A big thanks to Misty for answering my crazy questions. Her book The Shadow Girl is out now, and you should give a read! Feel free to check out my review as well.
Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
It’s a very specific story. I was at a crowded family baby shower where I felt social overwhelmed and completely invisible. I even made a comment to someone and I could swear they looked right through me. Desperate for air, I escaped to the porch. I thought I was alone before I spotted my 13 year old cousin sitting nearby in the shadows. I asked what she was doing out there all alone and she explained that she also was feeling anxious and out of place. Then she said: “Do you ever feel so invisible that you think no one would notice or care if you just disappeared?” Right then and there I asked if she wanted to take a walk and talk about it. That’s how Zylia was born.
Which character do you identify with most? Why?
There’s a part of my personality in each character, but I’m the most like Zylia. Either one of us could be the poster child for social anxiety disorders, haha.
What research, if any, did you have to complete in order to capture Grandmother’s illness?
My grandfather suffered from dementia. I drew on experiences I had being around him during those final years that stole his mind.
When writing this book, did you follow more of an organic process, or did you outline the plot prior to fleshing out all of the details?
I wrote this story over an embarrassingly long period of time, over eight years actually. I wasn’t writing it with the thought that it would be published so I just wrote a bit here and there when I felt like it. I started with an outline where I worked out a few chapters. Then, I got too eager to bring those chapters to life before my outline was finished. So I, (probably quite unprofessionally), went back and forth from the outline to the draft.
What was the most exciting part of completing and publishing this novel? What was the most frustrating?
I think the most exciting part was finding out that there were lots of other people who could relate to my character and her crippling anxiety. It’s easy to feel alone when you’ve lived your life like Zylia, but sharing this story has made me realize I’m not.
What advice do you have for other writers when working to finish a novel?
I think writing should be fun. Unless you have a specific deadline, I try not to worry too much about how long it takes. And I’d definitely recommend writing about something you know well or are close to in some way.
What are you working on next?
In the spring, I have a romantic suspense coming out that I wrote before The Shadow Girl. I have this goal to write at least one book in all the genres I like to read, so next I’m going to attempt an atmospheric, space opera style sci-fi. I’m about halfway in and having fun with it.