Tell us a bit about Terra Nova and The Variant Conspiracy trilogy.
I’d definitely classify this NA trilogy as a cross-genre story. They’re a racy blend of sci-fi and paranormal and with a strong romantic sub-plot. The story follows a group of renegade mutants tracking an evil corporate conspiracy from the West Coast of North America into the Mojave Desert and hopping to London, Greece, Egypt, and Kenya.
Terra Nova is the third title in the series. Irina and her friends have already been through hell in a major earthquake, but they quickly uncover something much worse – a pandemic virus mere days away from release. The scope of this book reaches thousands of years into the past and deep into the mind of a tragically troubled man. By the end, Irina is forced to do the unthinkable or risk the end of humanity.
How did you get started as a writer?
I’ve been a writer most of my adult life, but I didn’t set out to be. I went to university with law school in mind, but my first year English teacher encouraged me to be a writer. I didn’t embrace the change right away, but I took a few writing courses. I was 18 when I published my first story in the student newspaper. When I saw my byline in print, I was hooked!
I changed gears into a BA degree with an English major and Professional Writing minor, the latter of which was intended to prepare students for working at newspapers and magazines, as well as corporate communications departments and public relations firms. I figured out pretty quickly that journalism wasn’t my thing. I focused on communications instead and I found a good fit.
What motivated you to start writing fiction?
Writing fiction wasn’t such a huge leap for me. I didn’t switch to fiction until my mid-twenties, experimenting with children’s picture books and short stories before I hit my stride writing young adult.
When I realized some of the themes and plots I wanted to explore were more mature than most young adult publishers would tackle, I started considering the new adult market. In Canada, new adult is still being incorporated into the publishing landscape, so the opportunities up here are slim. Fortunately I found an amazing home for The Variant Conspiracy at NY-based Soul Mate Publishing.
Is there anything you’d like your readers to know about you?
First of all I’d like my readers to know how grateful I am that they found me and gave me a chance. With a dizzying array of choices in contemporary fiction, I value every single reader who chooses to spend time with my stories and characters.
Second, I’d like everyone to know that my story ideas come from the heart. I want to entertain and inspire, but I also want my readers to think deeply about human nature, modern society, and the future of our world. It sounds heavy for NA fiction. Hopefully my work is fun at the same time!
How do you motivate yourself to get through the dreaded Writer’s Block?
I have an interesting relationship with writer’s block. I simply don’t allow it. I push myself to write, even if it isn’t flowing or thrilling me in the moment. If I’m going to get a chapter done on a particular day, that’s what happens. I’ve written with an infant strapped to my chest. I’ve written bleary-eyed until midnight. When it comes to deadlines, even those I set for myself, I’m my own hardest taskmaster.
What do you get up to when you’re not writing fiction?
I used to work in the corporate world, specifically marketing and communications. I did mostly business writing – from copywriting, blogging, and press releases to huge policy documents, instruction manuals, and contracts. These days I’m a mom to two toddlers, ages 4 and 1 at the moment.
I also have a bizarre habit of breaking stuff and making stuff for my Etsy shop Sleepless Storyteller. I take apart watches, computers, electronics, and vintage jewellery to create new wearable art. It sounds odd and it is, but turning trash into treasure is too much fun to stop at my own jewellery box. I had to start selling online to make room for new creations.
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