Tell me a bit about yourself…where you’re from and how you came to be a writer…
I’m from a small suburb of Philadelphia, PA. I read a lot growing up and found myself gravitating toward comic books, science fiction and fantasy novels. I think that was the mind-expansion or escape from reality that I needed at the time and still do today. If you can read, your mind can go anywhere! I came to be a writer as my history and interests indicated an artistic path. I have always been creative and it was not until the last few years that I discovered a passion for storytelling. I pursued that as a secondary thing that I hope to expand one day into a primary thing.
Right now, I am only doing fantasy. I tried science fiction about 13 years ago, but grew bored with it. I may go back to it sometime. Not sure where my mind will take me next, but I at least want to finish the current story arc in my Realm of Ashenclaw series. If fans dictate that they want more, who knows? If not, I have many other stories I need to tell in a few other genres. Horror being one I find fascinating.
What themes do you particularly like to use in your writing and why?
Great questions! A few topics I like to include are: fallen heroes, addiction, naturally progressing romances and, although my characters are powerful (otherwise they would not be heroes), they have weaknesses. I like to write about things that people could relate to. Everyone has an addiction. Everyone thinks about love. Everyone has flaws and baggage and/or secrets from their past. These are a few things that I like to hone in on. I figure if I don’t care about my characters, why should you? So that thought motivates me to write them with vulnerability.
I have a map and a fairly detailed description of it. As a matter of fact, my friends and I wrote a D&D RPG supplement that had an incredible amount of detail about the Realm of Ashenclaw, and yet, leaves enough open for the users to expand on the framework within. I also take copious notes, reference my documents constantly and progress from there. I have an entire northern section of my world that I had ear-marked for possibly another fantasy realm that is completely separated from the first and has its own unique origins going on. We’ll see if I can bring you there in the future!
Your covers are great. Can you tell us how they were developed?
I found another author, William J. Kenney, who did character work on his covers that I loved. After a few brief discussions, he talked me into letting him do a re-make of my first cover. I loved it. We have had a successful working relationship since then and he is a friend now. We are both struggling to get noticed in this world of self-publishing where anyone with the know-how can put their product out there. It’s difficult to sift through the bad stuff to find the gems, but we feel that once we find a fan base, we will succeed in satisfying them. But, to your point, I deliver a concept of what I want, the descriptions, etc. as I have a vision in my head and send it to William and he fleshes it out. I am very pleased with it. He also did all of the sketches and artwork in the D&D supplement as well. The artwork is top-notch and I highly recommend him for anything!
What influenced your decision to self-publish?I thought about trying to query an agent for a long time before saying the heck with it and trying it myself. I have never sent in any queries or contacted an agent at all. I figured if I was good enough that people would find me. However, that thought is idealistic. See my above statement about finding the gems. So, I have persevered and am in negotiations right now with a publisher that has a unique formula for publishing and I am in discussions with them. They are currently perusing my first manuscript and we shall see where it goes. I am hopeful that we can come to an agreement and work together on finding an audience.
What advice do you have for a beginning fantasy writer or any indie writer?
Try hard. Don’t quit. If you really believe in what you are doing, that is all that matters. It takes time and there are a lot of pitfalls and discouraging obstacles. But, keep at it. You will find that (hopefully) you will find your voice one day and things will become so much easier. I almost quit once, but I find that the voices in my head need to come out. That and that alone, drive me now. I write only for myself. If you do it for any other reasons, you are cheating yourself. Good luck and get writing!Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
I think we have covered most of it. I feel that I would also like to thank anyone that has given my work a read, a review and hope they come back for more. I want to thank readers and especially reviewers of all books and hope that more people turn off their televisions more and do some reading occasionally! Books are the ultimate vacation and lead to a higher IQ. So keep on reading! Lisa, thanks for having me and I liked the questions a lot!