1. My first characters started out in the Star Wars role playing universe.
When The Phantom Menace came out, there was a resurgence of Star Wars mania online. I played with some friends in AOL chat rooms and created a female Jedi character that I adored. After the fad passed, I started to write her into a fan-fiction piece, but never completed it. Years later, I pulled out the few scenes I'd written. Knowing publication in the Star Wars cannon was too lofty a goal for an amateur writer like me, I reworked the entire idea, creating my own universe. The character transformed as well, becoming Selah Gunner/Clairet/Grayson. (Read the series; you'll understand the name progression.)
2. Most of my character names mean something.
I really like the idea of using names that are pronounceable, yet have meaning beyond just sounding cool. Someday, I hope to publish a companion book to the entire series that will have this kind of information in it. My first two characters' names, Selah and Gray, are anagrams of mine and my husband's. Mine is just missing the "y". A lot of the numbers I use are significant, too--mixing up the dates of my children's birthdays and such. It's fun being a writer!
3. The Crown's Call used to be titled The Circeae Tales.
Yes, it's true. The series began with the title The Circeae Tales. But as the previous fact stated, I prefer names that are pronounceable. And when readers can't pronounce the name of the series, it gets a little hairy. So I rebranded the entire saga, added a couple more books to flesh out the sub-series, and based the title on the focus on the entire work--the Crown. (It's pronounced SIR-see, by the way.)
4. Asylum is actually the second-to-the-last book in the saga.
Yes, I went about things in the C.S. Lewis sort of way. (The Chronicles of Narnia were published out of order.) I am not a chronological writer. I write as the fancy strikes. So the written order of the books is Valor, Fusion, Outlaw, Shattered, Asylum, Poison, Excelsior, and other notes, pieces, and parts that will become full-fledged books. I felt strongly about Asylum, so after it was finished, I entered it in a contest held by self-publisher WestBow Press. It won the grand prize, which was a free publishing package. I couldn't pass up the exposure...and the opportunity to hold my printed book in hand! I'd also tried to craft all my novels to stand alone, even though there is some overlap.
5. There is a faith component to each story.
I'm not here to preach. I struggle with faith every day. But I feel like God gave me these stories and the desire to write...so the least I can do is honor Him in some way. Science-fiction is severely lacking in the Christian market, and while I enjoy reading mainstream, some of the scenes get a little too steamy for me. One of the biggest compliments I received in a review for Asylum was from a mainstream reader who had won a copy of the book from my Goodreads giveaway. He said he was leery when he first saw it was categorized as "Religious Fiction," but after reading it, he felt the elements contributed to the story and were not "rammed down" his throat. That was my goal.
6. I started writing as a stay-at-home mom.
I needed a creative outlet. Something to focus on. Where I could place my identity. Writing seemed a natural fit. At first, I started writing during naptimes and after bedtime. As my kids grew older, they could play, and I could write. When I went back to work last year, I couldn't focus as much on writing my books, even though I write every day in my line of work. But I use every free moment I have to pour into my books in some way. And now that we're into the routine, I'm able to pick back up and find the time I need. It's not easy. Never easy. But I owe it to my characters to get their stories out there. (Plus, they just won't leave me alone until I do!)
7. The Crown's Call now consists of fifteen books.
I started with just one--Valor. But then another character came to mind, along with her story, so Fusion was born. More ideas came to mind, and before I knew it, I had ideas and notes for ten books. That was enough. I was happy. But then three more stories came to mind. Okay. I like the number 13. I'm good. And that's when the rebranding came into play--dividing those 13 books into more marketable sub-series--Heralds of the Crown, Rise of the Crown, Touch of the Crown, and Champions of the Crown. After that, two more stories developed. And I've had thoughts for short stories and such within this universe, but as far as the novels go, I'm done. I think 15 is enough. For now...
8. The technology is a given.
I don't know much about space travel. While my dad was a math professor, and my brother knows amazing things about computers and the way things work, I just don't have a mind for that. I'm a theatre girl. So while I put some "technobabble" in from time to time, that's really all it is. I prefer the space opera aspect to sci-fi--focusing on the characters and their relationships and struggles. I just assume the technology is there without giving much reasoning to it. I hope you'll do the same as you read.
9. I cast my characters.
As with all writers, I have an idea of what my characters look like. And when I'm really lucky, I can find a celebrity match for them. Sadly, some of those matches happen with actors past their prime or long gone. But alas, if the movie versions ever come about, I am ready to help the casting director! (That was a joke. Really. What authors actually get to cast the movie version of their books?) I have most of mine set for Poison. If you want to know after reading it, feel free to ask.
10. Each book contains a little piece of my heart.
Okay, a big piece. There are elements that represent me in some very big ways. I always said Selah (Valor) is my princess. She's the gentle and meek side of me. Laney (Outlaw) is the bad girl side of me. Raven (Fusion) is my stronger side who flirts with madness. Trista (Asylum) deals with a situation that is a skewed event that occurred in my life. Hanileh (Poison) represents the struggle I face every day...reconciling my past with my identity in God. As you can see, writing is my therapy. It's allowed me to work through things while bringing something beautiful to the page. Now, I'm not saying I'm the world's greatest writer. I know I have much to work on! But crafting words into a story, and a story into a novel is an amazing experience. How grateful I am to have been given this moment in my life. And even more grateful to share it with you, my readers. You make all this possible. Thank you.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3