1. What inspired you to write Tainted?
As a teen, I used to have these lucid dreams I couldn’t wake up from. I knew I was dreaming, but my body wouldn’t cooperate and kept me stuck in sleep paralysis (look it up if you’re interested). Every single one of these dreams involved some sort of demonic creature entering my room to scare me.
One specific dream has stayed with me for years. I used to sleep with my door open and the hall light on, and during one of these lucid dreams, I saw a cat’s silhouette in the hallway. We didn’t own any cats, but there it was outside my bedroom door. Except it wasn’t a cat. It kept growing and changing into this terrifying, fanged humanoid creature that was the size of a medium-sized dog. It hopped up on my bed and sat on my chest, sucking my breath away. I felt like I was awake, but my body couldn’t move. I tried screaming and yelling as it sat on me, and in this weird lucid dream, I somehow managed to project my spirit from my body so I could see it on me while I slept. It wasn’t until then that I could say anything. I screamed at the weird cat demon that it couldn’t have my soul, and then it left my room. I woke up disoriented and unable to breathe. It took me a long time to realize that I had been dreaming.
It wasn’t until years later that I discovered sleep paralysis from an article I had stumbled across. So, this particular dream inspired the Tainted series, and I actually base one of the demon attack scenes on the demon cat.
2. What was your favorite scene to write from Tainted?
My favorite scene to write was the scene where Cami and Alana are running from Malicevile (the demon who killed Cami’s parents) to a safe house. It was the very first scene I wrote, and it was one of the more brutal scenes as far as the violence Cami experiences from her demon. It’s also the scene where she meets Evan Whiteshaw, who I love dearly as a character.
3. What was your writing process like with Tainted?
Initially, Tainted started off as a 30k word novella titled The Otherside that I had written back in 2009. It started from the church scene and ended in the final chapter before the epilogue. I had considered starting the book from that point but ended up having these ideas with Cami around these two other characters—Cadence and Dylan—so I wrote a few of those scenes and pieced them all together to make the beginning of the book. After I had gotten from the real starting point with the introduction of Dylan, I then went back and rewrote the end to weave in the story and add additional scenes that kept both Dylan and Cadence around through the end. The final scene I wrote was the epilogue, which has gone unchanged.
4. Who was your favorite character to write?
Besides Cami, my absolute favorite character is Dylan Davidoff.
5. What can expect from the next book in the series?
In the next book, we get more hunters, the Hunter’s Academy, and of course, more Malicevile. Cami does a lot of growing and changing in the second book.
Thanks so much for reading this Q&A! I hope you enjoy Tainted! If you have your own questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!