Five Questions – This Time It’s About Me!

When I release a new book, I always write a short blog titled “Five Questions.” The blog focuses on the most-asked questions about the book and offers some insight into what the reader can expect. I decided to post five questions about me as an author just for fun! I hope you enjoy! If you have a question, you can hop over to my contact page (or any social media page) and ask away!

What inspired you to create a massive universe (in the Immortal Grimm Brothers’ Guide) in which there are evil princesses and epic mythical creatures?

I was bored. I’m kidding—sort of. When I wrote Snow Kissed it was supposed to be a one-time thing. I wanted to see what it was like to write in the fantasy genre, and since I love the Grimm Brothers, I decided to do a fairy tale retelling. When Calla’s story ended I was satisfied for about a day, then I thought the story itself just wasn’t complete. There was more I wanted to say, a bigger universe I wanted to explore, so the sequel Ashes to Ashes was born. That book took me on a roller coaster and birthed an entire series. And now, well, you’ll just have to wait and see what goodies I have in store for the Tales From The Black Forest franchise!

What was your inspiration to write the Secret Author Series and which is your favorite?

That’s a tough question because it’s very personal. I wrote the first installment, The Yellow Note, years ago. It was my first full-length novel, and it was so rough I cringe thinking about it. However, that little book amassed over three million reads on Wattpad where it was first posted. (I have since removed it, edited and reposted.)

When it was first posted, I kept getting messages from people telling me it changed their point-of-view or inspired them in some other way. Others said it restored their hope in relationships, particularly those between friends and family. Believe it or not, I have had THREE people start relationships thanks to inspiration from my book. One of those was so incredibly touching. I’ll share it here.

Without names, a girl’s male friend had feelings for her but was unsure how to tell her. She kept raving about this book where the boy wrote the girl a bunch of inspiring love notes. He had no idea what she was talking about, but he was determined to find out, so he went to his best friend’s girlfriend. She filled him in on the details, and he READ THE BOOK for her! He then went to considerable lengths to recreate the story for the girl he liked. Well, he snagged the girl, and the rest is history. Those stories make me feel great as an author. It’s what we hope for, to touch someone’s life in some small way.

When I wrote the book, I was grieving the loss of a friend who left way before his time. I remembered how he used to write little notes to me and put them in my locker, especially on bad days when I needed cheering up. While there was never a romantic relationship between us like there is in the book, I do believe he was one of my “people,” someone who was meant to come into my life, shake it up, and leave me with a lifelong lesson.

After that, I thought I would write about other events that shaped my life. Each installment of the series has a bit of my personal life in it, which makes them dear to my heart. If I had to pick a favorite book in the series, I’d say The Text Message. While The Yellow Note will always be special to me, The Text Message took me back to a time in my life when things were really hard, and I did a lot of growing up in a really short time.

Which Character in the Secret Author Series is your favorite?

That’s tough. They are all my kiddos, but if I have to choose I’d say… ugh, I can’t pick one. I have three favorites, and I’ll explain why.

Jacob Masterson (The Yellow Note) – the guy is about as perfect as one can get. He’s a bit of a doofus, but he’s so gosh darn loveable and dependable it’s impossible not to like him. His unwavering loyalty to his friends, especially to Delilah (which is investigated further in the spin-off Biology 101) make him the best friend anyone could ask for, not to mention the fact he becomes a war hero when he’s grown. I love an adorable doofus who’s actually the smartest person in the book.

Zara Scottsdale (The Letter) – Despite Zara’s horrific attitude through the first half of the book, she is actually a good person. She endured truly horrible treatment from her father, had zero influence from her mother, took care of her family in ways they never knew, and managed to turn her life around despite all signs pointing toward her being a failure. Of every book I’ve written, Zara’s redemption arc is my favorite.

Mason Alexander (The Text Message) – Mason was an accidental character. He was only supposed to show up, drive Emily home, lay some hyper-observant truth on her, and fade into the background. Instead, he grew into this rock solid character who knew exactly what he wanted but gave it all up for someone else. He was NOT a fan favorite because he was unexpected and messed with the flow between two characters, causing a lot of ruckus. In the end, though, Mason made the story so much better. I love him because he was my little brainchild who refused to give up, resisted getting shoved into the background, and basically told me to be a grown up and make the story messy for once!

Which of your characters is most like you?

I have written tons of stories that are not published. Some of them are on Wattpad (I warn you, they are all rough drafts and not all are good.) The Cupcake Criminals is a novella I wrote a year or so ago that centers on Abby, a neurotic nutcase of a woman who has a good heart, a smarty-pants sarcastic mouth, and can’t get out of her own way. She always takes the more difficult path and refuses to admit defeat even when all signs point toward imminent disaster. She has a strong network of loyal friends, is NOT afraid to let her freak flag fly proudly, and at the end of the day, all she wants is to be accepted and loved for the horrific mess she is. Yep… that’s me.

Why are most of your stories fluffy and so sweet? Everyone seems to get a happy ending, and it’s all tied up so nicely. That’s not really how life is.

Nope, life is rarely like that. That’s why I write the way I do. I love happy coincidences and sappy characters. I write the way I wish life happened. Sure, it alienates a chunk of readers who prefer realistic writing styles, but the followers I have are amazing. When they need a pick-me-up, they come to me. When they’ve had a bad day, and they just need someone to say it’s okay, it’ll get better—they come to me. Want to read a book you KNOW will take you on a roller coaster ride, but it’ll be okay because it will all work out in the end—COME TO ME MY PRETTIES!

Short answer, I like to make people feel love, happiness, sweetness, hope—all the stuff we don’t have enough of in real life.

As a side note, I rely heavily on the superhuman ability to forgive. The ability to forgive is the number one, most important trait for my characters. To forgive is one of the most challenging things a human being must do, and I have defended my characters many, many times for “forgiving too easily.” But I do it anyway because, as difficult as it is, forgiveness is a true test of who a person truly is at their core.