What led you into writing?
Reading. Movies. We grow up with stories. Stories are intrinsic to the human experience. We learn best by story, we pass on history, emotion, and lessons with them. I feel like everyone has stories in their heads, it’s just that some people have a need to get them out. I can’t stop the stories in my head, so I have to do something with them. I started writing when I was 9 or 10. On a Tandy 1000 in the Bank Street Writer program. I have now aged myself 😭
How does a typical day look?
I get up at 530 or 600am to get an hour or so before the rest of the family gets up. Then it’s general chaos for a couple of hours before the oldest goes to school. I work around other things – the baby and general life, squeezing in a bit more work during naps and such until oldest comes home at 1. Then I mom until about 8pm, at which time I try to work a bit before collapsing into bed at a very Old-Person-Hour.
In what ways do your characters test your abilities?
Every character I write has something of me in it. But I also try to push, to explore the things I want to see recognized as strength. For Reign & Ruin, writing someone as controlled and intelligent as Naime was very difficult, because I am the person that doesn’t think of a snappy come back until days later, and I fall apart in verbal confrontation. Naime never falls apart. That means that I had to sit and play chess with myself to create her encounters with the council and let me tell you – it was ROUGH.
What lasting effects have your favourite authors had on your writing and style?
I write adult fantasy ( I mean pacing, not sexual content – although there is that too). I grew up with Dragonlance, and Wheel of Time, books that take their time, that add more description and world building than is typical now. I like that. I write that. I want people to stop and live in my world, not necessarily consume it as fast as possible.
What do you do for inspiration?
Find silence. Walking outside is always good. Driving sometimes. There is not a lot of silence in my life. My creative voice is always speaking, I just can’t always hear it because of the chaos of life with kids. I do draw bits of inspiration from movies and books and other media I consume and expand on those.
What repeating themes do you find yourself pulling into your stories?
Balance. Cycles. That we are better together than apart, because humans are complex and flawed beings. The people around us can lend strength where we are weak, as we do in return for them.
How do you wind down?
I garden, and knit. I cook. It’s all related. You start with pieces and parts, maybe a plan or recipe, and a goal, and then you put it together into something beautiful, functional, or delicious. Just like writing.
What sort of challenges do you regularly overcome while designing your world/setting?
My own biases that come from my cultural upbringing. People think how I would think, behave how I do. I have to stop and think about how they would actually do something in the context of the world. My characters believe in a wheel preordaining the fate of people and things. They aren’t going to say things like “Oh my god,” or “go to hell”. These are tiny details that take a lot of focus to get right.
What are you reading at the moment?
The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, gene editing, and the future of the human race by Walter Isaacson. I read as much non-fiction as I do fiction. This one is a beast.
What’s the most useful advice you could give to an aspiring author?
But seriously, it’s a lot of work. Every job is WORK, even if it’s your dream job. There will be wonderful days where things are easy. But there will be far more days where it is hard. Very hard. You will have many excuses. You will not feel like it. You may have struggles I cannot conceive of. But if you really want it, you have to keep working. Show up. Keep learning. Keep reading. Keep writing. Fail, and do it again. Do it over and over again until you can’t remember how to not do it. That’s it.
Tell us about the book you’re promoting.
Really I’m promoting a series, but Reign & Ruin is the first book in the series. It’s an Ottoman Empire inspired setting, with an elemental magic system. Our main characters are seeking an alliance to mutually protect each other from a Republic that is systematically conquering surrounding areas. Magic is broken, and Naime Sabri, the heir to the current Sultan, believes restoring the balance of magic will make them strong enough to stave off the Republic. But to do so, she has to fight 200 years of prejudice against the magic of destruction, a council who does not want a woman in control, and a Grand Vizier that undermines her at every turn. It is a fantasy romance, so don’t be surprised when people stare longingly into each other’s eyes. #sorrynotsorry
👋 Hi! I run Author Interviews
As a new writer I found myself itching to contribute to a thriving, creative community, so I made Author Interviews and I've met loads of wonderful people in the process. You can buy my debut fantasy RINGLANDER: THE PATH AND THE WAY from Amazon.