How did you come up with the idea for ENSHRINE?
It all started with a dream. I know what you’re thinking: “OH GOD! Not another author writing about her fantasies! Ew!” Truth be told, my best ideas have always come from dreams. I dream about cute boys that turn into monsters, strange war games, and in this instance, running for my life. In the dream, I was running from someone. I didn’t know who he was but I knew he was bad. I also knew that this person wanted me back at all costs. As I crept through archaic buildings and alleyways, his men pursued me and I was terrified and convinced that I wasn’t going to make it. Then by the grace of God, a man appeared and offered to help me. We ran through an ancient city until we reached the sea and raced into it to avoid the bad guys. Then (I admit sadly) I woke up. I couldn’t believe how exciting and awesome my dream had been, and as I got up for the day I tried to think how to make it a story idea. How did this girl get into this bad man’s life? More so, how would the man who rescued her know that she needed saving? I typed a small synopsis on my phone so I wouldn’t forget and I went along with my business. Except here’s the thing, I tired to go on with my life, but I couldn’t exactly. Whenever I had free time I was imagining what the girl was like or her handsome savior (who in my dream looked like David Tennant, who is super cute, but way too old to be chasing after a girl since she was thirteen.) I thought of the life this pair might have had and the kind of place they would have lived. Then it got harder to even do just that. I was picturing scenes in my head, I’m not going to lie, I would even talk them out sometimes (My father can attest I have been doing this my entire life. Usually in the bathroom or as I would fall asleep at night. We had a lot of “Kay, who are you talking to?” moments. It’s a lot harder to do this when you have a husband and you share a bedroom, but I digress.) It was then that the personalities of these people (mainly S, J, and D) really started to come out. That was when I learned that Sage’s mother was a baker, that Jonty hated his father and that Dayton was freaking psycho. However, I was busy with other things at the time. I was trying to get a job (a non-writing one), I was dancing, and I was working on another story. It was a labor of love that I had written a version of when I was 14-15 years old. I was proud of myself because I was already on my revision but I don’t know, the characters didn’t speak to me like Sage, Jonty, Dayton and others did. That, and it was starting to sound a lot like a couple popular dystopian novels that were already out. (If only I had been a prodigy and had my first book published when I was 15 years old!) So I did a few character sketches and once again tried to shelf the idea. Well...Sage and company continued to cross my mind when I wasn’t working on my other draft. They tried to convince me that their story was too good to stay in my head. So this time I made an outline. It wasn’t complete, but I would say more than half way through. I also continued to have more ideas of how the story could end. I promised myself (and really the characters), that someday I would get to them, I tried to explain that my husband wanted me to finish one manuscript and if I kept jumping ship that I would never be a published writer. Then I went through a phase where I knitted like...three sweaters and I didn’t write anything at all. I attribute that to the fact that my Sci-Fi draft had grown stale. Well, right around new years, it happened again. Ideas swirled around my head, so many songs reminded me of this character or this situation. I saw the last installment of a series that really inspires me and it was new years resolution season. Since I had acquired a painful (and obnoxious) dance related injury I decided I couldn’t focus on winning feisanna (Irish Dance Competition, I’ll get to that later) and learning new dances so I decided I would write everyday. Then it was like every character in my book screamed as loud as they could at the same time. TELL OUR STORY NOW! STOP TRYING TO WRITE A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL! JUST STOP TRYING SO HARD AND WRITE A LOVE STORY. YOU CAN DO IT! So I did. I sat down on January 6th, 2015, a day I was stuck at work with a meeting and just went for it. And then I didn’t stop...and the rest they say, is history.
Where and when is Dayton’s empire of Rosementh?
I like being subjective about my setting. Obviously, my characters live in a world that is quite old, a world that has not yet been touched technology. In some ways its a more simple place with customs and ancient rules that formed Rosementh into the civilization that it is. But even though they don’t have electricity or cars or what have you, they still have to deal with problems that people of today still have. Poverty, status, lust, revenge, and more. As for the type of place that Rosementh is. I often think of Scotland or Ireland, with it’s green rolling hills. Though Rosementh has deep lush forests and the seven lakes which I would compare to smaller versions of the great lakes here in America. Fresh water, but large enough that they could be considered small seas even though they are not connected to each other. But I can’t tell you that the people of Rosementh live on the Emerald Isle or in the medieval times of old. It’s almost like Star Wars; “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” Rosementh is it’s own entity, a special piece of paradise that I like to escape to often
Why is dance such a large aspect of your story?
Because...why not? :)
No seriously, there are many reasons that dance is a huge part of my novel. There’s this expression floating around and I’m not sure if I’m writing it correctly but “write what you know.” I danced ballet, jazz, tap, acrobatics, and lyrical from the ages of 8-17. Then I started Irish Dance at the ripe old age of 24 and I wondered where it had been all my life. (Apparently it was within walking distance from my old studio.) Plenty of dance forms have a rich history, but I find the history of Irish dance fascinating. While there are a variety of moves that can be done over any reel or jig. I love the set dances. I’m doing the same dances that people did hundreds and hundreds of years ago and that’s pretty cool. Songs and dances that have been passed down for generations are very important in Rosementh and especially Community, I thought it was a perfect subplot for this story of love, loss, and revenge. The only tricky bit being that since my world is not Ireland, it can’t be called Irish dance. So lets call what the people of Rosementh do “folk dances”.
So why is Sage a great dancer and Jonty not so much? Because if Jonty was good at everything he’d be boring. Plus, how could he and Sage bond if he already was as good at dancing as she was?
Who are your characters based on?
Up until now, I had this nasty habit of making characters based on people I knew. I used friends, family, and former love interests. Let me tell you...writing a story where the main male protagonist is based on the guy you dated before your current boyfriend (who eventually becomes you fiance and then your husband) is not a good idea. It will cause you to feel really awkward. Not to mention that everyone would totally know it was this boy. (Such a shame, because it was a GREAT idea, like it could have been at least a trilogy, maybe even four books, but alas, it’s been shelved.) Message here: Lovers can be muses, they can give you ideas, they can help you when you have writers block. Do NOT make them characters. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
Now I will be honest with you and tell you that this tale does have characters that are based loosely on real people, but they are minor background people. My day job is at a Hebrew Day School and I think so many of their names are beautiful and fascinating. So as you are reading and come across a name that is unique to you that is probably where they are from. I know real Tehila’s, Nev’s, Nira’s and Aaron’s just to list a few examples. Jonty's name is inspired from an Australian Irish Dancer (and it really is short for Jonathan, though my husband, who is actually named Jonathan didn’t believe me when I told him.) and Martin is after one of my favorite hockey players. The rest were all names that I just liked except for Sage. Sage is what my dream hero was calling me, so it stuck.
Sometimes I picture myself when I write in the first person, but as time has passed with this novel I picture a dancer who I will keep nameless. My cover girl is a glammed up version of this girl, and I know that Sage is a braver, more poised, and nurturing than I will probably ever be. I look forward to hearing what you guys think of her and who you imagine when you read Enshrine!
Without giving too much away, I will describe the inspirations behind Dayton and Jonty. As I previously mentioned, I love most things fantasy and sci-fi and I will say that I have a mild obsession with a certain fandom that involves a magical world full of creatures that don’t live in real life. An epic if you will, an epic that has been made into movies...got an idea? Okay good. Well I also had more of a moderate obsession with a certain character/actor. Let’s be serious, I have a type. Dark hair, dark eyes, not paper white like my complexion. I picture this person who will remain nameless to save me from shame and embarrassment as Dayton. Proud, regal, jealous, and possessive...and oh I almost forgot, crazy. Finally, I imagine that if Dayton lived in modern times that he’d be a frat boy who was on a quest to be the most popular and respected man on campus. Everything he’d own would be Izod or Versace and he’d have a Ferrari at 25 years old. Then he’d have all these high standards when he met girls and one night at a bar he’d see this somewhat normal girl and just pursue her incessantly until she finally decked him in the face.
Jonty is another character that continues to morph and change as I work on the world he lives in. As I stated earlier, the dream version of Jonty was played by David Tennant (No shame in announcing that) but it was sort of creepy to picture him falling in love with a young girl. Not that “the Doctor” wasn’t older than his companions, but there are only five years between Jonty and Sage so I felt that had to change. I went through a phase that he looked like James Foley (His face was all over the news that summer) and sometimes I see a young Diego Luna. Once again, I look forward to what you think of when you you read, but Jonty is over six feet tall, very tan from spending most of his time outside and his mother being from the south (Jonty's mom is based on as Israeli friend of mine), and has these hazel eyes that are undeniable. if Jonty lived in the modern world I imagine he’d wear a lot of flannel or maybe a more modern version of his sleeveless vest. He’d listen to grunge alternative rock bands like Sound Garden, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana. He’d be the boy that you wouldn’t notice at first because you were too busy crushing on boys that were popular and unobtainable. But his persistence and romantic gestures would make him the man you’d want to marry, have children, and grow old with.
What inspires you?
I’ve been insanely lucky with this one. Sometimes I can write for hours and when I have to take a break, it’s like I’ve been shaken awake and my brain is still in Rosementh and it takes me a while to come back to the real world. I don’t have a muse, but there are many things in my life that inspire me or give me ideas. Photos of people are helpful, but I’m inspired by many real people. I’m inspired by fictitious beings, whether in print on the the screen. I’m inspired by hockey, I’m inspired by campfires and really great meals shared with people you love being around you. I’m inspired by YouTube videos of Irish dancers doing set dances and two hands. I’m inspired by weddings, I’m inspired by the people I dance with, I’m inspired by my students. I’m inspired by Tolkien, Shakespeare, Cassandra Clare, and the piles and piles of book in my room and undiscovered in stores and libraries. I’m inspired by nature and God. Pinterest has been very helpful in organizing my thought process, I have found so many pictures that have helped me get was in my brain onto the page. Most of all, I’m inspired by music so you should check out my playlist page!