1. You can go out for breakfast with any three authors, any three authors ever. What do you order… I mean who do you go out with and why?
Tamora Pierce, J. A. Pitts, and Neil Gaiman.
Pierce because she had such an impact on me as an adolescent, and writes such beautiful characters. Pitts because he wrote such an amazing character in Sarah Beauhall and Neil Gaiman because despite so much darkness in his mind he is a kind and beautiful human.
I wouldn’t talk much at all, I would just listen, wide-eyed.
2. Have you ever written something that got you so emotional that you had to take a break and find something to blow your nose with?
Much of the inner musings of Alea, one of the protagonists in SMOKE AND RAIN, are semi-autobiographical, and those were hard to address for me. The scenes on pgs 106 and 412 — I won’t say specifically, as that would be rather spoiler-y, but both are dark, game-changing points in the story — were extremely hard due to what I put my characters through and the emotions I had to access to make them believable.
3. What was the biggest challenge you faced with your current piece?
Publishing wise? Formatting.
Writing wise? Writing Alea. for the longest time something was missing from her character, and it was difficult to pinpoint what. I finally realized I was pushing away from the part of her that was very similar to me. When I began to truly get into her head, and consequently my own, it was uncomfortable but fantastic in the end, and made for a much clearer character.
4. Is there something that never fails to inspire you to write something?
A cold, bleak day, when the weather hovers between mist and rain. Also, a long solitary car ride.
5. Do you try and use your art to convey a particular message to the rest of the world?
I try to write diverse protagonists. It’s incredibly important to me that readers open books and see themselves — whether it’s how they look, how they feel, the people they love, or how their brains function. A lot of my writing is more about mental and emotional journeys with the backdrop of a physical one. Many of my characters — though they may not have the words we use — suffer from emotional and mental disorders. Post traumatic stress, depersonalization disorder, and bi-polar are three that feature prominently. I want readers to perhaps see fragments of their own journey in that of my characters, or gain a better understanding of those around them.