April 6, 2016
Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from? A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?
The mythology and side effects of the Hamrammr (Futuristic Supersoldiers) in Waking Jamal were inspired by a couple of things. Back in the 90s there was a television show about a cop with supersenses. I was in college at the time and too busy and too broke for television but ten years later I discovered the show through fanfiction. My go-to fanfic author wrote both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Sentinel. Talk about cult following! It was a good show but the fanfiction took the cannon to a whole other level.
Yet, just like with a lot of books where characters have superpowers, I always felt the advantage and disadvantages were too one side. So I did a ton of mythology research and focused on Norse legends to build the story world. So the book is also inspired by those Norse legends of Beserkers.
If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snowstorm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?
I purposely strand myself without power and internet as often as my schedule will allow, about three or four times a year. I head up to my Uncle Ray’s cabin in the backwoods of Idaho. We’re talking humping in your own water, an outhouse, kerosene lanterns, and no cell phone towers. There is something very freeing about being “away from it all.” For me, books are like food. Some are soul food, I feel warm and sated after reading, and others are more cotton candy. Now and then I get on a health kick and read a ton of non-fiction. I try to make sure I have a bit of each when I head to the cabin. Since Ray doesn’t have electricity, I pack at least one hard copy book and the rest are on my fully charged tablet.
How early in your life did you begin writing?
Early, ha. That is funny. I didn’t start writing until I was done with college and married. At least nothing outside of homework assignments. At the time I wanted to have a career that would allow me to be a stay-at-home mom. I had a really misguided view of what it took to be a mom and a writer. After a seven year learning curve I went back to work full time and then published two years later. Waking Jamal is my fourth published novel and I have three novellas and a short story as well.
Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?
I read romance novels, tawdry and vivid Avon Romances, as early as 11 years old. I had serious struggles reading until then, being in remedial tutoring and everything. So not the best example of reading early. However, when my kids were younger I read to them each day before nap and bedtime. They loved “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman and everything by Sandra Boynton. Just before they grew out of it, we read chapter books like Harry Potter together. Now we discuss character motivation and plotting issues when we watch movies and television together. 1.15, our oldest, loves reading about history and mysteries. 2.12, our youngest, is into YA Rom Cons.