Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’ve always had a tough time answering that question! I was born in the Washington, DC area but then I moved over 14 times in my life up and down the east coast, a nomad at heart! I currently am living in Northern Virginia, right outside of DC with my wonderful new husband, Justin, who is a police officer. We eloped last year and are saving up to have our official wedding this September.
We have an adorable little townhouse that I love and have filled it with 14 pets, yes you heard me right! We have dogs, cats, kittens, turtles, and fish…we should start charging admission to our zoo! My husband and I love working with an animal rescue organization and so we love helping foster animals.
I currently work full time at a national cancer research foundation and then spend my nights writing my books. My background is in forensic psychology, which I have a Master’s Degree in, and I have worked in jails, rehabs, sex offender treatment, group homes, assisted living, and counseling the severely mentally ill, mainly schizophrenics. A lot of these very unique past work experiences have given me more than enough stories and inspiration to pull from while writing my novels.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Tainted Bodies was started over two year ago as purely a love story about a woman I knew who was betrayed in a very raw way by her boyfriend. However, as I continued writing and different inspirations hit me I soon came up with the plot of The Photographer Trilogy. Tainted Bodies isn’t a stand alone book and most of the series appeal will lie in the second book that ties everything together and paints a very interesting picture for the reader. I can’t wait for people to read it because it’s not just a fun love story or an interesting read, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. It tells a very real story of a woman handling a trauma and the truth in how most people respond to women in that situation, as well as the struggle of post traumatic stress disorder. It is her path to overcoming that trauma and moving on and if it helps inspire anyone, then I would consider the entire project a success.
How do you create your characters?
All of my characters are based on people I know or have met. They are never exact matches, but rather I use those people as the inspiration and then expand the character from there or mix several people to create one character. My goal is to have very realistic characters and situations in order to make it more relatable to the readers.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
I have always been a writer ever since middle school. I used to only write poetry, which I loved and won a lot of contests with and was published quite a few times. However, the idea of writing stories or a novel was so intimidating due to the length. However, I was contracted to write short stories for a publisher and I did that for awhile until she suggested I think about writing a full length novel. I had never thought myself capable of it before but with her encouragement and the support of my husband, I decided to go for it. Best decision I ever made because I absolutely love writing now.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
Normally I write at home on my couch with dogs cuddled up next to me or at my desk with cats sitting on all of my papers! I always need a cup of coffee and I generally write best in silence or with the television on something boring like the news. I always need to take breaks after every “scene” in my book just to pull my head out of the book for a second and look at it objectively because when I am writing, I am the characters and I am experiencing what I am writing. Sometimes I even catch myself making the gestures or movements that I am describing my character doing!
How do you get your ideas for writing?
A lot of my ideas come from either personal life experiences or things I’ve witnessed or worked with at one of the many unique jobs I have held. Sometimes it’s entirely imagination or a mixture of real and fiction turned into something new entirely.
What do you like to read?
It is very hard to read when I am writing something so normally I only read in between books. But when I do read, boy do I read! I devour book after book! I actually love to read books that I see movie trailers for. I always want to make sure I read the book first before I go see the movie. Other than that, it will be just whatever catches my eye when I happen to be browsing through Amazon. It’s hard to pick one genre, one author, or one category because I read it all.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Just keep writing and writing and writing. Then network, network, network. Be desperate, ask for help! Don’t think you can do it all on your own, because you can’t. You need connections and supporters, you need tips and advice, and more than anything you need to have work to show people! It might be tough but just sit down and write, write, write! No one will take you seriously until you can hand them a fully finished manuscript with your name on the cover because there is no short cut to becoming a writer- you actually have to write! Also I would advice them to grow a tough skin because not everyone will love your work the way you do, and it might be a complete flop- believe me, I would know! But that doesn’t mean you give up, just keep writing!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am the world’s biggest Ellen DeGeneres fan and I take her motto very seriously. “Be Kind To Others”. That’s what I hope you will find in my books when you read them. That people are flawed, in pain, and just as lost as you might be and that everyone needs love and kindness, even little animals!