Originally posted on Renee's Author Spotlight:
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About the Book
Eva has never seen the Forest of Evin, but her fate and the fate of the Forest may be intertwined. Sinister forces seek to pull the Forest apart, and Eva may be the only one who can save it. Eva must travel between worlds to keep the Forest together—but the Forest of Evin thrums with power and the force tearing it apart may not be the only danger.
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Keep reading for an interview with the author:
Why did you decide to be a writer?
I've always loved hearing and telling stories. The ways that people interact and the ways that the context in which a person lives shapes what their life will be is fascinating. These interests led me down different paths--to pursue acting for a while and to earn a Masters in Sociology, for example. Through all of this, I always kept writing stories. It's been a hobby since I was a teenager, but lately I've been treating it more seriously.
Do you have a "day job"? If so, what do you do?
I'm a sociology adjunct. I teach classes at a few local colleges/universities.
What genres do you write?
I write several different genres, but mostly YA and mostly fantasy/speculative fiction.
Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with? If so, what is it and what attracts you to it?
I really love thrillers and mysteries, so if I was going to venture out of my comfort zone, that's probably where I would start. I use elements of these in my work, but I've never written a true thriller or mystery. I was raised on true crime shows and police procedurals and detective shows. I think I like the idea of an action-packed puzzle waiting to be worked out.
What inspires you to write?
Honestly, the way I feel when I read a great book or see a fantastic movie or play a captivating video game. I want to make someone else feel the way my favorite pieces of fiction make me feel. I want to create someone else's favorite character. I want to build something and to convince someone else to love it as much as I do.
What is your writing process?
I try to write at least a little every day. Sometimes it's only a couple hundred words, but if I don't make myself sit down and work everyday, I'll fall into a rut where I won't work for months. I usually write stories more or less in sequence, though if I'm stuck, I'll move to a different point in the story in the hopes of shaking the ideas loose. I used to write everything out longhand, but I'm pretty much all laptop these days--though, again, if I need to shake things loose I'll sometimes write a scene or two out on paper.
Are you a pantser or outliner?
I'm an outliner. I don't always (don't ever, actually) stick to the outline 100 percent, but by the time I'm sitting down to write a manuscript, I know the key points. Sometimes I have a chapter-by-chapter breakdown. Before I start the draft, I'll type up or write out pages of notes that basically give a rundown of everything that I know about a story.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends. Evin took years because I stopped writing for a while in the process of working on it (it's hard to keep a writing schedule during grad school--it's hard to do anything but try to survive grad school during grad school). The last first draft that I wrote took about three months. The daily writing thing has seriously cut down on the time it takes to finish a draft.
Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?
A mix of both. The things that I can imagine are going to be informed by my experiences--if not firsthand experiences, then the things that I've heard about or seen in movies, books, games, and so on. There's almost always a fantastical or sci fi element in the things that I write, but these elements are married with realistic struggles.
Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
Not so much other people that I know, but I view most of my characters as being me in some way. Sometimes they express the traits that I wish I had more of, and sometimes they express the things about myself that I'm afraid or ashamed of. I've never flat out tried to recreate a person that I know in one of my characters. I've got to live in my characters' heads--I think I'd feel weird trying to get that deep in the head of some people I know.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a project that has sort of grown out of control. Originally, it was one novel, but now it's a trilogy. I've been describing it as Firefly meets The Untouchables. It's a space opera, and each book has two narrators that swap back and forth.
What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?
Translation. There so much going on in my head that sometimes I struggle getting it on the page. I may know all the particulars of a relationship, but I've got to find some way to communicate that to the reader.
How do you market/promote your work? Have you found something that works really well for you?
I use my blog, my Facebook page, and my Twitter to promote when I can. I do things like blog hops and try to go to local author events and writing groups. And I also contacted some local news outlets--one of those contacts landed a nice little newspaper article. Mainly, I rely on word of mouth.
Do you have any advice for other authors?
Do the work. It doesn't matter how you write, so long as you do write.
Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?
Thank you so much. The idea that there are people who want to spend their time with my characters in these worlds I've created is amazing and humbling.