What made you decide to be an author? I developed a love of books as a child, that evolved naturally and in High School I began writing creative stories. It was less a decision to write, and more part of my organic make up. Making the leap from writer to published author was trickier. I think it takes great courage to put yourself out there in that way, and so one day I just swallowed the fear and took the leap. I’ve never looked back.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? I love the entire process. Coming up with a new idea, tinkering with world and characters, writing my first drafts. There is nothing quite like holding your novel in your hands. It’s surreal. The worst thing is probably just never feeling like anything is good enough. I never re-read my own books. Once they are published, I never look at them again. I see too many things I want to change or fidget with.
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? That’s a great question. I suppose growing up a military kid made a big impact on me. I was constantly going new places and meeting new people. I was exposed to many things growing up, but there’s also this disjointedness with having no real roots. It’s an odd dynamic. Even now, I crave exploration. I find it very hard to stay still too long.
Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? All the time! It’s never really my story, I’m more like the transcriptionist. There are people in my head telling me the story. I have shamefully little control.
You’ve written 12 novels and are working on a 13th novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? That’s hard to quantify. I think the biggest thing is just not getting distracted. For me, it’s a job. I allow myself specific time to tinker online and work on the business stuff, but I am very strict with my writing time. That doesn’t work for everyone. It takes a lot of discipline.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? I try to know at least the main players and their histories as well as where I want the story to end before I start writing. So I do an outline, but generally about 3 chapters in I just take the outline and set it on fire. My characters take me where they want to go.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? Don’t quit. It’s hard, like insanely hard. But it’s so worth it. Just keep writing.
Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? For the #HACKER books there was a lot of music all the time. Lana Del Ray, Ed Sheeran, and Matt Nathanson dominate the playlist.
Tell me more about Playing With Fire.
One brilliant young hacker. One experimental government aircraft. One chance to keep it all from going up in flames.
Still recovering from her troubled past, Farris is no stranger to change. But when the military transfers her father across the country to an experimental aircraft squadron, settling in to a new life is the least of her problems. As a series of apparent computer glitches threaten the security of the fleet and the blame falls on her father, she decides to put her computer skills to use digging up the truth. Soon she's drawn into the perilous world of a hacker who is determined to ground the fleet—at any cost.
When all signs lead to someone close to her as the mastermind, Farris will have to burn more than bridges to get to the truth. She will have to risk her fragile new life to uncover the identity of the cybercriminal before they can escalate from harmless tampering… to all out murder.
How about an excerpt from Playing With Fire?
We drive straight to the squadron. It’s a testament to the fact that all the MPs are occupied that I don’t get a speeding ticket as I race through the mostly empty streets. My engine roars as we fly across the base, as if my anxiety has leached through the vinyl seats and straight into the injectors. Bright-yellow Crash Fire Rescue trucks sit scattered throughout the parking lot, their lights flashing. Someone has cut the wire fence to allow emergency personnel in and out without having to squeeze through the turnstile. Marines, both enlisted and officers, congregate in the parking lot, spilling onto the flight line. The smoke is thin and quickly blowing away with the breeze, but even as I pull in and slam on my brakes, I see what’s happened. The right side of the building is collapsed, the mangled steel and brick mixing in a kaleidoscope of flaming wreckage. I’m out of the car before the engine even dies, sprinting through the chaos. I get as far as the front gate before a pair of arms grabs me, holding me back.“Miss, you can’t go in there!” the voice belonging to the arms yells over the chaos. I struggle against his vice grip on my arm.“My dad’s in there!” Two more guards rush over to help restrain me.My mind reels, scanning the crowd for a glimpse of my father and finding none. Time slows down around me. My pulse beats wildly in my own ears, blocking out the sirens and the voices of the men holding me. It’s a familiar, disconnected feeling, as if I’m outside the scene, looking in, detached from what’s going on around me. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Reid talking to a man in yellow firefighter pants, his face blank. In a rush of sound, time catches up with itself and the hysteria floods back in.
Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Buy LinksAmazon: http://amzn.com/B012UINHWM
Sherry, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.