Where were you born? Since how long have you been living in the beautiful town of Madison, Georgia?
I was born in Memphis, Tennessee. After college in North Carolina, I spent a few years in Miami before moving to Atlanta and then on to Madison, Georgia. I’ve been living in this beautiful town for a little over twenty-five years now. The town was the backdrop for my first paranormal romance series, The Darkly Series.
Which is your sweetest memory from Queens College in North Carolina?
The sweetest memory was being complimented on my writing skills by my freshman English professor. She was also the person who thought it a kindness to warn me about the heartache I’d likely experience if I ever decided to publish my work.
Do you remember what your first story was about?
It’s laughable now, but my first ever notable story was about a washing machine eating socks.
Your thoughts on conventional vs. self-publishing? What route did you choose and why?
Like every aspiring author, I was determined to be traditionally published. Then I read my first publishing contract and I realized how much control an author loses over their work and how little the payoff can be once you sign on the dotted line. I simply didn’t want to relinquish my rights for five or more years. I knew what I wanted my covers to look like. I knew there would be follow-up books in my series. I had a vision of what all that should look like and the publisher wasn’t guaranteeing me anything beyond the first book. So knowing it would be a gamble on my part, I didn’t sign. Except for my very first novel, which probably would have been better shelved, I don’t regret my decision to self-publish. It’s been a fantastic experience. At this point in my career, I am confident that I’m producing quality entertainment for the readers who discover me.
In what ways do you think graduating with a degree in English literature has helped you in your writing career?
Except for instilling in me a sense of what good literature looks like, I can honestly say the degree has not helped me in my career. What has helped is continuing to read books in various genres. I read not only for enjoyment but also as a way of learning how to become a better storyteller.
How did you begin writing the "Legends of the Pale" series?
The Legends of the Pale series was born out of the need to craft a better paranormal romance series, one that wouldn’t be as restrictive as my first. The books in my Darkly series were so tightly-woven that readers were reluctant to read the five books out of order. That series, though award-winning by the second and third novels, still suffered from the fatal flaw of a badly edited and poorly plotted introductory novel. I was determined not to repeat that mistake with my next series. So over the course of several conversations with my editor (by profession), I honed the new ideas I had. The result is The Legends of the Pale series. It was designed to be an unending series of stand-alone romances that just happen to occur within one connected world. By the time I finished the first book, The Love of Gods, I knew it was strong and a book that I could be proud to present to readers. It was also a perfect jumping-off point for the rest of the series.
What challenges did you face while writing your book of poetry, Love, Sex & Witchery?
I’m mainly a prose writer. When I do write poetry, it’s in fits and spurts. Like any poem, the subject matter is highly personal. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever share my poems with anyone. Then one day, a trusted friend pushed me to publish a few of my love poems on the online site, Medium. I did it and received lots of claps, reads, and encouraging feedback. That experience gave me the confidence to create a small book of themed poetry for my own personal bookshelf. I figured if other people liked my poetry, it must be okay. That’s how Love, Sex & Witchery came to be.
Who inspired the character of Hueil, son of Caw in "Bound Darkly"?
Hueil was a combination of many pop-culture anti-heroes, the stories of which I have absorbed over the years. When I first wrote him into Enchanted Darkly, I simply needed a villain. It wasn’t until I neared the end of writing the book that I finally realized the extent of the betrayal driving Hueil to do the despicable things he did in the first novel. In book 2, Bound Darkly, I wanted to give him the chance to redeem himself. After that book, the rest of the Darkly series simply had to be written. To date, Hueil is still one of my most favorite characters.
What do you enjoy about writing series so much?
The ever-evolving stories. I enjoy how one book/character relates to another book, how one story begets another and lends deeper meaning to a previous book. With each additional novel, the world-building gets richer and more nuanced. I find that very satisfying as a writer.
What are common errors made when people write their first book?
I could expound on this topic for ages. But to make my answer short and to the point, the plots of first novels usually meander. And in the rush to get the novel to readers, the work is poorly edited or proofread. There are scenes, paragraphs, and dialogue that should be cut but the author can’t kill their darlings. Every word is simply too important to a first-time author. Believe me, I know. I have made every one of these mistakes.
What was your reaction to receiving the 2020 Georgia Independent Author of the Year Award?
I was stunned. And then when I got on stage to accept the award, I was so overwhelmed I began to cry. And, I’m not a pretty crier. The memory of that moment is both happy and cringe-worthy for me.
Are you working on a new book? Is it going to be a series or a standalone?
I am working on two books at the moment. Both are standalone and are part of the Legends of the Pale series.
When did you first join AllAuthor and did you join as a free or pro-member first? What are your thoughts on this website?
I joined AllAuthor over a year ago as a pro-member and have recently rejoined in March of this year. I truly believe the site provides the most value for a self-published author’s money. I have made use of all its features and will continue to do so.