Elizabeth Corrigan has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.      What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

I’m Elizabeth Corrigan! The best place to find me is on Facebook.

Twitter: @ERCorrigan

Website: www.elizabethrcorrigan.com

2.      Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

Well, I’m just coming out of NaNoWriMo, so I’m a little like, “What is life outside of writing?” 😉

By day I am an Army contractor. I’m a QA data analyst for a part of the Army that works on monitoring and preventing suicides and other behavioral health issues. By night, when I’m not writing, I’m usually playing games. I’m a huge fan of cooperative board games and tabletop role-playing games.

3.       How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I wrote my first novel in high school. My friends all liked it, but in actuality, it was terrible. It was an over-dramatic contemporary young adult novel. My published novels are all fantasy novels—the first three books in the Earthbound Angels series and my mystery/fantasy Catching a Man. Last week I finished the first draft of my first science fiction novel, which I hope to publish next fall.

4.      What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

My writing has so many influences, it’s hard to pick any as the “greatest.” Probably the thing that has sparked the most plots for me is my dreams. I can’t count how many times I’ve woken up from a vivid dream and thought, “That would be a great novel!” Sometimes it pans out and sometimes it does not.

My Earthbound Angels series is most influenced by the television show Supernatural and the Nightside books by Simon R. Green. Probably the biggest fiction influence on Catching a Man was the novel Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. She wrote about a military dictatorship who were the good guys, and I wanted to do something just as different.

As for my writing structure, that has been influenced a lot by Red Adept Publishing/Editing. They’ve really helped me clean up my style.

5.      Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I just finished the first draft of a science fiction novel called Arachne’s Web. It’s a space opera about a group of characters who are suddenly having memories of past lives. One of its working titles is “Space Trains” because the primary method of traveling between moons is trains in space. And yes, one of the first scenes features two of the characters robbing the train.

Up next after that is the sequel to Catching a Man, because I’ve been putting that off for way too long.

6.      How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I spent a lot of time planning books in my head before I write anything down. It’s something for my mind to do when I’m bored on a long car drive or I’m trying to fall asleep. At this point in time, I’m on-and-off working on about 6 series in my head. I generally do a brief outline, just a one-liner of what’s going to be in each chapter, before I start writing, and I find that my outlines change a lot as I write the novel.

7.      What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I always say my strength is punchy dialogue. I like writing conversations between characters. People also tell me I’m good at having distinct voices for my characters. My weakness is descriptions. I don’t pay attention to them when I read, so I don’t bother putting them in my first drafts. I have whole scenes that have no real setting. So when I edit, I need to pay extra close attention to putting in that kind of detail.

8.      After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Can I go back and make marketing my weakness on the above question? I’m definitely not great at it. I’m trying out some new things, though, that will hopefully work out. BookRazor is a great service that will help you find reviewers.

9.      What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

If someone asks you to pay for their publishing service, they are not a real publisher! Read the Query Shark archives to learn how to query (and write book descriptions). Don’t believe people when they say you have to write for you—you can write for any reason you want. But you’ll probably be happiest if you’re writing for yourself.

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Jon Lee Grafton has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
Jon Lee Grafton, you can find me at
 www.twitter.com/jonleegrafton.  

2. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.
I dwell in Kansas City on the Kansas side, two blocks from the Missouri line at the moment.  As a human who prefers to smoke his cocktails instead of drinking them, my life outside of writing involves living with a constant, subtle paranoia that I’m doing something wrong.  Accordingly, I spend a lot of time thinking about equality and civil rights as they apply to American citizens who make alternative, health-conscious, recreational drug choices.  I’m also a fine art & architectural photographer, which is my “day job.”  I drink copious amounts of green tea, smoke hand-rolled American Spirit cigarettes, wear sunglasses too much and read as much indie science fiction as I possibly can on my phone.  I also spend time with my elderly mother helping her remember the joy of yesterday, and in the evenings hang out with my girlfriend, Tiana and our cat, Lebowski, “the dude.”  Tiana’s making me watch The Office on Netflix right now, nope had never seen it until 2 months ago – and that show makes me cry laughing.       

3. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.
I started writing poetry and nonfiction short stories in college, that was circa 1993 – 1998.  I published a few poems and stories back in the 90’s with literary magazines… but I stopped around 1999 and became seduced by the evils of photography for about 12 years.  I didn’t write anything new until I began working on The 18th Shadow, my current sci-fi series, in 2013.  

4. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…
#1, the epiphanies and understandings made possible by psychedelic drug use throughout my life.  On a less existential plane; I found my father dead in bed from a drug overdose when I was 16 years old.  I am now 45.  But I realize that moment, for me, was and always will be the moment.  It’s when my life changed in indescribably profound ways – and it was the tragedy, balance and understanding of this experience that pushed me to spend my life being an artist instead of a stock broker.  A stock broker can mingle with the wealthy and is loved by their clients.  An artist can mingle with anyone and is loved by everyone, thus in truly vain human fashion, I spend my days pursuing love, freedom and attention in all forms.  I ain’t gonna lie.  Other authors…?  Nonfiction; Charles Bukowski and Raymond Carver will always be my greatest inspirations.  As for fiction, I’m a certified geek, so I always read sci-fi these days – and those authors who have inspired me range from Hugh Howey to George RR Martin to Allen Steele, Dan Simmons, Phillip K Dick and Neal Stephenson.  I recently read a great trilogy called The Breakers Series by an author I hadn’t heard of before named Edward R Robertson.  

5. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…
Asking me to make something up is dangerous.  Truth be told, being as predictable as possible, I am currently writing Escape from Hypatia 5, the fourth installment of The 18th Shadow Series.  There will be 6 books in all and this will be my primary project for the foreseeable.

6. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?
I story board on Post-It notes that adorn the sides of my computer monitor and a framed black and white poster of Clint Eastwood as The Outlaw Josey Wales that hangs on the wall beside my desk.  I rarely actually look at the Post-It’s once they’re up, but having them there for the current project somehow helps push the ideas into my brain via osmosis or magic or daydream implantation.  From there, I just dive in and start writing for the first 4-5 hours of the day.  And I definitely just work on a single project at a time.  

7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
My strength as a writer is my ability to create vivid visual descriptions of scenes, settings, landscapes and the characters who occupy them.  Almost every person who reads my novels has told me they feel like they’re reading a movie.  I like my writing to move fast, to match today’s contemporary media attention span, so this is a blessing.  My greatest weakness as a writer is my OCD desire to read and edit every single new sentence I compose to immediately make sure it’s perfect.  This is inefficient, and impedes my productivity, and is my greatest personal challenge – just getting the story down first, and worrying about the text being “perfect” in post-edits.  I truly struggle with this.  

8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?
I spent a lot of time on Facebook, and most recently Twitter.  I follow other successful authors in my genre, see what they’re doing and saying, take the ideas I like and apply them to my own brand.  And I do look at my series as a brand, a product, that has its own unique interpretations of pop culture – which is these days it seems – all culture.

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
Get off your phone, get off social media, put the cat in the other room and get to work.  Also, if it’s your first book, don’t spend a lot of time telling your friends and family, “Hey, I’m writing a book and here’s what it’s about… what do you think?”  This, like aimless interaction with Facebook or Instagram, will only serve to distract you from the good ideas already in your head.  It will also consume the time you should be spending doing one thing – writing.  If you believe in yourself and your vision 110%, then translate that belief to your project and complete it down to the final period.  Then edit it.  Then start talking about it.  And only then.

Gar LaSalle has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.    What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Gar LaSalle, you can connect with me on FacebookTwitteror GarLaSalle.com.

2.      Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I have many interests that I enjoy.  I teach the business of medicine at Cornell, Columbia and the University of Washington to Emergency Medicine Residents and faculty.  In my spare time, I am a sculptor (bronze, wood, stone).  I also enjoy long distance target shooting and bow and rifle hunting.

3.       How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

During my career as a physician, I have written many non-fiction articles about leadership, disaster management, clinical Emergency Medicine patient safety, “bedside manner” and clinical risk prevention.  In fiction writing, I authored several screenplays over several years.  I structured Widow Walk, the first book in the saga, as a treatment for yet another screenplay.  However, a producer friend, Nick Kazan, liked the story and suggested I turn it into a novel instead.

4.      What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

Influences — well, during my post-grad M.F.A. studies at CalArts, I also moonlighted as an Emergency Physician in Los Angeles.  I recorded stories from the E.R..  The tragic-comedic drama of that setting, the pathos and pathology was always moving and helped me lend realism and plausibility to the fiction writing as I learned my craft.
I love the work of Larry McMurtry, Tom Clancy, Stephen Ambrose, Cormac McCarthy, Saki (H.H. Munro), Richard Selzer M.D., Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, Hemmingway and Stegner.  I am also influenced by great filmmakers like Scorsese, Fellini, De Sica, Ozu, Ridley Scott, Wadja, Attenborough and Spielburg.

5.      Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it?

The Fairness of Beasts,  book III in the Widow Walk Saga, is scheduled for publication along with new editions of Widow Walk and Isthmus, in October.  I have structured book IV of the series (working title: A Little Gang of Five) and am researching the background for it in the Kansas City Museum of Orphan Trains, the haunted fields of Gettysburg, and the bypassed small towns of the Mid West.  Book V (no working title yet) will entail the epic events of the latter half of the nineteenth century Pacific Northwest, including the impact of the Chinese Exclusion (Expulsion) Act and Women’s Suffrage.  Am also working as an exec producer for a documentary about the challenge of palliative care in a film, Never Say Die – Dying in America, being shot in Detroit.

6.      How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I “postcard” my writing on a large white board in my office, starting with two scenes: “Fade In” and “Fade Out” then I work from both ends to the middle “obligatory scenes.”  The white board has sections for plot lines, conflicts, character “arcs” and themes.  I find that characters get invented along the way because they act as foils for the main protagonists and antagonists.  What is really fun for me is creating the backstories for those characters, because they allow me to expand the breadth of the world in which my main characters live.  The book and on-line research I do is to find facts that corroborate the historical context of the plot, little known facts about well known historical events.  I also always try to visit the places in which I place my characters — to get a sense of the feel of the terrain and the weather, humidity and general atmosphere of the air above it all.  It was very important for me to traipse the Dariéne Jungle on what remains of the Camino Real, go by bungo boat on the Chagres River, walk the cemetery and home site on Whidbey, stand on the parapet where Pickett stood down the Brits on San Juan during the “Pig War”, and walk the streets to Richmond to find Chimburazo Hospital stood and know where the old whore houses were in during the Civil War.

7.      What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

My historical situations are historically plausible and accurate. Readers describe my work as intelligent,  “compelling” driven and visually evocative.  Different readers have called the work “Dickensonian.” Some have compared the labyrinthine twists in the books to Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”   To drive plot and move the story along in an engaging manner, I try keep my style “lean.”   But I am fascinated by the panoply of characters I get to introduce in the story and I sometimes absolutely must exlpore.  The diversions I take, in exploring some character’s backstories, does risk diverting the plot-driven reader from the main tension lines of the story.

Although I love poetry and know I can write lyrical work, the leanness of my narratives do not allow me to dally much on poetic metaphors.  I have gifted colleagues who write lyrical work, which many people love, but the stories seem thin to me so I don’t do that.  I try to put lyricism in my prologues and epilogues so there is at least a bit more music in the work.

8.      After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I work with a great team.  Scott James and Archana Murthy are wonderful for the design of the “platform” and attention to the manyt details of the publishing process.  Randy Mott (MottGraphics.com) and Neil Gonzalez (Greenleaf Book Group) are extremely talented cover and interior artists.  Alex Head (theDraftLab.com) does precise work with the interior design.  And Andrea Thatcher and others on Sandy Smith’s team at SmithPR are terrific for the outreach process.  To the would-be-writer or those colleagues who have ventured into it already, be aware that the marketing is more than half of the effort.  Considering how long it takes to research and write in the first place, that is potentially daunting.  My advice is that in the marketing effort, one must not expect to receive the immediate gratification found in putting pen to paper, or reading one’s work aloud to oneself or to others.  Be aware that even if you have the luck to get a “big” publisher to carry your work, the time/effort and expense given by the publisher is discouragingly brief and meager.  If there is no return on investment, there will be no further investment.

9.      What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

I always tell myself the same things: Have Passion, Patience, Practice, Persistence — and forget “Perfection.”  If any of those four first things are missing, you cannot succeed.

Ksenia Anske has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Ksenia Anske. I live in my writing cave and hardly ever climb out.

But I do blog right here: https://www.kseniaanske.com/blog/,

and I do terrify writers into writing and readers int reading on Twitter https://twitter.com/kseniaanske

and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ksenia.anske daily.

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

There is life outside of writing? KIDDING. Writing is my life. And reading. And, of course, chasing my readers with a chainsaw to convince them (gently) to buy and read and review my books. It actually keeps me in great shape. Or coffee. Coffee is my life as well. Practically 18 hours out of my day I divide into 2 parts: first half of the day goes to my art (writing), second half of the day goes to my business (selling what I wrote).

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

It’s been 5 years already. Wow, yes. 5 years. Seems a long time, but often it feels like I’m only starting. I’ve written fantasy, dark fantasy, YA, and am going to be writing my first thriller and romance next. Though my readers tell me my books touch on magical realism and horror, and they know better.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

Oh, Russian fairy tales, mostly. I grew up on dark stories, and I write dark stories. Of course, the big names like Chekhov and Kharms and Akhmatova and Nabokov. Most recently Tolstaya and Petrushevskaya. And in my 20s I’ve discovered Stephen King and decided I wanted to try writing scary stories too. Little did I know I’d really be doing it, and in English to boot—not my first language (I’m from Moscow, Russia).

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I’m revising the final draft of TUBE, a dark fantasy novel about a woman who goes back into her violent past to win over her abuser by visiting compartments on the train (creepy, cold, and drafty). I started it as part of my 2015 Amtrak Residency Program, and 3 years later the book is almost done. It’s launching on March 17th, 2018. Be scared.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I used to just sit down and write. Not anymore. Now I don’t write down a single word until I plot my novel to death. Have gone into too many dead ends with TUBE, so learned my lesson. Plus, I love plotting. I get such a thrill. It’s like solving a puzzle and then sprinkling in clues for the reader to discover. Nothing could be more exciting.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

Discipline is my strength. I won’t quit until I’m done, no matter what. And discipline is my weakness, as well. Sometimes I won’t be able to bend and adapt because I’m so dead-set on finishing a project. It’s a balance. My readers tell me they love my sentence rhythm and how I make them feel. I do hope my books give them delicious nightmares. That is certainly my goal.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I jump on every rooftop and shout about my books until I lose my voice, then do crazy dances for my readers’ entertainment. Well, actually, I market my books from the very start, before I even start writing them, as soon as I have an idea. It’s the only way. I’d type up a whole essay here if I were to give advice. Email me with detailed questions. But here is one thing I’ll tell you: share your process. Share everything with your readers, and if you do that, you’ll also market your book, so by the time it’s done, your readers will want to buy it and read it if only to see the result of your very hard work.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Never quit—NEVER EVER QUIT NO MATTER WHAT—and write and read every day. If you do this, if you write for only 1 hour daily, by the end of the year you’ll have a book written. Build discipline, hole up and write. Don’t listen to anyone. It’s your art. You’re the only one who knows how to make it. I believe in you. You can do it. Get on it!

 

Danielle Lori has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Danielle Lori.

Website: www.authordaniellelori.com

Twitter: @DanielleLori2

Facebook: @authordaniellelori

Instagram: @authordaniellelori

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

Aside from writing, I beta read and edit for other writers. My hobbies include reading, reading some more, and my dogs. I do Schutzhund training with my German Shepherd which lets me see the light of day since writing and editing keep me in the house most of the time.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I honestly only started writing a couple of years ago. I was the girl who wrote her English paper on the wall five minutes before class. I had no desire to write, but it always seemed to come easy to me. After reading for years, it became harder to find what I wanted to read. And so, I naturally thought, ‘Well, I’ll just write it then.’ And from there I went. A Girl Named Calamity was my first novel, and took me two weeks to write. I enjoy a lot of different genres as long as there is romance of some kind. But I write fantasy/romance and have a contemporary romance in the works.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

My biggest influence is reading. I never would have picked up a pen if I hadn’t loved reading so much that I wanted to recreate it. It’s my motivator, my inspiration, and my greatest teaching tool.

There are a few authors I love who have inspired my writing. Mostly old school romance authors such as Johanna Lindsey, Judith McNaught, and Lisa Kleypas.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

Yes, I’m working on my third book in the Alyria series, Calamity’s final story. I also have a contemporary romance in the works, but it’s in the roughest of stages.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I jump in head first. Because of this, I probably have a lot of pitfalls along the way, but a story comes best to me as I’m writing. I know very little when I begin; usually only the most basic idea of the characters and their dynamic. I don’t do basic rough drafts. I have a slight case of OCD, and so it’s hard for me to go on when the beginning is in a rough state. I do something I like to call layering, where I go back and develop the first chapters. Continue writing, and then go back and develop those. I’m only on my third novel, and I’m sure that I will learn a better procedure as I go on, but this is what I’ve learned works well for me.

I usually focus on one project at a time, but occasionally when I’m in a certain mood or if I feel like I have to get something down, I will move onto another one and then return shortly.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I think my strengths are probably descriptions and making it feel as if the reader’s submerged in the world I create. I also have a love for dialogue, and think I do well with making it witty and entertaining. Motivation would be my weakness. It’s hard for me to get the motivation to start a novel, but after I begin and finish the first 10k words, it’s usually smooth sailing.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Ah, yikes. The dreaded marketing. I’m not a professional in this department, and am still learning quite a bit. But I’ve contacted bloggers and reviewers, sent out emails to Amazon reviewers with a free copy of my novel in exchange for a review. This works pretty well. If I would have known how difficult marketing was before I published, I would have started way beforehand.

Contact as many bloggers as you can who review in your genre. This is very time-consuming, but it’s a free way to market as a self-published writer.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

WRITE. It’s as simple as that. There are so many distractions, so many doubts, but you can never succeed if you don’t sit down and write. As for authors who are publishing for the first time, I offer the same advice. Don’t let criticism stop you from writing. People will always find something they don’t like, but you can only grow from it. Don’t give up if it’s truly your passion.

G.C. Julien has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

I like to go by my pen name—G.C. Julien. I had a blog, but if I gave you the link, you’d be disappointed because I don’t maintain it. I can be found on twitter (@gcjulien), or on facebook (www.facebook.com/gcjulien). The best place to find me, however, would be on my website (www.gcjulien.com).

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

Well, I currently work for the federal government as a Senior Communications Advisor in the world of SAP.

When I’m not at work, and when I’m not in my home office writing, editing, or marketing (attempting to), I can usually be found at the gym, visiting family, watching Netflix, playing PS4 (with the new VR system, which is fantastic by the way), walking my dog, or doing groceries. I have a pretty quiet life at home with my wife and 8 pets; yes, 8. Let me explain before you think we’re nuts…

We have a dog and three cats. Recently, my wife rescued a little field mouse and after reading an article stating that releasing it would only lead to its death, she decided to keep it. As luck would have it, he got out of his little house that looks like an alien station. After living in our closet for a week, my wife became heartbroken as she missed her little mouse. So, we went to the pet store and came out with 3 rats.

Oh, and we caught the mouse a few days after that, so now we have four rodent pets.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I used to love writing in my essay book in elementary school (not sure if that counts). In high school, I would zone out in class and write scripts that I thought would make awesome video games.

Book-wise, however, I wrote my first book in the horror genre around the age of eighteen, or nineteen. It was a story about high school kids playing with the Ouija board, only to get find themselves surrounded by dark forces that refused to leave. It was a terrible book that was rejected time and time again by multiple literary agents, but after seeing a similar story be created into a film, I figured, hey, if they can make a movie about it, I can release a book about it. I haven’t yet announced it publicly, until now, but I’m revising my original book and releasing it end of 2017 / early 2018.

After that, I went on to write a young adult romance novel (Bow To me), and then its sequel (As I Fall), which touches more on domestic violence and substance abuse.

After that, I started The Feral Sentence, which is a young adult dystopian thriller, and I’m having a blast with that one.

I’m working on something else, too, but that’s a secret. Let’s just say it’s also dystopian.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

I think the greatest influence to my writings has been my personal life / experiences. I wasn’t much of a reader growing up, and I still have a hard time finishing books, so I can’t say that I have an author who’s inspired me overall, aside from J.K. Rowling, but that’s only because I loved Harry Potter.

Every book I’ve written, aside from Bow To Me, which was an impulsive decision I made after reading Lauren Weisberger’s Everyone Worth Knowing) has been inspired by a combination of conversations with friends and family, articles, or TV shows / movies.

My most recent work (the secret one), was actually brought to me by my wife. The story’s her idea entirely, and I’m working with her to bring it to life.

I’m working hard at reading as much as possible now that I have a kindle reader, because it does fuel inspiration and it does improve overall writing. Maybe in a few years, after reading many books, I’ll have a better answer to this question.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I’m working on the new dystopian book I mentioned earlier while also working on the Feral Sentence series. To top it off, I’m also in the middle of revising my paranormal thriller about the spirit board.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I tend to jump right in and see where the story takes me. I used to focus on one book at a time, but I’m working on 3 projects simultaneously at the moment.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I suppose my strength would be the weird / crazy ideas that pop into my head, because they can be used to create original works. My weakness would probably be that I tend to rush when I write. I like things to be fast-paced and full of action, rather than descriptive and slow. The goal is to find that perfect balance, because description is so important.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I wouldn’t be the best person to talk to for tips on this one, because I’m still learning the whole marketing game. Mind you, if I had to give one piece of advice to anyone, including myself, it would be to keep researching marketing strategies. You can’t learn unless you research what works, and what doesn’t. I’ve tried and failed many times, but I’m going to keep trying different approaches until I get it right.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Be open minded and receptive of criticism, because you will receive it. I’ve received criticism for certain aspects of my work, and at first, it hurts. You put yourself out there, and you expect everyone to love your work as much as you do. The thing is, you can’t please everyone. There are books that I’ve tried reading and I couldn’t stand them, when other people rated them 5 stars. We’re all different, and we all prefer different styles.

So when someone criticizes your work, don’t be insulted. Be objective and determine how you can use their comments to improve your work. Then, do it.

My wife used to read my drafts and say, “There isn’t enough detail, I just can’t picture it.”

At first, I’d get upset and remind her of all the description I did put in.

After calming myself down, I started writing with more detail, and I came to realize that what I was writing before really wasn’t all that great.

Always aim to better yourself, not prove yourself.

Dawn Dagger has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.      What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

My name is Dawn Dagger. You can find me on my blog here, or my Facebook page here

2.      Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I seriously enjoy photography. It’s so much fun getting in weird and different angles and making the people around you see the world differently than it was originally in the photo. It’s like writing, only through interpretation. 

3.       How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I finished my first official book about Christmas when I was six, so a very long time. I’ve written in fantasy, young adult, mystery, horror, picture book, sci-fi, romance, and mythology based. So, pretty much all of the genres. 

4.      What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

My greatest influence is actually abstract ideas. I once formed a whole story by seeing a t-shirt of what looked like a girl spray painting a wall, and it wasn’t even what was on the shirt. Heh. I sometimes drag from life experiences (not most of the time, though), and other authors do greatly influence my writing. Their writing style can be seen reflecting in mine if I read them too much. 

5.      Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

‘Am I currently…’ *laughs* Yeah I am. Over 36 different novels and novellas. I am writing past love stories about the characters in My British Bear and how they fell in love. I’m writing a series about a Meta-human trying to survive in a world where society is raised to be wary of those with powers. I’m writing a fantasy about a girl who meets a half-elf and who’s aunt gets kidnapped by ogres from their farm in the mountains. I’m writing a story about Robin Hood’s daughter who is raised by Guy of Gisborne, a couple different series about dragons, a prophecy with the son of a Valkyrie, a try-hard wizard, and a barbarian girl who finds a griffin, a pirate fantasy story about a pirate captain whom is secretly the prince of a land taken over by evil and a maid girl, and so, so many more. 

6.      How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I usually have one idea and jump headfirst into the paper. If I’m really responsible I’ll later go back and slightly map it. The only time character bios happen is when I’m bored on the bus on the way to school, or I forgot the eye color one too many times. I usually don’t just focus on one. I have so many ideas flowing through my head all of the time I work on many at once, and if I start reading books they just keep coming. Never one at a time.

7.      What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I consider my ability to come up with ideas, characters, and dialogue on the snap a great strength. I have a good knack for being able to have different characters and am really descriptive, but I do lack in being able to finish books. I’ll start a book and get a good chunk in, then forget about it and never finish it. I also have a bad habit of straying far away from my original idea and not being able to come up with titles.

8.      After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I’ve never marketed before, but I plan on doing something along these lines: first off, my librarian said that if I self publish he would order the book for the library, and I would be added to the wall in the library of published authors from our city. DJ (aforementioned librarian), will probably advertise it as well. I will tell my previous Power of the Pen coach and my school so they know about it and can do their own thing. I’ll continually post on my Facebook, Wattpad, Blog, and Website about the book, and most likely find other ways to get it out there.

9.      What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Never give up, and you are good enough. To write you have to read. Read books like you’re writing. If it’s a sharp, snappy character’s point of view make sure to read lots of books like it (in this case, Percy Jackson or Maximum Ride) and get the feel for it. Don’t be sad if you don’t finish, you will eventually. Whatever you put your mind to you can accomplish.

Kyle Robert Shultz has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Hi! *waves* I’m Kyle Robert Shultz. My blog is at www.kylerobertshultz.com, my Twitter handle is @kylerbrtshultz, and you can find my Facebook author page at www.facebook.com/kylerobertshultz. Basically, just type “Kyle Robert Shultz” into anything, and my face will probably pop up. Even on ATM machines.

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

You mean there’s another world besides this? *peeks out the window in amazement* No, seriously, I do other stuff besides write. My hobbies include horseback riding and caring for a small flock of miniature sheep. I also love digital art, and I’m slowly working to improve my skills in that area.

  1. Your series, Beaumont and Beasley, is a retelling of several fairy tales. What exactly drew you to fairy tales, and what inspired you to write them in such a way?

To be honest, I’ve never really been drawn to fairy tales. I’m not even a Disney fan, per se–about the only Disney films I actually love are Tangled and The Emperor’s New Groove. But, the basic premise of retelling classic stories has always fascinated me. I love seeing the new twists that Marvel and DC put on familiar characters when they make their movies. And since all those characters are off-limits to me, I decided I’d try to make something cool and imaginative with public-domain stuff. In the setting of my series, pretty much every public-domain story and character exists, not just classic fairy tales.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Steven Moffat are the three authors who have had the most profound impact on my writing. Narnia and Middle-Earth got me started liking fantasy, but it was Doctor Who that showed me how to break all the rules to create something really fun and unexpected. I also can’t say enough good things about the encouragement I’ve gotten from other writers on social media. That’s been a huge boost to my creativity.

  1. While there’s only 2 books out in your series so far, The Beast of Talesend and The Tomb of the Sea Witch, you’ve already shown covers for 2 more books to come. Did you know exactly where this tale was going to take you when you started or has it been surprising you along the way?

I had a rough idea where it was going to go, but there have been some surprises. Basically, I’ve had an endgame in mind for the series for a long time (not necessarily a final “end,” just a culmination of the current story arcs). However, additional stories have sprung up between Book 1 and the climactic future books I have in mind. I’ve been putting off a fairly shattering story based on Cinderella for a long time now. Pretty soon I’m going to have to get cracking on it. My readers are going to hate me…

  1. Do you have any plans for stories outside of the fairy tale realm or are you focusing just on the book before you now?

I do have lots of ideas sitting around in my notebooks, but given the positive response to Beaumont and Beasley, I think it will be wisest for me to continue building this brand for the time being. I don’t feel that I have anything quite as unique and fun to write as B&B in my ideas list at the moment. But if the series reaches a natural end, or if I just want to take a break from it for a while, I know I have other stuff to fall back on.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I think funny, snarky dialogue is my main strength. It’s all the other stuff that I have a problem with. XD My initial drafts usually read like movie scripts, and I have to go back in and add all the necessary description to flesh out the story. When my characters are sparking off each other in dialogue, writing is a breeze. The quieter scenes that rely on imagery are the ones I need to keep practicing.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

My marketing is generally based on real, interpersonal connections rather than paid advertising. Not that I’m knocking paid advertising; I’m just not very experienced with it at the moment (I’m working on that). The way I market at the moment is to just put myself out there. I try to befriend people instead of just yelling “Buy my book!” at them. So far, this approach has had a lot of positive benefits. That being said, my tip to other writers is to be bold about sharing your writing. Don’t be obnoxious about it, but don’t be timid either. Never apologize in advance for what you’ve written, no matter how dubious you may be about it. Pitch it to people like it’s the best thing in the world. Own what you’ve created.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

My advice to a new writer is twofold:

First of all, put your writing online for free. Share it on a critique website like Scribophile, or on the YouTube for stories which is Wattpad. This will get you helpful feedback and allow you to start building your audience.

Second, STOP putting your writing online for free. Once you’ve learned enough from reader feedback to progress beyond rookie mistakes, start charging for what you create. Go ahead and publish it on Kindle. It sounds scary. It IS scary. But it’s the only way you’ll ever actually get started as a writer. Strange as it may sound, crossing that fine line between having your work on the web and having it published–even self-published–makes a ton of difference.

Dennis Carstens has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Dennis Carstens, you can connect with me at www.denniscarstensauthor.com and on www.facebook.com/TheKeyToJustice. Keep in touch on social media with the hashtag #MarcKadellaMystery

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

Even though I am not very good at it because I am basically a beginner, I do like to go golfing with friends. It’s a very pleasant way to spend a nice summer day. I have five grandchildren who are a hobby also. Everything you may have heard about being a grandparent is true. It’s terrific. The kids are all very nice, healthy and fun. And best of all when they act up as kids do, it’s time to go home.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I actually wrote my first book The Key to Justice in 1999 – 2000. I tried to go the traditional route to get it published and was met with total disinterest and rejection. Discouraged, I did not take it up again until 2011. My son encouraged me to self-publish on Amazon. The response surprised me with its success which encouraged me to continue.

The legal world, murder mystery/courtroom drama is the only genre I have written so far. I am extremely interested and well read in history and I have in mind a couple of historical novels based on actual events that I will eventually do.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

I am a retired lawyer who always enjoyed a good legal genre novel. What got me interested in doing one is most of the books in the genre left me wondering if the author had ever seen the inside of a courtroom. Ever represented a live, human client with a real legal problem or tried to make a living practicing law. Some do such as Scott Turow and Steve Martini who are very experienced and very good. Then others such as John Grisham, James Patterson and Michael Connelly who clearly have no clue. I wanted to write more realistically about what it is like.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I am about to start, and by the time you read this will have started, the eighth of the Marc Kadella legal mystery series. No, I am not going to tell you about it. Buy it, you’ll like it.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

To me the main thing I need to have mostly figured out before I start writing is the ending. I think it is very important to know where you are going so as not to wander off too far as can happen. Writing a book is almost like building a house. You build the story one step at a time. And just as building a house you better have a pretty good idea of what it is supposed to look like when you are finished.

I do not use a written outline. I know what my beginning is going to be, my ending and the middle. I keep a lot of notebooks around the house, especially by my bed, for when ideas pop into my head so I can make notes of it.

As for characters, this is the main thing I am trying to accomplish. I want to create an emotional tie between the reader and the characters (good or bad, favorable or unfavorable) to keep the reader engaged to find out how they all make out in the end. Several of my characters are in all of my books and I do keep a written profile of each to be consistent. I also do that with non-recurring characters for the same reason.

I normally focus on one book at a time but things come to me about future books. When this happens I write up notes about it so as not to forget. Makin notes is extremely important. I once had a dream and I awoke in the middle of the night thinking about it. It was a great idea for a book. I laid in bed for at least twenty minutes thinking it through and was quite pleased about it. Instead of getting up and writing it down I was certain I would remember it in the morning. When I woke up I remembered having a dream, waking up and thinking about it but could not remember one thing about the dream itself. Still have not. Take notes. Do not rely strictly on your memory.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I prefer to have my characters tell my story with their actions and interactions and their dialogue. I do not use a lot of third party narration for this. I think it helps with character development, creates the reader-character bond and makes the story flow along better. When reading I can get a little bored with page after page of third party narration.

I am a lawyer, not a grammar expert. Apparently there are people out there who believe they are. I have used the internet to check on grammar usage all the time and have found there are differing opinions on proper usage. If you think you are a grammar expert, you probably are not. At least others will disagree with you. Plus, I use dialogue the way people actually speak not the way your sixth grade English teacher tried to get you to speak.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

At first I did nothing much except publish on Amazon and let them do the marketing. There are services out there who will work with you for a fee or commission to use Amazon and other book promo organizations to promote your book. I am just now starting to use them and it has worked for me. But, I was fortunate to do well right away which, from what I understand, is quite unusual.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

First of all, be disciplined. Writing a 300 plus page fiction novel is very difficult. It is a lot of work. There are millions of partially written manuscripts sitting in desk drawers in this country from people who found this out. They wanted to try it, and good for them, then got part way into it and ran out of ideas.

I treat writing like a job. I am retired but I get up every morning around 6:30 and am at the desk by 8:00 every day. I have a daily goal of what I want to accomplish and I get at it and work until I have it. If you are employed, make a schedule every week of times when you are going to write and stick to it. If you can’t be that disciplined, odds are pretty good you are going to fail. Know that going in.

So as not to be overly negative, it is also very rewarding. I am fortunate enough to have had some success and am making a pretty good living at it. I also like the creative side of it. Apparently I have a fairly active imagination and creative streak. Not to brag but I have received more Five Star reviews from readers than all other reviews combined. Each time you get one of those it feels very gratifying to know that all of the work you put into the book was not a waste of time.

Write about what you know. If you are a doctor don’t write science fiction about interstellar space travel. You can do that but it will not seem factual.

Be realistic about your target market. I happen to have worked in a genre that is very popular with the reading public. My audience was quite large going in. Children’s books are enormously popular. For some reason people keep having babies and buying books for them to teach them to read. Apparently no one tells them about dealing with teenagers. Books about the exciting life of a plumber, not so much.

M.L. LeGette has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

For my writing, I use an abbreviation of my initials: M.L. LeGette. Everywhere else, I go by Melissa.

I’m on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/mllegette/),

Twitter (https://twitter.com/MelissaLeGette),

Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/melissalegette/boards/),

Tumblr (https://mlegette.tumblr.com/),

and Instagram (@melissalegette).

My blog is Come What May (https://legettewrites.wordpress.com/)

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing?

I’m a small scale vegetable farmer with an even smaller flock of sheep. If you’re around the Athens, GA area, stop by the farmers market at Bishop Park and buy some potatoes. They’re wicked good. I’m also a hobbyist photographer (Garden Windows Photography). I love to bake, though I don’t often have the time during the height of farming season, and I’m teaching myself how to knit. Second pair of gloves is underway.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

I credit J.K. Rowling for opening my eyes to storytelling. I’d been exploring writing before discovering her Harry Potter series, but it wasn’t until I read them that the bomb in my brain went off. Her ability to make every scene as vivid as a film, how she fleshes out the minor characters as much as the leads, her play of light and dark, the balance of serious and silly – it’s these aspects that connected with me the most and have stuck with me over the years.

  1. Now you have a few books that are already out for sale, can you tell us about them?

The Unicorn Girl is my first full length novel. It’s a fantasy adventure about a young girl who discovers she has a powerful connection with the legendary creatures and must travel across her homeland in search of them.

The Tale of Mally Biddle is my second. I took a step away from magic with it. Mally, the protagonist, juggles working as a servant in a castle full of dangerous knights while trying to find the answers to the questions spinning around the heir to the throne.

  1. One of your stories, The Orphan and the Thief, you actually took down to rewrite. What was it like going back to work on your story? Considering how often authors complain about simple editing, was this an experience you’ve enjoyed?

I loved it. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed rewriting the story. It helped a lot in that I was spurred on by excellent feedback/suggestions from an agent. I’m not entirely sure if I would have been able to muster up the energy or enthusiasm to take on an undertaking of this magnitude without such outside interest. It also ended up being surprisingly easy. The rewrite happened years after I finished The Orphan and the Thief. I think having such a stretch of time away from the project helped me see the areas that needed improvement. This might be why rewrites are generally so very hard to stomach for writers. When we finish a project, we’re so high on excitement and pride that the prospect of major reconstruction makes many of us want to punch something … or someone. I think the rewrite was also so much fun for me because I’d already gone through the terrible stages of writers block and plot construction. Now, I was exploring. I was fleshing out the story. I was diving deeper into the characters. And that was all immensely enjoyable.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I like working on one main project at a time, but I’ve got notebooks full of story ideas.

I’m a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl. I like to spend a few days hashing out the general idea of a story: the main focus, the overall atmospheric vibe of the story, the characters most basic motivations. And then I write. I let the writing take the lead. If things start feeling wrong – if the story seems off all of a sudden – I take a step back. I evaluate. I ask myself what exactly is missing/wrong/off, and I make the necessary changes. This process typically repeats many times in the first few chapters. I’m essentially testing the story out. I ended up deleting a large chunk of the first draft of Orphan, because I realized it was going in a direction that wasn’t working for the rest of the story. In the story I’m working on now, it took many drafts of the first three chapters before it dawned on me that the setting wasn’t working.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I think my greatest strength is dialogue. I like keeping my dialogue exchanges as natural as possible, and that usually comes easily for me. Creating relatable characters is also a strength in my writing. It’s extremely important to create characters that the reader roots for, or is fascinated or terrified by. But writing characters that the readers embrace is difficult and often takes me many, many drafts to get right.

I’m not a plotter, so my storylines are usually very simple. I have a tendency to focus too much on the individual scenes in a chapter and forget about the bigger picture … or forget about deepening my characters. Luckily, this is where rewrites come in.

  1. While you’ve actually had your books out and for sale for a while now, you’ve recently kind of done a clean slate approach and starting anew with your approach to publishing and marketing. From the way you began and the way you’re going about it now, is there anything you’d advise beginning authors to try or to avoid?

That is a heavy and very good question. As you know, I started out in self-publishing, nudged my big toe up against traditional publishing, and have now ventured fully into serially posting weekly chapters of Orphan’s rewrite online. Honestly, I don’t believe there is any right or wrong. There is only exploration and your own personal desires.

When publishing traditionally didn’t work out, I was both discouraged and relieved. Relieved, in that I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted the pressure and expectations that go along with publishing deals. Discouraged, in that I couldn’t see a clear future for my writing.

Trying to make a living at being a writer is incredibly hard, if not downright impossible, at least for the sort of writing I do — mainly middle grade and young adult. The moment I told myself that I didn’t need to make my books make me money, the pressure vanished. The question then simply became where do I put my writing? For me, writing has always been about sharing. I write for myself, yes, but I also write for interaction. It’s an incredible feeling to connect with readers. I’m posting chapters of The Orphan and the Thief to Wattpad and my own blog, Come What May. My tumblr is dedicated to teasers, excerpts, and painting an aesthetic vibe of the story. When the last chapter is posted, I plan on making the book available on Kindle and as a print-on-demand paperback. When my next book is finished – which will be years from now – I’m going to ask myself the same questions. What do I want? Am I up for another round at the big publisher’s table? Do I want to post chapter by chapter or go straight to ebook? Do I wish to market the book through blog tours or festivals? I don’t expect to be able to answer these questions now, but when the time comes I know the answers will be there.

This is why giving advice is so difficult. We all want different things from our writing. But my big advice points are:

  1. If you choose to spend money on marketing, and that includes travel expenses to bookstore signings and festivals, have a budget. Most marketing does not work and that is why you must be careful about how much money you spend.
  2. Have a presence online. You don’t have to be on every social media, unless you want to. I’ve only recently joined tumblr and it is by far my favorite place to be.
  3. Take your time on your writing. Get it as good as you can. If you self-publish it, know that you can rewrite it to make it even better whenever you want, just as I did.
  4. If you’re interested in getting a book deal, query before self-publishing. It’s a terrible truth, but many traditional publishers do not want books that have been self-published unless they have already proven themselves popular on the market.
  5. Most important of all, choose the outlet that keeps you writing. Writing is not about being in bookstores or getting awards or having the six figure advance. Writing is your love and your best friend. Never forget that.