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I answered fan questions – check it out!

Earlier this week I posted a Q&A on my Facebook page that was a ton of fun. I realized as I was answering questions that there were likely more readers who wanted those answers, so I’m cross posting the Q&A here for you! I did note in some answers that I’d dive deeper on video – those are to come!

If you have additional questions, or thoughts to add, please comment.

Q: I love that you only write “clean” books, why did you choose to go that way, rather than write more risque books?

A: OH! Such a good question. I’ll give you a little here and then include this in the video.

The biggest reason I chose to write clean new adult is because I truly believe that between 18 – 25 is where you find yourself. It’s the time you make a lot of dumb choices, where you experience freedom for the first time, and you start to determine the kind of person you’ll turn out to be. I wanted to write this genre and this age because I wanted 13 – 17 year olds to read it and realize what was coming.

That said, a lot of new adult books have bordered on erotica in the last few years. I’m not saying that’s bad, but it’s not great for the true YA that may find their way there. My books are about characters who are overcoming their upbringing and deciding who they want to be. They need family and friends to get there (just like we all do) and they’ll experience many firsts. Sex is one of those, but just like in life, it isn’t the most crucial element of a relationship.

Amelia is reacting to the emotional abuse from what her father went through and Aidan suffers from abandonment issues. But they are choosing their own path and not letting their past dictate their future. Those are the stories I’m trying to tell, and I don’t think I need sex to tell it. 

Wow, that’s was really long. But, you got me on a roll, sister.

Q: I wanted to ask how did you come up with the idea? As it’s quite different than what I read so far!! And I’m loving it!

A: It was partly inspired by Rachel Higginson‘s Star-Crossed series, and partly made up entirely. I didn’t really outline any of the books. I tried, but it just didn’t work. So, I went into Duty knowing the first scene and the last scene with utter clarity, and nothing in the middle. I actually rewrote 80% of the first draft I did because it was just too far off the mark (it was my first book ever, haha).

With Spells, again I tried to outline, but it didn’t work either. I knew I wanted dual POV and I knew a few major plot points, but really, that one came as I went as well.

In Prophecy, I didn’t bother trying to outline. I knew where we needed to end up and I allowed the story to just happen. I did about a 20% rewrite from draft one to two, but most of the main plot stayed the same. What changed was how I articulated it.

That doesn’t really answer your question, I know, but it is how it happened!

Q: I’d love to know what gets your creativity going, like is there a certain spot you like to write or some playlist that helps you write?

A: The longer I write, the more I draw creativity from everything around me. I see people, behaviors, emotions, locations…they all call to me on some level. For instance, I knew my next book had to be set in my town because it was a character in and of itself.

I also listen to music all the time and am constantly building playlists. I started my “next book inspiration” playlist back in May, before I was halfway done with Prophecy and before I even knew what the story was. But I knew which lyrics were driving me toward it.

Q: You know I’m always enthralled with Charlie and Onyx… Did you always know where their story was headed, or did it surprise even you?  Did you have a dog growing up?

A:  It totally surprised me! Charlie appeared out of complete nowhere as I was writing (totally typical with my Muse) and through all of Duty and Spells, and half of Prophecy, I had zero clue what he and Onyx were or where it was all going. Then, it all clicked into place perfectly. I’ve had to trust myself with this series and honestly, my Muse has not let me down! I also knew the story needed a little extra comic relief initially, and he did a great job of providing it.

As far as animals, I love them, but have always been afraid of big dogs. One attacked me when I was little so I’ve always been skittish. We had cats growing up and one little Yorkie, but that’s it until I left for college. But, one of my friends has two beautiful Great Danes and I love everything about them. Their gangly, massive bodies, their knowing eyes, and their larger than life stature. Cole had to have a big dog, and it was never a question for me that it was a Great Dane.

Q: Are you more of a linear writer (you write from start to finish) or do you write specific scenes that are stuck in your head and try to connect them later?

A:  I write from start to finish, but the certain scenes come to me stronger than others. I don’t usually let myself write them out of order, but if it is strong enough, then I will. Especially in a fantasy series, where you do a lot of world building and small details matter, I find if I write out of order that I’ll end up screwing something up long term. Hehe. It’s safer for everyone if I stay on track!

Q: Why did you choose “doll” as the nickname Aidan gave Amelia? He calls her it almost right away, and out of all the names he could call her, it’s doll. Random, I know, but I’m curious. 

Ha! That’s a question I get a lot, actually! “Doll” is something my husband has called me since we first started dating. I would walk up and he’d say, “How you doing, doll?” and I’d pretty much melt. smile emoticon So, when I was looking for a unique term of endearment for Aidan and Amelia, it fit perfectly.

Q: What made you incorporate so much nature into your story? The beginning starts off so urban but quickly moves.. I was just always curious.

A: This is a question I love, mostly because I’ve never even considered the fact that I did that. But, I would say that though I’m not outdoorsy in the ways of camping (BLECH), I do connect very much to the elements. I’m very self-aware about my moods, my body and my overall temperament, and I am affected by the sun, the ocean, and the feeling of just being outside.

Random side note: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to be a runner simply to be outside. Haha.

I think at our core every being is tied to this planet, the elements, nature – all of it – in a direct and monumental way. It’s the reason we’re here and how we survive. I don’t know that it was possible for me to write this any other way.

Q: Do you plan on staying in this genre or will you branch out to others?

My next book will branch out. Still clean new adult, but not a fantasy. You’ll get a sneak preview in the back of Prophecy! 

I’ll address why in a blog post or video.