1. Paperback, hardback, audiobook?
In order: Hardback > Paperback > Audio
I am super hard on books and end up destroying paperbacks by carrying them around and I just can’t seem to focus on audio books. They put me to sleep for some reason. It’s a problem.
2. Pick a genre, any genre!
3. What is the first book you remember reading?
I don’t remember the first book, but I remember the first real authors I obsessively read were RL Stine and Christopher Pike. I absolutely devoured Goosebumps books.
4. What book shaped your childhood most?
I started reading Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles when I was arguably way too young and became a little obsessed with Lestat. To this day, I still use those books as a touchstone for my own vampire stories.
5. When did you first start writing?
I started writing little stories in probably middle school age. They were mostly just daydreams I wrote down. My process hasn’t changed much, to be honest.
6. What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?
It was entertainment for me. I was an only child and had a lot of alone time. I would imagine myself as characters in the stories I read or movies I watched. It was part escapism and part wish fulfillment and in a lot of ways, that’s still true.
7. What book/poem are you most proud of creating?
Probably Bloodlaced because it was the biggest struggle and I was so sure it would never be published. The rejections could paper my walls. I was about to trunk it when City Owl expressed interest and it’s still a little surreal to see the series out there existing in the world. I am proud and humbled and grateful.
8. Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?
I did publish my first book, but the final version is VERY different from the first version. It went through many stages as I learned and improved my skills. Those early drafts are locked in a concrete box and sunk in the ocean. And by ocean, I mean a desk drawer under piles of pens and used sticky notes.
9. How many books/collections have you published so far?
Four books so far with the fifth coming February 1.
10. What genres do you write in (or hope to)?
Contemporary and Paranormal Romance. I will love to give horror a shot one day.
11. Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?
I did a lot of research for the Youkai Bloodlines series. I have so many old maps of Tokyo and pictures of old houses. Japanese history is so rich and interesting. I had a lot of fun digging into it.
12. To plan, or not to plan your plot?
It’s less of a plan and more of a vague suggestion. I usually have a good idea of the beginning, midpoint, and climax/end, but everything in between is a bit of a surprise. Writing a series takes a bit more, especially if you want to plant seeds that pay off later, but I try not to tie myself down too securely. I tend to freeze up if I don’t leave myself a little wiggle room.
13. What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?
I went with a small press, largely because I don’t have the resources or skills to do everything involved with self-publishing. I will likely stick with it, though there is a chance of going hybrid in the future.
14. If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)
Most of the universes I read are pretty frightening and I wouldn’t last five minutes. I’m happy to watch from a distance, thank you.
15. Do you currently have a WIP?
I am currently working on book 4 of the Youkai Bloodlines series and occasionally poking at a back-burnered sci-fi thing I’ve had simmering for a while.
16. Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.
I am very partial to Asagi, the main character in Bloodlaced. They have been through so much that should have broken them, but somehow manage to keep standing. They are snarky and complicated and challenging. Even in the later books in the series where they play a smaller role, their scenes are some of my favorites to write.
17. What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?
Youkai Bloodlines is a BEAST of a series. I just hope I can get it all out before my publisher says, ‘no more, thank you.’
18. Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!
Oof, this is a hard question and the answer changes by the day. I am currently quite smitten with Hiro and Takanori’s relationship in Blood Bound. Taka is just the most precious little cinnamon roll and arrived at the precise time in Hiro’s life when he needed him the most. As far as non-romantic relationships go, I just love the semi-antagonistic relationship between Hideyoshi and Asagi. Their constant sniping at each other is so much fun to write and the rare moments of empathy and care between them are delicious.
19. Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.
I prefer to write in the quiet so I don’t listen to music as I work.
20. Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)
I recently commissioned ZARA (https://twitter.com/za_ra_h_) to create portraits of Hiro and Hideyoshi and they turned out amazing. I am currently offering them as pre order incentives, so pre order Blood Bound and send me a screenshot of your confirmation for free character cards!
21. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Remember that nothing is wasted. It can be very easy to feel like you are wasting your time, especially if you have a MS that you’ve been hammering away at for years and can’t seem to get anywhere with. Even if that MS or any work that comes after it never sees the light of day, as long as you are learning from it, that time is not wasted. Publishing is a long game and you get a little better at it with every attempt. So keep hammering away, and for the love of God, DON’T THROW ANYTHING OUT. You never know when a scene or bit of dialogue can be poached from old drafts to use elsewhere.
22. Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!
Before RWA’s epic implosion, I entered the Golden Heart Award contest with my first contemporary novel, Wounded Martyr. I was a finalist in the Contemporary Romance: Short category and was highly encouraged by everyone to attend the Nationals conference that year in NYC. I did and it was…an experience. While I did meet some wonderful, talented people, I found the whole thing a bit overwhelming if I’m honest. I feel like I jumped into the deep end and I should have been hanging in the kiddie pool for a while. I didn’t win, but the nomination did help get the book noticed and it was published later that year.
23. Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?
In no particular order:
and I’m certain I’ve forgotten somebody and it will occur to me the minute I hit send on this email.
24. Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!
You can usually find me on Twitter (@pretentiousaho) but you can also reach me on the following platforms: