Hey there! Thanks so much for your interest in my books! I love chatting with readers and doing interviews, but since I have a full-time job on top of writing, plus a family (and endless loads of laundry...) I don't always have time to answer every email. So, I decided to list a few questions that I  often get asked on my website. Please feel free to post these on your blog if you'd like.  If you don't see the answer to your question, please go ahead and email me - just allow a few weeks for a response.  Thanks!


Frequently Asked Questions...

How would you describe your story in a few words?
London 1871, pickpockets, stolen rings, faeries, romance, danger, mystery

What motivated and inspired you to write this book? You mention on your website the Harry Potter series...

I’ve always loved to write but I was so busy with work and my family and life that I didn’t make the time to write. Then I read Harry Potter. (I didn’t actually start Harry Potter until the Goblet of Fire came out… then I read books 1-4 in a week.) I’d forgotten the magic of a well-told story. The magic of becoming the characters in a book and experiencing their adventures. I loved Harry Potter so much that I decided I’d write a little story for my daughter and that’s when the madness all started…

 The Faerie Ring series is set in London, 1871. Did you watch movies or read books from this period? 

To be honest – I didn’t watch any movies or read any particular books. I actually wrote THE FAERIE RING in a very short period of time. Just sat at my laptop and typed - I could see it all unfolding in my head. And the interesting part – I’d never been to London. Really didn’t know anything about it until I started writing the story and as Fate would have it – where Tiki lives is in the heart of old London and the places she travels – Buckingham Palace, Charing Cross, St. James Park etc. – are all positioned closely together.

After I’d sold the book, I did get a chance to go to London for the first time in my life – and I LOVED it. I walked in my character’s footsteps and let me tell you – that was surreal!

 I absolutely love your book covers! How much input, if any, do you have in deciding the final look?
Thank you so much!  I do too!  I was so happy when I saw the cover for THE FAERIE RING for the first time!  Usually authors do not have any input in the design of their covers, but I’m very fortunate that my editor did ask my opinion. I was pretty specific about the things I thought should be included and even did some mock-ups of my own and included other covers I liked.  I was lucky enough that they listened and really came up with the perfect cover.  As you read the book, you can flip back to the cover and see things that maybe you didn’t notice at first. As for THE TORN WING, I designed that one myself.

Was it difficult to get this book published?

It is hard to get a book published.  I have rejection letters just like everybody else. But you can never give up!!  I kept working at my craft, taking classes, joining critique groups, reading other work, practicing, practicing, practicing and I was lucky enough to get an agent. It took her about nine months to sell THE FAERIE RING.

A lot of books, especially YA ones, are being turned into movies. How do you feel about book-to-movie adaptations? Would you want The Faerie Ring to be adapted?

That’s an interesting question.  I didn’t want the Harry Potter books to be made into movies because I didn’t think they could do the world justice, but then the first one came out and I totally LOVED it. I read Twilight and loved the first book but I hated that movie. So you never know.  I guess if the movie was well-done and believable it would be kind of fun to see THE FAERIE RING on film.

Are you currently working on a new book? The other books of the series I guess? 

I just finished a YA contemporary story called THE LAST DANCE that I *think* will be out before Christmas. I've included the cover below. I'm also working on Book 3 of The Faerie Ring series:  THE SEVEN YEAR KING plus a time-travel thriller.

So far, what has been your most gratifying moment as an author? 

You know, I used to think the most exciting / gratifying part of this path to publication would be when I saw my cover and it would all be real – but that’s not been the best part at all. Honestly – it’s the notes I get from readers and bloggers, who are so excited for this book – THAT is the very best part of being an author. I’ve ‘met’ people from all over the world, that I would otherwise never have had an opportunity to meet and they’re fascinating – I count myself VERY lucky for this opportunity.

There are currently a host of YA reads dealing with vampires, werewolves, mermaids and ghosts. Why choose faeries?

I kind of felt like vampires had been done a million different ways, werewolves don’t interest me personally, mermaids are so limited and ghosts are a whole different sort of entity. But I like the idea of another world existing side by side with the real world, and the world of Faerie exists in the same airspace, just in a different dimension – one that often intersects with our own world – which was perfect for the story I wanted to tell. Plus, I grew up with the idea of faeries being these small little glittery things like Tinkerbell, and I loved turning that idea on its head and considering that they could motivated by greed and lust and revenge.

 Can you tell us a little about your road to publication? 

I think it was pretty typical. I completely re-wrote my first book, like, THREE times, then revised it several more times after that. I’ve only ever had a handful of editors look at it, then I pulled it from submission because I felt like it still needed work. So, that one is still waiting to be ‘fixed’. THE FAERIE RING was my second book and there were a couple of close calls before my agent sold it to Susan Chang of Tor Teen. That took about 9 months. However, from the time it sold to the time it releases will be two years.

Your book is set in Victorian London. What made you decide to choose this setting and what kind of research did this entail?

I love Victorian London. It is a magical and mystical time in history with tremendous technological change but where people still believed in magic and mysticism.  I also love stories about orphans and pickpockets. So – I wrote the story I wanted to read.
I had never been to London when I wrote the book. To be honest, I knew NOTHING about the City when I first started writing. I did a lot of reading and research to get the historical details correct in the story. Liza Picard has a very informative book on that time period and there’s another book by Daniel Pool that was helpful. After I had sold the book, I did get to go to London and walked in my character’s footsteps from Charing Cross to Buckingham Palace to St. James Park. Let me tell you – that was surreal!!

What was the writing process like for you? Did you have a specific writing structure or plan that you adhered to?

I usually write in a linear fashion, which means I start at the beginning of the book and write straight through to the end. I didn't write too many scenes out of order, but I do go back and forth adding details as necessary.  For THE FAERIE RING the story just sort of flowed out – I wrote the book in a very short amount of time.   I also work full time, so I cram writing in whenever I can.

What can readers expect in terms of the world within The Faerie Ring?
The world in The Faerie Ring is very much embedded in London 1871. Most of the characters and the places are based on reality. I hope readers feel like they’ve gone back in time.

The characters in the Faerie Ring sound absolutely fascinating- especially Tiki, who happens to be a pickpocket and an orphan living in an abandoned clockmaker's shop.  Where did the inspiration for your characters come from?

Well, I wish I had a great answer for that one. I started the story knowing I wanted to write about a girl pickpocket and Tiki just appeared. I had her living in the abandoned clockmaker’s shop and as I was doing my research I found out that there actually had been a clockmaker’s shop in Charing Cross back in the 1860’s. After Tiki had stolen the Queen’s ring I started wondering what would happen if somebody else wanted the ring. Then Tiki told me what happened next. However, I have to say, Larkin is another of my favorite characters. That girl is complicated. 

Which of your characters are based most on people that you know?
None of my characters are based on anyone I know. There might be phrases or items pulled from real life, but the characters are wholly fictional, with the exception of the royals, who are based on Queen Victoria and her two youngest sons.

The Faerie Ring is the first in series of four books. Did you know right from the start that there would be more than one book? 

No, when I wrote The Faerie Ring it was just a story I was writing. I had no intention of making it a series. But when I got to the end, I realized the story wasn’t over – it was just beginning. I’m not totally sure if the series will be three books, four books, or more – stay tuned!

What do you think makes your book different to any other YA historical fantasy novel out there?
I hope the historical aspect will make my faerie book a bit different than some of the others out there. How the world of Faerie is tied in with real history.
What books would you recommend to lovers of faerie books?

I know I should be this fountain of information on YA books, but sadly I’m not. I only started reading and writing YA a few years ago with the publication of Harry Potter, so I’m always trying to catch up with all the great books out there. However, I did read IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin and enjoyed that. THE HUNTER’S MOON by OR Melling is beautifully written and I’m sure everybody knows about THE WICKED LOVELY series by Melissa Marr. Julie Kagawa has a series on faeries too. I just read the ARC of THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern, and while it’s not about faeries, it is about magic set at the turn of the century and it is beautifully written and totally takes you into another world.
Can you introduce us to the world that you have created?

Orphaned and picking pockets in London’s Charing Cross station to support not only herself, but her ‘family’ of orphans, sixteen year-old Tiki steals the Queen’s ring and thinks she’s solved  their problems. That is, until Rieker, a pickpocket from the North End, suspects her in the theft and tells her that the ring is really a reservoir that holds a truce between the British and Faerie courts.
When he warns her that the fey will do anything, including murder, to recover the ring, Tiki is unsure whether to believe him or not. To complicate matters, Rieker seems to know something about the unusual birthmark on Tiki’s wrist. But when Tiki and her family are threatened the game changes.

What should readers know before stepping into your world?

Be prepared to go back in time, where life is divided between the glittering world of the Royal Palace and the hard-scrabble existence of life in the gritty slums of London. The veil between our world and the Otherworld is at its thinnest and no one is safe.

I'm not a huge fan of faces on covers, but TFR's cover handled the mystery of Tiki's face by placing her in the shadows and putting a lot more emphasis on the, well, ring. (AND IT IS GORGEOUS!) My favorite part about this cover is the type treatment: its organic and floral accents and subtle shadow. It's beautiful, but the choice of uppercase grabs your attention in a way that doesn't make you feel like the title is screaming at you. What’s your favorite part about the cover?

First off – thank you! There are so many parts of the cover that I love that I can’t pick just one. And I can tell you this – every inch of the cover has to do with the story of THE FAERIE RING, which is fantastic. I honestly couldn’t ask for more.
I guess what I love most is that the cover in its entirety conveys the story, but some parts in more subtle ways than others. I hope that readers find as they read, they’ll flip to the cover and look for the clues there. For instance - yes – the ring is the focal point – but the glow, the orb that surrounds the ring? – is there because a fire burns in the ring’s depths.
I do think the font of the title is perfection. It melds all the elements together in an artful and mysterious way.

As an author, what do you think is the most important message that a cover should relay? Should a cover be succinct to the novel’s message? Allude to something? Or should it just catch someone’s attention, no matter what it looks like?

I think the most enticing covers are those that are striking, that make you look more than once to try to understand the details hidden there – but I do think it’s important that the images and message conveyed on the cover tie back to the story. If they don’t – if it’s a cover just for shock value – then it’s almost like false advertising.

What are some of your favorite YA covers — and why?

I thought the cover for Becca Fitzpatrick’s HUSH HUSH was iconic and eerily beautiful.
I loved the creepy feel of Garcia and Stohl’s BEAUTIFUL CREATURES with it’s reversed negative image. And I’ve always thought Melissa Marr’s frozen cover for WICKED LOVELY was just that: wicked and lovely.

How has your experience with 2k11 and The Elevensies helped with all the demands of promoting a debut novel?

Both groups have been a wonderful support network and resource for the millions of questions that come up along the way to publication. It’s nice to have someone (or many someones!) going through the same process as you are, and it’s especially nice to be able to share the path with someone who understands.  It takes so long to get published (usually 18-24 months from the time you sell your book) that your family and friends sort of get a glazed over look after a while. They couldn’t possibly know or care about the many day-to-day details of being an author.

How many books will there be in the series?

There are four books:  Book One: THE FAERIE RING, Book Two: THE TORN WING, Book Three:  THE SEVEN YEAR KING and Book Four:  THE ENDGAME.
Have you done any research in London? And why did you choose 1871 as the year to begin the tale? (oops, that's two questions in one...lol...)

When I wrote the book, I had never been to London and didn’t really know a lot about the City. I ended up doing A LOT of research into Victorian London and worked very hard to keep the novel historically accurate.  It is set in 1871 because two of my characters, Queen Victoria’s youngest sons, Leo and Arthur, are 18 and 21, that year. 
Two months after I sold THE FAERIE RING I went to London and walked in the footsteps of my characters from Charing Cross to St. James Park to Buckingham Palace etc.– totally surreal!!  I felt like I’d come home – I LOVE that city!

Your main character, Tiki, is both an orphan and a pickpocket - how inspired were you by Dickens', Oliver Twist?

Well, I can’t say that Oliver Twist inspired me that much as I’ve never read the book. I saw the movie, Oliver! back in the 70’s but not since then.  (Though I do give a nod to the book, Oliver Twist, in my book in a kind of a fun way.)

Trailer or excerpt for us to drool over?

I have several trailers for both THE FAERIE RING and THE TORN WING that I love!

What was the most important message/theme you wanted to get across when writing the story? Was there something you wanted it to accomplish more than anything else?

Well, I didn’t write the story with the intent of conveying a specific message, though there is certainly the theme of believing in yourself, in your ability to cope, as well as dealing with issues of trust.

What's the most daunting thing about having a book published?

Personally, for me, it is the waiting. Every step seems to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  I’ve been in the business world for many years and most businesses don’t operate that way, so that’s been the biggest challenge – to be patient.

 How did the idea for your book originate?

            I’ve always loved the idea of things not being what they seem. That other dimensions or worlds exist side by side with our own, just beyond our ken; that the scope of our world is more than just the three dimensions that we are able to easily comprehend.
            At the same time, I’m intrigued by the past, by our history, by what may have occurred that might not have been formally documented for future generations.  The untold story, if you will.  And I am particularly fascinated with those untold stories that have a thread of documented fact woven through them, which makes the reader question whether they are reading fiction or nonfiction.  A story that makes the reader say..”what if?”
            The idea for THE FAERIE RING started with Tiki, an orphan, who survives on the streets of Victorian London as a pickpocket.  I knew I wanted to write a story about a girl pickpocket because so often, girls / women have been cast as the weaker sex in books and movies and yet in my experience, women are often the brains and backbone behind the scenes.  Victorian London is a mysterious and magical time in history.  It is an era of great change, great technological advances, yet at the same time, beliefs in the occult remained strong.  Additionally, the era offers a startling dichotomy between the classes and the way people lived, providing a great gap of motivations.
            So, I had a clever pickpocket and a mysterious time in history.  After Tiki stole the Queen’s ring, the next question I asked myself was:  What if someone else wanted the ring? What if there was something unseen happening in London at the same time?  So Tiki told me what happened next.

There are hundreds of YA books on the market; what do you think will make your book stand out? 

One of the reasons I wrote The Faerie Ring, was because I felt like reading historical fantasy – a story set in the past – and didn’t know of any that involved faeries. There may well be some out there but I didn’t know about them at the time. I think compared to most of the newer YA books, that combination might make mine a bit different.  All of the historical facts are true and accurate, which makes it kind of fun, and since London is such an ancient city – you can go today to many of the places in THE FAERIE RING.

How do you like the book blogging community? 

I LOVE the book blogging community!!!!!!!  Up until the last year – I had no idea it even existed!!! And now, I’ve come to know the NICEST people all over the world. Honestly – it is one of the parts of this publishing path that I am most grateful for – the bloggers and readers have been FANTASTIC. 

Is it daunting knowing that you’ve put your heart and soul into your work and it’s going to be out there for people to read and judge? 

Yes and no. I write because I have stories I want to share, and for the most part, people are very kind. Lots of people love my work and write me the sweetest notes, but you can't please everyone and a few people can be downright mean! But I don't often read reviews and I try to keep it all in perspective. I write for the love of telling a story and that's what I focus on.

      Besides writing, what do you like to do to fill up your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

I love to garden.  I live in Washington State but grow banana palm trees in my yard and all sorts of beautiful tropical looking flowers. I’ve also been learning to play the guitar the last few years and just started playing tennis this last year.  There’s so many fun things to do it’s hard to find time to cook and clean and do laundry – the stuff I have to do.

      I read in your bio that you’re an avid reader yourself. Which stories do you love to lose yourself within the pages the most? 

I like a mix of genres. I do love well-done fantasy:  Harry Potter, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, I loved the first book of Twilight, Hunger Games and Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors, which was more contemporary with a twist of paranormal. But I also love contemporary stories like Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy.  I’m reading an ARC of The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern right now, which is fascinating.

      Faeries seem to be so popular nowadays. What is it about them that you think draws readers and captivates them?

Well, I don’t know about everybody else, but I know I like the idea of the unseen existing alongside our everyday lives.  The idea that magic exists, just beyond our ability to perceive it and that every once in a while, the door opens and we see into that other world....
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps and become a writer?

Never give up would be my first bit, because this business is really a rollercoaster. But write for the love of writing, for the love of the stories that you want to tell. Take classes, read, practice, practice, practice, keep learning your craft and never give up!

Your main character's name is Tiki. That's very close to your name. Is she based on you? Can you tell us a little bit more about her?

LOL – I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me this. Well, the truth of the matter is this:  I did not even realize the similarity until after I had written the book and started my website etc. Seriously!!  Isn’t that crazy? J (Something unconscious going on there probably but let’s not go there!! J)  Anyway, Tiki is a nickname. Her real name is Tara Kathleen.
I think every character draws a bit from the author, but Tiki is her own unique person.  She is a young girl who has found herself in dire circumstances and is struggling to survive and to help those she loves to survive.

Why not set the story in present time? What was it about 1871 in London that made you choose it?

I love the mystery of Victorian London and the idea of pickpockets living this alternate lifestyle – sort of unseen within the City. It is a magical and mystical time in history with tremendous technological change but where people still believed in magic and mysticism. I picked the exact year of 1871 because that is the year that Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria’s youngest son, was 18.

What do you like most about being a writer?

I love creating stories. I love creating characters and learning what they’re all about – their back stories, their worlds, how they handle trouble and unexpected events.

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