Internet memes. I’ve been tagged in one, and I tagged myself in another. To make things so much more interesting, I’ve decided to combine them together to create one big Q&A where hopefully you’ll learn something new about me.
So, let’s get this shindig started, shall we?
1. Of your characters, who would you most like to have as a real-life friend?
Alisia Duvall from Pirouette. She is passionate, stubborn, strong, and brave. She’s loyal and she’ll do anything for those she loves. And she can communicate with ghosts, which is really interesting.
2. Which would you not want to be around anywhere but in the pages of a book?
There are quite a lot of characters too scary to be anywhere but in the pages of one of my books, but if I were to pick just one, I’d have to go with Raelan, the antagonist from Pirouette. Spending any length of time in his twisted mind gives me the creeps. And how he justifies his twisted actions? Yeah, scary.
3. When a song bowls you over and you have to hear it again and again, what is probably the reason? (Great voice, real emotion, clever lyrics, et cetera)
All of the above! Seriously. I’ve fallen in love with songs for the voice (Geoff Tate of Queensryche and Adam Lambert come to mind), lyrics, emotion. Sometimes a song will hit me so hard it gives me shivers. One that does that all the time, even though I’ve listened to it at least a thousand times, is Queensryche’s Eyes of a Stranger, which happened to be the first song of theirs I ever heard. And that was it. I was a goner. The main reason is the lyrics and situation behind the song (it’s part of a concept album) and Geoff Tate’s incredible voice.
Another one is Crestfallen by Avantasia. It stuck in my mind for a least 3 days afterward. It was a combination of lyrics, feeling, and the song construction itself. Just…shiver-inducing.
4.Of everywhere you’ve been, where was your favorite place to be? (Home is a perfectly acceptable answer!)
New Orleans. I seriously considered moving there at one point. This was pre-Katrina, so I have no idea what it’s like now. Then, it was a place of magic and wonder and art. It was amazing, and I desperately want to go back someday.
5. Where do you want most to go?
Ireland. Because I’m Irish, and I’d like to see where my ancestors came from. (And I hear it’s amazing).
6.What is the meaning of life? (okay, okay–YOUR life.) What do you think your life is about?
Um…well, I think life is a big mystery. A journey, not a destination. Constant evolution, becoming the person you are meant to be. Everything that happens helps shape you, helps you evolve. (I’ve given this a great deal of thought over the years).
7. What’s the best thing about what you do for a living?
Well, I work a soul-sucking day job, so there’s not much that’s good except the paycheck (and that it exists!). But one of the effects of working a day job is the structure. I need structure, and without it (like on weekends), it’s very difficult to be productive because hey, I have so much time! Holy crap! I’ll do that…tomorrow. Nah. Tonight. Nah. And nothing gets done. Since I have limits on my time during the week, I have to work to fit it all together and thus it helps me stay on task.
8. What do you do when you need inspiration?
I listen to music. Sometimes it’s music that fits the mood. Sometimes it’s the actual soundtrack I put together for the project in question. Sometimes I let my mind wander. It depends on the situation.
9. When you need some time for you, where do you go?
I hide out in my basement office (my “woman cave”).
10. Plotter or pantser?
It depends on the story in question. Some I’ve written using a loose outline. Others I’ve written using a monstrous detailed outline of doom (which worked quite well). And there are some that I’ve completely pantsed. I actually prefer to pants it the whole way, but that could be the fried brain talking. (I just finished an intense, unspeakably brutal revision on Fey Touched and my brain is now fried. And quite possibly dead).
11. To close with a (fairly) easy one–talk about a book. Any book.
Oh, god. Let’s see…if I mention my own, will you think I’m a narcissist? Oh, fuck it. Fey Touched rocks, guys. It’s a blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and romance. It has swearing and battles and sex. It’s got some awesome twists and turns in it. Buy it, buy it, buy it in August (oops. Got carried away there).
In the interest of fairness, I will mention The Hunger Games, which I just finished reading. It was a great book. Kept me totally riveted. Very unusual premise. I’m reading book 2, Chasing Fire (talk about appropriate titles!) right now.
12. What was the first story you ever wrote? Spare no embarrassing details.
Oh, boy. Can I skip this question? No? All right, fine. When I was a kid, I was obcessed with unicorns and wrote a story about a girl who gets transported to a place called Unicorn Valley where she meets these uh, unicorns and she ends up saving them from an evil …something or another. I don’t actually remember. It’s scary but I still have it somewhere. I’m sentimental like that.
13. What’s your favorite nonfiction topic to read about?
Well, as of late, it’s been the Holocust. It started with a book called Rena’s Promise that’s a true account of a Holocust survivor’s time in Auchwitz. But my go-to topic is science news and/or brainwashing. For stories, of course! I’m intrigued by the brain and the human mind. And the human spirit.
14. How much research do you feel like you need to do before you start a new story?
Depends on the story. Some require a lot, some don’t. I try not to get bogged down in it (but it’s so much fun!)
15. Writing challenges (ala Nanowrimo) – useful, or merely stress-inducing?
Useful to the point of obcession. I can’t formally participate anymore because my wrists are the suck, but I try to do something at my own pace, using the Nano (or challenge) spirit to keep me moving. I do well with challenges.
16. Why do you write your main genre?
Well, once upon a time, a romance reader got hounded by her mother to read a fantasy novel called Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. “But I’m not a fantasy person,” she complained. “I’m not into this.” “But you’ll love it! Just give it a try!” Her mother said, pushing the book into her hands. The reader put it off, dreading it, but finally decided to pick it up.
And she was fucking hooked. Everything — the people, the magic, the world, the story itself. The main characters, who were brave and noble and amazing. The struggles they went through. The love they had for each other that survived through hell and back.
The reader said, “Wow, I never knew it could be this cool! Or riveting! Or amazing! I must read more!”
And the result of that reading frenzy, which continues to this day (going on 8 years), is this romance only reader decided to write fantasy. Because she wanted to write something this amazing, with noble and brave characters and love that survives anything in a world of magic. Thanks, Mom! Best thing you ever did.
17. What genre/author/book do you secretly love but would never admit to in polite conversation?
*blushes* Adam Lambert fanfiction. Don’t look at me like that! There are some really good fics out there, and it’s interesting to see the different authors’ spin on things, real or imagined. And anything Adam is happy-inducing.
18. What’s your favorite movie-adaptation of a book?
Well, it’s not a movie, it’s a TV series called Legend of the Seeker, based on Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth books (Wizard’s First Rule is book 1). They made a lot of changes and although a lot of fans were upset, I think they did a decent job. Unfortunately, it was cancelled after the second season, so we may never know what comes next (no, I’m not bitter. Oh all right, I’ve had a sad since finding that out. A sad that won’t ever go away, sniffles).
19. What is your favorite type of cephalopod?
Octopi, although I’d never eat one (can you say suction cups? Ewwww.)
20. What is your writing tool of choice?
Computer. Can’t live without it.
21. What are your feelings about the proper usage of whom?
My feelings are quite intense. Because I pride myself on good grammar and spelling and all that shit, I think people should be more aware of their usage of it. Sometimes, I go into convulsions over bad usage. Makes quite the spectacle at work.
22. What are you doing to bring yourself closer to your writing goals?
A couple of things. Currently, I’m gearing up to self-publish Fey Touched as an experiment. I will at some point be looking at Pirouette again for agent submission. Also, I continue to learn as much as I can. I’m taking Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel class, and hope to come out of that with a saleable novel.
23. Where do you get your ideas from?
The hamsters in my head, of course. Seriously, anything and everything. My brain likes to sift through things and make connections. It’s kind of scary at times.
24. If you have some terrible old stories that will never see the light of day, which one do you still have a soft spot for?
That would be what is technically the first draft of Fey Touched. It’s called The Sacrifice and it was my first finished novel that I completed in 30 days for my first NaNoWriMo in 2003. Although not much of that draft remains except the main characters’ names and the whole paranormal creature/hunter thing, although now they’re science-based and…never mind.
25. Where in the world would you live if you could live anywhere?
26. Where would you love to visit, but not live?
Colorado. Mostly because I can’t breathe there but love, love the mountains.
27. What’s the most awe-inspiring moment you’ve had (that you’re willing to share)?
That would have to be atop Pike’s Peak in Colorado. It was as if I were on the top of the world. Amazing. Also amazing were the American Indians that did dances for us (I knew one personally and we were close and it made me feel closer to him even though he’s deceased).
28. Who’s your captain — Kirk, Picard, Captain Jack from Torchwood, Jack Sparrow, Malcolm Reynolds, other?
Captain Janeway of Voyager, of course!
29. Which author’s universe would you love to write in if you could?
Oh man, tough question. Okay, I’ve narrowed it down to two. Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth world and Karen Marie Moning’s Fever world. Both are amazing.
30.What was your gateway drug into your genre of choice?
Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series.
31. What’s your favourite hobby, creative or otherwise, when you’re not writing?
Photography and reading, hands down.
32. Are you a morning person or an evening person?
Sooooo not a morning person even though I work a day job.
33. What was the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?
I’ve had a lot of memorable meals so that’s hard to say. Every holiday I’m bowled over by the amazing cooking skills of my mother and mother-in-law.
34. To plot, or not to plot?
Yes and no. Depends on the book.
35. If you could have one super-power, what would it be?
Gonna sound like a twisted maniac for this, but it’s pretend so…what the hell…mind control.
36. Of all the stories you’ve created, which one’s your favorite, and why?
This is tough. Really, really tough. Six months ago I would have said Pirouette, but Fey Touched is also dear to my heart. It’s a tie. I refuse to choose.
They both have the coolest protagonists and they both have amazing twists and difficult decisions to make. Both have romances, both have an intriguing world. Both have scary antagonists with scary magic/technology/personalities.
See? Can’t do it.
37. What’s your genre of choice, and why?
Already answered that, but basically fantasy because there are so many different possibilities. And there’s magic.
38. If you were given one “free” year (no responsibilities, a year’s worth of disposable income) what would you do with it?
Write like a madwoman. Natch.
39. What’s your strategy for beating Writer’s Block?
Well, usually that involves a wrong turn taken somewhere so I first try to pin down where I went wrong. And then I analyze it to death. Ad analyze it some more. Then I brainstorm ways to fix it. And then, I just write. And keep writing. That’s the best way to work through writer’s block in my opinion.
40. Do you tend to stay in one particular genre, or do you write all over the map?
I stay more or less within the speculative fiction genre (sci-fi, fantasy) but occasionally I veer into horror. It’s that twisted, dark mind of mine.
41. What’s your “universal” theme?
This is a really tough question, as I don’t really set out to write to a theme, but if I were to guess, I’d say redemption. That comes up a lot in my books.
42. Dogs or cats?
Team Feline for the win.
43. What’s the last thing you read that you couldn’t put down?
Rena’s Promise (about the Holocust survivor) and The Hunger Games.
44. If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be when you grow up?
This is assuming I could be anything I want regardless of ability (or math skill, as it were): a neurologist. Are we surprised?
Okay! Now it’s your turn. Pick 10 questions from the above and also answer the following:
1) Do you have a specific writing ritual that puts you into the proper mindset?
2) Have you based any characters on real people?
3) Who’s your favorite author of all time? Why?
4) When did you know you were a writer?
5) What’s the craziest novel idea you’ve ever had?
6) What book of yours gave you shivers? Why? (Doesn’t need to be horror, either).
7) Do you have specific songs associated with your current work-in-progress?
8) How long have you been writing?
9) What’s the secret project you wish you could write but haven’t yet?
10) Who is your coolest character ever? Why?
I tag the following: whoever’s reading this and wants to play, SM Reine, Ana Ramsey, and Kendall Grey.