1. What was one of your most random, unexpected inspirations?
A Twitter prompt! #2nights1stLine encourages late-night writers to share their first line of writing with the words “A great first line is pivotal and there’s no telling where that leap of imagination will take you in the wee hours of the night!” It was late at night and I needed to write up a short piece to supplement my main story when I read that. I focused on writing one good line. I had no thoughts or plans beyond that. It turned into one of my favorite scenes and led to the development of one of the defining characteristics for a main character.
2. Which book made you realize that you wanted to be an author?
While I’ve always enjoyed reading, I hated writing when I was younger due to my dysgraphia. I discovered my passion for telling stories via gaming. I love playing online roleplaying games with others: creating new characters, going on adventures, discovering their personalities and backgrounds. I started writing short little things for my characters (they were horrible, really, but I loved it!) When I started creating bedtime stories for my kids, my husband encouraged me to channel my creativity into writing. He had far more faith in my ability than I did - it took him 6 years to convince me to go for it!
3. Is there a book that you absolutely love that's the exact opposite of your "usual fare"? (Example: I hoard high fantasy, but have read Augusten Burroughs' "Running With Scissors" three times.)
I’m a sci-fi and fantasy fanatic, but I completely, unabashedly adore Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables”. I love the entire series and can really identify with Anne’s life-long search for kindred spirits.
4. Do you ever craft playlists for your writing projects? (Please share some of the songs you've used, if you do!)
I’ve got a playlist called OtterGoddess that I play over and over when writing. Songs on it include X Ambassadors “Renegades”; Hozier’s “Work Song”; the theme from Pacific Rim; E.S. Posthumous' “Moonlight Sonata”; and “Here to Stay” by Korn.
5. Which authors do you read when you need to fine-tune your own writing voice?
I am thoroughly in awe of how Jim Butcher brings out the personalities of his characters. Reading his work, I feel like I could just sit and have a conversation with them. Be it a regular person, bigfoot, or a cat warrior, his characters feel real and alive to me. I aspire to develop that skill.
I’ve also been reading some indie authors online - styles that are different from my own. Reading Don Lorah, Christopher Slagle, and Neil Christiansen inspires me to stretch and refine my style beyond my current comfortable bounds.
6. What would your dream workspace look like?
A small octagonal cottage set off from my house. This would be my space that I don’t have to share with anyone else in the family. Large windows would let in plenty of natural light during the day. At night there would be soft lighting - not too harsh or bright. The cottage would have a desk I can use for writing as well as space for working on art. A small book shelf, but I expect it would hold more knickknacks than books (the books would be in the house for everyone to read). A chaise lounge for daydreaming/plotting, and a good sound system are vital components. I’d need a mini fridge and an electric kettle for heating water for drinks.
I have the plans for it drawn up for “someday” when we can build it.
7. Obligatory Writing Beverage of Choice Question! (Bonus points if it isn't actually stereotypically coffee!)
I bleed French Roast, so I suppose I fit the cliche of coffee-addicted writer. Usually, though, I have my coffee before I’m able to do any writing. While working I usually sip hot herbal tea or ice water with lemon and ginger.
8. CDs or MP3s (or, hey, vinyl or cassette)?
I was once quite proud of my 45 record collection! Nowadays it’s mostly MP3s. Once in a while, though, I grab a CD to play for my kids. After their initial reaction of “you used to listen to THAT?!” they grab it and keep if for their own players.
9. What's your favorite Disney movie? (The former aspiring animator in me NEEDS to know.)
I’m torn between Big Hero 6 and Tangled. I love the story of Big Hero 6, but Tangled has two songs on my OtterGoddess playlist.
10. If you had to model your entire wardrobe after any fictional character, who would it be?
Not sure about a specific character, but my wardrobe would likely be very steampunkesque or gothic due to the number of corsets it would include.
11. Is there a theme which persistently creeps into your work, whether you want it to or not? (Please tell me it's not just me.) If so: what is it? If not: tell me your favorite to read about!
Connecting music to magic. The musician in me would argue they are one and the same, but I don’t plan for it to be in all my stories! I didn’t intend to have this connection in my current project at all - so of course it’s become an important aspect of my world and plans are for it to be a major theme in a follow-up story.