I was nominated* for this award by Petra Jacob who is one of my favorite indie authors. She has three books published currently (from what I can see on Goodreads, so don’t quote me!): Peddling Doomsday, Riddled With Senses, and Supernice: Smile. Or Else., but we should all entreat the word gods that she’s not going to stop there. Not a one is even in the same genre as the other, which is a feat most authors only dream of. I managed to respond to this nomination before it hit a year old, so now I’m going to answer her questions.
Do your dreams ever give you inspiration for stories? If so can you describe one that has?
Yes…? I know they have, but I’ll need to ponder one that did so. Oh! I can check my story idea notes…yeah, I got nothing. It’s one of those “I know it happened, but I can’t remember the details.” Silly brain.
Do you feel comfortable writing characters of other races/ genders or with extreme experiences you’ve never had? What are your no go areas for characters?
Weeelllll since I’m Black I’m comfortable writing white characters since that’s the dominant culture lol. I’m less so with other marginalized groups so if I did so, I’d do some research and hire some consultants, which is what I’m planning to do with my WIP in regards to gender. I have written about extreme experiences I’ve never (thankfully) had such as in The Broken Rose, where I write about the aftermath and healing after horrific sexual assault along with other abuses. I remember seeing on Twitter (or some other place) that if you’re going to write about a group you’re not in, don’t write about their trauma, because you’re not going to do it well. So if I write about trans characters; I shouldn’t write about trans trauma, because that’s not my wheelhouse. There are also not nearly enough stories that just have trans characters existing. Of course this world is traumatic for them, but what the hell is the point of writing if we can’t put people in worlds that don’t suck at least in that way? I also could never write an MC I didn’t respect. I’m not going to be a devil’s advocate for a rapist *blargh*
Have you ever written anything that you wouldn’t write now? What was it and what’s changed?
Oh god yes. In my first novel I wrote about a group that was my interpretation of the Rroma, and…it was bad. Like really bad in terms of stereotypes. I was going off of what I’d read in other works, which should tell why media representation is not only important but feeds into others and can cause derogatory depictions to continue. I still want to keep some aspects of the “traveling folk,” but without the racism of course. That’s going to take work/research.
Do you ever work on a style? Or do you simply write and a style happens?
I definitely have a style, but I can’t say it doesn’t or hasn’t evolve. My prose tends to be really purple, which I usually see used as an insult when really it’s just a stylistic preference. Of course there is a such thing as too many descriptors, but it’s the type of writing that made me love reading, so I modeled my style after that.
How about a genre? Do you always stick to the same one? Is there a genre you’d like to work in, but don’t know how?
I used to think I was writing dark fantasy, but it turns out I was writing paranormal romance with dark fantasy elements lol. At least that’s what I decided I’d market my work as…whenever I get back to marketing it/searching for an agent. So far everything I’ve written has been paranormal romance, but I have ideas across genres including mystery, sci-fi, comedy/parody/satire, and horror. I’m really interested in horror especially cosmic horror. I figure dark fantasy is good practice considering it’s horror-lite. There really isn’t a genre I wouldn’t try, so I can’t say whether or not I’d know how until I do.
If you’ve written a novel, what was your method? did you plan it all out beforehand with flow charts and lists? Or did you have a vague idea of what would happen and just start writing?
Oh my yes. It took me about a decade to write my first novel The Serpent’s Tale after I came up with the idea, and it went through numerous permutations in that time. I remember finding a scene I wrote on a whim in the early stages of developing it. That scene never found its way into the finished novel, even though the premise behind it did, because it no longer fit as it was. I tend to write in order so if I write a scene that happens later, it might not work because other things might have happened prior that would make it not make sense as it was initially conceived. That doesn’t mean there aren’t scenes I’m writing towards, but I can’t write them until I’m there, but the best part of the story is when I finally get to a scene I wrote the story for. Sometimes it’s just a line someone says; sometimes it’s a full blown climactic event.
I do something different with every story, and I learn something new. I had absolutely no idea how the antagonistic part of the plot was going to be resolved in Northern Lights (I knew how the emotional core of the story would be resolved), but I started writing anyway and figure it out as I went along, so I suppose that would be a vague idea. The Broken Rose was supposed to be a short story and it wound up being the longest thing I’ve ever written at 250k words unedited. My WIP has a lot of unanswered questions, but I know what happens in the first half, and there’s really just one major question about the male deuteragonist I need answered. The act of writing itself often leads me to know what the hell is going on, and I’m hoping that’s what will happen here.
*I lied; I wasn’t actually nominated. It was a free for all! So treat the questions I answered as such 🙂