How does it feel like, knowing that your books are on bookshelves in bookstores all around the world?
It feels great. Also, kind of stressful. But in the best possible way. ;-)
Who or what is your biggest influence as a writer?
That would probably be Stephen King. I don't know that my style was actually influenced by his, but he's my favorite writer, and from a young age, I was captivated by the worlds he creates, and I wanted to be able to do the same thing with my own writing.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
No. I never base my characters on anyone real, because I don't feel like I have the right to do that. I'd hate for someone I actually know to think I portrayed them badly in a story--now immortalized for the life of that book. So my characters are all made up, based on what I need for that particular story. ;-)
Rejection letters from publishers -- do you save them or throw them?
I actually only personally got one rejection letter from a publisher, and I think I still have that. Somewhere. Maybe. But the good thing about signing with a literary agent is that s/he gets the rejection letters, and I've never asked to have any of them forwarded. There are only a handful anyway, and they kind of cease to matter, once you have offers on the table from someone else. ;-)
But I do have several rejections from agents, from several years ago. Those were pretty frustrating.
How are you and Kaylee alike? How are you different?
Um... Kaylee's social standing at the beginning of the book is a lot like mine was in highschool. I wasn't popular, but I wasn't a pariah either. I had close friends, and that was enough. I dated more than she has, though.
Other than that, we don't have much in common. I'm not a banshee, thank goodness. ;-) Her life is much harder than mine was in highschool.
My Soul to Take sounds completely original. How did you come up with the plot?
Once I decided I wanted to write about bean sidhes (banshees) I spent a lot of time filling in the blanks--details that the original folklore doesn't give. Like the purpose of a bean sidhe's wail. I decided all that screaming had to be about more than simply mourning the dead. Brainstorming my Soul Screamers world was the most fun I've ever had with my job. I let my imagination go completely wild, and once I knew what bean sidhes are really doing when they scream, the plot came naturally. It was simply a matter of asking, "How could this possibly go wrong?" And there you have it!
What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Several people have told me that my books (my adult series) were the first they ever finished by choice. They said they hadn't read a book since they were forced to in high school, until they found my Shifters series. That completely stunned me. I was blown away, and suddenly I saw my job as being about more than just entertainment, though that's chiefly what I do. ;-)
What do you see are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
Um... I think I'm a pretty good plotter, and I think I portray strong emotion pretty well. People tend to think of my characters as real, and they get mad at me when bad things happen to characters they love!
My weaknesses... I'm not good at creating ambiguous bad guys--yet. My bad guys tend to be truly bad, and not the least bit sympathetic. I'm working on creating bad guys whose goals are simply at odds with my main characters goals, but that's really hard. I naturally tend toward bad guys who are truly evil. ;-)
If you weren't an author, what would you like to be?
I don't know! I taught ninth grade English for a very short while, but writing is where I feel like I belong. Guess I better make sure this gig pans out, huh? ;-)
Do you have any upcoming books?
Oh yes! In the Soul Screamers series:
My Soul to Save (book 2) Jan 1, 2010
My Soul to Keep (book 3) June 1, 2010
In my (adult) Shifters series:
Shift (book 5) March 1, 2010
Alpha (book 6) Oct. 1, 2010
What's a favorite piece of advice you like to give to young writers?
Keep writing, no matter what. Channel whatever you're feeling into a story and harness your emotion. That's what gives your prose power and meaning.
Thank you so much for having me, Reggie!