I’d always wanted to try hypnosis, so I went there when I was pregnant with my daughter. At the time, I was having terrible, terrible morning sickness, so that was the focus of the session.
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.
When I first visited New Orleans over Christmas of 2008, I fell in love with the city. Be prepared for some culture shock, though. I’ve visited 27 countries and I don’t normally experience culture shock, but I did in NOLA. Yes, you’re visiting an American city, but its architecture looks European, some of its partygoers look like they’re from another planet (especially on Bourbon Street), and everyone’s walking around with an alcoholic beverage in their hand. Even during the day. If you feel so compelled, grab a drink and let me show you the fun, paranormal side of the city.
As a busy mom, I have to write things down. That goes for my fiction writing too. I keep notepads everywhere: in my bedside table, my kitchen junk drawer, my desks in the living room and basement, and in my car. Whenever a scene, plot twist, or bit of dialogue comes to mind, I jot it down. This method has eliminated writer's block from my life. (Hallelujah!) I always have something to write because I have a gazillion pieces of paper with ideas on them.
I’m a very spiritual person and was actually going through an existential crisis while I wrote Voodoo Butterfly. Long story short, I was not finding a good life balance between career and home life, so I ended up quitting my job as a college writing instructor to stay home and raise my family. Writing a novel was a huge bucket list item for myself, so I set out to deal with all my emotional chaos through fiction.
When I was eight or nine years old, I would sit at my mom's electric typewriter and write stories about princesses and Oscar the Grouch. The click-clack of the letters felt powerful under my fingertips. Even now when I sit down to write, I know it will feel so good to sit in my chair and tap the keys with my fingers, letting the ideas that swirl around in my head out onto the page.
While writing my novel, Voodoo Butterfly, I visited New Orleans in the name of research. During the trip I had hoped to get a psychic reading, but avoided the fortune-tellers in Jackson Square because they can be overbearing and charge way too much. So I kept my eyes open for one that intuitively felt right. On the morning of our departure, I went to Reverend Zombie’s Voodoo Shop to find some ingredients to inspire spells in my Voodoo Butterfly series. While I was checking out, the clerk informed me that there was a woman giving readings in the back room. Bam! My intuition said, “Let’s do it!”
Since I’ve made the move to being a professional writer, I’ve lived in two houses. Each one had a basement office area where I worked if I needed to get away from the hustle and bustle of family life with young kiddos. For the most part, though, I like to work amidst people so I’ve also set up shop on the dining room table or put a desk in my family’s living area. If I need to get out, I go to the local library or to a coffee shop where I can eavesdrop on others’ conversations to get material for my writing or just fade away into the background of the busyness. For me, I need flexibility in my writing space, but these are the things that I have consciously created in my home work space.