This interview was done by Melissa Barker-Simpson and originally posted on her blog, Writing Room 101.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it was when I first decided that I wanted to write for a living. I was in my late 20’s. I’ll admit it was a bit difficult calling myself a writer at first. There seems to be this unfounded stigma against calling yourself a writer or author unless you’ve had something published. But someone told me that if I love to write then I’m a writer. Even if I don’t do it professionally.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve actually written a couple of manuscripts before Shadow Stalker, but they weren’t very good. I may or may not try to improve on them and rewrite them later. Shadow Stalker is the first story that I came up with that I absolutely loved from the start. I was inspired to write it after reading The Celestine Prophecy. The two stories have absolutely nothing in common, so it probably seems unlikely, but my character, Kado, was born as a result of reading that book.Do you have a specific writing style?I actually prefer to write a story from one character’s point of view, as if they are the one telling the story. I think it really allows me to get into that character’s head and write as though I am that character. It’s a lot of fun.
How did you come up with the title?
I wanted to do something related to shamanism. Shadow Walkers are people who are able to walk between worlds. The world of the living and whatever other world is out there that we can’t see. I didn’t want the to be too closely tied in to Native American Shamanism, though, because it’s only loosely based on “real” shamanism. I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea, so I decided to use the word “stalker” in the title instead. Stalking is a shamanic technique (which is a bit difficult to explain), but I liked the way Shadow Stalker sounded.
What books have most influenced you?
Well as I said before, The Celestine Prophecy is what inspired me to create the character, Kado. My love of telling stories was influenced by George Lucas. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and my first real writing experiences was writing for a Star Wars based online simulation role playing game. That is what got me out of my shell and over my fear of sharing what I wrote. It was a great experience for me. My biggest writing influence in recent years has been Terry Goodkind, the author of the Sword of Truth series. And more recently, I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from Lindsay Buroker, author of The Emperor’s Edge series.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Wow, that’s hard. I think it would have to be George Lucas more for his multi-business experience. He’s definitely a man who has benefited from risk taking. It would be great to learn from him.
What book are you reading now?
I am reading Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing the action can often be really difficult for me. I see the story play out in my head as I’m writing and sometimes it sorta goes too fast for me to keep up. I usually need to do a lot of rewriting to get the action exactly how I want it.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was when I decided to write it in parts that are similar to a tv series. Learning how to do that effectively has been quite a challenge because from what I can tell, no one has done it before. It’s not the same as publishing a novel one chapter at a time. Each episode has to contain its own story while still being part of a larger story. I also have to end each one with a hook, but without being too annoying about it. It’s quite the balancing act.
Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?
I just hope you enjoy my stories, and if you do, leave me a review or rate it at the retailer where you purchased it, and/or on Goodreads! That will help me out a lot!
How long does it take you to write a book?
In the past it has taken me about 2 or 3 months to write a full novel, but I’m working on techniques to shorten my writing time. It takes me about 4 to 6 days to write one episode of Shadow Stalker.
Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
The only thing I can think of is that I usually need to multitask when I’m writing. I can’t focus on just one thing at a time, except when I’m editing. Then I have a hard time focusing when there are other distractions. It’s a bit odd when I think about it.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Australia with my husband and daughter. I was born in the U.S. and came out here about 10 years ago to meet my husband in person. We met online and were friends for about a year. When I got out here we decided that we never wanted to be apart again. I’ve been in Australia since and I love it here. And yes, we are still very happily married. 😀
Outside of writing, I don’t really have much time. My daughter is autistic and ADHD, so she takes up a lot of my time, but she is awesome. I wouldn’t change anything about her (except maybe her insomnia issues…I think we could both live without that). We love watching movies and reading together. She also wants to write some children’s stories. She’s a pretty good artist for her age.
Do you use an outline or just write?
Up until now I have always just written. I mean, I would have the story planned out in my head, but I didn’t really write anything down, except little facts that I needed to maintain consistency. I recently read something about how having a loose outline, like maybe a paragraph per chapter, can help increase your daily word count and stay on track with the story. So I’m giving it a try.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given by another writer?
Write/publish consistently to keep your reader’s happy, build your mailing list and keep in touch with your readers regularly so they don’t lose interest.
Is there any advice you’d like to share?
Write/publish consistently to keep your reader’s happy, build your mailing list and keep in touch with your readers regularly so they don’t lose interest. 😉