1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. I moved to the United States 15 years ago. I lived in New York and Los Angeles for a number of years. I moved to Albuquerque 5 years ago and love it out here. I love to hike, being in nature, enjoy good music, hiking and books with unforgettable characters. I never force myself to write, I do it because I love it and let the inspiration come to me naturally. I live a very peaceful drama free life.
2.. When did you decide to become a writer?
I have always written. As a kid creative writing was one of my favorite subjects. I got my highest marks in that subject. Growing up I was told you have to “get a real job” I’ve had ‘real’ jobs and it always brought me back to writing. I worked at a television studio writing Prime time news, it was fun at first but then it got depressing. I tried to put a positive spin on the stories but that’s not what ‘news’ is about.
3. What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have a day job as well?
When I am not writing I am marketing my books and books by other authors. I volunteer, read, play video games and hike.
4. What inspired you to write your first book?
The Family Portrait series was a television series I’d written. I just fell in love with the characters and hadn’t planned on anyone reading it. Then one day I got a feeling deep down to put it out in the world, I hired a story editor and proofreader, had the cover designed and the rest is history in the making.
5. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Jackie Collins, I love stories about strong, independent women, and interesting characters.
6. How do you come up with the titles?
Awesome question. I name the chapters in all my books, I pick a chapter that sums up the book and that is what I use for the title. I mull around it a bit if it feels right then I go with it. So far that has worked. I can’t guarantee it will work for the rest of the books in the series.
7. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
When I am writing an emotional scene, I bring up emotions from my past and use that to channel the anxiety or joy the characters are feeling. My characters are fictional so as much as I try to make them seem real, I have never been in any of their situations or know anyone like them, we may feel the same emotions but the situations are different.
8. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
I usually create the character first and name them afterwards. I chose a name by how I think will fit with the character. You know how some people’s name seem to suit them? Kind of like that. In the case of the main characters; Adriana, Kevin, Leighann, Haze, these are characters I’d created years ago I don’t even know why I chose that name for them.
Although I went to high school with a boy who’s brother’s name was Haze.
9. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
LOL standing on my head? If I could do that I’d be traveling with the circus. No strange writing habits, sometimes I hear a piece of music and a scene flashes in my mind and I write that. Or something a character might say pops into my mind while I’m doing something not at all related to writing.
10. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sometimes I get lost for words, and I feel stuck and I have to find a way to unblock. The un-blocking process is still something I’m learning, sometimes music and meditation helps or sometimes it has to go away on its own.
11. What is the easiest thing about writing?
Just letting it flow, the easiest part for me is when I just feel it in the pit of my stomach. Sometimes it feels like the scene is just bubbling up inside and I have to write it out. That usually happens after I get over the blocked stage. I write like a fiend for hours, that’s a good writing day.
12. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
I don’t like writing sex scenes. I always think my parents are going to read it or some little old lady in my building. Yikes!
13. A lot of readers compare your books to TV dramas in terms of settings and plot. Is this an influence of your experience in the entertainment industry?
Absolutely, it was originally written as a television series that I turned into books. My mom was really big on dramas, so I grew up watching all of Aaron Spelling’s dramas. I always wanted to be the female Aaron Spelling, before I knew who or what an Aaron Spelling was.
14. In the Family Portrait Series, which characters did you find the hardest to write?
That’d be Leighann. She is a very internal character, unlike Adriana who will speak her mind and lash out, Leighann keeps it inside. It’s hard to bring that into words to convey it to the audience. She is definitely a challenge.
15. Do you read your reviews? What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I read every single review. The reason is I want to see how people interpret the story. I learn a lot from reviews. Even bad reviews help me improve my writing, but only if it is constructive and not because the person wants to be mean or haven’t read the others and don’t understand the story.
I try not to dwell on the bad reviews if it is overly critical or mean. I do not keep it in my memory, if I did, I’d never write another word.
The best compliment I’ve had was from a reader that said “Waiting on your next novel is like waiting for Christmas.” How sweet is that? I do print out my really good reviews and use it to spur me on when I have my doubts about my work.
16. How would you describe Bastard’s Brew to someone who hasn’t read any of your books yet?
I would ask them to read the first novel, Changes it is free everywhere. Changes introduces the characters in Bastard’s Brew, which is a continuation from book 2, The Banovic Siblings. If they haven’t read at least the first book then it makes no sense explaining.
17. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Keep writing and don’t publish before you are ready. Hire a good editor; you owe it to your readers. The worst thing is reading a book with spelling errors, or messed up formatting or leaving your readers guessing what you mean. That is the biggest turn off for me I don’t care how great your story is. After you do that and your book is ready, stop by my site to promote your book. I love helping other authors.
18. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love hearing from you. Thank you for inviting my characters into your life, I really appreciate you.
Thanks for having me on your blog and taking part in the tour.
This interview was originally published on Bookaholic Fairies.