B: First of all, tell us a little about your debut novel.
A:Thanks for having me. Along the River Styx is about the half-mortal teenage daughter of the god of death, Thanatos, who has inherited her father’s ability to kill people with her touch. But her ability gets her into some trouble when she kills the highschool quarterback Dale Henrys, who comes back to haunt her as a Reaper with a taste for the river Styx and ruling the Underworld.
B: There’s a lot of Greek mythology and Gods in your novel, what kind of research did you do?
A: I’ve always been into mythology and religion actually. So, I already had a ton of books (I have an encyclopedia and a dictionary of mythology!) and tons of printed out and hand written notes. So when I was working on AtRS there was not a ton that I had to do. One of the main things I do remember looking up is entities/deities of death for several cultures to figure out how to blend them all together. I did a little bit of research on Delphi (the place), and on classic images of the Underworld.
B: How long did it take you to write this novel?
A: Well, the first draft I wrote in two weeks thanks to many, many word wars and several 10k word days. It’s probably the most dedication I’ve had to writing a first draft ever, it became a job. I would start writing at 8 am and I wouldn’t stop until 11pm. I did a bit of editing after that, and set it aside for a few years. Then after the characters wouldn’t leave my head, and on day out of the blue discovering what was wrong with the main plot, I started working on it again, that took roughly another year. All together from first draft to publication day, it’s been four years.
B: Did you base any of the characters in your book to anybody you know in real life?
A: The easy answer here is no, but I’ll expand a little. My characters always end up coming to me before the full fleshed out plot, and I never intentionally base any of my characters off of people I know. In my head my characters need to have a distinct image in order for me to write them well, and if I based them off of anyone, looks or personality, they would eventually mold into that person, and that’s not something I want for them. So, there might be similarities, but ultimately I didn’t have anyone in mind while writing AtRS.
B: How much planning goes into your novels?
A: I’m what they call a Pantser, meaning I write by the seat of my pants. I used to be a plotter but practise has taught me that my writing often turns out better the less I plot. When I start writing I have pretty complete characters in my head already, and the most basic plot with the biggest plot line and no sub plots. The more in depth planning happens after the first draft, with the first draft I’m just trying to get all the ideas out of my head as quickly and coherently as possible.
B: What made you come up with the idea for Along the River Styx?
A: Honestly, I can’t remember. The earliest thing I can remember is that I was watching a show about prophets, and the show mentioned the oracles of Delphi. At that point, I already had the daughter of Death character, but that’s really when Delphi’s whole identity filled out.
B: What is your writing process?
A: Put some headphones on, have some coffee or tea or both even within arm’s reach, sit down, turn music up, and write for six to ten hours…or until my hands give out.
B: What was the hardest part of getting ready to publish?
A: Getting ready to self-publish is hard in general if you put any effort into it. Meeting my self-set deadlines was probably that hardest, some days I really had to push myself to get my blogging, or editing or marketing done for the day.
B: Where is your favorite place to curl up and write?
A: I don’t think I have a favourite place to write, I can write almost anywhere as long as I have the ability to tune out distracting noises around me. For the first draft, I wrote at a desk but for pretty much every draft after that I wrote while sitting in bed.
B: If you had to be one of your characters for a week, who would you choose to be?
A: That’s a hard one…hmm…it’s a tie between one of Delphi’s brothers, Auggie and Percy, and her mortal best friend Kaizzie. The twins because hello they can phase through walls and floors and I’d never have to worry about running into anything ever again, or ever being late to anything ever again. Kaizzie because she is really her own person, she has a distinct style and doesn’t care what people think about her.
B: What’s next for you? Should we be holding our breath for a sequel?
A: I wouldn’t hold your breath for a sequel, that’s not to say that one maybe won’t happen sometime in the future. I’m just not currently working on one, though I do have a few ideas for a sequel I can’t really give you a concrete answer.
B: Do you have any writing advice for aspiring writers?
A: I don’t think I’m quite qualified to be giving any writing advice just yet. But if I had to it would be to read, read anything and everything. Be gluttonous with your reading.