Whether you’re merely curious, or looking for inspiration for a Q&A session with me, feel free to take a look at the following questions and learn a little more about me!
Q: What made you want to start writing?
A: I’ve been telling stories since I was a little kid. I’ve written hundreds of them, over my life. I even wrote a (really, really terrible) novel in High School. I always knew I wanted to be an author, but life got in the way for a long time. It took a global pandemic for me to sit down and actually finish one.
Q: What made you want to write this novel?
A: Actually, embarrassing as it is, I read a fan fiction short-story that used the roommates trope, and I loved it so much, I wanted to use the trope myself. Obviously, the plot, characters, and general themes of my novel are different than that fan fiction, other than the roommates trope, but sometimes I would go back to that story for inspiration when I felt like my novel was getting tired or boring.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration for writing?
A: Everywhere! Sometimes from books or stories I read (like with that fan fiction); sometimes from TV shows or movies; sometimes from my everyday life or specific experiences I had! That stereotype that authors can and will make real life people in their lives into book characters is completely true (although I tend to mix and match so that my friends and family don’t get mad at me). Even music inspires me!
Q: How do you choose your book titles?
A: I’ll often use a song as a placeholder; sometimes the name sticks, like with Some Days Are Diamonds, which is a John Denver song. I’ll probably stick to the John Denver Song theme for the titles of the Theatre On Main Series, or I’ll use something like Some Days Are [Noun] to keep consistency.
Q: Are your characters based on anyone specific?
A: No! I draw inspiration from several people for each character. John from Some Days Are Diamonds is named for John Denver, who wrote the song of the same name. His looks are a combination of a friend of mine (coincidentally, also named John) and a couple of my celebrity crushes, and his personality is inspired heavily by my high-school sweetheart, who I’m unfortunately no longer in contact with. For Elle, also from Some Days Are Diamonds, I kept drawing on my own personality, but her life is extremely different from mine, and not necessarily one I wish for myself (except the performing part. I miss performing. Curse you, Covid-19). Karen from Some Days Are Diamonds is named that to invoke a specific feeling from the readers, and then her personality is a conglomeration of various mothers of my friends that I’ve had to deal with, who are really just not nice people. No, I will not say which of my friends’ moms.
Q: How do you handle Writer’s Block?
A: It depends on the source of my block. Sometimes I’m burnt out and I just need a break (take a look at my writing process below, for example). Sometimes I’m just in a depressive swing, and what I need is time with friends, or to read a comfort story, or to watch something/listen to music to get inspired again. Sometimes I get stuck, so I either refer back to my plot line, or I put what happens in brackets to come back to when I have a better idea of what it needs to be.
Q: What does your writing process look like?
A: I always start with characters, as a romance/erotica writer. The plot comes from the themes of their relationship, such as couple tropes (Roommates, anyone?) and then I’ll create a non-romantic sub-plot. I write out the plot of the story using specific plot points of the relationship first, to get the general storyline, often with little footnotes as to what’s happening with the subplot, and then I write a long, scene-by-scene break down. (This is the trickiest part! Sometimes I remember scenes I forgot or I want to add new, and my notes get really messy and sometimes hard to follow.) My first draft is always a hodgepodge of stream-of-consciousness, descriptions and action in brackets, rambling dialogue, and only a vague sense of plot. No one sees this monstrosity until it’s on its second draft, where it usually makes more sense and has a more story-like appearance. I always take a break between drafts! I try for a month, but sometimes it goes a little longer while I work on other projects. Each draft gets attention, whether it’s cleaning stuff up, adding in stuff to clear up plot points, rearranging plot points to strengthen the story, or scrapping things that don’t belong. Diamonds took 4 rounds of editing, one of which was a complete rewrite from start to finish, and one of which involved rewriting a few choice scenes to clear up character relationships and timelines.
Q: What are your tools of the trade?
A: I write on Google Docs! I find that their outline feature is the easiest for me to work with, since I can click on one of the outline points on the sidebar and jump to whichever scene I want to. I also keep a notebook with my plot/scene list/world building/etc. (the Wiley World series has its own notebook, and the Theatre On Main series has a whole binder). I also like Reedsy once I’m into the second or third draft, so that I can rearrange scenes/chapters, and rewrite them one by one. I keep all of my notes and research on hand whenever I’m writing, for reference. I’m also a huge fan of Pinterest boards, which I might make public later!
Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: Depends on the type of story! Nora Roberts has shaped how I write and experience romance novels, whereas ever-so-reylo on AO3 has shaped how I write and experience erotica (I know what you’re thinking: fan fiction? She’s honestly a phenomenal writer and I cannot sing her praises enough!).
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: Which one? Ha! I love the Harry Potter series; it really shaped my life and my childhood (Order of the Phoenix is my favorite in the series). I love the Marigold series by Jean Ferris, and the Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood is a new favorite of mine, which I read in its early stages before it was officially published (I can’t sing her praises enough!). I think The Truth About Mr. Darcy by Susan Adriani is my top favorite and the one I keep returning to the most.
Q: Do you prefer to write Erotica or Romance?
A: Depends on my mood, and the story. Some of my romances are heavier as far as love scenes go, and some have fewer love scenes. I prefer to write my love scenes to fit the tone of the novel. A love scene, like a musical number in a Broadway show, will either: develop a character (specifically, a trait that’s tied to their sexuality/sexual experience), or drive the plot romantically/emotionally. Not all love scenes are between people in an established romantic relationship, but if it happens “on screen” (so to speak) rather than just being referenced, those two characters will inevitably enter a romantic relationship by the end of the story.
Q: Will all of your stories feature heterosexual relationships?
A: Not at all! One of my works-in-progress is a modern-day, lesbian retelling of Pride and Prejudice; one of the stories in the Theatre on Main series features a lesbian couple, and I have a sci-fi story I’ve been working on for years that features lesbians, and a superhero/supervillain lesbian series in its early stages. As I am not male or masculine presenting, I probably won’t write anything between two male protagonists (yet, anyway), nor can I convey the struggle for anyone on the gender spectrum outside of “gender nonconforming,” though they will (and do!) make appearances in my stories as side characters. I wouldn’t disrespect someone by presuming to understand their struggle when I haven’t been through it.
Q: What other representation will you feature in your novels?
A: Autism and PTSD will make frequent appearances in my work, as well as Depression and Anxiety. There may be references to triggering things in any of my books, and I caution my readers to look into the trigger warnings for each book on my website so they know what to skip. I’m also trying my hand at interracial couples, and you’ll find plenty of POC characters in my cast, although I’m trying to steer clear of harmful stereotypes as much as I can.
Q: How many bookshelves are in your house?
A: …a lot. There are a lot of bookshelves. Also, a lot of books. I grew up with bookshelves in almost every room of the house– Even the kitchen!
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
A: Just write it. The first draft might suck– and that’s fine! Even if it’s really good, you’ll have things you want to edit later, revisions that need to be made, proofreading that needs done. As long as you get the words on the paper (or document, in today’s day and age), you’re already one step closer to your goals. If you get stuck, put a note to yourself in brackets and keep your flow of writing, or skip to a scene you want to write. Write the scenes in order or out of order, write in any POV or tense, plot first or plan as you go. It doesn’t matter what your preferences are, what program you use, or even if you’re hand writing. Just write.