hardest hurdles. As my grandmother used to say, “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”
2.) Unspoken dives headfirst into family and boyfriend drama as Della is caught in the middle of a lot of intense situations. Did you know where the Shadow Falls: After Dark series was headed when you first started writing the series, or did Della, Steve, Chase and the other characters surprise you?
Did I know what was going to happen? Heck no! That would be too easy. I always choose to write the hard way. And while it might be harder, it’s the only way I can write. If I know what’s going to happen in a story, it’s boring for me. Writing, my way, is like telling myself a story. I want to discover what happens as I put words on the paper. It’s what keeps me writing, and keeps me intrigued. I’ll be honest, when I sold Shadow Falls: After Dark, I sold it on the synopsis of, “I’ll write three Della books.” I didn’t have clue where it was headed or what was going move this series forward. I knew it was going to be about her accepting change. About her learning to trust again. About her proving to the world and herself that she wasn’t really a monster.
3.) Shadow Falls has now been featured in two loosely connected series and I’ve grown to love the safe haven it represents for teenagers with paranormal abilities. Have we seen the last of Shadow Falls, the F. R. U., and the Vampire Council?
Don’t say that, you’ll make me cry! Right now, I’m working Miranda’s book. I think it will be a standalone, but it will be a doozy. I will never say never, but for right now, it’s the last book on the schedule for Shadow Falls. However, on February 2nd, Almost Midnight will be released. This is an anthology of all my previously published E-novellas. However, it has one new novella in it, Fierce. I think most of my fans will be surprised to learn the protagonist is Fredericka Lakota. She had been knocking on my mind for a while demanding her story be told. She’s wasn’t a likely candidate, frankly she wasn’t all that likeable in most of the books. But she turned out to be a character that pulled at my heartstrings and I think my fans will root for her.
4.) You write in two very different genres, as your Christie Craig books are very different from your C.C. Hunter books. How difficult is it transitioning between the two and do you have any tricks to get yourself into the right mindset for the stories?
It would be easier to tell you that I wear red slippers when I write paranormal and yellow slippers when I write humorous romantic suspense. But that’s not the truth. I’ve always considered myself a character driven writer. So it’s the characters, their world, their perspective and their paradigm that drives a story. If there’s a trick, it’s all about getting under a characters skin and knowing what’s important to them. And that changes with every character. So I don’t see it as much as a transition in writing, or even in my writing voice. You’ll find humor and suspense in all my books. You’ll find love, friendship, and sexual tension in all my books. The level of sexual tension and maybe the humor may be higher in my Christie Craig books, but it’s still there in my young adult books. And because the Shadow Falls series is paranormal, they always have magic. But it’s all just me just getting into my characters, leaving my world behind, finding entertainment in another place, and hoping to entertain others.
5.) I always love knowing what authors, books, or even musical artists have influenced a writer. Who are some of the authors or other artists that have influenced you?
I love all kinds of music. But I can’t listen to it when I write. Song lyrics throw me out of my zone and story. But when I am listening to music, I want it to have a story. And sometimes I run across a song that feels as if someone wrote it for my series. Natasha Bedingfield’s video Unwritten is one song that really seems to relate to my characters, especially Kylie and Della. I swear she has read my series.
6.) I love your success story as you have overcome obstacles, such as dyslexia, to become a very prolific and well-loved author. Any tips you have for young adults who are struggling with their own challenges?
Never give up. Never! Keep learning. Always. Read. A lot. Writing isn’t for wimps. You have to be able to take rejection and while we must love what we do, we can’t love what we do so much that we won’t change it. Don’t fall in love with your words, fall in love with your story and your writing. It’s a process that may take time. Lots of time. I wrote for ten years before I published my first book. I wrote for thirteen more years before I sold my second book. I’m not here because I was naturally talented, I’m here because I didn’t give up. Work with other writers to help each other get your story as perfect as you can. Take classes. Read how-to books. Never lose your passion for the art. If you lose it, it shows.
7.) While I’m thrilled to see all the various story threads of the Shadow Falls: After Dark trilogy coming to fruition, I must admit I’m also more than a little sad that we’ve reached the end of the series. Any hints as to what you have in store for us in the future?
Let me go and look into my magic ball. LOL. I had another paranormal series planned, but because the paranormal genre isn’t kicking butt right now, I might be moving over to young adult contemporary. Maybe one with a little mystery like my Christie Craig books. Or if by the time I’m finished with Miranda’s book, the trend swings back toward paranormal, I might still write that series. I’m open. I will continue to write my adult humorous romances.