1. What inspired you to write your debut novel, “Essence”?
The idea for Essence came from the photo I had from a family vacation. My family and I loved to go to New Hampshire during the summer and one of the places we went was a place called Sabbaday Falls. At the Falls there’s a basin, and that basin is what inspired the story that is Essence. This basin is what is known as Phantom Lagoon in the book and it’s also what’s on the book cover.
2. Why did you choose the path of Self-Publishing?
I queried agents for a long time. I think Essence was reject by about 50 agents, understandably so because I started Essence when I was 13. Eventually all the rejections pushed me to re-write my novel, 10 drafts to be exact. For a long time I swore I would never self-publish, but as I started doing research I learned that if you do it correctly, you can be successful. It took a lot of planning, but I’m so happy I chose to self-publish rather than wait for an opportunity to be handed to me.
3. Do you have any advice for other writers looking to pursue Self-Publishing?
Do your research. It’s easy to mess up when it comes to self-publishing because it’s just you. There’s no one else there to tell you yes or no when you’re trying to make a decision. Ultimately your success comes down to you. Talk to other authors, see what they did, create new ideas and implement them. Don’t just think about what you want to do for your books, do it.
4. What inspired you to become an author & has it always been your dream?
I used to hate reading. I came from a middle school that required me to read a different book every month. At the time it was torture, but I’m eventually it caused me to stumble upon the Young Adult genre and not long after that I wanted to create my own stories.
5. Where’s your favorite space to write?
I like to write wherever no one will come up to me. It could be my room with the door shut, or a library full of people. As long as people aren’t trying to have a conversation with me and I can shut out the rest of the world, I’m happy.
6. What are your top 5 must haves for a writing space?
Besides my laptop/USB that I keep my manuscript on? I’d have to say water, my outline, a comfy chair, a blanket and Google. I always have to Google things.
7. How many hours a day do you write?
When I write I like to set an hour or two to get that done. On average I’d say I tend to go a little less than an hour a day if I’m aiming for word counts.
8. In terms of Outlining are you Plotter, a Pantser or a Plantser?
Plantser. I always have good intentions of using my outline, but I usually ditch it. I was a Pantser for Essence, Planster for I am Mercy, and at this current moment I’m impressed with the fact that I’m still using my outline for my third novel.
9. Because I have a pretty Type-A personality, I’m always curious about other peoples scheduling methods. Do you use a schedule to plan out your life / writing & if so, do you use paper or electronic planning?
This is where my compulsiveness comes out. I plan out everything, and I mean that literally. My life had become so busy that sometimes I have to schedule in my lunch so I make sure I have time to eat during day. I’ve tried different apps for planning, but I use just a regular old planner. At the end of every day I write down everything I want to accomplish the next day and look forward to crossing everything off.
10. What is your favorite part about the writing process?
I love re-writes. I have a hard time with first drafts, but second drafts are usually my favorite because I know exactly what my story is, I’ve got a bare bones, and now it’s time to really get working! Draft two and beyond is where I usually see my story come to life.
11. What is your least favorite part about the writing process?
With that said I hate the first draft. It takes me forever to write a first draft. Honestly, I can’t stand my own first drafts; they’re terrible. When it comes to draft two I usually end up adding entire chapters or deleting chapters.
12. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I’m still trying to figure that out. Essence took three years, I am Mercy took less than a year and my third novel I’ve already been working on for a year. I don’t tend to write during the college semester because things are just so crazy, but my hope is when I graduate I can speed up the writing process and kick things into gear.
13. What’s your biggest internal obstacle in getting your writing done?
Writer’s doubt. Like any other writing, I have a hard time getting myself to write because I think to myself “what’s the point of writing if I suck at it?” This is a struggle I feel I’ve dealt my fair share of and I find the problem is that I’m not writing in the first place. If I write, the doubt goes away.
14. What’s your biggest external obstacle in getting your writing done?
I don’t have time. I’m famous for my ability of putting too much on my plate. Often my writing has to take a back seat to many things such as my job and college. If I should write full time without having to worry about money I would be the happiest person you know.
15. Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
I do and don’t believe in writer’s block. Do I believe I’ve had writer’s block before? Yes, but I think it was just ne being lazy. I came across a problem in my manuscript and instead of trying to fix it, I walked away from it. I’m a firm believer in walking away from you’re writing if it makes you want to ripe your hair out, but you have to make sure you go back too it.
16. Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
Thinking about writing exhausts me, actually doing it makes me feel great. For this reason I try not to think about how I need to write, and just write.
17. Best piece of advice for other writers?
Persistence is key. The success authors you see aren’t the ones who sat and waited, they were the ones who fought for what they wanted no matter how many obstacles they encountered.
18. What is your favorite quote about writing?
“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
― Anton Chekhov
19. Which authors are your biggest inspirations?
Not to get cheesy, but I’m inspired by almost every author I’ve met. One of the things that motivates me to keep writing is not only my readers, but the other authors I meet along the way. I see where they’ve come from and where they are now, and I want to do just that. If they can do it, so can I.
20. What are you currently working on now?
I’m currently working on my third novel which unfortunately is on pause, I think until my final semester of college is done. My hope is to have it be a thriller novel, but I’ll have to see where the story flourishes on its own.
21. What is your Favorite Season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)?
I love Fall! I love going to festivals, farmer’s markets, fairs, apple and pumpkin picking. I can go on and on! I love Winter as well (I live in New England so we tend to get enough snow to have fun!). I love to hike, and I basically go but I like any season I can hike in, which is usually any season except Spring because it’s too muddy and slippery.
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