1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. I moved to the United States 15 years ago. I lived in New York and Los Angeles for a number of years. I moved to Albuquerque 5 years ago and love it out here. I love to hike, being in nature, enjoy good music, hiking and books with unforgettable characters. I never force myself to write, I do it because I love it and let the inspiration come to me naturally. I live a very peaceful drama free life.
2. What inspired you to write your first book?
The Family Portrait series was a television series I’d written. I just fell in love with the characters and hadn’t planned on anyone reading it. Then one day I got a feeling deep down to put it out in the world, I hired a story editor and proofreader, had the cover designed and the rest is history in the making.
3. How do you come up with the titles?
Awesome question. I name the chapters in all my books, I pick a chapter that sums up the book and that is what I use for the title. I mull around it a bit if it feels right then I go with it. So far that has worked. I can’t guarantee it will work for the rest of the books in the series.
4. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
When I am writing an emotional scene, I bring up emotions from my past and use that to channel the anxiety or joy the characters are feeling. My characters are fictional so as much as I try to make them seem real, I have never been in any of their situations or know anyone like them, we may feel the same emotions but the situations are different.
5. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
I usually create the character first and name them afterwards. I chose a name by how I think will fit with the character. You know how some people’s name seem to suit them? Kind of like that. In the case of the main characters; Adriana, Kevin, Leighann, Haze, these are characters I’d created years ago I don’t even know why I chose that name for them.
Although I went to high school with a boy who’s brother’s name was Haze.
6. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sometimes I get lost for words, and I feel stuck and I have to find a way to unblock. The un-blocking process is still something I’m learning, sometimes music and meditation helps or sometimes it has to go away on its own.
7. What is the easiest thing about writing?
Just letting it flow, the easiest part for me is when I just feel it in the pit of my stomach. Sometimes it feels like the scene is just bubbling up inside and I have to write it out. That usually happens after I get over the blocked stage. I write like a fiend for hours, that’s a good writing day.
8. A lot of readers compare your books to TV dramas in terms of settings and plot. Is this an influence of your experience in the entertainment industry?
Absolutely, it was originally written as a television series that I turned into books. My mom was really big on dramas, so I grew up watching all of Aaron Spelling’s dramas. I always wanted to be the female Aaron Spelling, before I knew who or what an Aaron Spelling was.
9. In the Family Portrait Series, which characters did you find the hardest to write?
That’d be Leighann. She is a very internal character, unlike Adriana who will speak her mind and lash out, Leighann keeps it inside. It’s hard to bring that into words to convey it to the audience. She is definitely a challenge.
10. Do you read your reviews? What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I read every single review. The reason is I want to see how people interpret the story. I learn a lot from reviews. Even bad reviews help me improve my writing, but only if it is constructive and not because the person wants to be mean or haven’t read the others and don’t understand the story.
I try not to dwell on the bad reviews if it is overly critical or mean. I do not keep it in my memory, if I did, I’d never write another word.
The best compliment I’ve had was from a reader that said “Waiting on your next novel is like waiting for Christmas.” How sweet is that? I do print out my really good reviews and use it to spur me on when I have my doubts about my work.
This interview was originally published on Bookaholic Fairies. Please click on the link to read the full interview.