From Promise Me to Unhallowed Love
Q: What inspired you to write the Unhallowed Love Series?
A: The Unhallowed Love Series (so far, A Good Year, Year of the Demon, and Year of the Incubus) was born out of the Promise Me Series, after it ended. My heroine of Promise Me, Sar, had been on an emotional rollercoaster of five years of alternate Hell and Heaven throughout the eighteen books, and I thought she needed a break. I also needed a break from writing as Sarelle; I both admired her and was horrified by some of her rationalized missteps. There was an inert self-destruction in her that made me want to give her a happy ending, or as happy as the consequences of her choices made possible. Yet I missed the surviving sub characters of the series end—Devlin Dalcon’s danger and seductiveness, Danial Racklan’s loyalty and cunning, Lash’s impolitically-correct nastiness and brutality and most especially Shaker’s perfect charm and hilarious sense of humor—and wanted them to go on. The Unhallowed Love Series came into being to tell more about Shaker’s view on life and give him a chance for more than just a supporting player. Instead of a Northeast farm or rural setting, I decided that a demon would be more comfortable in a large city where victims were faceless and plentiful, involved with a woman who was the opposite of Sarelle: Debbie Deal, a ruthless, plotting corporate CEO who viewed her film company, Pandora Productions, as the most important thing in her life, and wouldn’t know how to bake cookies any more than she would know how to take care of a pet.
Q: What can we expect in the future?
A: The series will continue in a 4th book, tentatively titled Year of the Siren. I’m also at work making a sequel inspirational book, Deep Breaths II: Tales of Inspiration, and a third short horror story anthology called Under a Setting Sun.
Q: How do you come up with the names of books?
A: A book’s name needs to be intriguing, fit the genre(s) it inhabits, and be as original as possible, to avoid confusion with other stories. Choosing a few words that needs to sum up your entire work is incredibly hard, and so I often operate with a working title, then change it at least once before the book is published…unless I already know the entire plot and have a brilliant stroke of inspiration for a title, which does happen once in a very great while, lol.
Q: Do your characters seem to hijack the story, or do you have the reins of the story?
A: I definitely do not have the reins, I’m along for the ride. When I try to rein in characters, my writing feels forced, like a dressed-up child going to a family event who can’t move well because their fancy outfit coupled with the decree “do not get dirty!” puts on so much restraint that the result is a fake version of the real thing. It’s not interesting for me to write, and it’s not interesting for readers, either. You’ll find no cookie-cutter stories here.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes
A Movie inside a Book becomes its own Novel
Originally in Year of the Demon, I had to come up with several movies for the fictional Pandora Productions to be shooting. This wasn’t very hard, as first series books are easy to write, because there’s no prehistory to have to go through in order to make dates and characters line up regarding to events that happened before the book. I loosely based Smoke Storm on an action hero and added demons to a couple ideas to make the movie ideas Smoke and Ashes, Hell’s Gate, and Tinderbox. For Year of the Demon, I did the same to make Smoke and Ashes II: Out of the Ashes, and Absolution, but to have some fun, I also added in Immortal Confessions, writing the story of my origin of Devlin Dalcon, a vampire who also appears in this series, into the plot. Immortal Confessions was published as a stand-alone full length novel in 2013, so I had plentiful details and it was wickedly enjoyable fun to include Devlin’s manipulation and plotting to make his origin movie a smashing success in Year of the Demon, even as I used a few referenced scenes from his life to show his own acute vulnerability and broken heart. I also brought forth the horror movie Origin of Fear, based on a favorite story of mine of the same title from the Latham’s Landing Anthology, also weaving that into the plot and leading into the next Unhallowed Love sequel.
For Year of the Incubus, I found myself choosing potential movies that were almost all based on previous works. To Smoke and Ashes III: Destiny in the Ashes as the final movie of the trilogy, I added in Hell to Pay based on my short story Spiritwalker plus the aforementioned Origin of Fear. But events in Year of the Incubus called for at least one more movie. So I created a premise under a title I’d liked but had no existing plot for, Dare to Tell. That premise was so compelling for me that I debated making a short story out of it. That plan fell by the wayside until a horrifying nightmare this spring gave me the opening chapter. Yes, chapter, not whole story: what began as a simple idea within an unrelated book has become its own novel. Dare to Tell is close to sixty-thousand words as of today, and only lacks an ending, of which I have an outline. I have a cover picked out and hope to release it by Christmas 2020 as an e-book.
Q: Do you see writing as a career? Any advice for new authors?
A: I chose this question because I get inquiries at least once a year from someone who wants to be a writer and hopes for me to give them a plan to get their work published. I almost always crush their hopes when I tell them of my years and $$$$ trying to find an agent, of spending a year and a half writing short story after short story from my nightmares just to build up a “publishing cred” so that publishers would take me seriously…and they still didn’t. To finally placing an excerpt from my stories and then getting my first novels published. Of going from small press to small press getting anthologies and other novels published only to see those presses go out of business, and then making my own foray into self-publishing, including making covers. Most authors don’t get a lot of money for their work, and it’s not a career, it’s a labor of love, unless you’re a non-fiction author writing technical work. Writing can be a career if you’re an editor with a guaranteed supply of material from a publisher that will ensure you get a reliable paycheck. But I wouldn’t encourage anyone to become a writer.
Q: A day in the life of an author?
A: Wake up. Do morning rituals like have breakfast, dress, and brush teeth. Go to day job, or errands if it’s the weekend. Look for time to write and don’t find any. Have lunch, do more work or more chores, and then dinner. Consider writing but decide instead to watch TV, or sleep, or spend time with family. Sleep. Wake from nightmare about 3:45 am, and fight to both remember it and go to the laptop and write down a synopsis. Finally get out of bed about 4:10 am, get laptop, write synopsis until 6am, then go back to sleep until alarm goes off and it’s time to get up. Think about nightmare in the back of your mind for the day, then try to go home and write a bit more on it later in the evening.
Q: Do you write one project at a time or several? Do you believe in Writer’s Block?
A: I put these two questions together because they intertwine. I usually have going anywhere from 4 projects to 10. This is because of “getting stuck,” which happens easily when you’re writing a series. No one wants to revisit old territory and write something that’s a copy of what went before. If what I’m writing isn’t making me excited enough to want to continue, then I need to stop and work on something else, because I’m not writing anything worthwhile, and I’m going to disappoint readers.
Q: Pen or Type Writer of Computer?”
A: Pen and paper for ideas (remember above, with the nightmares=inspiration?), and always a computer. I need to be able to go back and edit previous parts of the work, or sometimes even shift whole sections around within the book to make the action flow correctly.
Q: As a writer, what is your spirit animal or avatar or mascot?”
A: A fox, of course!