I decided to become an author when I was thirteen after I read the Lord of the Rings. Before then, while I was a voracious reader of mysteries, LOTR was my first fantasy. It was the first time I realized I could create a world that was my own. People like to ask how to start writing but all I can really say is I sat down and put words on a page—or rather typed them on my computer. I distinctly remember not knowing what I was doing and thinking…how do I start this? The thing is, you can spend forever reading about how to write a novel or trying to outline a book to perfection, but sometimes, you don’t know what the book is about until you begin putting words on a page.
Reading about how to write IS important. But I think it should come as you are also actively writing a novel.
I had two main ideas, I think.
I have always wondered what the world would look like if humanity had chosen something like The Illiad was our chosen biblical work and not the Bible and that was really the root of New Greece. Then, at the time, I was horrible at growing plants or keeping them alive, and I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting if Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, could not grow a single thing? I just followed that line of thinking and started writing A Touch of Darkness.
I have always been interested in mythology. I do not know where my initial interest came from, but in college, I was an English major and we read a lot of Greek Epics. I always found the dynamics interesting. The Gods rule with emotion, which is considered a very human flaw. The Goddess, who are among the most powerful women in the world, are still oppressed and shown to be shallow and wrong.
Overall, I feel like myths mostly illustrate how humanity doesn’t change but I think that is also because myth is how we attempt to understand the world around us. This is also why I think retellings are important.
I think there is a difference in the time it takes to prepare to write a book and the time it takes to put words on a page. Preparing to write a book takes me a good three to four months. First, there is a process between books where you sort of shed the previous world (if you are alternating series like I do). Even then, I have usually already started hearing character voices, writing down lines and scenes, and researching various things. When I feel like I have enough scenes and information, I start to write the actual book and at that point, I have to write in chronological order. I don’t usually begin with an outline. I start writing what I know and when I hit a wall, I do my outline. I also usually make multiple outlines because sometimes things just change. Technically, I can put words on a page in a month—meaning, yes, if really pushed, I can write about 100k in a month. Do I like to? Absolutely not. Not only is it hard on your body, it’s hard on your mind.
I started by self-publishing. My first two books came out in 2014 and 2015. They pretty much failed to get any traction. I took a break to work on my writing and worked on When Stars Come Out which I published in 2018. This book also did nothing but I wasn’t going to give up on self-publishing because I had tried to go the traditional route before and I had gotten just as far as I had self-publishing–nowhere.
After I published When Stars Come Out, I felt really guided to write a mythology retelling that had been in my head since 2016. I had always loved the myth of Hades and Persephone but I had been too afraid to write romance. I figured there was nothing to lose and went for it.
A Touch of Darkness was my first romance novel.
After it was published (May 2019), it gained a small readership and I had made the most money ever off my books. I was ecstatic and motivated to continue the series.
I next wrote A Touch of Ruin (April 2020) and by the time I decided to write A Game of Fate (Sept 2020), which was a request from my readers.
At this point, I was making enough money to go full-time as an author so I took the chance and left my job as a full-time librarian after five years.
It wasn’t until after I released Malice May of 2021 that I knew I needed help and Bloom, a new imprint with Sourcebooks, reached out and offered an agreement that worked for me.
Contrary to what many may think, and despite my success as a self-published author, I did not have a lot of agents or publishers interested in representing me and those who did offer to chat only told me what was not possible–you can’t make more than 10k/month, you can’t get into Walmart or target, you can’t write what you want.
When Bloom reached out, they told me I could do all those things and more.
So it was a journey. I think all roads to publication are different and they all come with challenges, even the ones that look easy. I’m very grateful for the way my path unfolded–the way it’s still unfolding. I would not change anything about it.
- I would say stop comparing yourself to other authors and their journeys.
- I think you should leave competition to the publishers.
- Write down your goals, small ones and big ones, and celebrate all of them.
- Recognize that a ‘no’ doesn’t mean you won’t achieve. It just means finding another way to ‘yes.’
- Legitimately, you can be a great writer and be told no by agents and publishers alike. You have to find worth in your own writing before anything else.
I think and research a lot. I write a lot of myth-based stories, so I’m constantly looking for new Greek Mythology books or books on witchcraft and the history of magic. I take notes as I read and let that information simmer, and as I start to think and hear scenes in my head, I will write those down, too.
There comes a point when I feel I can begin the book–sometimes it’s because I have enough information and sometimes it’s because I have no choice. I usually get about 20-40k into a book before I stop and outline.
My outline is never set in stone, either. It usually changes as I continue to write, so don’t be afraid to revisit and modify.
Inevitably, the beginning of my books are always far more clean than the end because I spend so much time on the beginning and rush through the end to finish, so most of my editing work happens from middle to end.
I was a librarian and Information Services Manager for five years before I became a full-time author. I loved it and still love the library so it was very bitter-sweet to leave a job I was so passionate about but becoming a full-time author had been my dream since I was thirteen.
I decided to put my notice in once I realized I was making more than I made monthly at the library. I had done a lot of work to prepare for this beforehand and already had an alternative life insurance plan, a retirement account, and several other investment accounts. I was also working closely with a CPA so we checked in quarterly and I was aware of my tax payments. I highly recommend doing all of these things before you decide to go full-time.
Usually when I get writer’s block, it’s because I haven’t given my brain enough rest. I usually take a break and workout, take my dog for a walk, or nap. Other times, I am trying to force the story in a direction it isn’t meant to go and I have to let go of that control and just let the characters tell the story.
The second one is hard to do. It’s hard to just listen and it really does feel weird for the moment, but just sit down, take a breath, and write one word after the other. It will feel like chipping away at words, but you’ll get into the flow of it and the words will just pour out. Promise.
We do actually plan to schedule a sequel to When Stars Come Out but I do not have a date. The series is meant to be four books and transition into the New Adult space.
A Touch of Chaos will be released September 26, 2023. I will not give a release date for AGOG but hope that I can release the book before Chaos.
No, though stay tuned for some fun short-stories coming to the newsletter!
Yes, the book is called Temptress of Fire and Fury and it is likely releasing sometime in 2024 or 2025.
There are various release dates across all the countries where my books are published. You can check out my website for more information and I highly recommend following my respective publishers on their social media.
For French readers: The Hades Saga is releasing in 2023; The Adrian x Isolde Series is releasing in 2024.
Check out my events page for more information on my tour dates!
You can also have your local bookstore reach out to my publicist to host an event: email@example.com.
Depending on my schedule, I can accommodate these requests. They must go through my publicist, so please email Pam @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, I do not have the time to dedicate to ARC reading or blurbing books, though I am happy to include graphics/information in my newsletter or share in my stories. Please email info to…
Even with the tattooed eyeliner, I like to draw you my wing. My favorite liner is Stila | Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner – Micro Tip (for wing) in Intense Black.
For full liner, Stila |Stay All Day eyeliner in Intense Black.
I do not use mascara because I have lash extensions. I have always hated every mascara I have tried–drugstore or otherwise so I have none to recommend. Find one that you love and stick with it.
I do not have favorite eyeshadow pallets, just brands I will always buy from including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Urban Decay, and ColourPop. These all have blendable and beautiful formulas.
For Brows, I use Brow Wiz Ultra-Slim by Anastasia Beverly Hills. I love it. Sometimes I’ll also use their Dipbrow Pomade but less so since I had my brows tattooed. It depends on how natural or full you want them to look.
I love this Highlighting Duo Pencil for brows.
Matte & Satin Velvet Lipstick by Anastasia Beverly Hills — these will also stay all day but are very soothing to the lips. LOVE the satin lipsticks.
Use any lip liner of your choice. I do prefer this Rimmel one, though.
I use two foundations primarily. One is Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation by Pat McGrath.
I like these because I don’t need heavy coverage. Both are light and they do not stick to the dry places on my face.
For bronzer, I use Matte Cream Bronzer Stick by Milk. I have used a lot of different bronzers over the years but this one is my favorite of all time and I hate everything else I have tried.
For highlighter, I go back and forth. I love the Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight by Rare Beauty. I also love the Diamond Bomb All-Over Diamond Veil but just be warned this one is full on glitter.
For blush, I love these Baked Blushes by Milani.
I always drink a Venti Americano with an extra shot from Starbies. Yes, I know it already comes with four…I want five.
When I was in England and Ireland, I always asked for an extra shot and they would pause and say, ‘but it comes with four.’
Look, I drink multiples of these per day. I have a tight writing schedule. LMAO.
Adie is four as of July 2022. She is a boxer/pittie mix. Her favorite things are short walks (lol), rides in the car, cuddles with mom, sleeping, and belly rubs.
I am a Taurus…but an Ares moon.
I’m stubborn as fuck.
Queen of Myth and Monsters Q&A
12/20/2022, the same day as the other formats release.
No, all special editions are paperback. The indie wrap, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, and Indigo.
Order from Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, and Indigo.
These exclusive editions include a bonus chapter, an 8-page graphic novel (which is so much fun) and the Indigo and Waterstones have exclusive colors–Indigo (black) and Waterstones (emerald).
The link to order is in my bio: “Indie Exclusive Edition of QMM.”
Please note the stores have and will change. If you do not see your local indie on the list they are either sold out or they did not opt to participate in selling these editions.
The Indie Exclusive includes:
- A hand-signed, paperback copy of QMM with the standard cover.
- The paperback is wrapped in Emily’s design and when opened, reveals Tom’s art of Adrian x Isolde.
- These collectors editions are EXTREMELY limited–the only stock left is what is at the bookstores now. Once they are sold, they are gone.
- To order, it is best to contact the stores directly and all questions about this edition should be directed to the bookseller.
- There is NO additional bonus content in this paperback but once again, you can submit your receipt for the digital Adrian and Isolde scene.