A number of unacquainted adults, from various walks of life, routinely enjoy the benefits of residing in a nation where liberty and justice are among its chief luxuries. Having different statuses of education, income, and ethnicity, all are suddenly forced to cope firsthand with the "domino effect" of America's vitriolic reaction to the assassination of an auspicious female presidential nominee, Gov. Ceinwen Jarvis. In a day and time where the advancement of technology allows one's voting status, banking information, and even medical history to be accessed by microchip scan, they quickly realize that America - as well as their own lives - will never be the same.
Thanks so much for stopping in today and agreeing to answer a few of my questions. I am excited for this chance to find out a little about you. You chose a specific genre, a place and time to write about, what made you choose it?
Honestly, I did not choose to write a Dystopian novel. I just had a story that I wanted to tell. As part of the publishing process, I had to select a genre, and I mulled over that for more time than you would believe, vacillating back and forth between Thriller and Science Fiction. Yet, neither one seemed quite right. When I came across the Dystopian categorization, I knew right away that it was the best choice for No Greater Illusion. So I guess you could say that I didn’t choose the genre: it chose me! As for the place, I deliberately kept it vague because I wanted the reader to feel like the events in the story could be happening in their own town. And finally, it had to be set in the near future in order to incorporate some of the technological elements that were critical to the story.
In your opinion, what makes a book a great one?
A good book has amazing prose coupled with a compelling story, characters who feel so real they are jumping off the page, and a satisfying ending. A good book becomes great when it has all of those things plus a strong, important message that is clearly revealed through the plot and stays with you even after the final page is read.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want readers to examine the things they take for granted in this life, and ask themselves if anything is guaranteed.
Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Character names are extremely important in my novel. They are significant because I make sure to align the meaning of the name with the personality traits of its owner. For example, Viera is a “lively woman”; Dyer means “a creative man”; Quinn - “a woman who is queenly”; Circe, of Greek mythology, was a nymph and enchantress who, literally, changed men into pigs! ;-) And those are just a few examples. I feel strongly that the character’s name should be a perfect fit; therefore, I consider meanings and lineage when choosing them.
Which of your characters is most like you?
I can’t say that any one character is a lot like me. I break myself into pieces and infuse one small part of me into each and every character that I write about. Take the “right” trait from each character, and you could combine them to come very close to knowing exactly what sort of person I am. However, I am not going to tell you which of the traits in each character came from me. Where is the mystery in that?!
How much research did you do before and during writing?
Although I really do not research before I start writing, I research constantly during the process. Google makes it easy to look up places or things that are unfamiliar to me, so that I am able to include them in my novel appropriately.
Do you ever write naked?
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Just one: Writing simply because you love it, and for no other reason. When you start to tell a story that you have no interest in, or change things around to be a crowd-pleaser, or follow an unattractive literary trend just to gain fame or riches, then you have lost your own voice (and yourself). And if the book doesn’t do well, you will always wonder if it is because you sold out. Stay true to yourself and give it your all - so that no matter what happens in the end you know that people are seeing your best contribution. It will stop you from going insane with regret and hopeless consideration of other possibilities. Asking yourself “What if....?” is the quickest way to spiral into doubt and despair.
Do you enjoy giving interviews?
Honestly, no. I like to be the magician behind the curtain, waving my wand and delivering a story for your entertainment but staying very much out of the limelight in the process. Interviews feel like that curtain is parting, and the spotlight hurts my eyes. ;-)
What's the loveliest thing you have ever seen?
A perfect sunset in Aruba - blazing pink, orange and red behind a turquoise ocean. It is a sight that I will never forget because it stopped me dead in my tracks and made me forget about everything else in the world at that moment except for the awe inspiring sight before me.
How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
I appreciate every single review that people take the time out of their schedules to write. I understand that not everyone is going to like No Greater Illusion, especially since the subject matter is considered controversial and the storyline is dark. Still, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I want to hear them all - good or bad. There is also something to be learned from criticism, if you open your mind to it. I am just starting on this journey as an author and I know there are ways I can improve. The bad reviews are the ones that have no problem telling me what those ways are.
If you were to stop writing today, would it drastically change your life? What would you do?
It would change my life completely because writing is a pure love for me, and the greatest joy outside of my family. I am not sure what I would do with myself if I couldn’t write. I might wither away into nothingness...
What is the one question you hate being asked in an interview? Is it this one?
“If you could go back in time and have lunch with one person, who would it be and why?” Can we just leave it at that? :)