Recently, I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by the seriously talented Aaron Loyd. If you aren’t familiar with him, he’s an up-and-coming artist who specializes in special effects. I’m lucky to be able to call Aaron a friend, and as an assignment, he interviewed me. I’d like to share the interview with you now. Enjoy!
Why do you live here in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri? Why not live somewhere else where you’re more likely to get your name out there?
I was born here and lived here all of my life, with the exception of the one year I lived in Tacoma, WA. There are so many reasons I stay here. I love the country. The scenery is beautiful, the people are caring and friendly, and there’s just so much room to move. You don’t get that in the city. Fortunately, with the internet, I can get my name out there just as easily from the middle of nowhere as I can from the center of everything.
How many years have you been an author?
I realized at the age of 14 that I was supposed to write. That means I’ve been fiddling with words now for 22 years. Wow. Has it really been that long?
What is your best-selling book? In your opinion, why do you think it’s sold so well?
My best-selling book so far has been HELD. Honestly, I’m not sure why it’s done so well. I mean, it’s a disgusting book. A great book, but disgusting. There’s torture, necrophilia, death and dismemberment, kidnapping, and some downright gross stuff going on in it. I had no idea when I wrote it that people would love it so much. Maybe it’s the snarky attitude of the main character. Everybody loves her.
What’s it like to be famous? You do have fans right?
I do have a lot of fans, which still blows me away. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that all across the world, people are reading what I wrote and they’re craving more. They’re waiting—often impatiently—for me to put out something new. It’s thrilling and exciting. I mean, this is what I always wanted and it’s surreal that it’s actually happening. Though I don’t consider myself famous. Yet.
Which of your fictional characters do you relate to the most? Why?
I’d have to say I relate most to Brian Boozer, the main character in RAGE. Like Brian, I had a rough childhood. In fact, many of Brian’s emotions are based on my emotions from when I was younger. There’s a lot of myself in him.
Have you ever considered sending in one of your books to be formatted into a script or screenplay?
Actually, I recently had an agent in New York who was shopping around for a producer for my novel RAGE. As of yet, we haven’t had any takers. He’d mentioned to me that we should shop around for a producer for HELD too, but that’s still in the talk stages. A few years ago, I began writing a script for one of my stories. About halfway through, it got pushed to the back burner for some other projects and I haven’t gone back to it yet. But it’s possible. A friend of mine, Blake Crouch, recently had a company pick up his story PINES. It’ll air next year on Fox as a show called Wayward Pines. In this business, it’s always possible.
Do you have any writers that you look up to? What are some favorite authors that you read as a kid?
As a child, I loved Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew Mystery Stories books. When I’d read all of them, I moved on to Franklin W. Dixon’s The Hardy Boys books. My mom collected V.C. Andrews books, and I read all of them as well. When I was fourteen, I stumbled across a book by Dean Koontz called Watchers. That’s the book that made me realize I was supposed to write, the book that changed my life. Dean Koontz became my favorite author and I read everything I could get my hands on by him. He still—and always will hold a special place in my heart. Lately, some other authors have become important to me as well. J.A. Konrath (if not for him, I would still be unpublished and clueless), Blake Crouch, Jeff Strand, Richard Laymon, David Sedaris, Stephen King…I could go on.
When do you find time to read between writing, photography, and being a mom and wife?
It’s not always easy. However, I keep my Kindle close. Sometimes I manage to read a chapter or two before I go to sleep. Sometimes, I read a few pages while waiting on my son to get out of school. I always take it with me to doctor appointments and squeeze in a chapter or so while waiting. Gone are the days when I could snuggle down on the couch and read an entire book in a day. Now, I just have to grab a page or two whenever and wherever I can.
This is the question I always dread being asked only because there are so many books that I love for various reasons, which makes it hard to narrow it down to one. But if I had to pick only one (and I do because you asked), I’d have to say Watchers by Dean Koontz. Not only is it a fantastic book, a great story written very well, it’s the book that made me realize I was born to be a writer. I’d been writing poems and songs for a couple years without ever even considering writing a book. However, when I read the last sentence and closed that book, I just knew. This was my calling. This was what I was supposed to do. I wanted to tell a story that drew the reader in and put them through an emotional wringer. I’m sadistic like that. I started my first novel that week. Watchers will always have a place in my heart.
Boy, do I have hobbies! In addition to photography, I love to knit, crochet, embroider, and quilt. Basically if there’s a needle art out there, I’m into it. I sometimes kid that having hobbies is my hobby.
What is the reason you write horror stories? Is it just what you grew up with? Does stuff that shows up in your life reflect into what you write?
I absolutely grew up on horror! Every horror movie ever made, I’ve watched at least once. Some of my earliest memories are of horror movies. I love that fear, that adrenaline rush and panic you feel while watching a horror movie or reading a horror story. To me, the scariest stories are those that could really happen. I’ve studied serial killers for a long time now, and I often incorporate things I’ve read or learned that have really happened into my stories. I also write about some of my own fears.
What do you think you would be doing now if you didn’t get into writing?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher. Of course I also wanted to be a doctor and a lawyer. As I got older, I realized I had a bizarre fascination with forensics. I then wanted to become a forensic pathologist, crime scene investigator, or a medical examiner. If I didn’t write, I would more than most likely be in the forensic field. But since I do write, I use my forensic knowledge in my stories. It’s like having the best of both worlds.
Most memorable moment?
I have so many. I’d have to say my absolute most memorable moment would be having my son. It was a big deal to me, and I remember everything about it. After all, it’s not every day you expel a person from your body.
Hm. Well, I think that my greatest accomplishment out of my whole life would have to be overcoming quadriplegia. Not many people can say they’ve done that, and I feel that I did a pretty good job of it.
If I were to give you $100,000 right now, what is the first thing you would do with it?
The first thing I would do is pay off my house and my car. I’d split the remainder two ways and donate it to St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital and The Ronald McDonald House.
Like hobbies, I have a lot of pet peeves. The ones that top the list though are: people who chew with their mouth open, people who misspell, misuse, or mispronounce words, people who say they’re going to show up at a certain time and either never do or are really late, and people who walk around with their cell phones attached to their ears and refuse to get off no matter how much it inconveniences other people.
What are some of the things you do for entertainment?
I love to watch people, take walks through the woods, go on road trips, and shop (even if I don’t buy anything; I just enjoy looking).
What does it feel like to be interviewed?
It’s fun! I thought it would get old, but it hasn’t. Not yet anyway. I know I enjoy reading interviews by my favorite authors, getting to know them a little better, so I enjoy being able to do the same for my readers.