I can’t say that there was a person or thing that happened that made me want to be a writer. I just remember that as far back as I can remember it’s what I wanted to do. I’d say, “I want to be an artist and writer when I grow up.” I took a detour into another area, but it’s never too late to pursue your dream ;-) I credit my husband for getting me back into writing. I wouldn’t say that he “inspired” me. It was more like he kicked me in the arse! I kept talking about wanting to write but I didn’t have time, blah, blah, blah – excuse, excuse, excuse. He firmly, but lovingly, told me just do it! He didn’t want to hear about any more stories, he wanted to read them. That was in 2007. I’ve been writing ever since.
What types of books do you read?
All kinds! I read a lot of YA, especially fantasy and paranormal/magical books. I’m deep into the Game of Thrones right now and loving it! Two of my favorite books over the past couple of years – The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, and Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, and The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. I also read quite a bit of non-fiction, particularly books that relate to my fiction writing.
What well-known authors do you admire most?
Oh, so many, and the list changes depending on what I’m reading! I love the Hunger Games, and I admire Suzanne Collins’ ability to write amazing hooks that pull the reader to the next chapter. I’ve recently taken on the challenge of reading the Game of Thrones series and I’ve become a huge fan of George R.R. Martin. I admire his ability to create an incredibly complex world with a complicated plot and viscerably real characters – unparalleled. I also admire John Green. In my opinion, he’s one of the best writers of young adult fiction in our lifetime, maybe ever. My writing is nothing like his, but I admire his craft. And from the old school, I admire Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, both masters of story.
What were your writing habits while writing Emily’s Trial?
I wrote the first draft of Emily’s Trial during NaNoWriMo (Nat’l Novel Writing Month) in November, 2011. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 in 30 days. And I achieved that goal! It required several bars of dark chocolate, a couple of cases of diet Coke, and a final day of over 6,000 words. But I did it!
How did you come up with the plot?
I had just finished the first draft of Emily’s House, Book 1of the Akasha Chronicles series, and I won a trip to Ireland (amazing!). It was on that trip that I realized that Emily’s story had only just begun in book 1. Her story is a spiritual journey as well as an adventure, and I realized she had a lot more to.
The plot concept for Emily’s Trial just popped into my brain. I knew that in the intermezzo, she’d have to face tough “trials”. Every spiritual warrior must face tough choices and walk through the “fire”. So that brought me the story question: What if Emily and her friends ended up in a world where their nightmares came true? That original story question led to the story that would become Emily’s Trial.
What is your favorite part in Emily’s Trial?
As a writer, my favorite part to write was the “wild west” chapter. Draicha was a character that came out of nowhere while I wrote the first draft. I like the mystery of him. Is he a true ally to Emily? Or something else entirely?
And this was a chapter that sets up changes that happen inside of Emily, so it’s a pivotal chapter setting things into motion that will not only affect the rest of the book, but with consequences that reach into the third book as well.
What was the hardest part to write?
The beginning. Always, the beginning is the hardest part for me. Where to start? How to get going? I wish I could skip the beginning ;-)
What character is the most/least like you, and in what ways?
I created a quiz for readers, to see which character they are most like (people can check it out here). And when I took the quiz myself, I came out as Jake! That was a surprise for me. I assumed I was like Emily. I suppose I’m like Jake because I’m a thinker, researcher, idea person. He has a more hidden lion, and he’ll tend to overthink things rather than act with his heart. Yes, that’s me.
What would your ideal career be if you couldn't be an author?
Travel writer. Oh wait, that’s still being a writer! Hmm, well my fantasy job that may not feel like a job would be to open a street taco stand on the beach in Hawaii, open only for lunch.
Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing? I read reviews. Do I pay attention to them? Sometimes. Do they influence my writing? Mostly no. But if I see a pattern to the comments, either positive or negative, then I will take the comment into consideration.
For the most part, I try my best not to allow what others say to influence my writing. I am an artist with a need to create. I cannot write stories to please others. I must follow the creative muse and first and foremost, please myself. Writers typically have an evil bitch of a critic living inside their head. I duct tape mine, hog-tie her and lock her in a closet while writing the first draft. Then I let her out during the revision process ;-)
Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?
I wouldn’t say I’m sick of answering any question. I enjoy answering questions put to me by readers and interviewers. But I must confess I’m little worn out with answering the question of how I came up with the original story idea for the series, or how I came up with the plot. It’s a question asked my almost all interviewers, so I’ve talked about it a lot!
Do you find it hard to balance your writing with your personal life?
Yes. I find it hard to balance anything! I’m very uncoordinated ;-)
Do you have any other books in the works?
I’m currently writing the first draft of Emily’s Heart, the third and final installment in the Emily Adams series. It will be longer and more complex than the first two – and I think the best one of the series! I’m having a blast writing it And Emily’s Heart will be unlike other books you’ve read. I’m creating extra content that will be embedded in the digital version via links and QR codes. Readers will have an interactive experience with the novel, if they choose to. I don’t want to spoil the surprises, but readers may be led to “lost” chapters, character interviews, and other media. I can’t wait to get this one out to readers!
I’m also working on a new speculative fiction series, working title is H.A.L.F. Here’s the set up: Ever since the UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, the U.S. government has had a top secret program to breed alien-human hybrids as weapons to be used in a secret war. At the dawn of the new century, the program succeeded and the first H.A.L.F. (Human Alien Life Form) was born. The H.A.L.F. escapes the government facility and flees into the dangers of the surrounding Arizona desert. When Erika Holt and her friends have a chance meeting with H.A.L.F. in the desert, her choice to help him escape pits her and her friends against the U.S. government. And when they find out the truth that the government has been hiding, none of their lives will be the same again.
Do you have a blog, website, or links to share?
I enjoy chatting with readers and they can reach me here:
Natalie will award an autographed copy of "Emily's House", a handmade Celtic-inspired armlet, similar to one worn by Emily in the books and book swag to one randomly drawn commenter (US only -- an eBook of "Emily's House" will be substituted as the prize for an international winner). The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/10/virtual-book-tour-emilys-trial-by.html
Natalie is the author of The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult fantasy trilogy. When not writing, blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, Wattpadding or eating chocolate, Natalie nurtures her young daughter, feeds her dog too many treats, and can’t resist watching Ancient Aliens, no matter how absurd the show becomes.
Natalie enjoys travel, good wine, and excellent food shared with family and friends. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, now lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living in a high rise in a big city.
“Books are my friends, ideas my passion.”