Frequently Asked Questions
- How and when did you first realize you loved writing and wanted to be an author?
I fell in love with reading in 6th grade thanks to these three series:
I didn’t fall in love with writing until I did a short writing assignment my freshman year of high school and literally couldn’t stop (it was supposed to be a one-page scene and I wrote twenty pages without sleep). That assignment gave my best friend and I the idea to write mini fan-fics about Julian & Damon from LJ Smith’s books. I tried to write a couple of books (I always had a million ideas) but I would get bored/give up about 30 pages in… I wanted to be an author but I just didn’t think I could *finish* a book… It wasn’t until I landed the world’s most boring job post-college that I finally decided to write again. It was a way to escape depression about my career at the time, and it worked. Six months later, I finished First Year. It took three more years of blood, sweat, and tears to become a full-time author, but every moment was worth it!
- What is your writing routine?
I’m not a consistent writer and my word counts come in waves: some weeks I perform miracles (30k, roughly 1/3 a book) and other times I’m lucky to get a couple of pages. I suppose I’m still learning how to write consistently or develop a steady routine? In other words, I’m not the best person to give advice, however there are a TON of great books on writing & craft out there >> see Susan Dennard’s website for a FANTASTIC list: HERE.
- How do you deal with writer’s block???
Scream, cry, throw things… then do nothing. Stop trying to write and watch Netflix. Eat junk food. Clean the house. Read a good book. Try to write again. Sometimes I just need to take a break from it, but I never let myself stay away more than a couple of days.
- Where did you go to college, what did you study, and when did you graduate?
I graduated University of California, Davis in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a minor in Education.
- Any advice for future writers??
Never stop reading and study your favorite books/authors to decide what elements/style/etc you like best. Write. Every. Day. Then mesh those styles/elements/etc from your favorite books/authors and write the stories you always wanted to read. Don’t force yourself to write because you want to make money -this industry is too unstable to count on a steady income- or because you want a movie deal -trust me, one of my favorite series has been optioned twice by major companies (Shatter Me, in case you were wondering) and years later, it still hasn’t happened. Just write what you are passionate about because chances are, there’ll be other readers who’ve been waiting for that same exact thing.
- Who is your favorite YA author and why?
I don’t really have one (I have MANY!!!) and it depends on what genre I’m in the mood to read (I read everything in YA, young adult, and some NA, new adult). My favorite books are below, and since people keep asking for my recommendations, I made a list of all my favorite books on Amazon HERE -I’ll update this list as I find new amazing reads for years to come!
- How did you feel when you held a tangible copy of your book for the first time?
I freaked out and broke down sobbing in the middle of my day job. I don’t think anything will ever equate to that moment.
- Are you planning anything else after The Black Mage series?
- Do you use Pinterest for your books?
Absolutely! You can get an idea for my writing inspiration and dream character cast: HERE.
- Do you listen to music while you write your books and/or do you have book playlists for us to listen to?
I grew up reading to music (I still have “theme songs” for some of my favorite series) -whatever was on the radio, so it just became a natural part of my process to write to music as well! Music is actually what inspires a lot of my scenes and/or plots, it also helps me set an atmosphere or mood before I dive into a new chapter. I created a Spotify account HERE just to post my book playlists for readers, enjoy!
- Do you have a mailing list I can sign up for so I never miss a release?
Yup: HERE. Sign up for my mailing list to receive email notifications for new releases, giveaways, and any other big/fun news. You can also subscribe to my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE or follow me on BOOK BUB.
- I am a book blogger/reviewer, do you ever give out ARC’S (advanced reader copies) of your books?
Absolutely! Sign up HERE for my blogger/reviewer list! This is for book bloggers & reviewers with a website* dedicated to their blogging/reviewing that would like to receive eARC’s (advance reader e-copies) of my books in exchange for reviews, as well as possible promotional opportunities like blog tours and cover reveals. *must have a review site in order to qualify, serious reviewers only
- I want to buy a signed copy of your book/s, how do I do that?
Unless you catch me at a book convention or a signing, I won’t be mailing any signed books:/ It just takes too much time away from my writing, but what I can do is mail you a signed bookplate for free (sticker to put inside book w/my signature and whatever quote you want) -just EMAIL ME a screenshot of your proof of purchase for any of my paperbacks or hardcovers, and I’ll throw in a signed bookmark & postcard too!
THE BLACK MAGE SERIES
- What inspired you to write The Black Mage?
In middle school (yes, that long ago!) I was listening to an angsty rock song (which shall remain unnamed for spoilers) and a girl and a boy popped into my head. I could see the two of them dueling with magic. They were clearly rivals but at the same time you could tell they had feelings for one another that made it difficult to deliver a killing blow. Thus, a pivotal scene for the series was born, as well as Ryiah and Darren.
- How would you describe The Black Mage in one sentence?
Girl meets boy… and then they fight, with magic.
- What scenes were your favorite and least favorite to write?
My favorite: ANYTHING WITH DIALOGUE!!! Also, the romance… let’s be real, that’s my favorite part.
My least favorite: The battle scenes –I suck at choreography and I’m not a weapons expert so why I chose to write a series all about medieval fighting… le sigh. I spent a lot of time researching fight scenes on Wiki How or Youtube to help me get the basics. Then I’d try to find ways to fight with magic that seemed realistic given the world’s restraints. I never wanted the same fight to happen twice so it was a lot of research, even if it didn’t feel like that in reading!
- Which faction would you choose to join: Combat, Alchemy or Restoration? Do you think you’d actually make it past the first year… or first week?
Alchemy, hands down! When I read Harry Potter, potions was always my favorite class. That, and I’m squeamish around blood and hate to work out (unless it’s hiking or walking my dog -sole exceptions to the rule) so there’s no way I’d want the other factions anyway… Would I make past first week, or first year? I’d leave after the first week -that environment is way too competitive, and Piers’s conditioning would kill me.
- Who is your favorite character and why?
Darren. I love complicated heroes/villains, and Darren is such a tragic, messed up, beautiful character. How can one not enjoy writing a story as twisted as his? Not to say I didn’t love writing the others (especially Paige and Ryiah), but Darren’s story was so lost in shades of gray, I wanted an epic fantasy where the villain wasn’t just some evil tyrant, but also someone you could love.
- Why are The Black Mage ebooks only available on Amazon? Why can’t I buy the ebooks elsewhere?
So as of May 2017, the ebook editions of books 1-4 (paperback/hardcover/audiobooks are still avail. everywhere) are only avail. through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, per reader demand (have yet to determine how long they will remain in this program). However, if you: 1) previously purchased one of the ebooks through a non-Amazon retailer and would like to continue reading the sequels on that retailer’s device, or 2) would prefer to read the ebooks on a non-Kindle device >> then you can purchase the ebooks you want on Amazon and EMAIL ME a copy of your receipt/s and I’ll be happy to send you the ebook edition/s you need for your preferred non-Kindle device (ie iBook, KOBO, Nook readers, etc).
- Will there ever be a paperback/hardcover version of Non-Heir (The Black Mage Prequel Novella, Book 0)?
As far as I can tell, no. The novella is only around 140 pages, so the printing price for something that small just wouldn’t be worth it to readers! Maybe someday, but I’m not planning on it anytime soon.
- Will there ever be more books in The Black Mage universe?
YES!!! More info to come at a later date, but I’m working on a prequel series as we speak -see details: HERE.
- Will there be foreign editions of The Black Mage series?
So far The Black Mage is being translated into German, Polish, and Italian -expected release dates between 2019-2020 (each book’s release within six months of previous book, I believe). More info to come at a later date as the publishing houses have yet to provide me with a full list of release dates and covers, etc. I’m beyond excited to have my books in other countries! If you would like to see The Black Mage translated in a different language, please feel free to contact your favorite publishing houses in your country and request they consider The Black Mage -they can always contact me and I’d be happy to refer them to my foreign rights agent. Link to German editions: HERE, Link to Polish editions: HERE.
- Paperback or ebook? Paperback, because I collect and hope one day to build a replica of the Beauty & Beast library in my dream house! That said, I prefer to actually read ebooks (my hand no longer gets sore holding heavy hardcovers!) and I’ve begun to get hooked on audiobooks because they allow me to listen as I do chores around the house.
- Coffee or tea? COFFEE! Iced coffee with 2% milk, no sugar –from Starbucks, to be exact.
- Gryffindor or Slytherin? Slytherin. Power. Ambition. Cunning. I adored Professor Snape’s snarky dialogue with Harry (I’d also kill for a prequel that tells his & Lily’s story), and I always had a serious crush from the way Tom Felton portrayed Malfoy.
- Fan fiction: yay or nay? Yay! Honestly that’s how a lot of authors started out!
- Hunger Games or Divergent? Hunger Games, hands down!
- Edward or Spike? Spike. Instalove is not my type of YA, and I have a thing for British baddies ;P