Tell us a little about yourself, where you are from, do you feel where you live influences how or what you write?
I am from Florida. Having lived here for 12 years, it was where I attended college. The University of Florida is located in Gainesville, FL. A small college town, it is the kind of city that shuts down on a football day, where you are safe to hop in cars with strangers, and if someone is having a house party, well guess what! You’re most likely invited. There are pizza palaces where renovated Volkswagen buses serve as restaurant booths. The local theatre is always putting on experimental pieces for affordable prices. If you go with friends, you will all most likely leave with your very own interpretation and a new outlook on life.
There are so many different types of people there. Me being a food hound, I made friends with as many different types of people as I could. I do want to testify, my friendships were not solely based on food. One thing I have learned is International men can cook. Thank goodness there is more than one race and culture out there. To think of the party my taste buds would have missed.
I loved Gainesville, FL. Seeing it’s southern charm made different and modern with all the people constantly moving in and out of the city, I had to use it for the setting of my new adult fantasy romance, Superheroes Wear Faded Denim.
All my main characters are university students trying to save the world while caught up in the frenzy of college lifestyle. While writing I tried to incorporate as much of the culture of Gainesville as I could, but there was just so much beauty and not enough pages.
What sort of expectations did you have when being published was on the horizon?
I expected it to be competitive and not at all for the weak of heart. Having studied the industry since a little girl, I knew if I was going to produce a story, it had to be different, but follow a trend. Most importantly, it had to be GOOD!
That said, one thing I did not expect is the amount of young people capitalizing on the opportunity the internet has provided. I speak as if age isn’t just a number, but I have to wonder. As I connect with people over the internet, I find a majority of those I have encountered to be in their teens, twenties, and thirties.
This is exciting, meaning the next generation of writers will be that much more knowledgeable about the craft and the skills it takes to promote their product. Because of this, innovative tools will rise. More opportunity will be provided for people like you and me.
What is your biggest pet peeve ?
Not a big fan of erotica, I hate, hate, hate pointless sex scenes.
Would you please explain to my readers exactly what narcolepsy is, and how it affects the average sufferer.
Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness. Many people know of the disorder through the media characterizing all narcoleptics as people who will suddenly fall asleep in the midst of activity. While the disorder may function like this for some, for others, they may only experience gaps in thinking, strong drowsiness, sleep paralysis, and dream-like hallucinations.
Sometimes I average sixteen or more hours of sleep a day. While on the negative side, this means I have a very messed up sleep cycle, on the positive side, I rarely ever become stressed.
How much do you feel your narcolepsy influenced you in your decision to become a writer? Has it influenced how you write? Not just in influencing your story itself, but how does it affect the way you write? Are there any specific changes you must make based on your condition?
Did you know Harriet Tubman was a narcoleptic? After learning this, I immediately felt my disorder was just one of the many obstacles in life I would have to overcome to be successful. Because her story inspired me, I instantly wanted to write a story to inspire others.
To accommodate my disorder, I have to outline. Sometimes my thoughts will become fuzzy and disjointed. If I do not take the time to sit down and organize my thoughts, I will hit an immediate writer’s block.
Luckily, because I sleep and dream so much, often times I play out whole scenes of my novel in my head. This leads me to coming up with story idea after story idea.
I had to learn to use the strengths of my disorder to create a job for myself, so it would not end up being my biggest flaw. One example, I got a job in the logistics industry. I knew this would be a bad career choice for me, but I wanted to be like everyone else. My mind does not function like everyone else. Once I understood that, I was able to channel my energy into more positive activities.
The main character in my urban fantasy romance overcomes the same problem.
Blissany Cherry struggles with sleep throughout the novel Faded Denim. Unbeknownst to her, her sleeping habits are a tool to save mankind. She must learn to accept her flaws and turn them into strengths if she is to stay alive.
I believe this is something we all must do in life. Not everyone may have a sleeping disorder, but we all possess something that makes us feel totally and utterly inferior. I wanted to write a story for those people with flaws. Show them their flaws can indeed be their best attribute.
You've said that you've been inspired by Harriet Tubman. Would you ever consider writing a novel about her set in the past?
Probably not unless I was to write something like Harriet Tubman, vampire hunter the sequel.
Is there a genre you prefer to write? What about to read?
A very conflicted person when it comes to writing, I desire to write chic-lit, but the easiest stories for me to write are fantasy.
Stories I prefer to read are literary, the kinds of books you always find on the discount rack by authors no one has ever heard of. But because my goal is to be a successful genre-fiction writer, I try to spend time reading the trends.
E.L. James might be a trashy novel with bad writing, but it is selling. No one can argue that. I do not think it is just the sex. There is a lot of erotica out there no one is talking about. What makes E.L. James’ book so different?
Care to give us a peek at your latest writing project?
Here is an excerpt from chapter one. Approached by a wraith in the mall, Blissany is forced to make a decision between the life she is destined to live and the one she desires.
Blissany’s heart skipped a beat. He was referring to her dreams. Am I in another? She could very well be.
It wasn’t like her dreams gave her any warning. Coming sporadically, they were plane rides into other realms. Sometimes they caused her to sleep for a couple hours, sometimes several days. There a Roman boy with verdant eyes and curly hair black as fresh paint lived. Named Gabriel, he told her she was created to fight a grandiose war between good and evil. She ignored her dreams even though they caused her to oversleep for classes. What a mistake that had been. As soon as she awoke from this nightmare, she was seeking a neurologist. Such an endeavor took a lot of money and time. As a college senior, those were two things she didn’t have. Yet she was going to find it. She could not continue living with this mental disease.
“You don’t want to do this,” Wanikiya said. “If you did you wouldn’t have waited till the curse ate your heart.”
“I’ve contemplated my choices. I know what I’m to do.” Temeluchus asked Blissany the question again.
“Will you fight or not?”
“I don’t believe—”
“Wait until you have all the information, Fairest. You have two choices. If you say yes, even though you’ve shown selflessness, you have waged war. War means a fight to the death, and I will slay you right here. If you say no, I will slay this clerk behind the jewelry counter. So the question really becomes lucid. Who do you want to live more, yourself or others?”
“This demeans you,” Wanikiya said.
“Answer the question, Fair Cherry,” Temeluchus said, ignoring Wanikiya.
Blissany’s lips trembled. She looked at Kristie frozen in time. Out of all the dreams I could have. Kristie’s mouth was slightly agape. Her eyes still wide with excitement. They matched the emerald towel she held in her hands. She was so young she only had a few smile wrinkles around the corners of her mouth. Blissany wanted Kristie to live just as much as she wanted to live, but she knew this was all a dream. For it to end, she would have to give an answer.
Just because I can, what will you be doing on July 4th?
Fourth of July is all about spending time with family. I’m going to be grilling hot dogs and bar-b-cuing some chicken.
Thank you everyone who stayed with me through the interview. Please check out my novel and connect with me online.
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***Want a chance to win an e-copy of Superheroes Wear Faded Denim? Be sure to check back here tomorrow August 1st!(open INT)***