No longer a teenager! LOL
Where are you from
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
I live with my amazing husband, two prodigious children, and a plethora of pets. When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading and reviewing books, blogging about anything and everything, gardening, and celebrating my favorite holiday all year long – Halloween!
As for my education, I never made it to college. My senior year in high school was a bad one for me. I lost my best friend in a car accident and ended up missing months from school. I graduated with college prep honors, but the drive to go to college was gone – not to mention that my family didn’t have the money to send me.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Very soon, I have the first book in a new series coming out. I am very excited and nervous, as I stepped out of my comfort zone of juvenile fantasy and leaped to YA paranormal. The series is for ages 16 and up and is called The Celadon Circle. The first book is titled, Blind Sight.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing out of desperation. LOL! As a stay-at-home mother, there was only so much cleaning I could do when the kids were in school and I got so tired of not having a career for myself. I love being able to stay at home with my kids, but hate the stigma that is placed on women who don’t work outside the home. Some think we lay around on the couch all day eating chocolate and watching soap operas. I wanted something for myself.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I would have to say that I still have doubts sometimes. However, being signed with my publishing company, Inknbeans Press, was a huge step in making me a believer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My son is autistic. When he started middle school, it was a very hard time for him. He was bullied constantly and this is also when he began to see differences between himself and other kids his age. I started the Grimsley Hollow series as a way to boost his self-esteem. I put an autistic boy as the main character to prove that not all heroes wear capes. I also wanted to spread the word that special-needs children are no different than others and only want to have friends and be accepted for who they are.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to write characters who are real – who have problems, fears, and doubts just like everyone else. I like to take these characteristics and bring them into the light. I tend to cross lines on what is acceptable and the norm, but I wouldn’t change it. I think my characters are more relatable that way.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I like to collect Department 56 Halloween houses. One of the pieces I have is called Grimsly Hollow House. I thought it would make a great name for a magical realm where mythical beings and creatures lived. I just tweaked the spelling and Grimsley Hollow was born. For The Celadon Circle, I came across the name of a condominium located in Florida called Celadon Beach Resort. I liked the way the word celadon rolled off my tongue and decided to use it. I am always finding inspiration in everyday life.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In Grimsley Hollow, I want readers to learn more about autism and some of the problems autistic children have. I also want them to know and spread the message that special-needs kids are not aliens from outer space. They are more like them than they may realize. I tried to put many examples of these messages in my books.
The Celadon Circle is a series with an ordinary girl coming of age in extraordinary circumstances. She has doubts and fears. She is different from other kids her age and she is also part demon. I hope that teens who read the series take away the message that they are not alone – that other kids their age sometimes feel isolated and unsure of themselves. I want them to look at the characters and see a bit of themselves in them.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
In both of my series, I try to include some real situations and people. In Grimsley Hollow, both of my children are characters and are portrayed as themselves. Gage’s autistic tendencies are ones he deals with every day.
In The Celadon Circle, some of the characters and their behaviors are based on people I know.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of my characters’ doubts, fears, and personalities are very real. However, the experiences they have are purely fictional.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
As a child, C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series was my favorite. It introduced me to fantasy, brave characters, magical lands, and wonderful creatures. As a teen, I fell in love with Dean Koontz and his unique way of putting regular, everyday characters in amazing situations. He is a master of writing books with sci-fi, paranormal, and supernatural plots and making us believe they really could happen. Today, I am constantly inspired by books written by Indie authors.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
There are three authors who have inspired and encouraged me. The first is J.K. Rowling. She had nothing and was as poor as a church mouse, yet she never gave up on her writing. She persevered when most would have given up. The second is Sean Sweeney. When I first discovered writing groups on Facebook, Sean was one of the first Indie authors I met. His dedication and unwavering belief in his work and the heart he puts into his books makes me want to be a better writer. He always has time to answer questions and help me up when I fall. The last is Kim Harrison. Even though she has a busy career and is signed with a huge publisher, she is still very down-to-earth and approachable. She interacts with her fans and has been a good mentor to me when I have questions about writing. There are many authors who inspire me today, but these three were the first.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now, I am between books, as I am preparing for the launch of my new release. However, I just finished Greta Burrough’s new book, House on Bo-Kay Lane, which is the second in her Wee People series. They are wonderful books!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Are you kidding me? LOL! There are too many to possibly name them all. I mostly read Indie books now and I find their talent and unique plots very refreshing. If readers are tired of the same old books with plots that have been done hundreds of times, I suggest looking to Indie authors.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Right now, I am working on the fourth book in the Grimsley Hollow series titled, The Longest Days of Night.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My family does not support my writing very much. They consider what I do a nice hobby, but not a real job. The person who has supported me the most outside of my family is my publisher, Jo Lowe. She believes in me and my books. I also gain a lot of support from my author friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do, although I am not making the big bucks like Stephen King yet. LOL! What most people who don’t write do not realize is that it takes time to build a fan base and get your work out there in front of people. This is not a get-rich-quick job. Instead, it is one of love, hard work, and a bit of chance.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
It is funny you should ask that, as a situation came up when my new book was being read by beta readers. I was told that I should take certain parts out because I might offend some readers and get bad reviews. I have never been one to conform to please the masses. When I write a book, I pour myself onto the pages. If I change that, then my writing does not reflect me, who I am, and what I believe in. I may get some backlash, but at least I stay true to myself and I think most readers will appreciate that.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here is an excerpt from Blind Sight:
Blood and screaming; screaming and blood. The horrors of the image before her assault Jordan’s senses, overwhelming them to the point where she must scream herself. It wouldn’t matter if she did — the young girl fighting for her life wouldn’t hear her. Neither would the monster dismantling her body piece by agonizing piece.
She’d fought valiantly. The girl – she couldn’t be more than sixteen – obviously wasn’t the type to roll over and die. The monster liked that. Fear made her flesh sweeter. Her hair is plastered to her head with sweat. Her breathing labored, coming in short gasps. Tears cut tracks through the grime and muck on her face. Jordan figured she’d been on the run for at least an hour or more.
Her time is coming to an end, though. The blood loss is too great – she’s weak. Jeans, which were once faded blue, are a saturated burgundy now. She had lost what was left of her shirt a while back. Strips of skin flap loosely above and below her bra strap. She’s barely able to stumble through the trees. The monster allows her to get as far as fifty feet away before it pounces again, using powerful claws to rake what’s left of the flesh from her back. Its long, black tongue snakes out, lapping up her blood. Its putrid body shivers in ecstasy under the bloated moon.
The girl barely whimpers this time, but sound carries in the silent woods. The monster stops feeding long enough to place a gnarled, heavy foot on her back, snapping it like dry timber. There will be no more running for either of them this night.
Enormous wings unfurl from the creature’s body, webbed and veined — not unlike those of a bat. Fully spanned, they reach at least twelve feet across. Jordan knows she must get a closer look. With the thought, her body moves, drifting on the currents of the gentle breeze created by the pines and oaks. Soon, too soon, she is floating right above it.
As if it can hear or sense something is near, the thing raises its massive head, sniffing the air. Its face resembles a gibbon, but the mouth is wider – distorted and stretched to hold rows of wicked-sharp teeth. Yellow eyes capture the moonlight, reflecting it like any other animal, only more brightly. Its body is covered in gray feathers or scales coated in a slimy substance. The smell is unbelievable – a mixture of skunk, feces, and ammonia that make her eyes water. Jordan’s seen enough.
Before she moves away, she takes one last look at the girl lying broken on the ground before her. She is bruised and shattered, her blonde hair streaked red with blood. Was she beautiful before? Maybe she was a cheerleader for her school’s football team. She could have been a straight — A student on her way to a full scholarship to Vassar. It didn’t matter. She was someone’s daughter, perhaps a big sister…someone’s friend. Jordan wishes she could comfort her, stroke her brow or squeeze her hand – something to let her know she isn’t dying alone. However, it is against the rules. The most she can do is make sure her death is not in vain.
As she moves away from the nightmare, the creature lets loose a scream, raising goose bumps along her arms. AhOOOoool! Probably a victory yell for a successful hunt, Jordan thinks to herself, wishing she could sink a silver knife in its gullet. She feels herself begin to fade from this time and place, a sensation of being guided somewhere else. Go ahead and celebrate, you bastard. That poor girl will be your last meal.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sometimes, my characters tend to take different paths from the ones I have planned for them. This can be challenging, but also a lot of fun.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have too many favorites to name. However, in order for a book to resonate with me, I have to feel like I know the characters and am able to relate to them. If the characters have no soul, no depth, then the story will fall no matter the plot or genre.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet, but I hope to be able to in the future.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I use different cover designers. My new book’s cover was designed by Megan Parker of Emcat Designs.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For my newest book, it was sometimes difficult to switch gears from juvenile fantasy to YA paranormal. I had to think like a teenager whose life is not normal, and yet identify with other teens to make her story believable.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that stepping out of a comfortable genre and writing something different is good for an author. It keeps your work fresh and gives you a chance to spread your wings and try new ideas for plots.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
One of the most important things I have learned about myself lately is that I want to rush and get my books out as soon as possible. I know now that it is better to wait. Let beta readers read your work, get a good editor to go over it for mistakes, and make sure your book is as perfect as it can be before unleashing it to the world. After all, first impressions are important and readers deserve a good product.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I just want to thank them for being so patient with me while I was writing my new book. Due to circumstances beyond my control, they had to wait longer than usual. I also want to thank them for being loyal and giving honest feedback in their reviews. Their opinions help me grow as a writer.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?
I wanted to be a marine biologist for most of my life. I carried that dream with me until my senior year of high school. However, the paths we choose are not always the correct ones. Life has a way of letting us know that.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Fiona! I’ve had fun answering your questions and giving a little information about myself and my books.
My book links:
The first book, The Chosen One, can be found at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Sony, and Smashwords in e-book and paperback.
The second book, Eve of the Beginning, can be found at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Sony, and Smashwords in e-book and paperback.
The third book, The Search for Siren, can be found at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Sony, and Smashwords in e-book and paperback.
Look for the first book in The Celadon Circle series, Blind Sight, July 2013!
My contact links: