I’ve been getting some of the same questions about me as a writer and my writing habits, so I’m compiling the full list here.
You can view FAQs for It’s Over or It’s Eden here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did you become a writer?
Very simply, my sister told me I could be a writer so I did.
But the long, ten-year version goes like this:
I’d always been a voracious reader. I tried writing a few small things, but they didn’t look like what I saw on the bookshelves and I assumed I didn’t have what it takes.
Then, before I left for the Peace Corps, my sister took me to dinner and gave me a journal. She said we should write in them while we’re apart, exchange them upon my return, and rework them into a dazzling, shared memoir.
It was easy for me to write in the journal, because I’d always kept a diary. Encouraged, I began writing creative pieces in my spare time in eSwatini. Once I gave myself a chance, I realized how much I had been writing all along–letters, blog posts, diaries, papers, articles–which had built my craft skills. I just had never hardened myself against the messy first draft a creative piece needs to live.
After returning to the States, I continued writing and submitting articles and essays. I became editor-in-chief of a regional magazine which I eventually left to dedicate more of my time to being a novelist.
And, yes, the shared memoir does exist. That’s a story for another time.
How often do you write?
I write something every day, but I write books in intensive, multi-month spurts. It takes me about 3 months to draft a novel by writing writing 7K words a week. I aim to write a book a year which frees up the rest of the year for editing and production. I also write a short story or essay each month, and editing is a constant companion.
Where do you write?
Most often at my in-home office, but occasionally at the library or a café when I have a nice stretch of kid-free time.
My desk is a cast off from a hotel that was renovating ten years ago. Three large bookshelves line the office walls and there’s a surplus of doors in the room (five). Two windows overlook a small section of our garden where a cardinal family often gathers.
How do you keep writing?
This question always amazes me. Writing is my job, so of course I keep at it.
I’m never quite sure what people mean when they ask me this, and when I ask them, they’re never quite sure either. I think it’s partly to express their astonishment that I did write a book, and then again that I’m writing another.
If we dive into that question a bit deeper, the answer is dedication and enormous amounts of resolve. I know how difficult the publishing industry is, and I know how scary the thought is that maybe one day I’ll dry up and never have an original idea ever again. But I keep at it and take faith in the fact that I grow consistently and have more ideas than time.
How much money do you make when a book is sold?
About $14 when you purchase at a book signing, $9 or $10 at some indie book stores, and $3 or $4 from online bookstores.
Who are your favorite authors?
Diana Gabaldon, N. K. Jemisin, Rachel Smythe, Brian K. Vaughan, George R. R. Martin, Amy Tan, Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman, Louise Erdrich, Chuck Wendig, and new ones every week.
Do you have any tips for writers?
Oh, so many. You can find some good resources at Conquer Books, the book coaching business I run with my sister, including this article Worldbuilding Tips for Science Fiction Writers.
If you have other questions, feel free to contact me via the form on the About page, and I’ll answer and update this page.