I wrote seven novels (still in the closet) and received over 600 rejections slips before I got my first book contract, which was for nonfiction. I received more while I was trying to sell one of my novels in the closet, until I wrote a brand new one and found my agent and my first fiction contract.
--> Have you ever thrown away a book that you just couldn't make work?
Thrown away? No. Put in the closet? Yes. Seven times. And they are still there.
--> Is it still exciting to publish a new book even after all this time?
Oh yes, always exciting, though nothing quite ever beats that first contract and the first book, hot off the presses, in your hands.
--> Do you get ideas for new books all the time and you keep them written down, or does one come to mind when you need one?
I have so many books that will probably never be written because I just don’t have the time to write them all, and I write three books a year.
--> Do you have entire story arcs mapped out when you begin a trilogy or a series of related books?
No, I have highlights of some of the series story arc, but no…the books evolve the story arcs for me as I write them.
--> Do you know how a book/series is going to end when you begin it?
Nope. Not usually. ~grins~ At least for series. For individual books, I know the basic ending, highlights, and that’s about it.
--> Would life be easier if you published under just one name?
I do. I only published three books under a different name and only because they asked me to. I don’t like using pen names (for myself).
--> Do you have to enter a different mind-set to write different stories for different names/characters?
Yeah, but that’s pretty easy for me. I’m able to slip in/out of worlds/character minds fairly easily.
--> Is there any kind of book you would like to write but haven't?
I would like to tackle cyberpunk, some day, and maybe magic realism. But I love writing the urban fantasy.
--> If you could change anything about your writing career, what would it be?
I’d have a much bigger audience! ~laughs~ Let’s see…I would have learned to pace (the story) earlier—it would have helped the books in the closet. I would have not been afraid to dive deep into the characters earlier—would have helped the books in the closet. I would have stopped writing what I thought I *should* be writing and started writing what works for MY voice.
--> What’s the most interesting question you’ve ever been asked about your writings, and what was your answer?
“How much of the book is real?”
My answer: Um, the paper, the ink, some of the mythology is based on actual mythology…but no, the characters and demons and all—all out of my mind.
--> If you could have written any single work – novel, screenplay, stage play, poem, history, biography – that you most admire and adore, what would it be?
In a way, I want to say Watership Down—my favorite book, but then I wouldn’t have been able to read it with the wonder I did. I’d love to direct Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Peer Gynt (I majored in theatre). I’d love to have written some of Tennyson’s poetry.
--> Anything you’ve always wanted to be asked about your writing but no one ever has?
If I could meet and hang out with any two characters ever written, I think I’d want to be a guest at Tom Bombadil and Goldberry’s house for a week, from Lord of the Rings. I love them. Or maybe stay for awhile in Lothlorien. That’s where I’d love to vacation.