PICK MY BRAIN: How I Started Writing

HOW DID YOU START WRITING?

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I used to read a lot when I was younger. I went through a phase around highschool and couldn't stop reading every YA book I could find. I really wanted to write one of my own, but at the time I'd only ever written short stories and had no idea how to finish a full-length novel. I'd write a little and then lose interest or come up with another idea and abandon the last one. So I've always had the writing bug, but I was starting to think I didn't have the attention span to write a whole story.

I didn't finish a full-length novel until I was 17. I couldn't settle on a subject, so I decided to experiment with something very personal. I used to have pretty intense nightmares when I was younger. I wrote them all down in a journal and one dream pushed me a little over the edge. It had a lot to do with mirrors and seeing into other places and times through these mirrors. In my dream, this king was obsessed with keeping an eye on his people and he was paranoid about everyone around him. Paranoid they were all trying to betray him. This paranoia made him collect hundreds of mirrors to spy on his kingdom and he spent all his time in this dusty loft in his castle looking into these mirrors. Eventually, it drove him to kill his own wife and that darkness gave him an ability to also manipulate things through the mirrors. I took that idea and expanded on it, eventually combining other nightmares to create an entire world that was kind of terrifying but at the same time very fantastical and beautiful. Once I finished that book, finishing more was so easy I couldn't stop. I had so many ideas and I just kept going.

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHAT TO WRITE?

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I get ideas EVERYWHERE. My first finished novel was based on my dreams. My first completed series started when I decided to base characters off of people I knew. At the time it was my cousins. We spent so much time together and their personalities inspired characters which in turn inspired a story. My next book was inspired by a joke. Literally. My cousins, my friend and I were eating lunch and someone mentioned how a book called "Wizards vs. Zombies" would be such an eye-catcher because the title is so strange. At that moment, we all looked at each other and ideas started firing. We came up with a futuristic story about superhumans and failed experiments that took over the cities and super-soldiers. We decided to each write our own characters stories and then intertwine them later. Eventually, I took over the whole book, but it was such a fun bonding experience for us and we were so passionate about it.

My other novel, which I will hopefully be releasing next year, is a post-apocalyptic scifi story, which was also based on a very detailed dream I had of a post-apocalyptic future where animals had metal exoskeletons. Again, I expanded and made a whole world inspired by that one detail. Most times, however, I put strange things together in my head and something usually comes of it. Magic and futuristic technology. Werewolves and mermaids. Mutants and zombies. So really everything I do is inspired by completely different things. The smallest thing can turn on that light bulb. From there, it just depends on whether the inspiration will stick long enough to create a whole world.

WHAT DOES WRITING MEAN TO YOU?

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I'll say this. Without writing, I'd be completely lost in this world. I am an extreme introvert. A lot of people think that just means I'm shy or I'm in a shell that I need to be brought out of. That's not what that means at all. Personally, I find it hard to relate to people. I am at my best when I'm alone. Even in my baby videos, my parents would be filming my brother and sister running around and playing and then pan over and I'm off in a little corner with a barbie doll, completely disconnected and in my own world. I do the same thing as an adult, but instead of a doll, I have a book. I'm in my head at all times just dreaming up worlds and characters. Responsibilities often stress me out and at one point, life and all its baggage made me quite depressed for a while. I was directionless and the things I thought I enjoyed had become a chore and I was just in a funk. I came out of it, but being able to escape to the worlds inside my books had a lot to do with that. They still help me a lot. With little things like bills, a job, relationships, it all builds up and I need that escape. I actually get quite grumpy if I can't write for an extended period of time.

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR BIGGEST ROLE MODELS?

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I would have to say that my latest hero is Lara Adrian. I NEVER imagined romance or erotic romance would be a genre I'd get into. Action, fantasy, YA. All those things were things I was familiar with, but my boyfriend actually got me into Lara's "Midnight Breed" series and I fell in love. I loved that she could write a story with relatable characters AND make it erotic. I never read erotic novels because the first time I did, it was just sex, sex, and more sex. Yes...that's the point, but it just wasn't my thing. I was missing the story part of it and when I saw her combine the two I became obsessed. Her books actually inspired me to write my "Storm Of Fire" series.

I would also have to say that Melissa Marr was a huge inspiration from the beginning. I read her books when I was a teenager and they were one o the first to inspire me to write something of my own. Granted, I didn't actually finish anything I thought was worthy of publishing for many years, but I still remember being completely immersed in her stories. When I met her over 10 years later I brought her my first copy of "Wicked Lovely" to sign and I told her how she inspired me to write and try to publish my work and she had nothing but encouraging things to say to me. Things like that stick with you when you're that committed to a craft.

WHAT'S NEXT?

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More stories! I am definitely going to continue "A Storm Of Fire" once I get the first book out there. I have the series planned for at least another 8 books, all exploring different characters in the same universe. I am also in the editing phase for "Genesis," which is my post-apocalyptic/action/scifi book. Sometime in the future, when I get the ball rolling, I plan to continue a stand-alone novel I've been working on for a couple of years that's set in a cyberpunk world that combines magic with futuristic technology. We will see!

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