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Most Read Interviews

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What inspired your Fountain series?

The Fountain Series was inspired by parenting, believe it or not. I have three kids and I want to give them absolutely everything in life. But I know that isn’t the best thing for them.

So, the premise for the series was, what if a well-meaning founder of St. Augustus, the boarding school that the kids in The Fountain Series attend, gave them a magical fountain that granted everything they asked for? What would they wish for and what would the consequences be? Because there always has to be consequences. 

Throughout the series, I layered wishes on top of wishes, which created a tricky timeline that was fun to play with, creating chaos in the world of St. Augustus, the boarding school they attend. I just love that world and I’m so happy that readers love it, too.

How do you develop characters and worlds?

I am in love with creating magic systems, so for many of my books, the rules and special quirks that the world’s magic creates is where I start. Truthfully, my characters often start out being similar to someone I’ve met as a way to build them quickly, complete with their best features and all their flaws. So, watch out, I might put your personality in one of my books. 

But, realistically, my characters change through the writing process until in the end, they aren’t recognizable. I’ve never had anyone call me on it…

Are there specific strategies you use for writing a series?

I used to think writing book two in a series would be so much easier, because you’ve already mapped out the characters, and the world. But it’s actually harder – because you’ve already mapped out the characters, and the world, and you can’t have the reader rediscover the same things along their journey. So, with each book I’m deliberate about adding to the world, creating new settings, new magic and new characters to go on the next adventure.

How will the final book in the series connect with the first two novels?

Book 1 – The Fountain – is about sixteen-year-old Ava, who makes a wish that one of the girls at school would disappear, and then it comes true. 

Book 2 – The West Woods – is the story of the girl who got wished away. It’s actually a prequel, happening the year before The Fountain. It’s Courtney’s story – how the magic of the school turned her into the girl you meet in the fountain, where quite frankly, she deserved to get wished away.

Book 3 – Wall of Wishes wraps up the series when the two girls, Ava and Courtney, have to work together to save the fountain. St. Augustus, the boarding school they attend, sells The West Woods to make way for a new road. The girls believe that if the fountain is destroyed, all the wishes ever made on the fountain going back a century will be destroyed as well, undoing a wish Ava’s father made that may threaten her existence.

Why do you choose to write YA, instead of a different audience/ genre? 

I wanted to write a book that could be enjoyed by teens and adults alike, and young adult achieves this. When I was a teen, there were middle grade books, and then books for adults. I was inspired as this genre emerged over the last fifteen years or so, and I’m so happy to write books my own kids can read and be proud of.

What sets YA literature apart from other genres?

So many things! Young Adult books can include many genres, from fantasy to historical fiction, to literary. But the coming-of-age stories featured in YA books are amazing moments of firsts for the characters. First decisions, first consequences, first loves… all amazing and so fun to write.

Also, the pacing. Young adult books keep the pages turning, so that young readers don’t get bored, and I love the challenge of writing this way. It’s just as exciting to write as it is to read.

What is a book coach and what is involved in your book coaching business?

A Book Coach is like having a personal trainer for your writing life. I help writers at any stage of their writing with project management, editing and writing skills, and emotional support during the roller coaster ride of writing a book. 

I am an Author Accelerator Advanced Certified Book Coach and I am so lucky to work with fiction and non-fiction writers to get the book exploding in their minds onto the page. It’s definitely the Cadillac version of writing support and increases the chances of a writer finishing their writing projects and experiencing success. I work with writers in all children’s genres, from picture books to young adult, fiction authors writing fantasy, science fiction and thrillers for adults, and non-fiction writers creating business books, self-help and narrative memoir.

I work with writers at any stage of their writing journey, whether they’re just getting started, trying to finish a book or they’re already published and need to build their author platform.

How do you benefit from assisting other authors?

When I first started writing, I tentatively introduced myself to the writing community and was overwhelmed by the amount of support I received. I met my first publisher through my communities, my publicist, and even my agent. It’s my honor and absolute pleasure to help point newer writers in the right direction or to share what I’ve learned in the decade I’ve been in the industry. I get calls and emails daily from writers looking for information, and I’m so happy to connect with each and every one.

You are a writer, editor, coach, and more. Is it challenging to take on many different roles in the writing community?

It’s immensely challenging, but that’s part of the fun for me! I was a business executive for twenty years before I left my job as a Vice President at a company to do all things writing full time.

Making a living as a writer is possible, but you have to get creative and be willing to work for it. This pandemic year in particular, I’ve changed course because I’m doing much less speaking and teaching in person. This year I’ve built a small team to support everything I’m doing and make sure I’m carving out enough time for my own writing.

My best advice for writers looking to turn their passion into a career is to play to your own strengths. You can definitely look to what others are doing for inspiration, but it’s possible to build your writing life around the things you love best, so pay attention to what lights you up and you can’t go wrong.

What will the future hold for your writing career?

I have several of my own writing projects on the go, and I hope to have news about books coming to share soon! My Book Coaching practice is growing by the day, and I’m planning to launch a digital course for fiction writers early 2021 - The Wicked Good Fiction Bootcamp. The course is full of all the writing secrets I wish I’d known when I first got started and I’m so excited to be making this accessible to more writers. All the details for this course will be available on my weekly vlog with tips on Writing and Writing Life – Inspired Writing Weekly News.