The Sponsored (Author Interview)

The Sponsored looks like a great adventure romance book.  What type of readers did you write the book for?
 I wrote The Sponsored for readers who enjoy action-packed superhero stories with lots of twists, turns, and surprises. As a reader, I enjoy a fast-paced book that's impossible to put down, and that was my goal with The Sponsored. Romance ends up in all of my books, but that's not the primary focus of The Sponsored, at least not from Grey's perspective. She's not quite sure what to make of Julian most of the time. You'll have to read and see how that plays out. Part of The Sponsored is set in the past, so readers get to see Grey's parents meet and fall in love. Theirs is a great love story. It was a pleasure to write. 

What do you think makes a great young adult book? 
 Great characters make any genre of book great, but I especially think it's important for young adult books. Readers want to love characters, they want to hate characters, they want to feel what the characters are feeling, and go through the story either with them, or as if they are them, and that is why it is so important to write great characters. Grey is a great character, one of my favorites. She's wonderfully flawed, but readers can't help but root for her. 

Did anyone in your life inspire the character Max?
 The short answer is no. I don't know anyone who's exactly like Max. But he would make my list of datable characters. Max is a good guy. I'm a fan of good guys, guys who aren't perfect, but know when to apologize. The shaved head and tattoos? That's just a bonus. =) 

What inspired you when writing The Sponsored?
 While writing, I listened to the album Baptized by Daughtry on repeat. Every morning, I'd take a walk and listen to Matt Nathanson's Come On Get Higher album. Music inspires me. It keeps the words flowing. I imagine the characters in the songs, being tossed around by their emotions, and it gives me insight into who they are. 

What are your ambitions for your writing career?  Full time?  Part time?
 I want to walk through an airport bookstore and see my book. I want to be able to sneak it off the shelves, sign it, and then tweet out to my followers that if they hurry they can snag a signed copy. With The Sponsored I'd like to create my own superhero universe. I'd love to see The Sponsored on the CW. It's perfect for their network. Maybe I'll be the next Stan Lee...

When did you decide to become a writer? 
 Being a writer was not an active decision. I was telling stories before I knew how to write. I've always been an observer of people; I'm interested in what makes people tick, what motivates them. I wrote my first short stories about my CareBears and Barbies. I wanted to write soap operas, those were VERY popular when I was a kid. My grandparents on both sides of the family had their "stories" they watched every day. I remember asking my mom one time if two people were married, and they have a kid, and then they get divorced and he marries his wife's sister, is the kid still her niece, or her step daughter? These were the complex questions my Barbies were struggling with when I was eight. Being a writer is all I've ever wanted to do, so high five little me!

When writing The Sponsored did anything stand out as particularly challenging? 
After the first draft, my editor told me to ramp up the tension, and to add more science. Ramping up the tension was a great writing lesson on how to keep my readers on the edge of their seat. And adding more science meant lots of research for me. Anyone want to know how to genetically engineer a child? Because I can tell you. Now. I had no idea before. I was in Santa Clara because my kids had activities all weekend, dance competition and volleyball tournament, and in between running back and forth, I'd head to the hotel and do research. My very patient father-in-law got an earful about CRISPR technology that weekend. 

How did you come up with the story in The Sponsored?
 I'm part of a writing group, though I am a very delinquent member. A few summers ago, I sent a sample chapter of The Sponsored for the group to critique. Two members, Andrew and Jason, were both curious as to what happened to the bullet. Grey was shot in the first chapter, but I neglected to mention the bullet once she was injured. I tend to do things like this on early drafts, leave plot holes. For me, details come during the revising process. So I sat back down and decided to answer the question, where's the bullet, and that's how the relationship between Julian and Grey formed, and the entire story flowed easily from there. This is why the book is dedicated to Andrew and Jason. 

What do you like to do when not writing? 
 I'm always reading. Always. Everyone I know sort of teased me because while I wait I am reading, not on my phone. I'm actually not a huge fan of my phone, but I am a social media junkie. You can find me everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat-I'm everywhere, and I probably spend too much time there. I love to go to the movies, seeing other's stories on the big screen is always inspiring. I am a very busy mom, so I don't have as much free time as I like. If I did have more free time, I'd love to travel and hike more. My best friend and I have plans to walk the El Camino de Santiago some day. Fingers crossed we actually do it. I'm an introvert, so my favorite place is at home or in a bookstore. And I love when someone else cancels plans because then I get credit for wanting to go without actually having to go. =) 

How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Find me on social media, check out my website I have eight books available for purchase. The first series is a contemporary romance beginning with The World Spins Madly On (Too Late To Apologize, A Little Faith, Life After You, The Broken Road). Into the Dark and Into the Light are about Breachers, beings who can take over bodies. And The Sponsored is the first in my superhero universe. I hope there are many more.