LuLo Fangirl: Voodoo Butterfly, your debut novel, is a paranormal book. I, personally, have found myself falling more and more in love with supernatural reads for whatever reason. What would you say are your reasons for writing a paranormal book? And how did you even come up with your premise for Voodoo Butterfly?
It all started with a childhood of family stories and paranormal experiences. I use some of those experiences in Voodoo Butterfly. For instance, when my mom was younger, she heard footsteps in her grandparents’ house. The person was wearing high heels in the middle of the night. They walked to the bottom of the stairs and never retreated or walked up the stairs. The presence just disappeared. So we’re thinking that was the spirit of my great grandmother. That story is used in the chapter about Sophie’s first night at her new apartment in New Orleans.
Then the premise for Voodoo Butterfly began with a dream I had while visiting New Orleans in 2008 with my family. The first flash of the dream showed me a woman who was walking the streets at night hoping someone would attack her because, once they touched her skin, their mind would be changed from evil to good. The second flash in that dream was an image of a plague of monarch butterflies descending on Saint Louis Cathedral in NOLA. From that dream, I decided to have my main character inherit a voodoo shop. The catch? She’d know nothing about voodoo or her secret power at the start of the book.
LuLo Fangirl: Sophie Nouveau, your protagonist in the book, is about to enter a world that she’s never known before — voodoo, spells, ghosts, etc. For someone who hasn’t read the book yet, what can they look forward to with her character? How would you describe her?
Sophie is strong. She had a very dysfunctional childhood and learned how to survive life with an alcoholic mother. That fractured relationship causes Sophie to have trust issues, but we see Sophie grow in relationship with her new friends and “family” in New Orleans. She will, literally, go to the ends of the world (and even into the next world) for the people she loves.
LuLo Fangirl: Without giving too much away, what would you say was one of your favorite scenes to write about in the book?
The opening scene is something special. I had that dream about the plague of butterflies and I still see it so clearly in my mind. Just imagine that the monarch migration, with its millions of butterflies, showed up in your hometown. That would be magical to see and that’s how I saw it in my dream.
LuLo Fangirl: The voodoo shop in the book is in New Orleans. I visited NOLA for the first time during Summer 2014 and it was amazing. So much culture and history. What influenced you to have your book set in New Orleans? And how important is it to the story?
My first trip to New Orleans completely changed me as a person. I’ve been determined (or stubborn) enough to raise money and make my dreams of travel to 27 countries possible. New Orleans is unlike ANY other city I’ve visited. Its food is amazing, its culture and history are so rich with tragedy and triumph, its people are so diverse and fun. There’s no other city that I could have set Voodoo Butterfly in, especially since the dream that inspired the book was set in NOLA.
LuLo Fangirl: I know that you’re writing more books in the Voodoo Butterfly series, but are you working on anything else in another genre? Or is VB your primary focus?
I’m a SAHM to two kids, so my main focus is the Voodoo Butterfly series. I have very little writing time, so I jot down notes throughout the day and when I have time to sit down and write, I type furiously. LOL.
I also blog for The Lit Ladies, where we talk about using real life to inspire writing, as well as talk with other women writers about their process and current projects.
LuLo Fangirl: Do you find that you connect personally to the characters that you write about? Do their personalities stem from anyone in your life?
Some of the characters just popped into my head, like Gabe the messenger angel with his fedora, sunglasses, and rainbow suspenders (I love him). Others were inspired by New Orleans lore that I ran across from talking with NOLA’s locals or researching on the internet and in books. Jacques is a compilation of stories I’ve heard and my creative take on his character. A couple of the characters are based, in varying degrees, on people that I know. Taj is about 90% my husband and Poppy is based on a couple of hippie friends I have. I partially based Sophie on me. Her love story with Taj is very much my love story with my hubby, but her distrust of others is not in my personality because I tend to make friends pretty easily.
LuLo Fangirl: When writing, do you have any weird or unusual quirks that you do or engage in?
As I mentioned before, I’m a SAHM so I don’t have much time to commit to writing. So I have notebooks scattered around everywhere: in my bedside table, my kitchen junk drawer, car, and desk. I also have two folders worth of notes from the first book that I’d like to use throughout the series. When I sit down to write, I just pick up these notes and know what I want to write about. The upside is that I never have writer’s block.
A HUGE thank you to Camille Faye for answering my questions! Be on the look out for my review of VOODOO BUTTERFLY in early 2015!