A: Depends on where I am at in the writing process. For instance for the book Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest I took a lot of time in the beginning to research Norway – climate, locations, photos, maps, things to do, etc. It’s not as good as being able to experience Norway in person, which I do hope to do one day soon, but it’s a good start. The key to writing is giving yourself permission to not be a subject matter expert (SME.) I started using the research immediately and took whichever elements suited my purposes (i.e. – artistic license.) If I waited to use the research until I was positive I could distribute the information like an SME or a native of Norway, the story would never have been started and it certainly wouldn’t have been finished. Sometimes you have to put the research away and just write.
A: I love to eat Thai red curry. I didn’t always love it. In fact when I was first introduced at the tender age of 11 I thought the vegetables were strange. Being naturally suspicious of my mom’s intentions in ordering and sharing healthy food, I ate just the chicken out of it. Nowadays my favorite part is the vegetables! I love to eat red curry so much I learned how to make it. Here’s the recipe:
- Red Curry Paste – as much as you’re comfortable using (it’s spicy)
- Chicken – cut into bite size pieces, pan fry in butter, salt, and flour
- Pineapple – bites of these are amazing as they soak up the curry flavors 🙂
- Zucchini – cut in rounds to desired thickness, thin rounds will melt into the curry, everything else is a bit meatier
- Asparagus – bend and snap them, use the parts next to the head, toss the rest
- Snow peas – because they’re prettier than normal peas
- Green Bell pepper – tasty and traditional, slice long and medium thickness
- Red Bell pepper – tasty and traditional, slice long and medium thickness
- Basil – I put in very little, but that’s my personal preference
- Coconut milk – lots of it, at least three cans, the more you use the creamier it is (and less spicy)
- Bamboo shoots – I try to get the thin strips like the ones restaurants use
Cut, chop, toss in a pot, bring to a boil, stir it up, taste test and add anything to make it perfect.
Make some jasmine rice and pour curry on top. Perfection!
A: So far, it was hearing from my sister who doesn’t really like to read that she loved the first book in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy and couldn’t stop thinking about it. That gave me warm fuzzies.
A: Check out my Goodreads profile to see what books I’ve read and am reading now.
A: My mother would read Half Magic once a year for a while when I was young. I loved it. I read nearly every Animoph book to come out while I was in middle school and discovered Ella Enchanted around the same time. I read that book aloud twice to my younger sisters. We loved it. I also love Harry Potter, Twilight, Artemis Fowl, Iron Fey, Goddess Test, Selection Trilogy, Percy Jackson, and Hunger Games to name a few series.
A: Zaria is too obvious so I’ll say Hector. He would have stories and anecdotes to tell and would be wicked cool to hang out with. Plus I picture him as Chris Hemsworth as he appeared in various Thor movies. He would have a fuller beard and be ever so slightly more scruffy. Give the man some golden antlers, a white fur cloak, and a winter-wyvern and we’re set to go!
There’s another actor I like too who I think would also be perfect. Learn more at Carole Finds Her Wings where I do character casting for the non-humans in Zaria Fierce.
A: In 1st grade, Mrs. White encouraged her class to use the computer to type up stories. They were usually short, frequently misspelled, and each page was a sentence long with room enough to spare for illustrations. I had fifty or more of these books which were bound in construction paper and lovingly stored away by my mother for many years. I think my hope of one day being a published writer started there. In 2nd grade I wrote a series of picture books about Sprinkle who was a fairy godmother/Cinderella combo, her marriage to Prince Tom, and their seventeen children and pets whose names all began with ‘S’ or ‘T.’ As I grew up my writing progressed from poetry onto fanfiction and then onto blogging. I’ve always had a creative outlet.
A: Yes. I excelled in English and Reading in grade school. In high school I got A’s in English and I was president of the Writer’s Guild Club. We met on Fridays after school got over. (I can hear you all cringe at the idea of staying late after school on a Friday. Oooo.) The club focused mostly on poetry where the challenge would be to write something that met a bunch of crazy parameters. We concluded our meetings at a Dunkin’ Donuts / Baskin Robins combo. My best friends were in the club and we’d get together after everyone left and chill out for the weekend. It was great. It should be no surprise that in college I got an A in my poetry class. 🙂
A: Peanut butter pie! I’ll even share my recipe. Trust me you’ll be thanking me later. It’s that good.
- 1 ½ sleeves of Oreos (standard package)
- 2-4 tablespoons of butter
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Scrape filling out of Oreos into a microwave safe bowl.
- Place scraped Oreo cookies into a plastic Ziploc bag and crush until cookies are powdery (a rolling pin works great).
- Place 2 tablespoons of butter with the filling and microwave. If the mixture looks too solid add another 2 tablespoons of butter. Microwave again until everything is melted.
- Stir and pour butter mixture into plastic bag.
- Mix cookies and butter mixture together until all the crumbles are moist.
- Pour Oreo cookie crumbles into a pie pan and flatten (I find it is easier to use another pie plate than your hands, less messy.)
- Place in oven and bake until the bubbles stop forming in the crust. Takes about 10-15 minutes depending on the oven.
- Cool crust in the fridge before you put your filling in it.
- 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Jiff)
- 3-4 oz. of cream cheese (roughly half the package)
- 1 ½ cups of powder sugar (I use less because I don’t fully fill the measuring cup)
- Let the cream cheese and Cool Whip thaw to about room temperature.
- Mix all the wet ingredients together.
- Then mix in powder sugar a ½ cup at a time. If you don’t, you will have powder sugar all over your kitchen.
- Pour into pie crust and use a spatula to smooth it out.
- Put it back in fridge for twenty minutes or eat right away your choice!
A: Write. Write anything. Write a poem. Write a short story. Write a fanfic. Write a novel. Write a play. Write a song. Journal. Dream diary. Write. Just write. If you don’t write you won’t have anything to share. And read. Read a lot. Read what you want to write about. Read about stuff that inspires you. Read. When you read pay attention to the thoughts you are thinking – How would you have handled that scene? How would the story be different if this or that happened?
A: Starting. I had several rough starts for the first book in the Zaria Fierce trilogy. I believe this was because I wasn’t fully invested in those first few ideas. The best part of each rough start was the description of Zaria Fierce. I honed her as a character and abandoned those early drafts. I wrote the prologue that would start Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest in May 2014. I didn’t pick it up again until late September. When I did Zaria’s story was at my fingertips and the rest was easy.
A: There’s no right or wrong answer to this question because there are multiple ways to get unblocked. For me, I stop writing and put the story away. For the rest of the day I do anything else. The problem of what to do next is revealed and I can start writing again the next day feeling fresh and inspired to keep going.