Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you PM Hernandez!
PM Hernandez is a young adult paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy author. She is a self-proclaimed nerd. She wears a lot of black, not because she’s cool but because she’s fashion-challenged. She has been known to fangirl all over the freaking place. Her book, Flesh and Stone, will be released on January 15, 2016.
Without further ado, here is PM’s interview…
I love reading the bios of authors. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Did you always want to be a writer? Absolutely. I wrote fan-fiction before I even knew what it was, before the Internet when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. On an electric typewriter. God bless my laptop. I don’t know how I lived without it.
Why did you choose to write for young adults? I write what I want to read. I love young adult because I never grew up, which I highly recommend if you’re on the fence about being an adult. The teen years speak to all of us and are the perfect metaphor for change, upheaval, and learning. I write paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction because I’m a big geek who loves shifters, fairies, dragons, magic, science (which is just another kind of magic, if you ask me), and things that go bump in the night.
What is the strangest subject or topic you’ve ever written? I have a story inspired by Frankenstein that required me to do some research that might get me put on some government watch lists. Google probably thought I was planning a murder. I’m happy to say I know the scientific terms for the chemicals (and smells) produced by a decomposing body.
What are you currently working on? Right now, I’m all about aliens. I’m in the middle of a book about refugees from another planet who come to Earth, live in secret, and have a few kids. But then things go south. Big time. If I can get it in gear, I should have it ready to publish by June or July.
What motivated the plot of your latest book? I have a book coming out in January called Flesh and Stone. What started it for me was my love of gargoyles. I’m nuts about them. Really. I search out churches decorated with them and take pictures. It’s a sickness. Anyway, I got to thinking about how gargoyles are sometimes portrayed as evil or ugly when their job on churches is to keep demons and bad stuff away. They are protectors, which to me is a beautiful thing. It all just rolled from that.
What was the hardest story for you to write? For some time, I tried to get traditionally published. While I had positive feedback, I got a lot of rejection, mostly in the form of “interesting but not for me.” A couple of nibbles kept me in the game but traditional publishing, especially finding an agent, is very subjective. While that makes the process difficult, the subjectivity is good to a certain extent. You want your agent interested and invested in you and your work because they love it. The downside is that a lot of good books won’t get published. I never queried Flesh and Stone but it was the hardest for me to write, not because of the story (which DID need help) or because of writer’s block (which MIGHT have happened a time or two), but because it was a huge leap of faith to enter into indie publishing. I have to say, though, that investing in myself—literally and figuratively—has been a great decision. And, of course, it gives all my indie friends the opportunity to say I told you so.
What process do you use to plan your novels? I’m almost a complete pantser [Yay for another pantser!]. No planning. OK, some planning. I usually keep a separate document with a rough outline of the plot, character descriptions, etc. I use Pinterest to make super secret squirrel boards with pictures of what I think the characters look like, places in the book, and the like [Me too!]. Other than that, it’s rear in the chair and Lola the Laptop in front of me. (Yes, I named my laptop.)
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? In my own work, I think Carrie from my Frankenstein-inspired book, Dark and Bright, is my favorite. She changes so much over the course of the story and hers is a tragic tale that doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending, just like Frankenstein’s monster. I hope everyone gets to meet her next year!
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? I think they all have some aspect of me, the good and the bad. Writing is great therapy. In Flesh and Stone, Ellie is a flip-flopper. (So frustrating, but I do it, too.) She’s also smart and I like to think I’m a sharp cookie. Michael thinks a little too highly of himself and is prone to complaining. (Guilty as charged here.) Gabriel is rather innocent and sweet, but lashes out in unexpected fits of temper and over-reacts. (Yep, that’s me.) John is a big goofball. (Me, too.) But in the end, they become their own person and I’m along for the ride acting as their scribe.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? I think everyone comes to a point where the words aren’t flowing. Could be the plot went off into left field. Could be boredom. Could be stress. Lack of time. I try writing something else until the characters in the first book start talking to me again. I also find that when the words stop, it’s usually because of problems or stress in other parts of my life. I focus on those and then things turn around for me. I’m also big on taking care of the writer. That’s me, in case we aren’t clear. That means getting my rest, drinking my water, walking my dog, eating right… all the things that keep your body well-tuned. Our minds and our bodies are connected. If one is neglected, the other suffers. I also find having an author tribe keeps me grounded, entertained, happy, and inspired. Writing can be a lonely thing if all you do is sit with your laptop. You can’t write about a life if you aren’t living yours. [So true…]
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? My husband is always trying to get me to write romance. I told him no one wants to read a love scene written by me. (Seriously, you don’t. It would be the most clinical, unsexy thing ever [LOL!].) That’s probably the only genre I wouldn’t write. If I had to choose, it would be a straight-up fantasy with crazy worlds and long exotic names for things where the characters go on epic journeys like in Lord of the Rings.
Which authors inspire you? So many. I read YA obsessively. Pick any YA author at random (indie or traditional) and I can probably wax poetic about their books and how they influenced me. My biggest inspirations across genres are Austen, Shakespeare, LM Montgomery, Rowling, and Tolkien.
What novel would you read multiple times? Emma, hands down. I read it about once a year. I think Jane Austen is the bomb. Do people still refer to things as the bomb?
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? I would love to meet Anne Shirley to find out if we’re kindred spirits. I think we might be.
What is your favorite quote? “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” George Knightley says this to Emma Woodhouse and I swoon every time I read it. I think a lot of us picture true love as this almost violent thing that causes us to act crazy and rashly. Mr. Knightley is quiet and steadfast in his love, not making long speeches or trying to impress, but it’s a deep love nonetheless.
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? Gargoyles, of course! I’m also partial to griffins and dragons, but my favorite real animal is my Labrador… oh, and sea otters. They’re irresistible.
What is your favorite color? As anyone who has met me and seen my hair will attest, it’s purple followed by pink.
You can catch up with PM, part-time writer and full-time government trade negotiator, online at…
Thank you PM for participating in my Author Spotlight on such short notice! It was a pleasure having you and good luck with your book.
Join me next week as I feature Shantele Summa Martin.
Merry Christmas to all….