1. What made you want to write CJ’s story (NOBODY’S BUSINESS)?
I guess I’ve always liked writing about peoples’ struggles with understanding or coming to terms with their own truths. The weight we carry in our secrets can be a huge burden, and I wanted to write about a character who was struggling with the ultimate secret, and have him find his way through that. It broke my heart to write him through those experiences, but in the real world, things like that do happen. Learning how to talk about our problems, our fears, and our shames, is something we all need to work on. I hope CJ will encourage readers to open up and get help when they need it.
2. How many books have you written?
Too many. More than I care to admit. Most of them are locked away in a file that will never see the light of an other human’s eyes. Right now, though, I have two complete novels (NOBODY’S BUSINESS and TAKE ME WITH YOU) and several other first/second drafts that will hopefully become proper novels someday. Fingers crossed!
3. What are your obsessions?
I have so many! I’m a huge tv addict. When I should be reading, I will often choose Netflix instead. Regardless of whether it’s in books or on a screen, though, I love being entertained. I love good characters, and I especially love it when they make me cry. Why live my own life when I can enjoy or be destroyed by someone else’s?
A short list of other obsessions … gel pens (especially if they sparkle), art, empty spiral notebooks, the tv show Supernatural (don’t get me started on the heartbreak of it ending), cats, and naps. Everyone should nap. If you don’t nap, you’re missing out on the best part of the day.
4. Mountains or ocean?
Mountains. Every time. The fresh air, the peace… I’ve always dreamed of living in a small mountain town. Oceans? Beautiful, sure, but kinda smelly and noisy.
5. What have you missed most during the pandemic?
I miss eating at restaurants and going to movies the most. Or going to the mall for an afternoon without worrying about how many people might be there. I miss casually browsing book stores and walking out with an armload. Sigh. I miss hanging out with friends. I’m very much looking forward to the day when life can go back to normal, and hopefully it’s not too far off.
6. What do you do when you’re feeling down?
I learned a long time ago that self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It looks different for everyone, even from day to day. While I was writing Nobody’s Business, I often found myself in a dark headspace and needed to nurture my mind and body so I could be there for my family. Learning to exercise even when I didn’t feel like it was the biggest hurdle, but I grew to enjoy it. Also, learning to recognize and respect that the food we eat truly does impact our mental health made me take notice of what works for me and what doesn’t. From there, taking time for myself to listen to music, do art, or fiddle with a puzzle all help me clear my head. And finally, escaping. Finding a show I love, or a movie, or a book is always my favourite way to spend the last hours of my day.
7. Why did you decide to self-publish?
I wanted to be in control of how much marketing I did on the books I published. I have a lot of anxiety, and I didn’t want someone standing over my shoulder (publishers and agents), pushing me to do publicity in ways I wasn’t comfortable with. I’d constantly be worrying that if I didn’t sell enough books, they wouldn’t get paid. In the end, I don’t write books to make money, and I didn’t want my publishing journey to be about that.