What got you into writing?
I’ve always written creatively and academically. It’s an obsessive reflex I can’t seem to shake. But my recent spate of novel writing began when I spiked a 105 fever during a serious illness in the summer of 2020. Those fever dreams turned into daydreams turned into words on paper turned into spinning paragraphs into new worlds. I have also found such solace in books throughout my life. I felt less alone, less other, less isolated when I was reading. Now that I have the opportunity to write publicly I want to gift that fellowship and companionship to other people. We live in a world that often tells us falsely we are alone. If I can poke holes into the fabric of that lie I’ll have done something I can be proud of. It’s this desire that drove me to write in the beginning and has pushed me forward for so long.
Future goals in the writing world?
Readers encounter and attach themselves to books for so many reasons but there is something timeless in rich stories and complex, realistic characters. I am continually beguiled by my characters and they have become living, breathing, beloved companions to me. I would be delighted to one day find readers who take my characters as seriously as I do. I want to provide an enchanting experience, continue to engage the imagination, and stretch readers’ perceptions and sympathies. If my stories feel like stepping into another world free from life’s many complcations and worries it would bring me so much pride and satisfaction.
One of my highest lifelong goals really involves my artistry. The author Penelope Farmer once received a review declaring her novel Charlotte Sometimes “complex, taut, not a word wrong.” Can you imagine reading a review like that for your own work? It will take consistent practice for me to reach toward that but reach I will.
Finally, I have far too many works in process. I’d love to see them through and continually find readers willing to engage in each and every one. I want to do each story justice and create stories and characters that are believable and authentic to my point of view. If you keep supporting these kinds of novels I’ll keep writing them!
What are your artistic influences?
Thomas Hardy might be the most influential author for my work. Macabre, morose, pastoral, tragic, immersive, romantic. Jude the Obscure is my favorite of his as well as Tess of the D’urbervilles.
Diving Into The Wreck by the poet Adrienne Rich absolutely wrecks me every time I read it. Reading it is like walking into the water and then stepping off a submerged cliff you didn’t rightly know was there. Every last line drops you deeper in.
Penelope Farmer’s young adult novel Charlotte Sometimes is complete canon for me. The concepts in this book written in the 1960s were almost like gazing into a crystal ball and seeing today. Themes like identity, otherness, isolation, feeling trapped in an era that feels nothing like home, being forced to adopt a persona based solely on the expectations of others. I have read this book over and over for the past few decades and it’s a close and constant friend.
LJ Smith’s original Vampire Diaries book series is inextricably linked to my life and identity at a young age and provided a much-needed allegory to the pain and loneliness I felt in that era.
Carmilla by Sheridan LeFanu has haunted me for the past twenty years like a stalking lesbian vampire. It is such a weird, wonderful, salacious, evergreen book.
Lastly Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. Though clearly of its era, it’s such an honest and timeless look at female ambition, restrictive gender norms, and an honest portrayal of sexuality as it was not as it was imagined to be.
Honorable mention to John Jacobs and Tim Reiterman’s non-fiction account titled Raven: The Untold Story of Jim Jones and His People. It has left an indelible impression on me. Breathtaking in its honesty, propelling forward every page, the terror of the final act presaged in every earlier chapter creating a palpable dread, and the experience of watching tragedy and trauma relentlessly unfold in real time truly guts me. It’s the standard to which I hold all journalistic accounts including other favorites like Witches in America by Alex Mar, Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington, and The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven.
Advice for new authors?
My advice for new novelists is to put away your stories and focus only on writing poetry for a few years. Dissect it until words no longer make sense and you deconstruct language into its constituent parts. When you feel the rules of language no longer apply you’re ready to write whatever you like. (I’m only partially joking about the timeline here.) If you can get an entire story across in ten or twenty lines you’re fully set up to write something artistic and substantive in novel-length pieces. Poetry helps you focus on lethal precision and economy of thought. I work on these very qualities years after I studied poetry formally and strive to improve on them daily. Brevity is not a strong suit of mine so it’s an ambitious challenge. I would also say consistency is far more important than word count or any other measure of writing. I write at least a paragraph every day even if it’s garbage or it goes nowhere. Practice honing that writing steel the best you can and the story will follow.
What’s the best way to support your work?
Buying my books from reputable sellers and not purchasing illegally downloaded books is one of the most important things you can do. Leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, et al makes a huge difference in getting my book in the hands of people who might really enjoy it. Following, liking, and sharing my social media profile and posts is so helpful. You can also request my book at your local library so more people can read my work in an ethical, affordable way.
Do you give free books in exchange for reviews?
I do not give away books expressly in exchange for reviews. I have ARC (advanced reader copy) readers I choose to receive a book before release. I reach out to each individually, but they are under no obligation to leave a review of any kind. Occasionally, my books might be offered at discounted pricing for a promotion. I will announce those ahead of time so you can more easily obtain copies.
Do you have a content/trigger warning for Bloodborn?
Yes. Not all books are suitable for all readers. I want you to be well aware of the content before you dive in.
This novel contains content that might be troubling to some readers, including, but not limited to: references to rape, intimate partner violence, and suicide; depictions of mental health treatment, vivid nightmare imagery/hallucinations, cults and cult practices, alcohol and drug use, profanity, blood and blood drinking, gore, knives, bones, and death.
If any of these triggers resonate with you and you need help, please contact one of the organizations below. All is not lost and you are not alone.
RAINN is an organization to support those who have been the victim of sexual violence: https://www.rainn.org/
Lifeline is the National Suicide Prevention hotline for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a resource for victims of intimate partner violence: https://www.thehotline.org/
The Trevor Project provides LGBTQ+ youth with support and crisis services: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
Will there be a sequel for Bloodborn?
Absolutely! You’ll understand why when you get to the final chapter. I had no plans for a sequel until I penned those final words, but here we are.
Is Bloodborn available at my local bookstore?
You can order Bloodborn from any bookstore including Barnes and Noble and Amazon and all your favorite indie booksellers.
Is Bloodborn available in hardcover?
Yes! It is available as a digital book for e-readers, in softcover, and hardcover. Limited signed copies are available on my publisher’s website.
Can I get a personalized, signed copy?
Yes! You can reach out to me directly on the contact page, via social media, and through my publisher. These are only available when time and resources allow.
Is Bloodborn available on Kindle Unlimited (KU)?
I have not published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing so no, it will not be available through KU.
What is Curious Corvid Publishing?
Curious Corvid Publishing is an indie press specializing in Gothic fiction and poetry though they also publish science fiction, dystopian, and other genres. You can find out more info on their website: https://www.curiouscorvidpublishing.com/
How did you choose a publisher?
Querying is a difficult process for everyone. I was able to avoid a lot of pitfalls by doing my homework and zeroing in on exactly what I wanted from day one. I weighed the pros and cons of traditional publishing, vanity publishing, hybrid publishing, indie publishing, and self-publishing and spoke to other writers with experience. Because Bloodborn and my other works-in-progress were niche and unusual and I was adamant about maintaining creative control, I wanted to go with an indie publisher who specialized in weird and dark little works. I love how attentive indie presses can be and how they often have the energy of a startup. I also liked that I have a higher royalty share than in traditional publishing, far more say in how my work appears in the world, and the ability to negotiate and customize my contract. Not every indie press operates in the best interests of their writers, so that homework was essential, too.
What’s the best way to stay up-to-date on your books?
Social media is the easiest and most frequently updated way to stay in touch with me and hear the latest news including release dates, special promotions, call for ARCs, etc.
Who designed the cover of Bloodborn?
Mitch Green of Rad Studio Publishing. He is so talented, easy to work with, and produces the most beautiful covers.
Who took your photographs?
Allebach Photography is my favorite photography studio on the planet. I have had a few photoshoots there and could go on and on about how much I love their work. Mike and Erika specialize in couples boudoir photography as well and are the No. 1 couples boudoir photography studio in the US.