For those who may not already know, what would you like readers to know about you and your writing?
I write young adult novels and short stories with a focus on GLBT main characters, and also try to include as much other diversity as possible. I love to experiment with different genres, and have stories which are contemporary, dystopia, and steampunk.
What inspires your writing?
Everything in my life inspires my writing!
With No Turning Back and The Divide, your young characters have some extreme situations to deal with, is that intentional to show how serious some young people’s lives are and some of the situations they may be dealing with? I do think that my intention is to write these stories both for kids who are going through extreme situations and to raise awareness that things like this do happen. I first got the idea for No Turning Back when I was a kid myself, so I think other kids would like to read these things.
The Divide: Uprising, is the first for this series, do you have an idea of how many books there will be in the series? There are only two books planned for this series. I’m working on the second book now! It’s called “The Divide: Unity”.
Do you think the world in The Divide: The Uprising, could happen with how much equal rights is in the news? Or is your hope that something like this could never happen and that is part of the point of the series? I really don’t think that this is something that will happen in the future, but there are some extremist preachers and politicians who have suggested that gay people be put in camps or imprisoned or killed. In spite of all the equal rights in the news, I think being gay is still hardest for teenagers. I think The Divide: Uprising is more of a metaphor for what queer teens are actually going through today: there is bullying, fear of what parents and friends will say, kids leading double lives and feeling like they are forced to lie about who they are, and in some situations there are still teenagers being “banned” by their own families. It is true that for gay teens “It Gets Better” . . . but sadly this usually doesn’t happen until adulthood after many trials and sometimes after being abandoned by old friends and a lonely road to seek new ones.
What are, or what have, been the biggest challenges for you as an author? My biggest challenge has been the fear of submitting my work. I always felt I wasn’t ready yet, and was too afraid I would find out I wasn’t good enough. Once my son was born, I felt much more confident in myself, and decided I should set an example for him and follow my dreams!
Do you have a favorite author or book that you go to for inspiration?
I have multiple favorite authors and books. I would say that at this time some of my best influences are Anne Rice, J.K. Rowling, Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, Anne Moody, Alex Haley, and Louis Sachar.
Personal relationships are a strong theme in your books so far, do your personal relationships enter your characters at all or does the perspective come from observation/imagination? There is always some personal experience, but quite a bit comes from imagining situations that I wished would have happened when I was younger. For example, coming out to a close friend at a young age and having them declare they are not only also secretly gay but in love with you is definitely a fantasy that never happened for me!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Don’t give up! Ever! If you feel like you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown and the world is falling apart, this is the time for you to try harder!
Where did you get the idea for Amelia’s Revolution? Do you read steampunk yourself? I got the idea from a writing contest that was just for fun in an online writing forum I belong to. I do read steampunk and have just begun to get into it in the past year or so. I think it’s a really fun genre.
Speaking of Revolution, will Two Spirit and Strong Arrow get a story? Please? There is definitely a story on the way about Two-Spirit and Strong Arrow . . . it will be published in June! It’s called “Two-Spirit’s Red Road.” I’m also going to write a third story written from the point-of-view of Amelia’s girlfriend, Nadine.
How would your best friend describe you? My best friend’s name is Kristin Stewart, and she is not the actress, but I still love to throw her name around! I think she would describe me as a good friend and she would be proud of the progress I have made. She has known me since I was scribbling stuff in notebooks and knows that there are times I thought about giving up.
What is next for you and your readers? In June, my steampunk short story “Two-Spirit’s Red Road” (sequel to Amelia’s Revolution) will be released. In August, a contemporary short story called “My Secret Pain” will be published. I’m working on the second and final book in The Divide Series, “The Divide, Book Two: Unity” and hope to have it published at the end of this year or the beginning of next!
Leave a question or comment for Kim before 5/6 for a random chance to win a copy of The Divide! CONGRATULATIONS VONNY!