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Tell us about your latest book.

Keeper of Reign Book 1 is a young adult/middle grade fantasy about a young Elfie, Jules Blaze, who lived in the Kingdom of Reign. The Elfies are a blend of Elves and fairies, and used to be big and normal, like us humans, but something triggered a curse and the entire Race was reduced. This happened centuries ago. Now, they just sort of accept life the way it's always been--sort of like us humans when we get used to a rough patch and don't do anything about it. In the story, Jules, the sixteen year old , wanted to take matters into his own hands, because he really believed he could make a difference. Except things spiraled out of control in his life as one by one his family member faced danger. Would this stop him from trying to make a difference? Would he stop trying because of obstacles? Should he stop trying? In many ways, Keeper of Reign, is an allegorical fantasy, in that it reflects our human plight. At what point do we allow the troubles of this world to stop us from doing what is right? That was Jules's journey to maturity and growth.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

I wanted to write a book with a purpose: to empower young readers with the message that no matter how small they feel (the Elfies were cursed and reduced to an inch tall--that's really small!)  they could still make a huge difference, and that if they seek the truth (the Ancient Books in Keeper of Reign) they will find wisdom and answers to life's problems. It doesn't mean the answers are going to come easy, but persistence will pay off. So seek wisdom and  it will help each person to live triumphantly; in essence, to reign in life.

Who and what inspire you to write?

Life, children and love inspire me.

Each author has his or her own inspiring journey. How did you begin writing?

Six years ago as I put my five children (then three to thirteen years of age) to bed, they asked for a story, so I made up a story that involved five children, not unlike them, but in a parallel world where the people have been reduced to a small size. Each night they asked me for more. So I decided to add a theme and put the story to paper. Some seventeen revisions , and five years later, Keeper of Reign 1, the final version, was born.

What has been the most pleasant surprise about writing? How about an unexpected down side?

I was amazed at how people have been touched by the stories. Adults, but especially kids. I guess the downside is that one book is not meant for every kind of reader. Readers' tastes are so different, and it's not possible to write for everyone--like a mass market. I wrote Keeper of Reign for a 10-15/16 year old reader. If adults enjoy it, fine, but, if not then, so be it.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I am more of an organic writer in that I have a story in my head, an idea I'd like to grow, and once I start with the character and the conflict the story blossoms on its own. I just keep writing until the end. So I don't really have a ritual--I just go with the flow. But then once I am done with the first draft, I do try to have some kind of ritual/structure-- I go back to the piece  (about six-seven months later) to rearrange scenes and plots so that it has the traditional structure that is recognized as the basic architecture of what a good story should be--the 1/4-1/4/1/4/-1/4 structure.  The thing with writing is not to stop.

Do you write your books in order?

I try to write one book at a time, but sometimes in the middle of one book, I have another idea invade my mind and the new story is just waiting for me to download. Alas, it takes time to write a book!

Any favorite writing snacks?

Chocolate covered expression beans. but I can't take too many, unfortunately.

What advice would you give writers who aspire to be published?

Write a million words, read, read, read, and write a greta story that's been trying to bust out of you. And never give up on your dream no matter how many problems life throws at you! You'll eventually get published.

Are you working on anything new right now?

I am  currently editing Dead Dreams, a young adult psychological mystery/ thriller, and that should be ready Dec. 2013. And I hope to have Keeper of Reign Book 2 out early 2014. Some readers have asked me to write a prequel for Keeper of Reign. I might. Time is my enemy these days.

Who is your favorite character in your current book?

Probably Jules Blaze, the sixteen-year-old protagonist. He tries so hard to make a difference but he has to face so  many obstacles and as a youngster he doesn't see the value of family and a safe home until these things were all lost. It was a lesson he had to learn, to gain wisdom and re-learn what was most important to him--his family and his Kingdom. He faced many conflicted decisions, but through perseverance and some smart moves he realized the importance of the Ancient Books and that he had it within him to overcome Whisperer, the main villain in Book 1.

What is your favorite book of all time?

Lord of the Rings. I love the imageries and the richness of the symbols Tolkien used, yet, at the same time readers can read it at a more superficial level, too--just a story about Hobbits, and the evil Sauron, and Gandalf. But to me it's so much more than just a fun read--even though it's that, too. Tolkien first started with the Hobbit, a children's book, but the novel was such hit, even with adults, that he developed LOTR, which is really three books, broken into three parts, since his publishers felt it would have been too expensive to have it as a single book.

 

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