1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Well, I was a lonely kid, and like most lonely kids growing up in the 70s and 80s, I read a lot and watched a disgusting amount of television and movies. So, my mind was always focused on how stories unfold. I also had geeky, well-educated parents who knew things about storytelling and myth. They would point out things like foreshadowing and symbolism in stories that made me incredibly curious to find out more. Strangely, I started off my creative life in the theatre and did a lot of acting from the age of twelve to the age of about thirty. Even though I might not ever act again, the theatre gave me a great background in character development and scene building.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
I was in England in 2003 and one of the places I visited was Bath. In the circus, (I’ve attached a link to a Wikipedia image for your reference), there is a beautiful grassy area and a very small copse of trees. Apparently, the architect who designed it believed Bath was the center of druid activity and designed the King’s Circus with the measurements of Stonehenge in mind. After visiting the Jane Austen House in the morning, I had a little picnic snack under those trees and I communed with the trees and, I think, druids. I conceptualized a ghost story that involved a body snatching element. This initial idea took a little time to marinate, and I wrote some ideas out that never came to be. Ultimately, it became This Pale Mortal Shell.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
There are two takeaways I hope will come across. The first being, don’t take anything for granted. It can be snatched away from you at any moment, and even if you get a second chance, you might still lose it. Live in the moment and make the most of what you’ve got! The second is, I hope readers understand my view on right action, especially when you’re using magic. I’m afraid to say too much here without spoiling it for future readers, but I’ll always advise people to be careful with the power they yield!
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
One thing was that when I was a kid, there was not a lot in the way of kids’ books and there was absolutely no YA, so I had read everything there was to read by the time I was ten, and I graduated to adult fiction. I think my mom was just glad that I was reading voraciously, so she didn’t monitor the material much. I started reading a lot of ghost stories and Edgar Allen Poe. Then I graduated to Stephen King when I was about eleven. I guess you could say I was kind of a dark kid. There were also things happening in my personal life that drew me to the paranormal and magic. In addition, I was the kind of kid who often paired off my plush toys and dolls because I didn’t want anyone to be alone, so I guess I was a romantic kid as well. I started reading paranormal romance a lot after I had the idea for This Pale Mortal Shell just to get a sense of what was out there, and I absolutely fell in love with the genre. Up until then, I had only experimented with historical fiction/romance.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I’m actually really having a hard time answering that one because there will be major spoilers! So, I don’t know if you have a protocol for dealing with that. The character that was probably the hardest to write is represented in three different characters in the story. The Young Rocker, the Goddess, and the Omnipresent Voice in Tristan’s limbo are all representatives of what I like to call the Universal Consciousness and boy do I have some questions for that one! One would be “Do people really get what’s coming to them, good or bad?” “Does everything really happen for a reason?” is another question. I like to believe that the answer to both of those questions is yes, but I’m often uncertain when really crappy things happen to undeserving people and vice versa. I won’t get all political as a writer yet, but I think you all can imagine what I mean.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
To be honest, I’m still feeling my way around the social media world. I’m what some people might call a digital immigrant, which is a person who uses technology but wasn’t born into it. I have been playing around with the biggies, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but I’m also working on my profiles on Goodreads and Amazon. At the moment, I’m getting a lot more feedback/connections on Twitter, and I like it a lot. I do sometimes hate being limited to 280 characters, though!
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
First and foremost, you must do two things pretty much every day, even you only spend an hour a day doing them: Read and write! And persevere! Not many writers are amazing right out of the gate. I think Mark Twain was one of the few, so be ready to kill your darlings and take the hard feedback when you get it. But also, stick to your guns if you really believe you are right and it’s not just your ego talking. You should also believe that you can get better every day and tell the story that people want to read if you keep working at it.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I’m so glad you asked! I have the first in a series coming out this fall. The series is called The Selkie Chronicles, and the first of the series is called Only Skin Deep.
Here’s a little teaser for that series:
The selkie. Those hot-blooded, sea-dwelling creatures on which the phrase “love ‘em and leave ‘em” was coined. Unfortunately, in the twenty-first century, they’re not so focused on the seduction of unwitting but oh-so-willing humans even though it sure is fun once in a while. These days, they spend more time building up their own societies and domains and living within the constraints of their politics. Very few people even remember they exist, and a select few humans have been chosen for mutually beneficial partnerships to protect the selkie race from discovery. Occasionally, these relationships have tragic outcomes, but every once upon a time, the right human and the right selkie can set each other free.
And the blurb for the first of the series:
Sloane’s finally met her tall, dark, and handsome. The only problem is, sometimes he’s chubby, spotty, and smells of herring. But hey, nobody’s perfect, right?
Sloane is a disowned heiress turned waitress living in a small seaside town in west Scotland. Llyr is a selkie prince living in a kingdom thousands of feet under the sea and hundreds of miles away. It seems unlikely that the two could even meet let alone fall in love. But when she inadvertently calls him, he is able to take human form and journey to the surface.
Sloane and Llyr must battle disapproving fathers, wicked stepmothers and other deadly enemies to make their relationship work. Along the way they discover secret treasure, unravel the truth about the past, and overcome the sins of a father and a mother. Against all odds, they find a way to bridge the gap between humans and selkies, and together they break the ancient curse which threatens to keep them apart.
And I also have a YouTube channel though it’s pretty thin at the moment. I like to have soundtracks for my novels which are in the playlists I have there. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC60_6pemqWIY3unPyAGgaTQ?view_as=subscriber