Indie Sparks

Indie Sparks lives in Texas with her husband and two clumsy dogs who have no idea she’s a writer, but they give her five stars as a treat giver and door opener. She likes her books like she likes her showers – with a little steam, or sometimes, a lot. She writes characters with quick wits and prickly hearts who aren’t afraid to take chances to find their Happy Every After, or at least a Happy For Now.

Tell us about yourself.
I grew up on the Texas coast but now live in Austin, where there is no beach but the abundance of bookstores and tacos almost makes up for it.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Growing up, I always loved stories, both reading them and writing them, but I never really thought of being an author as an option until I was an adult. Authors were mysterious to me. I didn’t know any authors and we didn’t have the internet yet. Young me would be astounded to know I can now press a few buttons and find out what my favorite authors had for breakfast or help them choose a wallpaper for their bathroom.

What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?

My reading tastes are varied. I definitely read romance, but I venture beyond the types of stories I write, although I do fiercely love rom-coms so my Kindle is always loaded with those funny feel-good stories. I also appreciate a good rambling, melancholy, character-heavy book, especially a coming-of-age story. And a funny memoir? Put that in my hands any day.

Is your book for adults, young adults or children?
Most definitely adults.

What is your current release or project?
I’m so excited to have a steamy Christmas novella releasing today! On My Merry Way was inspired by a wrong-number text I received. Unlike Tatum, I didn’t respond, but later felt bad about that. I was busy and blew it off, but I should’ve at least let them know they’d sent their text to the wrong number, right? While I was mulling over my guilt about that, my writer brain kicked in and spun a very different scenario. And a book was born! I had so much fun writing this one and I’m thrilled at the positive early reviews.

Tell us about the key characters

The heroine is Tatum, a free spirit who’s moved away from her hometown in search of something different, and she’s found it. She loves her apartment above a Christmas-themed bar. She loves her whole eccentric neighborhood. And her sister. She loves her very much. In fact, her sister is the reason Tatum’s hosting Christmas. The hero is Jude, an emergency room doctor, who is coming home for Christmas because he is a good son who honors family tradition. When their worlds collide, the holiday becomes anything but traditional.

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

Tatum may not have put “sexy stranger” on her Christmas list, but Santa knows what a good girl needs to make her holiday complete.

When Tatum tells her overbearing mom that she isn’t coming home for Christmas, Mom doesn’t take it so well. But when Tatum’s sister breaks the news to their mom two days before Christmas that she wants to bring her new girlfriend home for the holidays, Mom has the worst reaction of all.

Tatum’s inner elf rises up and she decides to create the brightest, happiest, pinkest, glitteriest, most loving holiday ever—in her one-bedroom apartment over a Christmas-themed bar. Who cares? It’s not where you spend the holiday that matters; it’s who you spend it with. Hooray! Tatum’s holiday spirit is back in full force.

In fact, she’s feeling so cheery that when a stranger accidentally sends her a text to say he’s on his way, she kindly texts back to let him know he’s reached the wrong number. Sure, she’s had a little wine while wrapping presents, so she maybe says a little more. And when he replies? Well, it would be rude not to respond.

Quicker than she can stab herself in the knee with a pair of scissors, she’s got a full-fledged flirty text convo going with some random guy who might be a doctor, might be a serial killer . . . might be the perfect addition to her holiday guest list.

And if she happens to extend an invite to a drag queen Mrs. Claus and the vampire throuple from across the street? Hey, the more the merrier, right? ’Tis the season!

Light the fireworks and pour the champagne! The naughty list is ready to make merry!

Share an excerpt
So help me, Krampus, in my next life, I will not be desperate enough to rent an apartment above a Christmas-themed bar! It’s normally no more crowded or rowdy than any other bar on the block, and I actually like the steady noise thrumming up through the walls until the wee hours of the morning. I’ve never been able to fall asleep in silence. Plus, I can turn my music up as loud as I want and my downstairs neighbors never complain. Sometimes, there’s a little yelling in the street, although there’d probably be yelling on this street no matter what type of business was below me.

But this is my first Christmas Eve here, and even though my landlord warned me that his bar gets wild on this night, I could never have fully imagined the drunken revelry taking place below my bedroom floor as I’m trying to wrap my pretty pink presents and maintain my holiday cheer. I’m a fairly laid-back tenant, but I’m about ready to march downstairs and pull the plug on the baby Jesus’s birthday party. Enough shots for the savior already!

This neighborhood isn’t a bad place; it’s filled with open-minded, free-spirited, and kind people. The troublesome partiers are mostly tourists, full of curiosity and an excess of vacay adrenaline. They don’t mean to be assholes. I can usually understand that and let shit go.

Tonight, however, my festive nature has been tested to the breaking point, and this rosé is
making me feel more confrontational by the sip. To be fair, my last conversation with my mother probably contributed more to my current mood than the drunks downstairs, but I’m hosting my first Christmas dinner tomorrow, and I want it to be perfect.

I’ve spent all day trimming my former-warehouse-turned-living space with every pink glittery garland, wreath, and string of lights I could find at the last minute. I’m determined to provide the prettiest, brightest, most loving holiday ever. I down a gulp of wine, remind myself why I’m doing this, and refocus on the task at hand.

This wrapping paper is good quality, thick but deadly. I’ve sucked enough of my own blood from paper cuts to be part vampire by now. That would not make me unique in this neighborhood. The tattoo shop on the corner is owned by a trio of self-avowed vampires, two men and one woman. They all live together in a loft across the street from me—maybe they’re a throuple, I don’t know. Not really any of my business. I mean, I do wonder, and I have become what you might call a casual observer of their lives. I see the woman in the coffee shop near my office sometimes, always huddled over a laptop, tapping away on her keyboard. Maybe in addition to being a tattoo artist, she’s the next Anne Rice. Maybe she’s a grad student. The only certainty is that she wants to be left alone. Headphones permanently affixed over her ears. Steely fuck-off glare when she glances up from her screen. Black hair, black clothes, black nail polish. Red lipstick, though. Always. I wonder if I should’ve invited them to come over tomorrow. Do vampires celebrate Christmas? Would this much pink be unnerving to the undead?

I hold up the present I just wrapped and admire my work. The striking artistry of the layered ribbons with their contrasting patterns and jingle bells instead of a bow is my sister’s whole personality in a nutshell (or a small box): complex and multi-faceted, sharp and pristine, but still cute as hell. She’s gonna love it. Shit! I scramble to recover it from the floor. My phone startled me and I dropped it. I’m not usually so jumpy but this day has manifested the kind of stress that changes people. The corner of my masterpiece giftwrapping is dented, and I’m already pissed at whoever buzzed my phone and caused the damage.

I tell myself if it’s my mom, I won’t respond. She only resorts to texting if we stop answering her calls. I stopped over an hour ago. Huh, it’s not her. I don’t know who the hell this is. But I know they meant to send this message to someone else.

Unknown Number: On my merry way. Be there in about twenty. I meant it when I said I can’t stay long.

Yikes. They don’t sound so merry. That’s a curt tone. I should let them know their message didn’t reach the intended target. Who were they trying to reach? Family? An ex? Yeah, I think the tone screams ex, definitely someone they don’t really want to see. So, why go at all? As if I don’t know the answer to that: because we all allow ourselves to be manipulated at the holidays.

Do you have a favorite scene?
At one point, Tatum and Jude make a last-minute run to Walgreen’s and I love the scene in the store and in the car afterward because there are some key moments where they get to know each other through silly interactions that reveal profound things about them.

What advice would you give a beginner?

Go for it. Anyone can be an author. Read everything and then read some more. Ask questions. Join writing groups online, and in person if you can and you like that sort of thing. If you’re willing to put in the work (and it is work) you can be an author. You’ll need patience and perseverance but if you’ve got stories to tell, write them. Share your work with people you trust to give you honest feedback. Build a community. With the internet, writers are accessible to each other now. Take advantage of that.

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