freaking out THRILLED to interview
author of NY Times and USA Today Best Selling
Promise Me Darkness (Promise Me #1)
In case you missed it, our review is here,
and our interview with Ryder and Gavin here.
Promise Me Light releases September 24, 2013!
The blog tour is September 23- October 4
website | twitter | facebook | goodreads
wheeeeeeeee! Let’s get started!
♥ You mentioned that you have envisioned yourself becoming an author since a young age-how and when did the storyline of Promise Me Darkness first come to surface?
Maddie and Ryder’s story literally popped in my head one day. Feeling obsessed by it, I sat down and started typing immediately. I had other stories I was working on but there was just something about their story that stuck in my mind and wouldn’t let go. At first, it was about two teenagers but after typing a few pages, I knew they had to be older. There was just too much chemistry between them (and I love writing ‘those scenes’). The war occurred as I wrote, pretty much out of thin air, surprising even me. I did some research on EMPs and what would happen if they occurred (scary stuff, by the way) and knew I just had to throw Maddie and Ryder into chaos and see what happened.
♥ What was your inspiration for the main Maddie and Ryder in Promise Me Darkness? Did you know you always wanted the male MC to be a “bad boy”?
I’ve been asked many times who my inspirations were for the characters. My family and friends are still trying to figure out if they know the people who inspired Maddie and Ryder. But they are just figments of my imagination. For Maddie, I knew she had to be the good girl. I pictured someone a little naïve and innocent. Still learning about life and what she wanted in it. But I wanted her to mature throughout the book. Ryder’s character was super easy to write. His personality came from every bad boy I knew, dated, watched on TV, and read in books. And it was very important to me to make sure the reader was only seeing and hearing what Maddie was seeing and hearing from Ryder. I had to be true to my first-person writing style.
There was no question that my main character had to be an alpha male. I grew up reading the ‘bodice rippers’ of the 80s and 90s. Those men were always saving the girl and taking charge. Those are the kind of men I like to read about and I wrote what I would want to read.
♥ Do you have a favorite character in this book? We loved Maddie and Ryder, but Gavin and Brody are pretty hot too!!
Every character in the book has a special place in my heart. Each one is so unique to me that it is hard to choose. Maddie is innocent, easy for me to like and sympathize with. She grows throughout the book and becomes even stronger in Promise Me Light. Eva is the crazy girlfriend in college that always seemed to get me into trouble. Brody is a knight in shining armor, in my mind and a true gentleman. Ryder is vulnerable even though he hides it behind a bad boy exterior. He makes me love him. Just like Maddie, I can’t resist falling for him. Gavin is also special. He is just very lovable. I also have a special place in my heart for Cash. I know the readers only saw a small glimpse of him at the end of Promise Me Darkness but to me, his whole personality is amazing. Readers will see more of Gavin and Cash in Promise Me Light and I’m dying to write stories for both of them.
♥ How long did it take you to write Promise Me Darkness? What was the process like? When you finished writing it, did it turn out the way you expected it to?
From the time I typed the first word until the last sentence, it took me two and a half months to write PMD. I was also working on Promise Me Light and another book at the same time so I was glued to my computer many hours each day. The process was easy. I wrote Promise Me Darkness from start to finish without outlining. That’s what works for me. I did have to do some research on EMPs and survival scenarios. I watched YouTube videos on setting broken fingers and pulled out my old Anatomy and Physiology books for other information. After it was written, it went through the editing process then I released it.
It did turn out the way I expected except for the ending. I did something I never planned to do; I gave Maddie and Ryder a happily ever after but with some holes and unanswered questions. They were adamant that I write the ending that way so I obeyed. I always do what my characters demand.
♥ What was the hardest/easiest part of Promise Me Darkness to write?
The hardest part of Promise Me Darkness was writing about Maddie’s emotions when terrible situations occurred. I found myself upset along with her. And when she was put in dangerous situations, I couldn’t type fast enough to get her through it. But Promise Me Light is much more emotional for her. Many scenes had me in tears as I wrote them.
The easiest part was writing about Ryder and his bad boy attitude. The words just flowed. Cuss words that I have never used just showed up on the page. I have found that writing Ryder’s point of view for blogs is adventurous and I really enjoy doing it. There is something about getting in a guy’s head that is exciting for me.
♥ What were the biggest changes in the book from when you first wrote it to when you finished it? Are there scenes you wish you had left in? I saw you had one deleted scene on your site, do you have more that you might release one day?
I had to take out a few scenes to get it under 100,000 words. I hated to cut anything but it was just too long. I do have one small deleted scene on my website and I’ve searched for the others but can’t find them. Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson. All deleted scenes from Promise Me Light have been saved and any scenes from my future books will be too!
♥ When you first began writing, what kept you motivated to keep writing?
For many years, I wanted to write for other people, not just myself. But I was too scared to take a chance and do it. Finally, one day I decided it was time. What did I have to lose? Even though my family and friends knew I wanted to write, I did not tell anyone my plan to self-publish. While I was writing, there were many days that I would become discouraged. My husband was the one that kept me going. He read PMD and was blown away. (In seventeen years, he had never read anything I wrote.) He told me again and again to publish it. If it weren’t for him, Promise Me Darkness would still be sitting on my computer unread.
♥ Soooo, book 2, Promise Me Light is due out this September. How far along are you? What has been easier with the second book? What has been harder?
If I knew then what I know now, I would not have released Promise Me Darkness until Promise Me Light was finished. The truth is, I did not know what to expect with Promise Me Darkness. I really believed that I would only sell fifty copies or so the first month, if I was lucky. (Surprisingly, I sold fifty copies the first hour after being released! Talk about luck!) Promise Me Light was already halfway finished when Promise Me Darkness was published so I knew I would eventually publish it. I just didn’t think there would be such an outcry by readers to have it. Was I wrong! I feel awful that my fans have to wait but I didn’t want to rush through writing the other half of the story just to get the book out. As of this date, it is now complete and in the editing process.
Thanks to the numerous messages I received letting me how much readers loved the first book, writing the rest of Promise Me Light was easy. Each email, letter, or message I received gave me the encouragement to sit down and finish the story. That made Promise Me Light easier to write.
The hardest part was the fact that I was now writing a book about two people who had already discovered that they loved each other. I didn’t want Promise Me Light to be only full of lovey dovey scenes because I have to have angst in a story. But they still had some things to go through and overcome so the story developed.
♥ Will you write anything from Gavin’s POV? (PLEASE)
I never considered writing Gavin’s point of view for Promise Me Darkness because his role in it is a small one. BUT he is a major character in Promise Me Light so, yes, I will probably write a POV for him in the future. And like I said, his story is already brewing in my mind, begging to be put on paper.
10. How do you feel about the cover of your book? Does it represent the book well? Did you select it or was it designed for you? If so, what was your first reaction when you saw it? When will see the cover for Promise Me Light?
Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations, created the cover for the book. She develops covers for so many great authors that I feel very privileged for her to do mine. (She is also creating the cover for Promise Me Light.) The way the process worked was I gave her a very brief, vague description of the book and we looked at some stock photos to see what would work. In a matter of days, she came up with what she thought would fit the story. The first design she did, I loved. She didn’t have to make any changes. It was perfect.
The cover for Promise Me Light will be revealed a few weeks before the release. I’m excited about it and can’t wait.
♥ How did you come up with the title for your book?
I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me that! The title means numerous things and is a play on words. There is, of course, the darkness that occurs because of the EMP. It changes everything in their lives. They are promised nothing but darkness until the war ends. Then there is the darkness that is Ryder. He is the bad boy, the alpha male. He sleeps around, fights, drinks too much and isn’t afraid of anything. He does what is necessary to make sure the ones he loves are safe, even if sometimes it is seen as wrong. His attitude is dark but Maddie loves him. He is the darkness that she wants to be promised to.
♥ Do you ever use beta readers? Did you hire a professional freelance editor to critique your work before submitting to agents or editors?
I did not submit to agents or publishers before releasing Promise Me Darkness. I went straight to self-publishing. It was never seen by anyone in the professional writing community before releasing. I did use an editor but it was someone I knew who edits technical business documents for a living. With Promise Me Light I have an editorial agent and I am using beta readers that I have met recently thanks to the success of Promise Me Darkness. I have been overwhelmed with the requests to be beta readers for my books. I appreciated each and every one for volunteering!
♥ Were there any major revisions to your debut novel? How many drafts did you have to write for your first book?
What you read is very close to the original story. A couple of scenes were removed and the beginning was changed but it only affected three or four pages.
♥ What’s your secret to creating a realistic character? With realistic chemistry? RAWR, because you did it so well!
Thank you! I really don’t know what my secret is, I just write! I only wrote what I know. I don’t want to give away any spoilers for the folks that haven’t read the book yet, so it’s hard to explain but I really thought about what I would do if I were in certain situations. Would I go home? Would I put myself in danger for someone? I wrote the conversations between characters very carefully to make sure they sounded like what a person would really say. The language, the way it sounded, the Texas accent. I wanted it to be as real as possible. It was also VERY important to me to only write what Maddie was hearing and seeing. We don’t know much about the war because Maddie didn’t know what was going on outside her circle of friends and family. She would have no idea what Washington was doing to combat the enemy. None of us would in that situation. Also, I was very careful that the readers only see things through Maddie’s eyes. That’s why no one knows why Ryder does the things he does. I wanted people to believe and feel only what Maddie believed and felt. And any time I write anything having to do with a man, I ask a man’s opinion. I want the men in my book to be as real as possible.
♥ Which is more difficult to write: dialogue, action, or a love scene?
An action scene is the easiest for me to write. The words just flow when someone is fighting. A love scene is the hardest. There is so much emotion and detail that it takes time. I can’t seem to breeze through those scenes and gloss over them. Dialogue is easy because I only write what a normal person would say. No long, eloquent declarations of love from my male characters because, honestly, I don’t know a man alive that talks like that.
♥ Do you have ideas for other series?
Besides possibly writing stories for Gavin and Cash, I started writing other stories based on the same timeline but involving different characters and families that are not related to the characters in the Promise Me books. They would be very different. I also have ideas for many stories that are stand alone only and are more mainstream romance. I have two or three in process. My third book will be strictly New Adult and is already underway. I hope to release it in early 2014.
♥ What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The hardest thing about being an author is the criticism. I wrote a blog post a month or so ago stating that I do not read my reviews (but I do read blog reviews). I’ve read this on other author’s sites and was also told by a few well-known writers not to do it. But sometimes my friends and family tell me when someone criticizes my book and every once in a while I come across one accidentally. I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. Promise Me Darkness is my baby and Maddie and Ryder are like family to me. The toughest criticism to take is when someone attacks my characters. They are not perfect but they were never meant to be.
I have received so many wonderful comments that I wouldn’t know where to start. Many people have said Promise Me Darkness is a cross between Hunger Games and 50 Shades of Grey. That is a HUGE compliment! HUGE! And being told that my book is one of the best they have ever read is surreal. But the best compliments I receive are from the fans that have lost a loved one or are dealing with something awful in their lives. According to them, for a short period of time, my book let them forget about reality and gave them hope. Those messages mean more to me than any ranks or bestselling lists the book has been on.
♥ What is your favorite genre to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?
Favorite genre is definitely Romance. My grandmother gave me my first romance novel when I was young and I’ve been hooked since. I loved the suspense and western romances of the 80s and 90s (still do). Now I will read any genre in romance – Paranormal, Contemporary, Suspense, Erotica, New Adult. I do read quite a bit of mainstream fiction and Young Adult too. I’m a bookworm so I’ll read anything but romance is my favorite.
The authors I cut my teeth on were Sandra Brown, Judith McNaught, Linda Howard, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, and Anne Stuart. My favorite authors now are E.L. James, most of the young adult writers (Suzanne Collins, Becca Fitzpatrick, Veronica Roth, Susan Ee), Dan Brown, Jamie McGuire….and so many more that I could take up this whole page!
♥ How has your enthusiastic fan base surprised you? (or do we scare you lol?)
I am still overwhelmed by the response! Surprise doesn’t begin to describe how I feel. I NEVER expected to have fans! I still remember the very first person that liked me on Facebook and said she loved my book. I was walking on cloud nine that day! Each time I get an email or a message on Facebook or Twitter, I want to pinch myself! It still seems too good to be true. People tell me all the time that they are stalking me but I don’t mind! I fangirl over my fans all the time!
♥ If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?
I have been very, very lucky. Promise Me Darkness hit the New York and USA bestseller lists in under a month. It sat on the Amazon U.K. top five erotica list for a while and spent some time on the top ten list for Amazon. Every single day I think how lucky I am. So it is hard to say what I would have done differently. I do wish I had waited until Promise Me Light was completed so I could have released them both at the same time. I know fans would have liked that better. I am just very happy with everything and can’t tell my readers thank you enough!
Thank you SO MUCH, Paige, for stopping by. I am a huge fan and will read everything you write. I loved learning more about you.
Your biggest fan,