Interview in April 2018
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Resonance is my first book in a five-book series. I hope to have the following four completed in the next year or so.
I have a medical and scientific background and have spent most of my life studying or doing research. I’ve always been interested in many things and haven’t pursued the straight and narrow path. I started out with Bioengineering as my undergraduate degree but added a B.A. in German language and literature. I wanted to become fluent in a modern language while having an excuse to take the Philosophy and upper-level English classes that I loved. After graduating, since I was uncertain whether I wanted to pursue an M.D. or a combined M.D./Ph.D. program, I did some research at Harvard and then decided to move to San Diego for the M.D./PhD. program and stayed to make a life here. I love to spend time with my family, friends, dogs and nature and enjoy reading, singing, dancing, walking, hiking and doing yoga. I’m a dedicated mom, a sharer, a giver, a teacher, an introvert, a nurturer, an activist, and a pain-in-the-butt sometimes since I stand up for what I believe in (nobody likes change), but most importantly I always try to be a good person, to be honest and to do the right thing. I love to laugh, especially since I often take myself too seriously.
I wrote the first draft of Resonance in late 2009, in just a little over two months between wrapping up my Ph.D. in Neurosciences and heading back to medical school for the clinical years. I put the manuscript aside for a few months, then did one round of editing and shared it with friends for feedback. I also shared it with an acquaintance who happened to be a nonfiction agent. After reading it, she wanted to represent me so we sent it off to about ten paranormal romance publishing house editors. Resonance was almost picked up by one publisher, and aside from the fact that most were only looking to purchase vampire novels at that time, I received a lot of helpful constructive criticism. I also realized that I should have spent more time crafting the novel (doing much, much more than one edit) and should have at least consulted a developmental editor before submitting. After that experience, which was a little disappointing but mostly positive, I decided I would self-publish, especially since paranormal editors weren’t that interested in psychics. I hired an editor for a thematic, developmental edit, but then life got in the way, and the years passed by. After several updates and revisions later, Resonance was finally published on March 16, 2018. In 2009, I wouldn’t have imagined it would take me so long to finally pull the plug and publish, but I also wouldn’t have foreseen the twists and turns of my life.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The title, Resonance, refers to three concepts. Most importantly, Resonance reflects my reasoning for why psychic abilities have increased over the past 30 years. The universe is not stagnant. As Harry states, “we live in a sea of environmental exposures we can barely fathom.” I propose that a change in the background electromagnetic radiation spectrum due to a far-off event (like a supernova) altered our world. When exposed to this different EMF environment in the womb, neurodevelopment changes such that psychic abilities amplify (the EMF resonates with the developing brain). Another reason for the title, Resonance, is that in this world, powerful psychics can resonate with each other and connect on a different plane than normal people. The third connection has to do with the gamma brain wave itself -- it is thought that it might be resonating from the brainstem and is involved in consciousness, awareness, "the binding problem", the dream state, neural synchrony and more.
What inspired it? Well, I’m very interested in the possibilities and potential of the brain and mind (since I have Ph.D. in Neurosciences, it must interest me a little ;-) ). I’ve also had a fascination with psychic phenomena, ghosts and spiritual concerns for as long as I can remember. I’ve taken a local shamanism class and mindfulness classes. Like everyone else, I wonder about what the heck happens to us when we die and what’s true in this universe that we can’t easily perceive. I’ve had some personal experiences that could not be explained scientifically or rationally. I have also always loved reading stories about special abilities, superpowers, magic and the supernatural.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not that I’m aware of. I either write in my office or in my bedroom if I want to feel cozy, and my two sweet dogs keep me company most of the time. However, I plan on purchasing Dragon dictation to give dictating a try. It would be great to write and walk my dogs at the same time. I’ve heard Dragon has quite a learning curve though, so I keep putting it off.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I had a visceral connection to this book and fell in love with literature while reading it in middle school. My favorite series, though not in the genre I usually read, will likely always be Harry Potter. I loved the world J.K. Rowling created, and I loved sharing it with my children even more. Some of my favorite go-to authors are Diana Gabaldon, Karen Marie Moning, Kresley Cole, Patricia Briggs, J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts, Ilona Andrews, among others. You can check out my Goodreads profile to see many of the other books I’ve read.
What are you working on now?
Dissonance, the 2nd book in the Resonance series. It’s a bit darker than the first book. I’m also working on starting my author blog and getting a medical blog called TheMedicalException.com going as well.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Honestly, I am brand new to this profession (published only 1 month ago) and haven’t figured it out yet. I took Mark Dawson’s excellent courses, Self-Publishing Formula 101 and Ads for Authors. I’d planned on advertising on Facebook as my main marketing strategy, but unfortunately, with the FB algorithm changes that have happened this year, advertising on FB has been neither cost-effective nor helpful. Since FB hasn’t worked out, I’m trying different strategies now but don’t know yet which will be fruitful. Marketing is definitely my least favorite part of self-publishing.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Get your work out there! I sat on Resonance for almost 9 years. I have a huge fear of failure, and though I had many obstacles, the biggest was my fear. It held me back. Let go of your fear and just do it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Find something new you’re grateful for every day.
My family puts this into practice at dinner each evening, where we go around the table and share at least one thing we’re grateful for that day. This ritual helps us focus on the positives in life.
What are you reading now?
I just finished the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, which my daughter wanted me to read. I have to read every book in a good series, so that took a little time. At her request, I’m now reading We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and next on my list is Karen Marie Moning’s High Voltage.
What's next for you as a writer?
Finishing the Resonance series and possibly a nonfiction medical genetics book. I also have a few stand-alone book ideas that are beckoning me, but I’d like to finish the Resonance series first.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Hmm, if I’m alone and can only have 3-4 books for the rest of my life, I imagine escapism would be the most important element but being a good-sized book would help too. OK, first would be the last Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) – I think it was the best of the series and I could entertain myself by recalling the previous six. Harry Potter also reminds me of time reading with my kids and would make me feel closer to them. The second would be Outlander by Diana Gabaldon for the romance. Jamie Fraser, with the way he truly loves Claire body and soul, is probably the most appealing romantic lead ever (yes, I have a minor crush on a fictional character). For the third, if it’s ever published, I’d take the last Game of Thrones book so I could occupy myself trying to remember the immense number of sub-plotlines. The fourth would have to be a practical book to teach me how to build a shelter, set traps, forage for food, purify water, etc. since I’m not much of a camper. Otherwise, I wouldn’t survive long enough to finish reading the other three books.