Telling stories has always been something I wanted to do. I remember when I was around eight years old, I walked around for a couple of days with a clipboard, interviewing my family and neighbors about what type of story they’d want to read. I don’t think I ever wrote it, but that’s my first memory of wanting to write. I dabbled a little more in my teenage years, attempting to write a fantasy epic, but it never really got off the ground. I still have all the digital files, though! Perhaps one day it will become reality.
Then I went to college, got a job, and dropped all attempts at writing while trying to be one of those responsible adults. In the spring of 2018, during a difficult period of my life, I woke up one morning from a really vivid and tragic dream I still remember. It inspired the first full novel I managed to write, which took eight months. It was pretty bad! Luckily, I learned a lot from it and the writer friends I’ve accumulated. Darkness Within was my fourth novel, and the first one which got published.
I’ve never stopped thinking about characters since that dream. They drive every single scrap of an idea I have typed out. Wanting to understand what makes people tick and what happens when I smash two very different personalities together.
Also, kissing. I like to write kissing.
If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
1991. I’ve got some advice to give to ten-year-old me…is that allowed? Lol
What is one thing you will never do again?
Wait for things to come to me. Go out and grab what you want!
What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?
I’m going to be cheeky here: My phone, a house, and a boat.
About Darkness Within
Zero and Lindberg. Aideen and Drew. Wow, where do I begin? This book was gripping from the second chapter to the very end. Second, you ask? As I started, my partner was watching Brooklyn 99 very loudly and I’ve found out it’s one of the most distracting shows you can attempt to read to, which is one of the reasons the first chapter went a little slow for me. That, and the fact that part of the world building was delivered in a rather telling way as Aideen’s character got introduced — the only complaint I ever had throughout the whole book!
Aideen Duffy’s job is hunting down the dark creatures who are trying to overthrow human society and bring the world back to how it used to be when vampires, werewolves, and their ilk were in charge.
The culmination of two years’ work, she’s closing in on Costecu, the vampire responsible for the most deadly cell in her city. When the op goes sideways, instead capturing the elusive bastard, she ends up with second prize: his right-hand man, Druain Lindberg.
What happens next, she couldn’t have planned for in a thousand years.
Deep undercover, Drew is swimming in the blood of Costecu’s treachery, but he’d do anything and everything to destroy the heinous vampire who’d ruined his life.
With the stink of evil ground into his pores, he’s ordered to kidnap Aideen and bring her to Costecu, but this time following orders is not going to happen. The spirited selkie can’t be cowed, and something in her calls to him.
When Drew risks long-held plans to save Aideen, everyone – good and evil – are after them. Keeping them hidden long enough to escape is not as big a problem as her letting him do what his heart compels him is essential – protecting her with his life.
Tell us a little about the book. How did you come up with the idea for it?
A few factors influenced Darkness Within. At the time I’d read a lot of paranormal books and wanted to try a slightly different twist on it in regards to how the creatures presented. I’m also a bit of a contrarian, so I was tired of all the vampires and werewolves. I wanted to take a fantasy race I like, Dwarves, and make them more interesting. I’d also been exploring the Alpha Male trope. As a male myself, a lot of times it rubs me the wrong way, so I wanted to try to come up with a character that was a bit more layered. I hope I managed that with Drew.
As for Aideen, I wouldn’t call her an Alpha Female, but she’s one hundred percent capable of taking care of herself, and doesn’t take crap from anyone. So what would she do when faced with someone like Drew? I expected lots of fireworks.
Like I mentioned, almost everything comes from characters first. Once I have them, it’s not so hard to invent a plot to run them through.
Do you have a favourite scene from the book, something you enjoyed writing the most? What is it and why?
I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite scene, but I’m most proud of myself with the scene where Drew has to pretend to interrogate Aideen for information. That was really difficult to write without it being gross or exploitative, plus I went and picked something which personally icks me out: toenails. I don’t know what I was thinking, lol!
Other than that, I’d have to say any scene where they’re sniping back and forth at each other are my favorites. I love writing dialogue.
Do any of your characters resemble anyone from real life? Are any of them a bit like you?
No, I don’t like to base characters on people I know. It would get uncomfortable if they figured it out. On the other hand, they’re all a bit like me in some way. Some personality quirk, way of speaking or thinking, habits, something is pulled from my life in almost every case. It’s a helpful way to understand oneself.
If you were to get a chance to meet any of your characters, who would you meet and what would you do together?
If I’m picking from Darkness Within, I’m not sure I can separate Aideen and Drew. I have no idea what I’d do with them, but I’m sure it would end up with me bruised and sore. I suspect they’d try to get me to rock climb or maybe participate in a cage match…
If I get to pick from any character, right now I’d pick Leighton from my New Years romance novella. She’d be great to have an adventure with.
What are your writing habits? Do you keep a schedule or is it chaotic, when inspiration hits kind of thing?
I do try to keep a habit, but the last couple of months it’s been in shambles. Typically, I’ll do most of my writing for two to three hours in the evening in a series of 20-30 minute sprints with a 5-10 minute break between each one. It’s even better when it’s with others doing the same thing. It’s a little different when I’m editing, since that’s still a challenge for me.
What challenges did you face when writing Darkness Within?
I’d never written anything paranormal and also never written anything so dark. It was interesting to figure out all the expectations and tropes, and how to make them work for me personally.
What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?
My favorite part is getting at least one extra set of eyes on what I’ve done, advice on how to improve the draft, and all other writing-related things!
My least favorite is all the marketing. I’m not very good at marketing, lol.
Do you have any suggestions or advice for other writers out there?
It depends on what your goals are. If you’re looking to get published, then the biggest bit of advice I can give is to write every day. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, and you think it’s total garbage, write something every day. You can’t get better at it if you don’t practice.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a four book series featuring Eliza Compton, a woman in 1714 who wants freedom and adventure, and Richard Crowder, a pirate captain who is secretly part Kraken. She’s not a great fan of his to start, but they do have a lot of adventures together! Oh, yes, there’s also kissing.
Everyone always thinks they’d be royalty or a knight if they were born in Medieval times, but let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t be. So, what kind of peasant do you think you’d be if you were born in medieval times?
I’d probably be a peasant who hated doing manual labor and shouted about the violence inherent in the system. Then died of blood poisoning.