There are many questions I am commonly asked about my writing, publishing company, inspiration for my books, and more. In this section I have decided to answer all these questions, plus a few others.
Q: What inspired me to become a writer?
A: I don't know what inspired me to start writing, or even what the first story I ever wrote was, however I do know that writing is something I have always done. I can't say there was anything specific that inspired me to become a writer, only things that inspired me to write. It's possible my inspiration actually came from the reason I write.
As a kid, I would write for various reasons. My earliest reasons are unknown to me, however as a kid I was a reluctant reader until I discovered animal books. Even once I found I enjoyed reading, I was often reluctant to try new books. I was happy with my fictional animal stories and it wasn't until I read my first fantasy story with an animal in it that I discovered my love of magic, however it was rare for me to find a book of interest that didn't have at least one of my favorite subjects in it, so when I couldn't find a book that I was interested in reading, I would write my own. As I got older, I stopped having problems finding books to read and started having problems choosing which ones not to buy from the book store or borrow from the library as I always had too many. It would have made sense for me to stop writing at this point, but instead life gave me a new reason to write.
I had always lived in my head, so I often got in trouble for daydreaming at school. A lot of the reason I daydreamed was due to stress, not boredom, but I wouldn't know this until later in life. During my grade school years I actually never thought about writing any of them down. I had written down some of the dreams I had at night, but never anything I thought about during the day. It wasn't until I was in 7th grade that this became a regular thing. During the summer after 6th grade I had written a story that later became a series of fantasy adventures which I lived in my head to get through the next few years.
Later, when I was in high school, there were days when I was required to work on something during a class, but had all my work done and nothing to work on so I used those periods to write stories. Sometimes they were continuations of my series, other times they were based on a drawing I did, and other times I had written a short summary of an idea the second I had a chance to and would write a story based on that. No matter what happened, my life always found a way to keep me writing and gave me increasing opportunities to write more often, so the short answer to the question is life. Life is what inspired me to become a writer. Q: Did I want to be a writer when I grew up?
A: I honestly never thought about becoming a writer. For most of my life, I was confident that one day I was going to be a veterinarian, with the exception of a short period of time where I thought about becoming a race car driver. Even in high school, when I took a career test, being a vet was the only thing I tested as having any interest in. I remember being pulled out of class to talk about my results. I was told I needed to have other options in case being a vet didn't work out.
I had other reasons why I chose not to follow my dream of being a vet, so I think I would have made that choice even if they hadn't told me to think about my selective mutism and how I would be able to do my job if I couldn't talk to people. It wasn't long after that when I started really looking into what I would need to do as a veterinarian and couldn't see myself doing some of those things. In the end, the only thing that kept me considering trying to become a vet despite how I felt, was the money I could make as one. I decided that if money was the only reason I still had any interest in it, then it wsn't right for me. I decided that I wanted a job I loved doing, not something I just did for money.
I didn't actually have any idea of what I could do for a living, once I made my decision, so when I was given the chance to make writing books my life, I took it. I started thinking that maybe there was a reason I had always written stories, and I knew that I would continue to write regardless of what job I had, so becoming a writer seemed like the perfect choice for me.
Q: What inspired me to write the Mortal Realm Witch Series?
A: I got obsessed with the 90's live action Sabrina the Teenage Witch Series and began imagining myself as a witch. I imagined what I would do if I had magical powers and created an imaginary version of myself. In my head, I was a witch called DWW. I quickly discovered it's a good thing I wasn't really a witch. DWW eventually started becoming her own character. Wolf Magic in Learning About Magic was the last story I wrote before I stopped being DWW in my fantasy life and she became free grow into whoever she was now that she was no longer me. Her dream was inspired by Halloweentown High. It was while watching the movie that I knew who DWW was now and where the Mortal Realm Witch Series officially became a series.
The second half of the series was inspired by a dream I had, and life. Although Asantra is definitely her own character and has been from the moment she came into my life, Asantra made herself known to me during a time in my life that required a stronger character; when I once again needed to become someone else while I was figuring some things out. I had actually thought the Mortal Realm Witch Series was finished after Realms Unite?, but when I dreamed about this strange, adventurous young witch, I knew it wasn't over yet.
Q: Why did I become a publisher?
A: I became a publisher to publish books. I liked the idea of not just publishing my own books, but books by other authors as well. I loved the idea of having a company that publishes nothing but the kind of books I love to read.
Q: Why did I become an artist?
A: Drawing is just another one of those things I have alwasy done. Though I'm not as good at art as I am writing and photography, I have always enjoyed doing it. Like daydreaming in class, drawing was another thing I was always getting into trouble for. For me, it was a stress reliever so I was actually able to pay attention better when I was drawing. It helped keep me from daydreaming. During my grade school years, drawing was a way for me to deal with the anxiety related to being severely uncomfortable looking people in the eyes or even looking at them at all when they were speaking. It gave me a way of listening to people without increasing my stress level. Unfortunately, drawing in class is never allowed so I usually just ended up staring at a wall or something random in the room and of course getting in trouble for daydreaming and not paying attention in class due to not having any way to decrease stress so I actually could do that.
Throughout my life, drawing has remained something I do to relax a little. Often I would combine drawing with listening to TV, especially once I began watching live action shows and found my problems extended to people on TV as well so I couldn't focus on a show or movie if I was looking directly at the characters.
As time went on, I began drawing whenever I could. Usually, this would be the beginning of my classes before the bell would ring. Since I used my lunch period and any free periods I had for writing, I would often write a story based on one of my drawings so many of my stories began because of a drawing I did. Writing and art have always gone together for me. Whenever I finished writing a story, if it didn't already have a drawing to go with it, I designed a cover for it. When the time came to publish my first book, I felt like my art was part of the story so rather than go with a professional artist, I chose to find someone who could take the cover art I created and make it look the way I wanted it to. I have since done the cover art and illustrations for all of my books.
Because I love drawing, and have focused on improving it over the years, just as I have done with my writing, I decided to make it part of my life. I actually never considered myself an artist while I was only doing the art for my books. It wasn't until I decided I wanted to start selling some of my original non-series art, that I decided it would be okay to call myself an artist. Q: Why did I become a photographer?
A: I have always enjoyed taking photos, but it wasn't until I got a new camera in 2016 for a vacation with a friend that I began actively doing photography. I had taken classes in the past so it didn't take me too long to feel comfortable with my new one. In the past I hadn't really traveled or taken photos away from home so it was exciting to travel to new locations taking photos. It was during this vacation that I got an idea.
Having multiple anxiety disorders means it's common for me to go through periods of depression. Occasionally there are times when nothing helps and because of this, I'm not nearly as active as I need to be. Picking up a camera again and just enjoying it, gave me the idea that photography might be just what I need during these times so I started going out daily with my camera, intending to use it to help me stay active and, especially to keep me going outside because it has always helped for me to spend time outdoors with animals and nature.
To motivate myself to keep doing photography, even when I didn't always feel like doing anything, I created a game. I called it Photography Quest. The idea was to create photo albums and fill them with as many different things as I could find.
I started with only a few albums which quickly grew so I started splitting the photos up more, creating new albums. Where once I might have had an album for animals, now I had albums for dogs, cats, birds, horses, rodents, and more. I created the albums on Facebook where I knew I had a few friends that would keep the pressure on me to keep going out and doing photography, but even so, I was surprised by just how positive their reactions to my photos were. I decided to experiment by sharing my photos with all my Facebook friends instead of only with my small group, and was surprised by how well recieved my photos were. I was encouraged to keep going out and collecting photos to fill my albums and eventually got to a point where I was often not finding anything new anymore, so I began trying to get better photos of things I already had in my albums, intending to replace my existing photo of a subject if I got something better. I had a lot of fun with it and was told many times by people that I should consider selling my photography. At first, I was reluctant to do this as it meant turning yet another hobby into a job, but I eventually decided I was going to keep doing it, and it is fun to share my photography with people, so I offically became a photographer as well.