In the ensuing years, I attended the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics in Vancouver, Washington, where I studied creative writing, music, and visual art. I eventually became a Psychology major at Portland State University, but also minored in Professional Writing and Business Administration. After graduating, I stumbled into a career as a proposal manager.
I currently live in Portland, Oregon, with my fiancé. When I’m not writing, I enjoy travel, wine tasting, binge-watching TV series, and playing epic strategy board games.
What inspires you to write?
I had a world growing inside my head for many years, and it needed to be let out. I have always seen inspiration in everything around me–from personal life experiences to the worlds crafted by others–and those things have all become a part of my own creation. After years of taking in little ideas here and there, I felt the world in my head was finally ready to be experienced by others. I write now to share that vision. It is the culmination of all that has inspired me throughout my life.
Tell us about your writing process.
When starting a new story, I like to just sit down and start writing… see where the story takes me. Normally, about halfway through, I’ll decide where I want it to go. At that point, I’ll go back to the beginning to make appropriate edits to set me up for the ending.
My Cadicle series is a little different because it spent so much time evolving in my head. I have the lives of all the characters completely mapped out already, so now it’s just a matter of breaking it into appropriately sized pieces to get the writing done. To make it more manageable, I wrote an outline of the key sequence of scenes for the first five books.
For each scene, I start with a general idea of what I want to accomplish–what plot points need to be conveyed, where the characters are emotionally, etc. I’ll run through the scene extensively in my head, playing it like a movie until I’m happy with the flow. At that time, I’ll write it down. If I’ve gone through this process, I find that my first written draft is pretty close to the final version.
If I’m having difficulty getting through a particular scene, I’ll typically try to write it from the outside-in (write the opening and close, then work my way toward the middle line-by-line). I’ve found it to be an effective way to deal with writer’s block.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes, though not as myself. I’ll assume the role of the perspective character and play out scenes with other characters. I tend to do that most when I’m lying in bed in the dark, in my head rather than out load. But, occasionally, I’ll realize I’m talking quietly to myself on the bus to test the dialogue out load. Hmm… that explains all those weird looks… 🙂
What advice would you give other writers?
Write stories that you’re passionate about. Be friends with your characters and bring them to life. A story doesn’t have to be limited to what you see on the printed (or digital) page.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I elected to self-publish, namely because the book series in my head didn’t fit neatly into the page parameters for traditional publication. I wanted the flexibility to have some novella-length installments. Aside from that, I wanted to maintain creative control. I hired my dream cover artist, pulled in my work writer friends for professional-level editing, and I’m really happy with how it’s all come together.
That said, self-publishing isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a lot of extra work to manage the manuscript on retailers’ sites, handle all the marketing, maintain a website and social media, etc. However, getting five-star reviews from total strangers makes all the work worthwhile!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I see more and more books moving to electronic formats. I also see continued growth in self-publishing. I love that the general population can now decide if something is worth of their praise, rather than relying on the whim of a gatekeeper at a publishing house to decide what makes it to market.
That said, I do hope that self-published authors don’t take advantage of the open market and throw out sub-par material just to see if it will stick. Regardless of the modern-day ease of publishing, I believe every literary creation should be loved and finessed before it’s put out into the world.
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Sci-Fantasy, Sci-Fi Action & Adventure, High-Tech, Military Sci-Fi, Speculative Fiction
What formats are your books in?: eBook