Reader Questions

It seemed like a fun idea to have a little section reserved for a mixed bag of questions from readers.

Q: How did you select the image for the spine of your paperbacks? Does the horse hold any significance?

A: The image you are referring to is one I selected because I like the term "Dark Horse", and that's a bit how I feel in the publishing world. By definition, it is a candidate or competitor about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins or succeeds. Given it's also a chess piece (Knight), Simon would approve, and I liked that tie in with the Mageri series.

Q: What is your Favorite Christian line?

A: I have no idea where to begin with that man. He has some poignant moments, but Christian is a brash man who tells it like it is. (Someone once said he does not suffer fools) The one line that sticks out in my head that always makes me laugh when I read it is:
"Your fella was a real joy to travel with. I thought you were a barrel of monkeys, but that one is the whole fecking zoo."
That line alone sparked my desire to write a bonus scene.

Q: Do You have some bad habits while writing or thinking?

A: Actually, I do.  There are times I'm in a heavy writing session and a character infiltrates my brain. I end up walking around the house, talking like them. It's like a hostile takeover, but in some cases, the process helps me iron out a scene that may be entirely devoted to them. I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad habit, so much as a quirky one. Then again, you've never heard my Irish accent.

Q: Is writing love scenes embarrassing, challenging, etc? 

A: I think writing fight scenes can be more challenging than a love scene. If an author is embarrassed, uncomfortable, or squeamish about writing a love scene, they shouldn't write it. I've written a number of books with different levels of romance, and I write what's appropriate (language/intensity) for that particular series & character. Part of it involves getting into that characters head, because you want to be true to who they are, and love scenes can be very revealing about a character. I recently wrote a book that has a love scene that will make readers laugh, and I love that because it fits the characters so perfectly. You're always going to have readers coming into a book either deciding it should be raunchier, tamer, or non-existent. All you can do is write for your characters.

Q: Who would be Your best friend (male/female) from your books?

A: Wow, that's tough! If we're just talking the published books, then the best male friend would be Adam and best female would be Silver. I think I could hang with Silver. Bet you thought I'd pick Simon? I think he'd be too much trouble for me, and Adam is very low-key and casual. The kind of guy who you can sit around and have a beer with, shooting the breeze.

Q: Do you have a favorite Actor/ Actress? Who?

A:  Carey Grant and Katharine Hepburn. I have a ton of recent movies, and lots of favorite actors, but I seriously love these two on a whole different level.

Q: What is your favorite band/singer?

A: I'm such a fan of music more than a follower of a particular artist, however there's always a few artists who rarely disappoint me. I've been following Muse for eons, and Florence and the Machine before they ever got radio play. Tom Odell, Hozier, Mumford & Sons, etc. I especially love falling in love with little known artists and getting my friends to fall in love with them too. Check out my music page to see what songs I associate with some of my books.

Q: And what movies, series or TV-Shows do You like?

A: I frequently Netflix or stream on my breaks. Shows will vary but include Game of Thrones, Handmaid's Tale, Twilight Zone, Three's Company, Seinfeld, The OA, Dark (German), and I also enjoy historical stuff like the White Queen or Tudors. As for movies, my taste is all over the place. Foreign, Sci-Fi, Drama, Fantasy - you name it.

Q: Did you have any scene that while writing made you cry?

  A: Readers have found my books to be emotional, but I will admit I'm a tough cookie and it takes something dramatic to break me down to tears. I've read a ton of books in my life and most of the time I can see where the story is leading. As far as my own books, I had great difficulty writing Gravity. There was a loss in the book that I dreaded each time I hit the chapter during my edits. Could I have backed out and rewritten it? Sure, but that's not how the story was meant to go. I had to purge a lot of those emotions out by playing some sappy songs on my MP3 and going through a bit of a mourning period, but those who have read Gravity know exactly what I'm talking about. I think the part that touched me the most was a conversation that happened later in the book between two characters and the ocean is discussed. We all have dealt with death in our lives and it's a very personal experience.

Each of us is a bright light in this world, and to have it extinguished is a tough thing - to know you'll never talk to them or hear their laugh or feel their touch. Just once you'd do anything to have a single moment to say all the things you wanted to say, to appreciate the moment more. And I hope with that thought in mind, that anyone doing a re-read of the books might linger on scenes with that character (where previously maybe they skimmed over them) and appreciate that life.

Q: Are there people in your life past/present that you have used as inspiration for your characters?

A: I wish I could say they really existed in some form or fashion, but no. I will say that life experiences weave into your books and enrich them. There are phrases I've borrowed from people I know and used them for my characters. I once saw a little girl dashing across a parking lot that became my inspiration for the young version of Melody. I took my cat's habit of licking windows and gave it to Max. I love adding quirky little things about characters that make them a little more real.

Q: Why are they all so dang sexy!? Will you write me in as either Adams or Christians love interest?

A: Haha, I think I wrote Justus and Simon with the intention of being sexy in different ways. But that's what I love about writing. Even Knox I find sexy in his brutish ways, but many readers won't. We all connect to characters differently. I never imagined so many people would find Christian appealing - a man with an insulting attitude that barely shaves and cuts the necks off his sweaters, but there you have it. We're all sexy in different ways, and it's that whole 'eye of the beholder' thing. Sometimes people just have that charisma that can't be explained.

Q: Ok, so I am rereading, and I am at the part where Novis says "It's not uncommon for a Creator to have never met his progeny." So why was Justus so dumbfounded that Silver didn't know who her Creator was?

A:  Novis was speaking beforehand. One would expect that a Creator meets and gets to know the person he is going to change over into a Mage. That's how it used to work in the old days. But the Mageri kind of orchestrates things now like an arranged marriage in order to control who comes into their world, the Creator might not have met their progeny beforehand. But once they are made, they have an obligation to mentor and care for that new Learner. Justus's surprise is discovering that a Creator made a Mage at random and then abandoned her upon creation.

  Q: I remembered my initial reaction to Justus and Adam's first interaction. Justus was really trying to wind Adam up with all of his comments. Like when Adam says "Who the fuck are you. No one puts their hands on Zoe, feel me?" and Justus says "No, I'm not feeling you. And neither is she, from what I understand." Why was Justus trying to antagonize him? Justus isn't like that after that.

A: I love these questions because although they may not be explained in the books, I'm very much inside my character's heads and know their intentions throughout the series. Not long after that, Justus doesn't have to deal with Adam anymore. As you read the series, you'll get a sense that most Mage see themselves as superior over humans. They don't associate with them (Except Justus's taste for women) and most Breeds resent humans because they have freedoms that the Breed do not. The Breed have to live in secret in their world according to laws, and it's against the law to kill humans. 

Many feel because they are physically gifted and in some cases immortal, that they are more powerful and important than a human. They exclude them from Breed establishments, and Justus sure as heck didn't like the idea of a human male trying to stake a claim on a Mage, let alone a female Mage. I don't think at that time he knew what he felt for Silver, except maybe a sense of entitlement, and Adam suddenly became competition. It became more than just man vs man, but human vs Mage. Which world would she choose? In the end, Justus felt like the "best man won" when he walked out the door with Silver and she went where she belonged - with her own kind

Let's not forget that with all that we love about Justus, he is still an arrogant man. ;-)

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