Whoa! It’s been quite a while since I posted on here. Even longer since I provided an update or wrote anything about what’s going on with me. I’d like to start off with an apology. I promise I haven’t abandoned my faithful readers.
For those who still haven’t given up on me and check in once and a while to see what’s new, I’d like to thank you for your patience. Things have been hectic on my end. I recently started down a new career path and it’s taking me some time to adjust to my new work schedule. Due to this, I’m almost ashamed to say that I haven’t been dedicating as many hours in the writing cave as I used to. However, I’m hoping to change that soon. In the meantime, thank you for staying with me and for not totally kicking me to the curb. You rock!
If you haven’t stopped by my Facebook page for any updates (seriously, why haven’t you?) I’m happy to announce that the third installment to the Giver of Life trilogy is due for a January release. The cover reveal should be coming up within the next month or so. But I promise it’s beautiful. Najla always does such fabulous work. If you’re wondering if Brandon Morris will be doing a comeback for the finale—yes! He most definitely is.
So here we are. At the end of this post and so little has been said. What a shame.
I recently participated in an interview for a blog tour for Dissension and I answered quite a bit of questions that I’d like to share with my readers. Because, you know, why not?
If you want to know a little more about me, then by all means, continue reading from this point onward. If not, skip to the end.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I’m an introvert with social anxiety who’s always pushing myself to do things I’m not comfortable with. If it bothers me, I’ll find a way to accomplish it just to see how far I can go.
Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you.
I’ve been confused with a middle school student more than once.
What are some of your pet peeves?
People who talk to me while I’m reading. People who use the streets as their personal trash bins. Getting my socks wet. Noisy neighbors when I’m trying to sleep.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Puerto Rico but was raised in New Jersey. I’ve lived in the island for a few years but moved back to the states when I was 14 and never left.
If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
I’d spend my day surrounded by those I love the most. I’d go out and check as many things on my bucket list as I could before the end of the day.
Who is your hero and why?
I don’t admire just one person. I tend to look up to people who persevere despite all the odds. Something about each of these people inspire me to keep going and never give up.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
Kind. Compassionate. Fair.
What are you passionate about these days?
I’m passionate about many things. Those include doing things I’ve put off for so long. I have many goals in mind and I feel like it’s the right time to accomplish as many of them as I can.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
When I want to unwind after a particularly long day at work or an overall stressful day, I enjoy taking a bubble bath and reading in the tub. Or laying in bed while reading. Sometimes I go for long walks.
How to find time to write as a parent?
I get asked this a lot and I’ll be honest, it isn’t easy. As a working mom, finding time to write is one of my greatest challenges. Most days, I wait until the kids go to bed for the night to take refuge in the writing cave. When the time permits, I try to sneak in an hour or two of writing during the weekends. It all depends on how pact my schedule is and what plans I have for the day.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Introvert. Bookwork. Smart. Shy. Quiet.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I believe the moment I felt like a true writer was when my first book was published. It wasn’t official to me or even real until that moment.
Do you have a favorite movie?
50 First Dates. Everyone looks at me weird when I say that, but there’s something so romantic about a man who goes well out of his way to make the woman he’s head over heels for, fall in love with him every day. It’s my kind of fairy tale.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I’d love to see Deliverance turned into a movie.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
What inspired you to write this book?
Deliverance was born out of a dream I had a little over five years ago. I saw bits and pieces of images and people that I put together in a notebook the morning after. Once all the details were recorded, I began to piece together a much larger puzzle that took me over a year to complete.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on several sequels to other books of mine that have already been published.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
There are a few side stories that might come to light in upcoming books. In book 3, readers will find out more about Kristina and her family.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Deliverance?
Our male lead is a man who has been imprisoned his entire life and utilized as an assassin for the corporation he’s imprisoned by. He was born in the Institute where he has been kept and doesn’t trust people for reasons that are made obvious right off the bat when you begin reading the book. But he’s hiding many layers of secrets.
Kristina is an independent, family oriented young woman who trusts what she knows and what she’s comfortable with. When she meets Tiger, she’s forced to do things that are far from her comfort zone. When these two clash, they’ll have to learn to look past their differences if they want to survive.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
Once I had all the details of the dream sorted out, I began plotting key points of the story that would form a steady pyramid at the end. It wasn’t easy. I wrestled with one concept then found that I wasn’t satisfied with it, so I went back to the drawing board. It took some deep analyzing to finally take the book in the direction I wanted all along.
I knew all along that Tiger wouldn’t be human. At least, not entirely. But it took some weeks of back and forth to finally decide who and what he was to make the story fall into place. The rest came to me naturally once I had the main plot points figured out.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
The names for the main characters of Deliverance I heard in the dream. Initially, I knew that Tiger wouldn’t stay Tiger for the entire first book, but it was the nickname I heard used in my dream, so I went with it. I knew I could give him another name later, so it didn’t matter all that much.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Bringing the story to life. Giving realism to Tiger specifically, as he was the most complicated character to write about due to his complex background and upbringing. I knew from the start that getting readers to sympathize with a man who was raised as a killer wasn’t going to be an easy feat. But that was part of the challenge I took on from the start, and I highly enjoyed bringing a side of him to light that not many were expecting.
It was fun. And as his character continues to evolve, I find myself immersing myself in his development even more than I did in the beginning.
Tell us about your main characters. What makes them tick?
Tiger hates injustice.
Kristina has a hard time going past her comfort zone.
Who designed your book covers?
The wonderful Najla Qamber at http://www.najlaqamberdesigns.com/
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m happy and very satisfied with the way Deliverance and Dissension turned out. I wouldn’t change a thing about either book.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, there’s no such thing as too much research. Facts are very important when using real locations or historical.
How did you come up with name of this book?
I wanted a title that would convey what the story was about and had a special meaning without giving too much away. Deliverance fit perfectly.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Tiger. I’d love to spend a day and teach him things he’d never seen or heard before and see the look of amazement on his face as he gobbles up new information.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
These particular characters are entirely a product of my imagination. It isn’t rare for me to base some characters on real people, but those in Deliverance were not.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Sometimes my characters hijack the story and lead it in a different path than what I intended. The Giver of Life is a prime example of that. However, with Deliverance, I was in control. Most of the time. There were some scenes where either Kristina or Tiger took over, but it was never for long.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes, I do, and I honestly don’t know if they will ever be published. Some books I wrote were back when I first started writing and wasn’t very good at it. I’ve improved quite a bit since then, but still have so much to learn. Perhaps when I get to a point where I feel like I’m an amazing writer—if that day ever comes—then I’ll give them another go and rewrite them before seeing about getting them published. For now, they just sit in my USB, waiting to get a home.
What did you edit out of this book?
Originally, I entertained the idea of making Deliverance the first book in a saga or a series. But as I made progress with the story, I realized that I preferred to leave readers with the option as to whether they wanted to continue reading more of Tiger and Kristina or not. So, I rewrote the ending so that it didn’t end in a cliffhanger. For those who enjoy the book and want to stop there, they most certainly can. But if they want to know what happens next, they can pick up Dissension and the following installments.
How long have you been writing?
Going on six years now.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Some I come up with ahead of starting the book. Others come as I’m already invested in the story. I guess it really depends on how much I’ve outlined or plotted to begin with and what direction the book goes once it’s started.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I do read. I try to read at least 3-4 books per month depending on how much free time I have. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. But my favorite genres to read are paranormal, thrillers, horror, romance, historical romance, some fantasy, and dystopian.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I always have music on when I’m writing. I can’t concentrate as well when it’s quiet as opposed when music is blasting via my headphones.
What are you currently reading?
Beyond Night by Eric S. Brown.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Originality is what I strive for. I’m not entirely sure if I always accomplish this goal, but I try. Lately, I ask myself often if I should write what readers expect of me or go deeper into what I want the story to be. I had this issue with the Giver of Life trilogy and it almost made me scratch book 2 and 3 altogether and forget about them. I wanted to write books that didn’t fall into the norm, so to speak. Where if there was more than one love interest, it didn’t end how readers anticipated it would, but rather take some different twists and turns instead. Because life is full of twists and turns. Nothing is ever as you expect them to be and with that series, I hoped to convey that message clearly. Book 2 has gotten mixed reviews so I’m unsure if I delivered the message correctly or not. I’ll just have to have and see what readers will think of book 3 when it comes out in January.
If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
Write as much as you can. Read. Read. And read some more. Do your research thoroughly. Keep going. Don’t stop. Try your hardest. Inform yourself.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Getting into the right mindset. As a woman, it’s easy to come up with how a woman might think depending on her personality and beliefs, but it’s harder to do for a man. At least, for me it is. I try to separate the woman in me from the male I come up with in a book.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It depends on how complicated the story is and how much free time I have on my hands. Deliverance and Dissension took me about a year to write on and off. The Giver of Life trilogy took me several months per book.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. When I’m stressed, overworked, or too tired I can’t come up with anything new. It makes it difficult for me to focus on writing and feels more like a chore when there’s nothing blooming. I try to counterattack writer’s block sometimes by concentrating on other tasks, unwinding, or going on for long walks. On occasions, it works. Others, it doesn’t.
There, I put myself on the spot so I hope you enjoyed either the interview or stalking me. Whichever makes you happy. I don’t mind. As always, it was a pleasure to share a little bit of my soul with my readers.
Thank you for stopping by and hanging out!