I found SARA on meetup.com and attended my first meeting in January 2014. At the time, I wanted to join a writing group and SARA was a perfect fit.
What sub-genre(s) of romance stories do you write?
I write young adult.
What made you decide to write romance?
That’s a tough question. I didn’t set out writing romance. I wanted to write mysteries and true crime novels. But every single story I wrote turned into a romance.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given or read about writing?
Listen to critique but go with your gut. Know your characters. Believe in yourself. Don’t give up. Write every day. Read a lot (I’m always surprised when I meet aspiring authors who don’t read).
What is the best book you’ve ever read about the craft of writing?
I’ve read a lot of craft books but my favorite is On Writing by Stephen King. I’ve read it three times and every single time, I learn something new. It’s now my “go to” book when I get lost or discouraged.
Are you a pantser or are you an outliner? Why?
I started as a pantser which turned my first YA novel into a mess. Now I start with a few scenes and write. Most of the other scenes come to me as I write so technically, I’m still pantsing. And when I get stuck (because it does happen around the 30K mark), I take my scenes and plot them on a board. This way I can see what’s missing.
What is the hardest part of writing for you? Starting? Creating a scene? Dialog? Tension, etc?
Deleting scenes I love. It’s why I try not to pants as much as I used to. Because trying to keep scenes you love can mess with the flow of your story.
Is there a genre you wish you could write in, but never will? Which one?
Probably horror. I love horror books but I can’t imagine writing one.
What would happen if you didn’t write?
I can’t imagine not writing but if I couldn’t write, I’d definitely volunteer more. Maybe even go back to work for Corporate America either in disaster recovery or something IT related. I used to be a computer nerd where I’d wake up thinking about SQL statements and Visual Basic. I guess in many ways, I still am because I get excited about Amazon’s algorithms. I can’t wait to publish several books so I can analyze the data and write code to automate weekly reports.
What do you see as your writing goals 5 years from now?
Five years from now, I’d love to work with an illustrator in creating a manga series. I think it’d be cool to sell those books at anime conventions and see fans dressed in cosplay costumes. No matter where I am in my writing career, I know I’ll still be writing and having fun!
Any other tips or words you’d like to share about writing?
Write and read every day – no excuses. And remember to take care of yourself by getting out of the writing chair. Go for a walk, visit a state park, or take a yoga class.