What am I working on?
Technically, four manuscripts at once. I have the next Twisted Tree novels up in the air, as well as a paranormal romance. However, my primary project is a police procedural meets urban fantasy novel with the working title Aim For Blue. The story is told through the journal entries of the main character, a Salish homicide detective who also happens to be an atheistic witch. It incorporates action-adventure, the nuts and bolts of crime investigation, and issues of alienation and othering, set against a modern San Fransisco backdrop.
How does my work differ from others in my genre?
I write darker, more serious works than a lot of what is on offer in urban fantasy. Not that what might be termed bubblegum books are a bad thing! However, I've just never been drawn to that sort of story. I don't believe in being grim for the sake of it, though. I like to see characters succeed, but it's never a clean success. I will always or almost always make a character pay dearly for what they have acquired.
I also make it a point to portray diversity and multiculturalism as much as possible, especially if the character in question is a major protagonist. My work tends towards the genre mash up side of things as well. I have no compunctions about baking up a seven layer story cake and covering it in three kinds of genre frosting.
Why do I write what I do?
Because I feel compelled to. I would venture that most writers feel compelled to write. It's certainly not the desire for fame and fortune that motivates us! I am committed to diversity in my worlds because that's simply how I feel the real world works. The real world has an immense amount of color and depth, and part of that is due to differences. I don't think difference has to be a frightening thing. Rather, it's something to be celebrated. People from minority groups often don't have the luxury of seeing themselves represented in media, so I'm doing my part to change that.
I am also incapable of writing straight nonfiction. If there's no supernatural element, I can't sustain it. I grew up reading Sword and Sorceress (secondary world fantasy short stories) and Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, and I've never turned my back on magic and fantasy even though I now prefer to work with real world settings instead of wholly made up ones.
How does my writing process work?
I open Scrivener and stare at my manuscript while in the grip of existential terror. My writing process is hard. For whatever reason I've never been able to sit down and type away at a fast clip and some days it feels like I have to force every sentence.
Mostly I write in coffee shops because I like the press of humanity and sound. When I'm home it's too easy to get distracted. I need writing to feel like a job that I go to, and I am hopelessly addicted to coffee on top of that.
I often write scenes out of order as they come to me. Scrivener is wonderful if you're that sort of writer, since it has a corkboard function that allows you to easily reorder scenes. I used to be what is commonly called a pantser, i.e. someone who writes by the seat of their pants, with no outline. Now I am learning to love the outline. I write a very basic one in pen with arrows loosely connecting ideas and scenes, but despite its simplicity it does help. I also use Hiveword to create a series bible. That way I don't mess up every one's hair and eye color, or how tall they are, or what powers they have.
Lastly, music is very important and every one of my novels has a playlist.
Introduce the people you are passing this on to
1). Chelsea Gaither
Chelsea writes in a wide variety of genres, including fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. She is a prolific author and gets more self assured and talented with each book.
2). Avery Teoda
Avery is my coauthor for the Twisted Tree world. He loves to write urban fantasy, usually set in or around Arkansas. His initial contribution to our shared world is a novel called The Wicked Instead. It follows the adventurers of two brothers after they escape from a fundamentalist religious upbringing, and details their struggle to adapt to the real world. They gain shamanic powers and learn to travel the world tree.
3). Lily Author
Lily helps moderate one of the best groups on Goodreads, Fringe Fiction. She writes dark contemporary fiction. Check out her book, Eden Fell.