Welcome, Sorchia! Tell us about what you write.
I’ve published three—nearly four—Gothic fantasy/paranormal romance novels. I really like creating vivid settings and building a story around bits and pieces of magic. I try to ground the story in the normal world and then gradually lead readers down the garden path to full-on paranormal craziness. My Zoraida Grey trilogy has been such a learning experience, but I’m anxious to try a slightly new genre by adding more suspense and maybe an element of horror into the next project.
Do you find inspiration in your own life for your writing?
Oh, yeah! Bits of conversations, snippets of movie dialogue, an image or photo—sometimes a situation in real life will trigger the “what-iffies”—that condition all writers have which compels us to take the simplest ideas and follow them to wild—and not always logical—conclusions. The best inspiration for me comes from quiet walks, songs, or travel. One of my favorite bits of author trivia is supposedly about Robert Frost. According to the tale, a neighbor called Frost “The laziest man he ever met” because Frost spent a lot of time on his porch staring at the picturesque New England landscape. But Frost was actually hard at work imagining and phrasing the poetry that every school kid still gets exposed to. We have to do that—spend time imagining—or the stories aren’t as bright and beautiful as they would otherwise be.
Tell us about Zoraida Grey.
Zoraida Grey started out as a small town fortuneteller/ghost hunter. The plan was to do a series about her adventures in Arkansas as she and her best friend went from one crazy supernatural situation to the next. When I started doing her character chart, though, a deeper story emerged.
She was an orphan, it seems, raised by her witchy granny. And thereby hangs the tale. Granny is on the run from her Scottish relatives. She barely escaped the curse they sent after her and she’s been hiding in the most unlikely spot ever since as the curse destroyed nearly everything she loved. Zoraida is Granny’s one chance to get revenge. Not only was I surprised when I found this out, but so was Zoraida. The story revolves around Zoraida’s discovery of the truth and her eventual decision about how to deal with it. Oh, and there are smoking hot male witches to deal with, too.
How’s your experience been with the publishing process?
I have been quite lucky in that I haven’t spent a lot of time courting publishers. I fell in with an upstart publisher who published my first book, then Wild Rose picked up the Zoraida trilogy. Now that I have several books out and a small following, I think I’ll look around a bit with the next book. Romance is great and that element will always be present in my books, but I want to branch out a little from the traditional romance genre. I plan to self-pub some novellas -- partly so I have freebies to offer and partly to get familiar with that process. The idea of getting a bigger chunk of the proceedings is attractive, but the work involved is daunting.
Yes for the sake of clarity, though I begrudge the hours of my life spent inserting Oxford commas that I forgot in the first draft.
Ice cream? Vanilla or chocolate?
I’m a Libra and this, like many choices, is evenly balanced—so a swirly with both flavors topped with about 20 maraschino cherries.
Coffee or tea or wine?
My liver tells me to say ‘tea’ but my heart screams ‘wine.’
What does your desk look like?
If I am procrastinating, my desk is clean because I have used it as a distraction. If I am really writing, it is cluttered with teacups, notes, books, tarot cards, and at least one cat who is intent on knocking everything else onto the floor.
What is your writing vice or must-haves?
It’s more a routine than an object. I find I need to sit down to write early in the morning or the day just doesn’t go anywhere. It’s best if I take a nice walk and have a little bit of breakfast first—and tea—but mainly I have to get going early.
Describe a perfect writing day.
Nobody home but me—nobody stopping by—no to-do list. Hours of solitude so I can play music loud and recite dialogue to the air. A handy green salad in the fridge, maybe some leftover fried catfish, plenty of green tea, and a can of mixed nuts—and I’m good to go.
What are some of your go-to methods for writing?
Music. I make a play list for projects which I monkey with all through the project. If I’m having problems, I strap on the headphone and crank it up. Incense is another thing that sometimes works—sandalwood or myrrh are my favorites. It just puts me in a writerly mood. I also have a list of character questions that I use to trigger ideas. I pull tarot cards for each question and usually a story erupts after a few tries.
In an alternate reality, what would be your dream job (besides author)?
Being either a meteorologist for NOAA—research, not TV forecasting—or an astrometeorologist for NASA. I intended to get on the bus to Science Town when I was a kid, but got shanghaied into teaching. I grew up in a time and place which made it difficult for a girl to do sciency things and I let myself get talked out of it—something I will always regret. Whether I am smart enough to have made either of these work is a question I wish I had explored. Writing was always what I wanted to do though I thought it would be more nonfiction or satire.
What's your favorite place you've visited?
I am about to head off to Berlin via Iceland and Dublin with a side trip to Scotland. That future trip is going to be my favorite though not the last such trip I hope. More on this later!
You have a time travel machine. Where and when?
You’ll know when I travel into the past—at least, in that split second before the Universe pops out of existence. I would make a mess of that and accidentally cause a rift in the Time/Space continuum without a doubt. So The Future would be my choice though I would be creeping along the walls like a mouse. I’d like to hop far enough ahead to meet someone like Captains Kirk or Picard and see the galaxy from the comfort of a nice, safe starship.
What do you like to do when not writing?
Gardening, reading, and thinking about writing would make up the fattest part of the pie chart on my non-writing activities.
Beach, lake, or mountains?
That Libra thing kicks in again—so a mountain lake near the sea.
And leaving you with the back cover blurb for Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen:
Magic may save Zoraida’s skin, but what about her heart?
Zoraida Grey needs help. With the witchy Logan clan holding her best friend hostage in a haunted Scottish castle, she can’t trust anyone—certainly not beguiling but dangerous Shea Logan. And Al, her overprotective boyfriend, doesn’t believe in magic.
Only one creature strikes fear in the blackened hearts of the Logan witches. Trouble is Jock disappeared five centuries ago leaving a trail of destruction across the Gulf of Mexico. Now he’s stepped into a steaming pile of Voodoo.
Can Zoraida drag wayward Jock back to Scotland? And what’s she supposed to do with two men who promise completely different futures?
A Scottish wizard, stripped naked and painted blue—a Voodoo priestess bent on immortality—a yacht-load of Caribbean pirates. What can possibly go wrong?