1. Have you always enjoyed writing poetry?
I’ve always been drawn to writing some things in verse. A Dr. Seuss influence I’m sure. I actually see “poetry” as something different, I defer to real poets on that topic. I respect what they do, but frankly, I don’t read poetry all that much. That said, writing stories in verse has unique challenges that I do enjoy: the economy of words without sacrificing plot or meaning being one of the big ones. Also fun is making sure the meter is solid (by reading aloud!) and eliminating any rhymes that readers will see as forced.
2. Did it take long to come up with new ideas for classic fairy tales?
Each story was written during a semi-focused couple of months, but those months were stretched out over a decade! I had the 8th Dwarf story for years, waiting to release it as a follow-up to a bigger project that never materialized. So I finally decided to publish it myself and write a second story. Both those (8 and Penny) were first available as individual eBooks.
The rough sketch ideas for each came relatively quickly. My background in licensed merchandise has me always start with character. Then plot follows close behind. Characters’ actions and reactions move a story, and what characters do is a function of who they are, so getting to know them first makes the most sense for me.
3. When you’re writing do you have a specific reader in mind?
Just a demographic, actually. TaleSpins is meant for a tween/teen YA reader (which we know is a genre that’s also popular with adults). I like the fact that it’s not a children’s book, but if children read it, they’ll find nothing inappropriate. The aging up is really just based on theme and vocabulary.
4. Has writing and being an author always been a dream of yours?
Not at first. I went to college as an Economics major and had a very different (albeit quite blurry) vision of my future. When I graduated, I had switched to English and went on to get an MFA in Creative Writing. So by then, yes, writing was the goal and the dream.
5. What advice would you give for aspiring authors?
Meeting face to face with your local, independent bookstore owner (even if he or she is a town or two away) and setting up a reading/signing event that draws eight people (six of whom are friends of yours whom you bribed to come!) is exponentially better than paying a “service” to tweet your book’s logline to their “12K Followers.”