One Crazy Trick Unicorns Can’t Resist
1) What is your Author name; use your Pen name if you have one.
2) What inspired you to become a writer?
The people that live in my head insisted! I love them and want to introduce them to readers. I think I wrote my first short story when I was six (about a deer living in the forest---as a child of the suburbs I was obsessed with wild places) and I’ve been writing ever since—for many years as a broadcaster. I wrote commercial copy, morning show bits, interviews, essays, book reviews—it taught me how to be super duper concise, because you have to get in and out really fast. When I started writing fantasy, I had to unlearn all that and give myself the luxury and permission to relax and fill in the spaces.
3) Which character of yours is your favorite and why?
It’s always the B characters that grab you by the throat, isn’t it? Currently, my favorite would be Sasha, the Unseelie fae who debuts in The March Effect, book two in New World Magic. In his first appearance actually does grab MC Ruby by the throat. He has his reasons! He also has a ton of secrets and guilt and I’ve loved his growth and progression across the series. I can’t say more without major spoilers but he’s got layers.
4) Do you prefer writing dialogue, action or other scenes?
Dialogue all the way. I have a very long broadcasting background (like, 20 years behind the mike) and I’ve always found dialogue to be easy and a lot of fun. It’s when I’ve nailed down a character’s voice that I start to feel like I know them. My favorite scenes to write are groups of clever people making bitchy remarks at each other. In fact, my first drafts tend to be almost completely dialogue. I have to go back in and fill in those spaces I mentioned. Action is extremely challenging, so when I do write a fight scene that lands, I feel like I’ve really accomplished something!
5) What is your favorite part about being a writer?
There’s a lot to love, but when I untangle a plot point I do a happy dance. I love leaving clues for what’s coming up for careful readers. I love world building—in my last series, one of the races have wings, so they frequently fly instead of walk. What would a building look like? What would their clothes look like? It’s those questions that give me a thrill. I’m obsessed with writing about etiquette, fashion, food—the things that make a society. That’s what’s really interesting to me.
6) What is your favorite character from any book you have ever read?
Any book? (laughs, looking at giant library.) Okay. (cracks knuckles.) Lyra Belaqua from A Golden compass for her brave and wild heart. Molly Grue from The Last Unicorn for her wisdom and rage. Jherek Carnelian from Dancers at the End of Time for his enthusiasm and pure heart. Cromwell from Wolf Hall because it’s one of my favorite books. Tuesday Next from The Eyre Affair for the insanely clever world she lives in and how gracefully she navigates it. Samwise Gamgee, because obviously. Every single character in The Once and Future King because everything you need to know about the human experience is in that beautiful book. How’s that for a start?
7) Where is your favorite place to read?
I like to read in bed, with one of my cats probably trying to blocking the book. I’d also settle for reading on the beach in Bali, if the situation presented itself.
8) Which book villain would be the hardest to defeat?
When someone says ‘that’s an excellent question!’ it’s because they don’t know the answer and they’re looking to buy some time…I tend to think Time is the enemy even the grimmest villain can’t defeat. It doesn’t care. It doesn’t take sides. It comes equally for everyone. (Except maybe Dr. Who?)
9) What was your favorite childhood book?
The Last Unicorn. I still have my falling apart copy from 1967. It’s too fragile to read but I’d never part with it. It was the inspiration for New World Magic, where my hero March is a unicorn shifter, both like and unlike Lady Amalthea. He’s not the last of his kind, and he’s quite a bit more worldly but they both see the world through the eyes of perfect, immortal beings and that colors every interaction they have with the humans around them. I hope the two would get along.
10) What is one book that is currently on your To-Be-Read list?
The new Stephen King, Fairy Tale. I love his work and I’m looking forward to taking another ride with him—particularly since this one has a fantasy element.
11) Villain, hero or “show steeling” side character? Which would you be?
Oh, I’m definitely the MC’s best friend, hanging around the bar and cracking wise, and then going off on my own adventure!
12) What is the name of your book/series? Tell me a little bit about them.
Pure is the first book in New World Magic (followed by The March Effect, The Great Shatter, and in December, A Poisoned Garden.) It follows Ruby, a bartender in my own hometown of D.C. with some dark secrets, who on her way home from work saves the life of unicorn shifter March. Of course, whoever was trying to kill him and take his horn is still out there, so they have to rely on friends, enemies, exes, therapists—both human and inhuman—to stay one step ahead of what’s coming for them. By the time I got to book two the fae got involved, a dragon showed up, and my side characters were trying to take over. I loved them all so much I couldn’t stop writing about them, and I’m already deep into book five.
13) Do you have a website? If so, what is it?
14) Where can we find and follow you? (Name your social media platforms.)
15) If there anything important that you would want my readers to know about you?
I love hearing from readers! I’m usually on Insta showing off pics of my garden and my cats (with some book covers for flavor) and I always answer comments.