What makes your book a must-read?
Escaping the Dashia, is a twisty, rollercoaster ride, set in a Star Wars style universe. A fun escape (excuse the pun) from reality. But judging by the reviews, people seem to love the protagonist, Twyla as much as I do. Nothing’s better than going on an adventure with someone you love spending time with.
If you could give your book to one world leader, who would it be and why?
I’d like to give climate change activist Greta Thunberg a copy of my novel. She reminds me of my protagonist Twyla in so many ways. I really admire her fighting the system. Twyla’s fight against her family’s criminal organization seems very similar.
3. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Not giving up! I wrote the first draft of Escaping the Dashia when I was the same age as the protagonist, 15. When I told people I wanted to become a professional author, well meaning adults would say, “That’s nice. But how are you going to pay the bills? You’ll need a day job.” I set writing aside and became a responsible adult with a day job. But the story wouldn’t go away. I needed to tell it. So I rewrote it six times, and came close to getting it published a few times. And each time the deal fell through, I felt like quitting. Thankfully, my husband, son and daughter-in-law encouraged me to try one last time, and I landed a publishing deal with Black Rose Writing.
What can this teach to a motivated and mission-driven population of writers?
If you can’t not write, don’t let anyone tell you to give it up. As a writer, writing is how you express yourself. It is a need. Do it because you love it. Don’t worry so much about getting published, making money, and turning it into a business. If you write what you love, then you’ll have something you want to share, and you’ll be motivated to learn the business end. But there is no quicker way to kill your love of writing than to start off trying to write what you think will sell.
What is the most exciting story you tell in your book?
Twyla does not want to be forced into becoming a Dashia—think psychic vampire—so she plots an escape, not just for herself but for her friend, Dovain. If they’re caught, Dovain will be executed by Twyla’s mother. It’s a real action scene—complete with a hovercraft chase—that was so fun to write and apparently readers really enjoy it.
One word that best describes you.
Any ritual like a specific scented candle, preferred writing place, or drink that you kept through writing?
First, I never write in the same office space where I do my freelance editing. Second, I always have music playing while I write, and it matches the mood of the scene I’m writing. The music from Pirates of the Caribbean is my action/fight scene background. Danial Rodríguez’s “We will go on,” is reserved for death scenes of characters I like. (Yes, characters die on fairly regularly basis.)
If there is a movie adaptation of your book, who do you think would be perfect for the lead roles?
Mackenzie Foy or Ann Hathaway for Twyla. For her mother, Cate Blanchett. Noah Schnapp would make a perfect Dovain. There’s something so bird-like about him, and Dovain belongs to one of the avian races of the Paraxous Star Cluster.
What advice can you give to women writers to empower them?
When I first tried to get published, I was told that I’d need to use a penname since no one would buy science fiction written by a woman. Forget that! Women are in the genre to stay. Then, I was told, only female readers would read a book with a female protagonist. Wrong! Hunger Games, blew that out of the water. Ursula K. LeGuin, C.J. Cherryh, Octavia Butler, and Andre Norton plowed a road for women in science fiction, all you have to do is be brave enough to follow them.
Are you ready for our rapid-fire questions? Let’s go.
1. Love or Power? LOVE!!!!!!
2. Are you more cautious or bold? BOLD!!!!
3. To be an independent woman or a damsel in distress? I want to be an independent woman, but chronic health issues sometimes puts me in the role of damsel in distress. If it wasn’t for my husband, I’d probably be dead by now.
4. Street smarts or book smarts. Book smart.
5. Do you prefer social time or alone time. Social time. I need people to charge my batteries.
6. Salty or sweet. Sweet. I am a chocoholic.
7. Cats or dogs. Both.
8. Are you more of a thinker or a doer. Doer. There is nothing I hate more than sitting around talking about the same thing at meeting after meeting instead of just getting up and doing it.
9. Summer or winter. Summer. I hate the cold.
10. Do you prefer driving or flying. Driving. But due to health issues, I should say, “Riding.” My wonderful daughter-in-law, does most the driving to conventions.
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