Thursday, December 6, 2012

SHOUT OUT TIME: Goodreads interview

Shout out to moderator, Jennifer and the 8,000+ member Goodread's group, 

for their fun interview! 
Here's the full interview below, 
along with some illustrations, of course (ha).

Tell us about your book and what was your inspiration for writing it?

Reflection is about a spunky high school grad named Heather who leaves her small hometown and ventures off to college. Something happens and she lands in a coma. In the beginning of the book she proceeds to tell her story of attending college and falling madly in love with a classmate named Nick. Throughout the book, we as readers are trying to figure out if her love story is real or if it was just an amazing, potentially heartbreaking dream she had while resting in her coma.

Reaction is the continuation of that story.

I find dreams and comas very fascinating! What inspired this specific plot line?

One day I was in my bathroom drying my hair in front of the mirror, and a scene popped into my head—the balcony scene in Reflection. The following day I was on my computer. I enjoyed writing that scene so much, I knew I had to write a beginning and an ending. And that’s how it all started.

This is where it all began - me, my wet hair, a hairdryer, and a balcony scene.

At first, the book had a paranormal bend, but I decided to take out the sci-fi parts and go the contemporary romance route instead. The reasoning behind this is sort of funny. I am a complete sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal fan. My imagination can go pretty far out there. My husband, on the other hand, is a non-fiction, true-story, “Saving Private Ryan” kind of guy. For example, one time I made the mistake of taking him to a “Lord of the Rings” movie, and the whole time on the car ride home, where I was freaking out at how awesomely amazing the movie was, he just couldn’t get over the walking trees.

This would be the walking trees...completely believable, right?  What's my husband thinking??

Anyway, I thought it would be sort of fun and challenging to find the middle ground of our two polar opposite interests, to delve into all the ways life hovers on the edges of reality: dreams, comas, our bodies, our brains, the way adrenalin allows us to lift cars off of people in emergency situations, how some people can hold their breath for ten minutes or more…all those amazing phenomenons of life (some of those themes will be included in my next books, The Smarts Series).

I decided that would be my writing niche: the “in betweens” of reality. 

Did you do any research for your book?

Lots! I read a variety of medical journals about coma patients and talked with doctors and nurses who deal with coma patients on a regular basis.

How long did it take to write your book?

If I compiled all the writing days together, it probably took about 4-6 months to write Reflection. But since I wrote in spurts, here and there whenever I had time, taking the summers off in the process, I would say it took about 3-4 years from start to finish. I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way. It’s hard enough to sustain some semblance of fluency even if you write every day. But when you’re a mommy, you do what you gotta do!

Reaction took about 3 months (I locked my kids in the closet for the summer).

The closet I locked my kids in. They were very happy to hang with Harry.

Did you create an outline first? Did you know how it would end from the start?

Outline? No. Ending? Yes. I am a “happily ever after” type of gal, so I know the endings before I know the beginnings. 

Most of the scenes in the Reflection series were already in my head before I started writing, but many of the scenes changed along the way. Sometimes when characters develop, they begin to take on a mind of their own! For example, Teacher Jerry. At first he was someone completely different than who he turned out to be.

What is your favorite part of writing and the most difficult part?

I love writing dialogue; it comes really fast. The difficult part for me is everything in between that.

What was your favorite scene or character to write?

My favorite scene was probably the balcony scene since it was the first one I wrote.

Character??? Hm…I really liked writing Liz’s character. She was a breath of fresh air for me.

What was the most difficult scene?

The scene in Reaction where Heather finds out what the “reaction” is. Those places I was referring to earlier—where a character is standing on that edge of reality—can be delicate and tricky to flesh out on paper. On one end, the scene needs to WOW the reader, on the other end it also needs to be realistic.

Do you ever get writer's block and if so how do you overcome it?

Yes, I do. Jogging or talking to my bff always works!

Jogging with my best friend. This is her.
This is me trying to keep up with her...

Did you always plan for the series to only have two books?

Yep. I really like two-book series, so I thought it would be consistent to be a two-book author.

If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?

“Jessica Roberts is good to me. She listens to what I say, even in the middle of the night when she’d rather be sleeping. See, my friends and I talk all night and force her to get out of bed and write down all the things we say. Oh yes, we all love her because she sacrifices her sleep for us. And she loves her sleep, so it is a very large sacrifice.”


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

(And being a cook, house cleaner, and taxi driver? Haha)
I like to be challenged. 
For the past ten years I’ve gotten into jogging. I’m not a naturally good long distance runner, so I think that’s what keeps me going. Last year I ran my first marathon. I puked my guts out when I finished…but I finished!
I love all sports, which I guess is inevitable when you grow up with four brothers. I currently play in a women’s volleyball league, and I play indoor soccer too.

What are you currently reading?

Unfortunately, I’m not currently reading. I’ve been in writing mode—for way too long! I’m so ready for a vacay!!!

I love book suggestions! I like male leads that are rugged and masculine, so please, do share!!

List 3 books you just recently read and would recommend?

Slammed series by Colleen Hoover, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins.


Favorite book(s) and/or book crush(s)?

My most recent "book crush" would have to be Daemon (just like a bazillion other females). I'm not very proud to say that I'm completely drawn to the bad-boys. The more of a jerk he is, the more I want to tame him - haha. But let me end with a disclaimer here: "book crush", meaning fictitious. In real life, arguing 24/7 with my other half would get very old, very fast.   

Any future writing plans you can share? Are you currently working on anything?

I am currently working on The Smarts Series. I’m super excited about it!  It will debut sometime in 2013.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

A rock star!!

Tell us something random/share a guilty pleasure.

Random…hm…okay, random guilty pleasure: I am a total eye-candy type of person. I don’t know why, because I usually admire people after I get to know them. But if a guy is super hot at first glance, I just really enjoy staring at him. I’ll totally say to my husband, “That guy over there is soooo hot!” My husband just laughs at me. But my husband is my best hottie, so it’s all good. Hahaha

My other guilty pleasure is caramel.

A question you would like to be asked in an interview and the answer

A previous interviewer asked, “If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?”  I thought that was sort of fun. Here was my answer: 

"Laughter!" I love to laugh. Maybe too much sometimes. For instance, when my husband and I were dating, I was driving his car one day and ran into a parked car. He was in the passenger's seat in red-hot shock, and I was behind the wheel laughing my head off (oops!).