1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.  With the exception of the setting for Endless Numbered Days, which is quite real, I have since created my own settings even if they are loosely based on places I really know. To date the fictional place I love the most is Rust, Montana, where A Crooked Mile takes place. Though I leave that town, and the state of Montana as a whole, behind in book #2 I still love what I created there. Also without a doubt Crooked is my favorite writing project to date, because what I felt while writing that was so raw and real. It wasn’t written for fun or pleasure, it was written out of necessity to get out a lot of emotions I was harboring.

2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?  Oh, wow. Currently I’m working on several different projects featuring about nine main characters between them and a whole host of secondary characters. I never tend to have more than one-two true mc’s per story, because I feel like I’m spreading myself too thin otherwise. I do love making up the quirky,

3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)? I tend to just pick names that I like, or names that specifically mean something within the story if need be. Normally though I just like them, and I’ve almost always heard them used somehow in my day-to-day life. Whether I read them in other books, heard them on television, or know people who had those names too. I don’t really have a specific way of picking a name.

4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters! Ah, well, we would have to dig way back into the Lexicon for some of this but the one that comes to mind is Augustine/Augusten. I have written Augs in many forms, both male and family, in different incarnations and in different ways. They are a character I have worked with many times over, specifically with one of my favorite writing partners and best friends to bounce off of, but I highly doubt that Augs will ever be enjoyed by the world at large. They’re just for me! I would say though that is definitely one of the first original characters I really poured my heart and soul into.

5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them? Well, by virtue of just where he lands in the timeline off and on, I’d have to say Bryson. In one of the stories I’m writing now he is currently about 13, but he’s never been older than 18. I’m not sure who the oldest is, but probably Hemingway. He appears in Crimson, and he’s getting up there in age although I specifically don’t have a number to apply to him.

As far as creation goes, with all the things I’m working on at present and what I have published, Jack Meadowes is the oldest of the group by far, followed by Hemingway. They’ve both been around in some incarnation for well over ten years, and while I have older characters I’m not actively doing projects involving them. For example Augs was created about 14 years ago.

6. Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol’ pen and paper? I can write anywhere that’s relatively quiet. I can’t think well with a lot of noise going on, specifically noise created by other people. I usually get in some scribbles at work between customers when it’s quiet and I have nothing else to do, and late at night if I can afford to stay up. I typically write via computer, but now and then I scribble out some stuff on paper or make notes by hand.

7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters? I love music, but I can’t focus well if it’s playing when I’m trying to concentrate hard. I do, however, turn to music for inspiration. I’ll make playlists for what I’m working on and play it to get into the mood, or I’ll use it to try and block a scene if characters are listening along or doing things like dancing. More or less it’s used for inspirational purposes, and I utilize it well.

8. What’s your favorite genre to write? To read? To write: young adult fiction across the board. Contemporary is probably my favorite, but I also love a host of other genres as well though I feel less good at them. To read is just about anything! I love YA fiction, middle grades fiction, some adult fiction, high fantasy, dystopian, memoir….the list goes on!

9. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them. I wish I had a more interesting answer for this, but here is the honest one: they just come to me. I’m not making that up, I’m not lying about it. It will just sort of hit me out of nowhere and then I flesh them out based on what comes to me. Sometimes I get the character in my head first and build the story around them, other times I get the location (which is what happened with A Crooked Mile) and my beautiful characters came later. I have never in my life sat down and tried to build a character out of absolutely nothing, not even in RPG scenarios. I get the idea first, and then I build it. Not the other way around, and it never has been like that for me.

10. What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts! I would definitely say that falling in with a pack of secretive werewolves is pretty high on the list of weird situations.

11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite? Alec Davis and Ramona Sanders are my two favorites right now, hands down. Everything I have written with either of them has come out so well and so smoothly, and it’s just like their stories are ingrained in my head already. Creating them was easy, writing them was easy, the process was just perfect for a change. My least favorite right now is probably Riley Ironwood, who I m still in the process of figuring out.

12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of world building? Any side-notes on it you’d like to share? A Crooked Mile for sure. I already sort of explained that though, that it’s the place I’ve created that I love the most. I love the town, the setting, the people that exist within in it. It’s not exactly super intensive world building, but I love it anyway.

13. What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not? I have a hard time writing other cultures, primarily out of fear. I don’t want to mess up, or do something that might offend people. That would make me feel awful, and I would never do it intentionally. Research helps, of course, but it doesn’t always make for being good at writing what you don’t know or live yourself. I love reading about diverse characters, but I guess I stick to the culture that I know well which is….well, white nerd culture. I can’t and won’t lie.

14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us? Sometimes I draw maps for myself, but mostly I just write it out in a way that I can personally understand. I’d show you, but then I’d have to kill you.

15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not! Maggie Stiefvater is my idol! I love the way she writes, builds worlds, and her characters are just superb. She is just a wonderful creator, and her books just speak to me on a level that most do not.

16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing? 😉 I do, yes. Though let me emphasize that romantic relationships are nice in books, but they don’t have to be the most prominent relationship or even be there at all. It takes all kinds of relationships to make the world go-round, and while I do usually include them to some degree in my writing, they aren’t necessary. Actually two of my in-progress stories don’t feature romantic relationships at all.

17. Favorite protagonist and why! Alec, without question. Writing his story, all his faults and flaws, just really brought him to the surface for me. He’s parts of me on the page, in a way that’s different from how Ramona is, and we share quite a lot of those same faults and flaws in common.

18. Favorite antagonist and why! Avery from A Different Shade of Blue. He’s an antagonist, but one you grow to love and see in a different way.

19. Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why! Bryson, Alec’s younger brother! He was never meant to be more than someone in the background, but he became SO important to the story and was so easy to love that he got his own sequel novel!

20. What are your favorite character interactions to write? There are just so many! Ramona/Alec, Ramona/Bryson, Bryson/Avery, Bryson/Colleen, Riley/Julian, Riley/Scout, Aidan/Tilly(his dog), Cooper/Kristopher…you get the picture here. I like them all!

21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them? They don’t, because the only one who I consider old enough to be a parent is Cooper, and he’s busy defending a library from mayhem. The rest are entirely too immature for that business.

22. Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not. The ending to A Crooked Mile was almost entirely different. Originally Alec was living on the coast, and contacted Ramona after she was enrolled in college. Once you read the book when it’s available, this will become a very clear BIG change.

23. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)? Well, let’s see here. If I sit down and write every single day with the amount of vigor I am capable of, I can finish the writing process in about 10 days. I finished my last two novels much quicker than that, but that’s the first draft. Then I self edit, which can take awhile, because I hate it, and then I get someone else to edit it too and I make more corrections. Over all it took me about a year to finish Crooked, edit it thrice, and then start sending it to publishers. Which is slow, but if I self publish it will be much faster. A couple of months from the time I finish probably to publication.

24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone? I am ready and willing and have no fear of it. I killed off one of my two main characters in my very first novel, do you think I’m afraid of this? Because I’m not. Someone doesn’t die in ALL my books, but hey, they do in a few of them. I wouldn’t call any of the ways “interesting” since they’re mostly depressing. Though in one of my new ones someone gets killed while shifted as a werewolf. So, you know, that’s a thing.

25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them. They do! Alec and Bryson have a German Shepherd, Ronan, named after my own GSD. Aidan Driscoll has a beagle named Tilly, named after a beagle I had for years, and I think that might be it. I haven’t written any other specific pets lately.

26. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!I’m a garbage artist, but some of my friends have drawn my characters and I LOVE IT!

27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters. To a degree they do, of course, because people need to know what the characters they’re reading look like to a degree. I don’t go super crazy and describe every scar and birthmark unless necessary, but I like to give some of the more important details. I just sort of dream up a look that fits their personality in my head, so I can “see” who I’m writing about. I’m also short, so you see a lot of tall people in my books. I want to be tall, but since I can’t be I force it upon them.

28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones. I have, yes. Alec suffers from severe depression and anxiety, and that’s a core part of who he is as a character. I have thought recently about a story featuring a character with a physical disability, though I want to do a lot of research before I go down that avenue.

29. How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters? A lot. Not all the time, but quite often. I’ll think up something and scribble it down, or get the urge to sit and just write for a good long while. I come across things all the time in real life that remind me of my characters, and it’s always so much fun!

30. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his characters! I have so many fellow writers who should do this on their blogs! You’re all beautiful writers who create wonderful things, so do it!

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