Family Secrets is a young adult, coming of age with a magical twist. Sophia moves to Illinois and her whole life is turned upside down. She meets family she never knew she had and finds out she comes from a long line of witches. She deals with family issues, meeting new friends and a cute boy at school, all while studying to pass her initiation.
How did you come up with the idea for Family Secrets?
Believe it or not, Family Secrets came to me in one sitting. We’d just formed the Rebel Writers and NaNoWriMo was about to start, so I decided to sit down to plot out a book. I locked myself in my bedroom and just put pen to paper. It took a couple hours, but when I was done I had a very basic idea of what would happen in Family Secrets.
You’ve mentioned the Rebel Writers. Who are they and how have they influenced you?
The Rebel Writers is my writing group. We met as fans of indie author Rachel Higginson, who I love, and we all decided we’d write our first books together. They are amazing women and talented authors. If not for them, I never would have finished my first book, let alone have other books in the pipeline. We got so lucky. They are my best friends and my sisters. Cheesy, I know!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
You have to get out there and mingle with the blogging/writing/reading world. Join discussion groups, follow Facebook pages, and put yourself out there. It can be time consuming, time you may want to spend writing, but you can meet some amazing people. And then, keep going. Don’t stop writing or reading. If possible, find yourself a good writing group to help keep you sane. They will understand what you’re going through and can support you in ways even your best friends and family cannot.
Why do you like writing YA books?
I know I’m generalizing here, but for teens, everything is new or fresh, like the tingles of first love and the devastation of first heartbreak. All of the emotions are felt so keenly and powerfully. It seems like they experience things on a grander scale and I enjoy delving into those emotions when writing.
Where do you usually find yourself writing?
Anywhere I can. I’m a mom with a full time job and a son who plays three sports. I try to get writing in while I’m at work, on my lunches and my breaks. Plus, I’ve been known to pull out my laptop at basketball practice or dentist appointments, anywhere I can get some words in.
Is there a character that has taken a completely different turn than you originally planned for it? Characters that you discarded and wrote out or became more important than you planned?
I’ve often heard authors say that the characters speak to them or take over a story but I’d never really seen it in action until Ellen. She’s the cook at Sophia’s new home and like the maids, was meant to be more of a background character. As I wrote her, she demanded a much larger role and ended up being a pretty important person to Sophia.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I do! I’m halfway finished with book two in the Secret Societies collection. Deadly Secrets is a continuation of Sophia’s story and I plan on releasing in July or early August of this year. I also have the first chapter of a novella about Sophia’s parents up on the site, Literrater. I’d like to have it published by the end of the year.
The Secret Societies collection will continue after that but will tell the story of a different paranormal group and since they all live in the same area, the stories will intertwine. For example, people in Deadly Secrets will show up in later books. My goal is that each set can stand alone as a series, but you can read them all in order to fully understand what is going on with these groups and the relationships between them. The first set, Secrets, focuses on Sophia and the witches, and will consist of two full length novels and one novella.
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