Amanda Van Zandt asked me a few questions for her blog, and they are actually questions I’m frequently asked in emails and in person. So, I thought I’d share them with you.
What keeps you motivated?
Sometimes it’s the deadlines. Knowing I have to get it in. Sometimes it’s the art of storytelling. When I write something that surprises me, I get excited. Also reading emailing from my fans gives me a good kick in the pants.
What is your source for inspiration?
I find inspiration in a love of things. People I know who have encouraged me. My grandmother was always encouraging me. I also love inspirational sayings. I have them all over my desk. i.e. Every long journey begins with single step.
What inspired you to write?
Growing up, I never felt as if I was really good at anything. I had friends who were good at sports, others who were great at music and were in the band. I didn’t have a thing. Being dyslexic, reading wasn’t even my thing. My favorite pastime was to go off somewhere and make up stories. I never realized that creating stories was my thing. When I was twenty-three and realized that I was actually good at doing it, it felt so good to realize I had a thing, too. I became almost obsessed at writing stories and creating characters. I love what I do.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I’ve written published 30 books. And they all have come from different places. Sometimes I open the door to my closet of a mind and just reach in for something. It might be a newspaper article I once read, or it could be a story someone told me. Or it might be the day I watched the garbage man look into my neighbor’s trash can and appear shocked. And I think I’ll bet there’s a body in that can. My Shadow Falls series actually came from my editor. She had an idea she wanted a writer to write about. She told me, paranormal camp. That was all she said. So I got busy trying to figure out who my lead character was and what kind of supernatural she was.
Did you know the ending before you were finished?
No, I’m what you call a pantser. Meaning, I write by the seat of my pants. I might kind of know what’s going to happen, but not all the details.To me the fun of writing is discovering what happens.
Did you get some of the characters from personal experience?
Yes. Miranda in my Shadow Falls series, is dyslexic. Kylie is shy and insecure like I was.
Is anything that happened in one of your books based on something in your life?
I really think that when I write, I’m plagiarizing from my own life. Kylie’s parents got a divorce when she was sixteen and so did my parents. Kylie’s friend thought she was pregnant and I had a friend that it happened, too. Sometimes I borrow bits and pieces of my experiences to help me write scenes. For example, I’ve never seen a bloody, rogue vampire, like Kylie has, but once when I was working at a Pizza restaurant, I was held up by a guy with a knife. So when I wrote the scene that Kylie was so afraid of the vampire I just remembered how afraid I was that time I had a knife held at me.
How do you deal with rejection (from publishers, readers, reviews)?
I have thousands of rejections. Sometimes I think that dyslexia helped me deal with rejection. Being dyslexic I learned that it was okay to fail and I just had to try again. So, if someone didn’t like my book, or my short story, I would just go write another one. One way I recommend other writers deal with rejection is to hang out with positive people.
Did you have any problems when you were writing your book?
Every writer has problems. It takes a long time to learn to craft a story. I wrote ten years before I published my first book. Sometimes I would think my story wasn’t good, but I would just give myself a day to rest and then I would go back to writing.
Were you interested in writing as a teenager?
No, like I said earlier, I didn’t think I could be a writer, because I had so much trouble spelling and other problems with the dyslexia. But I still told myself stories in my head.
H. Abrams observes how a novel can reflect on the world, the author, and the audience. How do you think your novel is impacted by the world, yourself (the author), and the intended audience?
When I sit down to write, my only goal is to entertain. That’s what a book is supposed to do. However, in every book a character has issues that they must overcome. And I get emails all the time from readers, who tell me how reading about my characters, who have to deal with issues like being shy, and insecure, and having family issues, has helped the see that they are not alone. Books can inspire us, give us hope, give us courage, and teach us how to face troubles.
Okay, I’ve posted several interviews I’ve had in my last few blogs. Hopefully, you now know a bit more about my books and about me. But do you want to know anything about my characters? If you could ask any question of any of my characters, what would you ask? I’ll try to answer some of your questions in future blogs.