Interview with Ashley Earley


This interview is so good! Ashley has some very good writing advice, which I am sure you will all enjoy.
1) Tell us about your latest book:
I am very excited about my upcoming book, Alone in Paris! It will be released next year. I haven’t set a date yet because I am still revising to make it as perfect as can be for my readers.
If you follow me on Instagram (@ashley_earley) or Twitter (@ashleyc_earley), then you’ve seen all my editing updates. I’m so close to finishing, and I’ve been sharing my excitement constantly!
It is already available for pre-order on iBooks, Kobo and Nook (Barnes & Noble) for $2.99.
Here is the summary:
Breathe, Taylor.
Taylor Clay’s family isn’t exactly perfect. They may look the part with the nice, big house and her dad’s fancy job, but that’s what’s tearing them apart. That, and her dad’s sudden recurring drinking problem.
Though her family is close to falling apart, she never wished for something like this to happen. She never wished for her father to drive off a bridge. Especially not while they were on vacation; especially not when her and her mom were in the car with him at the time.
Breathe.
She’s devastated after the fact. And it isn’t helping that the papers are gossiping about how the pristine lawyer could have driven off the bridge on purpose. And just when she thinks nothing could possibly make things worse, she realizes she’s left alone with no relatives to care for her.
So she’s alone. Her parents are dead. And she’s stuck in the country her family was visiting for their vacation. She’s alone in Paris.
Just breathe.
Then Nathan walks into the picture. Funny, snarky, persistent, and sometimes, just flat out rude, he annoys Taylor to no end. He won’t leave her alone, but Taylor doesn’t know whether or not she should push him away.
2) How old were you when you started writing? 
I was 14-years old when I started writing. At first, it sort of started out as an experiment. I wanted to see if I could write a book—to see how difficult it was. I ended up loving it and couldn’t stop. I wrote one book after another!
3) What do you do when you are lacking inspiration?
I listen to music; I read for a little bit, or I take my writing gear and go somewhere else for a change of scenery. I love writing outside on my back patio!
4)What made you decide to publish your book(s)?
I had tried to get published the traditional way, but when that didn’t work out, I decided that I wanted to take one of my books to the next step myself and publish it on my own. It was very challenging to publish The Darkest Light. I ran into a lot of bumps in the road, but I was determined to get it in print. It was all worth it once I got to hold a physical copy of The Darkest  Light. I’m looking forward to publishing another book!
5) At this point in your career, what has been the most memorable experience as a
writer thus far?
Actually submitting my book to publish it. It was horrifying and exciting all at once. I wanted to take it back as soon as I had done it because I was worried what people would. I was really worried that no one would like it, like every author. It’s a scary thing to share something you’ve created. It’s even scarier to share a part of you because every book (even if it’s fiction) holds a bit of truth. I’m not saying that dragons are real, but life struggles or thoughts that character(s) have can be true—as well as other things.
6) What would be your advice to fellow writers who want to publish their work?
Don’t give up on it. Sometimes you’re going to feel like your book isn’t good enough to publish, and you shouldn’t feel that way. You can always edit and revise your book to make it better. You should be proud of what you wrote! You worked hard, whether if it was for weeks, months, or years. You should publish your book if you feel like you’re ready for the challenge.
And do your research! Don’t just hire anyone to do your book cover art.
7) Share one of your past obstacles in your writing career, and how you overcame it?
I battle with one obstacle constantly. It is one of the most common obstacles for writers and the most difficult to overcome. Writer’s block.
I hate writer’s block just as much as every writer. Having a block is horrible, and pushing through it isn’t always the best solution because you’re not doing your best writing. Sometimes, listening to music can help me, or reading another book. Though, most of the time, I have to wait out my block. It can take days or weeks until I’m ready to write again. But, once I do, I usually find myself unable to stop.
8) If you were starting your writing career over today, what is one thing you would do differently?
I would have done a better job at putting together The Darkest Light and done a better job spreading the word about The Darkest Light. I plan to do a much better job with Alone in Paris.
The story is put together a lot better, and the writing style and grammar are all much better, at least, I think so. Hopefully, everyone else will too!
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Author Interview with Heidi Mason



1) Tell us about your latest book: 

My latest book, Cross My Heart, will be available in paperback (from Rainy Day Reads Publishing) soon. It is a continuing story, featuring Liam and Emma, the characters from Investigating the Heart. It is a romantic suspense novel, and will take readers on an exciting journey. I have also just signed with Hot Tree Publishing for my third novel, Always Hope, which will be available toward the end of this year. Always Hope is Romantic Women’s Fiction, and is certain to pluck at your heartstrings. 

2) How old were you when you started writing? 

I started writing in Junior High, and quickly  discovered that I was much better at expressing myself through the written word than I was verbally. I knew it was something I wanted to pursue, but I put it on the back burner once I had children. I seriously started pursuing my dream in 2015, and my first novel, Investigating the Heart was published with Solstice Publishing in September of last year. 

3) What do you do when you are lacking inspiration?

 When I feel like I’m lacking inspiration, I generally step away for a bit. I’ll hang out with my kids, do some work around the house, or focus on something else for a while. Normally, something will spark the fire of creativity and I’ll get back to work. 


4) What made you decide to publish your book(s)?

 Being a published author was something I always wanted, and once I began taking my writing seriously, I knew that would be the ultimate path for me. 
5) At this point in your career, what has been the most memorable experience as a writer thus far? The most memorable experience for me by far was being offered my first publishing contract. It was so surreal, seeing the culmination of my dreams right in front of me. 

6) What would be your advice to fellow writers who want to publish their work?

My advice would be to keep writing. Write even when you know it’s bad. You can always edit bad writing, but you can’t do anything with words that don’t exist. 
7) Share one of your past obstacles in your writing career, and how you overcame it.

The biggest obstacle for me when I started out was learning how to handle rejection. I had the fantasy, as most beginning authors do, that everyone who read my work would instantly fall in love with it. The opposite reality was hard to accept at first. Not everyone will love what you do. Those aren’t the people you’re writing for. You are writing first and foremost for yourself, and if you do that your work will come from your heart. When that happens, you’ll find the readers who will fall in love with your words.
8) If you were starting your writing career over today, what is one thing you would do differently?

I’m not one who regrets many things. I believe that there is a purpose to everything, and each path you choose is chosen for a reason. I’m happy with my journey so far, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Interview with Malinda Andrews


I am so glad we were able to do an interview with Malinda Andrews! She is a great writer, and her advice is very helpful.

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Can you tell us anything about your books?

Of course! The current trilogy is a high fantasy set in a medieval world where magic has been labeled as bad, the only dragons left are bonded with people bent of destroying everything, and a king is in danger. Riona is the main character, and through a series of events and adventures, discovers who she really is. A cast of varied friends accompanies her, as well as one snarky dragon named Feoras.

While I love writing and reading fantasy I wanted this story to be much more accessible for readers of all genres; I know the length of fantasies and the quantity of description can turn readers off.  So to that end, these books are small, the first is just under 77,000 words, and I keep the action moving forward. No getting bogged down in detailed description here!

There’s family, loyalty, fate, and love all wrapped up in a magical bow.

How old were you when you started writing?

 I’ve always written stories, ever since I learned how to write.

But the inspiration for these specific stories, what I call The Ryder Chronicles, started when I was 16. I wrote a lot of the first books, but then let it sit for many years. While in college I picked it up again, and haven’t put the characters or world down yet!

What do you do when you are lacking inspiration?

Whenever I am lacking inspiration, or drive to write, I usually cut myself some slack and do something outside. Even just going for a simple hike at a nature preserve nearby clears my head. Usually I end up coming back with even more ideas.

I also work on at least two projects at once. I can bounce between them if motivation in one is lacking. It keeps the words flowing, and that’s the important part. You can edit a bad page, you can’t fix a blank one.

What made you decide to publish your book?

 I have always wanted other people to read and enjoy my books. Sharing the stories with others is one of the best feelings.

I decided to self publish this series because I did not want someone else telling me how to “fix” or “change” my stories. I have been working on these characters and this world for years, if I select a name or plot point, there is a specific reason why.

I currently am finishing up a contemporary romance set in Ireland, the first in a trilogy that will be shopped around to traditional publishers and agents. I feel there is more of a market for romance books. If it doesn’t pan out, I’ll just self publish them too!

So far, what has been the highlight of your career as a writer?

 Getting Fan Art! That hands down, has been the best aspect to being a writer.

Though the second best is when people read it and then geek out over the characters and story with me.

What is your advice to writers wanting to be published?

 There are so many avenues for writers to take to being published, so I would say to stay positive, and keep trying. At times it will seem like you’re climbing the highest mountain, but just keep going. Keep querying, keep writing a backlog, join a critique group where people are honest. Hone your craft.

What have been your biggest struggles with writing, and how have you overcome them?

 Honestly, probably staying positive when there are no sales, the imagination has run dry, and no one else is in love with your characters yet.

Everyone has those days where you just want to throw in the towel. You have to remember that every writer has felt this way at some point. Every writer has felt the sting of rejection, it’s all part of the industry.

What you have to do is remember why you started writing in the first place. Was it for an audience? Or was it because you had characters poking at your head begging to have their story be told? If it’s the latter, keep going.  It will all be worth it.

Do you have any advice for your fellow writers?

 

See above!

Interview with Diana Anderson



Tell us a little about your books.

I write in three completely different genres: faith-based fitness (non-fiction), women’s contemporary, and young adult fantasy. My non-fiction books are all about viewing ourselves as three-part beings comprised of spirt, soul, and body, and eating well and exercising properly with that in mind. To me, fitness is about far more than looking a certain way or preventing diseases; it’s about being the best version of ourselves so we can better serve and love those around us. 

My first novel, Moonbow: The Colors of Iris, is a prequel to the young adult fantasy series I’m currently writing. It’s set in an ancient-Greece-like world and tells the story of a teenaged girl with a secret superpower who must decide whether she’ll use it to perpetuate war or bring about peace. It was an adaptation of a screenplay I wrote in college and was a ton of fun to write, as I love researching all things related to ancient Greek culture and mythology!

My upcoming women’s contemporary novel is called Armor for Orchids. It follows three small-town twenty-somethings who are each struggling with seemingly hopeless battles, from depression and anorexia to rebellion and marital infidelity. Their only commonality is their connection to 82-year-old Poppy McAdams, a local heroine who shows them all, in her unique albeit mysterious way, what it takes to have true and lasting victory. This story was one of those I literally felt had to be written….really, it wouldn’t stop pestering me until I got it out on paper! It was truly therapeutic to write and I pray it’s a blessing to the women who read it. It will be published by Evatopia Press later this year!

The current fantasy series I’m working on is, like Moonbow, heavily influenced by my lifelong love for Greek mythology. It is set in the present, unlike Moonbow, and follows my protagonist Chloe who lives in a dystopian world whose corrupt government is hiding a long-kept secret only she can uncover. I’ve had a blast bringing gods and heroes such as Apollo, Hermes, Orpheus, even Medusa into the cast of characters!

When did you start writing? 

As soon as I learned the alphabet! My mom has bins full of my stories, which were written before I knew sentences run from left to right! I just scribbled letters around the edges of construction paper, drew pictures in the center, stapled the pages together, and called it a book! 

Why do you write?

I’m going to shamelessly quote Nicole Krauss because her statement perfectly expresses my sentiments: “Why does one begin to write? Because she feels misunderstood, I guess. Because it never comes out clearly enough when she tries to speak. Because she wants to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently, so that everything is used and nothing is lost. Because it’s something to do to pass the time until she is old enough to experience the things she writes about.” 

I write because, quite simply, it’s the best way I know to both express myself and daydream about and discover the things of which I am absolutely ignorant and naïve. It’s the art form God gave me to explore and enjoy, and I intend to soak up all its joys until the day I die.

How do you find inspiration?

Obviously, Greek mythology is a huge inspiration for my fiction. I’ve been fascinated with myths, and Greek myths in particular, since I was little girl. There’s something so timeless about them. The characters, even the most divine and powerful ones, are incredibly relatable and relevant, even now. The level of conflict they portray, the pathos they present, the catharsis they provide, and the worlds they paint are what have kept readers and writers returning to them for millennia. They’re classic examples of stellar storytelling that will never grow stale. 

My fitness books and contemporary fiction are largely inspired by events in my own life. I struggled with anorexia and body image issues as a teen and now write extensively about having a healthy mindset when it comes to fitness and nutrition. I know firsthand what it’s like to be your body’s own worst enemy and want to help women overcome harmful habits and thought patterns. Though several of the characters in Armor for Orchids struggle with things with which I personally have little or no experience, I draw inspiration from stories I’ve heard or read throughout my life, as well as from my own imagination. As is often the case, inspiration seems to come when I just let myself ponder the question, “What if…?”
What is your advice on the editing process? 

First, enlist beta readers, people who are familiar with your genre and can give you honest feedback on whether what you’re writing is resonating or falling flat. 

Second, hire a professional editor to proofread and/or edit your work from a developmental standpoint, preferably both. It’s worth it to save some money and invest in an editor who can put the final polish on your book. A great editor and an expert cover designer are musts, in my opinion. 

Third, never stop learning about the craft of writing a story that works from start to finish. Learn all you can about plot structure, beats and scenes, set-ups and pay-offs, crises and resolutions, inciting incidents and climaxes. The more you know, the easier editing will go for you as you’re better able to identify any problem areas and their fixes. 

Were you ever nervous about publishing?

Honestly, not really. I knew that this would be a giant learning experience and that only a very small percentage of people knock it out of the park with their debut novel, or even their first ten novels. I made a boatload of mistakes when I published my first few books, but these have only made me a better business person and have further convinced me that I was born to be a writer. So much has happened, both personally and professionally, that could have caused me to give up on writing altogether, but I’ve stuck with it because I love it with all my heart. 

Today’s publishing world is exciting, volatile, competitive, and tremendously frustrating, but I believe it will always reward the authors who stick with it and persevere. 

So far, what has been the highlight of your career as a writer?

Recently signing with Evatopia Press was a huge moment for me. I’m very excited to have their support and look forward to seeing what this relationship brings. 

Second to that – and this might sound strange – my agent breaking up with me earlier this year was actually a blessing in disguise. He’d been representing my novel Moonbow and gave up on it, understandably, after eight months. I was heartbroken. 

A few months later, I emailed him my latest fantasy novel for his consideration and didn’t receive so much as a standard rejection email. More heartbreak. I felt like I was being rejected by my first love all over again! But, as was the case with my publishing mistakes, this disappointment only made me stronger. After I cried and threw my pity party, I got up, dried my tears, and went straight back to work on my manuscript. 

You can’t let one person tell you, either by their words or actions, that you’re not good enough, that your work is worthless. I strongly believe that the joy of writing should always be your “why” for writing. It should never be about pleasing an agent, making money, or winning fans. Creating meaningful art transcends all those things, which is an immensely freeing thought. 

Do you have any advice for your fellow writers?

Read a lot! I know I quoted another writer earlier, but I’m going to do it again. Lisa See said this, “Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.” 

Read books that challenge you, books by authors you know are (for now, at least) far better than you. Let them be your teachers. Let their words wash over and enrich you. Take notes on how they turn a scene, build a world, and describe a character. Read like a student. I promise you’ll be amazed by the results!

Captive Bride, by Hope Ann


This is our WINNER!!! Congratulations to author Hope Ann for writing the winning submission!

 

Captive Bride

By Hope Ann

The Volandums had absurd ideas about how to treat a captive princess. I mean, golden chains? Really? Were they showing me off to the people, or were they showing off their own wealth to me? I honestly wasn’t sure anymore.

My mount’s hooves clopped against the flower-strewn pavement of Dezmond’s central street and I briefly let my gaze wander, taking in the towering stone buildings, mapping out routes, exits, dead ends. They were crowded now, with cheering citizens greeting their returning king. Oh yes, and the Elentisaren princess who’d been the price of peace and would become their queen.
I gazed steadily at the faces passing by. Returning each insolent stare with defiance. Each slur with a smirk. Each fragment of pity with determination. But many of the gazes were ones of wonder. Or perhaps they were just staring at my ridiculous white fluttery dress. Loose bits of gauze flew about my waist and a heavy necklace hung about my bare neck while taches of gold fastened my sleeves. All in all, it wasn’t a dress I’d be able to slip away in without being recognized.
But mostly, my gaze rested on the guards surrounding my mount. An especially grim soldier led my horse, but others closed in on all sides. Two before. Three on each side of me. Four more behind. Not as if they thought I could escape, but I couldn’t help relishing in their worry over the almost mystical legends surrounding the Elentisaren Phoenix, otherwise known as the most deadly woman assassin in history. They seemed to think she’d not stand for her princess being taken by Volandums. And that she’d be coming after me.
Ahead of me, the Volandum king shifted in his saddle. His gaze swept over me for the dozeneth time. And, for the dozeneth time I met his stare with a glare of my own and the slightest curl of my lips.
His own smile creased his beard as he turned away.
The Volandums respected strength. Already the king was well pleased with the spirit of his bride-to-be.
Except all the Volandums lacked one small detail.
And, as the castle of Dezmond loomed over us, I permitted my smirk to deepen. The Volandums thought they were welcoming a bride. Instead they were providing the Phoenix of Elentisa safe passage into their most guarded fortress.
They’d been right about one thing. I wasn’t about to let my cousin the princess surrender her freedom for peace.
I was the Phoenix. And I was here to bring Voland to her knees.

Interview with Author Hope Ann



This is Hope Anne, the author of the Legends of Light series. She is an inspiring author, and I am so excited to share this interview with you! With our Fantasy Contest underway, I think that her advice on Fantasy will be very helpful. Enjoy!

Can you tell us about your latest book, Song of the Sword?

Song of the Sword is a retelling of Rapunzel and the second novella in my Legends of Light series. Though history progresses the series, each story stands alone and focuses on one aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit. In Song of the Sword, Evrard is a wingmaster, a warrior in the alternate dimension of the melody realm most people discount as legend. But even as the war about him seems to draw to an end, another battle rages through the Melody, one Evrard knows he doesn’t have the power to win. And he’s not the only one who will suffer if he fails because he’s made a discovery. He has a sister.

 

Why do you write fantasy?

I love swords, bows, griffins, and the freedom to create whole worlds. I also enjoy the allegory aspect I can use in fantasy; the ability to delve deeper into some topics without being preachy, or giving readers a fresh look at other topics without the emotional views they may take on the subject.
When you are lacking motivation, what do you do?

 

Work through it. There are plenty of times I don’t feel like writing, but I set deadlines for myself and force myself to keep moving even when I don’t want to. Because I know the lack of motivation won’t last and, when I’m excited about writing again, I’ll be further on in the story and able to press on with more vigor.

 

When did you first start writing fantasy? What prompted that first story?

 

I’ve written on and off since I was around eight. My first stories where short, mainly based off the world around me. I was fifteen or sixteen when I began writing fantasy. I’m not sure what I wrote first, or why. I enjoyed reading fantasy whenever I could. I liked the sword fights and heroic knights and archers and rescues. Somewhere along the way I switched from reading to writing fantasy…and I’ve never stopped.

 

What is the first thing you do, when you come up with an idea?

 

Write it down, because I will forget it if I don’t. I have several documents full of ideas. Generally I’m working on a few projects at one time while other ideas sift around in my brain…sometimes for a few years before I actually do anything with them.

 

Do you plan and outline before you start writing, or write some first?

 

I outline. All the time. If it’s a novella, I might just write a basic outline. If it’s a novel, I write an extended chapter by chapter outline along with character profiles and (sometimes) bits of backstory.

 

Some people say that young people don’t have experiences needed to be successful as a writer, as a young author yourself, what is your take on this?

 

Well, most writers don’t go through what their characters go through. They haven’t fought in battle or traveled through space or led a rebellion. If we were limited to writing about just what we’d experienced, we’d be very limited indeed, even as we grew older. But writers, no matter their age, can research to make sure their stories are grounded in reality. We can read well-written books and ‘experience’ things that way. Experience might deepen your writing, but if a writer understands emotions and can show them well, then they should be able to write about almost anything. Having said that, I personally write very little romance even as subplots and don’t intend to write much about characters getting married until I’m married myself. Though not impossible, marriage and romance, for me, is one thing I find hard to just ‘make up’ realistically.

 

What is your advice for young people, thinking about getting published?

 

Don’t cut corners. If you’re self-publishing, make sure you get a good cover. Make sure you proofread and proofread again and again and again. Make sure you format your book correctly. You’ve spent a lot of time creating it. You don’t want to put off readers due to a rush to get it published.

 

Alright, to wrap it up, what advice do you have for your fellow writers?

 

Spend a little time thinking about your purpose for writing. Is it a hobby, for personal enjoyment? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Is it to spread a message? Is it to earn a living? Nothing wrong with that either. But once you know your purpose for writing, that knowledge can help you relax or help you set deadlines and figure out how you want to go about your writing.

Interview with Rachel Wollaston



Can you tell us about your newly released book Kingdom?

Kingdom is my debut novel; a contemporary fantasy story based on the concept of an enchanted manor which brings story characters to life. I had been playing around for some time with the idea of sentient characters, and the basis for this story came to fruition when I merged it with a dream I had back in the summer of 2015. It is an action-packed story following the adventures of 18 year-old Pepper Fairfield after she realises her new job isn’t quite what she expected! 

Which authors inspired, and influenced, you the most?

Growing up, a firm favourite of mine was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.I just love all the ideas behind it and the way it combines real life with a slight flavour of fantasy. Nowadays—and I largely have the online writing group, WriteOn, to thank for this—I tend to veer towards books written by authors similar to myself: comparatively lesser known writers, often independently published. I enjoy giving thorough reviews and feedback which, in turn, allows me to develop my own writing. I’ve never been a big reader of the ‘classics’, so working like this give me a unique outlook on the literary world.

How would your writing be different, if you hadn’t read their works?

Reading and reviewing works by these wonderful, undiscovered authors offers me a much broader look at what is out there, and I feel there is a lot to be learnt from working closely with other writers. Sure, I may be unconventional in my approach, but who knows? Maybe it’s the future of writing! 

How old were you when you started writing?

Honestly, I find it difficult to pinpoint the exact moment I started to write. It has been a hobby of mine pretty much entire life, but I guess I only really started taking it seriously when I started work on Kingdom just over a year ago when I was seventeen.What? You didn’t know I’m still a teenager? But, as I said, there really was no exact moment when I decided that I wanted to write. I often joke that I might have been an author in a previous existence!

Do you have a favorite time of day to write?

In the evenings is always a nice time to write. I like to work in my bedroom, which is filled with strings of twinkling fairy lights. When it’s dark outside, it looks like you’ve stepped straight into a fantasy world! Great for finding inspiration!

When you have an idea for a story, what is your first step in writing it?

I grab my beautiful fountain pen and whichever colourful notebook I happen to be using at the time, and jot the idea down. I’m more of a panster than a planner, so I will begin writing pretty much straight away, allowing the ideas to unfold as I go, but referring back to my notebook whenever a concept requires more thought.

Was there ever a time when you felt like quitting writing at all? If so, what motivated you to keep going?

On the first day after Kingdom was released, I sold far less copies than I expected to. There was a moment then where I felt like all my efforts had been in vain. Thankfully, the sales picked up throughout the week but, even if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t have quit—giving upsimply isn’t in my blood. Besides, I love writing too much!

What do you do to combat writers block?

I have many techniques—taking a break, re-reading what I’ve written, ploughing through until I break the block—but my favourite method is to make a mental list of all the worst things that could possibly happen. Oftentimes, when I’m stuck in a rut, it means that my storyline has become bland and I’m losing interest. The only way to bring back the spark is tomake something crazy happen! Which character’s appearance would cause the most mayhem? What if something were to set on fire?

Is there a certain person you turn to when you lack inspiration, or just want to brainstorm?

My younger sister, Claire, is as crazy and insane as I am. When we’re not arguing, we get along extremely well. While I’m drafting my ideas, I will tell them to Claire. I admit, she’s not always that interested, but just the act of explaining the whole idea to someone else really helps me to find any major plot holes and flesh out the story.Sometimes, telling the story to my cat works just as well.Can you remember any specific milestones in your life as a writer?
Publishing my first story on Wattpad. In retrospect, it was absolute pants, but it was the first step I ever took in sharing my stories with other people. Before then, I was terrified of people judging my efforts, being the definition of the word ‘introvert’. That first movement inmaking my work public was a huge step for me.To wrap it up, can you tell us your advice for your fellow writers, new or otherwise?Be open to criticism, don’t be afraid of letting yourself fall before you fly and, above all, WRITE! Write because you love it, and because the world will be a better place once it hears your story.

Interview with Robin Puelma


Today’s interview was with Robin Puelma, who is a splendid author, and had some great advice about writing. She also told us about her experiences as an author, and all about her books, so, take a look!

 

Mrs. Puelma, can you tell us about your books?

Here are my back blurbs!

The Missing Crimoire

Twelve-year-old Luke Cedrus lives in the most un-magical place (an adoption ward), under the authority of the most un-magical person (Mrs. Hall), believing only un-magical things happen to him (detention). Until one night, Luke discovers he is anything but un-magical. He is a keeper of magic. The one thing Luke wants in life? Family. With his new magical powers, he’s convinced he can have just that. Or can he? Immediately, life flips upside-down as in one night, he must escape from the ward to save his life and learns that his mother is dead and his father is wanted for the murder of a powerful keeper.

Now, engulfed by his new magical surroundings, Luke faces ridicule and ultimate danger for the actions of his father. Plus, after discovering an evil keeper’s secret plot to dominate keepers everywhere, Luke is thrust into an adventure well beyond his years.

It’ll take the help of his new friends, magical key, and sheer belief in himself to tackle the terrors facing the keeper world. And discover what family truly means.

The Naming of Colton Black

Seventeen-year-old Breslin Black grew up in the royal family; in a kingdom where a mystical naming ceremony determines everyones destiny. Where every thirteen-year-old receives a definition of their name, one that sets the tone of their life to follow. For centuries, royals have received Namings that mean powerful; leader; protector. Until one. Princess Breslin. Her namings results? Rattled her royal lineage and worse, fractured the once sweet relationship she had with her father the king.

For years, Breslin vowed to prove to him shes more than her Naming. That he can trust her; love her. But nothing she did made any bit of difference. Until her brother Colton is Named. Until he too receives mind-numbing results, sending the kingdom into a panic as a once unshakeable tradition begins to unravel. Her father, desperate to conserve order and peace, approaches Breslin for help. This is her chance. She agrees, promising to follow him blindly. But as Breslin submits to her fathers plans, she discovers things about the Namings that have been overshadowed for centuries. Dark secrets. And if theyre not exposed, the future of the kingdom could crumble. Breslins loyalty is now put to the test. If she departs from her fathers plans she risks never healing their relationship again. But if Breslin ignores what she uncovers, she could be responsible for the kingdoms demise.

 

Were you ever turned down by publishers? If so, how did that affect you?

YES For a year, I queried The Missing Crimoire to agents and publishing houses and received several rejections. All very nicebut all said no. I then queried The Naming of Colton Black to over 40 literary agents. Once again, I received rejection after rejection this time, however, agents were more encouraging in their responses—“This is such a subjective field; “Keep querying; etc. One agent asked to see my entire manuscript, she liked it so much. But in the end, decided to pass. Each no is ALWAYS hard to hear. Your work is such a personal representation of you, so any kind of rejection of your work feels like a rejection of you. But, I knew this was part of the journey. I knew that every writer has heard a no. And that all it takes is one yes. I think rejections also help you develop tough skin, which is most definitely needed in this industry. While I decided to go the self-publishing route, I am still interested in and curious about traditional publishing.

Which authors inspired, and influenced, you the most?

Like many, J.K.Rowling has been a huge influence on my writing how she created such a fantastical story with such depth and detail blows my mind. Not to mention her adoring characters. When I create new worlds, Im always thinking about Rowlings depth. Orson Scott Card, hands down, has forever changed how I view and write internal character monologues / emotions etc. One of my favorite characters in literature is Ender; I never thought Id feel such emotion for a young genius boy who fights battles in space. But. The way Scott reveals Enders character, desires, wants, I cant help but fall in love with him. And lastly, F. Scott Fitzgerald. I admire his poetic prose so much and aim to write not only interesting stories but to write them in a beautiful, melodic way. I am always trying to find the right cadence to my sentences; the right flow; the right soundeven if its a kids book.

How would your writing be different, if you hadn’t read their works?

Interesting question! I want to say my writing wouldnt differ too much, but thats probably a lie. These three authors helped me find my style; my voice. It was reading their works that lead me to know how exactly I wanted to write stories. Without them? I think that process would have taken much longer. I might not have discovered my style as quicklyor at all, for that matter.

How old were you when you started writing?

I was *old* in the I want to be a writerworldI was 18. I always loved drawing and spent my childhood creating characters through art. Not until I was a senior in high school did I start to enjoy writing. Then, when I began college (as an undeclared freshman), I received such praise for my writing from peers and professors. The amazing support gave me the confidence I needed to start my journey as a writer.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write?

I used to think night time, since Im a night owl. But honestly? Any time of day works. Afternoons are a little tricky, since Im usually most sluggish then. For me, its more about the ambiance. The space. Set me up in a coffee house in a big city with a mug of coffee, and I could write for days.

When you have an idea for a story, what is your first step in writing it?

When an idea hits me, I grab the nearest writing instrument and write everything down thats flowing through my mind. I want to get as much of the original thoughts on paper/screen as possible. No time for editing. No time for anything but putting words down.

Was there ever a time when you felt like quitting writing at all? If so, what motivated you to keep going?

Yes! But I think knowing that who I am is a writer and if I quit, what then? I look at those times now those I cant do thistimes and seem them as I need a break from whatever project Im working on. Then, once that passes (and it always does), I feel recharged and motivated again. I dont think I could ever stop writing. Its as necessary as breathing. What do you do to combat writers block? Write through it! Often times I set either a page limit, a word limit, or a time limit on my writing days. And no matter what, no matter how Im feeling; no matter if Im inspired or not; not matter if the words come or they dont, I force myself to reach that goal for the day. True, this doesnt always happen. But there have been plenty of times I sat down to a 4-hour writing session and the writing didnt happen until hour three. But had I let writers blockdetermine my day, I would have missed out on some amazing prose!

Is there a certain person you turn to when you lack inspiration, or just want to brainstorm?

My husband. He has been the most fun and helpful person to brainstorm with! Hes not a writer,but he is a jazz musician so a lot of our processes and vocabularies cross over. He has such a great imagination and can see a story from a new perspective. His ideas are fresh; his words encouraging; and hes easy on the eyes, which doesnt hurt!

Can you remember any specific milestones in your life as a writer?

Every time I finish a first draft, I cry. Theres something so exhausting, so rewarding, so overwhelming when that moment comes. Along with those moments, Id have to say the first time I saw my published book in my favorite bookstore. This blew my mind. I worked at that bookstore; met my husband there; and now have my books on its shelves. What??

To wrap it up, can you tell us your advice for your fellow writers, new or otherwise?

One of the greatest pieces of advice I received from an amazing professor of mine (who oversaw the Creative Writing department at Pepperdine University) was if you want to be writer, write. I had contemplated on getting my MFA; he asked me what I wanted to do with my writing. Write books,was my answer. His reply? Then, just write. I knew that it would take practice; that I wouldnt get it right away; that I wouldnt even know what I was doing. But if I kept at it, kept writing, I would get there. I would write books.

My other piece of advice is to always show up. No matter how little time you have, show up. If you schedule writing time, make sure youre there. And stay there until your time is over. Like I said before, often times my best writing comes just minutes before my writing hour is up. Had I left? I never would have discovered some of the best plots/characters/dialogue that Ive written.

 

 

Interview with Author Brandi Kennedy


     Writing is hard. There’s no question there. That’s why it is helpful to listen to the advice, and learn about the experiences, of those who have already become published authors.That’s the reason you should read this interview I had recently with Author Brandi Kennedy! It’s full of wonderful advice, and interesting facts about her writing experience.

1. First, can you tell us a little about your books?


Sure! The Kingsley Series is a series of standalone books, each categorized as contemporary romance. Best read together, they are also perfectly well read on their own, as each book is a complete story in itself. The series follows the grown children of Adam and Eva Kingsley; you’ll be introduced to their struggles and insecurities, their problems and their weaknesses. But you’ll also be inspired by their strengths, their perseverance, and their love for one another. You watch them meet — and sometimes even lose — the people they love, you’ll watch them face their problems with heads held high, and you’ll watch them support each other as they grow and change together. And for those readers looking for a little heat in their reading, these books do contain mature scenes of an erotic nature. For those seeking to avoid that, please be warned.

The Selkie Trilogy is also a romance novel (it’s mostly sweet with a touch of mature content), but different in that the romance is twisted into the old Celtic legend of the Selkie — which I like to think of as the undersea version of the werewolf. Classified as contemporary romantic fantasy, this trilogy follows Annie Jacobs as she recovers from a divorce, rebuilds her self-esteem in cozy Bar Harbor, Maine, and begins to learn to trust again. She opens her heart to Brenna O’Connor and the two form a close friendship — which comes in handy when Annie nearly dies, and is rescued by a man with a deep and unimaginable secret. The meeting of Annie and Malik sets in motion a prophecy, a foretold pregnancy, and a war that threatens to end everything either of them have ever known.”

2. When did you start writing?

I think I must have started writing creatively the moment I learned to control a pencil. I remember writing short stories, poems, and small passages of stories that never truly developed … I vividly remember being in fifth grade and insisting wholeheartedly (during an argument with another student) that by the end of the summer I was going to be an author, a bestseller — a household name! Obviously it took me a little longer than a summer to start chasing that dream, and I still haven’t achieved all of my goals yet … but the thrill of the chase is now a part of my daily life, and I’m teaching my daughters that dreams aren’t just for rainy days. I wouldn’t go back on that for anything.

 

3. What is the first thing you do when you have a new idea?

Well, it’s one of two things: either I write it down fast before it dissipates, or I cuss a little under my breath because I’m in the shower and have nothing to write the idea down with. I keep saying I need to store an eyeliner in the shower to act as an emergency writing device, but I haven’t yet admitted the reality of that need. When I’m not in the shower … I always have Microsoft’s OneNote app on my phone and all of my mobile devices; it’s free and it operates as a mobile notebook for me, and I keep all of my writing ideas for books there. In the absence of that — or if I’m taken with a sense of urgency that doesn’t allow time for actual writing (such as if I’m driving), then I use the voice recorder on my phone and transcribe the note later into my notebook. I’ve been known to use any scrap of paper though, or even my own arm.

 

4. Can you describe your writing process?

The actual process from idea to finished product? I suppose it’s much the same as anyone else; I take an idea and shape it into a plot. Get to know the characters a bit, note certain things I’d like to remember, maybe find a photo to keep for inspiration, maybe list a few relevant songs, movies, etc. Outline a little bit so that I have a guide to work from. And then I write my way through it. As I’m writing, I send bits to my cousin who helps me brainstorm when I need it, who coaches me when I need that, and who kick me in the rear when I let too much life get in the way of my dreams. Once the writing is done, we edit as thoroughly as we can. I put the cover together, usually with input from my street team, friends, family, etc., as to its visual quality, how well it fits the story, and how we think it’ll do in the market. Once all the bits and pieces are ready, I put it together and hope it flies once I release it. Then … well then there’s about a week of nauseating terror as I wait to see what will happen.

 

5. What do you do to gain inspiration? 

I just live. An idea for an entire story can come from a song, a movie, a commercial. A moment in time, a person walking by that looks like they have a story I want to tell. A photo, a quote, a prompt. My kids, the things they say or do or wish for. Myself, the things I’ve seen and experienced. Lots of people say life imitates art, but I believe it’s the other way around. Art imitates life, and for me, painting pictures with words that other people can see in their hearts … that’s art of the highest order.

 

6. Have you ever been turned down by publishers? If so, how did that affect you?

I haven’t, but I suspect if I chose to pursue traditional publishing, I would be turned down. It happens, and is a well-known risk in this business. You can’t please all the people all the time, and you can’t please all the editors, agents, and other professionals in the publishing industry either. It’s not about the rejections, it’s not about how many times you fall. It’s about how many times you get back up, how hard you push on, how determined you are to learn and grow and succeed. But for me, I choose to publish independently. I like the control it gives me, and I like knowing that as my dream grows, I’m building something solid that’s truly mine. I have a team of supporters behind me, and they mean everything when it comes to whether or not I succeed — but I like knowing that whether I fall or fly depends on my own willingness to spread my wings.

 

7. Where do you go to write? Do you have a special place?

My daily process isn’t very regular at all, though I do try to keep it as solid as possible. Writing is a lot easier for me when I have a routine, so I try to keep myself on a schedule and I track my time with various apps to keep myself moving forward — but as for a solid routine? My life just isn’t in that place right now. I’ve got two busy kids and my mother’s health is declining, so that definitely has an effect on my writing, but I love that writing is mobile. I write on my laptop when I can, and I when I can’t I use my tablet or even my phone. I’m not above taking the old-fashioned pen-and-paper route either, when technology fails me but words don’t. In the end, writing is like reading for me — I’ll do it anywhere, so long as I can find a way.

 

8. What was your favorite book as a child?

There are so many! It’s challenging to choose just one, but I think I’d settle on A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. That story is filled with so many things a little girl would find satisfying, from beautiful flowing prose to depth of feeling to incredible imagination. Not to mention, it’s such an inspiring story of kindness and the ability for one human heart to reach out in love to another — sometimes despite the worst of circumstances. The story of little Sara Crew inspires so much of my writing style today … and I’m pleased to add that this is now the favorite childhood book of both of my daughters. My daughters and I read out loud together each night, one chapter of our current book before bed, and while we’ve read through several great books, it seems we’re barely finished with one before they’re asking to read A Little Princess again. It’s timeless.

 

9. Would your writing be any different, if you had never read that book?

I don’t think so. If not for that book, I’d have read others like it. I’m also inspired by the flowing prose and emotional style of books like Black Beauty, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Tom Sawyer. I loved Bridge to Terabithia, and I’ll never forget what it felt like to read the part where … well, never mind, that’d be spoilers. Anyway, no, I think someone looking to be inspired in that way doesn’t have to look all that hard.

 

10. What advice do you have to writers looking to get published?

Keep writing. Always keep writing. It helps you find your voice, grow and develop your own style. Don’t try to be someone else, and don’t quit just because someone else didn’t want what you offered. Write what you love, not what’s popular, because trends are always changing, and what matters most is to stay true to yourself, not only because it feels good but because it shows in your work. But aside from anything else I could say here or any other advice I could offer, just keep writing.

 

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Real Characters. Honest Love.

Brandi Kennedy Books.

authorbrandikennedy.blogspot.com