What are you reading right now?
I am usually reading a print book and an ebook at the same time. On my Kindle, I’m reading Into the Rift, by C.R. Simper. It’s the sequel to her space opera novel, Rift Watcher. The print book I’m reading is Partials by Dan Wells.
Do you have a favorite book/author?
In elementary school, I devoured Escape to Witch Mountain and The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key. Later, I was captivated by Strangers and Watchers by Dean Koontz. He’s one of my favorite authors. Another favorite author is Susanna Kearsley, who writes historical fiction novels in the magical realism category. All of her books are terrific!
What author would you like to meet, living or dead?
No question about it—C.S. Lewis. He’s entertaining, inspirational, and gifted.
What motivated you to start writing?
In the 1990s, I began writing a memoir about my mother entitled, Thirty Years to Alaska. It has been rewritten several times and has never been completed. In 2011, I gave in to peer pressure and read the Twilight novels. Within a few weeks, I decided to write for young adults, and the Scattering Stars trilogy was born. The three books were initially called, The Colony, The Departure, and The Return.
What motivates you now to keep writing?
Once I started, there was no stopping. I believe writing is a calling for me, and one of the things I was sent to earth to do. That being said, I’m not always motivated. Sometimes more than a week will go by without a word hitting the page, but the stories continue bouncing around in my head. I never expected to write for young adults, but now I am convinced that these are my people.
What made you want to write science fiction?
When I got serious about writing a novel, my first decision revolved around genre. The only possible genre for me was science fiction. No surprise. After all, we write what we love to read. Whenever I pick up a book promising a speculative angle— aliens and UFOs (my favorite!), time travel, genetic engineering, telepathy or telekinesis—I’m hooked!
What inspired you to write Scattering Stars?
The subject matter of the story had occupied my mind for years, because I’ve always wanted to write about aliens. In fact, after Scattering Stars was published, I found a long-forgotten short story I had written twenty years ago entitled, Roswell Revelations, about a couple who travel to New Mexico and discover their alien ancestry. My main character in Scattering Stars, Eve Hunter, materialized almost immediately, as did the setting of my novel. On Colorado’s western slope, not far from the towns of Ridgway and Telluride, stands an extinct volcano called Lone Cone that rises to over 12,000 feet. A distinctive and solitary peak, Lone Cone is separated from nearby mountain ranges and surrounded by farms and wilderness. We’ve owned land in this area for many years, and the secluded location seemed a perfect landing site for my aliens.
What advice do you have for people who want to write?
Don’t wait until the perfect time to start—just do it! Writing a novel takes a ton of time and effort. It takes commitment. If you really want to accomplish your goal, schedule time to write and make every effort to protect that time as yours. It doesn’t matter if it takes two or three years, just keep plugging along until you write The End.
Who is your favorite character that you have written?
My favorite character is Eve Hunter in Scattering Stars, probably because parts of her character felt autobiographical. I’ve always felt like I’m not at home on earth, like I’m just visiting temporarily and waiting for the time I’ll be transported somewhere else.
What’s next for you?
My second novel, Acceleration, just came out! It’s a young adult novel about neuroenhancement, inspired by the movie, Limitless, with Bradley Cooper. I am currently working on the sequel to Scattering Stars. It’s called Stars on Ruby Mountain, and it should be out in the spring of 2018.