I had a lovely chat on August 10, 2013 with a friend and this is the session that came of it. Enjoy.
What audience do you seek to reach with your writing?
Many! Preferably everyone! And I don't say that as some sort of marketing tactic. I just want people to read my story because I think it's worth their time and energy. Young adults; mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal romance readers (plus more) are all welcome.
Which of your characters would you like to have in your home to live with?
Damien! Haha, well, of course him - he's my dream guy! But I think as far as a roommate, I would say Alora. She may be slightly off her rocker at times, but she's not afriad to pursue what she wants and is willing to risk so much, at the same time remaining loyal to the very people who have made everything possible for her. She appears fun, but selfish, from the outside, but if you really know her, she'll stick around 'til the end.
If you could, would you choose to retire in Zartia?
Absolutely! Zartia feels as much like home to me as my own bedroom does. I spent so much of my teen years growing up there, evading the dilemmas going on around me in my youth, that it just seems right.
Do you feel a binding to the readers of your books?
Yes and no. I don't feel it's my obligation to satisfy them with what they'd like to happen in my series. That's for me to decide, ultimately. To explain this further, I was reading the original Vampire Diaries series a while back, before there were a million books associated with that series, and learned that L. J. Smith had only intended there to be three novels and for them to end with Elena dying. But because her readers weren't satisfied with that, she wrote another book to please them. I would never do that just to change the overall ending. It would make me feel disloyal both to my vision for the series and the characters, individually. And I don't use that example to diss Smith's work (she's a fine writer), but it comes to mind and gets my point across.
I also don't feel that I'm supposed to present my work as real-to-life as possible (despite its genres or whatever) or to try to adhere to any expectations of my characters, or the series as a whole, to be a role model to younger readers. The best sort of role model is a person you know in real life, not a made up character.
However, I am writing to connect with them as a fellow being and as a young adult. I'm 20; I still get what it's like to be growing up. That was me not long ago. But most of all, I want to satisfy their need for adventure and escape from their daily lives. Teens are not too young to appreciate that, and adults certainly value it.
If your readers take to you, will you continue to add to the series? As in beyond the original 6 novels? Can your characters continue into additional series?
Woah, woah, one at a time! [Laughs] First and second question: No, because I planned 6 for a reason. That's where the series, in its original layout, will need to end. However, as for the third question, I always thought it would be really fun to write a companion novel or series for Alora because she's such an interesting and unpredictable character, and yet, with the exception of the fifth novel, I don't capture as much of her life as I would find appealing, simply because it's not relevant to the series overall. She definitely exhibits my wild side, but she also knows when to tone it down... well, maybe.
Did your family react favorably to your choosing to write?
Not at first. My father was not happy about my spending so much time on the computer in the beginning. He's not so technology-friendly, and he wasn't convinced that I had real writing talent until he read the first novel during my 16th summer. By that point I had finished two sequels and it was very obvious that I was serious about writing and that he was just going to have to get with the program.
My mother was supportive from the start probably because I let her read the series as I began it. I needed some initial feedback and she was my source. She told me, "Continue!" I would have anyway, but it was still nice to hear from a voice other than the one in my head.
If anything, I need to add something about my little sister here. She is the MVP of my life and I owe her a lot for all the support she's given me, both online through reviewing this site (and the previous one) and in giving me feedback as to what she thought was good and not so good about the written series. We may have eight years between us, but she's the best.