Psyche Middleton vows her dad will never see the risqué photos she took during a summer modeling stint abroad, but one of them ends up on a billboard in her Montana hometown, where everyone—especially her dad—can see it. That becomes the least of her worries when she meets Erik, a mysterious guy who rescues her from a mob and who she’s never actually seen because he can make himself invisible.Erik takes her to his palace in an idyllic kingdom, and she is swept into the beauty and culture of his world, but his affection has one condition: she may not see him. Enchanted, intrigued, and not wholeheartedly believing he’s real, Psyche can’t bring herself to love him blindly. When she betrays his trust for a glimpse of his face, Psyche ends up at the mercy of Erik’s controlling mother, who demands that Psyche prove herself in order to be reunited with him. Psyche knows love is never easy, but this is ridiculous. She agrees to complete three impossible tasks to prove her devotion to Erik—or die trying.
This modern retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche is a fantastical journey filled with laughter, danger, and the indomitable power of love.
You can check out my review here.
What's your favorite part of a book?
I am a sucker for a happy ending. To me, the ending makes the book. That’s why I don’t really like reading a series. I don’t like to be left hanging.
When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
I give more thought to connotation than actual meaning. Names are very important to me. Often when I stumble on the right name, the character’s backstory falls into place right along with it. It’s like once the character is named, s/he comes to life.
How do you get started with writing a story (as in, how do you start developing the story, how do you get inspired for it)
I have several stories bouncing around in my head. Some of them come from “what ifs.” Others are inspired by a place. I choose the next story to write by how well the idea is developed in my head. If there is a major gap in plot or character development, I know it needs to simmer in my brain a little longer.
What advice would you give to people who "run out of creativity" when writing?
If you are stuck in a book you are currently writing, I would say to read some books about plot and Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey. Vogler lays out the Hero’s journey in a story. Oftentimes you’ll get stuck when you’re missing a piece of that journey. Figure out what it is, and the story will move forward again.
Recently I read a very interesting article which asserted that writing is a push-pull relationship between the left and right brain. The creative part develops, and the critical part writes. Writer’s block is when your critical brain has outrun your creative brain. That makes perfect sense to me. Nurture your creative side awhile, and it will catch up.
How long did it take you to publish your first book, after you started trying?
I started sending out queries ten years ago. I have been writing and querying one novel or another that entire time. I have four shelved novels, and I wouldn’t trade that writing time for immediate success. I write so much better now than when I started.
How did you come up with the title?
I searched the Internet for quotes associated with Cupid. The quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream perfectly fit the story, so I used it. Originally, I called the book Love Looks Not, but it sounded like a Harlequin, so I changed it to Painted Blind.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
We all judge people by sight. Overcoming that instinct is one of the hardest lessons we must learn. We have to be willing to see the best in others if we want them to see the best in us.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Because I was an English teacher, I spent a lot of time in the classics. You can see the influence of the Odyssey, Shakespeare and Dante in Painted Blind. However, I love any book that captures my imagination so well I can’t put it down, be it two hundred years old or a Kindle ebook. Stories are human experiences shared. They are how we makes sense out of the chaos of life.
What book are you reading now? I am reading A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? You mean, like the cover. ;)
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My senior year at BYU I took a class called “Writing the Young Adult Novel” from YA author Louise Plummer. I fell in love with YA before YA was cool. I decided right then that I wanted to write books for teens. I had no idea it would take me so long to get one on the shelf.
Okay, and since no one has asked this question after reading my bio, I will ask it for you…. Do I know Stephenie Meyer? Well, no, but we did graduate from BYU at the same time, and I think she was in that class with Louise Plummer. It was small, only like 12 of us. If I ever get to meet Stephenie (again), I will ask her.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My work in progress is a contemporary YA thriller.
When a bomb goes off in his locker, Rebecca Hale’s best friend Ryan is suspected of terrorism. She vows to clear him before the FBI and the AFT figure out where she’s hiding him, but when Rebecca realizes the bombing is tied to a crime she witnessed eight years ago, uncovering the truth may mean losing her best friend and her heart along with him.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Time. The biggest challenge I face is just finding quiet time to write. I’m not a night owl, so staying up after the kids are in bed is hard for me. And, I swear, they all have Mom alarms in their heads. When I get up early to write, they wake up early, too.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love Harlan Coben and Dean Koontz. Coben’s voice always sounds authentic. Koontz’s pacing and description are amazing.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Painted Blind was a lesson in revision. I rewrote the book several times over the space of five years. It is ten times better than those early drafts.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just. Keep. Writing. It’s the only way you will get better. Then, read about writing and craft. Writing isn’t about natural talent. It is a skill that can be learned. You can learn to do it well.