Ink Rookie (Debut in March 2014)
Started when I was 13. Still working on mastering the art. (Probably always will be.)
Paranormal Romance, Horror Romance, Gothic Romance, Dark Fantasy Romance, Urban Fantasy (strong romantic elements), New Adult Romance, and that’s about it for now.
Sensual to Erotic Romance, Light to Heavy BDSM — depends on the characters and their individual preferences
MF and MM (so far — I plan on writing a few FF someday)
First Place in YA Romance NEORWA’s 2011 Cleveland Rocks Contest
I study everything I read. So, that would be a really long list. Here is a condensed version of the largest influences : Sensei (Joey W. Hill), the Pixie (Jennifer Blackstream), Fusanosuke Inariya, JD Salinger, Anne Rice (not her vampires — her witches), Marquis de Sade, Marie Hall, Terry Pratchett, Linda Winstead Jones, Lewis Black, Sylvia Plath, and Kim Dare. (These are all fabulous authors. And if you have not read them, I advise you to run, not walk, to the nearest e-reader/bookstore.)
I began with classical literature and Anime fan-fiction. I did that for a long time. Eventually, I moved onto original stories, but I still retain my love of blending several different worlds and themes to create one unified universe.
What was the first book you ever retold?
The first book I ever retold wasn’t classical literature, it was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton in sixth grade – at some point it circulated my entire school. I even had some teachers ask to read it. Of course, I said no. I really didn’t need my Lit teacher to know that I spent most of her class fantasizing about Ponyboy and Dallas engaged in a pseudo menage with Johnny.
What was the first book you wrote?
My first original story was some sprawling epic piece of crap about a dragon dynasty. I actually met my critique partner that way. She was the first person to read it, and say, “Wow, it’s not crap. I mean, it’s crap. But it’s not crappy crap.” That book is tucked away on a thumb drive somewhere. And maybe, I’ll get the courage to revisit it one day.
What was your first published book?
God, I don’t want to talk about it. It’s a bad memory. Basically, I was published way too early in my life. I look back and I don’t know what those editors were thinking. Just know that there are four books out there that should’ve never seen the light of day. And a word of advice to any aspiring authors out there, don’t publish your first five books. Don’t do it.
What is New Gotham?
New Gotham is my fictional city and the root of my debut series. It’s my version of a world where storybook characters come to life (or back from the dead.) New Gotham predominately caters to fairy tale villains. They live among us in a single haven city, located on the eastern seaboard of the United States of America. The city is a sprawling ode to all things Gothic and creepy. Actually, New Gotham is almost a character in herself. She’s a mash-up of everywhere I’ve lived or want to live. Think of her as the bottomless pit that swallowed Hell and all of the unfortunate souls it had to offer.
What are the characters like?
I like to say that my characters develop in darkness, but that wouldn’t be totally fair. I aspire to write “real” people, and real people are a mixture of positive and negative traits. Light and dark, so to speak. So, expect unique people who have their good days and their bad days….just like the rest of us mere mortals.
What are the heroes like?
Shameless smart-asses for the most part. Alpha, Beta, Gamma — doesn’t really matter. I’m surronded by wicked tongues. All jokes aside, it really depends on who speaks to me. Sometimes, he’s a dark vampire with daddy issues, other times he’s a nerdy werewolf enrolled in anger management classes. Like I said, it really depends on who “speaks.” (And who gets told to “shut up.”)
What are the heroines like?
I tend to enjoy reading and writing about strong, independent women. That doesn’t mean that ingenues aren’t welcome in Sophie’s crypt. I’ve simply noticed that there’s always (at least) one woman holding a whip in the room, and I’m usually more interested in telling her story. Now, just because she’s holding the whip doesn’t mean she’s the most gorgeous/perfect thing since the Mona Lisa. She’ll have insecurities and bad hair days just like everyone else.
What about New Gotham’s fairy godmothers?
Fairy godmothers are called “storymavens” in my world. New Gotham’s storymavens are collectively known as “The Witches-Who-Knit.” They’re very old and they’re very powerful. They like to think themselves exempt from the bad hair days that seem to plague everyone else in New Gotham. Characters should remember that the Witches-Who-Knit are very busy women with a deadline to keep. They will not tolerate any nonsense. If you don’t mind your manners, they will slap the shit out of you. If you deviate from their fairy tale script and force them to intervene, they will likely slap the shit out of you for that, too. If you screw up a few times on your way to “happily ever after,” that’s okay. Everyone makes mistakes. Just be sure to get back on track. Don’t ever get this plot twisted, you’re the “character” and your job is to do as they say–or else.
What are the monsters like?
I strive to write monsters as they were originally depicted in mythology. I give them my own twist, but they usually retain a good deal of their original traits. (This makes them “Horror grade” monsters in a paranormal romance world. Beware.) As far as what kinds of monsters, that depends on what research I’m doing at the time. I like to keep things varied, so I rarely explore the same creature twice. A monster has to be the equivalent of a mythical Moby Dick for me to even consider a repeat. That doesn’t mean I haven’t written more than one werewolf, but no werewolf species in New Gotham is exactly the same.
What’s the ending like?
Depends on what the story was like. I’ve noticed that I tend to want to end on a spoonful of sugar. That might change, but I’m a fan of happily ever afters, and probably always will be.
What’s your overall goal as an author?
If I can share some magic with you on a bad day, that’s wonderful. If I totally blew your head open and now life will never be the same, that’s amazing. If I just made you smile once or twice, that’s good enough for me. Honestly, I’m kind of shocked whenever anyone reads one of my books. So, I guess, I’m just kind of grateful that a reader took the time to try. I hope I wasn’t a waste of their time, and I’m grateful for the opportunity either way.
What about reader feedback? Does it help at all?
Immensely. I’m not sure a reader will ever know how thankful I am when they leave me a review. Doesn’t matter whether it’s an omnibus of criticism, or a short and happy one-liner. The rating doesn’t really matter to me. I’m always super grateful to receive feedback because it helps me write better books and it helps readers make informed purchasing decisions. Plus, I wanna know if I’m keeping readers happy, if they’re interested in seeing another book – it’s one of the easiest ways a reader can communicate with me.