The “Get to Know Me” Tag + Facing one of my Biggest Fears + Trying out a New Look

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I saw this tag over at Awkward Aris and decided to do it. Why? I don’t know. Why not? I’ve been blogging for a year and a half, there are now more than 500 of you amazing people following me (don’t forget to enter the giveaway here before it ends!!), and I’ve never really done a “get to know me” thing. Better late than never… right? RIGHT????

Hahaha anywayyyy….

I have a fear of sharing my personal life on the internet. Why? Maybe because I watch too many Sci-Fi movies about scary internet stuff. Or because of how I was raised… Who knows.

But guys: I’m inching out of my shell for you, because I love this community so much and want to get to know all of you and make some amazing book-loving friends that I can geek out with. And the first step of that is letting you know more about me, so here goes nothing. Time to face my fears.

The Get to Know me Tag

(I am hiding under my bed while you are reading this)

Part 1: Vital Stats

Name: Emma. I was actually named after the Jane Austen book, and was almost named

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This throw back accurately captures the sibling dynamic

Elizabeth (after Pride and Prejudice).

 

Nicknames: Oh gosh, I’ve had so many… A lot of people call me Em (which I like). One of my little brothers calls me Queenar (as in Queen Enar), and my other little brother just calls me Enar. Don’t ask me why cause I have no idea. My dad calls me Scooter, but only he is allowed to call me that. Here is a list of the rest of my nicknames (that I can think of) through the years:

  • Emsie
  • Memsie
  • Me-me (like saying “me” twice… not meme)
  • Ems
  • M&M
  • Puppy/puppy love/pups
  • Leh-her (because nobody can pronounce my last name… and the mispronunciation stuck)
  • I’m sure there are more, but I can’t think of them right now

(That’s 11 nicknames I can think of… I didn’t realize I’ve had that many?!)

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Unfortunately for me, my brother’s birthday is Nov 22nd, which means he usually gets the Thanksgiving day celebrations

Birthday: November 28th! Sometimes my birthday falls on Thanksgiving, which is pretty cool. I love having a fall birthday, but sometimes (like the last two years) it falls on the first day of exams (2 years ago) or the first day back from Thanksgiving break (last year) which kind of sucks. Happy birthday to me.

 

Star Sign: Sagittarius!! I love my star sign. I am the archer. I am the warrior. I once hit a bulls eye with a bow and arrow (don’t worry, it was a total fluke, but I forever have bragging rights in my family).

Occupation: Ummm… Blogger? Volunteer Librarian? Student? Camp Councilor? Baby Sitter? What do you want me to say?

Part 2: Appearance

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AKA me whenever I try to put makeup on

Hair Color: Dark brown (but still very far off from black)

 

Hair Length: Down to my waist until a few weeks ago when I chopped it off to shoulder length. I’m still getting used to it.

Eye Color: Hazel. Sometimes they look brown, and sometimes they look green. But once I was told they looked orange which will forever go down as my favorite description of my eyes in the history of me.

Best Feature: HAHAHAHAHAHA idk.

Braces: Nope! Never needed em. My teeth grew in straight and I will be forever grateful for that.

Piercings: Just your normal one in each ear. Although I did have a second piercing in one of my ears (I think it was the right? I can’t remember), but I let that close up years ago. I do want to get some cartilage piercings though. My phone is full of inspo pics.

Tattoos: Nope. I’m not sure if I want any either… not that I don’t like them, just that I have commitment issues (see: let my piercing close up) and the permanence of them scares me. But…. if I were to get one it would be something small and meaningful on the side of my rib cage (cause bring on the pain suckahssss)

Right or Left Handed: Right. But I am kind of ambidextrous. I broke my right arm twice in 2 years, so I had to do a lot of writing with my left hand. I was really good at it for a while too.

Part 3: Firsts

Real Holiday: Yeah not really sure how to interpret this. I’m pretty sure I was born on a Sunday, so I think that means I missed Thanksgiving… so maybe New Years.

No, wait. I know what my real first holiday was: MY BIRTHDAY (that counts, right?)

Best Friend: Um, well the first best friend (other than my big bro) that I remember was named Kessie and she moved away when I was like 5, but we follow each other on Instagram. We haven’t talked in forever. But, I did learn how to read with her (we homeschooled kindergarten together), so that’s pretty cool I guess.

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Kidding! My first sport was reading, because that 100% counts. #BookJocksFTW

Award: Ummmm…. sports related or school related? And I don’t remember for both. Probably something for participation.

 

 

Sport: Soccer. I was on a co-ed team with my older brother pretty much as soon as I could walk. Kessie was also there for that, just fyi.

Concert: I mean, I grew up playing piano (ya know, cause my family is so original), so the first concert I was at was probably one I played in? That being said, I’ve never been to a full on concert. Just classical stuff and some stuff at festivals which I don’t count because that was more of a “stop for a second and watch before I move on” type of thing.

Part 4: Favorites

TV show(s): If I listed all of my favorite TV shows this post might never end. I am the

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Why is there no “Favorite Person” question? Cause that would be my big bro #BestiesForLife

kind of person who binges one TV show at a time… and one after another. So I always have a new favorite. Right now, I’m binging Royal Pains (which is amazing and funny… plus a doctor show ).

 

Color: Pink. Pink for now and pink for always. But, I wear a lot of blue and make everything blue. But my favorite color is pink. (Yeah, I’m weird)

Song(s): Hahahahaha this is even longer than my TV show list. But if I had to pick one all time favorite, it would be Breathe (2 am) by Anna Nalick. That song speaks to me on a spiritual level.

Restaurant: Setta Luna (aka the most amazing Pizza Place). I wish I still lived near it, but then again if I did, I might not have any money left. Oh, also if we’re talking fast food, I love Taco Bell and Subway. I don’t eat any other fast food.

Shop: Barns & Noble. It’s been my favorite store forever. When I was little, I made a 9378297jingle for it during a car ride. My brothers and I still sing it whenever we see a store.

Book(s): Okay so I thought my lists of TV shows and songs are bad. This list *lets out long, low whistle*. But, if I had to pick one book, it would be Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. This has been my favorite book since I found it (at Barnes & Noble!!) in 2012, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it.

Shoes: Yeah, not really a shoe person. You can find me in my blue Asics sneakers or flip-flops from Walmart (what? They’re like 85 cents a pair! Who am I to say no to that?).

Part 5: Currently

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Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.

Feeling: Super nervous to publish this post (my stomach is twisting), and also nostalgic because of all the old pics I’m putting in this post.

Single or Taken: Single

Eating: Nothing right now, but I made myself an egg sandwich for breakfast a few hours ago that was delicious. And I don’t even like eggs that much…

Thinking about: How scared I am to post this. Also:

  • what I’m going to have for lunch
  • finding time to finish my millionth re-read of Anna Dressed in Blood
  • I need to do laundry at some point today
  • How long can cooked lobster stay in the fridge? Also how should I eat it?
  • My WIP
  • How hard it is to come up with good names for my characters.
  • I really want to see a pink dolphin and a blue penguin one day.
  • And a bunch of other really random stuff

Watching: Season 2, Episode 11 of Royal Pains.

Wearing: My dad’s old shirt (which is bright orange and incredibly soft), baggy green sweatpants from Pink, and mismatched socks. I’m so sexy in my PJ’s.

Part 6: Future

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At the Sea Coast Science Museum AKA pretending to be a serious biologist.

Want Children?: Yes!

Want to be married?: Yup.

Careers in Mind: Writer, Geneticist, Biologist, Doctor/Surgeon… Something else entirely… I have no idea.

Where do you Want to Live?: A suburb or a college town. Preferably on the east coast of the US where all four seasons are present.

Part 7 (last part, I promise): Do You Believe In…

God: Nope. I believe in the Greater Unconsciousness.  Or at least that’s what I call it. It’s kind of like karma.

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Not love at first sight, but my first crush! Also he gave me roses that day. Also check out the sword on my brother’s belt.

Miracles: Nope. But my theory of the GU has something like them.

 

Love at First Sight: No. But I believe in lust at first sight. And I have had that electric-current-when-you-first-see-each-other feeling and it is amazing and he was a great boyfriend… but it was more of a physical attraction than anything else, and, needless to say, it didn’t work out.

Ghosts: 100%. Maybe not the kind of ghosts popular in fiction/supernatural stories, but I do believe that somebody’s consciousness can remain whole after they die, if there is something left for them. Again, it has to do with my GU ideas, which would take wayyy too long to explain.

Aliens: Yes. I refuse to believe that we are the only beings that exist. There has to be something else out there.

Soulmates: Kind of. I like the idea of soulmates, but I don’t think there is just one for each person. I think that there are tons of people out there that can relate to each other on a deep level, and that kind of connection is what coined the term “soulmate”

Heaven: nope.

Hell: Just for people I don’t like. Lol, just kidding. Nope, I don’t.

Kissing on a First Date: If it feels right, I see no problem with it

Yourself: I have my moments

And. That. Is. Me. Ta-da. I can hear my heart pounding right now. Why is this so hard for me?

Also if you liked this post and want to see more like it, tell me that too… or ya know, if you don’t want to see anything else like this then that’s cool too.

Now I need to tag people:

Okay, so I really want to get to know everyone, so if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged. I tag you.

If you already did this tag (even if it was a million years ago), leave me a link so I can go check it out!

Or, if you want, you can just answer the prompts in the comments below!!

Thanks for reading!!

Where have I been?

Hey guys,

So I haven’t posted in a while (as you probably know), but I promise I haven’t forgotten about you beautiful people. I’ve just had a busy few weeks.

The end of the school year is never a walk in the park. A week before finals I had four papers due (which I somehow managed to get finished on time) and two projects. Then, on top of that sports season was ending so we had closing ceremonies (goodbye ultimate frisbee, see ya next year). And of course I had to study and do projects for my six finals. 


So, you might be thinking something along the lines of “woah, that seems like a lot. I totally understand why you had NO TIME AT ALL to read or write a post.” But friends, that was not all. I also had to empty out my entire dorm room and pack and find places to store things because I could only take with me what I could carry. Why? Because to get home I had to travel alone on a bus (a ten hour trip with 2 hours in the Boston bus terminal) so I couldn’t really take that much. 


So yeah. That’s been my last two weeks.

I’m happy to report that I made it home safely, and besides having to learn how to turn the water on, it’s been pretty good. So now I can finally get back to reading and posting, and hopefully be more active in the blogiverse than I have been over the school year. In the words of Eminem:

People!! It feels so good to be back!

Yay summer 2017!!

 

Book Reivew- The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published by Scribner on April 10 1925
Genres: Classics, literature
Pages:
180
Goodreads
Amazon

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby was a wild ride. It was full of lies and deception from every character, yet there was something about the story that was sincere and beautiful. Fitzgerald manipulates the English language like no other, and I found myself peeling back layer after layer of meaning.

The characters were so lifelike it felt as if they were not characters at all, but real people that lived spectacular lives. But somehow at the same time they too outrageous to believe. There is too much dimension to comprehend with one sitting.

The Great Gatsby is definitely not the kind of book you can curl up with on a rainy afternoon and read. It is the kind of book that you read chapter by chapter, pausing after each one and trying to wrap your brain around what just happened. It’s the kind of book you want to read with a friend or group of people, just because there is no way one person can uncover the hidden messages in the pages by themselves.

I think everyone should read The Great Gatsby at some point in their lives, just because it is something that makes you ponder the true nature of society. I am going to give The Great Gatsby four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Discussion

Hey guys! Right now I’m in the middle of two books. One I read on my phone when I’m on the go, and one paper back that I read at home. Yesterday, my younger brother gave me a strange look and said “Hey Em, how are you reading two books at once? Don’t you mix up the plots?”

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The answer to his question is no. I’ve never had a problem reading books simultaneously, in fact, it’s something I am almost constantly doing. However, after talking with my brother some more, he revealed that if he starts a book while in the middle of another, he almost always has to re-read the original book he was reading from the beginning.

This has led me to the conclusion that there must be at least two different types of readers: Multi-readers and Single-readers.

So my question to you is this: What kind of reader are you?

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(BTW, I’m loving these eye-brow-raising GIFs) What pros and cons do you think there are for each? Is one faster or more productive than the other? What does your reading style say about you? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments down below!

Author Q&A- Roger Billings

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Roger Billings; and up and coming historical author. Read all about him in the interview below!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I have been working on my current novel for over five years, and I hope to finish in 2016. Yea!

I am a lawyer in my real life and it is often a struggle to find time to write.

I have been an avid reader all of my life. I thought of writing as something I should do, but never did, until a few years ago I was reading the biography of Bernard Cornwell. He moved with his wife to the United States and he did not have a work visa. Since he was not allowed to work at a traditional job, he started writing instead. From that came his first historical novel, Sharpe’s Eagle. I thought if he could do it when he had to, maybe I can do it because I want to.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I am often inspired by a sense of place. I love to find out-of-the way places that people might not have heard of before but that have a rich history. Then it seems natural to write about what might have happened there back then. One example is the floating islands (hortillonnages in French) in Amiens, France. They are a series of tiny islands that have been cultivated out of marsh land in the Somme River. It is a labyrinth of gardens and water, the history of which extends back to Roman times. I love to write about the kinds of mysteries that might have happened in places like that.

A: On the other hand, I have noticed that I am not “full of ideas” to write about, as some say they are. I feel like my ideas are buried in the subconscious and most of the time I am not aware that they are there, until I start writing. When I write, those buried ideas come to the surface. So I suppose I write to find out what is in my subconscious.

Q: You are a historical novelist. How much research goes into your projects?

A: There is more research than I expected, but I probably do more than I need to. No, I definitely do more than I need to. My idea for my current novel came from general reading in the time period of the French Revolution until several historical facts started to cluster together and I realized I had a book to write. Then the real work began of reading histories, biographies, and letters, and studying maps, lists and court cases, and anything else I could get my hands on. It has been countless hours. How much? I have not keep track, but I enjoy the research, so it has not felt like work.

Q: Why historical novels? Have you always been fascinated by history?

A: I do love history and historical research. In particular, I love literary history. The first thing I think about with respect to a particular time period is who the writers were then. My novel takes place in France and England in 1792, so I think a lot about the writers from that time and immediately prior to that time, such as Rousseau, Dr. Johnson, Fanny Burney, Cowper (I love Cowper!), and of course William Blake, Wordsworth and Coleridge, to name only a few. Both Wordsworth and Burney were in France during the Revolution, and Rousseau made an infamous visit to England some years before, all of which is great food for the imagination.

Q: What is the favorite place you have visited? Why?

A: If you take the time to get to know a place, anywhere is magical.

One example is the ancient walled city of York, in Northern England, that I visited many years ago. Any time there is still a massive wall around a city, going there is like a trip back in time.

CJ Sansom wrote a novel, Sovereign, set in York at the time that Henry VIII and his huge entourage visited the city. When royalty travelled, it was called the Progress, and nobles who hosted royalty on a Progress were sometimes (often?) bankrupted by the expense. I would have liked to have written that book. It is great fun.

In addition, some of my ancestors are from Yorkshire and my great grandfather sang in a choir for boys at the Minster Cathedral in York. I have a drawing of the Cathedral hanging on my wall. So York is special, for sure.

Q: When you travel does your family go with you?

A: Generally I travel with my family, and I enjoy traveling much more when I am with my family. Otherwise, traveling seems much more like just work.

Q: Tell me about your kids. Do they (or do you hope they will) love history as much as you?

A: It is easy for parents to expect their children to be projections of themselves, instead of individuals. My wife and I both love literature and culture. My children have their own unique interests and pursuits. I don’t think any of them are as fanatical about literature as I am, but they know what they are interested in and we encourage them to follow their interests.

Q: You are working on your first novel! What can you tell me about it so far?

A: I am in the middle of my second draft. But the second draft feels like a first draft, because as I wrote the first draft, I learned a huge amount about writing fiction. Now I can see much more clearly what I did wrong or what can be improved. The first draft was an apprenticeship, a great learning experience. Now I just need to finish and then celebrate!

The story goes as follows: a British spy dies while rescuing a young seventeen year old aristocrat from the French Revolution. The aristocrat, ungrateful and mortally offended to owe his life to a commoner, determines to discredit the spy’s reputation. Searching for hidden scandals, the aristocrat inadvertently uncovers a plot to overthrow the British Monarchy, pulling himself into a perilous underworld of treason and crime. Journeying from the jostling streets of London to the lonely mountains of Wales, the young aristocrat can only survive by finding the man within himself, and by finishing the work the detested spy had started.

Q: What challenges have you faced in your writing?

A: Finding the time to write is hard. I have been doing some dictating, which helps to use the time better.

Learning not to edit myself while I am writing and letting the words flow has been difficult. When I am being too critical and I want to write faster instead, I sometimes challenge myself to purposefully write as badly as I can. That gets me started, which is great.

I have also been challenged in finding the historical sources and information I need. For example, I had a scene in which my characters visited the office of the Foreign Secretary in London in 1792. I wanted the location to be authentic, but I wasn’t sure where it was back then. I knew it was somewhere in Whitehall and that the office had been recently created but I didn’t want to be vague and I didn’t want to guess. Then I found a Twitter address for an official historian for the Office of the Foreign Secretary, and they responded that the office was in Downing Street at that time, next to the Office of the First Lord of the Treasury (now Prime Minister) at 10 Downing Street. It was much easier writing the scene knowing I had the location right, and the actual location turned out to be a very significant part of the scene.

Q: If you could go back and meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

A: There are so many I would like to meet. Perhaps the 18th century poet Samuel Johnson. He was known as one of the greatest conversationalists of all time. If you are going to go to all of the trouble of meeting someone from the past, it had better be an interesting conversation! I was also thinking of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. She was also a great conversationalist, but there is a bonus that she was almost always surrounded by many other luminaries: Richard Sheridan, Charles James Fox, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess de Polignac, many others.

Q: What is something you think the world should know about you?

A: I think people should know that I like to look for the good in people. There is much more good out there than can be easily seen, and so looking for it is necessary.

Find Roger Online:

Twitter

 

Author Q&A- Ian Jackson

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing I. D. Jackson, the author of Deadly Determination and Dead Charming. He is currently working on his next novel, so if you haven’t read his books yet, now is the time to catch up!

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Q: When did you start writing?

A: I began writing as a child. Whenever we had people around my parents would wheel me out as the ‘party trick’ and ask their friends to come up with a character and a situation and I would be expected to create a fascinating story on the spot…I was about 6 they tell me! My first books were adventure stories written when I was about 10 and passed among my friends and family – unfortunately none survive, but I can still see and ‘feel’ them in my mind…. yes, I’m strange!

Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?

A: You know what I don’t, but probably should. Psychology and human nature fires my imagination to write.

Q: Tell me about your books Deadly Determination and Dead Charming. What were the original ideas behind them?

A: My interests lie in psychology and I’ve always been fascinated how seemingly normal people can be affected by an event or perhaps another person in their lives which then drives them on to commit heinous crimes. A germ of a story began emerging in my mind that eventually went on to become my first novel, Dead Charming which was greeted with critical acclaim. Deadly Determination is the second book (not a sequel) and carries through these themes. Both novels are crime thrillers with a twist that will take the readers breath away.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ went on behind the scenes of writing your novel?

A: Many hours of research as well as interviews with detectives, coroners and some criminals – fascinating stuff.

Q: You have written articles for magazines such as Concept and Style Guide. How is this process different than that of writing a book?

A: When I wrote for magazines and newspapers it was a job to be completed, whereas now I get to write about things I’m interested in – thrilling crime!

Q: Did your days as a local magazine and sports program publisher help you in your quest to publish your novels?

A: Surprisingly not – the contacts I have through publishing magazines are completely different to novel writing and literary agents – like chalk and cheese really.

Q: What is some advice that you wish you had received when you began writing?

A: Start pitching your book as soon as you’ve written the first three chapters and have a tight synopsis ready for the rest – literary agents and publishers only want to see the first three chapters anyway and will base their decision on your writing style and the synopsis of the book.

Q: How has becoming a published author changed your life? Has it always been your goal?

A: My life hasn’t particularly changed as such. I love the fact that I have two books in print, but it wasn’t one of my ambitions as a young man.

Q: You got married to your wife, Susie, not to long ago. Has she read your books? Does she like them?

A: Yes, she has. She helps me as I go through reading chapters and commenting on characters and plot-lines. I think she enjoys the creative process and she says she likes the books…but then she has to really!

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: Labels are dangerous and anyone can work to improve their psychological imbalances, however severe they are. I believe in redemption for everyone when they are ready and I hope that readers identify with, and even feel sympathy for, some of my darker characters.

Find Ian Online:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Author Q&A- Ruthanne Reid

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing and inspiring self-published author; Ruthanne Reid. Ruthanne has been writing since she was eight, and her dedication shows. Her book, The Sundered is out now!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I’ve been writing with the intention of storytelling since I was eight, when I crafted my first masterpiece: a My Little Pony story in which all the ponies were murdered by the snake kingdom except for one single princess pony, who was just so pretty and precious they couldn’t kill her, but adopted her as their own instead.
That’s right. It’s a Mary Sue/My Little Pony/Genocide story. I typed the whole thing on my mother’s typewriter with red ink because I thought it was pretty. Take that, child psychologists.
I do have to note, however, that even this demented early tale shows the seeds of what my current universe became: genre-mixing, dramatic tragedy, and overwhelming cuteness. Oh, dear.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I don’t have a specific muse, per se; good storytelling is what gets my engines going every time. The format doesn’t matter, either; animated, written, or simply told, a good story is the fuel that drives mine.
I have had favorite characters over the years who showed up in any stories I imagined (Grimlock, Vegeta, Chang Wufei, Severus Snape, Steve Rogers). Weirdly enough, crafting a world around a known character often helped me to suss out the details of that world and its needs. From there, original characters were easier to build – especially since I’d already analyzed just what I loved so much about other people’s characters.
Q: Tell me about your book The Sundered. What was the original idea behind it?
A: I can answer this one of two ways: with the plot “hook,” and with the themes. How about both?
THE SUNDERED is about a young man who has to make a horrible decision: he can either save the human race, or save the aliens the humans enslaved. What’s “fair” in this situation? There’s certainly no easy answer, and in the midst of a world flooded by water that kills when touched, revisionist history and abusive homes, Harry has a lot of growing to do before he can even begin to answer that question.
I touch on the question of what makes a life worthy of survival; of what makes “right” and “wrong” in situations where no one is innocent; and on the challenge of making a “good” choice when no choice comes without heavy consequences.
(It’s a cheerful little tome, really)
Q: What challenges have you faced in your writing career? What have you done to overcome them?
A: The biggest challenge I faced was during the period of time I tried to get an agent. Over and over, I received personalized rejections from literary agents with essentially the same wording: I love this story, but it’s too weird for me to sell because publishers don’t like to take risks. If you could change the story to make it more normal (add a romance, change the gender of the protagonist, change the entire ending, etc.), then I could take you on and sell this book.
 
My challenge was literally deciding whether to change my story down to the core in order to sell it, or keep it as it was and try to make it on my own.
The last straw for me was an agent who told me he couldn’t possibly represent the book for the same reasons already mentioned, but he really had to know how it ended, and so asked me for the rest of the manuscript AFTER he’d already turned me down.
 
That told me I had a story worth telling. So I chose to self-publish.
That was one of the best and hardest decisions of my career. The more I’ve marched down this path, the more I’ve realized what a good idea it was for me. It’s not for everyone, by any means; but for someone like me, whose mind isn’t quite normal, it was the only way to retain my writing integrity.
I may still get an agent someday, but now I know enough to do this without compromising my stories.
Q: What advice do you want to give to budding writers?
1. Read EVERYTHING. Read fiction and non-fiction, classics and current best-sellers. Read indie; read how-to books.
2. Learn how to write by thinking about what you read. Learn how to write by writing, and writing, and writing.
3. Forgive yourself. Remember this: EVERYBODY sucks starting out. Absolutely everybody. Ira Glass put it really well in this amazing video that you should go and watch right now:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners[:] All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. 
 
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. 
 
And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. 
 
Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
 
That right there may be the most important advice anyone has ever given a writer.
Q: Did you anticipate how well received you and you books would be?
A: Not even a little – and it must be emphasized that they were not always well-received! No matter what you write, some people will love it, and some people will hate it. That’s okay. That’s normal. At first, when I got a bad review,  I’d honestly flip out a little; it took me a long time to see that everyone’s taste is different, and bad reviews are okay.
Now, the good reviews… those are delicious, gold-coated chocolate. Edible gold, that is. I genuinely had no idea starting out that this book would ever appeal to as many people as it has. It’s been a real encouragement to me. I may be weird, but evidently, so are a lot of others. 😉
Q: Which of the characters you have created is most like you? In what way?
A: There’s a little bit of me in every single protagonist I have.
  • Harry has father issues and has had to reevaluate everything he was ever taught.
  • Katie is so done with the drama of the world she grew up in, and she ran away to New Hampshire. That was LITERALLY me.
  • Grey is fearful and doesn’t want to be a hero; when he finds courage in himself, it’s more of a surprise to him than anyone else.
  • Notte has a gift for seeing all sides of a story, which means he doesn’t always assume he’s the good guy. It’s a sobering perspective I’ve had to grow into over the past ten years
Q: What is one thing you wish you knew in high school?
A: That I didn’t have to please other people the way my folks wanted me to. I felt like my whole world was my family and their acquaintances, but that simply wasn’t true. There are SO MANY people out there, and someone WILL “get” you in time. Keep looking; don’t give up because of rejection. Who you are matters, and who you are is who God made you to be, and there will be other people out there who understand. You just have to find them.
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world in any time period, when and where would it be? Why?
A: Does it count if I pick a time that might not have existed? I’m REALLY fascinated by cryptoarcheology. I want to see the really ancient metropolises of the world – the ones that sank and were lost, or were abandoned so long ago in the jungles that we don’t even realize they’re there without satellite imagery, or the ones that lie hidden under desert sands.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: It’s worth pushing through.
There’s so much trouble and pain in this world that sometimes, it might not seem worth it – but it is. It’s worth getting hurt to try again. It’s worth trusting and fighting and forgiving.
It’s worth pushing through. Don’t ever give up.
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