How does it feel to be a nominee for America's Next Author?
I'd started to lose hope with the constant push push push of asking people, posting in Facebook groups, sitting on Twitter, and I'd began to stop my posting four times a day and moved it to every other day. When I checked the site and saw that I was the "Round 4 Nominee" it didn't stick for a moment. I was thinking about making a new video to bring in votes when I didn't need to! In fact, one of my friends, who is also in the contest, was more excited to see me through!
Were you raised by wolves? ;)
I wish I was ... I'm just fascinated by the creatures -- they are everything we aren't! We are lucky to still have them around despite everything that has been done to them. My next dream is to actually meet one I can touch.
How have you managed to stay near the top of the rankings week after week?
Lots and lots of hard work! I'd send a message to everyone on my online list and ask them to write an honest review, even doing the same on Skype and MSN which I use for networking for friends. I'd write a longer advert and send it to every single writing group I am on that allows posts promoting things. I wrote a default blog post and had it put up on those blogs with links to everything. I worked my butt off to get to where I am now ... but never forgot that I've got friends in the competition.
What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in regards to writing?
Doubting my own skills -- that's the biggest challenge for me. Second is the ability to be proud of what I have done. I often find myself second-guessing what people will like or see. There's nothing worse than thinking you've written a piece of drivel when it could be the biggest thing ever.
When you were little, did you want to be an author when you grew up?
When I was three, I wanted to save the dinosaurs. When I was six and realised I was too late for that, I decided I wanted to work with animals. I always enjoyed writing, but it was done to pass the time. It took working in a vet's office for two weeks to realise that vet work wasn't for me, so we (as a family) began to foster dogs from the pound. It was only when we couldn't do it any more (too heart-breaking to cope with) that I turned my attention back to writing. With the help of someone else just starting in the writing world, I was born fully as a writer.
What is the best way to deal with writing criticism?
Take the worst of it with a pinch of salt. Some people are jealous -- even if they are great writers themselves, you may find something easy that they won't. There are also people that aren't interested in what you've written, especially if you've got a storyline that has a hidden message. I just ignore the awful criticism when I know it doesn't apply but I always try to learn from the honest stuff -- it can help you develop as a writer.
Now that you can relax for a few weeks before the final round, what will you do with all that free time?
Relax? What's that? I'm currently doing NaNoWriMo and editing my book ready for release next month. I'm looking forward to that, too. Echoes of Winter has been a labor of love with 100,000 words written in a year, edited over four times, formatted in a year! That's gonna be a big thing!
If you could choose one superhero power, what would it be?
That's easy! I'd be a shapeshifter -- I'd love a chance to live as the animals I write about.