What’s your writing process like?
My writing process tends to differ depending on the project. But, in general, I get an idea first. I write down the idea, and I let it sit in my brain for a long time, sometimes months, before I do anything with it. This can happen with multiple ideas at a time. Like right now, I have ideas for four different projects bouncing around in my head. When I’m finally ready to sit down and start a project, I write out a small outline first. I like to get the first act of a new novel down before I start writing. This way I know how to begin my project. After that, I brainstorm ideas for the middle and end of the book. I make sure I hit all the important parts of a three-act structure, and I continue writing until the novel is complete. I then take a few days off before brainstorming new ideas for the first editing pass. But most of the time now I can finish a book in about two drafts. My critique partner reads it and gives me feedback as well. Then I line edit my books, listen to them to catch proofreading errors, and send it off to proofreaders before I publish.
Do you listen to music while you write your books?
I do listen to music while I write my books. I’ll admit that I don’t listen to a lot of pop music normally, so listening to music with the lyrics is not a problem for me. I enjoy listening to electronic, downtempo, and chill music. When I’m on my computer, I listen to Groove Salad from Soma FM. I also listen to the chill and downtempo stations on Amazon Prime music, and I listen to Chill on Sirius XM.
What was it like trying to publish your works?
I began like most authors in that I wrote my first books and got an agent who subbed them to all the big traditional publishers. I was excited by it, but after over a year of being on submission, I called it quits to self-publish. I’m glad I made the move because I’m much happier being in control of my work. But the actual publishing part of my career is the most frustrating part. I often have issues with uploading or waiting for approval from Amazon and other vendors, but I appear to be one of the only authors that has these problems. I think I’m jinxed! I learned how to edit, to compile ebooks, to take care of book covers, and to format paperbacks, but for some reason the point where I try to get it out to everybody is the hardest part. I’m hoping someday that gets easier for me.
Was there a specific inspiration for The Daydreamer Detective series?
For a while, I had been thinking about writing a mystery series. I really like mysteries, and there’s a strong mystery subplot in almost all of my books. One day I was watching NHK newsline and I saw a story about’s how a grocery store chain was building green houses on reclaimed land in abandoned farm villages. I thought this would make for a great plot for a mystery series, and I ran with it. I had that idea last summer. I thought about it for a few months, and then I started writing last fall. The first book was published on March 31.
Who are your favorite characters in the series?
This is a tough one! I love all the characters in this series so far. Mei is interesting to write. She and I have gone through the same difficulties with trying to decide on our careers and our paths in life. I love writing Yasahiro. He’s mysterious in his own way, successful yet modest, and we’re beginning to see what he values in life. And I especially love Mei’s mother! She’s the epitome of a strong Japanese farm woman. She’s trying to be modern for her daughter, a good friend and businesswoman, and we can see how hard she works. With each new book, I’m also introducing new characters into the series. It’s a lot of fun!
What was the hardest scene for you to write in The Daydreamer Detective?
The hardest scene for me to write was the exact midpoint of the novel, the point where Mei questions everything about her life. She has two distinct paths that she can travel on, and both would have been difficult for her. It’s at this point that she’s at her lowest. She questions her self-worth, she questions her motivation, she questions everything. I really had to dig deep and show her indecision, her anguish, in order for readers to feel empathy for her situation. It was tough to write, but overall the scene is very satisfying. I’m quite happy with it
What emotions come over you as see your fanbase grow?
My fan base has been very slow to grow. Although now, three years into my career, I can see how far I’ve come, I don’t notice a change in smaller increments. I’m definitely proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I see my own growth as a writer. I feel a great contentment when I speak to a reader, or I find a new review of one of my books made somebody happy. I’m grateful for what I’ve achieved so far!
Do you think you’ll want to write a third book in your series?
I will definitely be writing a third book in the series! I’ve been mulling on my ideas for the past two months, and I’m ready to start plotting. This third book will be harder to write than the first two. I plan to layer in a few mysteries, but there may only be an attempted murder in this book! And Mei will have to face the fears of Yasahiro’s past. I plan to bring the drama in this book! My current plan is to launch the next book in the series right before the holidays.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
The majority of my favorite authors are science-fiction authors. I read and listen to a lot of audiobooks that are sci-fi. My favorite authors include John Scalzi, James S. A. Corey and many of the great classic science fiction authors like Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and Isaac Asimov. I also read a lot of romance and YA fiction, basically picking up whatever is popular and sounds interesting. Right now I’m finishing Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicle series, which I’ve really enjoyed. But my favorite author of all time is Haruki Murakami. I’ve read almost all of his books and his interesting and surreal sense of magical realism really inspires me.
Where do you see yourself in the writing world five years from now?
In five years time, I hope to be doing the same things I’m doing now. It will be eight years into my author career and I hope to have out plenty more books for people to read. I would like to try to stick to one genre in the hopes of bolstering my audience, but I just know I’ll have trouble with that! I bet in another five years, I’ll have written in at least two more genres! Most of all, I would like to be in the black with my business. I have yet to make back my investment, and I’d really like to do that before the 10-year mark. All in all, I hope to be writing every day, talking to my readers and having a good time, and doing all the other things that make life worth living like spending time with my family, relaxing, exercising, and taking good care of myself.
Thanks for having me today! I enjoyed answering all of your questions. XO, SJ.