A: I'd classify it as a paranormal romance. It's not dark enough to be considered horror in my opinion but there are some tense scenes. It's the story of a young woman falling in love and everything stable in her life getting flipped upside down. Nightmares, wolves, werewolves and deeply buried secrets about her town and family come at her, seemingly from nowhere. She's having to manage all of these things and keep her head about her enough to face her fears because she wants to keep those around her safe. It's sexy, funny and a bit spooky, my favorite kind of book to read and write.
Q: Your main character, Sadie...where did you come up with the idea of her? Is there a little bit of you in that character?
A: I think there is a little of me in all my characters but for the most part she's just herself. She's thoughtful, stubborn, and very devoted to her family and community. I don't think I'd be as brave as her. I'd be living with my aunt in Asheville. Haha. I also didn't really come up with the idea of her as much as just start writing her character.
Q: What was the inspiration for the story? / How did the story develop in your mind?
A: My husband and I were hiking in Cumberland Gap. We were on this little road and on one side was this bright, sunny meadow and on the other side was really dark woods. It just looked like the perfect place for wolves to be hiding. I knew I wanted to write a story about that spot. The Dark Side of the Woods was a little slower in developing than my other stories. There were a few times I got completely lost without knowing where it should go next. I'd go back to Cumberland Gap or I'd just painfully push myself through a scene until I could see the other side. Even when I know where I want a story to go, getting there can be challenging.
Q: Was the writing process this time around different from your book Three Witches In a Small Town? How so?
A: I had a deadline with Three Witches in a Small Town. I was absolutely committed to getting that manuscript in and had to write no less than one thousand words every day. Even when I hit a block I had to go straight through. With Dark Side, I didn't have any time restraints and I'm bad to procrastinate. Also, I was pretty terrified of people's opinions and judgment of my work the first time around. I got over that, so this time I felt a bit more free in telling my story.
Q: You recently had a book launch party in Kingsport, TN. How did that go and what kind of reception have you gotten so far on your new book?
A: The book launch was wonderful. Gypsy Circus Cider Company hosted me and their venue is really fun. I had a lot of friends come to celebrate with me and a few other people who just wanted to meet me and grab a book. I didn't sell out or anything but it was exposure and my little pat on the back for finishing another novel. So far, I have received great feedback on The Dark Side of the Woods. It's not full-on horror, but it is darker than my first book and people seem to have enjoyed that. And, I've been complemented throughout both books on my description of the mountains and mountain people. That's about the highest compliment I can receive.
Q: What's next for you? Already planning your next book or taking a break to promote?
A: I'm currently half way through writing the first book in a new series, I'm really excited about getting it out. It's very different than what I've done so far, mainly because it doesn't take place in the mountains and it's grittier. I have enough book ideas to get me through the next five or six years, so breaks aren't optional. Even while I'm promoting one, I'm always working on something new. Both of my books are in the works for Audible too, so I'm excited to share those with everyone.
Q: You have very strong characters in your books. Describe your process of character development.
A: Other than choosing names, I don't really feel like I choose anything about my characters. They tell me who they are as I write. I see bits and pieces of people I know in my characters but never really base them off of anyone in particular. I think I've just always been surrounded by people with strong personalities and that's all I know.
Q: Did you have a favorite scene in writing the book?
A: I enjoyed a lot of scenes in this particular book but the one that stands out the most to me was the scene where Sadie finds herself running into town in the middle of the night from a werewolf, wearing only a bedsheet. I love writing intense pieces and everything that led up to that all the way through was just really exciting to write. It was fun to put myself in her position, figure out what would be going through her head and how she'd get through. It's probably my favorite.