Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I was always really good at creating stories and writing, but becoming an actual writer never crossed my mind. It seems as though everyone in my life knew the path that I was going to take before I ever did. What I really always had an obsession with was film/television. I thought when I was younger that I wanted to be an actress because those were the people I saw on screen. When I was old enough to realize that the actors didn’t actually write the script or make the films and that there are people behind the camera, I knew that I never wanted to be an actress at all, but I wanted to actually make films and television shows. I wanted to create them. The writing part always came easy and I enjoy doing it. But I would never ever call myself a writer. I create stories and I’m an author but calling me a writer doesn’t really feel right.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Oh wow! Talk about a journey. My first novel is part of a series called the DOME trilogy, and it took FOREVER to get it out to the masses. I originally came up with this idea in 2007 but didn’t really do anything with it. I’m absolutely in LOVE with the alien concept and I love sci-fi and fantasy. I thought about all the movies and television shows that I’ve seen in my life and realized that aliens are either friendly, or they invade the Earth trying to kill us all, or they abduct people and do experiments. I’ve never seen or read anything that had the Earth being destroyed and humans being forced to live out their lives on an alien planet. I thought it was a great idea at the time but I still hadn’t done anything with it. A year later, it crossed my mind again. I said to myself that I couldn’t allow another person to think this up and put it out for the world to see without people knowing that there is a NOVA sparks that exists in the world. With that going through my head, I decided to write it down. I wrote a brief treatment for a television show and outlined the first three seasons as well as the character profiles. I had so much fun with it. Once I had that done, I decided that there was no way I was going to be satisfied until my show was on HBO. I didn’t want any other network but HBO and I refused to settle for anything else. Of course that didn’t work out, but I was advised to put my idea out to the masses in another way to see if people would be receptive to the idea. I took on the challenge. In 2009 I rewrote the treatment and turned it into my first book which was pretty easy because I was unemployed. But I couldn’t stop there. I expanded it until it became a series of books that I am so proud of. In 2011 I published it for the world as an ARC just to see what people would say about it. To my surprise, everyone seemed to love it! I ran with it. I unpublished it and completely revamped it, getting professional editing/formatting and getting the best damn cover I’ve ever seen in my life. Now it’s available in its final format and it is flying off the shelves (so to speak). My dream still stands. This will be on television one day!
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I am a Teacher’s Assistant working at a charter school in the Bronx of NYC. I’ve worked with children all my life and I love it. Is it my calling? No. But my job affords me the opportunity to do the things I need to do to make my DOME series successful. Also I get summers off and that is AWESOME!
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My first novel is called the DOME and it is the first book in the DOME trilogy. If I had to summarize it in less than 20 words this is what I would say:
2 characters. 2 stories. 1 mission. Find out why the aliens took them and what their plans are.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I am self-published and I think it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. I have complete freedom to do what I want and put this story out there the way I originally wrote it without having to worry about someone telling me the direction I should be going with something that I created. We really take creative freedom for granted sometimes. On the quest to be traditionally published, I had no idea what I would be giving up. I’m very unknown so it wouldn’t have been as if the world already knew my story and it would be taboo to change anything. I know for a fact that I would’ve went into these “big wig” meetings with these publishing houses and had my book ripped to shreds based on what they think people want to read. No thank you! I stand by everything I do. The trade-off is big, of course. I have to do EVERYTHING on my own whereas a publishing house takes care of a lot of the work. That doesn’t matter to me. My dream is bigger than my obstacles so the facts don’t matter to me at all.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
The funny thing is, the outline of the book always takes the LONGEST amount of time, yet all my outlines are usually a paragraph long. It’s hilarious. The actual writing of the book takes about a month or two. I have no idea why this is. I guess it’s because my outlines only have the most important details of my story and I save the other details for when I’m actually writing. That stuff just flies out of my head on an impulse.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’m definitely going to put out this entire series. My hope is that the series will be available in full by New Years. That’s my hope and I’m going to try hard as ever to make that a reality. As far as other books, I don’t know. I never really thought I’d be writing books. I have a whole lot of teleplays and screenplays written and a whole bunch in the limbo stage so I hope the next journey for me will be creating TV shows and Films. That would be a dream!
What genre would you place your books into?
Definitely, sci-fi urban fantasy romance. I just love the way that sounds. It is definitely sci-fi and fantasy, but the romance factor is the part that really makes this book. I love it and I hope you guys love it, too.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I never really saw myself writing anything else as my introductory piece of work. I grew up on sci-fi. That’s all I would watch when I was younger. Literally! My imagination has been fed by the world of science fiction. Of course I am interested in a multitude of genres, many of them I will definitely venture into, but I feel that I would’ve been doing something wrong if sci-fi wasn’t the first genre of books that I published. That’s my life!
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
My favorite character is definitely Sam. He is one of the two main characters in the story and is the father of the other main character, Emma. The story has alternating points-of-view and Sam had to have been the most fun to write. For starters, I am a woman in my twenties and he is a man in his late thirties. You can imagine how difficult it was for me to get into the mind of a man let alone the mind of a man of that age who had to go through as many things as he’s gone through. But that is what made it fun. I wanted to challenge myself and his parts of the story were definitely challenging. I also had fun writing his character profile. He is a man in his late thirties from a small town in Colorado. He has a wife and a rebellious daughter and a mistress on the side. He pretends he works late just so he won’t have to go home and deal with the boringness of his life…but then all that changes in an instant. He always yearned for a change and he gets exactly what he always wanted and then more. Be careful what you wish for is a hell of an understatement. I really enjoyed creating his journey from being a man who never really took any responsibility for his life or the life of those around him, to him being forced to become a hero.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Most of the time, I get my best writing done when there is a lot of commotion going on. I like to have the TV on and music playing. The music always changes depending on what scene I’m writing. When things are busy around me, it keeps me busy. It makes sense to me.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Hell yeah! I read every single piece of anything that is put out there about me or my books. Why not? Who am I to keep going on in this journey without wondering or caring what the world is thinking about my work? Why bother continuing? I like to know that people love what I’m doing, but more importantly, I LOVE to know what people hate about my work. That is the fuel to my fire. I need to know what people don’t like so that I can decide whether or not it’s worth it to keep doing it. I like that most people don’t like the behavior of the teenaged girl in my book. I like that the things I write makes some people’s skin crawl. That makes me so happy. On the other hand, I need to know if I’m making some major career mistakes. I need to know that now before I move on. Making people uncomfortable is my life’s mission. Why create anything that will always fit into every person’s idea of normal? That’s impossible to do, anyway. You can’t make everyone happy and that is why it doesn’t bother me the way it bothers other people when I get a review that rips my book to shreds. As popular as Harry Potter is, there are millions of people that can’t stand the series. That didn’t stop it from becoming as successful as it has.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I actually chose the title first. The series was originally called, the DOME project, but that got so typical and like a dead giveaway after a while, so I just dropped the project and left it as the DOME. It just rolls off the tongue.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
The character names actually came from the actors I wanted to play them when I started writing my treatment for HBO. I wanted the network to know exactly who I pictured when I created the characters. The names weren’t meant to stay. They were open to change but after a while, they just stuck. Sam, one of the main characters, was based off the look of Sam Worthington (before Avatar). Emma, the other main character, was based off of Emma Stone. Kristin, Emma’s mom and Sam’s wife, was based off of Kristin Davis from Sex and the City (Charlotte). As far as the place they are from, it’s kind of funny. I have this unexplainable obsession with Colorado. I’ve never been there in my life. I just feel like there is something there. All of my books are based in Colorado. I didn’t even realize it until recently. I have this whole vision in my head about it. I know exactly what it smells like and how the air feels. I feel like I know everything about this place. But I know one thing for sure. I’m not going to go there. That’s my special place that will always live in my head and I want to keep this imagination alive and not tarnish it with the reality.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Character traits definitely happen beforehand. I wouldn’t be able to write the book if I didn’t have that down before I started. How would I know how my character will react to a certain situation if I’m not sure who they are yet? Character traits decide way too much to have that happen while I’m writing. My dialogue is heavily dependant on character traits and my book has some heavy dialogue. My book is also written in first person narrative so having the character traits down is a must. The whole book is personality, personality, personality.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
There is definitely a really BIG message in this book for the human race. I don’t want to mention it now without giving away the entire series. It’s kind of impossible to do that. But what I will say is that the purpose of this series is to turn the reality of humanity upside down and put a giant mirror in front of us. It’s hard to see what we are doing wrong until it’s done to us.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
A couple of years ago, I would’ve said eBook hands down. But now that my book is in paperback, I really love physical book copies. The feel of the book in your hand and the ability to turn the page is just euphoric. You sort of take that for granted when you’re forced to push a button to move on in a story or turning on your ereader and it is automatically set to where you left off as opposed to picking up the book and finding where you are now and seeing how far you’ve come by noticing the majority of the pages are on the left and only a few pages on the right.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
I would have to say that sometimes the movie is better than the book. DON’T SHOOT ME! But I said SOMETIMES! LOL! But no seriously, my favorite book is I am Legend and the latest movie (not the ones before it) with Will Smith was so much better than the book. I liked that the vampires were turned into…whatever the hell those things were. It really modernized the story very well.
Your favorite food is?
Your favorite singer/group is?
I don’t have a favorite. The others will get jealous, I’m sure.
Your favorite color is?
Black and Earth tones.
Your favorite Author is?
I can’t even think of one.
I am a Writer. I am the Founder of NOVA sparks productions! NOVA sparks productions is a company that produces intellectual property in the form of novels, screenplays, teleplays, original music (including songwriting/music composition), and video/web-based promotional content.