Kyle Thomas Smith has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

 

I’m Kyle Thomas Smith and you can visit me on the Web at www.cockloftmemoir.com.

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

 

My husband Julius and I recently moved to San Francisco from New York. We have two cats named Giuseppe and Giacomo. I am a longtime dharma student and have had a daily meditation practice for over twenty years.

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

I have been writing since my teens in the fiction, creative nonfiction and drama genres.

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

The novels of D.H.Lawrence were the impetus for my writing. Over the years, however, I have become more minimalist a la Raymond Carver and plain prose a la M. Somerset Maughum. I had a rough growing-up as a gay artistic kid in a conservative Catholic family that pushed religious dogma, middle-class normalcy and white-collar aspirations but I got out and my adult life has been devoted to creativity. 

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

I’m composting a lot of material in notebooks for a new book. 

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 spend hours a day just filling up notebooks with stream-of-consciousness free-writing and also meditate, walk and read a lot. When a piece of writing wishes to be expressed through me, I feel it and do my best to spontaneously channel it. From there, it’s a matter of drafts and revisions. 

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

 

I am strong when writing anecdotal accounts of my life and the lives of those I know or know of. I’m not good at writing fictional stories that involve multiple characters and complex plots, especially those that evolve slowly over many pages. I wish I had that talent. It’s just not one of my gifts.

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 talk to people I know, cold call at bookstores and spread the word through random encounters.

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

I’m not sure this is the best advice. Not everyone is as introspective as I am–and by saying that, I do not by any means wish to suggest that my introspective tendencies make me any better or worse than anyone else; I simply always have to be powerless before the undertow of my inner life. However, I would say that the best thing a young writer can do is get a copy of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” and do the exercises, especially the Morning Pages exercise, which they will hopefully do every day for the rest of their lives. Read the books of Natalie Goldberg and take her example of filling up notebooks for hours and hours every day, for years and years on end so that you develop your voice, become a better writer through practice and get a sense of your own personal obsessions and concerns as a writer. Meditate. Walk. Travel far and wide. Listen attentively to your deepest experience at all moments. And of course, read and let whatever authors speak to you infuse your process.

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Michael B. Koep has been INTERVIEWED!!! on the Creation of the Newirth Mythology Trilogy

The Final Installment in The Newirth Trilogy is now out in The Shape of Rain.

Question: The fantasy genre is a crowded market, can you tell us what sets The Newirth Mythology apart?

Michael B. Koep: The Newirth Mythology invites the reader to accept the story as a reality. From the very start I wanted to play with the idea of myth and truth to see if I could figure out how the power of a story can change one’s nature, perception and behavior. Myth and fantastic stories have captivated, entertained and sculpted entire cultures throughout history—gods, heroes, wars, magic and the like— The Newirth Mythology contains elements of classic fantasy, but so, too, it is filled with a modern perspective—modern characters that must come to terms with the reality of myth in all of its manifestations. For me, I’ve not encountered a story like it before. 

Question: Which elements of the books are your favorite, and are they the same elements readers most connect with?

Koep: I love that the centerpiece to the entire story is a story itself. The words of a Poet that can alter existence—change history— a sought after book—a journal with a frightening supernatural element that characters are willing to risk their lives to obtain. Like a kind of Holy Grail, words are the quest and the curse. The settings align themselves within this theme as well. Battles are fought within medieval libraries—discussions of art and writing transpire over writing desks and ancient tomes—characters travel to the the exotic locations of myth: the Pyramids of Giza, the canals of Venice, the Aegean Sea. Lastly, the reader is invited to enter into the story and attempt to balance between what is real and what is fiction. The Newirth Mythology is a story about story.

Question: Was it important to you to have a compelling female character join Loche as a major protagonist, or did it just happen?

Koep: When I was on a national book tour in 2015 for Part Two, Leaves of Fire, I was scheduled to sign at bookstores during late afternoons in the heat of the summer for several months all across the country. As you can imagine, bookstores at that time of day in that time of year are not especially busy. However, the majority of bookstore visitors, I noticed, were thoughtful, intelligent and witty women ranging in ages between 29 and 60. Some stops on a book tour can be tedious and extremely lonely—but from one signing to the next, these same types of women (book lovers) always took the time to talk with me, share some of their favorite books (while we chatted they often carried an armload to take to the register) and stories about their families and their kids while taking a sincere interest in my work. Their presence made the sometimes alienating book tour not so lonely. When the time came to begin work on Part Three, The Shape of Rain, I found myself wanting to craft a character that these women would love. A thoughtful, bookish type with a dash of sardonic wit, a bit of loneliness and a thirst to learn more about the world and the people in it. Professor of Mythology, Astrid Finnley became an amalgam of these bookstore dwelling women.

Question: Tell readers a little bit about your process. A fantasy epic of this scale involves a lot more than just honing your craft as a writer. What was it like to do so much world building?

Koep: The world of the Newirth Mythology is both modern psychology and medieval epic. It is hard rock music and soliloquies delivered with a nod to Hamlet. It is a new myth told by a modern prophet. An ancient language and a pop song all in one.That seems like a lot—but for me, the process was much like throwing my favorite things and interests at the wall and keeping the things that stuck. Strangely enough, most everything stuck. I believe I managed to weave these relatively disparate elements together because I am involved with each in one way or another. Since I was very young I have harbored a love for myth and fantasy. At twelve I began working on what would later become the language of Elliqui (an ancient tongue of a forgotten immortal race). With that came the necessary step of creating the mythology that would be the foundation of this race’s belief system. Meanwhile, twenty years ago, I cofounded a fencing consortium to appease that weird place in me that has always wanted to learn the sword. The experience has not only fed my love for duels and things medieval, but it has also provided for me the rare occasion to raise a glass of ale or scotch at a tournament and deliver a Shakespearian speech or a poem or drunken toast with big words and pithy sentiment (with a sword dangling at my side, of course). In college I loved psychology, philosophy and literature. Most of all, Poetry. To this day I am a touring rock drummer and lyricist. Music has taken me all over the world. It has also taught me the importance of a well crafted pop lyric or a hooky melody. It has taught me to connect art to an audience. In a lot of ways, the world of the Newirth Mythology wasn’t really world building—it was rather me attempting to capture the world in which I live.

 

Michael B. Koep has been a college educator, an international touring musician and a dynamite

waiter. He is still an author, a swordsman, an avid world traveler, a visual artist, and a professional

rock drummer. Koep has climbed the pyramids of Giza, fenced an Italian master, and done battle with

the infamous North Korean propaganda loudspeakers by aiming a massive PA across the DMZ and

taking a drum solo. Winner of a Costello Poetry Prize, he lives in North Idaho with his son in a house filled with books, vinyl records, paint brushes, maps and musical instruments.

Connect with Michael B. Koep at MichaelBKoep.com, Twitter.com/MBKoep and

Facebook.com/AuthorMichaelBKoep.

The Newirth Mythology Trilogy is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and wherever books are sold.

Publisher Will Dreamly Arts, located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is committed to producing

works that possess an artistic standard defined by originality, integrity and excellence in

the craft of fiction, poetry and nonfiction.

Connect with Will Dreamly Arts at WillDreamlyArts.com, Twitter.com/WillDreamlyArts

and Facebook.com/WillDreamlyArts.

Sarah Ashwood has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.      What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
 
Hi, my name is Sarah Ashwood, and I write a blend of fairy tale/portal/epic fantasy. I don’t blog, but you can find me on my website, Twitter, and Facebook.
2.      Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.
 
           Well, I’m a homeschooling mom of three boys. I’m also a runner. I’m planning to do the Tulsa Run 15k this fall. I’ve done 15ks before, but not this particular one. I’m married to an asphalt plant operator and I literally never know from one day to the next what time he’ll be home, because there are no set hours in a job like his. Especially this time of year, in the summer. I’m a writer, of course. So far my published works include a fantasy novella, Amana, my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, several short stories in various anthologies, and now my brand new Beyond the Sunset Lands series.
 
3.       How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.
 
I’ve been writing for around fifteen years. Mainly I write fantasy, and that’s what I’m published in. I’ve also written two historical fiction novels, and they’re with an agent right now. Crossing my fingers on that!
 
4.      What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…
 
I would say reading, music, movies, and watching people in the world around me. Fairy tales and Disney movies, as well. As for authors, C. Greenwood is a favorite.
5.      Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up.
 
                I’m working on a fun YA Fantasy/Fairy tale novel, Knight’s Rebirth, which is set to debut before Christmas 2018. It’s the story of a famous knight, Sir Buckhunter Dornley, who is content to live alone until he meets the charming and outrageous Princess Mercy. When he discovers Mercy is threatened by a deadly curse, how far will he go to break it?
 
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 am very much a pantser. Usually I have an idea, a vague plot in my head, and I run with it, letting it unfold as I write. In the past I would work on more than one project at once, but now I find I do better focusing on only one book at a time.
 
7.      What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
 
Hmmm. I’ve gotten compliments on my descriptive skills and world building. As for weaknesses, being repetitive. Also overuse of colons.
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?
 
Ugh, this is such a huge learning curve! I started out buying promos from promotional sites. Then I switched more toward newsletter and newsletter swaps. Right now, I’m trying a combination of those things. If I find the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I’ll let you know!
 
9.      What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
 
I’d tell them the best advice I’ve ever seen, and that is to write. Just write. You can polish it later, but you can’t polish what isn’t written.

Joel Galloway has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.       What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
 Joel Galloway – www.crusaderbook.com

 

2.       Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.
I currently live in Northern Virginia where I work for the Office of Biometrics Management in the Department of Homeland Security. I’m a voracious reader, avid outdoorsman and wrestling (folkstyle, freestyle, Greco-Roman) enthusiast. I’ve lived on the Mexican border for close to 10 years and have been following the so-called Mexican drug wars with fascination and extreme concern.

 

3.        How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.
CRUSADER is my first novel (crime/thriller/action) and it took over seven years to complete. I’ve also written quite a few technical papers throughout my career – not as exciting 😊.

 

4.       What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc
Wilbur Smith, Bernard Cornwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Cormac McCarthy are some of the authors who have influenced my writing. I love thrillers with dramatic action and good plots. CRUSADER is the culmination of real-life events, life lessons learned, personal philosophy, and my romantic aspirations to serve justice and be a positive influence in the world.

 

5.       Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…
I’m currently working on a prequel to CRUSADER centering around the Templar Knights which takes place in the early 14th century.

 

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?
Research. Read, come up with ideas, and then read some more. Any time I come up with an idea I jot it down on paper and later flush it out into the text. I work with an initial idea and then constantly scope it down throughout the course of writing.

 

7.       What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
Probably writing action scenes. I also believe I’ve a good storyteller. I struggle a bit with character development and dialogue.

 

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 am learning this stuff as I go 😊 I’ve just created a book trailer which I feel is pretty good and which you can find on the website. Hopefully that will spur interest.

 

9.       What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
One great book is worth a million good ones. Take your time and create a masterpiece.

E.J. Simon has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

I’m author E.J. Simon and you can find me at

www.ejsimon.com,

and on social media at @jimejsimon,

Facebook.com/jimejsimon, and Instagram.com/e.j.simon.

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

I have a full-time job as a recruiter for Coldwell Banker HPW in North Carolina (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area), I love it and it keeps me connected with the real world and in touch with some fascinating people. My wife and I live in Cary, NC, and I have a terrific daughter who lives in Manhattan – and is about to be married. I’m an art collector, love baseball, read a lot of history and enjoy traveling to Europe with my wife.

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

I’ve been writing for over seven years. My first publication was a short story in a literary journal, The Forge, titled, The Secret Apple. All of my published books so far have been thrillers. I have completed the first draft, however, of a crime novel based upon a true story, Dirty Priest.

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

I write primarily to entertain. I don’t write literary fiction in fact, if I could, I wish I could write to attract the biggest audience in the world: people who don’t read books. I haven’t quite found a way yet to get to all of them – but I have gotten to some!  My favorite novel authors are Dan Brown and Stuart Woods but I read mostly non-fiction. My stories come out of my own imagination, incidents that have occurred to me and, maybe, fears.

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

Death Logs Out is my third novel. I’m nearly done with the next – and fourth – one in this series (although they each stand alone), Death in the Cloud. I love the title. Agatha Christie has a story called Death in the Clouds. I happen to love her books.

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 begin with ideas in my head. If I were psychotic I’d call them voices, but they aren’t and I’m not. Seriously, I begin with a very rough idea of a story. From there I write and flesh out an outline, usually quite detailed anywhere from 7-15 pages, which I follow for at least the first few chapters. Then, as they say, life intervenes. Characters surprise, unexpected events occur, and the story takes on a life of its own, just as our lives, although meticulously planned at times, goes off in different directions. Often, in real life, that can be as simple as meeting a certain person, whether it’s the love of your life or a mugger in the street, both of whom can change everything in a second.

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

I think the plots and story lines are unique and my dialogue is real, often because the characters are ones I have known. My weakness is the development of the character whom I’ve modeled after myself. I don’t always understand him.

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 have a publicity company to supplement my publisher’s marketing efforts. It’s a challenge to get attention and to get noticed in this crowded publishing and social media world.

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

Take writing courses for the genre in which you’re writing. There is a certain craft to this that you need to know and then can ignore. Ignore your critics except when, after days or weeks of reflection, you realize they have a point. Finally, keep writing, every day. As in most things, perseverance is at least as important as talent.

Projesh Banerjea has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.  What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
Projesh Banerjea
I am on Facebook and Instagram both as an individual and via the Inkarnare accounts

2.  Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.
I live in Abu Dhabi and work as an investment professional at a sovereign wealth fund. I recently completed an executive MBA program at the University of Oxford and am just getting used to having some free time again. I try and travel, train and explore new restaurants and cuisines in my spare time and am also a fan of live music and theatre.  

3.  How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.
It’s taken me ten years to write this book. I used to blog but my last post was in 2010. The God Gene Chronicles: The Secret of the Gods is my first attempt at fiction.

4.  What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…
I grew up reading a broad range of authors and I suppose some of it has stuck. My favorites include PG Wodehouse, Douglas Adams, Tagore, Julian Barnes, Jeffrey Archer, Michael Lewis, Ruskin Bond, Satyajit Ray etc. Living in four countries (India, USA, UK, UAE) has also helped broaden my horizons and provided helpful perspective and exposure that probably filters into my writing.

5.  Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…
I’m writing the second book in the series and hope to have it finished in another 12 months.

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 start with an outline and map out both the key themes I want to touch upon as well as the broader plot structure and character profiles. I try and visualise the story and then break up the outline into chapters based on the cadence and tone of the narrative.

7.  What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
Strengths: Coming up with plot structures and the overall outline of the book
Weakness: Descriptive text. Character profiles for younger characters

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?
My only experience with marketing a book has been The God Gene Chronicles. I have focused primarily on Social Media and found Facebook to be an effective and fairly low-cost way to reach out to potential fans. I think the marketing strategy depends on the genre of the book but book trailers and comic strips have worked quite well for The God Gene Chronicles so far, which is perhaps unsurprising given the superhero theme. I think a non-fiction or academic book would probably need to follow a very different approach. I don’t have specific tips per se but recommend signing up for a number of book marketing blogs to create a strategy that best matches the ultimate goal.

9.  What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
It’s a long journey with plenty of twists and turns – don’t lose hope. Enlist the help of friends and family and stay invested in your manuscript. You will be proud of the outcome.  

Midsummer’s Bottom COVER REVEAL!!!

Midsummer’s Bottom by Darren Dash

Coming June 21st, 2018

The Midsummer Players stage an outdoor version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream every year on Midsummer’s Eve, in a glade in a forest. The actors have a wonderful time, even though they’re dreadful. Audience members appreciate the effort they put in and applaud politely, but almost never attend more than once. Except for…

…the fey folk!

All of the fairies named in the play are obliged to attend every performance, due to a deal that they struck back in the day with a mischievous Master Shakespeare. In an attempt to disband the irksome Midsummer Players on the eve of their twentieth anniversary, Oberon and Puck hire a human agent of chaos to infiltrate the actors’ ranks and set them against one another by focusing on secret attractions and grudges that have been lying dormant up to now. Sparks will fly, and everyone will come to blows, but it’s all executed with a wink and a grin, and there will be more smiles than tears by the end. At least, that’s the plan…

Inspired by the Bard’s immortal play (which it also weaves into its plot), this light-hearted Comedy is a novel in the spirit of the movies Smiles Of A Summer Night and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, and the musical A Little Night Music. For lovers of Shakespeare, chaos and fairies everywhere.

AUTHOR BIO
Darren Dash is better known as Darren Shan, under which name he has sold over 25 million books worldwide, mainly in the YA market. Darren was born in London, but has spent most of his life in Limerick in Ireland, close to the forest where Midsummer’s Bottom is set, though he has not seen any fairies there… yet! Darren studied Sociology and English at Roehampton University in London, then worked for a cable television company in Limerick for a couple of years, before setting up as a full-time writer at the age of 23, and has never looked back.

*If you’d like to know more about the author, check out his INTERVIEW!!!

Laura Holtz has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

I’m author Laura Holtz and you can find me at www.lauraholtz.com, and on social media at @lauraholtzauthor on Facebook and Instagram.

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

First and foremost, I am the dedicated mom of three terrific kids.  I am a cycling enthusiast and I regularly spend time outdoors on my bike, Chicago weather permitting, or in a spin studio when it’s cold or rainy.  I love a good creative project, so I often consult on home design or visual media endeavors.  Right now I’m working with a small food company on their logo and brand materials.

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

I am a musical theatre lyricist and bookwriter, and I completed my first show, Gatecrashers, just before starting Warm Transfer. Musicals are like mental Sudoku, and they require extensive rework – it’s just a matter of time before I get back to Gatecrashers for another round of revisions.  

Years ago, I wrote a screenplay about Tsar Nicholas II and his Russian ballerina mistress while my newborn napped, however I never did anything with it.  It remains on a diskette somewhere in my basement.

With respect to books, I have written commercial women’s fiction and YA science fiction.

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

My childhood family dynamic has influenced my writing, especially my fascination with gender power and control imbalance.  

As a kid, I often escaped into books about aliens – these both terrified and intrigued me, which is probably why I enjoy conceiving stories in the YA sci-fi realm.  

While in college, I spent a year abroad studying English Literature.  My college at the University of London used the tutorial method of instruction and the lessons were intense and immersive.  Reading Dickens, Hardy, Austen and Brontë gave me a huge appreciation for refined language and the precision of well-crafted imagery, among many other things.  One novel, Jane Eyre, was particularly compelling to me.  My mother had told me tales of her youth and somehow I felt like I had a better understanding of her cruel upbringing by reading about Jane’s own plight.

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

Yes!  I am working on book one in a YA science fiction series.  I am also in the early stages of my next musical, a full length drama skewed toward a younger audience.

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?

Ideas come to me when I am moving – especially when I’m on my bike.  Once I have an idea, I begin by creating a list of story events – a timeline, then I flesh out each scene.  When a given scene has a purpose, and it serves the plot, I know I’m in good shape to begin writing.  Characters take real focus.  It’s almost like I have to court each one over a period of time before I really know what they’re about.  

I like to work actively on one project at a time.  For me, it would be tough to divide my time and attention between two activities.  I prefer to put all my energy into one project, and mentally flirt with the idea of the next.  Looking forward to my next project is extremely motivating to me.

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

My strength is definitely my ability to make the perfect cup of coffee (with real whipped cream on top) before I sit down to write.  My caffeine fueled descriptions of place are probably my strength, and the internal dialogue of my characters is something on which I am always working. 

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 been fairly proactive on social media, and I am working with local Chicago bookstores on events.  I have a long list of podcasts I am soliciting, and I have also reached out to to woman’s organizations that support survivors of partner abuse.  Plenty of my friends and family are part of a grassroots promotional effort; many of them are also in bookclubs and are excited to get the word out.  I’ve also engaged Smith Publicity to cast a wide PR net.  

I wish I would have started developing my online presence much earlier than I did.  It would have been nice to document the process of developing Warm Transfer earlier.

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

Invest a little money in a class, coach, or online course.  Once you have skin in the game, you’re more likely to follow through when you hit a wall or decide your story is worthless.
Your story is not worthless.

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.

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.