When you started writing Fierce, did you know you would be writing a series?
Yes and no. I knew I had a lot of backstory in mind, but I wasn't sure whether I could write more about it, storywise.
a) if yes, had you planned to extend it through three separate stories?
No, I just realized people wanted to read about Hunter's side of the story, so I gave him his own book, since there was so much going on with the gang that the reader did not see in FIERCE, yet I knew about it. FLAME was a way to tie up the loose ends and make sure their love would stick :)
One of the themes in the series deals with Autumn's experience with bullying. Is there a particular incident that inspired you to write about the effects of bullying?
Yes, actually, most of the events portrayed in FIGHT come from my personal experience. I was bullied a lot when I was younger, and I wanted to show people how it feels and what it does to a person. That the scars never really heal, and that the events from long ago can still affect a person's behaviour even after much time has passed. That's what happened to Autumn.
Likewise, Hunter's disability isn't just your run-of-the-mill learning struggle. Once we learn its genesis, the lengths he goes to for his brother become even more poignant. Was there a reason you chose to focus on this cause of learning impairment?
Yes, because I wanted something that weighed heavily on the family side. I wanted there to be emotional and internal struggle that involved family and a scar that could never be healed, much like Autumn. That is their most prominent connection to each other. I always love pushing boundaries and writing on the edge. I love getting emotions out of people when they read my stories. Hunter's past was always known to me and it was needed for the story to be emotional and raw. To make Hunter who he is.
Writers are typically big readers. Do you tend to read books similar to what you write? Were there any writing influences that helped shape how you approached this story?
Hehe, well that's a good one, because I do read a lot of books, but not really in the same genre :P The genre I read most is YA paranormal romance & dystopian. Erotic Romance & New Adult come after that, basically. I don't read a lot of adult books, except for the ones that really draw my attention. It's contradictory, I know :P But that's me!
As a writer, I approach storytelling very organically, which can often mean a lot of time spent editing. Do you take that sort of approach? Are you more of a plan-ahead writer? Or is it a combination of things, maybe dependent on the story in question?
First, I think up a beginning, the middle, and the end. Then I fill in the gaps with random scenes that could be drawn out over a couple of chapters. I mold the characters and create their background, their history, which is highly involved in the scene making too. They're basically formed at the same time. Then I write down the entire book with outlines, sculpting each chapter with a few sentences and keywords. Only after every important aspect is on paper do I start writing the story. Editing comes last, and it usually only takes me 2 or 3 days to do it. What I write is always very close to the final result, as I rarely cut pieces out. It only happens sometimes, and that's usually after beta feedback. What happens more often is that extra scenes get thrown in that weren't previously there ;) To make the book stronger.
Last question. Are there plans for more books in this universe? If so, which characters can you see getting their own story? And would you go backwards, follow the same timeline as Autumn and Hunter's story, or pick up after their story concluded?
Probably, yes. I'm writing a different book called Mr. X now, because I need a break from the series, but I do plan to get back to some of the characters. I always knew Jessie would have his own story, and it's going to be similar to Fierce (with the gang and all). It will probably be set after FLAME. It's on my schedule for later this year, and will probably be included in a bundle. I'd also love to write a short story about Jaret, which will also be included in a bundle and released separately later ;). But first: Mr. X: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21948425-mr-x