I started writing when I was 12, and my first novel was supposed to be like a book in the “Goosebumps” series. It was awful. The books I have out now were written after a lot of practice. I’m 26, and besides books, I like desserts, playing games, and dancing to music (mostly when I’m alone). I live in the city of Greensboro, NC.
Tell us about your latest book.
Grim Crush is about seventeen-year-old Xia, who is a grim reaper and has three Rules of Reaping she has to follow. She’s not supposed to show herself to living humans, but one boy, a Native American named Shilah, can see her anyway. The two of them start to fall for each other, and that brings problems from Xia’s boss and father, the Angel of Death.
What do you have coming out in the future?
The sequel to Grim Crush, which is currently titled Grim Fate. And then the third and final book in the series.
Is your book a stand-alone or a series?
A series called Grimly Ever After.
Why romance and what makes your particular brand of romance special?
Usually a book or movie has to have a bit of romance for me to love it. I especially like when two characters first fall in love, when they get those butterflies and dreamy looks in their eyes. It makes me swoon. But I like romance more when it’s mixed with something else to make it even more exciting, so that’s why I chose to write a paranormal romance series.
Is romance the only genre that you write in or do you write in other genres? If so what other genres do you write in?
I definitely write in other genres, mostly fantasy and science fiction. I also write a bit of mystery and thrillers.
2. Do not become emotionally involved.
3. Do not show yourself to the living.
As a grim reaper, seventeen-year-old Xia has to follow these Rules. But when she meets Shilah, a Native American boy who can see reapers, she figures the rules don't apply. To find out why he can see her, she pretends to be human, since carrying a scythe probably isn't the latest teen craze. Things become unnerving as she begins experiencing first-time affection with Shilah, but she's irreversibly drawn to him. Suddenly Xia finds herself breaking Rule Two, even while collecting dead souls behind Shilah's back. It isn't long before she is caught red-handed by the Angel of Death himself, and then not only is her relationship at risk, but also Shilah's soul. And this leaves Xia wondering: can love overcome Death?
GRIM CRUSH is a teen paranormal romance that shows how love can transcend the boundary between life and death.
Yes, sometimes. Mostly I try to put a bit of myself in my main characters, and if someone requests to have their name in one of my books, sometimes I do that too!
What authors inspire your writing?
J. K. Rowling, Christopher Paolini, and R. A. Salvatore
How have your real life experiences influenced your writing?
My experiences helped me learn what my characters would feel in certain situations. For example, I have gone through struggles with love, and I incorporated that in Grim Crush. I didn’t have any experience with affection from guys much in my teen years, so I know how my character, Xia, feels.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Watch TV shows like The Walking Dead, Supernatural, Game of Thrones, etc. I also like being outside, listening to music, playing games, and dancing sometimes.
What was your road to publishing like? Tell us about it.
It was a struggle every step of the way. I wrote a few novels and sent them out to hundreds of agents. I kept getting rejected, even though they said my writing was good. So I tried publishing Grim Crush with a small press, but eventually they released me from my contract. Finally I decided to skip the middleman and get my work straight to the readers by self-publishing. And I’m getting great feedback!
How did you come up with the title of your book?
Since the book is about a grim reaper, I wanted the word “grim” in the title. I went through several different words to go with it, and then I found one that made the book sound like the beginning of teenage love, which starts with a crush. Therefore, Grim Crush was born.
Do you read romance or do you prefer other genres?
Funny enough, I never read plain romance books. Fantasy is my favorite genre, but I LOVE books with a touch of romance in them. I read mostly YA.
Have you joined any writer’s groups?
I have online. There’s one I actively look at and participate in on Goodreads, called Support Indie Authors.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Getting stuck on a scene in my book and not knowing what should come next for my characters.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Writing action scenes! My hands just fly across the keyboard and my mind shuts out everything around me.
Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
Xia, because I identify with her struggles of being devoid of love and affection, because I was too when I was a teen.
Do you have a careful plan when plotting your stories or do you just go with the flow?
Both. I have a vague outline in the beginning, but by the time I’m finished writing the story, it surprises me how different it is from the original outline.
With many publishing routes available today, which felt the most reliable to you when it came to the many choices?
Self-publishing. I have control of everything and I can choose when to get my books out to readers, instead of waiting years in-between books in my series.
When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
When I was sixteen, although I didn’t start working hard at making a career of it till I was eighteen. I thought if J. K. Rowling could become a billionaire writing books, I should at least be able to make a decent living from it!
Do you have any advice for other writers and what is it?
Follow your heart no matter what anyone else tells you. Do what you love, even if it’s a risk.
Wild Card Question.
As an author, what is the one question that you wish people would ask you, but no one ever has and what would your answer be to that question?
Have I ever had an experience like the one in my book?
I experienced what I think was first love, but I was too shy to let the guy into my life and heart. And I never knew that feeling of affection and closeness with my first love, but if I had, it would’ve been new, scary, and very exciting. That’s how Xia feels when she first discovers affection with Shilah in Grim Crush.