-Where do you write?
A very cramped desk in the corner of my living room.
-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
A panda-shaped speaker. Also, a roll of toilet paper to blow my nose since I forgot to buy Kleenex. It is very ‘Joan Wilder-Romancing the Stone’ absent-minded of me.
-Favorite time to write?
10 am to 3 pm. Otherwise, I work around my day job schedule.
-Drink of choice while writing?
During winter: Stash Peach Black Tea.
During summer: Snapple Peach Tea.
-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
Depending on the project, I listen to 1-2 songs on a continuous loop and said song becomes the theme of my novel. For BLACK HEART, RED RUBY, my query-ready YA gothic romance, the songs were Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ and the 19th century Irish Ballad ‘The Last Rose of Summer,’ which is the creepy lullaby featured in the book.
-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
My heroine, Ava Nolan, is a cross between Captain Ahab, Jeremy Renner’s character from The Hurt Locker, Scarlett O’Hara, and …Larry David. In other words, she’s obsessed with her goal, a master of her domain yet socially clueless, and unknowingly pisses off the supporting characters more than once. But fear not, she redeems herself in the end…
The plot was inspired by Aguirre, Wrath of God, a 70’s German flick about conquistadors searching for the lost city of El Dorado. Aguirre, the antagonist, gets a little gold-obsessed, offs the commander and pushes the expedition deeper into the Amazon until the crew mutinies and he’s all “If I want the birds to drop dead from the trees…then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I AM THE WRATH OF GOD!” So evil. So demented. So intriguing… As you can tell, I have a fondness for villains.
I also wanted to write a love-hate romance like Pride and Prejudice. So there’s lots of ‘I RUE the day I ever met you’ followed by ‘I was so wrong about him!’ Swoon!
There’s also quite a bit of…family drama. I am indebted to V.C. Andrews in this regard. No incest, though, sorry to disappoint. And the supernatural ruby quest? Pure Raiders of the Lost Ark, except, you know, with an Indy who tends to get into catfights.
Anyway, here’s my elevator pitch:
17-year-old Ava Nolan’s life as an amateur relic hunter is filled with backstabbing—not to mention literal stabbing—when her quest for an occult ruby pits her against her graverobber uncle and her ambitious boyfriend.
And here is what BLACK HEART, RED RUBY looks like in my mind:
-What’s your most valuable writing tip?
Since perfectionism is my worst enemy, I repeat this to myself all the time: ‘There’s no use in arranging deck chairs when the Titanic is sinking.’ Finish the novel first, line edit later, which, for me, is easier said than done.