Omar Beretta has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

My name is Omar Beretta. I wrote Shaman Express together with Bénédicte Rousseau. You can find us here:

Bénédicte Rousseau www.benedicterousseau.com

Omar Beretta www.yacarevolador.com

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

I am an LGBTIQ+ activist and a shamanic practitioner. I travel, I dance cumbia music, and I write about the interesting people I meet while I dance and travel. With Bénédicte, instead of writing about her, we wrote a novel together.

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

I have been writing (and reading) since childhood. Genres: mostly auto-fiction, drama; and some attempts at journalism, especially related to urban subcultures.

Bénédicte and I started writing Shaman Express together in 2015. It took us about a year and a half to consider that the book was finished. It was the first time for both of us to write a novel with a co-author.

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

When I was seven years old I finished reading Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. I realized that, by comparison to the novel, life with my family was boring, so I put a few things in a cardboard box and left my home, with the hope to live a life of adventures that would be worth writing about. My father followed me in his car and after a couple of hours brought me back home. So I admit that Mark Twain has been, and still is, a great influence. Jack Kerouac, Chuck Palahniuk, Henri Michaux, Alan Hollinghurst, Daniel Kalder and Colm Tóibín have shaped the way in which I think and write. Horacio Quiroga and Alejandro López have the talent to turn ordinary incidents into epic narrative. Cecilia Pavón is the mother of modern writing in Spanish. The poetry of Mariano Blatt has shattered the literary canon and inaugurated a spring of experimental, joyful new writing.

But apart from them, I am mostly inspired by ordinary people with fantastic stories that I meet at parties or traveling who open to me.

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

I am writing a new novel about a pansexual anti-hero that fights against the literary canon.

I have just finished writing an article about Shamanism in the Peruvian Amazon that I posted on my website today.

At the same time, I am working on an article about Trans Diversity in Perú. To do so, I spent one month in Lima interviewing trans women, trans men and non-binary persons. While doing so, I joined them at educational programs at NGOs, feminist rallies, underground all-women rap sessions, self-defense training at parkes, at parties, and at their workplace.

  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?

The outline generally comes in my dreams, and then I jump in head first. The more chaotic the atmosphere, the easiest it is for me to write.

The main idea for Shaman Express came during a shamanic workshop in Italy, where I met Bénédicte. Because we are both shamanic practitioners, we took several shamanic journeys to ask for guidance to write this novel. We built the two main characters at the same time.

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

I am very imaginative, it is easy for me to create new characters, new situations, and I relate well with what is not ‘normal’. I could not write a book about a happy family because not even in my wildest dreams could I imagine a happy family, but I am comfortable writing about a recovering addict and a depressed divorcee that travel in remote parts of the world, coming in and out of ordinary and shamanic reality.  Maybe some people like what I write because it presents a different angle.

My weakness is that I get easily distracted by new projects. For example, instead of dedicating all my efforts to write the piece abut Trans Diversity in Peru, I am  spending most of time researching books, movies and articles by authors that went on tour with bands because I was recently invited to go on tour with a band in the south of Spain.

  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 try to make the most of social media, especially Instagram and Twitter. I believe that the image that I want to convey as an author must be visually attractive, so I produce short videos with vibrant music and striking locations where my message is minimal but the visual/musical experience is powerful. You can see the videos on my website.

For Shaman Express, we have produced book trailers that provide only key sentences of our novel, placed in contrast with beautiful images and attractive music. We believe that they convey the essence of our message, without having to lecture about it. You can also see the trailers on my website.

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

Keep writing. Write every day. Read a lot. Find your favorite authors, follow them, read everything they write, and grow with them. Do not be afraid to abandon them and go find new ones. For example, Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia blew my mind when I read it in 1990. I read everything that Kureishi wrote afterwards, but at some point his work stopped producing the same effect. By that time I discovered Daniel Kalder, whose fantastic “Lost Cosmonaut” made me realize that one does not need to be Theroux or Chatwin to tackle the travel genre. Kalder is much younger than I am, so I had no time to loose: I put pen to paper and I wrote most of the chapter of Shaman Express that takes place in Siberia.

Also importantly, attend creative writing workshops: they are a safe place where knowledgeable people can tell you, in a pedagogical manner, “this is not good, go read this novel or stories, and when you have finished reading, write your piece again” for as many times as necessary, until you are ready to show it to the world and not fail. Read what your contemporary authors are publishing: either to admire them or to question their canon. Share a lot, meet other writers from your town that have similar interests. Go out and do crazy things, interesting things, change your perspective, and then change it again, and then write about it.

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Lara Lillibridge has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

Lara Lillibridge

Website: www.LaraLillibridge.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/only_mama

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaraLillibridgeWrites/

Goodreads: Lara Lillibridge

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

I have two boys, ages 9 and 12 whom I love to overschedule. I spend a lot of time driving to hockey and baseball and band practice and choir recitals. This is sort of ironic because in my own life, I hate to commit to any sort of activity if I can avoid it.  It’s clearly a case of “do as I say, not as I do,” which children love. 

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

I’ve been writing seriously since 2008, when I got pregnant with my second child. By “seriously” I mean that is when I decided to make it a priority in my life. I write mostly creative nonfiction: essays, memoir, and blogs that amuse me and hopefully a few other people on occasion. I occasionally writing fiction, which I am very bad at but have a lot of fun writing. 

4.      What has been the greatest influence to your writing? 

When I was pregnant with my second son, I woke up one day flooded with stories. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and at night I’d lie in bed and think about my stories and my characters. My son—currently nine years old—is a really fine writer, so I’m not sure who influenced whom.  I quickly realized that if I wanted to get published I would need some help, so I went back to school and finished first my undergraduate degree and then my MFA.

The one writer that really transformed how I think about writing is Lidia Yuknavitch. Her memoir, The Chronology of Water, refused to follow any of the conventional forms I had seen up till then, and really freed me in how I thought about the craft of writing. 


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

Yes, I am writing the first draft of a novel that explores gender, sexuality, and power. I’m not sure it’s any good but I’m having a heap of fun writing it. I’m also in the 3rd or 4th revision of a second memoir, Mama, Mama, Only Mama, that details my six years as a single mother. Both of these projects are a lot lighter than my debut memoir, and it’s been a nice change. 

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 don’t really know what I want to say until I start writing, and I write like I talk—with a lot of tangents and circling conversations. When I get about 75% of the way in, I have to get the iron out and try to make the book straighten up and make some sort of sense to other people.

This year, I’ve been ping-ponging between two works in progress. I’ll focus solely on one for a few weeks or months until I’m sick to death of it and convinced it’s utter rubbish, then I’ll switch to the second. When the other project refuses to behave, I go back to the first with renewed appreciation for it. 

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

I’m really good at pounding out pages, which is both my strength and my weakness. I can sit and type all day, every day—I’m really driven and get antsy if I take a few days off. The downside of that is that I suspect I’m too wordy and have too much backstory.  I often rely on my critique partners to tell me when I’m going on and on too long. 

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 always looked at writing as both an art and a business. From the beginning I looked at what I needed to do to open doors at the next level. For me, that meant starting with a blog, and committing to post three times a week. From there, I started submitting essays to fledgling literary journals.  After I had some success, I moved on to submitting to larger literary journals and contests. Then, when I started shopping my book, I had both publishing credits and some confidence. I don’t know if the publishing credits helped, but the confidence sure did. 

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

Take your work seriously. Carve time out for it, and don’t tolerate anyone who acts like it is trivial. Find people to trade work with, as critiquing other people’s work will teach you as much about your own writing as anything else. Read anything someone else recommends, regardless of genre. I look at writing as my job: if I’m not writing, I’m reading or editing for someone else. Make it a priority. The world needs your story. 

Rebecca Kightlinger has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

My name is Rebecca Kightlinger. You can find me on my websites, RebeccaKightlinger.com and BuryDownChronicles.com; on Facebook pages “Rebecca Kightlinger” and “Bury Down Chronicles”; and on Twitter at @RS_Kightlinger.

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

My husband and I have a big old farmhouse in a small town, and two Border Collies, a Chihuahua, three cats, and a little rooster. Most of my life revolves around them, researching and writing the Bury Down Chronicles series, swimming, walking, and, most of the year, watering roses, berries, and tomatoes.

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

I began writing medical articles in the 1990s; then with the medical team I worked with in Guyana, clinical research papers about work we did. I started writing fiction in the 1990s, but not seriously until about 7 years ago. I now write historical fiction and magical realism, but I have published some short stories set in the present day.

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

Since many of the characters in my story are healers and there is a strong element of afterlife existence, I would guess that my novels may have been influenced by my own life experiences and theories about the hereafter.

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

I’m working on book two of the series. New people are showing up in Megge’s life, and one of them, Faye, has something to teach Megge in her own home village, out on the northern cliffs of Cornwall.

  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 begin by sitting down with a clear head and watching in my mind’s eye for an image to appear. As it does, I start typing, describing what I see and hear. The story takes shape from there. In Megge’s case, she either narrates her story or simply shows a scene, which I describe as clearly as I can. I do have to keep track of characters and timelines so I don’t make errors there, and I do a lot of research after writing out a scene to make sure what I’m seeing was even plausible. Usually it is, but sometimes I have to revise when my understanding was wrong.

I usually focus on my novel, but now and then I feel like writing a short story. Or, when I sit down to work on the novel, a different narrator shows up and that person’s story—often just a vignette—takes shape. In those cases, I just go with it and write that story.

But I only work on one novel at a time!

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

Readers frequently remark that they feel they are right there, in the story, as it plays out, so I guess my strength is evoking the setting. I enjoy creating the atmosphere through the senses and trying to convey to readers what I feel as I live inside the scene the narrator is showing me.

Describing a character’s physical appearance is always awkward, but it is especially difficult in this narrative since Megge would only ever describe a person if their appearance strikes her as remarkable or if it has a direct bearing on the scene. Usually readers formulate their own image of characters anyway, and I think many prefer to do so, so I feel comfortable keeping description spare.

  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?

The final class in our MFA program a transition to the real world of writing and marketing our work, and in that class we had to make a website. Thank goodness for Suzanne Strempek Shea guiding us through that, because I had no idea how to create one! The website has made it easier for readers to learn more about Megge. Suzanne also taught us about using social media, which I was inexperienced with, and I gave The Bury Down Chronicles a Facebook page. That’s made it easier to let readers know what’s happening now with the book and with author events. But beyond that, marketing is incomprehensible to me! It is a profession, so I leave it to professionals.

For Megge, I found a publicity firm that works exclusively with authors, and I just do everything they recommend. The important thing is to reach readers who might enjoy the book, and that’s what they’re helping me to do.

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

There’s nothing better than starting something new! I’d say just start writing and see what comes out. If it turns out you enjoy writing and want to write with the skill and focus of a professional, learn the craft. Right down to the ground. Grammar, punctuation, sentence structure—it all matters.

Consider investing in formal education. Workshops and in-person courses with a professor will challenge you to look critically at your work and learn how to make it better. It will also give you colleagues and the understanding that you are not the only one sitting alone in a room scribbling!

Finally—and everybody says this because it’s true—persevere! If you write something but can’t find an agent or publisher right away, write some more, maybe something entirely different. Give each piece—and yourself—the necessary time to find a publishing home and enthusiastic readers.

Ryan Hauge has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

I’m Ryan Hauge, the author of Be Careful What You Joust For.  You can find me at:

Blog:  https://www.ryanhauge.com/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/RyanHauge

Amazon: http://bit.ly/HaugeAMZ
Facebook: http://bit.ly/HaugeFB
Twitter: http://bit.ly/HaugeTweet

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

Ivy Smoak (my co-author on Be Careful What You Joust For…and my wife) and I started a toy company when we graduated from college.  Designing toys and managing the business takes up a ton of time, but I still somehow find time to write.  Oh, and cooking lots of Blue Apron, Homechef, and Plated meals…I’m kind of addicted to those.

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

After seeing the Hobbit in theaters, my family started a challenge to see which of us could write the best fantasy novel.  Mine was okay.  Not horrible, but not great either.  So I went back to the drawing board, spent a few years building the world, and then got back into it with BCWYJF.  So to answer the original question…about 5 years, and I’ve only written fantasy.  I might do a modern thriller at some point, though, but right now I’m completely focused on the Pentavia series!

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

How can I pick just one thing?  There are so many great authors out there.  Great TV shows.  Great movies.  Great fantasy art.  All of it inspires me.  But if you’re going to force me to pick one thing, I’d have to give the nod to the classic RPGs I played growing up.  I can’t even count the amount of hours I spent playing the Quest for Glory series and Baldur’s Gate 2.  I was too young to really know how to play them, so I would just wander around aimlessly killing as many monsters as I could.  Little did I know that I was actually doing research for my fantasy novels…

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

Right now I’m completely focused on marketing BCWYJF, but the outline of Book 2 is slowly coming together in my head.

  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 outline the plot first.  But I don’t think that’s the right way to do it.  All too often it leads to me trying to shove a square character into a round plot.  It just doesn’t fit.  And then I get writer’s block.  And then the book just sits there until I realize my plot is all wrong.

So with book 2, I’m going to take a slightly different approach and see if the characters can guide the story.  If I’m being completely honest, though, I’ll probably outline the whole thing fifty times before it’s finished.  That’s just how my mind works.

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

My strength is in world building and plotting.  I love both, and spend a ridiculous amount of time on them.  My weakness is definitely character emotions.  I’m an emotionless robot, so it’s hard to write characters that aren’t.  That’s one of the countless places where my wonderful co-author Ivy Smoak helped immensely.

  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 wish I had tips to share, but at this point, I don’t know if any of it is going to work.  Talk to me after the release on April 17th and maybe then I’ll have some pointers about what to do.  My strategy so far has been to do anything I can think of.  Social media, Goodreads, paid advertising.  All of it.  It’s easily an 80 hour a week endeavor.

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

I could give a million pieces of advice.  Write for a specific audience.  Learn how to use commas.  Read between the lines if you force your friends and family to read it.  They’ll tell you it’s great.  But how long did it take them to read that next chapter?

My number one piece of advice, though, would be that being an author also means being a full time marketer.  A great author can get a few good reviews.  A great marketer can sell some copies.  But to really hit it big, you need to be both.

Dawn Davis has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

Dawn Davis, www.towerroomseries.com

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

I spend a lot of time walking through the ravine, in the neighborhood, looking at things and listening. I visit with my daughter and friends and I like to cook and bake both for others and myself.  I also take ballroom dance lessons (tango my favorite) which I find to be a great way to work out and have fun at the same time. I study jazz piano, take lessons and play with other people. I have always been deeply moved and influenced by Bill Evans who is by far, the greatest piano player I have ever heard. In a sometimes messy and overly loud world he is perfection.

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

I have been writing most of my life. I was a teacher for many years and am used to taking notes, writing lesson plans, etc. I have written poems, plays, comedy sketches and most currently, novels.

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

I find that everything relates to writing; conversations, sights, sounds, tastes, smells. I have always listened carefully to what people say and how they say it. I remember what people say and am constantly amazed that so many people do not remember what I say – in this very noisy world I think people block out a lot but ironically, need to be surrounded by sound at all times. As for writers, there are many – Dickens, Tolstoy, Chekov, Dostoyevsky, Vonnegut, Jr., Anne Tyler, Kate Atkinson, J.D. Salinger John Mortimer, John Le Carre, Patrick Dennis, Tom Wolfe…..the list goes on and on. I read for at least two hours everyday and am so grateful there are more books than I will ever have time to read in this lifetime.

  1. Are you currently writing anything right now? If so, tell us about it.

I am working on the third book in the Tower Room series. It is called “Little by Little” and it tells the story of Dilys Frank’s first “travel from the tower room.” It is initially set in Toronto in 1929 and goes back in time to 1850, Buffalo, New York, and tells the story of two children escaping via ‘the underground railroad’ to Canada.

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

First, I research either on-line, in the library and read a lot of material regarding the time and place of the book. I then create a very detailed outline and immediately ignore it when I start writing. I write a first draft and then review what I need to remove and what I need to add. The basic story remains the same but some characters are eliminated, sideline stories are either developed or deleted. I generally write about six drafts before the novel is finished, or as finished as it will be.

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

Dialogue is my strength, description is my weakness. I hear much better than I see. When I am working on a book the voices of the characters are always in my head but the way they look? That is sometimes shadowy.

  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 email my friends that I have written and new book (about 15 people) add the book to my website and then hire a publicist. I am not a good self promoter.

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

Don’t look back – look forward. Regarding first drafts – I find I can get very bogged down if I am constantly revising what I have written the day before.

Adison Runberg has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

My name is Adison Runberg.  The best places to find me online are Instagram https://www.instagram.com/adisonrunberg/ and Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/adison-runberg.  Photography and creating music are two of my favorite pastimes besides writing.

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

I live in Duluth with my wonderful girlfriend Sylvia.  I spend the long winter days drinking coffee and tea, snowboarding, and doing creative things in my spare time.  Winter offers a lot of really unique opportunities for photography so I try to take advantage of that as much as possible.  Summer offers a chance to hike and swim in the lakes we have all over Minnesota.  Also, I’m really into Pokemon GO, my main goal with pogo is to get as many Dragonites as I can.

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

When I was in elementary school my mom and I would come up with stories to go with classical music since then I loved creating stories.  I have been writing since high-school and was the editor of the school newspaper my senior year.  I most enjoy writing fantasy and being as creative as possible.  I love employing humor into my writing.

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

The authors who have influenced me most are George R. R. Martin, Douglas Adams,  and J.K. Rowling.  There are countless others but these three have created masterpieces that I read time and time again.  Everything in life can influence you in some way, I try to see the beauty in the world, and appreciate the small things in life.  I often think of plot points and new scenes while taking a walk through my local park.

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

I have just started writing the sequel to Origin of Legends and the Secrets of the North.  I haven’t chosen a name for the sequel yet.  This book will be slightly darker in tone and have a much more developed antagonist.  This new story has been fun to work on because it has a timeline that jumps around, and is told from differing viewpoints throughout.

  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 begin my projects with a basic story arc in mind.  I then split this arc into at least 5 major points.  I’ll start writing linearly from the beginning to the end, meeting each of these goal points.  New and interesting ideas come to me while writing, and when they do it is always exciting.  I love researching ancient mythology and incorporating those stories in with my writing.  I often base my characters on real people, this helps me write more realistic dialogue, and know their motivations in each scene.

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

I am very strong at meeting my daily writing goal of 1000 words and sticking to my outlines.  This helps me write efficiently.  The main weakness I’ve noticed so far in my writing is that I like to write about eating food far too often in my stories, I’ll often delete a whole page where I decided to write about a feast that doesn’t progress the plot.

  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?

Marketing is a very important part of writing because without it your book may never be read by anyone.  I have watched many hours of YouTube videos on the subject.  Marketing is very interesting and is always changing in the book industry.  I recommend Derek Murphy’s YouTube channel to anyone looking for where to start when it comes to marketing.  This advice will be for self-publishing authors.  To start with before you market your book you will want reviews.  You should contact book bloggers before you publish your book so that they have time to read your book and are ready to review your book when it is published on Amazon.  I would recommend contacting as many as possible if you are confident with your book.  You will want a way for your readers to sign up for a mailing list so you can let them know when you come out with new content.  Once you publish your book and have at least 10 reviews then I would recommend you start advertising on Amazon, many people have had very good luck with this.  Also see if other popular authors in your genre will send out an email to their followers to let them know about your book.

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

Have a plan and stick to it.  Learn from what works well and what doesn’t, this way your next plan will be better than the first, and you will progress and become better in the process.   Have fun while you are writing, but don’t be afraid to put in some hard work while in the phases that come after you complete your manuscript.

Sara Crawford has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

Sara Crawford
http://saracrawford.net
http://twitter.com/sara_crawford
http://facebook.com/saracrawfordmusic
http://instagram.com/saraecrawford

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

I’m a freelance writer and internet marketer by day as well as an adjunct creative writing professor for the online graduate program at Southern New Hampshire University so I’m afraid I don’t have much of a life outside of writing! I do live with my husband, Peter, though, and my two cats, Frank and Julian. And I post way too many cat pictures on Instagram.

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

I have been writing pretty constantly since I learned how. When I was 7, I used to write little plays and make the neighborhood kids perform them in the driveway. I have written plays and screenplays, but lately, I write mostly young adult urban fantasy fiction.

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

I have had so many theatre, literature, and creative writing teachers over the course of high school, college, and grad school in my MFA program that were huge influences on me. I am also greatly influenced by my favorite authors (Anne Rice, Jane Austen, Stephen Chbosky, Rainbow Rowell, Stephenie Meyer) and my favorite musicians (M83, Beach House, Slowdive, Morrissey, Smashing Pumpkins, the list goes on).

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

Yes, I am working on the third and final book in The Muse Chronicles called You and the Night. It should be coming out sometime in 2018 though I’m not sure when.

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 used to always be a pantser, especially with fiction. I would write 100 pages before I even knew what story I was trying to tell. Now I’m sort of a combination of plotter and pantser. I try to write a vague outline of the whole story, then I do a detailed outline for about five chapters, and then I’ll write those chapters. Then I’ll repeat until I’m finished. I may make big changes when I’m drafting or revising but I try not to start writing until I have some idea of where the story is going.

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

Because I’m also a playwright, I think dialogue is my greatest strength. This can also be a weakness, though, because I tend to use it too much, and sometimes I need more reflection and description.

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?

Lately, I’ve been reaching out to people on Amazon who have reviewed other indie books in my genre and telling them about my books. I’ve had a lot of great results with that. I think the main thing with marketing is persistence. You have to be willing to work hard and try different things.

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

When you’re just starting out, don’t worry about literary agents or traditional publishing or self-publishing or critique partners or beta readers. It should just be you and the story, and you should try to focus on what you love about the writing process. Once you have a story, then you can get feedback from peers and teachers and editors and decide what to do with it.

J.D. Evergreen has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

Hello I’m J.D. Evergreen and you can find me on my website https://jd-evergreen.com or my Facebook https://www.facebook.com/J.D.Evergreen.Author/

Feel free to visit me, I always welcome new readers.

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

In addition to writing I am a causal teacher, who lives in a semi-rural town in Victoria, Australia. I live with my partner and our two cats. In my spare time, I like to be out in the garden working in the vegie patch attempting to keep the birds away from the blueberries. When I am not writing or gardening, you can find me studying as I love learning new thing. So far, I have earned a Bachelor of Primary School Teaching, Diploma of Tertiary Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Ancient History.

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

I have been writing all my life but for the last five years I have decided to take it more seriously and turned writing into my career. I have dabbled in a few short stories one is a comical sci-fi tale about two siblings that travel through time, I have also created a children’s picture book called Martha the magpie about a spunky young magpie with a love for things that sparkle. My first novel was Shadowsoul which is a fantasy fiction novel about a young woman who escapes slavery and discovers she has magical powers which is a prequel to my latest novel ‘Celestia’ which is due to be released on Amazon as of the 1st of February 2018.

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

I’ve always loved to read and at times it has been my only my escape from the real world and writing has been a great sense of freedom for me. I have always made up stories to escape the reality of the world we live in, now I am also writing for others to read and to leave my mark on the world.

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

Currently, I am working on publishing the book ‘Celestia’ which you can find on Amazon through this link.

Celestia is a fantasy novel that takes place on the world Katera, in this story:

Celestia has just lost its king to a suspicious illness. The king’s death has thrown the realm into chaos and a dark mage uses their power to influence the citizens, brainwashing them to do his bidding. A war is started, and it is left to Taliah and her friends to restore the rightful heir to the throne and stop the dark powers that fight against them.

But to win Taliah will have to risk everything…

  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?

When I start writing, usually I have a vague idea of where the story is going and jump in head first and just roll with it. The story comes to me in waves and as it goes on, often I’m as surprised as the reader.

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

My greatest strength in writing is definitely my imagination, at times it just runs free. I often find I’m day dreaming about other worlds and heroes fighting monsters when I’m supposed to be doing other things like studying for an exam or writing an assignment. My weakness would definitely be spelling, I am a shocking speller and that makes the task of editing so much harder, but in the end its all worth it.

  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?

This is my first time marketing a novel, but the steps I took were to create a website with WordPress and buy a domain name. I have also spent countless hours building an author platform on Facebook, which is not as easy as I first anticipated. Then I began the process of seeking reviewers, which I found to be an extremely daunting task, asking people I had never met before to read through my work and leave a comment was one of the most daunting experiences of my life, but it was worth it, every step of the way.

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

If writing is what you love then do it, ignore the people who tell you to get a ‘real job’, because to someone who loves writing it is a job regardless of the pay.

 

My Top 5 Favorite Books of 2017

Long ago in 2017 I surpassed my Goodreads reading challenge of 60 books, and made it all the way to 63. I know, I’m amazing. However, I wanted to look back and list the top 5 books that I read last year. Now I am skipping over books I’ve read before, and only listing those that I read for the first time in 2017.

  1. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

This book is as sweet as it sounds. I’ve come to love several of Allen’s books, and I actually read 2 other of her books this past year. This I think was my favorite of hers simply because I can relate to the sugary sweet cravings that Josey is subject too. But like most of her books, there’s this hint of magic in the air, where even in a world that’s created to be as realistic and relatable as our own, there’s still that chance that anything is possible.

  1. An American Werewolf in Hoboken by Dakota Cassidy

If you ever read a book by Cassidy you know how much good humor there is in them. This one by far is the most hilarious. I practically had to smother myself to keep from laughing out loud at work. It was so much fun to read, and an interesting set of issues for werewolves to have to deal with that I’ve never once seen brought up in other books. Which in a way made it more realistic, and of course more interesting.

  1. A Girl in Black and White by Danielle Lori

This is actually the 2nd book in the Alyria series. While the first was rather good, this took Calamity to a whole new level. It’s always nice to read a series that gets better with each book, and this one was a fascinating story to begin with. Definitely one that keeps you wanting more.

  1. The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz

I love fairy tale retellings, and I love the old detective stories of a world weary gumshoe just trying to do the right thing. In this I got both. It’s funny and exciting, and it’s another series that each book takes you on a new twisty turn of old tales.

  1. T&A: Revelations of a Romance Novel Heroine by Jill Monroe

If you love romance novels, but are also the sort to wonder why the heroine always makes such silly mistakes, or does crazy things, then this is definitely a book you should pick up. After all Annalise actually knows she’s in a romance novel and is just trying to figure out exactly where the script is taking her.

There were plenty of other good books I read, some within the series of the ones I listed, and some that I chose to read over and over again. But when scrolling through my list these were the main ones that jumped out for me, and I definitely won’t be forgetting them any time soon.

Steven Drake has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

My name is Steven Drake. I have a free blog, aspiesteve.wordpress.com where I post short articles on whatever catches my interest. I don’t post as much as I used to since I spend most of my time on my book series, but I enjoy a change of pace now and then. I do not have a Facebook Page but my book series has one. It’s not very popular yet, but I hope that changes eventually. www.facebook.com/TheDemonsBlade. No twitter. With my writing style, there’s not much worthwhile I can say in fewer than 140 characters.

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

I work for a small business that sells remanufactured printer cartridges, essential oils, microroast coffee, and a few other wildly unrelated things. My employers have several business ventures and I run their computers, help with spreadsheets, make deliveries, basically whatever needs doing. They tolerate my eccentric nature and have inspired me with their entrepreneurial spirit.

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

I actually started with my blog, which started as mostly something for my friends and family to read. I wrote a couple of short stories which I got a lot of positive feedback on and decided to try writing a fantasy novel. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing. I’ve now written the first four installments, so I’m still early in my writing career. I’m always eager for any feedback that will help me improve as a writer.

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

J.R.R. Tolkien is easily the single greatest influence on my writing. That’s a pretty standard answer among fantasy authors I imagine. I must have read those a half dozen times as a teen.

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

I’m working on Book 5 of the Demon’s Blade saga. Hope to release that sometime in 2018. I’ve always got a couple possible blog entries bouncing around in my head. When those will ripen, I couldn’t say. Beyond the Demon’s Blade saga, I have the concept idea for a YA series, but that one will be a while away.

  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 do some outlining, but it’s all in my head. I don’t write it down or anything. I know more or less how I want the story to go

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

I think the strongest aspect of my writing is my characters. I really take a lot of care as I write to put myself in the mind of each character. When I’m going through doing revisions, I’m constantly asking myself whether the characters thoughts, words, and actions are the best reflection of the person I consider them to be. In my mind, they’re all real people, and I care about them. I also have watched a lot of movies, television, video games, and anime that are centered on combat, whether it’s in space with lasers and giant mechs or in some medieval fantasy setting with demons, monsters, swords, and magic. I’ve seen so many different kinds of fights between characters with so many different abilities, I’m usually able to make my battles and action scenes more interesting than clanging swords and throwing fireballs.

My greatest weakness is probably my inexperience and lack of formal education in the arts. I’m sure anyone who’s an experienced professional writer could point out some amateurish mistakes I’m making. I hope eventually some of them will leave reviews or contact me so I can improve my style. I’m sure my grammar isn’t always perfect and my sentence structure could improve a lot. Hopefully that will come with time and practice.

  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’m woefully awful at marketing. I suffer from a few disorders, most notably Asperger’s, that make socialization tiring and difficult. I don’t do it very much or very well. I’m terrible at any form of social networking and largely clueless when it comes to forming relationships with actual flesh and blood human beings. So marketing is a challenge, and usually comes down to budget. There’s very little I’m comfortable or skilled enough to do on my own, so I pay for advertising when I can. I hired a publicity firm for the release of Fallen Star, and it’s produced some good marketing opportunities. If I can afford it in the future, I’ll do more.

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

Ha, I feel like I should be the one asking. Really, I don’t have enough experience myself to give any advice. I’ve still got a long way to go.