The Renaissance Faire. Yep. I visited New York’s Ren Faire in Tuxedo, NY a few years ago and fell in love with the liveliness, the costumes, the jousting, the wares, the music, and the magic of it. It got my imagination going and by the time I was driving home, I’d “met” my main characters, twins Anne and Mary, the witch who wanted to collect all the Zodiac’s power, and I’d decided a fair bit of the book needed to take place at the faire.
- In ZC, we meet a sorceress that collects zodiac signs. Are you a collector yourself (not necessarily of zodiac-themed items)?
When I was a kid, I loved collecting stickers, Ty beanie babies, and, yes, rocks. For a while, I also collected Breyer horses, but my collections never got very big, lol. Nowadays, all I collect are BOOKS. 😉
- What’s your writing process like? Do you plot everything ahead of time, or just let the words flow?
At heart, I’m definitely a panster. Usually, a character will weasel their way up from my subconscious (or unconscious as us psych types like to officially call it) to my conscious imagination. My characters tend to be close talkers, meaning, when they pop in to say hello, they’re face on and nose to nose with me. Kind of hard to ignore them that way.
My M.O. is to let them talk. They tell me about their life, what they love, what they hate, and what troubles they’re having. And I jot everything down, like a good therapist would, so I don’t miss anything. I’m not sure if I count that as outlining, but it is pseudo-outlining at the very least. Once I start writing their story down, however, I encounter unexpected twists and turns that drive me right off any kind of “outline” I think I’ve drafted.
- What sort of reader would enjoy ZC?
THE ZODIAC COLLECTOR falls in the young adult category (12-18), however, it’s also sweet and light with slight touches of romance, so it can appeal to middle grade (8-12) audiences as well. Plus, I’ve thrown in a fair bit of the Renaissance Faire with a ton of magic, so it should appeal to grown ups who love paranormal and fantasy too!
- What’s next for you as a writer?
I’ve just finished writing a young adult psychological thriller titled BEAT. It’s a about a sixteen-year-old boy waiting for a heart transplant. He’s not sure if he wants to live or die—living means another person has to die for him to get a heart and dying means the end of suffering—and he’s not sure if his psychiatrist wants him to live or die either. My plan is to polish up my query letter and send it to agents this summer. Wish me luck!