Q/A: Ask the Author

I’ve filled out another Q/A! This one is a bit longer and more in depth. If you have a question that isn’t listed here, please feel free to shoot me a message on my Facebook page, or to fill out a contact form on the site!

What is your new book about?

The Art of Falling is about an angel and demon who, by unforeseen circumstances, end up tying their souls together in an unbreakable bond. The angel, Keir, is in love with the demon, Regal, and hopes to save him from Hell by making him ascend to Heaven and become an angel. Regal, on the other hand, wants to make Keir fall and become a fallen angel in hopes that it will sever the bond that he unwittingly created.

What or who inspired it?

Regal and Keir started off as two characters my friend and I would roleplay late at night during the summer. Compared to our other characters that we roleplayed, they were barely fleshed out and we didn’t write about them much. When I decided to try writing my novel, they were the freshest characters in my mind with a story that I didn’t completely know. Not knowing what happened to them inspired me to write their story.

What was the biggest challenge, writing it?

The hardest part was keeping my ideas concise. I have a bad habit of taking a small concept and growing it into a bigger idea. Regal and Keir’s story was supposed to be one book, and now it’s a trilogy (I hope…again, the ideas are becoming complicated and might make me write a fourth…) Once I knew what I wanted to write, I was able to write it with ease. NaNoWriMo helped me keep on track with word counts and forced me to finish. If I didn’t have that pushing me, I may have given up sooner.

What do you want to achieve with this book?

I want to break out into the YA world and have people read my book. Exposure so I can pursue my dreams of being an author would be great!

What do you hope for your book?

Honestly, I just hope people enjoy it enough that they want the rest of the trilogy, and then would want to read the rest of the series (which will follow different characters in the same universe.) I hope that I can churn out the entire series of approximately 21 books (God, that’s a lot…)

Are there any parts of it that have special personal significance to you?

There isn’t really a specific part that has a more personal significance to me. It’s all special because it’s my first novel, and I put a ton of work into it. However, if I had to choose a scene I loved the most, I’d have to say the final battle in Las Vegas. It was where I was able to show just how much the characters had changed, or remained the same, over the course of the novel. It’s got a lot of emotion in it, and I hope readers are able to feel that as well.

Do you have a favorite character or one you really enjoy writing?

I’m always a bit biased to love Regal, since he was my original character that started the story. It has always been easy to get into his head and write him. However, a character I didn’t expect to love as much as I do is Pythos. He was purely a side character, but he was so interesting to me that I now might have to write a short story about his past. He’s become a very important character to me.

What do you see as the major themes in your book?

The main theme centers on relationships: both romantic and platonic. To note, Regal and Keir’s romance is NOT what I would ever look for in a real life romance. It’s abusive, unhealthy, and honestly something neither of them should pursue. However, it’s great for fiction and as a backbone for other themes such as religion, sexuality, morality, and all of the other big “concepts” I play with.

What made you set it in _______________?

Many of the places in the book are from real life experiences. Before I started writing, I had visited Chicago and New York City on high school field trips. I was able to really explore and get to know the cities. Those experiences made me want to set the story in these places. As I was writing the first 50,000 words of the novel, I was also on vacation in the Upper Peninsula and wanted to have part of the story set there as well. The only place I haven’t visited in person is Las Vegas, and Heaven and Hell obviously.

Did the title come instantly, or did you labor over it?

The title came several years after the book was finished. The tentative title was Chutes and Ladders, which fit in a kind of corny way. It worked for a while until my first college creative writing teacher said that it almost devalued the maturity of the book. It was too childish. That’s when I knew I had to come up with something else. I knew I wanted to play with the concepts of falling and ascending, and I bounced ideas with friends for a while until one day I was driving home and thought of The Art of Falling. I knew in an instant that I found the title.

Who do you think will enjoy your book?

Those who enjoy YA romance and fantasy may enjoy my book. I have a strong feeling that those who are in the anime/gaming culture and love reading fanfiction will really like my novel. I come from a similar background and I can see elements of that culture in the novel. In the end, my book is good for those who love to read and have an open mind to controversial themes.

Do you have a special spot for writing at home?

I like to lie in bed while I write. I write best in private places, because I’m used to people hovering over my shoulder to see what I’m doing. Oh, being the kid who could draw while growing up was tough.

Do you like writing in silence or music playing while you’re writing?

It depends. Sometimes music is great, especially when it fits a scene! However, I sometimes can’t think about writing when I want to sing along. I find that I tend to write in silence, and I edit with music.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always been writing. My earliest memory of writing was in third grade or so. After brief exposure to The Ring – which was something I walked in on, not something my mom actively let me watch at 8 years old – I was inspired to write something for my class. Honestly, I don’t remember what I wrote (something about ghosts and dead children I’m sure.) All I remember is that my teacher told me that I shouldn’t write stuff like that.

Did you always want to become an author?

It was never something I seriously thought about as a kid, because I didn’t see it as a job. I considered being a veterinarian, a teacher, a firefighter, a cookie decorator, and everything in between. I was a sophomore in high school, attempting to write my first novel length story, when I realized that I loved writing and wanted to do it for a living. By the start of college, I had written a novel length fanfiction, failed at three original novels, and had managed to complete the first draft of The Art of Falling.

Tell us a bit about your childhood.

I had a great childhood! I had loving parents who were willing to let me do pretty much whatever I wanted, and I spent my days playing with my friends. My best friend was my cat, Molly, who followed me around all the time and would sit on the porch of whoever’s house I was at. I was the ringleader most of the time when it came to playing games with my friends, and one of the more creative in the bunch. My neighborhood was great. I never felt like I was in any danger when I road my bike around the block. I was also in a great school system and love learning. I have many great memories about growing up, and I hope that I will be able to provide my kids with the same kind of childhood.

If you’ve had other jobs outside of writing, what were they?

During high school I babysat my cousins during the summer. Once I graduated, I started real jobs. I first worked with my mom at an insurance agency, where I sent out post cards, filed papers, transferred phone calls, etc. I also worked at two different gift shops as part-time holiday help. The first focused on bird watching and feeding supplies. My job was to put up displays, divide 20 pound bags of bird seed to sell, and to assist customers with carrying their bags to their cars. The second was a gift shop that sold everything you could imagine, from gardening supplies, to grilling utensils, to books, to puppets, to jewelry, to Christmas ornaments, to bath products. I did most of my Christmas shopping there because there was something for everyone! My favorite job was as a photographer for my college newspaper, and eventually I was promoted to Photo Editor. After graduating, I quickly got a job as an Online Chat Advisor for General Motors, and chat with people online about our vehicles. This is where I currently work, and I really enjoy it!

Describe yourself in three words.

  • Generous
  • Creative
  • Anxious

What Sign are you and are you typical of it?

I’m a Leo (sun) and Aquarius (moon) and I feel pretty typical of my signs. I definitely have many traits of the Leo, but anytime I feel like I don’t fit, I can see it as an Aquarius trait. The two signs can clash, which can cause me to feel stress due to my heart saying one thing and my head saying another.

What three things do you dislike?

  • Illness
  • Alcohol
  • Gore/Horror movies

What three things do you like?

  • Art/literature
  • Cheetahs
  • Mythology

Do you have a family and partner, or are you single?

I live at home with my mom, dad, and two cats. I’m in a very happy relationship with my boyfriend of almost four years, and ideally we would like to get engaged within the next few years or so and (maybe) start a family. It all depends on how the chips fall.

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