I have a 4 book series titled A Torey Hope Novel Series. It includes For Nicky, Because of Beckett, Christmas in Torey Hope, and Loving Josie. My newest release is Decker and it’s the first book in my spinoff series Torey Hope: The Later Years. There will be four books in this series; I’m working on book 2 Sawyer now. None of my books are cliffhangers.
What does your writing process look like?
I’m a mom to two school-aged kids, a teacher of inner city elementary school students, a wife, and an author, so my writing process is one of writing whenever I can and writing like a fiend on breaks from school. I usually plot out a story and then start writing. Around 3000-5000 words I usually freak out and send it to my betas to see if I’m on the right track. Then I continue writing until about 30-50,000 words and freak out again, so I send it to betas again. After about 50,000 words, I finally start feeling like I’m in a groove and usually finish it pretty quickly and feeling pretty good about the story.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
I get most of my ideas while in the shower or while driving. I listen to film scores while writing because they don’t have lyrics, but they are energizing and usually fuel my writing.
Do you write naked?
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
In For Nicky, Nate Morgan would be played by Jessie Pavelka. In Because of Beckett, Jeremiah Jordan would be played by Marco Dapper. In Loving Josie, Kyle Martin would be played by Mateus Verdelho. In Decker (and in Sawyer, since they are twins) I’d have to scour until I found the name of the guy on my cover of Decker and he’d have to play them both because he’s exactly who I picture them as.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend? What about the name Renee?
I like names that can have nicknames usually. I also have to keep track of names since they family in my books is quite large. I need first and last names that sound good together. I usually go on baby naming sites to help me choose first/middle names, or at least to get ideas. It just depends, sometimes I pick names based on meaning, sometimes I pick names based on the characters’ family members (like Decker is named after his mother’s maiden name and his cousin Zach is officially Zachary Malone Morgan because Malone was his mother’s maiden name).
As for the name Renee, it always makes me smile because it makes me think of a certain dayreader/reviewer/friend. J
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My children, my teaching career, my five published books…those all make me feel accomplished.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Older, and hopefully wiser, satisfied, and able to write more and more.
Were you already a great writer?
I don’t consider myself a great writer. However, I did a pretty good job as a writer and then editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper.
Have you always like to write?
No, not really. I always hated a writing prompt or writing assignment. It wasn’t until 2013 when I started writing the stories *I* wanted to write that I found I enjoyed it.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Keep writing, writing, writing. If the words aren’t coming, take a break (there are times that I’m away from my story for whole week or more based on my schedule or because I’m just not feeling it at the moment). Get a good editor and get good beta readers; you don’t have to change each and every thing that each reader doesn’t like, but they help find grammar and spelling issues, gaps in your plot, etc. Write the story you want to read. Always know that you’re not the best and probably will never be THE best; just enjoy writing your stories and if you get just one reader, you’re a success.
What was your first job?
I was a waitress at a local restaurant in high school, then I later got a job at McDonalds during my later high school years. Ever since college I’ve been teaching.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I look forward to and read each and every review. I’ve sometimes responded to the good (or at least shared it for others to read), but I never respond to the bad. That’s one of the first things I learned in this author journey, NEVER respond to the bad reviews.
I hate bad reviews, they can bring me down if I let them. It was harder earlier on, but it’s easier to shrug them off now.
My advice (that I still have to remind myself of) is to understand you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but you’ll find you’re someone’s favorite brand. I don’t LOVE every book I read, so I can’t expect every reader to love my stories.
If you could live one month on T.V., like it was your real life, which show would like to live on?
Honestly, I don’t watch TV, so I wouldn’t know where to even begin. Maybe Dawson’s Creek? During the seasons when Pacey and Joey were an item….I’d like to be Joey so I could make out with Pacey.
What's your favorite love story? (movie or book)
A Walk to Remember (the movie)
What’s your favorite line from any movie?
Pretty much any line from Elf J I also love lines from A Walk to Remember. I don’t re-read book or re-watch movies, but I could watch A Walk to Remember 100 times and still love it.
If we Googled your name what would we see?
Well, it’s not all that exciting. I just Googled myself (that sounds a bit perverted) and found that just my social media links and Amazon links come up. Pretty bland.
You were just given a yacht. What would you name it?
I’d probably name it Torey Hope after my series. Torey Hope is a fictional place, but I so wish it were real so I could go there and be friends with all of my characters.
If you could have been told one thing that you weren't told when you were a teenager, what would you like to have heard?
Don’t worry so much about what other people think. Be confident and believe in yourself.
How many licks does it take to get to the middle of a tootsie pop?
I’ll never know, I crunch way before I get to the center.
Why am I asking you these questions?
Because you long to delve deep into my psyche and learn about the real me.
If you were a Star Trek® [or Star Wars® ] character, which one would it be?
This is where I lose readers/fans because I admit that I’m not a fan of Star Trek. If I was forced to choose, I’d probably want to be an Ewok from Star Wars. They are cute.
If I wasn't afraid I would jet-ski in the ocean, swim in a lake, go snorkeling, water ski….are you seeing a theme here?
Someday, I want to travel around the US (preferably in a mobile home) to visit as many lighthouses as possible.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I believe in lust at first sight. I believe you can fall in love with someone without ever seeing them. I’ve never experienced love at first sight, but I’m not doubting it could happen.
Does Prince Charming exist?
In my fictional worlds, yes.
What are your pet peeves or interesting things about you that you dislike?
I straddle the fence and sometimes can’t choose a side easily. I see both sides to an issue most of the time. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing though.
I dislike that I have a phobia of talking on the phone.
I dislike that I bite my nails.
I dislike that I’m impatient and get frustrated when things don’t go the way I planned.
Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
I get up at 4am to go to the gym. It’s the only time of day that is truly *mine* and I love my gym time.
I pop my knuckles.
I drink apple cider vinegar.
If I could be anybody besides myself, I would be…
I think I’d choose to be myself. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but I think everyone has things about themselves they don’t like. Instead of choosing to be someone else and having to deal with their issues, I think I’d rather keep working on learning to love myself and conquering/learning from my own issues.
Have you ever had the feeling you were being watched?
If Renee lived closer, maybe. As it is, I know she can safely stalk me from Texas, and I don’t constantly wonder if she’s looking in my windows. J J J
What's your favorite material object that you already own?
My iPhone. Sad, but true.
If you could live anywhere on this planet, and take everything that you love with you, where would you choose to live? Tell the group about your choice.
Honestly, I love where I live (Indiana), but I’d definitely move closer to my hometown to be with my brother and parents.
I don’t know….if I could take my family and friends with me, I’d love to live in California (San Diego area?) where I could be a short drive to the beach. I’d want to live in a small community, nothing huge, not in the “city” parts. I love the beach (up to my waist, no deeper!)
Favorite place to eat?
I seriously love to eat, so there are far too many places to list in this interview. Right now, we go to a lot of places that have “kids eat free”. I’d like to give a shout out to Denny’s for having the best ranch dressing of all time and a burger that lands in my Top 3 cheeseburgers of all time at #1. I love Mexican, pizza, Chinese.
Which body part would you choose to get a tattoo done?
Easy! I have 5 and they are behind both ears and on my back.
If you were to get a permanent tattoo done, what would it be and where?
I have a feather pen behind one ear, a book behind the other, two butterflies on my back and a book on my back too.
Tea or coffee?
Tea, always tea.
Tell us something you hate doing. Why?
I hate putting away laundry with a passion. I don’t know why, I just do.
What's your pet peeve?
Rude people, derogatory names, hatred towards someone just because they are different, going in the out door or out the in door, the state of education today, annoying people. I could keep going……
As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A dolphin trainer or a teacher. My fear of deep water nixed that first idea, so I moved on to teaching.
What's your favorite Christmas memory?
The Christmas I got to spend with my sister-in-law before she passed away the next month. She was only 31, she left behind two little boys, and I miss her terribly. But, I will always hold close the memories of us together, laughing and loving and just being us.
What takes you out of your comfort zone?
Large groups. I like a smaller group of people and I want those people to be ones I know well. I have to really build up my confidence in order to tackle large groups.
Sitting alone in a big field, looking at stars, what do you think/feel?
Probably, “Well shit, this proves I’m still afraid of the dark. What the hell was that noise?! OMG, there’s a serial killer out here and he’s coming to get me.” Yeah, I’ve got some issues.
What specific thing have you done that impressed yourself.
Wrote and formatted and published 5 books J
What internet site do you surf to the most? Besides Dayreader Reviews, of course.
I’m on Facebook WAY more than I should be.
What is your favorite dessert?
I love dessert, period. I don’t usually go for cheesecake. I will eat pretty much anything as long as it doesn’t have pecans, walnuts, or coconut in it.
Who is your best friend? Tell us about him/her.
My husband. We’ve been together since meeting on the internet in 1996 at college. Turns out we lived in the same dorm. We don’t always get along, but I love him.
I have several other friends, work friends, book friends, mommy friends. I love them all, mainly because they get me and make me laugh (and laugh at my humor).
What's the silliest thing you have heard people say about you?
That I’m intimidating. I’m the farthest thing from that! I think since I’m shy/quiet/awkward around people I don’t know, it comes across as bitchiness. But, I’m really nice and down-to-earth once you get to know me.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
To be more than one place at a time. I could teach, be with my kids on field trips, write my stories, go to the gym, and shop all at once!
If I came to your home and looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?
I’ll clean it soon, I promise, don’t judge me. It’s a plethora of the usual in there. Sadly, there’s no wine. If you come to see my fridge, please bring wine to fill it with.
What is your favorite quote?
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one. (this is on my tattoo)
Did you ever go against a fashion rage? Why?
I refuse to wear the MC Hammer type pants that are back in style. Why? They were terrible the first time around, I won’t subject myself or others to them again.
When people look at me, they would never guess that I:
have 5 tattoos, write romance novels, am afraid of the dark.
My favorite unusual food combination is:
mashed potatoes and cottage cheese
What childish things do you still do as adult?
If someone rented a billboard for you, what would you put on it?
Listener or talker?
I can be both. If I’m around people I don’t know well, I do more listening. Unfortunately for my friends, I talk non-stop.
Can you comfortably eat in a restaurant by yourself? Go to movie?
I’m getting better at it. It’s something I could NEVER do in high school or college, but I’ve done it more lately and found it very enjoyable. Love going to Starbucks or Panera and getting a chai tea latte and reading on my Kindle.
What was the first car you drove?
1989 Oldsmobile Calais
What do you miss most about childhood?
The innocence, the laidback nature of it all, having no worries.
What one thing (modern convenience) could you not live without?
If you could take five things to a deserted island, what would you take?
Electricity, a universal charger, my phone, a toothbrush, and a bulk package of razors.
What comes first, Chicken or Egg?
My students and I were just talking about this (along with “Which came first, the caterpillar or butterfly?”) I think the chicken came first when God created all animals….then the chicken laid the egg.
What makes you unique?
I was born on Easter Sunday (and my birthday has never been on my birthday again!!)
I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue (does that count?)
When is your birthday?
April 10….197-something J I’m sure if you are a super sleuth, you could figure out the exact year with a little research
What is your favorite holiday?
Do you do dance crazy when no one is looking?
I’ve been known to do a little crazy dancing in the kitchen and/or bathroom when no one is around.
Do you like to sing in the shower?
If a song I like a lot comes on, yes. I listen to KLove in the mornings when I’m getting ready…so I’m usually singing or plotting stories.
At the beach would you rather play in the sand, or play in the water?
I hate getting sand everywhere….so I choose to walk at the water’s edge….the last time we were in California at the beach, I spent hours walking the beach…..water up to my knees, enjoying the sand under my feet, watching for animals in the water (on that trip there were 100s of small sharks coming right up to the beach, crazy and so cool!) I also love walking to the rocks and searching the tide pools.
Do you think people should eat the fish they catch, or just let them go?
If they are fishing for sport, throw them back. If they are fishing for sustenance, then eat and enjoy!
Do you scream on roller coasters? Do you lift up your hands?
I do scream. I do NOT lift my hands. I may or may not close my eyes.
Would you rather see a movie at the theater or at home on DVD? Why?
I’d prefer HOME for the price, but if I am at home I usually get caught up in something else and don’t actually watch the movie. So, I’d have to choose theater if I’m actually going to WATCH the movie. Plus, movie theater popcorn is so so yummy (and, yes, I realize it’s so so bad for me!)
You wouldn't be caught dead where?
Anywhere that knowingly promotes hatred or judgement of others.
Can you fake any accents?
Not at all! I am so amazed by people who can. Well, I guess I can do a southern accent. I grew up in southern Indiana and most people in other states think I have an accent anyway. When I spent a week in South Carolina I came home talking with a twang for days!