A: I can remember at around age four telling my mom I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I credit her always taking my dream seriously, even back then. She nodded thoughtfully and asked me what I’d write. I never lost my dream over the years. Of course, I barely pursued it, too. Until my son was born. I decided if not now, when? I wrote my first manuscript, Graduate, for NaNoWriMo and have been going strong ever since. (It is the stinkiest piece of fiction ever, but totally worth it.)
Q: Where do your ideas come from?
I think we all get our ideas from the same place. Some invisible ether. And each author brings his or her history and personality into it, creating their own spin. It’s why Blake Snyder wrote Really Mean Girls and the same exact time as Tina Fey was writing Mean Girls. I never know when I’ll get the idea that feels like happiness blossoming in my brain but the ones that really stick around, I follow. I think of my muse as Milla. She’s Joan Jett mixed with Milla Jovavich. And when I try to fit her into a box, she bucks. Hard. I’ve learned to go where she takes me, even if it means jumping into a new sub-genre.
Q: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
A: Write every single last day. Even on shot, terrible paragraph. You’ll feel better for it and the more you write the closer you’ll get to learning how to surrender to your story. That wondrous place where you aren’t just the author, you’re the reader, too, experiencing the pain and pleasure, the conflict and resolution of your characters. It took me eleven manuscripts to get in touch and stay in touch with that place. Had someone told me it would take so long, I probably would have given up. The reward was worth every last typed word.
Q: How do you choose the authors you ‘stalk’?
I didn’t really choose the authors. I chose the books. Once you start writing, finding a book that sucks you into the story and shuts off your internal editor (mine’s named Charles), becomes more difficult. The books I choose are those that not only sweep me away but also made me itch to write. They rejuvenated me and linger long after I reach ‘The End’.