How did you manage to stay so high in the rankings each week?
It wasn't easy, but I had a lot of help. The first thing I did was build a twitter following. I had 17 followers before the contest, and I now have about 1,300. It was really hard to keep up with, but I did my best to interact with each follower. I thanked each one for following me, thanked them if they mentioned or retweeted me, and shared my story. They have been extremely supportive and some have even become friends now. My Facebook friends have been diligent about posting, liking, tweeting, and reviewing. I also posted regularly on my Facebook, my fan page, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Livejournal, and a few writing blogs. It felt like my full-time job for a while!
How much of your writing is based on things you see in real life?
I'd say most of my writing is based on my reality. I've written a play and a short story based on events surround the illness and death of my mother, and a horror novel based on dreams that I had. Most of my writing is darker and heavier than Ambient Light, but it was a fun little piece to write. It was inspired by my dream of having a play on Broadway, a little celebrity crush on an actor who shall remain nameless, and its setting. Bryant Park is one of my absolute favorite places in New York City. I have also written some sci-fi, fantasy, and geekiest of all, quite a bit of Smallville fan fiction!
Who is your favorite author of all time?
I don't know that I have a single favorite author. I've read everything by Gregory Maguire and Michael Crichton, and I love classics like those by Jane Austen and Shakespeare. I love the Oz books of L. Frank Baum, the Anne of Green Gables Books of L. M. Montgomery, and The Borrowers series by Mary Norton. J.R.R. Tolkien, Peter Benchley, Stephen King... I definitely can't narrow it down to one!
What is the hardest thing about writing for you?
Finding the time to write can be very difficult. I work full time and I'm pretty wiped out by the end of the day, but I think it's important to write every day to keep up that momentum.
Do you ever bring your laptop to a coffee shop to write?
I have, but I usually find that I'm less productive. I can do research or make notes and edits, but for true creation I need a more controlled environment, usually with WNYC, my favorite radio station, playing in the background.
What are your thoughts about self publishing vs traditional publishing?
I didn't have a lot of thoughts about self-publishing before this contest, but now that I've learned more about online marketing and seen what some other self-published writers do, I feel like it might be a better option for me than traditional publishing.
Name a book that you'd be embarrassed to be seen reading.
True Blood. I read the first one. It wasn't my cup of tea.
If you had a book club, what would it be reading and why?
Granted by Corrie Killmer, because she's my sister and her Wishgiver Series is going to be huge!
What have you learned from being in America's Next Author?
I've learned so much about marketing, promotion, and e-publishing! I feel well-equipped to start publishing my work.
If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?
I would be Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, because I already am! I'm one of four sisters, I love live theater, and I moved to New York to be a governess and pursue writing.