When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Thanks for asking!
A common threshold for writers to feel like a ‘real writer’ is when we get our first rejection. I guess every author has been rejected at least once or there would be no real writers out there. I didn’t wait to get that first heart-wrenching rejection. All rejections hurt. For those of us still writing from the heart to deliver stories about characters we care about (vs those authors/organizations who have productized books for volume), rejections still feel as if I’ve been rejected personally. Because every character I put on the page is someone I’ve fallen in love with.
But I considered myself a writer when I completed my first manuscript and knew I had something that someone else may want to publish. That was Sept 2013. For the record, I’d started writing that book in August 2010. So in my head, this has been close to a decade long journey.
If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Despite the morbidity, I love this question.
I hate to disappoint my fans, I won’t be digging up old manuscripts and handing them out to others to publish. My sister in law has all my passwords and if she wants to dig through my laptop, she is free to do-so.
I’m choosing the answer this question because it has nothing to do with writing. But tells you where my real priorities are. I’ll preface my answer that I do not have children, so I hope no one thinks, I’m a terrible mother and don’t want to spend time with my kids. LOL.
I’ve been to Paris and stood on the top of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve walked along the Seine. I’ve walked along the Thames. I’ve walked across London Bridge. I’ve seen Niagara Falls (and bounced around a boat beneath the falls and got very wet). Perhaps I’d want someone to ship me off to the Grand Canyon, but several years ago I found myself walking around a gourmet grocery store the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I’d said to my husband, if I’m told I have 24 hours to live. I’m going to spend 23 hours in that place.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
This is an author’s dream. Of all my books, I would love to see my vampire series, The Princeton Allegiant made into either a movie or a cable series. It’s time again for sexy, sophisticated vampires on TV. Right?
Particularly, I think Guarding Bloodlines would be best portrayed on film. Loren Tagaris, the only magical vampire with his powers would be great to see on the big-screen. There’s also a scene in that book that would blow fans of Harry Potter away. Think Dumbledore vs Grindelwald.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the Princeton Allegiant Series?
I had only intended to write one vampire book. I wasn’t intending on writing ‘series’, books that are set in the same ‘world’ but features different main characters (MCs). Drawing Bloodlines had originally been titled, An Affair with a Vampire. It technically stands as the second book I’ve ever written (to completion). The original title was appropriate because there wasn’t much of a plot. Just the ‘affair’ with a vampire. I.e. Sex. I was still learning story structure and slowly developed a more solid plot.
It was a slow go. Probably two years, as I layered in my ideas of vampires connected through a geographical location. Think Underworld. The dark castle. Early visions in my head had scenes in that type of setting.
What is the Princeton Allegiant?
In my world (The Allegiant World), vampires are banded together in what I call ‘allegiants.’ The military version of a ‘coven.’ The leader in every allegiant is the Commander. Every state has one Commander and they chose where to set up their command center. I chose Princeton as my vampire commander’s choice because I loved the gothic feel of the sleepy university town. Loosely, each vampire MC is a member of the Princeton Allegiant (or becomes one as part of the plot).
The allegiant and how it’s organized and vampires’ responsibilities within each allegiant served as the backdrop to Drawing Bloodlines. Alexander, a lonely vampire, is forced to mate with a ruthless mate from his dark past. It’s his allegiant commander who mates him off. Alex’s sire just happens to be the only vampire with magical powers (convenient), but Loren is highly feared and until Alex’s forced mating, has remained in the shadows. It’s coming to Alex’s rescue (not that he really needs rescuing), that drags Loren out of the shadows. Loren is the MC in the second book, Guarding Bloodlines. And that mean, scary commander, who I didn’t even really like when I first created him, Francisco St. Claire, is the hero in book 3, Matching Bloodlines.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I always knew Alexander Manning, Drawing Bloodlines, Book 1 would be played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Or better known as Jaime Lannister. Alexander isn’t a warrior. But the physical attributes were dead one.
Read the book and tell me, this isn’t the man in your head?
Since the likelihood of Mr. Coster-Waldau will ever grace the screen as my Alexander, if you are a Jaime Lannister fan and want a good laugh, watch the move, The Other Woman. His character in that movie can not be farther than Jaime. You’ll enjoy watching him brought to his knees. Hysterically.
What did you edit out of this book?
I hear readers love deleted scenes. Since writing Drawing Bloodlines was an epic task that once reached over 100,000 words and a little all over the place, I had scenes, that for timeline purposes, had to be cut. Because Alexander had been forced to mate with the neighboring new female commander of the Philadelphia Allegiant, I created a medieval mating scene. I’m in the process of cleaning it up and getting it ready to be handed out to readers.
Do you want it? Email me!
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
I love this question. It’s no secret, Loren Tagaris showed up in Drawing Bloodlines and wouldn’t go home. I created him on a whim, when the book didn’t have much structure because I wanted another vampire. Many authors will talk about the characters who land on the page and take over. That was Loren. I had to put him on a leash in Drawing Bloodlines. He’s primarily the reason there’s a series. I knew when I reached the end of DB, I had to give that vampire his own book.
While Alexander and Elizabeth (the single mother he falls in love with and fights to the death for) get their happy ever after (you’ll have to read to find out how), I left a subplot open for Loren. There I created the rhythm of the series. At the end of each book, the main plot is resolved, but then a last-minute wrinkle arises and is put into the lap of a different vampire.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Absolutely not. There’s always a surprise character. And it’s those unplanned secondary characters that have huge impacts in my books. For my small-town series, that was Greg Mallory. That series had a similar journey as my vampires. There was only supposed to be one book. In the first book of that series, Must Love Fashion, my heroine is walking home from the train station after her interview at Prada, where she killed it. For some reason, I had the spur of the moment idea, what if she had a brother, who was a cop, who stopped to pick her up so she didn’t have to walk.
Greg Mallory is my Loren Tagaris. Greg took over the Darling Cove series, appearing in nearly every book afterward in some kind of meaningful way. And not just a cardboard cutout. Loren is now a very important secondary character in all the future Princeton Allegiant books. When a character is fun to write, you can’t let them go.
Describe your writing style.
With very few exceptions, I follow a strict organization worksheet when plotting out a new book. The worksheet just reminds me what’s supposed to happen in each chapter. Normal World. Inciting Incident. Complications Arise. Complications Grow. New Complications. Etc. I fill in each box with brief details and use it as a tool to write my first draft. I simply sit down, and check my next box and write.
There are certainly tweaks along the way. And many times, where I thought a story would go, often goes in a different direction. But nearly every time, my story ends exactly the way I envisioned it.
A day in the life of the author?
I’m so lucky to do this full time. My wonderful husband, after double checking our finances concluded we could live on one income and he allowed me to pursue this full time. This is my job. So I make sure to approach it like a job, with a set schedule. With little exception, here’s my usual day:
Wake Up: Between 5 and 5:30. But I toss and turn and don’t physically get up until around 7am.
Coffee: Have to have coffee. With coffee, I usually check my phone for emails and then go to my computer and answer any messages that came in over night. You’d be surprised how many people like to email me at 2 a.m.
First Shift: Depending if I’m writing or editing, or if I have a book with a critique partner or editor, I’ll either do writing/editing or what I call ‘busy work’, Marketing, writing posts, researching during the time of 7 to 9am.
Gym: I make sure to go to the gym at least five to six days a week. My gym has a lot of classes I like to take at 9:15. So I leave the house at 9 and then return around 10:30.
Second Shift: After a shower I write from 11 to 1pm. Then I have lunch. I may or may not put the TV on. Depending if I’m writing. If it’s busy work, I may put on the TV.
Third Shift: 2 to 4pm. That’s hitting hard whatever I’m working on.
4pm to 7pm- Me time. Relax, watching TV, cooking and eating dinner with hubby.
(Most nights): Fourth Shift: 7:30 to 9pm. (unless I’m under a deadline- or if my eyes can’t take it anymore).
Oh, that’s Mon-Friday. I work Saturday and Sunday too.
It’s important to know how much time and effort I put into my writing, and if I give away a book, that’s money lost. I know some readers want free books and feel they don’t have to pay for books. Look at how much I work and then tell me if you think I should give away my books?