Interview with Author – Laurie Olerich @LaurieOlerich


Author Bio:
Laurie Olerich is the author of the new Primani series. Part romance, part paranormal, part adventure…Three things she can’t live without! Laurie spent most of her life in the Northeastern United States and in Western Europe. She now lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her son and Dalmatian duo, Domino and Rambo. Desperate to escape the heat, she lives vicariously through Mica and her Primani by setting their adventures in the mountain coolness of New England and the rainy days of London. Before throwing caution to the wind and diving into a writing career, Laurie dedicated 20 years to her country by serving in the United States Air Force. Much of her time was spent around men with guns and cool toys…this explains her obsession with both.

What inspires you to write?
I spent years doing the practical things I thought I was supposed to do. I finished a degree, got a secure job, and saved money for emergencies. One day I realized I was frozen in a rut and bored out of my mind. Since I’m a single mom, grabbing a backpack and traveling around the planet was out of the question. I tried to find an escape in books but nothing scratched the itch. I didn’t quite like fantasy and traditional romances only reminded me that I wasn’t dating. Thrillers were too compact and over too soon. I wanted a new world to explore and live in for a while. So I decided to create my own world and adventures. By the time I was halfway through with Primani, I was hooked. Writing is the great escape!

Tell us about your writing process.
I’m definitely a “pantser!” I do some rough outlining to set up the flow of the plot, but then let the characters direct the action. I’ve found myself in the middle of scenes that I would’ve never considered, but they worked! Some structure is needed so I don’t get lost or go down never-ending rabbit holes, plus I want to be sure to include details that make sense to the reader. I tend to gradually share information across the entire book, so it’s important to keep track of what’s happening along the way. I have a whiteboard that I scribble all over when I’m trying to find the perfect twist for a plot. I guess I’m a hybrid pantser-outliner!

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My Primani characters live in my head and take over when I’m writing. I don’t physically talk to them, usually, but they fill my mind until I’m done with a book. For example, I dream about them and use those dreams in scenes. I can close my eyes and visualize their expressions and hear their voices when I’m writing. Declan, particularly, nags at me until I’ve written the scenes he’s throwing into my imagination. It’s a little weird sometimes, but it works for me!

What advice would you give other writers?
Keep focused and keep writing! I’ve met several people who say they’ve started a book but haven’t finished it. My advice is to set aside a block of time each day (or whatever you can manage) to lock yourself in with your computer. I find that it’s easy to lose my train of thought if I take too much time off. I end up having to re-read the previous chapter to remember what I was doing. This is hard and takes up valuable writing time. So if you want to finish that book, make a date with your computer and don’t stand it up!

How did you decide how to publish your books?
Two things really influenced me to self-publish. First, I’m impatient. The process of traditional publishing takes forever to go from manuscript to the final version sitting in Barnes and Nobel. The process of finding an agent alone could take years! I wanted to launch my writing career so indie publishing worked for me. The second factor is related to the first. Writing a good story is only part of producing a book. I was, and still am, pretty unfamiliar with the business of books. I found it much easier to write the book than to write the pitch and query letters needed to snag an agent. My books combine several genres and don’t quite fit the niche that traditional publishers seem to want. I sent out a handful of query letters before I decided I didn’t want to spend hours working on that. I wanted to spend my time writing my next book. Again, that impatience! Indie publishing allows me to control every aspect of my career and allows me to focus my energies on writing the next book.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Regardless of what the techies say, there will always be some readers who prefer to go to a brick and mortar store for their books. I’m one of these people. The big, beautiful bookstore is a treat on a Saturday afternoon. On the other hand, the internet provides instant gratification, cheap (often FREE) books, and a million new authors and sub-genres to pick from. Indie authors would gladly display their works in a traditional bookstore, but the traditional publishing houses have the corner on that market. I think readers would love to see more variety in the stores too. I know I would, but there’s only so much space and only the most popular books/genres get to hang out there. The number of indie authors will continue to swell and the internet will happily expand to accommodate them over the next few decades. Readers who are hungry for new and exciting books will shop there. I believe the bookstores will continue to support the big publishing houses, but sales will dwindle as the newer generations embrace more and more ebooks.

What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers

What genres do you write?
urban fantasy, paranormal romance, metaphysical fantasy

What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print

Website(s)
Author Home Page Link
Link to Author Page on other site

Your Social Media Links
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7272146.Laurie_Olerich?from_search=true
http://www.facebook.com/LaurieOlerichAuthor
http://twitter.com/LaurieOlerich

Interview with Author – Carla Caruso

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About Carla Caruso:
Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day and Shop Til You Drop. These days, she plays mum to twin boys Alessio and Sebastian with hubby James. A Pretty Mess is the first in her Astonvale rom-com mystery series. Visit www.carlacaruso.com.au for more! 

What inspires you to write?
Life! The human condition! Humour! Tripping over in the middle of the road and being able to channel the humiliation into a book and laugh about it…! And relationships and love, of course!

Tell us about your writing process.
I have 1yo twin boys, so write during their naptimes and after dinner. As a freelance journalist before becoming a mum, I could easily squander half a day before I sat down to write. However, when you only have limited time, it’s amazing what you can get done in a few short hours. It means mini deadlines each day I can’t avoid and so much more productivity!

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
It is this weird thing where a plot and characters will take form in my head without the conscious me really getting a say on matters! Although, I kind of LIKE that it’s a strange process like that. What comes out is then a surprise to me, too.

What advice would you give other writers?
Keep improving your writing, don’t rush your books (though don’t wait for the muse to strike either), and write from the heart! Write every day also, if you can, no matter the word count. Keeps that writerly muscle flexed.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I guess I wanted to be published with one of the so-called Big Five publishers (in my case, Penguin) so I wouldn’t have to pay for things like editing, cover art and marketing, and I could just concentrate on the creative writing part… Although, there is a lot more author-triggered marketing involved than I realised when I first got started. Of course, there’s no point writing a book if no one knows about it.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Positive! Although, standing out among an ocean of authors and books, since the advent of self-publishing and e-publishing, does seem difficult and overwhelming sometimes. I guess it does all come back to writing your best book, digging that bit deeper each day at your keyboard, and having your fingers crossed the rest will follow. It’s all guesswork, but it’s just usually when you’re about to give up in life that it all tends to happen…!

What genres do you write?: Romantic comedy, chick-lit, contemporary romance, mystery

What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print

Website(s)
Carla Caruso Home Page Link
Link To Carla Caruso Page On Amazon

Your Social Media Links
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

Interview with Author – Rick Trout

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About Rick Trout:
Rick Trout was born and raised in New York City next to Central Park. He spent many an hour roaming its circuitous paths, unaware of the secrets it contained. After living and working in a number of places around the world (from India to the Netherlands), he now teaches and writes in the hills of West Virginia but still lives in Central Park vicariously through his many colorful characters.

What inspires you to write?
I want to entertain in the best possible way yet, at the same time, convey a message to my readers.

Tell us about your writing process.
I love research and find my story comes out of that research. The research I do on people and places and the story that springs out of it keeps building until I have a full-blown outline. After that, it’s as if the book takes on a life of its own and writes itself. Not that there isn’t work involved. I edit a book a dozen times before it goes to my official editor Every word has to sound right to my ear. But, again, the whole process takes on a life of its own, and it seems as if I’m not involved once the research begins.

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I know exactly what my characters would or wouldn’t say or do. Sometimes I come across a word and say to myself, ‘He’d never in his life say that word!’ and I take it out. My books are all character driven so my characters are alive in my mind and I consider them my friends or acquaintances. I don’t talk to them but I hear them and see them throughout my day.

What advice would you give other writers?
Everyone has a story to tell. It’s a perfect story. How we tell that story depends on the medium we choose. It could be dance, drama, painting–anything! For a writer, it happens to be words, and I believe those words are already there. The writer’s job is to uncover them, just as an archaeologist uses his brush to uncover something buried for centuries. It’s as much a process of discovery as of creation. If you choose to look at it from that angle, I believe it removes the burden of having to create and makes the entire process of being a writer so much simpler and more exciting.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I think the future of publishing lies in eBooks. I wrote many books before publishing my first one (ten so far!). I’ve been waiting for the right moment and the right technology to become available. We have that technology now.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m very excited that talent now has a chance to make itself visible almost instantly and on an hourly basis now that the technology is there. No longer does a writer have to be dead half a century before he or she gets discovered.

What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer

What genres do you write?: My main focus is Young Adult Fiction and Fantasy

What formats are your books in?: eBook

Website(s)
Rick Trout Home Page Link

Interview with Author – Monika Trobits


About Monika Trobits:
Monika Trobits has lived in San Francisco for more than 30 years and is a native of New York City. In addition to her full-time work in the corporate world, she has been a docent/tour guide for various historically-based organizations and local tour operators for more than 25 years. In 2011, she established her own tour company, San Francisco Journeys (www.sanfranciscojourneys.com). Her article, “Dashiell Hammett’s San Francisco in the 1920s” was published in the winter 2011 edition of the Argonaut, the historical journal of the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society. Her first book: Antebellum and Civil War San Francisco: A Western Theater for Northern & Southern Politics was published by The History Press (www.historypress.net) in November 2014. Monika earned a B.A. in political science/history from San Francisco State University.

What inspires you to write?
As a non-fiction writer, my inspiration comes from wanting to connect modern readers with the remnants of the past that are found all around them in a historically-rich city such as San Francisco. There are stories attached to the sites, street names, statues, monuments and buildings that populate the urban environment. Both the book and the article that I’ve written thus far are portals to San Francisco’s past as are the walking tours I lead. The public response to all of these further inspires me to take on future writing projects and open more portals.

Tell us about your writing process.
Non-fiction is driven by research. I begin by investigating the research material that’s available to develop the subject I would like to write about. When I’m satisfied that there’s enough information for me to adequately develop my topic, I can move forward. I then determine the timeframe for the story and write a preliminary beginning and ending in a Word document. As I gather basic information and notes about sources, I add it to that document. The story begins to develop as I continue adding and moving around information. Each time I sit down to write, I read what I have written so far from the beginning to the end, editing as I go along. That’s a warm-up for the writing I’m about to do and a method of continuously improving the quality of my work, the continuity of the story and my becoming thoroughly immersed in it before adding another word. In addition, I’ve developed a color-coded system for points and sections that need clarification, confirmation or additional research.

What advice would you give other writers?
Writing requires a writing talent, an idea, and time management skills with the latter the most important in the long run. Writers need to have time available to them to write and an environment that’s conducive for doing so. Be realistic about the above! Also be realistic about your subject and its appeal to a potential audience of readers.

The best way to prepare oneself to be a writer is to first be a long-time, avid reader of a diversity of quality writing. To be effective, it needs to be the kind of prose that challenges one’s intellect, builds vocabulary and leads to the development of a solid writing style.

Have a great idea for a book? Don’t advertise it. Keep it to yourself and work diligently to develop that idea into a story.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
My book actually began as an article that was twice rejected by a local historic organization that had previously published another of my articles (a 33-page piece). Undaunted, I continued writing and realized that to adequately tell the story, it would have to be book-length and that meant finding a publisher. When I was three-quarters of the way through my writing project, I was contacted by a publisher who found me through my website for my tours that included a PDF of my previous article. I cultivated that initial contact into a manuscript agreement and was then on my way to a published book. As with so much of life, luck played a significant role but at the same time, I had positioned myself for this “lucky break” with my previous work, reputation and my exposure on the internet.

I did look into self-publishing at one point and joined a self-publishing group at a local private library. There I learned a great deal about the nuances of publishing a book. The group consisted of fiction writers and my exposure to this group and the various speakers that addressed its members caused me to shift gears. The self-publishing process was simply not particularly appealing to me. I put aside my fiction project and began a three-year non-fiction project that’s discussed above and was published by The History Press in November 2014.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Books will continue to be published because readers will continue to want to read them in whatever format is appealing to those readers. The book publishing industry is slowly moving forward and finally embracing the realities of the 21st century and the technological era. Publishers needed a reality check and in some ways had become too powerful and too dismissive. Those who survive will do so because they’ve become progressive and more open-minded.

What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer

What genres do you write?: Non-fiction

What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print

Website(s)
Monika Trobits Home Page Link
Link To Monika Trobits Page On Amazon
Link to Author Page on History PRess

Your Social Media Links
Goodreads

Interview with Author – Michael G Munz

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About Michael G Munz:
An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Washington State in 1977 at the age of three. Unable to escape the state’s gravity, he has spent most of his life there and studied writing at the University of Washington.

Michael developed his creative bug in college, writing and filming four exceedingly amateur films before setting his sights on becoming a novelist. Driving this goal is the desire to tell entertaining stories that give to others the same pleasure as other writers have given to him. He enjoys writing tales that combine the modern world with the futuristic or fantastic.

Michael has traveled to three continents and has an interest in Celtic and Classical mythology. He also possesses what most “normal” people would likely deem far too much familiarity with a wide range of geek culture, though Michael prefers the term geek-bard: a jack of all geek-trades, but master of none—except possibly Farscape and Twin Peaks.

Michael dwells in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguine.

What inspires you to write?
It’s a combination of wanting to put a voice and form to the ideas that I think would be cool, and the anticipation of being able to truly entertain and/or move someone with what I craft on the page.

Tell us about your writing process.
All writers are a little different, but what I’ve found works best for me is to front-load the work, in the sense that I prefer to plan things out ahead of time:

1) I get my premise, which can often take a long while as I search for an idea that excites me enough to keep me interested the entire time it will take me to write a novel.

2) Sketch the main characters, create a “step sheet”/outline that shows the flow of both character arcs and plot progression, and a general bunch of notes about the setting itself to help inform the writing.

3) Actually write, using the step sheet and character sketches as a guide. This does NOT mean such things are inviolate. On multiple occasions I might come up with new ideas as I go (and certain parts of my outline might simply say “whatever seems to make sense for the characters at this point”), change directions, or even discover that the characters themselves have tapped me on the shoulder (or punched me in the face) to say they’d do things differently.

4) Edit, revise, agonize, improvise, and probably eat some pizza.

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t generally try to talk to them out loud, as I write them best when I’m doing what I can to become them. Separating them from myself at that point tends to therefore make things more difficult. (Of course this has its own pitfalls when I’ve got more than one in a room having arguments, but you do what you have to.) I suppose you could say that putting myself into their minds–or inviting them into mine–is my way of listening, however. It’s great when a character does something I wasn’t expecting them to; that’s when I know I’m being a good listener.

What advice would you give other writers?
One of the greatest things you can do to improve your writing is to let others read it. Though this only works if those others can be trusted to give HONEST feedback.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’d tried to go the traditional publishing route with my first book, a sci-fi novel called A Shadow in the Flames, but finally decided to give self-publishing a try just to get it out into the world as an e-book. Its sequel, A Memory in the Black, soon followed on its heels. Despite a number of positive reader reviews, I still wanted to be published in a more traditional sense. For one, I wanted to know that a publisher was throwing its financial faith in me by getting behind something I’d written, and for another, you have to go it alone when self-publishing; your only support team is moral support from other authors. With a publisher, you’ve got more people on your side.

That finally happened for me with Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, my comedic contemporary fantasy, published by Booktrope in paperback and ebook formats. I’m pleased to say that Booktrope has also seen fit to republish my sci-fi novels under their label as well, the revised editions of which should be out in paperbook and ebook soon as well.

Some people are better with self-publishing than others. Marketing is not my strong suit, but if it’s yours, and–this is vital–your book is polished and professional, it may be the right path for you. But don’t ignore the small, independent publisher options as well. The industry is changing fast, and independent publishers can be far more adaptable than the big six.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The acceptance of ebooks is changing things in a big way, allowing for more people to get their books out there. The gatekeeper of getting your books noticed is shifting from the publishers and agents to the readers themselves.

What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers

What genres do you write?: fantasy, mythology, science fiction, humor

What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print

Website(s)
Michael G Munz Home Page Link
Link To Michael G Munz Page On Amazon
Link to Author Page on Independent Author Network

Your Social Media Links
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

Interview with Author – Russ Linton

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About Russ Linton:
In the fourth grade, Russ Linton wrote down the vague goal of becoming a “writer and an artist” when he grew up. After a journey that led him from philosopher to graphic designer to stay at home parent and even a stint as an Investigative Specialist with the FBI, he finally got around to that “writing” part which he now pursues full time.

Russ creates character-driven speculative fiction. His stories drip with blood, magic, and radioactive bugs. He writes for adults who are young at heart and youngsters who are old souls.

What inspires you to write?
I write about people with superpowers and magic and all manner of fantastical beings. However, normal people doing amazing things inspire me most.

Right now, inspiration is close at hand. My wife inspires me because after her arduous work days, hour-long commutes, and a trip to the gym, she heads to her home office to study for her M.B.A. My son inspires me because despite his dyspraxia, which makes motor skills challenging for him, he’s learned to play the violin and mandolin. (Sure, the fact that he enjoys playing Irish drinking songs may be a bit of a parenting fail on my part, but one thing at a time here.) An acquaintance of mine is struggling with a cancer diagnosis and chose to blog about her experience with the world. That, to me, is inspiring.

Tell us about your writing process.
I don’t outline, though I’d like to.

I’m one of those “whole brain” people. Tests for right and left brain dominance come back split right down the middle. The idea of an organized, structured plan is appealing to that logical thinking left side but the right side always says “oooh, oooh, I got this idea” and starts typing.

Usually that idea starts with a vague theme or maybe an opening scene in mind. The characters, the circumstances, sometimes my mood, all dictate which direction the story goes. I’ll even create elements in scenes which I have no clue what their purpose is at the time but become important anchors as I build around them.

Where my left brain starts freaking out and shouting “I told you so” is when I’m about sixty or seventy thousand words in and figuring out just how much work it is going to be to tie up all the threads I’ve created. That’s when the frantic much-too-late-to-be-a-proper-outline attempts start.

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
No. Next question.

What? No, I’m not saying that. Stop. I know you’re trying to be all cute and witty but I’m just not in the mood. Really, drop it. You’ll do what?

Okay, fine, I’ll say it.

‘Only when my meds are low.’

There, I said it. Happy, Spence? Now all these readers think I’m certifiable.

What advice would you give other writers?
Work your ass off. Craft, platform, marketing, submissions – none of it is easy. This will be the hardest thing you have ever done and if it isn’t, you aren’t doing it right.

Accept criticism and use it to improve. Surround yourself not just with blindly supportive people but also critically minded people who want you to succeed and share similar writing goals.

Forget about being the “next big thing” and focus on being as pure of a “you” as possible.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I would advise future authors to explore and weigh every option available to them. The old “traditional” versus “self” debate isn’t really valid anymore. Both avenues are viable choices depending on your goals.

I did shop Crimson Son to a few select agents before going the self-pub route. The feedback I got (aside from the typical form letters) were things like “I’ve tried superhero fiction and it didn’t work” or “we don’t really have a place for this in our line-up” or “guys that age don’t read, they play Xbox”. I had written a fairly niche book for a potentially un-lucrative market.

Traditional pub doesn’t want that. They want stuff they can sell the bejeebers out of. I could have started testing the waters with some indie presses, but I wanted more control. I wanted a look behind the curtain and to let Crimson Son sink or swim based solely on my efforts.

With a niche work, I think either self or indie pub is a better route because chances are with traditional publishing, you won’t make the massive numbers they require and your work will be pulled before it has a chance to really build a following. Generally when that happens, your rights are locked away as well. As a self pub, the book has all the time I decide to give it and my rights are always 100% mine if I decide a different approach is necessary.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The future of book publishing is electronic. The future of all media is electronic. Yeah, I know, people have been doing the chicken little thing for years now regarding paper books, and mostly they are bit over-zealous.

The loss of the paper book won’t happen tomorrow, or even next year, but it will happen. Look, anytime I can click a button and send my 400 page novel out to millions, it is a win. The paper book requires trees to be cut, pulped, paper formed, printing, then shipping however many tons of that dead tree across the world (before and after printing). There is simply no way paper can compete with a mouse click.

Tablets will probably be free in the not-so-distant future and even the eReader prices of today aren’t crazy considering the cost of paperbacks (due to all the printing and shipping). If you are even a mildly avid reader, chances are you could save money with an eReader and cheaper eBooks.

Yes, for now, we’ll still enjoy a sort of stand off between the print and digital worlds. But all it will take is one generation to tip the balance. Already, my son’s school doesn’t hand out textbooks. Barnes and Noble, one of the few national chain holdouts, is slowly fading. The writing on the LCD is pretty clear.

What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers

What genres do you write?: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror

What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print

Website(s)
Russ Linton Home Page Link
Link To Russ Linton Page On Amazon

Your Social Media Links
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

Interview with Author – Carrie Elks

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About Carrie Elks:
Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. At the age of twenty-one she left college with a political science degree, a healthy overdraft and a soon-to-be husband. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.

What inspires you to write?
I love creating plots that are emotional and challenging. For me writing involves taking a journey along with my characters, watching them grow and become the people they are destined to be. I love seeing them come up against obstacles and trying (and often failing) to get over them. It’s satisfying to write an ending that reflects all that they have become.

Tell us about your writing process.
I am a plotter. For me stories tend to begin with ‘what if’s and grow from there. I will often write the first chapter before a plot becomes concrete in my mind, but after that I go to my nifty little excel spreadsheet and plan the story out from beginning to end. That doesn’t always go to plan, however, and often my characters do things that surprise me. So the plot for me is a skeleton to hang the story from, but I’m not averse to moving things around a bit!

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I often dream about my characters when I’m writing their stories. I’m more of an observer than a participant, though, so tend not to talk to them!

What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t give up. Every word on the page is a step towards your goal. It isn’t easy, but it is probably the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m both trade and self-published, which to me is the best of both worlds. Self-publishing is fun and gives you a lot of control, but you have to treat it like a business, devoting time each day to marketing and building up your brand. Trade publishing gives you a lot more support (although marketing is still key) but less control over the finished product.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think hybrid (self and trade publishing) will be the way to go.

What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers

What genres do you write?: Contemporary Romance, Womens Fiction

What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print

Website(s)
Carrie Elks Home Page Link
Link To Carrie Elks Page On Amazon

Your Social Media Links
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

Interview with Author – Ariella Moon

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About Ariella Moon:
Ariella Moon is the author of the Teen Wytche Saga, a sweet Young Adult paranormal series. Ariella writes about magic, friendship, high school, secrets, and love in Spell Check, Spell Struck, Spell Fire, and Spell For Sophia from Astraea Press.
Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. Ariella is a Reiki Master, author, and shaman. She lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and an enormous dragon.

What inspires you to write?
My daughter was the original inspiration for the Teen Wytche Saga series of Young Adult books. She has always been an advanced and voracious reader. When she was a preteen, it was difficult to find age appropriate books that matched her reading and comprehension skills. So I started writing books that delved into difficult subject matters ⎯ death of a parent, sibling rivalry, teen depression, and more ⎯ in a manner suitable for ages 12 and up.

Tell us about your writing process.
I do a lot of plotting and character development in my head before my fingers tap the keyboard. My writing follows a three-act structure and the hero’s journey. I used to map out every chapter on sticky notes adhered to a black trifold display. Now, once I have a rough idea of the plot, I create a word document containing a paragraph or two of what needs to be accomplished in each act. I usually rewrite the first chapter several times as more information reveals itself. The rest of the book is written in near-finished draft and requires very little editing.

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters deliver messages to me through my muse ⎯ usually while I’m in the shower, driving the car, or just about to fall asleep. If I’m blocked, then I go into shaman mode (my other career). I’ll meditate or do a character interview to discover what I need to change or include.

What advice would you give other writers?
Join writers’ organizations like SCBWI, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime and enter their writing contests. Attend writing conferences. Hone your craft and never give up!

How did you decide how to publish your books?
A senior editor at a large New York publishing house took Spell Check, the first book in the Teen Wytche Saga, to Acquisitions. The editor, my then agent, and I were devastated when the editor’s boss turned down the manuscript. Most of the traditional publishers at the time were buying very edgy Young Adult stories while I wrote sweet romances. Eventually my agent and I parted ways. I had given up on the manuscript and moved on to a new project when a writing friend, Ginger Hanson, told me about niche publisher, Astraea Press. They published my fourth book in November, Spell For Sophia.

I would advise new authors to explore all options. Winning writing contests opens the door to agents and editors. For aspiring authors, traditional publishers still offer the greatest amount of monetary compensation, though the struggled for better royalties on e-books continues. I know self-published authors who have become millionaires, but most were traditionally published first and had built up a readership. One is multilingual. She was able to get her books translated and sold in non-English speaking markets. Perhaps the best path is to do a mix of traditional, self, and small press publishing.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think book publishing will continue to evolve. Transmedia, where an author creates new content like a movie and/or video game related to her books (Disney has a genius for this) will be the next wave. Book publishing will never die. Books are too important!

What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers

What genres do you write?: Young Adult, Paranormal, and Sweet Contemporary Romances.

What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print

Website(s)
Ariella Moon Home Page Link
Link To Ariella Moon Page On Amazon

Your Social Media Links
Goodreads
Facebook
Pinterest

Interview with Author – Maureen Kwiat Meshenberg

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About Maureen Kwiat Meshenberg:
THIS BEAUTIFULLY PROLIFIC poet, Maureen is guided by her inner soul’s journey and her warm and empathic musings about life. It was as a teenager that Maureen first started writing her unique style poetry… as a means to find her spiritual connection in her human experience. Maureen was always drawn to writing reflective soulful thoughts of the heart, bringing the shifts in life’s journey to her poetry.

Her latest call to writing came after the devastating end to her 20-year marriage. The event broke her wide open–bringing forth words not only to heal herself but for many others who would read her words and find them inspiring and encouraging. The Poet’s passion for writing draws her to write about life’s experiences… believing we are all collectively a part of life’s journey.

Her most recent work has opened many opportunities to publish on different writing blogs and online magazines, including her own Facebook page/blog called Heart’s Calling, where she currently reaches almost 3,000 regular readers. Maureen presently writes for Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond Magazine as the publication’s Visionary Poet. She also writes for Journey of the Heart Blog, from which seven poems were recently selected to be published in an August, 2014 Anthology of poetesses called: Journey of the Heart: An Anthology of Spiritual Poetry by Women.

She delivers her poetry in “spoken word” at different Chicago venues and has several publishing projects on her plate. The budding Poet is slated to have two additional poems she specifically wrote for The Art Colab Grenada Windows project released this October, where her unique style poetry was viewed collectively with art in a gallery showing.

Tell us about your writing process.
I write because it is my passion that stirs my desire towards life. It appears in all of my life’s belonging. I write as my inner soul cries, laughs, dreams, aspires to face my journey with fierce determination and with a quiet calm of breath. My poetry is my consciousness spiraling outward in words to touch the hearts that have experience life’s belonging. All of it comes to me, as I live my life, and it is with this life I share my words with you.

What advice would you give other writers?
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
As this is my first time entering the publishing world, I am learning about deadlines, working with artists, managing my blog, posts and media, all through the guided hand of Literary Strategist and Publicist Anna Weber. Getting into the track of remaining steadfast and committed also comes hand in hand with life. All in perspective some would say, life is either getting in the way, or you can say, life is here to live it! As a mother of 1 young adult daughter and 2 teenage sons, sometimes I have to look at the other side of life. Living it!
So when vacation time comes in, thoughts of wow, I can really use this time to work on my book, doesn’t mean it always happens that way. Or perhaps it should be, it’s okay if I take a break, and enjoy this time with family and friends. Sometimes, it is about taking life and building memories and taking time for me. If it means to place my book project on the shelf, to spend the day at the Michigan sand dunes with my kids, life speaks to me to stop, to let go and be. Placing my feet in wet sand having waves of Lake Michigan wash up on my feet, picking up stones to collect with my teenage son to place on my prayer altar, are precious memories for me. Enjoying a visit with a dear friend of mine from California, taking in a Joan Jett concert, is taking time to enjoy life with the people I love. Taking pause, bringing in this down time, is also a time to replenish me, giving me perspective to why I’m here. I know it’s about choice, I can let moments like these pass me by, or take the time to live them. I also know things can change in a split second, we all have heard the saying life’s too short, and it so important to live with your eyes and heart open.
I also know when my soul breathes out the life of a poem from me, I answer its call. Whether I am washing the dishes, meditating, on a beach looking out onto Lake Michigan, the words flow from pen to the blank page. I keep journals and pen at hand, by my bedside, in my car and in my purse. As much as I enjoy living life, poetry is living through me as well . All of our idiosyncrasies that make us human, brings us to the emotions we live, the spirit of our drive, desires, pauses, and soaking life in. So without the labeling, guilt, worry, or regret, I come to my living with a gentle perspective. It is okay to take a breather, replenish yourself and bring life to you without hesitation. I look forward to walking the Labyrinth, and going on a nature walk in a few moments with some dear friends. To love life and live it, the rest will follow.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I do not write,
because it is forced by my will-
I write, because it is within me.
my passion,
unfettered-
The words are there inside me, ready to be release from my soul. More than just bringing my words to paper, I have the desire to reach women, allowing them to come to their unfettered releasing of writing from their souls to paper. Like a wind of unspoken words, breaking through to the other side of their lives.
I remember speaking to Lore Raymond from Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond 2 years ago, when I first started as Visionary Poet. I said to her, I really want to be a part of a Women’s writing group, and feel the release and inspiration of their writing. She said to me, “you my dear have the ability to start your own creative writing group, your gift is already there!” So I did. Fall of 2012, I started my Creative Writing Circle. As it is closing upon Fall 2014, I will be starting up again after a hiatus for the summer to work on my book. My first writing circle for this year will be on Saturday, September 27,2014.
When I started my Writing Circle it was with full intent to have it be a sacred holding place for women to use writing as a tool of inner release. I design guidelines to how the flow and the movement of the circle will be. I have enjoyed profoundly the meeting of women and have delighted in what the writing prompts have brought us. Writing brings us to a place of opening, expanding and taking the thoughts of our hearts to another level. I create writing prompts that invite their senses, their emotions, their beings to write whatever is inside them. Many of the women who joined insisted that they do not write, or know how to write. It is not about technique, it is about them reaching in and finding voice to their words with writing. Many of them did not even know it was there, it was like opening a door to a locked room in their soul. This sacred space is a space where we gather to write, to share, to meditate and find our ease through writing.We share our joys, sorrows, fears and bravery through writing, bringing out the women we already are.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
An open explosion of possibilities!

What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers

What genres do you write?: Poetry, nature, feminine design

What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print

Website(s)
Maureen Kwiat Meshenberg Home Page Link
Link To Maureen Kwiat Meshenberg Page On Amazon

Your Social Media Links
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

Interview with Author – Sage L Mattison

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About Sage L Mattison:
Sage L Mattison is an author of erotica and creative fiction. She is a creative, a stay at home mama and a business owner. Sage lives with her husband and son in the suburbs of Chicago but dreams of a life on the road. Sage enjoy spending her days writing and playing with her toddler.

There’s nothing better than chocolate peanut butter ice cream at the end of a long day.

Sage loves crystals, coffee, and telling the truth.

Sage L Mattison been a writer for as long as she can remember and a reader for even longer. For too long she refused to acknowledge that romance and erotica were her favorite reads. They were hidden and secret. And then she thought, “What the hell am I doing?!”

Sage believes am a strong woman who reads erotica and romance and is not afraid to admit it. She indulges in her guilty pleasures now and so should you!

What inspires you to write?
I write because it’s fun and because I enjoy it. I’m all about not settling in life and only doing things that we value and make us happy. Writing erotica and romance makes me happy and that’s all I need to be inspired!

Tell us about your writing process.
In my head, I would LOVE to be a plotter, but I’m really more of a pantser when I write. I have a very general idea of where my We Need Him serial story is going to go over the next 5-8 novellas but I’m completely open to change and none of it is set in stone or hashed out beyond a short sentence.

I write very organically and jump around to different chapters and books. I started We Need Him Part 1 without an idea of anything beyond the first scene that was in my head and needing to come out. While writing Part 1, I sat down and wrote out some info about the characters and I now have a rough “character sheet” that I refer to for details (like eye color, hometown, sister’s names etc) and I also write out a rough timeline of events to keep myself straight but beyond that, I just write.

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Not specifically but I do a LOT of writing in my head before it ever ends up on the screen/page. I re-work scenes and dialog and action over and over again in my head to decide what makes sense and what will work.

What advice would you give other writers?
Just go for it!
I held back writing erotica for a long time. For way too many fears and it was limiting me. Now? It’s a lot of work, especially as a stay at home mom running other businesses but it’s so FUN and I’m so happy that I’m writing and creating in this way.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I am currently self publishing for a variety of reasons. I’m the kind of person who would edit one sentence for a million years until I was satisfied before sending it to an agent. I felt, at this time in my career, submitting would hold me back. I like the flexibility self publishing gives me right now. I like having control of my story and my deadlines.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think traditional publishing will always have a place but I think self publishing is getting bigger and better everyday.

What do you use?: Beta Readers

What genres do you write?: erotica, romance

What formats are your books in?: eBook

Website(s)
Sage L Mattison Home Page Link
Link To Sage L Mattison Page On Amazon
Link to Author Page on Smashwords

Your Social Media Links
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

Interview with Author – Roxanne Snopek

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About Roxanne Snopek:
Born under a Scorpio moon, raised in a little house on the prairie, Roxanne Snopek said “as you wish” to her Alpha Farm Boy and followed him to the mountain air and ocean breezes of British Columbia. There, while healing creatures great and small and raising three warrior-princesses, they found their real-life happily-ever-after. After also establishing a successful freelance and non-fiction career, Roxanne began writing what she most loved to read: romance. Her small-town stories quickly became fan favorites; print editions have recently launched in France.
Roxanne’s personal heroine’s journey contains many on-going but basic lessons: introversion isn’t fatal; creativity is essential; and you always get lost coming out of the Vancouver airport. Accept it.

What inspires you to write?
Deadlines! :) I’m inspired by everything around me but I also write because I’m virtually unemployable and don’t want to clean my house.

Tell us about your writing process.
I use Scrivener to write my first drafts and I’m trying very, very hard to become an outliner. It’s going okay, but I still prefer drifting off into the mist and letting the story take me where it will. However, deadlines (see above) mean I can’t always indulge myself. Except with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I indulge myself with those.

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
You know there’s medication for that, right? ;) I do mutter a lot when I’m writing. Dialogue needs to be heard out loud and if those people in Starbucks don’t understand, well, too bad.

What advice would you give other writers?
Keep finishing books. Starting books is easy-peasy. Finishing books is a master class, every time.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I prefer to have the support and backing of a publisher but at some point, I suspect I’ll self-publish books as well.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Stories will always be here, and readers will always want them. The delivery vehicle may change but the world will always need stories, so writers must be flexible! And adaptable.

It’s a rapidly changing world and anyone who refuses to adapt will quickly get left behind.

What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer

What genres do you write?: Contemporary romance, romantic suspense

What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print

Website(s)
Roxanne Snopek Home Page Link
Link To Roxanne Snopek Page On Amazon
Link to Author Page on Tule Publishing

Your Social Media Links
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

Interview with Author – Jackie T Shirley

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About Jackie T Shirley:
I grew up in St. Joseph, Michigan, a beautiful little resort town on the shore of Lake Michigan. I had a passion for drums when I was a youngster, and studied with Harold Firestone, a famous rudimentalist in nearby Elkhart, Indiana.
After I finished from high school, I graduated from a two year drafting design school. I worked as a automotive and aerospace jig and fixture designer in major cities across the country.
After the aerospace industry crashed, I moved to Las Vegas in the 1986 and played poker (7-card stud) for a living for several years. When 7-card stud disappeared from the Las Vegas casinos, I switched to dealing poker until I retired. My life may has been hectic at times, but it has never been boring.

What inspires you to write?
I love being creative. I’ve always written music and poems, and now I’m writing books. I love using imaginary characters and placing them in similar situations that I’ve actually experienced in life. I should point out that I’m a male, so when someone asks me how I can write women’s fiction, I answer, “I’ll prove to the world that I can write women’s fiction or my name isn’t Shirley.”

Tell us about your writing process.
I’m afraid I don’t have any advice because I don’t use an outline. I usually lay in the bed in the morning, working things out in my mind, and then I rush to my computer. I write a rough chapter, or chapters, and then I rewrite it again. Several days later, I’ll reread the chapters, and then I’ll refine the wording to the point that it says what I what it to say. I find that removing words, or paragraphs, is the key to rewriting.

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my charters. I write with a lot of humor and I’ve had to discipline my duologue to keep it from getting out of hand.

What advice would you give other writers?
Read a lot. If I had read more when I was younger, I think I’d be a better writer.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
After hundreds of query letters, I found out that it’s virtually impossible for a senior citizen with no writing background to obtain a literary agent. I guess the agency’s are looking for writers in their twenties with a degree in creative writing.

I was guided to self-publishing by Carol, von Raesfeld, a lady I hired to copyedit my first book. Without Carol, I never would have published anything.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
That’s a huge question. Self-publishing has open the doors for everyone, and I think that’s a good thing. There will be more failures than successes, but it’s the American way.

What do you use?: Professional Editor

What genres do you write?: Women’s Fiction. Fantasy,

What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print

Website(s)
Link To Jackie T Shirley Page On Amazon