Here is the Q&A section of the media kit for JEREMIAH. I thought you'd find it interesting. :-)
Where did you get the idea for this book?
Originally I started writing this series with the middle brother, JAMES. Once I wrote that book, I realized it would work well as part of a series. I decided to explore the Rollins family and the unique relationship of werewolf gender roles through all five brothers' perspectives. In order to do that, it made the most sense to start with JEREMIAH. Right when I began writing Jeremiah's story, women's reproductive rights were under serious attack by a variety of political interests. It seemed a poignant time to write about the kind of troubling situation teens could face, especially considering the current political climate regarding contraception and the right to choose.
What traits and other tidbits do you share with your main character?
Jeremiah is the kind of person I never would have spent any time with in high school. He's got money, athletic ability, and smarts, but above all he is a trouble-maker and partier. I was never very good at sports, and I never went to parties. I followed the rules almost to a “T.” That said, I did tend to have a new love interest every other day and I have always been known for my impetuous decision-making (both qualities exhibited by Jeremiah).
Beyond personality, Jeremiah and I share something else in common. Jeremiah is from Pittsburgh, a place near and dear to my heart. My father's family is from Pittsburgh and so many locations in the book are real (and much loved by my family and myself, especially Vincent's Pizza). There really is a holy trinity of sports clad in black and gold and half the state of Pennsylvania turns those colors whenever there is a big win by one of Pittsburgh's holy three (especially the Steelers!).
Did any of your inspiration for this book originate in your real life experiences?
As a woman with the rights to my own body constantly under attack, I felt it was necessary to highlight the current state of reproductive rights, especially in an unfriendly state to women like Pennsylvania. Though I have never had an abortion (or wanted one) I have friends and acquaintances who have found themselves in situations where an unplanned pregnancy has brought the issue to bear.
The relationship of the sexes in werewolf culture developed by exaggerating the feeling I've experienced in certain circles when being a woman. I can think of several particular instances, all in college. As an undergraduate I was the only female to pursue a thesis. While the class was small anyway, there was a distinctly male feeling to the space and I felt very clearly that I had to defend my abilities and my topic better than my classmates because of this. The same year, I remember going to a politics department party where several students of my own department were invited. I brought a cigar (which I've been known to smoke on the rare occasion). I was one of the only students to bring my own (the other being the friend who came with me) and the only woman smoking one. This instantly registered on my professor, and gave me immediate entrance in an all male conversation. It was only after some of the women saw this occur that they attempted to join by grabbing some wimpy cigarillos from my professor's stash. I could rattle off other anecdotes about being second class despite my abilities, but the result was I understood one thing. Women are still separate, and often less than men. The werewolf gene in THE ROLLINS PACK allowed me to explore this in an accessible way for teens, and I hope it will stir discussion.
What made you decide to self-publish?
I did consider selling this book to agents and publishers, however I think the topic scared them. It's a controversial topic and most Americans want to avoid it with a 50 foot pole. In the end, I decided I didn't want to wait around for someone to pick it up. The themes are so important to me, I really feel it is essential to get this out into the world and get people talking about these issues. I don't care where people fall on the spectrum, I want them talking!
Are there any specific authors whose writing styles or subject matter inspired your book?
I'll be painfully honest. The idea for the series came in direct reaction to TWILIGHT. That said, it was also as much directed by movies like UNDERWORLD and THE WOLFMAN as Ms. Meyer's pretty boys.
Werewolves are my favorite paranormal creature. There is usually an ugliness about them, because they have that animalistic side. While I didn't make my werewolves into the half-man half-beast monstrosities of traditional monster lore, I relish in the animal side of my pack. They are emotional. They hunger. They enjoy the hunt and relish in the kill, splattering blood and guts around, same as any other predator.