all the Stuff
Who are your favorite authors?
Definitely J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, SD Perry, SM Reine, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. All of these authors have heavily influenced my perspective and writing style, for sure! Still, I have to admit, I’m sort of an SD Perry fan girl. Her writing is phenomenal, and has been the most major influence in my writing. When I read her Resident Evil novelization series, I KNEW I’d found my writing voice. 🙂
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Oooh, I LOVE to cook. I enjoy flambé-ing things, and I live for cooking and eating gourmet. I also make a MEAN white chocolate fruit tart! I really love spending time with my daughter, and I love to read too! But the death of me? Good television. I’m an avid Scandal fan (go Gladiators), and I also love Better Call Saul, Sleepy Hollow, Arrow, Game of Thrones, True Detective, and way more than I can count! (Did I mention I love reality TV? YES, I SAID IT!) I also spend time writing (for tv, movies, and video games) and gaming on my Xbox. Franchise favorites include Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Assassin’s Creed.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
By word of mouth and recommendations by other authors I love! When I have the chance, I read pretty widely too, not just in my genre. I admit: it’s hard to get me amped up for romance, BUT I’m a big fan of J.A. Huss and Marie Hall… trying to give more romance a chance! And I always put indie authors first… gotta give my peeps their props!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
OMG, yes! And I’m actually revamping it into something a little more sensible now! The first story I wrote was about 4 orphaned girls and a magical mailbox that took them to magical foreign lands. It was awesome, and I loved (love) it. The idea is the foundation of a series I’m working on (slowly) now, and hopefully I can marshal all my former ideas into a story that makes some sense, lol!
What is your writing process?
Asses and elbows. Or better said, “Ass in chair”, meaning that you sit down and just write the thing. Then you re-write until it’s not crap. But I’m not the best at getting up and just doing the “writing” thing, specifically because I have SO many ideas that I want to get out at once! I’m working on it, though. A big thing for me, though, is to READ, RESEARCH, and LIVE LIFE. That’s where all my ideas come from!
Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer?
I do! I used to teach Theatre, Film, and TV at a high school in Harlem, but as of the summer of 2022, I’m now a Dean of Students & Enrichment at a Brooklyn Middle School.
Have you always liked to write?
I’ve loved writing since the age of 10. It literally saved my life as a child and allowed me to jump into new, amazing, incredible worlds when the world around me was falling apart. Writing will always be my passion.
What’s the best thing about being an indie author?
The control. And the ability to create diversity where it was once limited. It’s addictive. The idea that I can write whatever I want to write, explore whatever I want to explore, put any protagonist I want at the center of my story, pursue diversity with reckless abandon, and weave stories in the way that I like and STILL be able to publish my novels on my own… wow. That is super powerful and amazing. That I can decide what my destiny and focus is in publishing is something I’d never trade in for anything!
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Staying confident and motivated while I’m grinding away on a writing project is one of the hardest and challenging parts of being a writer. Sometimes I really look at my drafts and go, “Wow. This really IS a shitty draft. And I hate it. And I suck.” Still, it’s important to recognize that when my energy is low and dark, that I just need to step out of the critical editor mind and step back into the playful, frolicking artist mind. Usually that means working on a different project for a day or two, or shifting into world-building mode, or even just taking a break to do some reading or to Netflix some great shows (which are also a great way to study story while having fun)! The best way to face these challenges though is to keep writing, and to develop a daily (or mostly daily) writing habit, even when it feels excruciating.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Write more, write recklessly, and produce MORE shitty drafts. (And then make them better.)”
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
- Write like shit and have fun. No, really. It’s ok. Just WRITE and get a draft DONE.
- Remember that the point of the first draft is to tell YOURSELF the story, not anyone else.
- Write like shit some more and have fun.
- Write to think, don’t think to write.
- Outlines are great! But also: write to think, don’t think to write.
- Write like shit again, have fun, and THEN re-write to make your work less shitty. And have fun.
- Did I mention you should have fun?
- Read. A lot. Both fiction and non-fiction, and read both within and outside of your genre. Not only is it fun but it’s also educational and inspirational and allows you to “steal like an artist”, as Austin Kleon would say. 😉
- Write like shit often, and have fun, as much as possible, and then re-write.
- Write what you want to see in the world. If you want to see more protagonists in wheelchairs who save the day, get the girl (or boy), and who become the baddest dude / chick on the block, then WRITE IT. And then tell me where to buy it!
If you could choose ten words to describe your writing style, what would they be?
Dark. Gritty. Noir(e). Witty. High-octane. Unapologetic. Ass-kicking. Magical. Urban. Fantastical.
Where do your ideas come from?
So, before really jumping fully into my career as a novelist and filmmaker, I trained for nearly 7 years as a sociologist and social researcher. I was really invested in exploring social problems and posing statistically-informed, research-based solutions to these problems. Issues like poverty, disease, racism, sexism and sexuality, health, and more were always on my mind and still are. As a result, most of my novels are always, on some level, exploring social problems, asking questions, and posing social experiments and thought experiments through the lens of sci-fi and fantasy. I don’t think I sacrifice any of the fun, action, tropes, or escapism that’s expected from SFF/H novels, but I find it impossible to write any series that isn’t actually about anything significant or socially relevant.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My dream is to build my company, Rebel Ragdoll, into the ultimate media f’empire. Currently, Rebel Ragdoll stands as a female-identified, multimedia brand dedicated to increasing the presence and impact of women, people of color, and other disenfranchised communities in publishing, filmmaking, and game design. I hope to empower artists to create, push change, and make a living with their art. Rebel Ragdoll is divided into four creative subsidiaries: Rebel Ragdoll Press (publishing), Rebel Ragdoll Productions (film & TV), ChickRogue Studios (games, software, and animation), and, The Bohemian Badass (creative education & training).
Where do you see your writing career in 10 years?
In addition to running Rebel Ragdoll, I myself want to publish an insanely large backlist of sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, crime noir(e), and survival horror novels. I also want to create and direct a bunch of action, horror, and sci-fi movies with all-female crews! I’d love to be one of the most prolific creators to ever have lived. 🙂
What is your least favorite part of the writing and publishing process?
The writing. LOL! (True and yet not true.) I know that sounds terrible, but sometimes I can hate writing because it’s so damn hard! But I also love it at the same time. I can’t seem to stay away from writing, even when it stresses me out. I’m compelled to keep doing it even if it’s killing me, so that tells me that it’s what I’m meant to do.
What are you working on now?
Oh my goodness, too many things! Right now, I’m:
- writing book #3 in my Books of Ezekiel series, “Hollow Point”
- writing a fun and shitty first draft of book #1 of my Hitmen of Happily Ever After series, “Rose and John Does”
- writing a fun and shitty first draft of book #1 of a cyberpunk trilogy called “Asylum”
- working on the screenplay for my horror film, SANDMAN
- doing pre-production for my horror film in-progress, SANDMAN, and preparing for our film shoot
READER'S QUESTIONS: Round #1
READER'S QUESTIONS: Round #2
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