One of the amazing things about being an author or writer is that there is an entire community that is as passionate about the craft as you are. I have a few select friends who are part of this amazing community. One in particular just got herself a contract with the publishing house Duncurra and her novel “Dancing with the Devil” (formerly known as “Demon Dialysis”) will be published soon!
She found time in her busy schedule of being a mother, wife, and author to answer some questions about her career as an author.
- What inspired you to write “Dealing with the Devil”?
That is an excellent question, and I wish I had a better answer for you than the one I’m about to give. I’ve always loved Fairy Tales and enjoy a good re-telling of an established plotline. It’s especially fun if there’s a dramatic shift, or unexpected role reversal. I started toying with the idea of Rumpelstiltskin and started thinking, “What if something went wrong?”I knew what she meant was intended to be sweet and reassuring, but I just felt this chill run down my spine. “What if I wasn’t? What if it wasn’t God that I was creating life with?”
I walked away and my arms were covered with goosebumps and after that the story just wrote itself.
I didn’t want to do an actual re-telling, so I twisted things around a bit and tried to picture how that would play out from the point of view from the child who got wished away. The whole concept of selling your unborn child to the devil is such a terrible thing to digest you have to wonder what kind of a person would do that. Around the same time, I was pregnant with my first child and a well-meaning, older person in church put her hand on my stomach and said, “You only get to work hand in hand with God to create life a handful of times in life, so enjoy it while you can.”
- Do you have a system for developing the characters and plot?
*laughs manically* That is a loaded question!Once I’ve started asking myself these questions, the story starts taking shape. Suddenly, I’m not the one writing it but just a vehicle to get it on paper. Sometimes the answers I come up with surprise me and that’s always a fun twist to have. I get to know the characters REALLY well and know how they would react in different situations. An example of this is when I was writing the chapter Dancing with the Devil. I was happily typing away at my computer and then I realized what was going to happen. Oh crap. I had to flinch and almost look away from the screen as I typed because I didn’t want to ‘see’ it. I knew that was the only way the chapter could end, but I didn’t know that until I was in the physical process of writing it.
I wrote that chapter and then cried—it was awful.
It doesn’t take long for me to get a character or plot idea in my head. Once that happens I mull on it for a while and start asking the question, “so what?”. Wynn’s character in the Earthwalker Trilogy is a demon…so what? What kind of implications would that bring into her character and her relationships? How does that affect her physically? If there is a demon in the Mortal Realm… so what? What does that say about magic in this universe? Are there other demons? Why, or an even better, why NOT?
- What do your friends and family think of your author career?
Thankfully, I’ve have a supportive husband who never lost faith in me. He’s gone out of his way to encourage my career and enable me to focus on it. I think when it comes down to it, Ben just wants me to be happy. He knows how much I enjoy writing and does everything he can to let me do that.
The rest of my family is kind of flabbergasted that it happened. I’ve been talking about writing for so long they didn’t think it would ever happen. Now that it has, and is doing well, they don’t know what to say except, “Wow, you did it.”
- Are any of your characters based off people you know in real life? Are they reflections of yourself?
I think it’s almost impossible not to put a little of yourself into the characters you write. Obviously, I’m not a demon like the character in my book, but Wynn absolutely displays some of my personality quirks – the good and the bad. Every now and then I find myself giving her habits or personality quirks that I display myself and laugh it off a bit.No one is without flaw.
Most of the time when we read about teenage girls, we must ask ourselves if they are vicious or vulnerable—I suggest that they’re both. There is something deliciously satisfying about co-existing in that dual relationship and while I don’t strive to be like Wynn, her shortcomings are human nature.
On one hand, she is funny, brave, and fiercely devoted to her family. On the other, she has some anger management issues, a fiery temper, and is also kind of a jerk at times. That’s understandable because she is, in fact, a demon and it gives her personality depth.
- What has it been like shifting from being a self-published author to having a contract with a traditional publishing house?
To be honest it’s been relatively smooth. Duncurra LLC is a wonderful publishing house and I’m incredibly honored and grateful to be a part of their team. When I first got signed, we did have to change the title and get new cover art with the company logo, but other than that not a lot is changed.
I will confess, it’s been nice to have the emotional validation that comes with having a publishing house behind you. It’s not an imaginary career that I fabricated for myself, it’s real. I can justify sitting down at my computer for hours at a time and getting lost in the world of my characters. I always felt guilty before and thought it was taking me away from my family, but now I view it as part of the process and know the payout will be worth it.
- What kind of struggles did you encounter as a self-published author and how did you overcome them?
The hardest thing about being an indie author is marketing and getting the word out. One hundred percent of the responsibility is on you, and it can be overwhelming at times. If the readers don’t know you exist than you’re preforming to an empty stage.It’s a lot of work knowing what is/is not worth the time and investment. It can be done well, but it’s also a constant struggle.
We’re experiencing a boom in the indie author community which is very exciting, but that also raises the bar for everyone else out there. With so many new books coming out, and so many new authors, it’s very important to present yourself in a professional light. The amount of time you put into branding yourself as an author directly correlates to how seriously you take your career, and there for the quality of your books. That means having a professional website, business cards, a mailing list, and healthy social media following.
- If you could give any piece of advice to aspiring writings, what would it be?
I would tell aspiring authors to take their craft seriously and to view their writing as a job.
It can’t be something you play around with part time when you’ve got nothing better to do, otherwise it won’t get written. Set aside hours that are designated for writing and writing alone. I have friends that try to schedule play dates for the kids in the middle of my writing block and I tell them ‘no’. It took some time for them to realize it, but writing time is important and must not be tampered with. Give it the respect and discipline you would put on any other job.
- What are your plans for the future?
I have tons of ideas! Once I’ve completed the Earthwalker Trilogy, her mother’s series is already in the works. Michele Whelan is such a toxic and selfish creature it will be interesting to see what her origins would be. We’ve already established that she had a romantic relationship with Lucifer, so that opens a ton of doors and lends itself to very good story telling.
I’ve been thinking about this puzzle piece in the story for years while developing a plot. It’s already been outlined into a four-book series and I can’t wait to write it! I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but whenever I start thinking about her I can’t help it—their love story is going to be epic.
To check out the latest news and follow her on social media, see the links below! “Dealing With The Devil” will be releasing within the next couple of weeks and she will be conducting giveaways and a release party on Duncurra’s Facebook page!