Monday, June 11, 2007


1) Do you have a belief in certain spiritual things? (For instance, souls, nirvana, God, invisible pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, or heaven.)
Love the flying spaghetti monster. Ohmigosh. When I found that, I sent the link to everyone I could think of…
But I definitely believe in God. I know that Jesus Christ is my personal savior and I am eternally grateful for that (otherwise, I'd be in a heap o' trouble).
2) Which of the following motivates you more to accomplish something? The prospect of fame or self-fulfillment.

Self-fulfillment is the big motivator. I don't want fame for myself: I want fame for Nigel and Chariss out of Choices Meant for Gods. I want to watch some talk show some day in the future and hear the host say, "Like Romeo and Juliet or Nigel and Chariss." Now, this will do one of two things to me: it will either make me burst into tears (very likely) or it'll send me into cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is probably best so I can die before I hear the audience say in crushing unison, "Who?"
3) Which of the following best describes you? And give us an example of how emotions or logic show up in your work.I am emotional and base my decisions and writing on feelings.
I am a thinker and I base my decisions and writing on logic and research.
Well, I'm a Gemini, so they both describe me to a "T". Seriously. In my day job, everything is based on the Vulcan way of thinking: what's logical? How can I back up this decision? But I'm very impatient (character flaw!) so I don't like to take a long time with research. I make gut-reaction decisions often, but they're gut-reaction decisions that are backed up with fast, find-this-and-figure-it-out-in-the-next-30-minutes kind of research, if that makes sense.

In my writing and personal life, decisions are made on an emotional basis, which is probably why my bank account weeps and I've been to 33+ Duran Duran concerts…

4) Tell me about a decision in your book that you made which was a bad one for your character. Did you keep the scene in the book or did you delete it?

I don't think any of the characters in Choices Meant for Gods make any bad decisions, really. They do things that are necessary and right, and I don’t fault any of them for the things they do. Now, the sequel is another story altogether…Toward the first third of Choices Made by Gods, the sequel to CMFG, Nigel Taiman makes a rash decision that will cost someone his or her life. It's very bad. I've left it in. It has to be there.

And Chariss and The Master Rothahn both make a horrible decision in the sequel as well. But, again, they have to. These are choices made by gods…

5) What strengths and weaknesses do you bring to writing?
I'm not sure if I'm going to answer this right, but I'll give it a shot here. A strength I have in writing is dialogue. I'm not going to pretend that I'm as good at it as Charlotte Bronte, but I learned from her. I've read her works and I wanted to emulate that style. A weakness I have in writing is probably using all those blasted adjectives. I over-describe stuff. Now, yeah, in epic fantasy, you have to describe things and explain just what the heck is going on—it's a world no one has seen before—but I have to edit myself A LOT before I turn stuff over to my publisher.

6) Describe a time when you had to sacrifice quality for a deadline, or vice versa. Would you try to extend a deadline to stay true to the quality of writing you aspire to?
In magazine publishing (my day job), you sacrifice for the deadline all the time, but I don't think we really sacrifice quality of writing. What usually suffers is the editing/proofreading. "Just send it," has come out of my mouth more than once when it's 11 p.m. and it's time to upload to the printer's ftp site. Extending deadlines is rarely an option in the professional world. Now, in book publishing, there are times you can morph the deadline schedule within the production schedule, but there's a drop-dead date for printing, and if you miss the window…ah…well…someone else's project goes on press in front of you because any time a press is quiet, that eerie sound of wind is the sound of the printing company's money going out the window…and they don't like that. So presses don't sit idle for long. If your project isn't ready to go on press when it's supposed to be there, they throw someone else's on and you get to wait for them to finish.

7) Tell me about a project you have been working on and how you organize your paperwork, chapters, writing goals, etc.
Right now the biggest project I've been working on is my online book tour. (I've already completed Book II of the Choices trilogy and I'm almost finished with Book III, so those are taking a back seat to promotion of Book I.) So I organized the tour down to every last anal-retentive detail.

When I'm working on a writing project, I don't typically outline chapters and I never set writing goals. The goal is to tell the story. Pow. My paperwork is sets and series of notebooks, notecards, sticky notes, and calendars with sticky notes on them so I can track where characters are and on what dates specific things happen. Now, for my vampire trilogy that I'm working on, things are more structured. I have what looks like an outline for the story-line and I have histories and descriptions written out in an orderly fashion for the characters (their character sketches), but this is a function of the muse, Caleb, who is a vampire, visiting and making those demands. He's quite meticulous and detail-oriented, which is fine. I think you have to be when your survival depends upon staying-alive-through-advanced-planning every time the sun rises—which is daily. It will drive me insane when I get started on the series in earnest.

8) Describe for me two improvements you have made in your writing in the past six months. Greater word count. More emotions. Better able to describe a character. Etc. What have you improved?
I think lesser word count would make my publisher happy…he'll be delighted when I send him Choices Made by Gods because it's only 120,000 words (currently…I'm not done editing stuff in), which is 150,000 less than CMFG started out with.

I think I've improved on punching up my action scenes. I don't know, really. They've always had the combo of short and long sentences to make flow "go," but I think I've given them more "hit." And that's important for Books II and III.

9) What aspect of your past books did you enjoy the most?
Chariss's sense of humor. I love it when she teases someone because it usually takes them a minute to realize she's just "got" them…

10) Now that we know you better, how can we buy your book Choices Meant for Gods?
My publisher's site gives a 25% discount, but you have to pay shipping. So Amazon has an option to get free shipping at
Thank you for hosting me at your site today, Charlene! Your note to me said these questions were "off-the-wall," but I thought they were refreshingly off-the-beaten-path. This was a fun interview. I'll check in later on to see what questions or comments I can answer from your visitors.

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