Publishing a novel has always been one of the top items on my “bucket list.” I started writing Voice of Innocence while still in college. Recently deciding that I should follow the advice I give to my students, I realized it was time to share my writing with others. Voice of Innocence was published in February of 2015. I am in the process of releasing a second novel as well and am so excited to share a completely different set of characters with the world.
I currently live in my hometown with my husband Chad (my Junior High sweetheart); our cats Arya, Amelia, Alice, Marjorie, and Bob; and our Mastiff Henry.
My hope is that by becoming a published author, I can inspire some of my students and other aspiring writers to pursue their own passions. I want them to see that any dream can be attained and publishing a novel isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
What inspires you to write?
I have many inspirations in my life as a writer. My parents instilled in me a value for education and reading from the time I could talk. One of my earliest memories is sitting with my parents as they taught me to sound out words. My husband has also inspired me to pursue my dream of writing. I met Chad in an art class when we were only twelve. He has shown me that love is real, is enduring, and is our most important ally in this sometimes harsh world. He has supported me through this entire process, believing in my writing even before I believed in it myself. My favorite author, Nicholas Sparks, also indirectly inspired me by showing that love stories can be powerful and deep.
I am inspired by love and real life situations. I like to portray the beauty and magic of love while also focusing on the harsh, difficult situations it sometimes creates.
Tell us about your writing process.
For me, the title always comes first along with the characters. I usually spend days, even weeks, thinking about the characters, climbing into their skin and viewing the world from their view. Once I get a feel for who they are and what conflicts they will face, I start writing. I loosely outline where the story is going to go, but typically I just write on the fly. I like to feel the natural flow of the story, finding that typically my story morphs and changes as I write.
I always write best at night. When I wrote Voice of Innocence, I was working at a job that required late nights. I would write after work, sometimes at one or two in the morning. I still find that I write best late at night, on my laptop, surrounded by a cat or two.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I liken character developing to acting; like an actress, I sort of climb inside the head of my character, almost taking on their persona mentally. I start thinking like they would think, imagining life from their point of view. I pride myself on realism; I want every situation, emotion, and encounter to see real, so I try very hard to imagine a realistic reaction from each character to each situation. By the end of a novel, I do feel as though my characters are more than just fictitious people, which is my goal for the reader.
What advice would you give other writers?
I think the first piece of advice is to not let yourself be defined as a writer by your publishing credentials. You are a writer first; publishing doesn’t change that. You need to write for the love of the story. When I wrote Voice of Innocence, I didn’t think anyone would read it. I wrote the story of Emma and Corbin because I, quite simply, couldn’t stand to not tell their story. I felt a need to get their story on paper, so I did. I wasn’t worrying about being a bestseller or winning awards. I was writing because I had to write. When you write from a place of emotion, from a place of freedom, and from a place of honesty, that emotion becomes very obvious to the reader. In other words, write for the sake of writing, not to become famous.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I chose to go with a publisher because I just felt like that was the best decision for me. I did realize once I started the publishing process that I knew very little about it. Having a publisher helped me understand the process and considerations in the publishing world; I feel like if I had self-published, I wouldn’t have understood the process as well. I also feel like having a publisher gave me the confidence I needed in my work.
I just advise new authors to do what feels right. If you are going with a traditional publisher, make sure their mission and values fit with your own. If you want to self-publish, then don’t let anything stop you. This business is so much about following your heart.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
As an English teacher, my hope is that the publishing industry continues to be strong and prosperous–I hope that our society continues to value literature and reading. I do see the digital world greatly impacting the industry, but I think that is okay. There’s nothing wrong with change. However, I am a complete traditionalist in the fact that although I have an e-reader, I still love the feel of pages between my fingers.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: romance, women’s fiction, new adult
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.