Please tell us about your latest book. My latest book is a horror novel called Conspiracy of Ravens and it is due out on June 30th.
Here is a synopsis:
"Sophia Pascale is a rising star at the Philly Herald. Her latest assignment sends her to the Philadelphia State Penitentiary to interview the "Raven Witch Killer," a self--proclaimed serial killer who is willing to talk...to the right people. Sophia gets more than she bargained for when she steps foot into the prison; Catherine Meara is more than she appears and the handsome Officer Shaw is a wrinkle in Sophia's plans she didn't count on. Struggling with her past and her faith, Sophia will be tested by her ordeal in the prison in more ways than one as she confronts her inner demons and the very real ones embodied in the black shapes perched above the prison entrance. Will she find true love and the story of her career? Or will she be yet another victim of the "Raven Witch Killer"?"
What can we expect from you in the future? More horror novels, with paranormal elements; a kid's story with a vampire and a werewolf; a love story; a couple more YA novels; and a novel about Beethoven.
How do we find out about you and your books? On my blog at www.mermaidsandmayhem.blogspot.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chrystalwrites. OR find my books at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing? I always put a piece of my soul into my work. It's how I roll.
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms? I've been a writer my whole life, but I didn't write for a long time. I had a full time job that was very demanding and mentally taxing, I had a family to raise, and a disabled husband to take care of; on top of that, I was attending college full time. I had no time for writing or for myself. Then I was taking a creative writing course in college for my degree and my teacher told me that I had to write a book. I simply had to. So I did but I didn't let anyone see it...until I changed jobs and cut back on my workload and stress. I let a friend read what I had written and her encouragement was so enthusiastic that I just kept going. I really owe my rekindled passion for writing to my professor and my friend.
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book? It really depends. My first book took a little over a year. My second one was only a few months. The new one has taken me about eight months to write...longhand...
Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow? I can't stick to a schedule. The voices in my head don't work that way. That's way I started writing longhand. It was hard to find time to type everything on the laptop but once I went to longhand, I could take my writing journal everywhere; to bed, mostly, but also doctor's offices, the park...anyplace. It was liberating and helped me write faster.
What is your writing routine once you start a book? I don't follow a routine. I write at will, sometimes with single minded purpose for hours and days at a time and sometimes just notes for a few days.
What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions? My family tries not to bother me when I'm writing. Sometimes it's inevitable with a disabled person and a small child in the house.
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries? I go to the ocean, and I knit a lot. I like to spin yarn (pun intended! haha). And I read A LOT.
What truly motivates you in general? In your writing? Writing is a compulsion for me now, like I kept it caged up for too long while I drowned in my job/school cyclone. But what I find motivating is when people like what I have written.
Where do your ideas come from? Everywhere! They come at me from all angles. Commercials, people watching, things I see on the street, ideas I had as a young girl, space...
Do you feel humour is important in horror and why? Somewhat; I think humor is a counterpoint to horror and makes the scary stuff even scarier
What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write? I think love scenes are important in horror novels too, for the same reason as humor. It keeps some of the darkness at bay.
What kind of research do you do? I do extensive research for my books. For instance, I had a working knowledge of serial killers (occupational hazard) but I need more information since I was writing about a female serial killer. Also, I knew next to nothing about the workings of prisons, so I had to learn about that as well. As for the occult angle in "Ravens" I had a great deal of knowledge already in that arena, so I just incorporated it since it fit so well with the theme.
Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre? I will always dabble in different genres because I have so many ideas. I have several projects I'm working on at differing levels of completeness and they are all different: a romance book and an erotic book, a few paranormal/horror projects, a children's chapter book, a children's picture book, a historical fiction novel, and even a nonfiction book to name a few.
What does your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend think of your writing? My husband is very supportive of everything I do but he finds it hard to read my books. There is a lot of me, and my experiences, in my books and he doesn't like to read about those things. I'm sure he'll read the children's books!
Do you ever ask him/her for advice? I do not ask him for advice, though he is extremely intelligent and was once considering a career in journalism. Writing books is my thing. Sometimes I talk through bits of plot with him and he just lets it wash over him without too much commentary, which I appreciate!
Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.). I just completed my BA of English program a few days ago. It doesn't seem real to not have homework or papers to write. I have a great husband and two beautiful daughters (age 19 and almost 9). My hobbies include READING, knitting, spinning yarn, swimming, spending time with my peeps/pets, and collecting things. I'm blessed to have a job working with students at a local high school and a new job as an editor/proofreader at Solstice Publishing (I LOVE IT!) and hope to make editing/proofing/writing my career now that I'm done with school. Though, I hear a Master's degree calling my name...
Fill in the blank: favorites...
Dessert= ice cream
City= Newport, Oregon
Type of hero= strong
Type of heroine=sassy/smart
What are some of your favorite things to do? Write, read, knit, swim. Pet my dog and my cat. Watch chick flicks with my daughters. Go to dinner with my husband. Have coffee with my mom in the mornings (she lives next door). Watch the ocean waves from a safe distance onshore.
Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book? I have way too many favorite authors and books! But I really love Gary Jennings' book "The Journeyer" and Stephen King and Dean Koontz are the height of horror/thriller authors I aspire to become.
Who are some of your other favorite authors to read? Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Margaret George, Gary Jennings, Neil Gaiman, Anne McCaffrey, and many, many more.
What do you think of critique groups in general? I'm not sure I've ever been in one...
Where do you see yourself in five years? As a famous novelist and editor
How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer? I always have wanted to be a writer. I've been writing since I was in high school, but with a long pause in the middle.
How many books have you written, how many have been published? I have written three books; the third will be published on 6/30/2014. The other two are also published, my second one (Dead in the Water, a YA novel) by Solstice Publishing. I have another coming out on 10/31/2014 as well.
After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it? I always buy a copy for my bookshelf! And I go back and read them so I can do more editing if they are self-published...I'm never satisfied.
Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine? My favorite book is still my first one, Sideshow. The main character, Hailey Ames, is a conglomeration of me, my daughters, and something that's just uniquely "her" which makes her like one of my own children.
What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun? The book that was easiest to write was the second one, Dead in the Water. I wrote it for my students at the high school I work at and I had ample examples of how teenagers think and act. The hardest one to write is probably Conspiracy of Ravens; some of the murder scenes in that book made me feel like there might be something wrong with me. The most fun to write is one of the projects I'm working on now, a book called Misunderstood Monsters, that I'm writing for the 8-12 year old set.
Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting? It depends. Sometimes those things all happen at once, and sometimes the story comes first.
What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you? The easy part is is when the words are flowing and the story is practically telling itself, and I'm just the conduit. The hardest part is when I have to force myself...I usually won't do it if I have to force it. You can always tell in the writing when it's not natural.
Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it? I guess I have experienced something like that, only I call it post book let down. When I finish a book, I'm mentally drained and I feel sort of sad, kind of like the day after Christmas when all the excitement is over. Then I know I have to start editing, which I hate. When I get that way, I usually give myself a break and it's not uncommon for me to go a month or two without writing anything new on my book projects in between completing novels. I do write everyday, such as blogging or book reviews, even letters or short stories and poems, I just don't work on novels during that period of time. I have to recharge my batteries. Then, the voices get insistent that it's their turn and I start writing again...Haha! I have other issues on this subject too. For example, I have to kill off a beloved character in one of my projects in progress and I don't want to. To avoid having to write it, I wrote an entire new novel instead...Conspiracy of Ravens. Now that I'm done with that one, I guess I'll have to go back to the other project and just get it over with.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer? Feeling like I might have the ability to entertain someone as much as I've been entertained by the books I've read in my life.
If you weren't writing, what would you be doing? I can't imagine not writing now that I'm back to it and I have a hard time recalling what life was like before I picked it up again. Most likely the same things, only with more Candy Crush Saga.
Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers? Write everything down. Don't worry about how bad it is the first time you put it on paper, just get it out there. Editing can come later, but once you forget an idea, it's unlikely that it will come back to you. And you never know what ideas are going to be the best thing you've ever come up with!