Yes! Of course I had the usual childhood dream of being a famous actress, as well …But it was always in me to write and tell stories. I’ve been doing it since I was very little. I’ve been writing professionally for 4 years and couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
Can you describe The Last Page in twenty words or less?
Sure! It’s a fun, light, quick read, with fashion, humor, family, friends, beach, hottie, loving and living again, triumph.
The Last Page is the first in a series. Did you find plotting out a series was harder to do than a standalone book?
I love series and I love staying in the world the characters create. Deciding to write the “Living, Loving, Laughing Again” series was very natural. I didn’t want the story to end, myself as the writer! The challenging part is trying to keep the same type of humor in all three books because each character has such a very different voice. So, in each book, humor has to be brought in different ways, perhaps plot, or dialogue, or from other characters.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing process?
I’m a huge researcher. I knew about the process of traditional publishing. I knew one could query, month after month, perhaps get an agent, and still query for years! Then, maybe she gets a deal, and perhaps only makes a small advance with her first contract. (not to mention waiting two years for the book to reach stores…) Most never even earn out their advance and see royalties. That news flash didn’t seem very appealing to me. In fact, it was downright discouraging!
My goal was to be a professional, career novelist with multiple, multiple books written. I knew the only way to get the ball rolling was to publish myself and take it in my own hands. Especially with the booming e book industry, it’s just the perfect time to self-publish. Especially since every writer, traditionally published or not, is expected to have an online presence and market their brand. I knew I could do that myself and keep most of my royalties and rights. I felt confident that I could make just as much revenue as a first time author does with her normal first printing run myself by taking control of publishing. I’m having a ton of fun this way and trust that if or when I’m supposed to have a traditional deal in the future with my books, it will be a smoking deal! It would be a deal where I can still self-publish on my own because I like writing in different genres and I consider myself a fast writer.
So, in April 2011, the light bulb went off for me after reading stories of other writers, especially Joe Konrath’s blog. I knew this is what I had to do to make my own personal dreams come true now; I had to be proactive. I’ve always believed in the philosophy that God helps those who help themselves. “So, I wanted to be published? I would be published. Now! And not have someone tell me no”. Of course, I did everything as professionally as possible to ensure my book had the highest quality possible. I had a professional cover artist, it was professionally edited, with two proofers. I even had it professionally formatted. I will do the same when I re-release the entire series in Spring 2012 in print books.
I have always told myself, “I want to be a published fiction writer by the time I’m 30,” (Like my own books. I also do ghostwriting and have written a few books but they AREN’T MINE! I’m a writer for my day job, but not a novelist as my day job, yet.) So, it’s such an incredible feeling to be 27 years old (2 months shy of 28), and have met one of my self imposed goals. Now unto more books and unto the full time novelist goal!
Oh, it’s the outlining! Just kidding It’s reading that final draft and feeling a great sense of accomplishment. The next would be having readers tell you they like your book.
What are some of your other hobbies besides writing?
Working out, running, hot yoga, cooking and trying new recipes, reading, being outside, (I’m about to go kayaking soon so I’m excited about that!), hanging out with my hubs, being with friends and family, creating, watching movies and my favorite tv shows with my husband! A future hobby I want to pick up when I have more time is sewing. I want to sew a luxurious silk duvet cover that you see in French stores And then sell it for half the price boutiques charge! But my husband lovingly reminds me, “focus on writing”, haha, which he’s sort of right because I’m always wanting to create businesses! Maybe I can outsource, right? Like Norah in my book!
Giving Back is something you focus on, and you donate a part of your book sales to orphanages. How did you first get involved with giving back?
I was raised in church and we always did projects in our community. I was also involved in organizations while in college, as well. I went on my first mission trip when I was 17 to Central America. I’ll never forget seeing the poverty and the children running around with smiling faces. They were happy to have just the smallest things. Their eyes would light up to just have a ball, a doll, attention, a hug.
We’re so blessed and fortunate in America and other countries around the world. According to a recent article I have read, most Americans spend an average of $3,400 per person on food and beverages. That alone is 365 percent more than the total average income of over half the people in the world. That’s mind-boggling!
When I saw the need, the poverty, suddenly that itch to get my hair re-highlighted didn’t seem as important. (I still highlight my hair, obviously. My hair is really blonde!) But that experience left an impression in me. It really teaches you perspective. I recommend going to a third world country to everyone.
I really feel like we are to leave the world a better place by being here. God has given us each talents and abilities to use to help others and to make a difference in the world. Maybe not everyone can read my books, but I know I can do something good with a portion of the revenues. I feel especially for children because children are our world’s future. They cannot control the family they are born into. But when given the proper tools, love, hope, life skills, education, they can rise out of poverty and change their family’s generational line. I’m certain we each have someone in our own family generational line that made a choice for something different in his or her life. I want to help “that someone” and be a part of the catalyst of change for his or her future family. I want to help offer “a choice to make”.
What are three things you never leave the house without?
Iphone, lipgloss/chapstick, and perfume! (all in my purse). I like to smell good!
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Never give up! Don’t let other people’s opinions keep you from pursuing what’s inside of you. Be unique, be yourself, be the best you Let other’s work ethic, accomplishments, and their way of doing things inspire you, but don’t try and be anyone else but you. That way you can create new paths and be a leader.
Thank you to Lacy Camey for a great interview, and for going on tour with CLP Blog Tours!