How did you come up with the title? The title comes from one of the lines of the book. The main character feels very isolated and he’s told that “The darkest lie we’re ever told is that we are alone.”
Can you tell us about your main character? Thane is a 15 year old introvert who just wants to be invisible. His feelings of loneliness and isolation separate him from everyone around him, and all he wants is to get through the next three years of high school and disappear.
How important do you think villains are in a story? They are at least as important as your main character, sometimes more! A good villain makes or breaks a story. You have to understand why the villain wants what they want and who they are, so that as you reveal it throughout the story it matters to the reader. And remember, the villain doesn’t think they’re the “bad guy.” Actor Willem Dafoe is credited as saying it didn’t make a difference whether he played the hero or the villain, because “everybody thinks they are righteous.”
Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Yes, absolutely! The Darkest Lie is the first in a planned four book series, called The Shaerealm Series. I already have another trilogy planned after this, a dystopian science fiction series with a female main character who has narcolepsy.
Have you started another book yet? Yes, I’m about 60% of the way through the second book in the Shaerealm series, called “The Sound at the Edge.”
Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully finishing the Shaerealm series and starting the next one!
Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? I’m a big fan of the Dan Well’s Partials series- I think they’re the best written dystopian I’ve ever come across.
Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest and why? Patrick Rothfuss is a great new talent, especially if you love fantasy!
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? Social Media is the greatest tool we have. Authors who’ve written their work can work on their platforms without needing agents, editors, or publishers first. You don’t even need to have anything written yet to start working on getting an audience!
What contributes to making a writer successful? Not giving up. It takes several years to be successful as a writer, either independently or within the traditional publishing frame, and that can be frustrating. Keep going.
What do you do to unwind and relax? I play my bass guitar either on my own or with other musicians, I read, I run with my dogs, play with my kids, or anything with my husband. He’s awesome.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing? Not many so far, since I’m still pretty new in the business, but there was one. When I was speaking at a junior high school about my book I talked a lot about my themes. Afterward a girl came up to me and told me that she feels very alone and has always been afraid to put herself out there, and that hearing me speak gave her hope. We had a long conversation afterwards, but that moment exemplified everything I want my writing to do.
Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share with us? I’ll be speaking at a youth inspiration conference in Houston sometime this summer. I’ll give you the details once I have them all!
If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? The book is called “The Darkest Lie,” and when I started sending it around to agents they all thought the title sounded depressing. Change it, they said. No, I said, and moved on. Because it’s called The Darkest Lie for a very important reason, and it is in fact the reason I wrote this book. It may be the second theme but it’s the strongest, and the one it took me the longest to learn. The title is taken from a conversation in the book, where General Gage tells Thane, “The darkest lie we’re ever told is that we are alone.”
For me, that is the most important part of the book, the thing I want everyone to think of every time they see the title. We are not alone. Alone is the lie, and the lie we have to let go of to move on. There are people all around us who want to help and who care about us, but we have to make the first move. To open up. To help the people around us feel not alone too.
When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? That I made a difference in people’s lives for the better. That somewhere the teenagers I write for were braver, or stronger, or felt empowered because of things that I wrote.