When and why did you begin writing?
I had a story in me that had been trying to escape for several years. I wasn’t ready to allow it to emerge until January 2013. I wrote unwaveringly for three years until publishing The Sleeping Serpent in October of 2015.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always been a writer. I love research, and as a costume designer, there are documents that we compile. But becoming an author of original content was a huge leap. There is a distinction between the two designations.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I wrote the story that compelled me. The book contains erotic scenes between a narcissistic abusive yoga guru who seduces many women for his personal gain. It is being called a psychological erotic thriller, rather than romance because it does not contain a “happily ever after” which is the definition of a romance.
What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre that isn’t so?
My story is both a Love story and a Thriller, but it is not a Romance. A romance, by definition, has a “happily ever after” ending between two main characters. A love story does not have to have one. My story contains intensely erotic scenes, but my book is not erotica. Erotica by definition is where the sex drives the story.
What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre that they need to know?
I found with The Sleeping Serpent, readers don’t have an awareness of personality disorders, and how many women fall prey to the charms of a narcissistic sociopath.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?
I am currently a full-time writer. But I am also active in marketing and promoting the debut novel, The Sleeping Serpent, which takes up a portion of my time.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I consider myself a Creator. In my life I have been a ballet dancer, painter, done pottery, fooled around with poetry, love interior design, and crafting, and made a living creating the wardrobe looks for characters. After writing The Sleeping Serpent I feel that has stretched me creatively. It was probably the most creative process I have experienced.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
Because The Sleeping Serpent had been brewing inside me for so long, it was easy to make an outline. Once I had that completed, I let myself color outside the lines.
What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I spend most of my time involved in Facebook groups of bloggers, readers, and authors. I do author takeovers and giveaways. I host multi-author events and I email or Facebook message blog tour and review tour invitations.
Did you make any marketing mistakes that you would avoid in the future?
I don’t believe that I have made marketing mistakes. What I would say is that I have done the best I can without having what I need as far as financial resources. If I had the money, I would still self-publish but I would hire a publicist to get traditional media exposure and spend money on advertising. I would not recommend an author to go with a small traditional publishing house because they wouldn’t spend the money for book promotion. I would recommend a Big 5 publishing house if they would spend a considerable sum of money on marketing.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write what you want to write, and have fun with it. I also recommend reading quality literature for inspiration.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
Whether by free will or fate, Luna’s encounter with Nico provokes a storm that shatters her perceptions of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. The storm didn’t blow in from the outside. She was the storm. There is turbulence within her, forcing her to confront the darkness, uncovers her secrets and her pain.
Luna Saint Claire has a loving husband and an enviable career as a Hollywood costume designer. Still, something is gnawing at her. Bored with her conventional and circumscribed existence, she feels herself becoming invisible. When she meets Nico Romero, a charismatic yoga guru, his attentions awaken her passions and desires. Dangerous, but not in a way that scares her, he makes her feel as if anything is possible. Infatuated, she becomes entangled in Nico’s life as he uses his mesmerizing sexuality to manipulate everyone around him in his pursuit of women, wealth, and celebrity.
Immensely erotic and psychologically captivating, The Sleeping Serpent is the compelling story of a woman’s obsession with a spellbinding guru and the struggle to reclaim her life. At its heart, it is a painfully beautiful exposition of unconditional love that makes us question what we truly
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing this book?
The timing was right and it was a story that had been brewing inside for quite a long time.
Tell us more about your main character. What makes him or her unique?
The antagonist main character is Nico Romero, a gifted healer and yoga guru, who is a narcissistic sociopath. He compels women, using them for his self-interested ambitions of wealth and celebrity. The protagonist main character is Luna, a happily married middle-aged woman who in the perfect storm of vulnerability becomes the target and victim of Nico.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The story is fiction, not memoir. I didn’t want to write it in the first person POV because I needed to include the perspective and experiences of the other women who became enmeshed with Nico in his sort of “cult.” I wrote in third person multiple points of view, changing with the scenes of interaction with Nico. This was both challenging and painstaking.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The story flowed out of me without any obstacles. So, then it was easy to go back and work on making beautiful sentences, and tweaking structure. I love reading descriptions that define place and enhance character description, such as what people are wearing, doing, listening to, feeling and even what car they drive. I have been praised by readers for exquisite writing and I have also been criticized for it.
What is your next project?
I am writing a combination of a quest and redemption story.
What role does research play in your writing?
I have always loved research and had to do a lot of it in college and then in my job as a costume designer. I love doing research. For The Sleeping Serpent I had to research kundalini yoga in depth including the spiritual practice of yoga. Nico is also an initiated shaman and lived with the Q’ero tribe in the Andes Mountains of Peru. I did extensive research on the Q’ero and the paqos, the medicine men, and their sacred ceremonies. Nico is from Buenos Aires and there are scenes that take place there so everything from the architecture, tango, music, and the foods he prepares in Los Angeles, all required research. He also goes on a trip to Abu Dhabi and that was fun to research. One woman is a stunt performer, another an art dealer, and I had to research about those careers.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Once I have the direction I can easily go with it. But, when I don’t a procrastinate and wait for the ‘gods” to flow in me.
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?
I am not a writer of what has become known as “disposable and delicious” romance novels. So what I learned is to be gentle with myself and allow the spirit to move me. There is no rush.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I have so many writers that inspire me. Jhumpa Lahiri, Ian McEwan, Elizabeth Gilbert – to name just three very different ones.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Paula Hawkins who wrote The Girl on the Train. Imbolo Mbue an author from Cameroon who has debuted with a New York immigrant story.
What do you like to read in your free time?
I usually read three books at a time. One that is nonfiction that interests me. Right now I am reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces for a greater understanding of the hero’s journey. Cutting for Stone an epic novel. And the new Elizabeth Gilbert book Big Magic, about creativity written with Liz’s wit and spiritual insight.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
For beautiful sentences, character description, the inner working of motivation and thought provoking story I adore the works of Jhumpa Lahiri and Ian McEwan. I love Elizabeth Gilbert for her wit and eloquence. Eat Pray Love, her memoir, has inspired the hero’s journey and quest theme I am working on now. The Signature of All Things is a beautiful story with themes of regret. I can add to that Hemingway for simplicity and Isak Dinesen for eloquence and vivid description. Donna Tart’s Goldfinch was a huge inspiration for me. Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina inspired The Sleeping Serpent, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich is an inspiration for the book I am writing now. I could go on…
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?
Wave a magic wand and stop all wars, and prejudice. When you study the philosophy of religion you find that all religions have the same underlying truths. The ancient teachings that are passed down from the beginning. Why we have religious wars today is something I cannot wrap my head around.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Volunteering in some third world country in Africa or brokering a peace in the Middle East!
Tell us something unique about you.
I am adopted and Native American.
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