Here are some answers to frequently asked questions. Have other questions? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. (If enough people ask the same question, I’ll create a form answer for you.)
What are you working on next?
If you’re like me, part of why you visit an author’s website is to find out what’s coming out next. It’s all good and well to find out where that author lives (Cincinnati, Ohio) and whether they have pets or not (I don’t), but what will you get to read from them next? Click here to find out about my current work(s) in progress.
Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere! Thorn is loosely based on the Grimm’s fairy tale, “The Goose Girl.” Clearly, I didn’t have to come up with that idea, but I did come up with characters and subplots that aren’t in the original fairy tale, including the sorceress, Sarait, and the thief, Red Hawk. Some of these characters and plot concepts emerge in the writing, but others come from apparently unrelated experiences and observations. For example, in the trilogy that follows Thorn (“The Theft of Sunlight”), I got the kernel for the whole story while flying British Airways. They had envelopes to accept loose change for their charity of choice: a non-profit working to end child slavery. I looked at the envelope and knew that the next story after Thorn would have to be about the children who are snatched. Until then, the snatched were only referenced in passing in Thorn, and I hadn’t thought much about them. I’m not even sure how they came into the story; I certainly didn’t imagine that they would lead to a trilogy. But I am passionate about issues of social justice, so when I saw the loose change envelope on British Airways, it was one of those “Well, obviously!” moments.
What is your writing practice?
Writing is tough work. Like most writers, I believe you have to write regularly–ideally daily–in order to improve as well as complete projects. Writing used to be a lot easier for me–now that I have a three year old and a toddler running about the house, I have to think very carefully about when and how I’ll do my writing. Most days, I’m able to get my writing in just after my daughters go to bed. I set myself a minimum word count / editing goal that I consider easily achievable: for me, that’s about 500 words or half an hour. By the time I get that far, I’m often ready to keep going. I also give myself days off, sometimes out of necessity, sometimes as a treat. Historically, writing a chapter a week and being flexible about what days I write has worked really well. But with my growing family, and the increase in the amount of time I need to spend on revision and editing, setting a daily goal has become vital.
Do you have any recommendations for new writers?
There are a lot of recommendations out there, and no one suggestion is going to work for every writer. Except, perhaps, the recommendation that you had better keep writing. That said, I’ve posted my tips for writers on a separate page (they would take up too much space here).