The Title of Your Work or Group:
"Walls of Ash" the series is "Daughters of Rhineholt", a short story and a second novel are on the way this year!
Where are you from?
I've lived all over the place, but I'm a Southern girl. I moved to Salem, MA a few years ago because the dark history is so unique and interesting and it's wonderful for inspiration. Salem is a wonderful city with lots of character and lots of character(s).
In what genre do you write?
My main genre is Gothic Romance in the vein of Victoria Holt, but I also write some Young Adult fiction.
In your own words, what is your book about? If you were not the author and trying to explain this awesome book you just read to a friend, what would you say about it?
"Walls of Ash" is an historical mystery with paranormal elements. It is a twisting and turning plot with characters you are never really sure you can trust. The story follows Tamsin Rhineholt, a young lady coming of age in the 1800's. She is orphaned and left to be raised by her strict Aunt and quiet Uncle and is eventually pushed toward a marriage that she is not prepared to enter into. Strange things are happening and Tamsin begins to have intense nightmares that are a sort of warning from her mother that she is in grave danger. At the same time, she is trapped in a situation that may place her in a possible marriage to someone she battles with constantly. I'm very excited about the second novel in the series, "The Masque and the Mausoleum", because it follows Tamsin's daughter as she grows up and experiences her own gothic romance. Because it is her daughter's story, you get to see what happens to Tamsin after "Walls of Ash".
What is your writing style? Do you follow all guides and rules? Synopsis, outline etc. or do you just sit down at the computer and type to see what happens?
I sit down and go where the story takes me. I always have a general idea of beginning, middle and end, but I like to let my characters live their own lives. Perhaps that sounds silly, but I like to treat my characters like they have a choice. What would I do in this situation? If was were this character, how would I handle this? The plot is there, the story itself develops as I write. When I'm typing, the story is playing out in my head like watching a movie, and I have pause and rewind buttons for when I feel like changing or adding something. Of course, when the plot gets especially sticky, I take my time. There's nothing like a good set of intricacies in a mystery or gothic novel.
Have you ever written anything and thought; " The world has got to see this!" ?
That's exactly how I felt about "Walls of Ash". When I began the manuscript, I never thought I had the fortitude to sit down and finish an entire novel, let alone publish it. As I wrote, I was sending pages to a dear friend who was so enthralled with the story, he would wait anxiously for the next part of the story and he shared his emotion at the plot-lines and changing characters. When I saw that another person was feeling intense emotion at the story I was writing, I knew I needed to share it and that I needed to keep on writing.
Do you have an editor and Cover Designer or do you do this yourself?
My editor is Laurie Moran, a very close friend who took editing courses for her minor when she was in school. She's outstanding and very intuitive and has been invaluable to me. Erica Wilson did the cover for "Walls of Ash". We've worked together on other projects and she's an amazing artist and wonderful to work with. She will also be doing the cover for "The Masque and the Mausoleum", the second book in the "Daughters of Rhineholt" series.
Who is your favorite author. Not just someone that you read allot. I wanna know whose book you read that made you suddenly know that if you didn't do this for the rest of your life then you would never be happy.
Eleanor Hibbert is my absolute favorite and my absolute favorite. I am especially partial to the books she wrote as Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr. She is an incredible inspiration, having written well over 100 novels in her lifetime. Her gothic romances were the first I ever read of the genre and I have been under her spell ever since.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Staying on task is difficult sometimes. I have so many ideas and I keep a log of all of them. When I get bored, I tend to switch to another manuscript... or another... or another. I have several projects going at the moment, it keeps me busy, but sometimes it is hard to keep my head in one universe when my mind keeps wandering to another.
Do you write your characters or do they write themselves through you?
They write themselves. I get very attached to my characters and I like to see them develop their own lives. I recently began writing a short story that will fall between the end of "Walls of Ash" and the beginning of "The Masque and the Mausoleum". I'm writing from the view of Tamsin's little girl, Annalice, but it's like getting in touch with old friends because I get to write about people and places I haven't seen in a while. It's also nice to get a view of Tamsin from her daughter's eyes. As I said, I'm very attached to the characters in my books.
Do you ever write yourself into the characters?
Absolutely. There's always going to be a bit of the author showing through in at least one of their characters. Maybe that's why I feel so strongly for their plight when I write about them being in some kind of pain or turmoil. It's that emotion that makes the story intense and leaves the reader needing to know if that person is going to be alright.
Is writing your full time job or are you "Keeping your day job"? So to speak.
When I first began "Walls of Ash", I had quit my job in retail management and literally had nothing to do but write. It was glorious, but being a newbie to the Indie Author's world, I don't make enough to get by on, so I've been in and out of jobs here and there since then, but I'm now looking for something part time that will allow me to devote a more reasonable amount of time to my writing, but bring in enough to live on. Thus is the life of a starving artist.
If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be?
Does it have to be just one person? I would really love to meet the Bronte sisters. It's difficult to choose just one because I love all of their writing, but I suppose that Charlotte would be my first choice of the three.
There are millions of new books released every year. What in your mind makes yours stand out from all those millions in your genre?
The genre I write in is definitely a niche genre, Historical Gothic Romance. I believe that my characters are very realistic and it is their realness that keeps you caring for them and longing to see them happy in the midst of the horrors they are put through. I love a good mystery with lots of drama and twists and turns and a dysfunctional but spectacular love story at the heart of it all. I write what I love to read, and I hope that readers of the genre can appreciate the care that goes into bring my characters to life.
In the world of Indie, marketing is very difficult, especially if you don't have the funds to pay for it. Have you found a great free way to market your work that you think other Indies will benefit from?
I chose to use Createspace.com as a forum for my first release. I had been turned down by a few publishers saying that gothic romance was a "dead genre" and being told that my writing was "commercial" or "not commercial", etc. It's an age-old tale and I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and get it out on my own (but with a lot of help from friends who edited and made cover art for me). I had to do a ton of research on formatting and sizing. I read numerous books on ebook marketing and self-publishing. Because I was unemployed at the time, I had little funds to play with, so Createspace made it easy for me to print copies on demand and release the ebook without any cost out of pocket. I have also been very lucky to have friends and family who support me and share my work with their friends and family. The best advice I can offer is to use any medium you can, learn how to market yourself as an artist and remember to stay strong. The writer's road has many up's and down's, but the satisfaction will be well worth the journey, no matter how many blow-outs, break-downs and crashes you have a long the way. I haven't made a ton of money, and I tend to put anything I make right back into writing and marketing and finding ways to better myself as a writer, but I'm doing something that I love and there are people out there who are reading my work and asking for more. Who knows, maybe the genre isn't dead, it might just be sleeping.
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