What inspired you to write this book?
The Pacemaker was inspired by a scary dream I had. When I woke up from it, I was like wow this would make a great book.
Can you tell me about the book?
My fantasy suspense novel, The Pacemaker, will be available in print on Amazon and eBook via Kindle this summer. The Pacemaker, which is the first book in this series, follows the journey of Minerva Walsh. She wins a lottery that gives her a free ride to one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation, Calendula University. She’s different than most students accepted into this college. She is of average intelligence and doesn’t remember anything of her past before she turned 18. She tries to take advantage of this new opportunity, but strange things start happening after she arrives. First, she gets a strange power that allows her to control the heartbeats of time and maneuver in and out of a world outside space and time. Then, the strange Calendula curse starts again claiming more victims’ lives. As the curse draws near those close to Minerva, she must use her new powers to investigate the truth behind this curse. But as she grows closer to the truth, fragments of her past come to light.
What is your writing process like?
Recently, I changed my writing process to make it easier for me to write. Before I start writing a book, I plan the whole book out first, so I know the direction my story is going. I write out a general outline for the book detailing the overall story and important points in it. Then I write an outline for each chapter. Doing this helps speed up the writing process for me. Once I translate the points in my outline into writing, I go back and read the entire manuscript, then I expand on those ideas and add them to the overall manuscript during the edit/rewrite phase of writing my book.
Was the character inspired by a real person? If so, who?
Answer: Minerva was not inspired by a real person. Normally, I do use real people to inspire my characters, but she was inspired from a more symbolic person, the person searching for self-worth and their place in a chaotic world. She is the person we’ve all been at one point in our life. She is the person trying to cope with the constant twists and turns in life while trying to figure out how she contributes to it and why certain things seemed attracted to her.
What do you think happened to the characters after the book ended?
Since The Pacemaker is a series, Minerva’s story doesn’t end just because the book does. There will be a lot more obstacles thrown in her way as she tries to find out the truth about her forgotten past.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Answer: It depends on the type of story. For example: Writing my supernatural, suspense novel, The Pacemaker, was much more exhausting; because even though it has its softer points, it is a much darker (gore-wise) book than my other soon-to-be-published books. My soon-to-be-published romantic suspense novel, Eyes, was probably just as much exhausting during some parts than others more because the psychologically dark parts than the bloody parts, but overall it was energizing because of the lighter romantic parts. Even though I don’t let up with the darker parts while writing my romantic fantasy novel, Scarlet Moon, to be release in 2020, there are more lighter moments, surrounding romance and friendship that even it out and make it more energizing to write.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Ghostwriting is a trap for aspiring writers. I know most aspiring writers are just trying to get their name out there and some might believe ghostwriting for an accomplished writer might open new doors for you, but there are some pitfalls for doing that. Even though I can’t speak for every author, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get help from that author. Also, you might warp your writing style into the writers’ you write for and lose the essence of your own writing.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Dark scenes are the hardest things for me to write because they’re so emotionally draining. They take the longest for me to finish.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I like to keep my readers on their toes. I don’t normally like giving readers the same predictable dribble you can find in other novels. I feel like that’s just robbing people of their money and cheating in a way. Although, I will sometimes ask readers for their opinions on expanding a solo novel into a series or about which characters they want together romantically. I might take their suggestions into consideration, but I normally do that to see how in tune my readers are with me. I also love it when readers guess the direction I’m going in before I drop clues. It’s refreshing.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I want both. I want each work to stand on its own and build connections between each book in their respective series or universe. I feel like if one book doesn’t do well on its own it can greatly affect others in its series or universe.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have 7+ unpublished works, including The Pacemaker. Out of those 6 of them are expected to be published by spring 2021.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
This depends on the type of book. If my book deals with a certain time period, like my book, Eyes, I try to research beforehand. But most of the time I start researching before and continue until I’ve completed the book.
How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Answer: I used to write whenever I wasn’t at school or at work so about 21 years.
How many hours a day do you write?
I don’t normally count hours. I just know I get up around 5am; and when I’m done, it’s dark outside and all the stores are closed. I rarely pay attention to the clock.
What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
The Scarlet Moon series will be the only series I write about that reflects myself and people surrounding my life personally. That series starts from when I was twelve and continues into adulthood.
What did you edit out of this book?
I rarely edit stuff out of my books. I normally add things to my books.
How do you select the names of your characters?
The names for most of my characters mean something in real life, but the rest I made up.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I would probably be a horse trainer.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Answer: I don’t want to give out spoilers, so I’ll speak generally. The hardest scenes for me to write were the emotional parts after a body is found. Having Minerva, the main character, try to deal with the loss of people she knew while dealing with the fact that a cold-blooded killer is in her midst was trying. I had to project how I thought someone would feel and act during a terrifying situation like that and that was pretty draining emotionally.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It took me 11 years to complete Eyes, the first book I ever completed. The Pacemaker took me 1 year to complete. Scarlet Moon will reach the 15 years mark this year, that’s only because I put it to the side to finish Eyes, Secrets of my Heart, and The Pacemaker.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. I do. Writer’s block is definitely real, and I have suffered from it numerous times.
What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
I prefer to write out my stories first then type them on the computer; however, when I have a deadline, I just type it out on the computer.
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to be a writer ever since I was young. I started reading at a young age and after reading books like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Black Beauty, The Invisible Man, and the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys books I wanted to write memorable books like these others could enjoy.
How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
It wasn’t really hard to sit down and write. The hardest part for me was to get up and stop writing for breaks.
Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
I don’t think about that. I just aim to finish a number of sections in a chapter. That can range anything from 1k to 10k+ words depending on what I’m writing.
Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I plan out the entire story and individual outlines for each chapter before I start writing. I used to do the whole go with the flow idea, but it slowed down my ability to complete my manuscripts. I will however add things to the chapters after I write everything I had on the chapter outlines.
Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors?
I do read a lot, but mostly classic authors. I do have some modern authors I like such as Stephen King, Maya Angelou, J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, Mario Puzo. (I know Maya and Mario have passed away, but they are still considered modern authors.) However, my favorite author of all time is Alexandre Dumas. The Count of Monte Cristo will always be my favorite book. My second favorite author is Mary Shelley, and Frankenstein is my second favorite book.
What is the most important thing about a book, in your opinion?
There are several important things about a book, but content is the most vital part of a book. When it comes to content, I feel symbolism, emotion, and suspense are the most important things for any book. If you read novels, like Frankenstein, Little Women, or The Godfather, each of these books are very different, but what keeps the readers intrigued by these books, so they want to keep reading, are their use of these elements. Even though Little Women wasn’t my favorite book, the flirty on and off of Jo and Laurie was one of the reasons I kept reading. I wanted to know if they would get together or not. Alcott was able to blend these elements perfectly to keep her readers wondering what’s going to happen next. Same goes for Frankenstein and The Godfather. For a book to be memorable, these are three top elements it needs.
How much of yourself do you put into your books?
Answer: I feel like I put a lot of myself in my books. Each character reflects different parts of my personality.
Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
Everyone in my family is very supportive of my writing from my mother and siblings to my aunts and cousins. But if I had to pick one person out of my family who is the most supportive, then it’s my aunt, Iris. Just like me, she’s a writer and has supported my writing career ever since I was very young.
Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?
I believe in having muses. I have had a muse for most of my writing. I believe most writers have one or draw inspiration from other people, places or things to create their works. Take Ralph Waldo Emerson. He drew inspiration from nature and religion to explain life and the complexities of the human nature and society.
Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
Yes. Eyes was the first book I finished and the only one to be rejected by publishers.
What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?
Answer: I haven’t co-authored a book yet. But I was thinking of doing one soon. I believe when you co-write a book with another author you have to connect with them artistically. It’ll make it easier to finish a project if the two of you are synced creatively and share a passion for the book you’re writing.
Is writing book series more challenging?
I feel writing a book series is less challenging because you can spread the ultimate goal among the separate books unlike with a closed ending book where you have to wrap it up by the end of the book. I like leaving some mystery and suspense at the end of my novels, so closed-ending books are more difficult for me to write.
Does it get frustrating if you are unable to recall an idea you had in your mind some time earlier?
Yes. It is frustrating. That’s why I got into the habit of writing down or recording my ideas as soon as I get them. Since most of my ideas come from dreams, I got into the habit of keeping a dream journal.
Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?
No. I keep all my drafts. One of my fears is that someone will falsely accuse me of plagiarizing their work just to try and get money out of me or defame me like people tend to do when writers become famous. So, I keep documented copies of my drafts just in case.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
After The Pacemaker is published, I plan to release the first novel I ever finished, Eyes, this fall via Lulu Publishing. This one I’ve held back from publishing for years, because I wanted it to be perfect. Since it’s the first novel I’ve completed, I want my readers to receive it well and really connect with the characters that took me so many years to develop. Once I publish Eyes, I plan to publish an inspirational book, From the Depths of my Heart via Amazon. This book is an introduction of myself and my life to my readers while providing some of the methods I used to make it day by day. After that I have three novels that I plan on releasing next year, Scarlet Moon via Lulu Publishing, The Core: Revelation via Amazon, and Without You via Amazon. Scarlet Moon is the first book in my fantasy romance series. It follows the life of Darla Warrick as she goes from being an average preteen girl to the protector of the world overnight. The Core: Revelation is the third Amazon exclusive book I plan on publishing. It follows Karena’s battle between The Core, a secret organization of elite assassins, to protect her daughter from falling into the same blood-filled life her family had to endure for generations. Without You is still in the early stages of development, so I don’t have much to say about it yet. It is a supernatural book that deals with overcoming loss and how to rebuild yourself after you suffer a tragedy.
Had any of your literary teachers ever tell you growing up that you were going to become a published writer one day?
Actually, I had literary teachers in middle and high school doubt I wrote some of my poems and stories because they thought they were too mature for my age and some even thought I plagiarized them.
Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?
No one really pushed me to read. Since we had lots of books at my house, I read to keep myself entertained.
Do you enjoy discussing upcoming ideas with your partner? If yes, how much do you value their inputs?
This depends who I’m with. Currently, I don’t have a partner. But when I’m in a relationship, I’ll discuss ideas about my books if they’re interested in my work. And if they give me any suggestions or feedback, I definitely take it into consideration while planning my books.
Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?
About 80% of my writing is from dreams.
How can readers find out more info about you and your books?
My Facebook page is the best place to find out updates about me and my books. I have the links to all my sites in the bio of my official page: www.facebook.com/imaniamargria . For more information and updates, like its official release date, on The Pacemaker readers can go to its official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thepacemakerbookseries .