Greetings, tourists! I’d like to thank my dear friend cleverboots for inviting me on this tour. It’s been interesting and lots of fun. So, without further ado, I’ll get started.
1. What are you working on?
I’m currently working on my fourth novel in the Wingéd series. It’s a fantasy novel series about spirits of the dead. It is the direct sequel to the third in the series, Dragon Wingéd, continuing the story of Cassius, the Wingless, the more notorious and controversial figure in Wingéd history. After the Seraph’s verdict and threats of the witch still looming, the Hall of Wingéd is falling apart at the seams. The usual peace within the hallowed walls has been replaced with the threat of rebellion. And as Cassius grows closer to Kitane, he drives Emmy farther and farther away. Though he’s already been disgraced, if Cassius doesn’t tread lightly, he stands to lose even more than he ever imagined.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I combine the fantastical strange new worlds of high epic fantasy with all the familiarity of the character driven paranormal/supernatural fantasy and historical fiction, while exploring both eastern and western theological philosophies. Oh and most of my characters are dead and incorporeal. I write about the afterlife in a way that feels real.
3. Why do you write what you do?
For me, the fantasy genre is all about wonder. I enjoy making worlds. When you make a different world, there are so many details to think about and research to be done. It allows me to explore different ways of thinking and ways of life. It’s like putting together a giant puzzle. I have all of these amazing things all in my mind, and I get to spend so much time seeing how they fit together and what they represent. I get to visualize people and places completely unbound by reality. The more that I uncover, the more that I want to see. I get to spend hours discovering freely.
4. What is your writing process?
Getting the Idea Phase – Usually if I want to be inspired, I have to reach for it. I read, listen to music, watch movies, examine faces, listen/read about passionate people, dream, but most of the time, I have to immerse myself in my own thoughts. It’s probably why I’m so absentminded; I’m pretty much always absent to some degree. And sometimes, I feel guilty about that, but other times… It’s all worth it in the end, I think. When I come across a thought that I can run with, I feel it in my heart. As an author, I should have the words to describe this, but I don’t. It’s like it originates from a different part of my brain. It’s one of those things that I just can’t let go. This leads to…
Development Phase a.k.a the Walking Phase – Once my brain has officially abducted me, I usually pace. I will walk until my feet ache and then I’ll walk some more as I literally explore the possibilities. Having a house that makes a perfect circle really helps. As I’ve said before, it’s like putting together a huge puzzle. I get flashes of scenes even before I have a real plot. What I have to do is fit these scenes I see into the general, abstract idea. I play with the pieces and try to fit them all together. During this time, I put myself in a character’s place, and then I put myself in the other character’s place, etc. And I replay it over and over until I find something that suits me. While this can be a little piece of hell when I’m feeling anxious or angry, the complete inability to tear myself away from what I’m thinking comes in really handy when it comes to writing. Eventually, this walking leads to seeing scenes. I don’t see every scene, but most of them, if I can’t see it, I will develop the idea when I get to it.
Outlining Phase (optional) – I don’t usually outline, and if I do, it’s not really an outline so much as a bunch of my thoughts that get frantically thrown onto the page like a bowl of spaghetti against the wall. When I see which ones stick, I start drawing arrows and writing down cause and effect. Pretty much, this happens when I’m unable to walk it off. The only time that I’ve ever done a real outline was for Wingless due to the sheer number of characters that I had to keep track of.
Research Phase – This is pretty self-explanatory. If I need to know about something for the novel, I have to research it to make sure that I don’t get certain details wrong or if there’s anything else that could add layers to what I already have. Angels, mythology, religion, and history are what I look up most frequently.
Writing/ Last Minute Decision Phase – I was told a long time ago (I don’t know exactly when) by someone (I don’t know who) that most writers don’t just start at page one and write until they reach the end. I have no idea if this true. I can’t imagine why anyone would write anything out of order, because I always fall prey to my last minute decisions. In almost every novel I write, I make a last minute decision that changes everything. And I don’t just have one. I tend to have at least three that dramatically alter the way that the novel was supposed to go. Oops. Either a character just won’t die or as I’m writing an impassioned scene the character will say something that leaves me going, “Huh… I didn’t know you felt that way”. I tend to think it works out better though, because I’m far less likely to discard a great last minute decision in order to accommodate what I’ve already written. This isn’t to say that I won’t or I haven’t gone back and rewritten things because of a surprise (Dammit, Cassius!), but I’d be doing it far more often otherwise. So, I always write from page one to the last page straight through.