1. What got you to decide to start writing fan fiction? To post fan fiction?
My dream is to be a writer, but the biggest hurdle was for me to actually put myself out there and open myself up to criticism of my writing. I thought fan fiction would be great practice, so I borrowed Stephanie Meyer’s great characters and turned them into my own. My best friends believed I had a great talent for writing and encouraged me to step out on my own, rather than hiding behind one shots of their stories, and Mens Rea was the result.
2. In Mens Rea you built a pretty complicated set up, leaving the possibilities pretty open as to what actually happened, how did you come up with the idea to write this? Was there anything particular that inspired this idea?
I work in the legal field day to day, so defense work is my life, though I work on the civil side and not in criminal work. It wasn’t very hard to create the scenes or flesh out the plot. Most of the plot has come very naturally to me. I decided to weave a very intricate web, though, because I personally love mysteries or other works of literature that make you think and just don’t “give” you the who, what, when, where, why and how.
3. How much research do you do for each chapter? Is there anything interesting about the legal process that you’ve learned since starting this that you didn’t know about before?
I’m a research nut and I’m very anal about the details. I research a lot. My friends help me research crime scenes, look at autopsy photos, study death certificates and whatever else I need to do for each chapter. I read a lot of case law and since I don’t live in Washington, I research state law. I always refer to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence to make sure I’m writing things correctly. I think my friends and betas probably go pretty nuts with me, though they’re kind enough not to tell me I’m driving them crazy. My anal tendencies have paid off, though, because most of my reviewers thank me for all of the detail. It’s worth it in the end. As far as learning about the legal process, I’m not very familiar with prosecution so that has been a learning process. I have wonderful attorneys that really do this in their daily lives writing me, helping me, encouraging me and assisting me. When you have a real attorney telling you that you are doing a good job that kind of compliment goes pretty far.
4. Does music play a part in your writing process, how a chapter will come out? Are there any plans to create a playlist for the entire story once it’s complete?
I’ve never thought about creating a complete playlist, but that’s a fantastic idea! Music is a huge part of me. I have a really big appetite for music and I worked in the music business for many years before switching to a legal career. All of the music featured in my playlists and in chapters come straight from my iPod. Insane, right? I always have ideas for songs, but my iPod is very kind to me when writing, and if I put it on shuffle, it usually throws out songs that make me go “WOW! That will work great in Chapter Fourteen!” So I type out a little note on my phone’s notepad to remember later and then refer back to them when I begin writing that particular chapter. I also have a list of songs that I’ve heard the past few months attached to the end of my story outline. I want to use those songs eventually, so I write them down so I don’t forget them.
5. Who are some of your favorite authors? Do they influence your writing, how you approach each chapter?
Geez. I’m a classics geek, so I love Jane Austen. I got to visit Bath, England last summer and I was all sorts of in love with that town. I wanted to bring a notebook, sit on the pavement and just start writing. I plan to move to England soon and do just that… write. My favorite books are Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and the Harry Potter series. Those are the ones I re-read over and over again, but I’m always looking for great books.
What is one thing that we might be surprised to learn about you?
There’s a lot of things you’d probably be surprised to know about me. Most recently, I acted as Jose Zuniga’s makeshift bodyguard (Mr. Molina in Twilight) when the crazies came after him for breathing Robert Pattinson’s carbon dioxide emissions. I speak in an English accent when I’ve had too much to drink. Oh, and I LOVE to drunk dial hot Swedish chicks (hi Wifey!!!!!).