Now on to the questions!
What’s your favorite genre to read/write?
Fantasy has long been my favorite. I read voraciously as a kid, but after high school I stopped for a while. When I came back to it, I got hooked on Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress anthologies as well as Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Fantasy and
How do you “get in the zone” when writing? Do you listen to music? Look through art? Something else?
When I'm writing, I fend off outside distractions by plugging into Goggle Music and putting one of my playlists on continuous shuffle. I'm probably ruining my hearing by turning the volume up too high, but it's the only thing that works to isolate me from the outside world.
What’s your favorite part of being a writer?
A close friend of mine has a nickname for me: Kembers. He calls me that whenever I'm smoking hot with a new idea. That's my favorite part. When I'm on fire, when I'm bursting with ideas, when I'm almost manic about a new project, story, or concept.
What’s your least favorite part?
Promoting myself. I'm a very shy person, and have always preferred to work behind the scenes. The limelight certainly has its appeal, but it's very difficult for me to put myself out there. Self-promotion, for me, is a constant process of pushing myself past my comfort zone.
Part of me is sweaty-palmed and scared silly even right now.
Are you a pantser or plotter, or a mix?
Pantser, all the way. I've studied plot structure and different plotting methods, and am fascinated by the subject. I've tried plotting first several times, and even found a method that works reasonably well for me. But ultimately, I always return to pantsing.
Best thinking activity? (e.g. washing dishes, folding clothes, driving)
Any activity that involves a kind of mindless repetition. The repetition puts some part of my brain into an almost trance-like state and frees up the rest of my brain to come up with ideas. Many of my best, most exciting, and sometimes scariest ideas come while I'm running or in the shower.
Worst/most interesting writing related injury? (e.g. falling off chair or tripping over whilst trying to do something you're sure your MC could manage)
I can't say I've had any writing-related injuries, other than pain in my hands and arms from repetitive stress, and cramps in my shoulders and back from poor posture. I do make some strange faces and gestures when I'm writing though. Often, if I'm stuck on a word, I'll start
thinking with my hands. I learned some American Sign Language and was fairly fluent in it for some time. I've noticed several times when I can't think of a word, I'll sign it and sometimes that will jog the English word loose from my brain. Or when I'm stuck describing an action, facial expression, or gesture, I'll keep repeating it physically until I've gotten the feel of it just right in words.
How do you go about choosing names, locations etc?
Some times, I just know right away. Other times, I search baby naming sites (my favorite is http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/) for ideas until I find just the right ones. If I don't know, and don't feel like looking for one (because that's just another form of procrastination for me), I'll just give a character a placeholder name. Like Chucklehead or King or Pea Brain.
Best part of the writing process?
Brainstorming. Whether I'm brainstorming ideas, where the story needs to go, or a character's backstory, I love those "a-ha" moments. Or when an entire scene starts to unfold as a giant "a-ha" and my fingers are typing furiously but still not keeping up with the words, and next
thing I know it's almost midnight. And finishing. When I finished NaNoWriMo this year, and realized that except for some loose ends and rough spots, my 50K really was the end of my first draft, I couldn't sleep for over two hours because I was so excited about it.
How did you become an editor?
When I was a kid, several adults encouraged me to go into editing, but I wouldn't listen to them. Later, in my 20s, while I was working as a tech support representative, I read the book Who Does What and Why in Publishing by Clarkson Potter. When I read the section on editors, I
knew that was what I wanted to do. I try not to dwell on my regrets, but every now and then I want to kick myself for not listening to the people who suggested editing to me while I was still in school.
Was it hard to break into publishing?
I applied to the first publishing job I saw in the newspaper, interviewed with the editorial director, took an editing test, and got a job offer within just a few days. It was an entry level position, which meant I would be taking a substantial pay cut from my tech support job, but my husband was very supportive so I jumped at the opportunity. It was non-fiction though, and my dream was to edit fiction.
How did you make the move from non-fiction to fiction?
With the help of social media and a little luck. I joined a social networking site, called Six Degrees, where I met a freelance production manager. While chatting, I mentioned that I was great at proofreading, and she happened to need a proofreader.
What do you enjoy doing most as an editor?
As a freelancer, I love being exposed to books I wouldn't normally pick up on my own. Freelancing has introduced me to some authors who are now favorites, such as Lois McMaster Bujold. I also learn something new from almost every book I work on. As an editor and coach, I love being in a position to encourage new writers.
What do you enjoy the least as an editor?
Aside from the marketing and self-promotion? I love that I get paid to read, but editing is not the same as reading. After an hour or so, I sometimes find myself exhausted and unable to focus. At that point, I have to walk away and do something else entirely. My back and
shoulders get sore from hunching over a book or manuscript all day. But you can't beat getting paid to do what you love.
Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing?
You mean when I'm not editing or reading? When I'm not writing, editing, or reading, I'm raising my two kids and continuously educating myself on parenting issues, especially as they relate to
foster care and special needs adoption.
What’s your favorite color?
Over the past few years, I've been going through a girly-girl phase. I was never a girly-girl. I grew up in the Big Hair 80s, so spending too much time on my hair was just part of being an 80s kid, but I was definitely more of a tom-boy than a girly-girl. Until I hit my 40s. Now I have a lot of pink things. It's become a joke when I go shopping with my kids. If it's pink, I'll want to buy it.
Current favorite song?
Right now, I'm hooked on the songs from the 2010 World Cup: Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) by Shakira and Waving Flag by K'Naan (my favorite version is the one featuring Nancy Ajram).
If money were not an option, where would you love to spend your next vacation?
Okinawa. I was born in there, but my family moved back to the states while I was still an infant. It's been a lifelong dream to be able to go there some day, and see where my birthmother grew up.