Please tell us a bit about yourself:
My website, in a fit of ego, claims that I’m a writer, mom, geek and superhero, though I like to say not necessarily all four on the same day. But it does basically sum up who I am. I’ve been a writer ever since I could put words to paper and I was a geek before that was a term of endearment. I grew up on rural New England, served two years in the U.S. Coast Guard, spent seven years as a journalist, and managed a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Nowadays, my life is taken up managing my four kids, including twins, though they are fast approaching adulthood.
And I write. I’m always writing.
Tell us about Phoenix Rising:
The tagline is “He was raised to be a weapon but, for her, he’ll learn to be a hero.”
The story is about a man, Alec Farley, who’s been raised in isolation to be a weapon but thinks he’s a hero. Unfortunately, his guardian plans to manipulate Alec into using his ability to gain power.
The heroine, Beth Nakamora, a telepath, knows what it’s like to have people exploit psychic abilities. Originally, she only wants to show him the world and the possibility of a life outside his very closed world. But she falls in love with his optimism and his innate idealism, despite the influences of his nefarious guardian.
Basically, Alec was raised by a Magneto-type, and Beth is the Jean Grey who shows him what the world can really be life.
What inspired you to write this particular story?:
This book was inspired by two things. My love of superheroes and dealing with my twins, who have special needs. It struck me that out-of-control superpowers are an excellent fictional analogue for autism, or mood disorder, or other elements of emotion and learning that aren’t always in the control of people, especially kids.
There’s a moment in the movie Man of Steel where Ma Kent comforts young Clark, who’s hiding in a closet at school because he’s overwhelmed by his super-hearing and can’t be around other kids. If that’s not a metaphor for kids dealing with noise sensitivity issues, I don’t know what is.
Alec has full control of his dangerous ability and he revels in it. The heroine, a telepath, is far more scared by her ability and overwhelmed by it. Between them, they bond, and teach each other a lot about what it means to have psychic abilities and live a normal life.
Please share a favourite snippet from your book:
This is Alec and Beth, early on, when she’s trying to teach him a little bit of control over his emotions. I love it because it’s fun and captures Alec’s personality nicely, plus Beth’s growing fascination with him:
She shoved her hand into the M&Ms and tossed a handful at him.
“C’mon,” he said with disgust. Some test. He twitched a finger and grabbed the M&Ms in midair with his TK. They hovered, unmoving. He could toss them back at her but why waste M&Ms? He twitched his finger again and formed the candy into a line. He let them fall into his mouth one by one.
“Mmmm...” he said, swallowing the last.
She hadn’t moved, her mouth set in a line, but there was something about her expression that made him think she was amused. That wasn’t what he was going for, though that half-smile was awfully attractive.
“Was that a proportional response?” he asked.
“Oh, definitely.” She grabbed the bucket of ping-pong balls and tossed the lot at him. Like the M&Ms, he took hold of the balls with his TK with little effort. They were so light, it was easy to keep them hovering. He let his hands fall to his sides and began juggling with his TK. The balls zipped around his head and shoulders, faster and faster with each second. But he wasn’t watching them. He was looking for some reaction from her.
Her eyes widened. And her face started to flush. Interesting. Did she get turned on when he used his power? She wasn’t built like the girls he saw at the strip clubs but she was all in proportion and she had such a beautiful face.
He let go of the balls and they hit the carpet, bouncing to all corners of the office. He stepped closer to her.
Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:
Personality, always. And usually the name comes hand in hand with that.
Any tips for aspiring authors?
Practice by writing. Keep writing, keep learning. Never give up, never surrender.
We lose too many storytellers already. We cannot afford to lose any more. Keep going.
Questions for fun:
If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change?
Yes. My father died in an accident when I was eight. I would absolutely go back and save him. For that reason, the episode of Doctor Who where Rose goes back to save her father hit me very hard. Naturally, I never liked that ending and was so glad that her father later turned up. Well, an alternate version of him, anyway.
What super-power would you choose?:
Immortality. I have so much stuff to do and so little time. I want more time.
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?:
1. That my kids would all be healthy.
2. That my kids would all be happy in their lives
3. That I could travel with my husband all over the U.S. and the World.
Coffee, tea or wine?:
TEA. Black loose tea. Earl Grey Crème is a favorite.
What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!):
Ah, it changes with my mood. My current favorite is Lois McMaster Bujold’s Cordelia’s Honor. That book makes my heart happy.
Favourite genre and why?:
Uh, this is the part where I confess I don’t just like one genre, I want them all. So, the answer is: multi-genre books with a lot going on: mystery, romance, maybe a little science fiction. The only genre I don’t read is horror.
Blue, I suspect.
Upcoming news and plans for the future?
I have a steampunk romantic mystery coming out on April 29, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract. It’s my homage to the Sherlock Holmes stories I love, with a multi-cultural Holmes analogue and a female Watson.