What inspired you to write your first book? The Kings of Charleston was inspired by a short story I wrote my junior year of high school.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began? My high school English teacher, Ms. Chafin, who I wrote the short story for what would eventually become The Kings of Charleston. She had always believed in the story and knowing that kept me going. She had a profound impact on my writing and inspired me to keep going when I would get to a difficult part.
Who or what influenced your writing over the years? I think Mary Higgins Clark, who I grew up reading a lot. I loved her mysteries, and I think I’ve read every single one of her books. She was hands down the biggest influence for me.
What made you want to be a writer? When I finally decided to sit down and write The Kings of Charleston, it was more of just a goal…to get the story onto the page and hope for the best. But I quickly fell in love with writing. I love the creative process and I feel more at home writing that anything else. The goal of writing a book quickly became a goal to become a full fledged writer.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Writer’s block or when you can’t quite get a scene right. It’s the most frustrating thing to me, but the payoff is great when I finally work out the problem. I use music to help me work through the problem. The craziest thing is I usually come up with the solution while I’m driving, which isn’t convenient, but I got some great advice from another writer to call myself and leave a voicemail when I’m not able to write anything down.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? The beauty and therapeutic qualities of writing. Even though I’m writing fictional mysteries that really have nothing to do with my life, they provide so much therapy for any situations that I am going through. Writing is such a wonderful expression of emotions that provides a cathartic experience that’s addicting.
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Genre – YA / Mystery / Suspense
Rating – PG13 (No sex scenes, some violence)