Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I'm a 47 year old Aussie who has lived in Melbourne all her life. I've worked as a clerk, a kitchen hand and a chef, but I'm currently writing full time. I'm married, have one daughter, two dogs, and a crazy budgie who walks everywhere.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
Actually, I don't think I'd want to be any of my characters--I make life far too hard for most of them!
What's your favorite genre to read?
That varies depending on my mood. But I love horror, mystery, fantasy, paranormal and romance.
Who or what influences you when you write?
I can't say that I'm aware of any direct influences when I'm writing. I usually just go with the flow of the story, and try to make it a darn good one.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
Usually, I spend the morning reading emails, updating my website, and checking out the various blogs and forums I like reading. Then in the afternoon I sit down and write. I try and do at least five pages a day, so if I haven't done that by dinner time, I come back after dinner and write until I do.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
There's no easy way to break free of writers block. The one time I had it, I had no choice but to sit down and try to force my way through it. The book I developed it on was contracted, so I had to finish it. Funny thing is, though every word in that book felt like teeth being pulled, I look back now, and simply can't see the bits I struggled with. It all seems to flow really well together. So if I had to give advice on getting through writers block, I'd say it's simply a matter of putting butt on seat and words on page. It may seem like utter drivel at the time, but drivel can be fixed. Empty pages cannot.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
Well, there's a full chapter excerpt for Dangerous Games up on my website for those who want a peak of that. But here's a little excerpt from Embraced by Darkness, book 5 of the series. It's part of the first chapter, but not the beginning bit, which gives away too much information about events in book 4 (note, this hasn't been edited yet, so there may still be some mistakes):
Awareness tingled across my skin, as sharp as needle stings. Whoever the voice belonged to, he was close.
Riley, turn around.
For the first time, memories stirred. I'd known that voice in the past. I turned and studied the trees.
A man stood amongst them. Though at first glance he appeared solid, a more careful study revealed an almost gossamer look to his hands and feet. As if, by the time he got to his extremities, he didn't have the strength to maintain reality.
He was a tall man, rangy in build, with strong arms and blunt features. Not attractive, not ugly, but somewhere in-between. But even if he'd been the ugliest spud on the planet, it wouldn't have mattered, because the sense of authority and power that shone from his grey eyes were all that would ever matter to a wolf.
And this wolf wanted to hunker down before it.
But I wasn't just wolf, and the other half of my soul bared its teeth and got ready for a fight. I locked my knees and skimmed my gaze up to his hair. Thick and red. Definitely red pack. Definitely my red pack. But who?
As I dropped my gaze to his, recognition stirred again. I knew those eyes, knew the cold superiority behind them. But I'd be damned if I could dredge up a name.
Why are you calling me?
Though the question was soft, my voice seemed to echo across the silent night. A tremor ran down my spine, and I wasn't sure whether it was due to the chill wind hitting my bare arms and legs or the sudden sense of trepidation creeping through my soul.
Amusement sparked briefly in the translucent grey depths. ?You do not remember me?
Should I have any reason to remember you?
This time, the amusement reached his thin lips. ?I would think you'd remember the wolf who threw you off a mountain side.
Shock rolled through me. Oh my God...
My grandfather's second-in-command, and the wolf who would have killed us both if he could. The wolf who almost had when he'd thrown me off that cliff. Ostensibly to teach Rhoan a lesson about never back-chatting the pack second.
Hate followed the shock, swirling thick and sharp. I clenched my fists, and found myself fighting the sudden urge to punch the cold amusement from his lips. But he wasn't here, he wasn't real, and I'd only look like a fool. So I simply said, voice low and venomous, What right have you got to call me
My right is pack-given.
The Jenson pack ceded its rights over me and Rhoan when they kicked us out.
Pack rights are never surrendered, no matter what the situation. Once a pack member, always a pack member.
You threatened to kill us if you ever saw us again.
A statement that still stands.
So why the hell are you contacting me? Fuck off and leave me alone. Trust me, I want as little to do with you as you with me.?
I turned on my heel and began to walk back down the beach. Part of me might have been curious as to why he was contacting me, but curiosity didn't have a hope against old anger and hurt. None of which I wanted to relive in any way.
You will listen to what I have to say, Riley.
Fuck off, I said, without looking at him. Even as my wolf cowered deep within at my audacity.
You will stop and listen, young wolf.
His voice was sharp and powerful, seeming to echo through the trees. I stopped. I couldn't help it. My very DNA was patterned with the need to obey my alpha. It would take a great deal of strength to disobey and, right now, it seemed I had none.
Even so, I didn't turn around. Didn't look at him. Why the hell should I listen??
Because I demand it.
I snorted softly. I was never one to listen to demands. You of all people should know that.
So very true. And it was one of the reasons you and your brother were ostracized. Amusement laced his harsh tones. Your grandfather feared one of you would challenge him.
Surprise rippled through me and I swung around. He was still in the trees, still in the shadows. Maybe afraid that the wind from the beach would blow him away. Why would my grandfather fear that? Neither Rhoan nor I were allowed the illusion we were anything more than an inconvenience to our mother and the pack. And inconveniences don't rule. Especially if they were female. Or gay.
You have a long pattern of doing the unexpected, Riley.
Yeah, and I have the scars to prove the foolishness of that.
Please tell us what you have planned next
Right now I'm writing the sixth book in the Riley Jenson series. After that, it's book two in my new Myth and Magic series (the first book, Destiny Kills, comes out in January next year)
In 5 years, where do you see yourself? - In general and in you're writting career
Hopefully, I'll be healthy, happy and still writing Riley's series as well as other books.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
My perfect hero is a man who is willing to fight for his heroine when necessary, but who is ready to step back and let her fight her own battles when that's needed.
What do you do for inspiration?
Not a whole lot, actually. Because I write full time, I really can't afford to sit around and wait for inspiration to strike. I do have ?writing albums'--music that I put on when I'm writing. It's gotten to the point now that when I hear that music, I want to write.
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
I'd love to write a high fantasy novel--something like lord of the rings--but I don't think my imagination or world building would ever be that strong.
What type of book would you like to write but haven't yet?
I always wanted to write mystery books like Dick Francis--his books always hook me in from the word go.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I do a lot of research of old myths and legends, just so I understand the origins, even if I don't use the myth exactly as it is. And depending on where the book is set, I do a lot of location research. The net is a boon for those of us stuck on the other side of the world J And I do love the research part of it--in fact, I have to be careful not to get so hooked into the research part of it that I forget about the writing.
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
That depends on how close the deadline is. I had a whole lot of trouble writing Embraced by Darkness, simply because the deadline was shifted forward five months, and I'd barely had 20 pages written when they did this. The muse was under extreme pressure, and didn't really like it (I have the grey hairs to prove it! :) Of course, it didn't help that I sold my house and shifted into a new place while this was happening.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
I'd submitted somewhat haphazardly for many years, but had always gotten basic rejections. Mainly because I was submitting paranormal romances to fantasy publishers at a time when the paranormal romance genre was basically considered unmarketable. I'd pretty much given up on ever getting published by New York when I heard about a new small press called ImaJinn. I thought, what have I got to lose? ImaJinn got back to me with a rejection, but said if I was willing to rewrite to their comments, they'd look at it again. So I revised and sent it back. They liked the rewrite, and accepted the novel. I have 13 books published with them now, and have no doubt that it's all the stuff that I learned with them that has helped me break into New York
What would you like to tell your readers?
I'd just like to thank them all for the amazing support they have given me and my books!
What is the best and advice you have ever received?
The best advice I was ever given was a simple ?never give up'. No matter what happens in your life, no matter how many rejections you get, no matter how many times you think you're never going to make it, don't ever give up writing and sending your work out there.
The worst advice? It was someone saying ?that's not marketable.' What's marketable or hot right now is not what will be hot or marketable a few months down the track. You can't follow market trends, because you'll always be behind. You simply have to write what you love, and then hope that the market catches up to you!
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I love my critique group, and wouldn't be without them. Though they rarely see a complete book (I write too fast for them to see a complete), I always get my first three or four chapters critiqued by them, just to see that the story is flowing okay, that it's not too boring or confusing. I also think crit groups are a valuable support system. Writing is a lonely task, and it's good to be able to meet with folk who understand what you're going through, simply because they have the same problems and hassles. Plus, it's a great excuse to get out and chat every month!
What was your first published work and when was it published?
The very first book I had published was a paranormal romance called Dancing with the Devil, published by ImaJinn books back in 2001.
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
Head on over to my website. There's the complete list of my books, as well as blurbs and excerpts for each.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I'm a pantzer from the word go. I rarely outline, though with the Riley series, I do often have a list of plot points or events that have been left over from previous books and that need to be addressed is the current book.
Thanks for talking to me!