How do you have time to write when you run a business and have a family?

Well…the short answer is that I don’t have time to write, I make time to write.  With an infant/toddler, a full-time practice and small business to run, you learn to become somewhat organized.   But that hardly makes my process sexy.

I often find myself skulking near the bathroom with the laptop in hand, ready to pounce into the room and lock the door when the opportunity presents itself (toilets are surprisingly comfortable to sit on for long periods of time when need be).   If that game plan doesn’t work, I spend the greater part of my son’s nap times ignoring other things that I should be doing so that I can hammer out a scene that’s bouncing around in my head.  Nights work well for me because I’m fortunate to spend my days working alongside my wonderful husband, so he doesn’t seem too wounded when I completely ignore him for hours, writing about supernatural drama and hot men (he’s also amazingly secure).

So, I guess I’m suggesting to all other aspiring part-time writers that you should ignore your responsibilities at home, put a ton of extra weight on your spouse’s shoulders, and invest in an ultra-comfortable toilet seat.

How did you come up with the ideas/characters for CAGED?

I so wish that I had something awesomely clever to say here, but I just don’t.  I woke up one morning after a CRAZY dream I had in about my second month of pregnancy and realized that some pasty blond had crashed the world on Anita Blake (by Laurel K. Hamilton).  Over the next couple nights she just kept popping up, so I eventually decided not to ignore her.  Sean crept up as I started brainstorming ideas for who Ruby was, and what she could do…then the story pretty much wrote itself.

I’ve always had an overactive imagination, so now I can finally put it to some good use!

How long is the series going to be?

That seems to be the million dollar question.  In truth, I have no idea.  I will write as long as I have a clear vision of the conflict and a strong story line to back it up.  When those things cease to present themselves it will be time to say goodbye to Ruby and the gang.  On paper, I have at least six novel planned out thus far, and ideas are brewing for the seventh.  If you love the series, that should help you rest more easily, but don’t forget, there will be a spin-off occurring around the time the the fifth novel, FRACTURED, is released.  Ruby’s world will continue on, even if she isn’t the driving force behind it anymore.

Are the characters based on people you know?

Holy loaded question! I don’t know if there’s really a safe way to answer it.

In reality the answer is both yes and no.

I mention elsewhere on the site that Cooper is based off of my Uncle Warren’s personality. He was sick with cancer when I started writing the series and it made me happy to write in a voice that made me think of him. As for the others, it’s a mixed bag.

Ruby (my friends would argue) has a whole lot of me wrapped up in her, but we also differ greatly in many ways. We’re both defensive and use words as weapons when backed into a corner, but unlike me, Ruby tends to avoid conflict whereas I rather enjoy it from time-to-time.

Ronnie has a lot of me in her too – the parts that Ruby didn’t get. Whether that’s good or bad, I couldn’t say.

Sean is unlike anyone I’ve ever known, but his swagger, build and overall demeanor reminds me very much of a friend I had in college who shall remain nameless.

For the most part, the rest of the cast are driven by imagination, not the people that surround me.

Why do you write?

Does “because it gets too loud in my head if I don’t”, paint the wrong picture?

I guess I just love it. I love creating something that I can share with others. It’s a healthy outlet for my frustrations and emotions that I may not deal with otherwise. It beats the hell out of watching the crap on TV nowadays, and I feel compelled to do it.

It eats at me if I don’t.

The editing process may suck the life out of me, but writing breathes it back in again, and I’m excited to see other people enjoy the story as much as I do.

Finger crossed…

Why did you decide to take on writing another series other than CAGED?

Why not?

But seriously, I did this at the request of my delightful friend, Eryn Bagley, who is obsessed with knowing more about everyone and everything in any story. She suggested that I spin off of the male characters in Ruby’s world, and build a parallel story that could intertwine at some point, but doesn’t have to. I immediately loved the idea, having the perfect heroine in mind. The cast is in place…now to just formulate the rest of the story!

Why did you set the story in Portsmouth, NH?

I love that town, and it was originally where I had planned to move when I came to the East Coast. Through a comedy of errors, I didn’t, but it’s still near and dear to my heart, and it’s just a great little unsuspecting seaside town.

The perfect place for absolute mayhem to occur…

Do you relate to any of the characters?

Yes.

Ruby and Ronnie because they are two sides of my personality split between two characters. I relate to Cooper because I too am fiercely loyal to those I love, and would do anything (stupid or otherwise) to protect them.

Sean has a side to him that he allows very few to see, and I think on some level we can all relate to that at some point in our lives.

Which authors do you admire?

Admittedly, I am not well read. I’m extremely picky about how I spend my time, and unless I know I’m going to love a book, I won’t buy or read it. I also monitor who I’ll take reading suggestions from as that’s backfired epically in the past.

With that said, here are two authors within my genre that stick out in my mind:

Karen Marie Moning‘s writing in the Fever Series.

Love, love love…

What she was able to say in a single sentence was awing. “Hope strengthens, fear kills”, was my favorite line and was repeated throughout the five book series (it also started the final book and I thought it was absolute GENIUS). Some authors describe things to the point that the reader’s imagination is no longer required.  Karen doesn’t and I love her for it. The stories are fast, exciting and riddled with unexpected twists and turns. The ending of the last book didn’t sit with me as well as I’d hoped it would, but there was so much build up to it that I’m sure it was hard for her to deliver. It’s still an AMAZING series to read.  I know that I’ve hooked close to forty people on it single-handedly. (And I’m secretly dying for her newest endeavor to come out…HURRY UP, KAREN!)

Patricia Briggs with the Mercy Thompson series.

She paints a picture beautifully and has you sucked into her characters immediately. I love how she writes romance/sex because you get it without being fed it. I don’t need a play-by-play on what part is going where, and how, etc, etc.  Her novels are also quick reads with fast plots, great action and fantastic little nuances to the characters that are easily missed if you’re not paying attention.  Mercy is likeable without being predictable or perfect.  She doesn’t always save the day, but she isn’t always the one in the crosshairs either.

It would be a dream come true to get to sit and talk with either of these highly successful writers, so if either of you happen to fall upon this blog and see this – CALL ME!

What are some of your favorite books within the paranormal/urban fantasy genres?

In no particular order (it would be like picking a favorite child):

– Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
– Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
– Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
– Sunshine by Robin McKinley
– Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
– City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
– Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning
– The early Anita Blake books by Laurel K. Hamilton (after about book 9 or 10 I just couldn’t read them anymore…WAY too much unnecessary sex)
– Shadow Kiss (of the Vampire Academy Series) by Richelle Mead
– Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs