1. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
“Welcome to the darkness” is a phrase one of the characters says near the end of the book, and it seemed fitting as an overall representation of the book’s plot: Reed’s abrupt introduction into the world of darkness and his struggle to survive within it.
2. What is your favorite scene in the book? Which scene or characters were the most difficult for you to write and why?
The most enjoyable scenes to write were probably the dialogue-heavy scenes between Reed and Nathaniel. Because they’re from such different eras, their efforts to understand each other can be quite humorous. The most difficult scenes to write were the ones involving moments of grief because in order to convey the emotion realistically, you have to imagine feeling it. Obviously, recalling personal experiences of grief are tough.
3. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
Derek Murphy of Creativindie Covers designed the cover. I wanted it to be dark because that represents the story, and dark themes appeal to many fans of young adult fiction. The burning house alludes to Reed’s literal loss of his home as well as the end of his normal life.
4. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Eek, I don’t know if I can choose just one. If I splintered into three different people, they would be pretty similar to Reed, Sarah, and Nathaniel. Choosing one of them is like having to choose which of my three kids is my favorite!
5. How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
Gee, I don’t think I have a least favorite either; every character in my book serves a purpose. A couple of them are kind of bitchy, but not without good reason. A few of them are crazy, but those less appealing characteristics make them interesting.
6. When did you come up with the story?
The basics of the story had been floating around in my head for years – my mind is constantly imagining several different fantasies. I’ve been particularly fascinated with vampire mythology for a while, so I decided to pluck that story from my brain to write Welcome to the Darkness.
7. Writing on paper or straight to word processor?
I have a few illegible scribblings on paper – things I want to jot down before I forget. Other than that, it’s my word processor all the way. I can type much faster than I can write by hand, and when I write with pen and paper my hand tends to cramp up after a sentence or two.
8. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The biggest message is to appreciate the good things in your life because you never know when life might take a sudden turn for the worse. Don’t look back with regrets: if you love someone, tell them and show them now before it’s too late.
9. What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your book to life?
I could write an entire guest post just on this topic! In terms of research, I found all the answers I was looking for on the Internet, and thanks to Google Street View, I described places I’ve never been to. The biggest challenges were definitely psychological: the writing process is a crazy roller coaster ride of emotional ups and downs.
10. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I make a mean vegan chocolate chip cookie (my youngest daughter has food allergies, so I have to do all my baking without dairy and eggs). I’m sort of a Jack-of-all-trades (Jill-of-all-trades?)… I have a weird set of skills from knitting to installing electrical wiring.
11. What is the quote you live by?
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
12. Favorite book genre?
13. What are your 10 all-time favorite books?
Not in any particular order (and I included series of books in this list):
• Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
• The Shore of Women by Pamela Sargent
• Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward
• Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
• Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
• Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa
• Darkness Before Dawn series by J. A. London
• Thirst series by Christopher Pike
• Fionavar Tapestry series by Guy Gavriel Kay
• Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey.
14. Favorite films?
Again, not in any particular order:
• The original Star Wars trilogy (episodes IV to VI)
• Interview With The Vampire
• all Superman movies (except Superman IV) including Man of Steel
• The Shawshank Redemption
• Donnie Darko
• Fight Club
• Back to the Future.
15. Favorite music?
I love all kinds of music, in fact the only kind I don’t like is country music and rap. I like current pop favorites, 80’s music, ABBA, classical music, and soundtracks. The TRON: Legacy soundtrack is a particular favorite right now.
16. The person who had the most influence on you — and why?
Whether in terms of their influence on my writing, or to my life in general, the answer is the same: my husband. He has encouraged me to write since the beginning because he knows how much it means to me and how much I enjoy it. He consistently makes sure I have the opportunity to sneak away and write. His support in everything involving my writing and my personal life has never wavered once, through thick and thin.
17. What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?
Sorry, I can’t pick just one! I’m such an avid reader, any influence on me personally is the result of many, many books. I could arbitrarily name a book at random, but that would be silly.
18. Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.
• I think I’m the only person on Earth who didn’t like the Buffy series on TV (I know, and it even had vampires in it!)
• I have a pet chinchilla. Isn’t that a fun word to say? CHINCHILLA.
• I once had my suitcase stolen at the train station in Rome. It contained all my clothes, souvenirs, and undeveloped film of my trip around Europe (back in the day when we used real film to take photos).
The original interview was posted here on the Into the Land of Books blog.