Sparrow and Blood To Dust are considered dark fiction. What got you into dark fiction?
I honestly have no idea. My first book, Tyed, was more rom com. I thought I’d be writing rom-coms for sure my whole life. But then I started writing Sparrow and things got a *little* out of hand. I’ve only been intrigued about the human nature when you face a fight or flight situation. Putting my characters through hell and see how they walk out of there unscathed is just something I find fulfilling.
Having said that, I am working on a rom-com, so I try to keep things interesting and fresh for both me and my readers J
You have some brilliant, quick one liners – how would you describe your sense of humour?
Dry, I guess. I like my characters witty and intellectual, even if they’re felons and ex-cons. Also, I love to see banter between my h and my H. I love it when my heroines are sassy and don’t take any bullsh*t from their love interest. So I always try and keep the conversation crisp and realistic.
The covers of all your books are gorgeous. Which is your favourite and why?
It’s really difficult to choose because I love all of them, and all of them have been made by different designers who are very, very talented. I’ll have to go with Sparrow’s though. Sofie Hartley nailed it. I was so vague and annoying (I basically told her I wanted something ‘unique’) and she came up with this cover and it still blows my mind sometimes when I look at it.
I also love Tyed’s cover, because it’s sweet and it gives you the right idea of what you’re getting into. Of course, I love Blood to Dust’s gritty cover. My designer, Letitia, and I worked real hard to achieve this kind of look.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere. From movies, other books and the news. From listening to a couple arguing next to me when I take the subway to the way I see a boy looking at a girl from across the restaurant. I find inspiration in absolutely everything and that’s why I make sure I always go and watch a lot of movies, follow three thousand TV shows, read 3-4 books a week and try to make sure my artistic side is never hungry.
How did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I think I always knew. I was a music journalist for five years before I’d decided to “retire” and started a career in the fitness industry. I was a personal trainer, and I’d come back home and devour like six books a week. Until one day my husband told me “You one-click 12 books a week. I think you better start writing them if you wanna keep it up.” And he was annoyingly right, of course, as per usual.
What do you find to be the hardest part of the writing process?
I try and keep it fun and positive, but the edits part is definitely a headache. My text is always littered with grammatical mistakes, and frantically searching for a plot hole in every word can be tiring, but it’s an important part of the process.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Write every day, even if you don’t like what you see on the page. Never let anyone tell you it’s a stupid dream, it’s not, and a lot of people have fulfilled it with little to no means. And be kind. Always be kind. To fellow authors and to your readers. Because it’s a journey that’s not worth taking without making great friends along the way.
What are you currently reading?
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. It’s absolutely fantastic.
You’re at a book signing, who are you currently fangirling over?
Penelope Douglas for sure. Oh my god, this woman. I admire everything about her, from her talent, craft and mind to the way she carries herself and manages her career.
What’ve got planned next?
I have an early December release – the name of the book is Vicious and you do not wanna miss it. You can add it to your TBR here – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30839185-vicious
I am also working on a romantic comedy that’s due early ’17.
Thank you L.J.Shen for the fabulous interview!