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!

 

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Writing Rituals

Yes, you guessed it, Kyle Robert Schultz is just on a rampage to prove how utterly lame I am. Why Kyle, why?

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

When do I write? hmmm… sometimes? Mainly when I’m at work supposed to be doing a job I still kind of suck at. Seriously who thought it’d be a good idea to put me in charge of computers? It took me a year to figure out how to schedule posts on here. So yeah, that’s when.

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

ummm… by going home. Where there’s only a fuzzy dog to ignore me.

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

Wait… am I supposed to do this? Interesting. I tend to only review my work if I’ve got writers block or (and this is the usual) if it’s been months since I’ve touched this particular piece of work. And then while I’m reading through I edit it to death crying giant tears of sorrow over how much it sucks.

What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

I guess whatever song I’ve decided is my favorite at the time. It changes a lot. I have a short attention span. Right now I’m torn between Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do and Sing’s soundtrack song I’m Still Standing by whoever voiced the gorilla.

What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

I like watching movies like Something’s Gotta Give or Alex and Emma so I can watch other people suffering through writer’s block as well. Misery loves company and all that. Though I do read a lot, but I’m not sure if that helps with the block, but it’s definitely good for relaxation and gets me thinking. Plus, at the very least, I’m writing a review afterwards. So some kind of writing gets happenin’.

What tools do you use when you’re writing?

A pen? What else would I use? I mean I could use a pencil, but then I’d probably wear a hole through the paper with so much erasing. So I use a red pen, then I edit with a blue pen, then I edit the blue with a red pen. And so it continues…

What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

Probably air. And then water. Sometimes I eat, but that gets crumbs on my pages, and usually I can survive long enough till my ideas run out before I absolutely have to eat. But one must always come prepared.

How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

Isn’t this the same question as before? I am so confused.

How do you know when you’re done writing?

I type THE END and then I know.

Now I’m sure you’re over wowed by my truly in depth answers, and so if you feel like spreading the joy just copy the questions below and slap them on your own blog.

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)
How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?
How do you review what you wrote the previous day?
What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?
What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?
What tools do you use when you’re writing?
What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?
How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?
How do you know when you’re done writing?

THE END

Strangest Browser Searches

I was tagged by Kyle Robert Schultz who apparently hates me and wants me to reveal how boring my writings really are through the sad things I end up searching for. I happily left out all the searches that included me trying to figure out how to spell a word, or if that word even meant what I thought it did. As well as the searches that was just me trying to figure out what an outfit actually looked like during whatever time period. There is also a good mix of me googling translations of words so I can be cool and toss a little Latin in there at times, and unfortunately must admit I’ve forgotten everything from the 4 semesters of Latin that I took in college. So while Kyle went on to list far more than the asked for 5 searches, and showed how cool he is, these are the few pitiful things that keep me up at night trying to get my stories right.

  1. Bandits in the 15th century

Now I know what you’re thinking, why would I search such a thing, a bandit is a bandit. Honestly I wanted to know if it really was such an issue, and not just a fiction created by Hollywood. Surprisingly the “Highway men” weren’t Robin Hoods, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. They were basically gangs, but also at times they were actual nobles themselves I suppose needing money to stay fancy, or just charging people illegal tolls to be on their land. Either way it was interesting.

  1. When did the Roman Empire rule France

You see I have these vampires that have a French last name, just cause, but they’re also really ancient. Plus I wanted them to be a part of a civilization that believed in things like gods and magic and possibly could be responsible for accidentally creating the first vampire. Don’t worry, it’ll all make sense later.

  1. Name meaning

I do this a lot because for some reason I haven’t bookmarked the site that I like using to search for names through their meanings. I like giving my characters fitting monikers (and yes I did just google moniker) that represent a piece of their personality. I’m awesome like that.

  1. How does a spinning wheel work?

I know you’ll be shocked, but I’m writing a retelling of Sleeping Beauty and it occurred to me that the spinning wheel being such a huge part of that story it’d probably be good to know how they work and why there is even a pointy bit on it. It actually led to me learning about a spinning whorl and how much more interesting and devious it would be to use one of those instead. Try to refrain from stealing my amazing ideas.

  1. A Duke in Germany

Another shocker, a fairy tale retelling in the black forest of Germany. Actually it doesn’t specifically say where it is, but considering all the Germanic stuff that really hangs around fairy tales I thought it’d be cool to toss in some Germanic titles. Which I suppose also counts as me looking for a translation for a word, but geez I needed one more to list. By the way a duke in Germany is called a Herzog. Nifty stuff there.

Now that is my sad little list. And I’m not evil like Kyle and so won’t force such things upon other poor authors whose google searches are less than fascinating. But if you wish to carry on in this wonderful good fun then here is essentially the rules that you can choose to ignore.

  • Access your browser history
  • Pick at least 5 of your strangest searches you’ve had to look up as a writer
  • List them below with an explanation as to why you had to look them up
  • Tag 2-5 other bloggers

 

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.

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.

Kathryn Brown Ramsperger has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.      What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
 
Hello! My byline is Kathryn Brown Ramsperger, but feel free to call me Kathy.

You can order my debut novel at shoresofoursouls.com, and I have a blog tab there, too:

Shoresofoursouls.com/

You can find my short fiction at shoresofoursouls.com/media

Google me to find my other writing.
 
I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and I’m getting the hang of Instagram and Pinterest. Here are some of my links:
Twitter: @kathyramsperger
2.      Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?
 
I try to read one new novel, and one of the classics every month.There is nothing like sitting by a window with your cats smelling the grass right after a rain, reading the afternoon away.  Although I love audio books because it lets me read more. I mix it up with nonfiction because I’m also a life and creativity coach. You can find more info on that at groundonecoaching.com. I love anything Creative: from fashion to photography, from singing to travel.  (Yes, I consider travel as a creative endeavor.) What brings it all together is a long, meditative walk in Nature. 

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

I’ve still got stories I wrote in grade school. The story I remember most was about an errant pumpkin. I wrote my first novel in college, but I never tried to get it published. My first full-time job was as a journalist. My entire career has involved writing: National Geographic and Kiplinger publications, poetry, publishing Red Cross & Red Crescent publications, and now writing nonfiction online. I breathe, therefore I write. Can’t imagine a day without it!

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

Oh, countless people: My professors at Hollins University, especially Dara Weir and Richard Dillard; so many renowned writers who led me to the right avenue when I was searching down empty alleys; and my Southern family, who bottle fed me on The Story on long, lazy days rocking away the heat on a porch swing. 

My time living and working overseas inspired me to write about immigrants and refugees. I also get a lot of my stories sitting in cafes and observing when I travel. My biggest early influences were Ernest Hemingway and Eudora Welty. I wasn’t able to meet Hemingway, but I went to every reading I could find that Eudora Welty held. Her readings were workshop-like; she was a wonderful teacher, and she was a photographer as well. I get inspiration from every writer I meet. 

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

The most exciting fiction I’m working on right now is the sequel to my novel The Shores of Our Souls. Its working title is A Thousand Flying Things. It continues Dianna’s story, and Qasim may just show up. The first part of the novel takes place in Southern Sudan. Not the most conducive place to find the love of your life, but a great place to grow and learn who you really are. This part of the second novel is hugely autobiographical because I worked in Africa in the 1990s, though not in Sudan. I was also the one who looked through the countless photos of wounded children during war–photos deemed too graphic for the public, and that was an education about children in war and refugee families. Both are a a big part of this sequel. 

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?

To tell you the truth, I wish I had a template for beginning a book project, but every one is unique and needs a different approach. I usually write first, then outline, then organize to the outline, then revise and revise. This way my characters lead me, and I don’t have to lead them. An image of a scene comes to me before I ever begin writing. My favorite way to start any project is with an interview. I interview my main characters, and that way they already have a voice when I begin to plot. I’ve never had writer’s block because it’s like meeting a friend for lunch every day. Ever had a lack of things to talk about with a good friend?

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

I guess you can tell characterization is my strength. People tell me I’m good at dialogue, too. I close my eyes and I can see my story unfold like a movie, so my prose is pretty visual. I may have finally gotten plotting down to a science, but I struggled with it for years. So many wonderful books taught me the best techniques, and a shout out to Paula Munier who wrote the magical and practical Plot Perfect, which has become my encyclopedia for all things plot. I despise revision and proofreading, even though I’m good at both, because I’m obsessed with getting to the perfect final draft.  Which may be why I have an animosity toward them…my perfectionism.

 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 did marketing for the American Red Cross and then the International Red Cross & Red Crescent. When I told people what my job was, they’d ask me, “Why does the Red Cross need PR?” 
 
I’d answer: “Because if they didn’t have marketing, there would be no Red Cross. No one would know they existed.” 
 
The same is true for writers. It’s important to get the word out, and now we have social media as well as live book tours to engage our readers. If I hear about a way I can promote my book, I do it. I consider writing a business, and business means an investment in marketing.
 
My biggest tip: Get away from your computer and get to know people. Have conversations with as many people as you can. Ask how you can support them.  Ask them for feedback on your writing. Friends share their stories with you, buy your books, and spread the word about your writing. Friends want you and your writing to succeed. Just this morning, a friend gave me the seed for what may become my next short story, which takes place on the Mediterranean Sea. 

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
  • Apprentice with someone who is willing to mentor you. Remember the people who helped you and pass it on when you become more established.
  • Practice! Write until you find your own Voice.
  • Use grammarly. Or something like it. As someone who used to approve and reject nonfiction manuscripts, your writing had to be stellar if it had lots of typos. I was a nice editor; one or two typos were okay. More than that and it went in the trash.
  • Learn all you can about the publishing world itself, what they want, and what they don’t want. Which will change. Try to give them what they want. After you get your first big break, you can begin to write more of what you want.
  • My screensaver says: “Never, ever, ever give up!” Winston Churchill was supposed to have said that in the aftermath of World War II. Writing is its own kind of uphill battle, and there’s a reason my dad called me “the little engine that could.” My nonfiction got published early on in my life. My novel’s available today because of my persistence and resilience.
  • You’ve got what it takes if you desire to write. Now learn, practice, knock on doors, get up and dust yourself off if you get knocked down. Keep going. You’ve got this!

Danielle Hardgrave has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

My name is Danielle Hardgrave and I can be found all over the place. I blog over www.caldwellbooks.com, which is the website for my publishing company, Caldwell Publishing. We’ve also got a Twitter and a Facebook, both of which are @caldwellbooks. My personal Twitter is @dhardgrav3.

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

I’m a big fan of naps. Really. They’re something that I plan in advance and get pumped up about. I also love movies, kickboxing, and reading.

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

Like most writers, I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen. I took a pretty long siesta from writing after high school and only got back into it in late 2015. Since then it feels like all I do is write, since I earn my living as a ghostwriter. At Caldwell so far we only write paranormal romance, but I’ve written in almost every romance genre there is.

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

Honestly the greatest influence has been partnering up with my amazing business partner Olivia. She’s ruthless about my inability to correctly use commas and helps me sort out good ideas from bad. I’d be nowhere without her.

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

Right now I’m working on the second book in our Sea Assassins Trilogy. It’s called Redemption. The whole series is pretty weird and will continue getting weirder. But, then again, when you write a series about dudes who turn into sharks, what else can you expect?

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’m all about the outline and character profiles. I find I just got blocked otherwise. Big fan of beat sheets too for early outlining. I have three projects on the go at the moment. One for a client, one for Caldwell, and another that’s more of a personal project. Ideally, however, I’d only have one 😛

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

My strength is definitely my sense of humor. I’ve never been any good at writing serious, angsty novels, and I often get bored reading them. Sass is where it’s at for me. My biggest weakness is description. I tend to overthink scenes and either end up with too much or too little. It’s something I’m definitely working on.

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?

Honestly, I am no marketing guru when it comes to self-publishing. We use social media, but most of our marketing efforts are spent getting reviews. The only tip I have is to keep getting books out! The more you write, the more likely you are to gain readership.

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

Read lots. Write lots. Rinse, repeat. And don’t give up!