Tell us about your newest book, Apocalipatick.
The elevator pitch: It’s Twilight meets The Walking Dead.
Jenna’s dreams pre-pandemic included a high school graduation party before attending college and marrying an attractive future lawyer. Instead, she’s praying for a long, sharp knife and a big gun to survive the undead.
Jenna Martin lives in a world gone insane after a mysterious pandemic kills much of the population. Being alive after an apocalypse is bad, but it is made worse when the multitudes killed by the disease return ravenous for human flesh.
Luckily, Jenna stumbles onto a group of survivors, including the mysterious and off-putting Caleb. The group travels to the relative safety of an isolated inn where Jenna falls hard and fast for Caleb, which causes more problems than she ever expected in the fledgling society. Although he withstood the virus, he has not come out unscathed. He and some others now labeled the New Race have changed into what many would call zombie kin—vampires.
Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing your newest book?
Editing! This book took extensive edits. It was originally released in 2013 and completely revamped for its 2021 debut. Not that I’m complaining because the editing process helped the characters come alive, but it was exhausting. Coffee and wine made the process possible.
Tell us a little bit about your writing career.
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I worked at an aquarium. I worked for the National Audubon Society. I edited other people’s writing for a while. Finally, I settled on teaching. Throughout all my jobs I wrote, whether articles for the local newspaper, blogs, or working on my own dissertation. I slowly transitioned into fiction. Now, I publish in a variety of genres and teach at the high school and college level. I write for enjoyment and fun though it feels like hard work sometimes.
They say Hindsight is 20/20. If you could give advice to the writer you were the first time you sat down to write, what would it be?
Don’t rush to publication. I wanted to be published so bad that I didn’t realize how much my writing needed an editor. Take your time. You want to put your best book out there.
What was your most difficult scene to write?
I am horrible at writing romance/sex scenes, and yet my romance book under the pen name Dakota Star seems to sell the best (go figure)!
Are themes a big part of your stories, or not so much?
Yes, I like to consider the universal connections. In Apocalipstick, I thought about how humans can be more monstrous than the monsters. I also looked at the power of love and how it offers hope and redemption.
What are you working on now?
Book two of the Hell in a Handbag series called A Blush of Death. Look for it soon.
Is there a release date planned?
Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?
I wrote a short story about a woman named Karny Valle who ran a carnival that punished evil men. She was just so wicked. I didn’t know I had her in me.
Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
I wasn’t a reader until I found Judy Blume and then I wanted to read all of her books at once. Her books and memorable characters made me into a reader.
What are your plans for future projects?
I’ve been writing a lot of short stories lately, everything from science fiction to romance. I hope to pen a few more over the summer.
Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?
Support your indie author. They put out some amazing reads.
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