Let's continue, shall we?
1. What do you do when you’re not writing? As of late, all I do is write, but when I’m not writing I read, binge on Netflix, eat extraordinary large amounts of sweets, and spend time with my family who, I’m sure are very familiar with the back of my head. (Because all I do is sit at my desk.)
2. Are you a full-time writer, or do you also have a “day job”? I let go of my small business this past summer and now devote my time to writing. My husband gave me the green light and I pushed on the gas. I love doing what I do. What other job allows you to dream all day, watch squirrels out my office window, and connect with other awesome writers.
3. If you experience writer’s block, what do you do to break through it? I let my mind wander, go for a walk, look out the window, call up a friend and laugh, watch people, but after all of that I write. For me, nothing beats writer’s block like sitting your butt in a chair and putting words on paper, one after another. I find that merely the act of writing gets your brain in gear. Is what I write sometimes bunk during a block? Sure, but writing gets me over the hump.
4. What book have you read more than once? That’s an easy one for me, The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I still remember my brother, telling me and my cousins all about this fabulous book he read. We sat captivated as he threw his baseball against our brick house. Once I read it, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to write fantasy, and I knew there had to be some sort of element of magic in it.
5. Thinking about your book, THE LAST STORED: Any part of it based on your own experiences, or completely from your own imagination? Tell us more! The idea for THE LAST STORED came to me after the loss of my own father. I wanted to explore a daughter’s love for her parents, and the pain of losing a loved one. How do you get through the day when you are stuck in routine and grief? Then, like many writers I asked myself a bunch of what ifs. What if another world apart from our own existed? What if we forgot of this world? What if that world stored something here, a girl?
6. Favorite character from your book? Why? My two main characters Amber and Cree are of course my favorite, but I do have a special fondness for Chaney, a Marj. He isn’t introduced until the middle of the novel. It felt like Chaney created himself. Before I knew what was happening, he was on the page. Why do I like Chaney? Almost immediately I liked him. Think if you had a soft-spoken Viking for a big brother, and that would be Chaney. He and Lin act as a comic relief with the swirl of emotion which always surrounds Amber and Cree. I even thought about writing a prequel with his point of view exclusively. I still might do it!
7. So you’ve published a book, which is totally awesome. What’s next for you? Currently I’m working on a speculative fiction novel, called A LITTLE MURMMUR OF NOTHING. It takes place in a dying town called Wanda. The only thing this town is known for is a hanging tree. Abbot Haggard wants to put Wanda on the map and he plans to hold a celebration for the Tree, after all people do love the macabre. It follows several characters, little Oswald Crofter – orphaned because of the Tree, Heavy Hannah – She received her name because of the way she did business not because she’s at all heavy, Tammy Tuttle – Abbot’s secretary, and of course Abbot Haggard.
8. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? The worst came from a high school English teacher. I wasn’t an A+ student and she questioned my work. I remember her handing me my short story back, it was an A, but she had written across the top, “Did you really write this?” In my teenage mind this devastated me. She had thought I’d cheated and copied someone else’s work. Looking back, I question if that was what she really meant, but at the time it hurt. What has been the best compliment? Best compliment came from someone who really helped me to get The Last Stored polished. She told me that my writing was very lyrical. I of course had to look it up and when I did I was pleasantly surprised.
9. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Read lots, write lots, keep a childlike sense of wonder, and develop super thick skin.
10. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? God has given us a great gift with books, I can’t imagine what my childhood would have been like without hobbits, dragons, and fairies. Never lose your curiosity. And the most important thing I can share with readers is to live in the Light! Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)
The Last Stored
Cree of Din is tasked with one job: Bring Amber home. For seven years, Cree has trained as her protector and it is the ultimate responsibility. Failure means Amber’s certain death, and that’s not an option for Cree – especially since he’s falling in love with her.
The Returning has begun. Now all Amber and Cree have to do is enter Tali, a world of unimaginable splendor and equally unimaginable horror, and defeat Lorthis. If they can’t, not only will Tali plunge into darkness, but so will Earth.
“This is nuts. You expect me to jump?”
“Nuts? No, merely the door.” He beams with anticipation. He seems fine. In fact, his eyes sparkle with the moon’s glow.
My heart skips. My choice. I had another choice. I grasp his hand and crawl onto the railing. My feet slip, and I waver. Cree steadies me with his hand. The water falls in torrents in front of me. Am I really about to do this?
“You can’t go back once you enter. Are you ready? You can do this.”
He looks into the raging waters, then back at me. His cloak swirls around him like Superman’s cape.
“Yes, I can do this!” My heartbeat bangs in my throat. I’m about to jump off of Lovers Leap with a boy I don’t know, along with two little old men who have vanished below my feet. This is crazy, but I’m supposed to do it. Part of me knew it every time my mother and father looked over this very railing. I’m at the door.
Cree squeezes my hand, nods, and we jump. He howls. The feeling of dropping over a roller coaster comes on fast. The water rushes by, cold and wet. I fall.
My chest tightens like I’ve had the wind knocked out of me. I choke and cough, spitting out water. I see darkness, and I feel Cree’s hand holding mine.
Then, a bright light shimmers and glows at my feet, reflecting upward. The sound of the water fades. My lungs fill with sweet air. The light expands, covering me. Wind swirls and holds me up. I no longer fall, but glide upward. A light from above warms my face, and the aroma of fragrant honey hangs on the air. We twist and turn, Cree’s cloak coils around him, my own clothing flapping in the wind.
I giggle loudly and squeal like a child.
Cree crinkles his face and laughs along. The wind continues pushing us through a tunnel. I lift my free hand and try to feel the mist forming around us; it scatters with my touch, only to form again when I retreat. We have increased our speed. Far above me, Dartlin and Fink’s feet come into focus, and they’re whooping with joy.
Then we stop.
We stand in a brick wading pool a few inches deep. Stone replaces the air, which moments before surrounded me. I take in a deep, fragrant breath.
Cree continues to hold my hand. He looks at our fingers still entwined and laughs. “You can let go.”