I'm from Illinois where I live with my husband and our furry children. I began writing a little over five years ago after falling in love with PNR books. Writing started out as a hobby and quickly became my passion. I spend 90% of my time in my office writing and designing book covers for other authors. When I manage to pull myself away from the computer, I'm a huge geek for video games, specifically Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong. I love fishing, traveling and reading anything paranormal related. As of right now, I have two series out and plan to release a third in 2014.
Frequently asked questions
1) How many Gwen Sparks books do you plan to have in the series?
I do not have a set amount. I prefer reading long series, so Gwen will probably get at least 6-7 books, if not more.
2) How many books are you planning for the Anna Avery series?
Again, I don't plan the entire series out so I don't have a set amount. When I started writing Anna's story, I envisioned three books at the time, but it just depends on where the characters lead me. I don't think I'll be able to wrap up Anna's world in just three books.
3) Why does it take so long for your books to come out?
Believe me, it's not intentional. I write when the character's voices are loudest. I refuse to force myself to write when the motivation is just not there. Not only will the story not be as good, but you guys would be able to tell my heart wasn't in it. Sometimes other, random stories pop up and they're too good to ignore. I have multiple "works in progress" books started that I plan on getting back to someday. Also, I work as a graphic designer, creating covers for other authors. Sometimes business is really busy and that pulls me away from writing. And then sometimes life just gets in the way.
4) Where do you come up with your ideas for books?
My ideas come from multiple places. Sometimes I'll take a snippet of a dream and build on it and other times it's movies, books or even photographs that inspire a story to come to life. My Gwen Sparks series came to me while I was decorating my house for Halloween. Anna's story popped into my head when I was writing Deceived. 90% of the time, my ideas just pop up.
5) You normally write paranormal romance. What made you write a contemporary?
Like I said, ideas just pop up sometimes. I was listening to music (country) and Turning Home started to create itself in my mind. I knew writing it would push the Gwen and Anna books back a little, but I don't believe in avoiding any creative motivation. Brooke and Dylan were strong in my head, which meant I had to write about their story. Just for the record though, writing paranormal romance is my #1 choice. I love those worlds and don't plan to give them up anytime soon. I'm not sure if I'll write anymore contemporaries or not, but it was an experience I now have.
6) Do you plan your books or let your characters lead you?
I am not a planner at all. I'm always in awe of those authors who can map out their entire books. In my books, the characters lead the way. The story line changes direction based on their decisions, just like how life changes based on your decisions. I always have an idea as to who the villain is and the basic plot line, but that's about it. I love writing this way though because I'm just as surprised by the end product as you guys are.
7) What advice can you give to authors just starting out?
The number one piece of advice new authors will hear over and over is, write every single day. This is a profession where practice actually does make perfect. Writing is a craft you have to exercise to strengthen. Take a little bit of time every day and submerge yourself in your story, whether it's a half an hour or longer. I would also say to join a writer's group. Having a support system is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Perhaps your family members don't understand why you love to write, or they think it's a waste of time. That's where a support group can come in handy. They all know how you feel, why you write because they share the same passion. Next, if writing is something you truly love, DON'T GIVE UP. It took me almost two years before I was happy with a story and published. And read a lot. Just like students have textbooks, writer's need study material too. Through reading you can see what's already been done, see how other authors build their worlds and characters and come up with your own ideas.
If you're interested in joining a writer's group, check out Write Now, a group I and some of my author friends started on Facebook for those just starting out. https://www.facebook.com/groups/118614331603926/
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© Stephanie Nelson