How did that happen?
In any case, let's start today with Paige Christie!
Star Trek or Star Wars?
Firefly – gone too soon or overrated?
*Gone too soon.
A book you’re looking forward to release (by someone else)?
*The Song of the Mysteries by Janny Wurts, series finale for the outstanding and mesmerizing Wars of Light and Shadow Series
Coffee, tea, or cacao?
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
*I was in second grade and the teacher asked us to write a story. I had no idea that writing stories was something I could do, not just something done by other people. I was instantly hooked. And if it took 40 more years to actually publish something, well that was 40 years of steady practice and reading great books that helped hone my skills.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
*I wrote my first official book (not just millions of pages of notebook scrawl) in 2014-2015. It was published in 2017 when I was 47 years old.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
*When I'm not writing, I think about writing…like all the time. But I also am the director of a non-profit soup kitchen and food pantry, like to walk miles and miles, practice middle eastern dance, and read.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
*My top three suggestions are: READ. READ. READ. Read writers better than you and who you think you could never approach in skill. Study what they do, scratch you head over how they did it. Try to do it. Find great books on writing craft and study them. And then write. Write a bunch. Write crap and write better. Rinse and repeat.
Do you like to create books for adults?
*All my books are written for an adult audience, though they seem to cross generations. I've had readers as young as 14 and as old as 82 contact me about them.
What do you think makes a good story?
*Emotional impact and clarity. It's fine to have a great plot or a great setting, but if I don't care about the characters moving through the story, I'm out. And having the writer be clear in what they are expressing and their word choice and order of presentation of scenes and even sentences, really keeps a reader "in" the story.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
*I wanted to be an Olympic Skier and a Writer. One out of two is not bad as far as childhood dreams go.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
*Yes. I've heard it said (and I can't remember who said it) that a writer must believe two things simultaneously: "The story I am writing is the greatest thing ever written. The story I am writing is complete shit." So…write with a big, determine ego. Edit without one at all.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
*Yes, I did, because as a woman writing epic fantasy, it's a lot harder to find an audience. Sadly, it is assumed that if a woman is writing fantasy, she's writing 1) YA, 2) Paranormal Romance. I write neither. I write character driven intimate epics. But I figured that writing under either initials or a 'male' name wasn't going to push anything to change. And it wasn’t going to fulfill my dream of seeing my name on a book cover.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
*Honestly, I don't worry about it. I write stories that I want to read and hope they find an audience. That goes against all advice for making a living at this --- which might explain some things – but it's what I do.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
*I think they can, yes, but they're probably not going to write anything I want to read. For me, emotion is the heart of any story, and without it, I'm just not interested.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
*Uhmmmm…wow…that's a long, long list these days. Though probably the person who has influenced me the most is Janny Wurts. Not only is she my favorite author of all time – challenging, brilliant, detailed, and emotionally thrilling, but she's been very supportive. She's also incredibly honest in her critiques and that is the best thing ever. My writing partners and fellow authors, Rebecca Wynick and Ellen Morrissey, have also been priceless. They are the first readers for everything I produce, and without them, nothing I write would be worth a damn. Other authors willing to be honest with you and shoot down your 'darlings' as needed, as the greatest gift a writer can find.
Who shot first, Han or Greebo?
*Greebo never shot at all because Han just blasted him preemptively.
What did you do with your first advance?
*I'll let you know when I receive one.
How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
*Readers are smart people. I think is part of my obligation as a writer is to never 'write down' to them. It is also my job to be certain that what I am trying to get across in a story comes through clearly. That's why great first readers, and locking up my ego after the first draft, are so important. Good alphas and beta will tell you where you screwed up. For example, I had a chapter in the final book in my series that I simply loved. Both of my first readers told me it was extraneous. I grumbled…but they were correct. And that chapter did not end up in the novel. Taking it out made the book flow better and kept the reader on track. Listening to the readers and trust them is vital to producing good work.
What is your preferred format?
While I do write short stories on occasion, I'm a long form writer and the novel is my go-to for storytelling. I'm…long winded. There's always more story to tell.
What is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?
*42 and Chocolate
What does literary success look like to you?
*Being able to pay most of my bills from writing, and having a core group of great readers who love my work.
What do you have coming next?
*I have two short stories coming out over the next few months, one in SHENAGIGANS: More Takes of Valdemar #16, and one in the 2023 JordanCon Anthology "The Leaf Does No Harm". Also, I am working on a new, stand-alone novel that I hope to be shopping to agents in summer 2023.