Perception and Deception
Book 1 by Andrea Hintz Genre: New Adult Spy Action Adventure Romance
Felix Jaynes is a special agent for the Real Life Immersion Program (also known as RLIP). A few months earlier, she had a traumatic experience that caused her to go from a confident agent who was a phenomenal expert in her field, to suddenly doubting her career. She has recently been sent to an extremely rural town called Toselville; playing the part of a young nature photographer. Everyone has their cliques in Toselville. As a twenty-one-year-old, she finds herself having to network with the younger people in town. Her mission: find the middle aged son of two weapons designers who created blueprints for the United States government. As time goes on, she befriends Ashton Mathis, the owner of the only grocery shop in town, and his best friend/employee. Ashton instantly becomes enamored with Felix's beauty and kindness she shows towards them and he begins to pursue her while she is in the midst of working on an incredibly dangerous mission.
RLIP agents have partners who talk to them through their small earpieces that cannot be seen. These agents are not allowed to see their partners or even know their names. Felix has had many partners who are generally cold and over-professional. But Felix has been assigned to Wolf, an older gentleman who becomes a sort of wise father figure to her. After going with Ashton and his friends to the town bowling alley, Felix finds that she is starting to get into a clique of her own. Ashton is there to hopefully win Felix's heart, and Felix is there strictly on business, hoping to get information for her case...or so she keeps telling herself. Against Wolf's initial words of wisdom, Felix finds herself thinking about Ashton and accepts his invitation to go out on a date. But Felix accidentally blows her cover, and soon, Ashton is attacked. Felix was able to save him once, but now her enemies will stop at nothing to get to them. Felix is reassigned to a new mission...witness protection for Ashton and herself. Their budding romantic relationship comes to a sharp halt as they now have to focus on working together to survive. They can run, but they know their enemies are never far behind. Their only option to save themselves is to solve this case. And it is not going to be easy.
The white tent was filled with glowing lanterns setting on top of white-table cloths. The harsh street ground was completely covered in several rugs that had beautiful paisley designs of red and off-white.
There was a warm glow about the room that not only surrounded the people, but seemed to fill them as well. I was not used to such beauty and warmth. And that’s when I really discovered something important about myself.
I was cold on the inside. And I had allowed myself to become used to it. I could tell because of the discomfort that this atmosphere was causing me. I needed my heart to thaw. I still clung to Ashton’s arm as we walked towards an empty table.
“Wow,” I said.
I found myself resting my head on his shoulder for a moment. I wasn’t sure why. I could feel him turn his head towards me, so I lifted my head and looked him in the eyes. He smiled. Then he pulled a chair out for me.
He took the seat off to my left.
“So, tell me about your family,” Ashton said after we were situated. “What do your parents do?”
This was when it was usually nice to have a partner in my ear to feed me some fake information. But I could hopefully get by on my own.
“My dad is in business,” I replied. “He works in a corporate office in New York. My mom was a stay at home mom until I started high school and then she started working as an insurance agent.”
“Do you have any siblings?”
“Unfortunately, no,” I replied. “I sometimes wish I did.” That part was true. “What about you?”
“I was an only kid too.”
“Did you ever want any siblings?” I asked.
“Sometimes,” he answered. “I always thought it would have been really cool to have an older brother.”
That’s when a loud, booming voice interrupted our quiet discussion. “Why? So you could have someone to defend you against big, bad Kalvin?”
There was laughter coming from Kalvin and his friends as they all sat down at the table with us. Ashton stayed calm, but I could tell by the way he started to clench his hand under the table that he was getting either angry, uncomfortable, or both.
“What, did we interrupt something?” Kalvin asked, feigning innocence.
Lucas and Derrick started smirking. A moment later, Jamie came over to the table and sat down in between the two.
“Hello, Felix,” Jamie said. Her slight smile disappeared. “Ashton.”
“I think these guys are on a date,” Lucas said.
“Well then,” Kalvin said. “I don’t think they’ll mind if we join.”
“Actually, I do,” Ashton answered. “There are plenty of other tables around here. Why don’t you guys just go sit somewhere else?”
Kalvin just laughed. “I swear. You must be paying this girl to go out with you.”
I was getting angrier by the second, but before I could say anything, I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see Janice.
“Hi, honey,” Janice said. “Could I borrow you for a second?”
I glanced at Ashton, who nodded and mouthed, “Go ahead.”
I hated leaving him there, so I made sure to keep an eye on the table while Janice led me away. When we were out of earshot, Janice took my arm and pulled me closer.
“Don’t let those nasty kids ruin your night,” she said. “Do you want me to say something to them? I can get them thrown out for causing trouble. They have no right talking to you guys like that. You have to be careful with Kalvin. He and his friends can be pretty violent if they’re provoked.”
“It’s ok, it’s ok,” I replied quickly. I was quiet for a moment and then I snapped my fingers. “I have a plan. I’ll take care of it.”
She looked at me uncertainly.
I grinned. “Trust me.”
She started to smile back and then gave me a pat on the shoulder. “Alright. But if you need anything, just come get me. I’m sort of like Ashton’s other mom, so I’m pretty protective of him and his friends.”
She walked away and I slowly began making my way back to the table. As I got closer, I heard everyone at the table burst out laughing except for Ashton, who set his jaw tight. I hadn’t heard what they had said, but it was obviously enough for Ashton, because he stood up to walk away. Lucas reached over, grabbed his arm, and jerked him back down into his seat.
Ashton yanked his arm away. “Cut it out and grow up!”
“Grow up?” Kalvin said. “Why don’t you try giving yourself some advice? Felix is going to be gone before the clock strikes eight. Watch me work my magic.”
Ashton gritted his teeth. “Stay away from her.”
“Make me,” Kalvin sneered.
I stopped and slowly turned away without them seeing me. Then I made my way over to the refreshments table. I picked up two glasses of punch and headed back over to the table. Then I set one down in front of Ashton and the other in front of myself before taking a seat.
“I brought us some drinks, handsome,” I said. “I hope I got what you like.”
Ashton suddenly looked over at me, obviously hiding his surprise at my sudden change of dialogue. “Oh, thank you.”
I dropped a straw into my drink. “I’m so glad that you are finally taking me out. It was hard to catch him, but I saw what I wanted and didn’t stop chasing until I got it.”
Jamie glanced at me funny and then frowned. Kalvin furrowed his eyebrows.
“You chased him?” Kalvin said, making a sound of disbelief. “You must be as big a dork as he is.”
‘Dork’ was such an immature term.
“Oh, I was a bit of a nerd in high school,” I replied. “Studying anthropology and the human condition. People just didn’t understand. But that’s how I ended up getting into photography. Well, it was actually my modeling career that got me interested in photography in the first place. One day, I just looked at the camera and realized the powerful influence I could have if I was on the other side of the lens.”
“Modeling career?” Jamie said.
“Oh, yes, I was a model for awhile after I graduated from high school,” I replied. “Then I used my photography skills to take photos that related to anthropology, traveling to different countries to study people and the way they lived. It was quite fascinating.”
“How did you afford the travel?” Jamie asked suspiciously.
“Oh, my parents financed everything,” I answered. “My dad was a farmer, and he struck oil on his land right after my mom and dad got married. They took care of all of my trips. But after I began making my own income, selling my photos to travel and social research magazines, I refused to use any more of their money.”
None of the others at the table said a word. Neither did Ashton, who just stared at me. He suddenly got a slight grin on his face and looked down. He knew what I was doing.
“You look so good tonight,” I said to him.
He looked back up at me, and the second he did, I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and kissed him. I’ll admit, it was my first kiss, and it didn’t necessarily come about the way I had always expected, but I didn’t care. In fact, it turned out even better.
Perception and Deception II
Twenty-two year old Faith Evans (formerly known as Felix Jaynes) is a former special agent for the Real Life Immersion Program, an organization that the FBI calls upon in the midst of unsolvable cases. Faith has been enjoying her normal life outside of the agency by spending time with her boyfriend, Ashton Mathis. They have become inseparable since meeting during Faith’s final mission with the agency several months prior. Although they seem to be safe from the events that unfolded during that final mission, both of them are having feelings of uneasiness and find themselves looking over their shoulders at all times. After spontaneously eloping at the courthouse, things begin to take a strange turn when Faith suddenly disappears without a trace…
Twenty-two year old Faith Evans is a former special agent for the Real Life Immersion Program, an organization that the FBI calls upon in the midst of unsolvable cases. After being betrayed by RLIP, she decides to cut ties with them permanently and move on to a normal life. So when she’s asked to return to the agency to help with a difficult case, her immediate answer is no. However, she soon discovers that the case involves the kidnapping of her former partner's teenaged grandson, Paul Spencer. There’s no way she can stay away and sit quietly.
Paul was being groomed to become a future tech agent, but having computer hacking skills of his caliber at such a young age may have exposed him to a dangerous cybercrime ring that wants to use him for something life shattering. The agency suspects that Paul’s computer club classmates may have been the associated link. Faith is the only agent young enough to pass as a high school student and must befriend Paul’s classmates to find out what’s going on. But when politicians suddenly get involved, this case may be far more twisted and dangerous than she initially realized. On top of everything else, RLIP seems to be attempting to recruit Faith's new husband, Ashton Mathis, into the agency.
SEEKING BETA READERS FOR PERCEPTION AND DECEPTION III!
Email me at email@example.com if interested in a free PDF copy in exchange for your honest review! This is the third book in a spy series, however, the first two books do not need to be read to get into the story. Each book has a stand-alone case to solve, so you won't get lost starting here.
Andrea Hintz has loved writing her whole life. She began college at the age of thirteen and graduated at seventeen with a Bachelor's in Public Management and Administration. Having endless stacks of books, she has a particular interest in fiction genres that contain lots of adventure and take her to other places of the world. She has written many books including the books in The Tesoro Series, the Perception and Deception series, additional short stories, guest articles for writing blogs and literary magazines, as well as a short guide for beginning authors. Andrea also plays the guitar, sings, and has written notebooks and notebooks full of songs and book ideas. Her favorite books were very special to her growing up, and she believes that if at least one reader feels that way about her work, she will have successfully done her job as an author.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Well, I've loved writing from the very beginning. Going back to my school days, my mother always encouraged great writing and putting my all into my papers. She would give me new and fun books all the time. I specifically remember really starting my love of reading when my mom would order The Boxcar Children books from the school catalogues. The excitement I felt when my teacher would place the cellophane wrapped books on my desk when the orders were delivered was nothing short of the butterflies kids get on Christmas morning. Then, my mom decided to go back to school for her master's degree in education, which led to her staying up late frequently for her studies after we were in bed. My brothers and I would creep downstairs and wanted to stay awake with her. She told us we could stay up just a little longer as long as we were reading with her. She bought us books with topics we loved like Star Wars, Barbie, and NASCAR. She made reading a reward.
As I got older, and the onset of the stressful middle school years began, I found that books were my escape on those anxious Sunday evenings, calming my nerves before I'd have to return to school Monday morning. Fictional stories were where I went when I sat on the playground with no one to play with.
Soon, this of course stemmed into my love of writing. My teachers would notice my love of creative writing. I remember being in the third grade and being nervous about our State test. It was time for the writing portion, and I remember feeling pure happiness when I saw the topic: "You're sitting in class and a bird suddenly flies in through the window. What happens next?" Creative writing. I was so thrilled to get to write my own story that I went to town on that paper and aced the test. My teacher took the paper all over the school and showed it to the other teachers.
I was probably about twelve years old when I laid in bed one night and thought, "You know…I really could write my own book. And I'm going to start." And soon after, my first book began.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I have a good heart and a good soul. I'm a major rule follower. Because of this, it's actually really difficult for me to write bad guys in my stories. I have to work really hard to make a believable villain. They usually do turn out perfectly believable, but with lots of editing and cringing as I'm writing their dialogue. But it has to be done. You can't have a hero without a villain, right?
What are some of your pet peeves?
Not a lot of things bother me, luckily. My only thing is that I just want to be treated right. Based off of my history, I don't like bullies. But I've learned to stand up for myself along the way. God has made me much stronger.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born and raised in Arizona.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
I'm a strong Christian. I'd want to spend my last day being there spiritually for people who needed it, trying to save every soul I could. And I'd also want to spend as much time with my family as possible.
Who is your hero and why?
Jesus Christ is my hero! Every storm I've ever been through has always ended with a rainbow, and I've been through some pretty rough storms. A couple of examples…I never thought that being bullied in school would lead to me finishing school so early. When I get on my knees and pray…really pray…incredible things happen.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
If I was named the world ruler…wow…I think the first thing I would do is go to the Bible, and using my love of writing, I would write out all the characteristics of the leadership of Jesus. Kind, compassionate, forgiving, strong, brave…then I would surround myself with people and mentors who had those same characteristics as well so that I would always be encouraged to make the right decisions.
What are you passionate about these days?
I'm always being passionate about my spirituality and relationship with God. I set aside time every day to nurture that. I'm also always passionate about my family, my work, and my writing. My newest passion that I've been working on for quite awhile is screenwriting. I plan on optioning the stories from my books for movies or television. We will see what happens!
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I don't write just books. I write music as well. I love to sing and play the guitar. For me, my writing and music actually feed off of each other. When I focus on one, I have more creativity for the other. Of course, I can always binge watch Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Hulu. What can I say? I love stories! People want to feel bad about loving television. But in all honesty, isn't it just another beautiful form of storytelling?
How to find time to write as a parent?
I have fur babies, so you can usually find me writing with a goldendoodle's head or paw resting in my lap.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Spiritual, faithful, loyal, respectful, and creative.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I love, "Knight and Day." I love spy stories! I also love treasure hunting styled movies such as, "National Treasure," "Indiana Jones," and, "Fool's Gold."
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
All of them! When I'm writing them, I imagine them as movies. I'm sure most writers do hahaha!
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
So many…I've gone down the self-publishing route and had to turn down publishing offers that just didn't fit in with my plans for my writing career. Don't be scared to turn something down that will limit you. Only accept the offers that will make you grow. I've also learned how to network with other writing professionals and learned how to market my work (and learning is still ongoing). Being an author isn't just writing. You also have to learn to become extremely business savvy in the process.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Baby Yoda. Or a Goldendoodle. My Goldendoodle is literally the dog version of me. Our personalities are identical. And we're both blonds. It's hilarious.
What inspired you to write this book?
I always thought spies were so cool and sort of wanted to be one without actually being one (if that makes any sense) hahaha. I'm a rule follower and someone who believes in justice and shutting down the bullies. Helping people is a true passion of mine. I'll never forget the angelic, golden people who stood up for me over the years. That's what a spy does. I was born and molded to write the part.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I am extremely excited to announce that, "Perception and Deception III" is almost completed, and you can certainly expect to see it being released within the next few months! I absolutely need beta readers to read and review, so if you want to read a free digital copy of it before it actually comes out, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! It will be first come, first serve. You don't have to have read the first two books to read the third. You can also expect to see some new projects coming up, including a YA book. I'm also planning out some children's picture books as well.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I was literally just thinking about this the other day. I do have all sorts of side and background stories for my characters that aren't in the book that I save for later. I've thought about writing a short story for Juro's character. His background is a bit mysterious from the reader's point of view, but coming from the author, I can assure you he has an action packed, dangerous background that's just waiting to have an origin short story or book of its own at some point.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in, "Perception and Deception?"
So our main character is Felix (later known as Faith, her real name, from the end of book one and on). Felix Jaynes is a special agent for the Real Life Immersion Program (also known as RLIP). She's a young, twenty-one year old, who has been an undercover agent for years already. She started young and is incredibly passionate about her career. However, she experiences a devastatingly failed mission that causes her to go from a confident agent who was a phenomenal expert in her field, to suddenly doubting her career. She has recently been sent to an extremely rural town called Toselville; playing the part of a young nature photographer.Her mission: find the middle aged son of two weapons designers who created blueprints for the United States government. Next, we have Wolf. RLIP agents have partners who talk to them through earpieces. Field agents are not allowed to see their partners or even know their names. Felix has had many partners who were generally cold and over-professional. But Felix has been assigned to Wolf, an older gentleman who is sort of her mentor, boss, therapist, best friend, and grandfather figure all in one. Everyone needs a Wolf in their life. As time goes on, Felix befriends Ashton Mathis, the owner of the only grocery shop in town. Ashton instantly becomes enamored with Felix's beauty and kindness she shows towards him, and he begins to pursue her while she is in the midst of working on an incredibly dangerous mission.
And finally, we have Juro, a field agent assigned to be Felix's other partner as the mission becomes more dangerous. He's tall, intimidating, often irritated in the first book, technologically advanced, and just the sort of backup you'd want if you were in their situation.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I just thought of myself as a spy, who I would want to be if I were one, and thought of the types of people I'd want to be surrounded with.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
I put a lot of thought into the names of the characters in my books and sometimes reference online baby name catalogues for ideas! It's almost like naming a kid…you see one name and don't want to use it because you knew someone "bad" with that name.
Faith came to me because of my Christian background and how important faith truly is to be successful. I also remembered hearing that name for the first time when I was in preschool. One of my classmates had that name and I remember really liking it. I don't remember anything about the classmate, unfortunately, except that she was kind. It was so long ago. I would say it's important for a spy to have faith when they're in dangerous situations to help them stay calm.
As for the others, Wolf is just a cool codename, and he's protective like one. Ashton's name came about because I have a love for "A" names. And Juro was a name I found in a baby catalogue when I was searching for names with Japanese origins. It was the one that stood out to me the most.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Everything. I love creating characters and spending time with them. They become family to me. I loved creating the town, which was loosely based off of the small towns that my parents grew up in and that I got to visit frequently as a kid.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Felix is all about justice and the safety of others. If something isn't fair or someone is in danger, she won't think twice about jumping in to help, even if it means danger for her. Sometimes she may even take it a little too far. You will see that characteristic often, especially in the upcoming book, "Perception and Deception III."
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
Well, the first novel I ever wrote has never been published and has never had an official name. It's a YA project that I'm planning on circling back around to soon and revamping for publication.
As for the first book I ever published, "Tesoro: Secrets of the Hidden Treasure," that story is about a female treasure hunter and the pirates who left it all behind hundreds of years ago (think, "Pirates of the Caribbean" mixed with, "National Treasure"). The first book in that series takes place in Italy. The Italian word for, "treasure" is "tesoro." The pirate crew starring in this story is called The Tesoro Crew.
Who designed your book covers?
I love creating my own book covers and have designed all of them on my own until recently! Some of my readers have been able to guess that my face (or parts of my face) are featured on most of them. When you're a starting author with limited resources and funds for purchasing images or hiring models, you might as well use what you have! Hahaha! Now that I'm an established writer and much further into my writing career, I invested back into some of my newer book covers. I have a short story pirate series (that is in connection to "The Tesoro Series") called, "Johnny Higgins." The story is supposed to have a Pirates of the Caribbean feel, so I went to a professional. If you are a fan of pirates, just click on this link and tell me that this spooky pirate ship cover doesn't give you cinematic vibes! (https://www.amazon.com/Johnny-Higgins-1-Andrea-Hintz-ebook/dp/B07BFRBHCH/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=johnny+higgins&qid=1583607240&s=digital-text&sr=1-4) I ordered it on Fiverr.com from an amazing book cover creator called, GermanCreative. Here is her link: (https://www.fiverr.com/germancreative). I was so impressed with her work that I ended up ordering three more book covers from her for the entire "Johnny Higgins" series. She receives her images from http://depositphotos.com and puts it altogether to create something magnificent.
As for the newest, "Perception and Deception" installment, since the first two books had my face, I will probably need to design it on my own again so it matches the first two. But I'm still considering my options!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nooo, I really love, "Perception and Deception III." There will be a shock ending for fans of the series that will give them chills and I'm incredibly excited to hear feedback on it. There's also going to be some surprising background stories from Juro and Wolf, Faith's partners, that've never been revealed until now.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I just learned more about my own characters. When I'm writing, there are certain elements of their background stories that come out literally while I'm writing and aren't pre-planned. I joked with my mom at one point during the writing of, "Perception and Deception III" that I was going to go write and couldn't wait to see what would happen next.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oh man, I always wanted to be an actor, so I'll do it! Now if I couldn't, I would love to bring a new actor into the starring role to give them a jumpstart on their career and then make one or two of the side characters played by more established actors to draw attention to the movie.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I hope that my books bring you the adventure and escape we are all looking for when we read. Thank you for reading my stories and for your support! Your love and feedback keep me going, especially your book reviews! They mean the world to me! Please leave your honest reviews!
How did you come up with name of this book?
For, "Perception and Deception," the first novel in this series, it stems off of the main idea of the series, which is that your very own perception can very well be your deception. Characters you thought may have been good could be bad…or not.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
For, "Perception and Deception," I would say my favorite part was when Ashton finds out that Felix is really a secret agent after having dated her for awhile. I love writing the climatic parts of the stories.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
That is a really hard one. I wish I could meet all the characters from all the books I've ever written. For the purpose of this question and this series, I will go ahead and say I would spend the day with Wolf. He's the wise, supportive figure we all need in our lives. He always knows what to say and do during any situation. We would probably just spend the day hanging out and talking about wise stuff hahaha.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Really, I can't say that any of my characters were ever based off of any real people in particular. I'm sure certain characteristic traits probably came from myself or from people closest to me. But I would say that they all come from imagination.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Yeaaaah, they hijack the story about 80% of the time hahaha.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
I'm going to go straight to the reviews of, "Perception and Deception" for this one. So I went to go take a look at Amazon Canada the other day and found a review for, "Perception and Deception" that I really feels sums up my feelings about this question:
"Become immersed in a world of spy and action!Honestly, I couldn't put this book down. Right from the start I was captivated by the story. Andrea Hintz has a wonderful ability to make the reader feel like it is a privilege/honor to be a part of Felix's journey. The twists and turns in the plot kept me on the edge of my seat and pushed me to keep turning the pages. The character development, creative use of dialogue and the ability to foreshadow large events are just some of the ways Andrea writes an in-depth action and romantic adventure. I have recommended this book to many people so far. I thoroughly enjoyed it!" -Tricia, Amazon Canada The part that really stood out to me about this review was the part she included about how it felt like it was a privilege/honor to be a part of Felix's journey. Like…wow! That's how I felt when I was writing it! And my reader felt it too! Gives me goosebumps every time. Here is another one that is amazing: "This book is a definite page-turner. It has suspense, romance, intrigue, action. I was amazed by the research the author has done in describing how a secret organization with authorization to protect innocent civilians may possibly exist. I wouldn't be surprised if this is a fiction-based-on-fact type of novel." -David Lucero, Author This reviewer felt the realness of the story that I felt when I was writing it. See? This is why reviews keep me going!
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes, my very first one! I could have published it but I ended up moving on to, "The Tesoro Series" and became so invested in it that my first book went to the sidelines. But I will come back to it at some point! It's a completed first draft that has been sitting idle for years.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Peppermint because it boosts focus according to the internet. Spies have to stay extremely focused.
What did you edit out of this book?
It's been awhile since I was going through the editing stages of, "Perception and Deception" so I really can't remember anything in particular, but I'm sure I did remove certain scenes and dialogue. When I do cut scenes, I save them in another document in case I ever want to come back to them or re-use the conversations later.
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would say Terri Farley. Her writing is so descriptive and amazing, you really feel like you're there. She also does an incredible job of making her characters feel real. And the really great thing is that I have had the opportunity to talk to her and pick her brain about the publishing industry! She is amazing. Check out her, "Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island" series if you love Hawaii or horse ranches.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'
A fun fact: I write my best at nighttime, around midnight.
Some behind the scene information: I've written a television pilot script for, "The Tesoro Series." I haven't shared it outside the family yet, but the story turned out even better the second time I wrote it!
Did you know: I've worked in sales and as an elementary school teacher.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
These are ten off the top of my head (in no particular order) but I'm sure there are more!
Terri Farley (Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island series)
Danette Haworth (The Summer of Moonlight Secrets and Me and Jack)
Jacqueline Wiles (Don't Trust a Stranger)
David Lucero (Big Jim),
Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid series)
Jude Watson (Star Wars series)
Judy Blume (the Fudge books)
Jennifer Morgan (Come to the Garden)
Jes Drew (Kristian Clark saga)
And my newest favorite, Kelly Brady Channick (Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble – I'm currently reading this book and so far am IN LOVE with the descriptions and characters. The writing is smart and witty.).
What book do you think everyone should read?
The Bible. The lessons, values, and stories are incredible. There are so many great things in one book.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I usually plan the primary characters right away around the same time, but I do add in characters as I go along. For example, when I was writing, "Perception and Deception," I added Juro into the story unplanned because I felt like he could bring a lot to the book to keep it moving. He ended up becoming an extremely main character in the entire series. So that turned out to be a great, spur of the moment decision.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Well, depending on the topics, I do a lot of Google and YouTube searching. For, "Perception and Deception," I had to learn about fighting so I could implement the action into the story, so I watched YouTube videos. I also watched documentaries about disguises and how to change appearances.
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. Writing will always be a part of my life and career.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
I read about this quite a bit and really feel that self-publishing is on the rise more than ever as well as audio books. In turn, this will shift the way big publishers work. How…I'm not sure. I feel that at this point, more and more self-published authors are becoming successful without going through other publishers because it's so much easier to get your story into the hands of readers, not to mention that current authors published with the big house publishers may start shifting towards self-publishing as well because of the larger royalties and creative control. The main setback to not being associated with the big house publishers is that you can greatly decrease your exposure to readers. There are certainly pros and cons to both.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I love to read. I honestly have a love for YA books. I don't really care for stories that get frustrating or super graphic, so I tend to prefer more of a positive adventure type book. I'm not picky about the topics.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
In silence, although I was listening to music while I filled out these interview questions. Ask your Alexa to play music for reading Kindle books. It'll make you feel fancy, hahaha!
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
Now that I think of it, I do usually have more than one story going on at a time. I write better when I can go back and forth. It seems to prevent writer's block for me because when I can't write anymore in one project, I can shift gears towards the other one. I was writing, "The Tesoro Series" while I was writing, "Perception and Deception." It was fun going from treasure hunting to spies in one afternoon.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
It would have been amazing to have written a book in the Bible. I would've wanted to meet Jesus and have written my account of the experience.
Pen or type writer or computer?
Computer! Although, I like to write my book plans out in pen sometimes. I collect notebooks just for this purpose (and also because I just love notebooks).
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
When it comes to a favorite character from a book…I would have to go with Darby Carter from the, "Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island" series. She was a strong, loveable, intelligent, and very brave YA character who felt very real. I was about her age when I read the stories so I looked up to her. Her character development over the series was incredibly fun to follow. She went from a shy, city girl to a strong, determined ranch woman in Hawaii.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I wanted to become an author because I have a very fast-paced head that's always filled with stories, and this is my outlet. It was most certainly the right decision. Now I'm also finding that another outlet for this is screenwriting.
Advice they would give new authors?
Everyone is subjective. You can have one person tell you that your world building in your book was terrible, and the next person will say that the world building was their favorite part (go figure). You also have to be open to constructive feedback. Try not to get offended and really think about what was said. If you really don't agree with the advice, you don't have to! So it's all about that perfect balance. Just do what you know is good writing for your story. Also, it's always good to practice and hone your skills by writing and reading. Also, please, please look up how to do a good book launch before you publish your first book. I found that out much later in the game. Start with a Google search on book launches.
Describe your writing style. According to one of my reviewers, "The author keeps the reader glued to pages with a keen eye for detail and a taut writing style." I'm concise in my writing.
What makes a good story?
I feel like likeable characters are key to a good story. I can read a book and the story and the main idea can be awesome, but if the character isn't likeable or doesn't become likeable by the end of the book, then I have a hard time relating. That is my subjective opinion.
What are you currently reading?
My current read is, "Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble" by Kelly Brady Channick. It's super awesome!
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I usually will write a very light outline but will add in a lot of storyline as I go along, and I don't always follow the outline. I usually don't know how the book will end until I get there.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Feeling like writing a book is going to be too hard and you could never do it. Trust me…if you have a story to tell, it's not like writing an essay. It's like watching a really good movie. And don't worry about making it perfect right away. This is a first draft. Just get the ideas out. Don't worry about the sentence structure or how many times you start a sentence with, "I." If you get stuck on a scene, skip it and write it later. You'll be able to go back and change all of this later and more effectively. The most important thing is to just get the ideas out.
Also, I think many aspiring writers worry about getting published. There are plenty of avenues to publish your books that won't cost you anything. Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace were my platforms! Send out your query letters to agents. Dream of making it big with HarperCollins or Scholastic. I still do! But also appreciate your self-publishing options in the meantime and know that the industry is changing and self-publishing has proven to be just as, if not more, effective than going with a larger publishing house. But once you self-publish, prepare for the marketing. That's the hardest part. Do your research, find other authors who were successful in self-publishing, network with them, and do what they do.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I love having a fully charged laptop, a cozy room or couch, and a Friday night where I can type until 2am. I get some great scenes out when I'm tired and my mind is looser hahaha.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to be original and true to myself, although I've been pondering and weighing the pros and cons of writing what I want versus what's popular in the world right now. You have to do what feels right to you. Never stray away from your values or beliefs for a story. You don't have to. I always want to deliver what the readers want. For example, I kept hearing positive feedback about Wolf and Juro's characters. Originally, I wasn't sure how involved they were going to be for the remainder of the series, but once I heard that feedback from my readers, I continued involving the characters heavily into the storyline and developing them, which only made the readers love them even more.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don't let your need to market overshadow your love of writing. There are some days where I market and market but I'm not writing, and then I start to lose sight of why I'm doing it in the first place. Marketing is important, but make time for creation. It'll refresh you and fuel your passion so you keep moving forward.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I have to be honest, I don't find any issues with writing male characters. Maybe it's because I grew up with brothers, so I was able to see firsthand how boys work and that their feelings aren't all that different from girls. We all want the same thing at the end of the day.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
If I stuck with a good schedule, I could probably write one in about two months. But my life outside of writing is busy and I usually end up writing one book every six to twelve months (from first word to absolute final draft). I think my record was a few weeks because I had some time off from work (that was, "Perception and Deception II").
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. I've written about this topic online before. I deal with writer's block by taking a rest from my writing. Sometimes, you have to let the inspiration build up in your mind from your own life experiences. And then suddenly, you wake up in the middle of the night with ten chapters worth of ideas! It's very interesting how our minds work.
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