I’ve worked in graphic design for well over a decade, but writing has always been my passion, and I began attempting to write my first novel at age 11. Yes. 11. Crazy, huh? At least I was trying back then, even if I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. A story was still there and I had an urge to tell it.
That urge never left my side.
I started college at the early age of 16 and wrote news and editorial columns as well as designed graphics for two different campus newspapers while working toward my degree.
After graduating with a BA in Broadcasting and Communications, I began to follow my heart back to my publishing aspirations with my debut urban sci-fi series, Fluorescence. On the side, I also serve as a professional voice talent for radio, TV, and audio books, and I’ve produced over 3,500 recordings for businesses across the globe.
What inspires you to write?
My characters inspire me. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been working on another piece of writing and suddenly, a new character shows up and pleads for me to tell their story to the world. Yes, it sounds strange, but that’s how I have always worked as a writer. I am compelled to tell the stories of others and I believe my characters are full of great tales to tell. Every unique story begins with a unique person—one who often times pops out of nowhere.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write two ways: I bullet point, or I sit and type on the fly. Sometimes I can write chapters without any notes at all, and sometimes I sit and stare at a blank note paper or a handful of bullet points for hours on end until a new idea strikes. Not knowing what to write is the most painful part of the process! I prefer the days when my characters won’t shut up, but there are days when I need to nudge them a little to get them to talk. Writing is sporadic and true creative energy is a living beast. It comes and goes – does what it wills.
I believe pure creativity can’t be forced, though it can sometimes be coaxed out of hiding with a hot cup of jasmine green tea and a bag of fresh gummy bears ;).
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I’m not sure I can say I “talk to my characters” on a regular basis, but I could ask them anything and get a response. They have souls, if that’s what you mean. I don’t feel I influence them as much as they sometimes influence me.
What advice would you give other writers?
ALWAYS write what you are called to write. Do not censor or change things simply to pander to the masses. There is a reader base for every single style of writing. You simply need to discover what path you are most comfortable in (or in my case, most UNcomfortable in) and push toward it. Pushing yourself to the limits and challenging your comfort zones helps you excel in ways you never realized were possible.
There are ALWAYS ways for us to grow, learn and change our work for the better, but there is no wrong or right way to write a novel. There are “proper” ways to write English, yes, but at the same time, there are also incredibly valid reasons to go against the grain for the good of the piece. It all depends on the work, its intent, your purpose in writing it and what you want to say.
I also suggest working with an editor who specializes in substantive editing. This is the editor who will likely have the biggest influence on your work. They can help you see the bigger picture and help you tailor the work to better bring across the message you’re going for. Keep in mind that not all editors are good for you – like anything else, you have to find one that FITS YOU and clicks with you as a story teller.
Editors should push a few buttons, be critical, but also kind and constructive. They shouldn’t patronize you or criticize your ideas. They are there to help us improve, not throw stones. Accepting constructive criticism is the first major roadblock in writing. That, and knowing when to cut/delete what doesn’t need to be there. Don’t be afraid to delete!! I’ve deleted full chapters sometimes. If it hurts to tear that bandage off, then simply cut and paste the “sacrificed” work into a new document and put it somewhere for safe keeping. It won’t hurt as much if you do this and your readers will likely thank you for it.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. When I set out to do something, I do it. If you have passion, drive and a willingness to learn and grow, then by all means follow your instincts and pursue your art by any means necessary. It takes time and not all methods work for all people.
If you feel you are capable of filing away piles of rejection notices from publishers looking for the next best thing to sell today, not tomorrow, then by all means – start writing those query letters. If you’re willing to put 60 hour workweeks, hard-earned money and time into the tedious, yet rewarding, process of independently publishing, then I highly recommend it.
Self-published authors nowadays get a bad rap for being sloppy or unpolished. I’ve even seen reviews complaining about how a book must be “self-published because no publisher would take this junk.”
Unfortunately, there are many incomplete works out there that need help, but reviews like that are damaging to the reputations of full-blown independent authors who do their best to bring a fully finished piece to the marketplace. Most Indie authors don’t cut corners, and we typically do nothing short of a huge house publisher other than spend less on marketing because we don’t have inexhaustible pockets. The truth is, even big-box publishers make mistakes. It happens to the best of us.
You also need to watch for “vanity presses” which are publishing houses that claim to want to publish your work, but really want you to take the brunt of the costs. Why pay them when you can do this on your own without the middleman taking a slice of the already dwindling pie?
Publishing a book is a full time job and if you do it right, readers around the world will be able to enjoy and share you book with others. Indie, or traditionally.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Stories have been around for centuries and we storytellers will continue to thrive even as the age of technology fast encroaches on the print industry. It’s quite possible the paperback will go extinct in my lifetime, but I certainly hope it doesn’t. Hard copy books have been around for so long, it would be an absolute shame to lose such a precious piece of history to the onset of the 100% electronic data era.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Young adult, Urban sci-fi, Science fiction, Fantasy, Mythological fiction, Paranormal Romance
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print, Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
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.