Describe yourself in five words
Witty, Optimistic, Loving, Thoughtful, Dedicated
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I am a musician! I sing and play six instruments: Piano, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Flute, Viola and Cello.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
One of my favorite quotes right now is, “Give someone a book they’ll read for a day. Teach someone to write a book, they’ll experience a lifetime of paralyzing self-doubt.” When I first finished my book Lethal Quantities, I hid it in a box for years until I decided it was good enough to publish. I work through my doubts in two ways. My brother is my writing-confidante. I send him my thoughts and works-in- progress, and if it is up to his standards, I know I am doing well. The other way I get through it is by writing. Free writing not only helps me get ideas, but it is like a therapy session for me.
When did you start writing?
My mother has a box filled with little books that I wrote when I was three. I don’t know specifically what sparked my love for writing at such a young age, but I would hide away for hours writing and illustrating little books.
What makes you happiest?
My family. I have two little girls, ages 2.5 and 6 months, and a wonderful husband who supports every endeavor I set on.
Why do you write?
I am a very talkative person who has a lot of creative ideas. Writing excites me and it gives me an excuse to talk for 200+ pages without anyone judging me for being too chatty.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Absolutely! English was one of my favorite subjects in school and I could whip up a quality five paragraph essay in minutes! Writing is one of the best ways to express yourself.
What inspired your book Lethal Quantities?
There is a song, “What Love Really Means” by JJ Heller. The last stanza of the song is “He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone. He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done. He utters a cry from the depths of his soul saying ‘Lord, forgive me. I want to go home.” I remember thinking “that would be a good book,” and I began to write. Those three lines in a song inspired a ten-chapter, 230-page novella.
What writing are you most proud of?
Of course, I’m very proud of Lethal Quantities, but my current project Carly Ann (to be released July 2018) is really exciting me! I’m trying my hand at horror, and I’ve got to say, I am enjoying it. I want it to be gritty and make people wince when they read it, and with the no-holds-barred attitude I am taking on while writing, I really think I am going to achieve that goal.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
My children and my role as their mother. My older daughter has Autism and she is making leaps and bounds with progression. My whole day, every day, revolves around her various therapies. My younger daughter is such a happy baby and it makes me proud to know my children are feeling every bit of love I am pouring out for them.
What books did you love growing up?
My favorite series as a child was Junie B. Jones. The “B” stands for Beatrice, except she doesn’t like Beatrice, she just likes B and that’s all.
What do you hope people say about you at your funeral?
“Look! She’s breathing!”
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
Linden, New Jersey. I’ve never lived outside of New Jersey and I feel like if I leave I will always come back.
What are you writing now?
My current project is titled “Carly Ann.” It is a revenge-horror about a young girl who is regularly used as a pawn by her father to make money. During an assault at a party, she snaps and taps into a part of her she didn’t know she had and gets her revenge on the people who have harmed her throughout the years. I don’t want to give too much away.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
I am an Indie-author, so the publishing is easy, and writing is fun for me. Marketing is the worst. I’m starting from scratch and I have no experience in marketing. It’s been a real challenge.
What marketing works for you?
Giveaways seem to be working, especially to help me get reviews. I like giving people the opportunity to read and reply to my books.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
Sort of. The adult content of my books makes me nervous to let people who know me as the happy, innocent, bubbly girl see the crazy things my imagination can come up with. For example, the five pages of detailed sex in the middle if Lethal Quantities. My grandfather casually mentioned to my boss the wide array of profanity in Lethal Quantities and my boss, jokingly, called me a “shameless hussy.”
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
My family is incredibly supportive, more than I expected them to be. All my siblings have purchased a copy of my first book, and my husband is great at taking the girls away, so I can write for a few hours. I have the best support system in the world.
What are some of your hobbies other than writing?
I have an insane amount of hobbies. I love music, painting, crafts, reading, blogging, dancing. If it has to do with expressing oneself, I do it.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
Somehow, I always end up working with feet. I worked at a shoe store for a while, then I sold shoes at a department store, and now I am a podiatric medical assistant. I actually really love my job and I am not planning on leaving for at least four more years.
Were there any challenges with editing your book Lethal Quantities?
That’s a long story. In chapter three, the main character and his new “friend” decide they are going to cook Methamphetamine to lower the cost of their high. Initially, they go to a desert…in a van…get naked…and cook the Meth. My husband pointed out that this was the exact same thing that happened in a popular TV show that I SWEAR I NEVER WATCHED. When he showed me the scene, I knew I had to change it. So now they go to a storage unit.
How much research did you have to do for this book?
I did so much research, before, during, and even after my writing. Although it is a fictional story, I wanted it to be accurate. I make jokes all the time that I thought the DEA was going to tear my door down an arrest me for all of the research I was doing on Meth. “How to cook Meth” was one of my top google searches for a while. I also watched multiple documentaries about Death Row, reaction videos of people being sentenced to death, the specific process of Capital Punishment in Texas, and PTSD.
Tell us about your family?
I have five sisters and one brother, a mom and a step-dad (who I consider to be my real dad) and two handsome little nephews. I married my incredible husband when I was nineteen and pregnant with our first daughter. We started dating when I was fifteen and he is my best friend. My first daughter is going to be three in June and she has Autism. I wrote a blog about her on Goodreads.com in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day. We also have a six-month-old baby girl who is my happy little sunshine. She looks just like her daddy and it warms my heart.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I write in bed on my laptop. A lot of times, though, inspiration strikes me and I will whip out my cell phone to jot down ideas.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
Well, I’m a mom of two little girls so anything over four hours is perfect.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
Three people: My mother Denise, my husband Bryan, and my grandfather John. My mom read the very first draft of Lethal Quantities and she was the first to purchase it went it went on sale. She is so proud of me and I couldn’t possibly thank her enough for supporting me. My husband is an ideal father and partner. He inspires me and encourages me and kicks my butt to make sure I am accomplishing my
goals. Pop has always been my number one fan, mostly with my music, but his pride is so great, he tells everyone he meets about his granddaughter who published a book. I couldn’t survive without these three wonderful people.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
Going to my ten-year high school reunion and having people ask me for my autograph. It’s not necessarily the money or the fame that I am after. It is proving to everyone who ever doubted me that I am capable of greatness.
Do you like to read? What is your favorite genre?
I love reading. It had lost me for a bit, but I have picked up the habit again. I always have a book in my hands now. I love reading memoirs. There’s nothing like a good story about someone who has come from a difficult background and triumphed in the end.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
Gina Rodriguez and Shane Dawson! She is such a beautiful person inside and out and we have a lot of the same values. Shane Dawson because he is hilarious and would add the much-needed zing to any party.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I sing a lot of karaoke to my babies. The little one smiles and coos and the toddler will sing and dance along. It’s quality time.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I want my writing to be so effective that it shocks the readers. I want them to feel the grittiness that I feel when I write. I want them to want to read more, hang on my every word. At the same time, I want them to be inspired by the young working mother who achieved her dreams of becoming an author. If I could do it, anyone can.
Do you have links that you’d like to share for others to read?
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