Tell me about your most recent book you’re writing and the title. My newest release is titled The Scars That Remain. It’s new adult with metaphysical / paranormal / psychological thriller elements.
Everyone has scars.
Some people are just better at hiding them.
Adam Radcliff is a college freshman on a caffeinated crusade to fend off the evil that has haunted his dreams since childhood.
Zoey Peterson is a psych major who uses peculiar strategies—tracking moon phases and club-hopping—to escape her unwanted legacy.
At first, it seems the only thing Adam and Zoey share is a downtown Chicago campus. But as their lives intersect, a mysterious stalker unearths long-buried secrets that suggest their lives are deeply connected.
Will their desperate search for the truth and healing destroy them—or can they conquer the demons of their past to build a new life together?
What would your protagonist say if threatened with a pit of snakes? The female protagonist, Zoey, would lace up her trusty Doc Marten boots, then employ a breathing technique she learned in her psychology studies to calm her fight-or-flight response. If that failed, she would probably reach for the bag of broken glass she’s collected over the past month and use it as self defense. The male protagonist, Adam, has faced much worse than a pit of snakes during his episodes of sleep paralysis; he would simply defend himself with the tall, piping-hot carryout coffee he always has on hand.
What would your antagonist do if handed an infant? As a younger man, the antagonist would have used the infant to make himself appear harmless and innocent–but as an elderly death row inmate, he would probably use the endless hours and isolation to dote on an infant in ways he never did as a father.
What would your protagonist do if they had no food? Adam, a caffeine junkie, would be fine without food—as long as he had an ample supply of coffee beverages. Zoey would try to distract herself from hunger using the secret dark moon ritual she inherited from her mother.
What would your antagonist do if given an island? If given an island, the antagonist would consider himself a very fortunate man, as an island would allow him fresh air, sunlight and some semblance of freedom—unlike the dank cell he has been confined to for so many years, with nothing but his regrets and frustrations for company.
What’s your most cherished holiday tradition? The holidays make me feel connected to my dad, who passed years ago, and I kick off the season on Thanksgiving Day by turning on the holiday classics he loved so much—Bing Crosby and Johnny Mathis and Rosemary Clooney and The Nutcracker Suite—and not letting up until Christmas is over and my family has had enough.
Do you have romance in your story? Why or why not? All of my stories have the protagonists finding love in unexpected ways at the most unexpected times. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing a story in which romance seems unlikely—or even inconvenient—but then a romantic connection blossoms and grows nonetheless, along with the protagonists themselves.
Which was your favorite book you read this year? The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon.
Do you have a pet who supports your writing? Who is it? We recently had to say goodbye to our old boxer/doberman Max, but up until the end his favorite place to curl up (and snore) was on his cozy bed right beside me and my computer. Our other dog, Blue, is fickle—he loves me most when I have a carrot in my hand.
What is a mistake you made early in writing that you’d advise other authors to avoid? I am constantly reminding myself that I need to show, not tell—especially when telling about an uncomfortable or awkward or messy event would be the easy way out. Those difficult to write bits—when shown in a compelling way—turn out to be the most satisfying.
How many pages is the perfect amount in a book? For me, the best book is no longer than 400 pages. It takes a fast-paced, gripping read to hold my attention beyond that.
What other author would you give a shout-out to? Anthea Sharp (Feyland series, The Darkwood Chronicles,White as Frost), my long-time friend and writing mentor.
Tell me a secret your antagonist is keeping? His preoccupation with teeth started long before he became a dentist. It began in childhood, when he stumbled upon a deceased cat in his neighborhood, its teeth tidy and white and strong even after death. Touching those teeth—and then keeping a few of them in a secret hiding place—made him feel breathless and clever and powerful.
Do you like unexpected twists and turns in a book? Why? Absolutely. There’s nothing more exhilarating than assuming you’re onto something only to be shocked by an unexpected truth. Twists and turns keep me turning pages.
Who is your editor? The brilliant Jessa Slade.
What’s your writing goals for 2022? My goal is to write and publish another YA / NA stand-alone novel.
Tell me about a book you’d like to advertise and why? I’d like to promote my October 2021 release, The Scars That Remain, because the story is based in my hometown, Chicago (and surrounding suburbs), and it’s a psychological / metaphysical thriller that contains the perfect balance of darkness and redemption—as well as some excellent references to the eighties which was, hands down, the best decade ever.
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