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GIR 12 Days of New Year blog hop: Author Interview: Jonathan Gould

Say hi today to Jonathan Gould as part of the GIR 12 Days of New Year blog hop!  Jonathan is the author of Doodling.

Terry C. Simpson: How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

Jonathan Gould: Not really very long at all. I just happened to be in that mood where I was looking for a story to write. I’d just completed a year of studying creative writing and was really tired of doing writing for classwork assignments rather than writing for myself.

It must have been around 10-11-ish at night when my wife made a comment about how she felt the world was moving so quickly. That got me going. I’m not sure I had a lot of sleep that night. My brain just wouldn’t stop. What would happen of the world was moving so quickly that somebody actually fell off?

The next morning, early on, I was sitting at the computer, writing what at that point was little more than a short piece about a man falling off the world. I had no idea at that point that it would actually turn into something more. It felt to me like I was just doing a bit of Doodling, but of the literary kind, rather than the drawing kind. That’s why I decided, when this strange little piece actually evolved into a genuine story, I decided to retain the title Doodling.

Terry C. Simpson: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Jonathan Gould: I suspect there’s an awful lot of me in all of the characters that I write.

Neville Lansdowne (the main character – the one who actually falls off the world) is very much like me. A quiet sort of person who spends a lot of time wondering around, observing things, and never quite understanding what is going on. Then again, Neville seems a lot better at organising people than I am. He actually manages to get people to pay attention which is something I’ve always struggled with.

I can also see myself in most of the other characters in the story. Their irrationality is something I can definitely relate to. Like the Toaster People, I’m sure if I was marooned on an asteroid in the middle of nowhere, I’d also have a totally illogical need for some sort of appliance that I’d really have no use for. And like the Aimless Girl, I do spend a lot of time being led from here to there without any sense of where I’m going.

Terry C. Simpson: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

Jonathan Gould: Writing characters is always one of the most enjoyable parts of writing to me. Especially when my characters are usually quite simple and clear – a bit like cartoon characters – where they often have a single defining characteristic.

Once I’ve figured out what that characteristic is, I’ll think about how that can best be expressed. It could be something about their appearance, or the clothes they’re wearing. But most likely it’s going to be in their speech. I’m a very wordy writer and writing dialogue is what I enjoy the most (coming from a sketch comedy background). It’s really important to me that each character has a unique voice. That could involve some catchphrases (like the “spoilsport/party pooper” used by the Party People) which are really fun to play around with and vary so they don’t get stale. But it’s also more generally in the things they say and the way they say them. I try to hear the dialogue in my head so I can get a sense of how each character sounds.

The other important thing about the characters is that each of them must have their part to play. Over the course of writing Doodling, I came with a bunch of characters I liked a lot, but who I eventually discarded as they did not have a role to play as the story developed.

Terry C. Simpson: Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

Jonathan Gould: Apparently there is according to most of the reviews I’ve had. It’s funny because as a writer I definitely don’t try to put messages into my writing. I just think of ideas that interest or amuse me (like a man falling off the world). I think because the ideas I work with are so rich, the “messages” just seem to emerge naturally. For example, most readers suggest that Doodling is about getting away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and taking time to enjoy the little things. And they’re not wrong. I’d be lying if I claimed that I was totally ignorant of the presence of these “messages” but they’re not the primary motivator for my writing.

Ultimately, what is important to me is story. Getting readers engaged and involved through strong characters and a clever, well-constructed plot (as well as a few laughs), are what matters most. If readers want to pull more out of what I have written, then I know that I’ve managed to create something that has a bit of depth to it, which makes me feel like I’ve really achieved something as a writer.

Terry C. Simpson: Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

Jonathan Gould: One very powerful ritual. It’s called procrastination. I’ll spend lots of time doing other things, avoiding the actual writing. Often I’ll go back and read a bunch of other things I’ve written. I claim it’s to get me into the right frame of mind for writing. I could be lying to myself. Ultimately, writing can be a bit frightening. What if that idea that was so great in your head is crap once it’s on the page? Sometimes you don’t want to know.

Terry C. Simpson: Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

Jonathan Gould: One with lots of money and an insatiable appetite for books.

Seriously, I suspect my “ideal reader” is someone a lot like me. Someone who enjoys a laugh, doesn’t take themselves too seriously and spends a lot of time being confused about how little sense the world in general makes.

My experience is that people like that can be any age and either gender. There’s a lot of them around. I just need to figure out where they’re all hiding.

Terry C. Simpson: What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Jonathan Gould: As I mentioned previously, I think the hardest bit is trying to translate the ideas in your head into something that works on the page. My brother-in-law pointed me to a great Lou Reed lyric – “Between thought and expression lies a lifetime”. I think it sums it up beautifully. You can have the greatest idea in your head but if you can’t figure out how to express it on the page, whether that’s through characters, description or dialogue, then it’s just not going to work.

It’s about communication. You have to get the best bits of the idea in your head into a form that will put it into the heads of your readers.

Terry C. Simpson: Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

Jonathan Gould: I have so many notebooks filled with lists of thoughts and ideas, I’m pretty close to needing a separate notebook to list out all of those other notebooks. Ideas always come and go. I’ve lost some pretty good ones over the years. And some pretty bad ones won’t leave me alone. Alas for the difficulties of the creative life.

Terry C. Simpson: Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

Jonathan Gould: This is where I get to quote my hero, Douglas Adams. It’s in a wonderful, non-fiction book he wrote called Last Chance to See where he and a zoologist went around the world searching for endangered species (and goddamn it, that’s exactly why I want to be a famous writer too).

At one point, they were traveling with some German backpackers who so fit the stereotype of what you’d expect German backpackers to be like (ruthlessly efficient and scornful of all others) that Adams became quite upset – he felt that as a writer, you should never reinforce stereotypes. So he didn’t. He decided they weren’t German, they were Latvian, and described them as such for the rest of the book.

Anyway, that’s a round-about way for getting to the actual advice. Never reinforce stereotypes. It’s a rule I try to follow – when I feel like my characters (or ideas) are veering into cliché, I’ll always try to work out a way to subvert them.

And a bit of extra advice – read Last Chance to See – you won’t regret it.

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books

Jonathan Gould: Yes.

I have had two children’s stories published as school readers – titled A Right Royal Day and Madoop and the Mountain Mower. They’re both about short kings but unfortunately I don’t think they’re generally available – certainly not on Amazon.

In addition to Doodling, I have another self-published ebook titled Flidderbugs. It’s kind of a fable/satire and again, I’d by lying if I said I didn’t think there was a message there.  But mostly, it’s meant to be a funny story about a bunch of insects with some strange obsessions.

Am I also allowed to mention upcoming work? I have a novel I’m planning to publish soon (Doodling and Flidderbugs are more novella length). It’s called Magnus Opum and is a kind of epic fantasy with a twist. I like to describe it as Tolkien meets Dr Seuss.

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Jonathan Gould: At my blog: http://daglit.blogspot.com

 And at my sell pages:

DOODLING:

 Amazon

Amazon UK

Smashwords 

Barnes and Noble

FLIDDERBUGS:

 Amazon

Amazon UK

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

Thank you so much  for doing this interview, Jonathan. You can connect with Jonathan on facebook or twitter.

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Author Interview : Darlene Foster

Today’s guest is Darlene Foster who has taken on the challenge of writing books for youngsters. Something I wish I could do, but I could never find that voice.

Terry C Simpson: What is your book about?

Darlene Foster: My books are travel adventure stories for middle readers (approximately 8 – 12 year olds)  They are about an average, bored young girl who wishes for travel and adventure as she blows out the candles on her twelfth birthday. Her wish comes true when she receives airline tickets to visit her Aunt and Uncle in the United Arab Emirates, halfway around the world. Once there she meets Leah, an English girl, and before she knows it they are in the middle of an adventure that involves a runaway princess, evil bounty hunters, a loyal camel and a dangerous sand storm. She often finds herself wishing she were home enjoying her boring but safe life, but feels compelled to unravel the secrets of the perfume flask.  Leah and Amanda become BFFs and decide to meet again in Spain.   There Amanda encounters a mysterious young girl who looks like she stepped out of a famous painting and can’t resist helping her and her beloved pony escape the clutches of a mean horse-dealer as they trek across sunny Spain.  Amanda just can’t keep her nose out of other people’s problems and it always gets her in trouble.

Terry C Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

Darlene Foster: I was invited to visit a good friend of mine who was working in the UAE.  It was a trip of a lifetime.  I found the country, people and culture fascinating and felt the need to share my experience in a story.  When I was able to write the experience through the eyes of a twelve year old, it was much more fun.

Terry C Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?

Darlene Foster: I read a lot and always have.  I was lucky as we didn’t have a TV on the farm I grew up on, so my entertainment was books.  My favourite authors were Lucy Maude Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott, because they wrote about strong young girls.  I am also a huge fan of Jane Austen but didn’t start reading her until I was in my early thirties.  Again, I am attracted to how she depicts her strong female characters.  (Sorry, you asked for one writer and I gave you three)

Terry C Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Darlene Foster: So glad you asked.  My favourite character is Amanda because she is taken so out of her comfort zone and has to rely on her resourcefulness to get her out of some tight spots.  I feel she is very real; naïve, inquisitive and feisty. Leah is much worldlier and makes a good balance.  The relationship between the two girls develops nicely in the series. In some ways they are very different but they are both from single children families so they become almost like sisters. (which includes disagreeing at times)

Terry C Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?

Darlene Foster: The first book took me three years to write and five years to find a publisher.  I soon learned that writing the book was the easy part.

Terry C Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Darlene Foster: I have general idea and a very rough outline, that changes many times.  Ideas just seem to materialize as I write, or as I am driving, doing housework or walking on the beach.  I can be watching TV or a movie with my husband and jump up suddenly to jot down an idea.

Terry C Simpson: What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Darlene Foster: My goal is for young people to learn more about a place and culture they may not be able to visit themselves, while being entertained at the same time.  I hope my books encourage children to want to know more about the world and perhaps be inspired to visit other places and to step out of their comfort zone.

Terry C Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Darlene Foster: Finding blocks of uninterrupted time. Once I get started the ideas flow but I don’t have much spare time to write.

Terry C Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Darlene Foster: I write two hours a day, after work and after dinner with my husband.  This includes marketing and research.  I am very goal oriented so I set attainable goals like completing one chapter a month.

Terry C Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Darlene Foster: Actually being able to call myself a published writer!

Terry C Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Darlene Foster: Never give up.  If you have story to tell, tell it.  Get help if you need it and keep writing. Like everything else, practice makes perfect.  Enter contests, submit to magazines and anthologies. Join writer’s groups. Think outside the box when it comes to publishing and never give up.

Terry C Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

Darlene Foster: It is important to network and become part of the social media. If people don’t know about you and your book, they aren’t going to buy it or tell other people about it.

Terry C Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Darlene Foster: I do readings and signings locally, send press releases to newspapers, blog, am active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. and occasionally get interviewed by nice folks like you.  I have also joined writer’s organizations which have been a huge help as there is strength in numbers and writers are so amazingly supportive of each other.

Terry C Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Darlene Foster: Never give up on your dreams!

Terry C Simpson: Have you written any other books

Darlene Foster: Amanda in Spain-The Girl in the Painting is the second of the series and I am working on Amanda in England-The Missing Novel.  I have also had some short stories included in anthologies.

Terry C Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Darlene Foster: http://www.ireadiwrite.com/Books/Amanda%20in%20Arabia/ and www.darlenefoster.ca

BUY LINKS :

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

 
 

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Author Interview : Margaret Millmore

Today’s Author interview is Margaret Millmore. She’s also a part of the Blog-A-Licious Book launch held by Pandora at Peace from Pieces. I tend to delve into a little paranormal/horror and it being near Halloween, I took a peek at her work and scheduled her for an interview.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your book about?

Margaret Millmore: It’s a psychological thriller/suspense with a paranormal twist based in San Francisco.

Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

Margaret Millmore: The basic idea had been with me for a long time, so I started with that (a person waking up without any memory of their recent life), but it expanded and turned into what it is today due to something my father-in-law said (my website recites the story of that incident).

Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?

Margaret Millmore: That’s a tough one. My earliest love was CS Lewis’ Narnia books, but I’ve been a die-hard Stephen King, Ray Bradbury and Dean Koontz fan for as long as I can remember. I read a great deal, and almost every author I read inspires me.

Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Margaret Millmore: Jane is my protagonist, then her husband Michael, a mysterious man she doesn’t know and then her friends Brett and Kira, who she relies on to help her through her tragic memory loss. Jane is my favorite, I wanted to make her a strong, pragmatic person, who was faced with an impossible situation, but uses her positive and practical sensibilities to get through it, and of course she had to show a little vulnerability too (after all, no one is that strong….).

Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?

Margaret Millmore: It took about 4 months to write the first draft and with revisions and edits, I probably spent a little over a year on it.

Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Margaret Millmore: That’s hard to define, in the case of Doppelganger Experiment it was an old idea that got me started, but it wasn’t really going anywhere until my father-in-law made a mysterious comment, which spurred my imagination into overdrive and got the story going again. Usually it’s a small thing that gets my imagination going, once that small thing triggers something I write it down and hope it grows.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Margaret Millmore: Mostly I want to entertain them, take them away from their daily lives for a while, give them something they can’t put down, a character they can feel something about.

Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Margaret Millmore: Waking up in the middle of the night with an idea for the book and knowing you have no choice but to get up and start writing.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Margaret Millmore: My goal is to get up at 6, coffee, shower and at my desk by 7. I try to address promotional issues for about an hour and then get to writing for 4 to 6 hours, I don’t really strive for word or chapter counts. This only works out about half the time, but at least it’s a goal…

Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Margaret Millmore: How much I love doing it, it’s hard work, but I never thought I’d love working like this.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Margaret Millmore: Don’t give up! Write your book, edit and revise as many times as needed until its perfect. Use all the resources around, the internet can provide you with so much advice from how to write, to how to find an agent or publisher. Don’t let the frustration and rejections get you down, it will take a while, but you can do it!

Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

Margaret Millmore: I think the promoting part is harder than the writing part. Use social media, join writing groups, friends and family are a great way to spread the word for your new book, basically be shameless, tell everyone and ask them to tell their friends!

Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Margaret Millmore: All of the things I mentioned in 12 above, honestly I know there are more ways to promote, but I’m pretty new at this, so I’m still learning.

Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Margaret Millmore: Books are doorways to the imagination, they teach you new things, take you to new cities, countries and worlds, they introduce you to a never ending supply of characters and they entertain you far beyond what TV and video games can do. Never stop reading!

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books?

Margaret Millmore: I have a completed novel that I wrote 3 years ago, after trying for a while to get it published, I decided it needed to fester for a while and I had other ideas that wanted out of my head, so I moved on to the Doppelganger Experiment. I’m hoping to revisit that book someday soon, it just might be time.

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Margaret Millmore: My website www.margaretmillmore.com, also major on-line retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc. You can also visit my publishers website at www.worldcastlepublishing.com

BUY LINKS:

Amazon for Kindle

Barnes & Noble for Nook

Smashwords for epub for other apps Ipad etc.

 
 

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Author Interview : Jodie Brownlee

Today’s Author interview is Jodie Brownlee. She’s part of the Blog-A-Licious Book launch held by Pandora at Peace from Pieces. Today, it’s time for some YA.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your book about?

Jodie Brownlee: The Ruby trilogy is a fantasy adventure series for middle grade children.

Granny McQuirky uses the traveler’s telescope to teleport into another world. While she is away, Ruby’s house-proud mother gives the telescope a polish and knocks the settings out. Ruby and her friends try to put it right, but accidentally zap Mrs Pinkus and her poodle into the other world. When they follow to retrieve her, they bring back more than they bargained for and Granny McQuirky is blamed for the resulting crimes. Ruby and her friends must find the real criminal before Granny is sentenced to life in a bottle, but at every turn, a mysterious enemy threatens Ruby’s life.

Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

Jodie Brownlee: I wrote the kind of story I would have loved to read when I was ten. It’s a blend of mystery, adventure, comedy, light horror, the real and the magical. I also wanted a strong female protagonist who inspired girls to live bravely, to be a loyal friend, and to explore.

Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?

Jodie Brownlee: It’s hard to narrow it down to one, but I will go with Tolkien. Bilbo’s transformation from a homey hobbit to a hero, his adventures and impossible quest, and Tolkien’s well crafted world, had me reading The Hobbit over and over again.

Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Jodie Brownlee: There are three friends; Avalon a genie, Jaffa a well-read Persian boy, and Ruby the protagonist from a suburb in the western world. They each have their talents and weaknesses, but together they are formidable, though they don’t realize it. Their friendship and loyalty, and Ruby’s ability to unite different people to a common cause, is what saves the entire genie population.

My favorite character is Ruby. She doesn’t seem to have any talent at all, is not always obedient, and is often plagued with self-doubt, but she has courage, loyalty, leadership qualities and a good heart.

Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?

Jodie Brownlee: One year from beginning to publication.

Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

I toy around with a few ideas on paper first, but I wouldn’t call this writing. ‘Sketching’ out ideas is more apt. I research the subject and sketch out the key points – a problem, an inciting incident, the climax, the ending – then I jot down twenty or so key scenes. Once this is down I have enough to work with and I start to write the story, continuing to jot rough scenes and research as I go.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with      them after they finish reading the story?

I want children to value friendship and loyalty. I want to encourage them to live bravely, to be curious, and to live life as though it were a big bold adventure.

Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Jodie Brownlee: The most difficult part was in knowing whether my writing was any good or not. Self-doubt is the writer’s number one enemy. It is the culprit behind writer’s block, the reason for not prioritizing your time to include writing, and is the root of a million other afflictions.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Jodie Brownlee: I write a plan which includes goals, key performance indicators and deadlines. Goals are what I call big things like ‘complete book X by this date’. Key performance indicators are the small achievements which act as stepping stones towards my goal: For example ‘draft one complete in six months’, ‘final draft in 8 months’, ‘query letter to 5 literary agents by this date’, and so on.

I don’t have a word count or specified hours to work, as long as I meet my deadlines. Sometimes this means working nights and weekends to get it done. I don’t have a problem with wasting time because it is my habit to wake up and sit at my computer until 5.30pm. I clear my emails and set up my tweets in the first two hours. After that I try not to let social media distract me until the following morning. (‘Try’ being the operative word!)

Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Jodie Brownlee: The reaction of other people when I tell them I am a writer. It varies from complete indifference to almost celebrity worship. No other occupation (and I have had many) has elicited such varied and extreme responses.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Jodie Brownlee: 1. You spend a year or so on your manuscript. Spend extra time on your query letter, too, so that agents will want to see that manuscript.

2. Where you are now as a writer, will not be where you are in six months or a year from now. You will grow as you master your craft. Just because one manuscript is roundly rejected, does not mean the next one will be.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

Jodie Brownlee: Set aside time for promotion and time for your writing. Don’t let promotion take over and prevent you from writing the next book. Balance is essential.

Join a supportive network so that you can all cross-promote. There are many on Facebook and I am a member of Author Central, Amrita, Indie Authors International, Kindelmojo, and Celebrating Authors. Of course, I only have enough time to interact on one or two of these.

Interact before shameless promotion.  Don’t drop into a group broadcasting your new book. The group doesn’tknow you yet, and you don’t know them. It’s rude and no one will pay any attention to you. Interact first. Tweet other people’s books. Retweet their promotional tweets. Then they’ll do the same for you. It takes time but it’s worth it, both for the friendships and the promotion.

Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Jodie Brownlee: I network with other writers on Facebook and Twitter. We participate in Tweet Fests, tweeting one or two members each day of the month. When your turn comes around and you get tweeted all day by 50 or more people, it’s a great feeling! It’s also good to know you’re helping to give that feeling to others when it is your turn to tweet them. We also participate in launching each other’s new releases by blogging, tweeting, and by ‘liking’ their author pages and book page on Amazon.

Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Jodie Brownlee: I’m moving into new themes with the YA books which address death, change and the acceptance of change but without getting too heavy. The words I would like to leave the world have actually already been left by Lao Tzu “What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.”

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books

Jodie Brownlee: I have written three for middle grade readers: The Magic Carpet, The Traveler’s Telescope, and The Doomsday Curse.

I am part way through two YA coming of age novels: Liberty Smith, set in Mississippi, and The Gown and Globe, set in London.

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Jodie Brownlee: My website http://www.jodiebrownlee.com

From here visitors can connect with me via email, twitter, goodreads, and facebook.

Twitter name: @JodieBrownlee

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jodie-Brownlee-writer/105517319539522

Amazon USA: http://amzn.com/B005H8B97I

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005H8B97I

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2011 in Authors, Epublishing, Interviews, Writing

 

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Author Interview : Shay Fabbro

Today’s Author Interview hails from my favorite genre of scifi/fantasy. She’s in quite a few of the same groups as I on facebook, and it has been a pleasure knowing her. Introducing Shay Fabbro, a 2011 Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist:

Terry C. Simpson: What is your book about?

Shay Fabbro: The Chosen is the first of a scifi/fantasy trilogy. The Chosen are a special group of beings from four different planets (Earth is one) that have an enormous burden to bear: they must find a way to save the galaxy from the Mekan Hoard.

Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

Shay Fabbro: I had a dream while I was in graduate school that I couldn’t stop thinking about. It was maddening at times! I had all these questions about the man and the camel and the damn big machine that was descending on them. Once I started answering the questions and making up a back story, I realized I had something big going on.

Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?

Shay Fabbro: I would have to say Tolkein, George RR Martin, and maybe a little Jim Butcher thrown in.

Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Shay Fabbro: I have a lot of main characters so I’ll tell you about my favorite planet. It’s the planet Volgon which houses a fierce reptilian warrior race. Their lives have been shaped by thousands of years of war, forcing them to live an existence based on survival alone. The decisions they must make seem cruel and heartless to outsiders, but they know that only the strong can help fight their enemy. It’s only when they meet their fellow Chosen that they realize that physical strength isn’t the only kind of strength.

Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?

Shay Fabbro:  It took me about 5 years to complete the first draft. I was in grad school at the time so that didn’t leave me much time to write J

Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Shay Fabbro:  I actually filled a spiral notebook with all sorts of information about my different planets, characters, cultures, history, maps, lay-outs of the villages and towns, cool names I could pick from. I spent about a year on the planning stage before I ever wrote a sentence of chapter one.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Shay Fabbro: There are a lot of things I hope people take from the book, and especially the series as a whole. The series will make people question the idea of destiny/fate versus free will. I want to delve into the notion of those that believe that each decision we make was already preordained, and those that believe our destiny is what we make it, that we succeed because we don’t give up. The various planets also gives rise to some very interesting internal conflicts between members of various alien races. They are so very different but I show that through a common enemy (the Mekans), they manage to work through their differences to vanquish their foe.

Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Shay Fabbro:  I had a pretty easy time getting the story down. I had synopses for all three books written before I started on The Chosen. But it’s the fine-tuning I have a hard time with. When my editor suggests trimming some stuff, I feel like I am cutting on a body part! Each word seems necessary at the time but I am learning to say more with less. Although I do still tend to get a little wordy with some stuff 😉

Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Shay Fabbro: I write when I have time. I refuse to set goals. I am a biology professor at Colorado Mesa University and am busy with lectures, writing textbooks and lab manuals, grading, etc. I write novels because it’s fun. The minute I start forcing myself to write X number of words a day, I fear the fun will be lost.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Shay Fabbro: How many people there are out there that truly support Indie authors, people such as yourself that will take the time to post interviews and guest posts, all to help us get the word about our books. It’s fantastic!

Terry C. Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Shay Fabbro: To be prepared for a tough road. NO author ever “makes it” instantly. Whether you go the more traditional route and opt to find an agent or whether you decide to find a small press, or even self-publish, there are frustrations and heartache with each choice.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

Shay Fabbro: Start before you finish the book! I can’t stress this enough. So many authors mistakenly think they can’t start a Facebook fanpage, Twitter account, website, or blog until AFTER their book launches. Nothing could be further from the truth. Authors need to start early to build a following, send out teasers in the form of sample chapters and cover art, doing blog tours, holding contests for free books, anything to get the word out! Start building those relationships with people, interact with them (don’t just spam with buybuybuy my book). And pay the kindness forward for other Indie authors.

Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Shay Fabbro: I do local signings, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, website, guest blogs and interviews, various contests.

Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Shay Fabbro: To never give up on your dreams.

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books?

Shay Fabbro: I have four books out currently: The Chosen (Book One of the Portals of Destiny), Shattered Destiny (Book Two of the Portals of Destiny), The Mad Lord Lucian (Portals of Destiny Novella), Dangerous Reflections (Adventures of Alexis Davenport, Book One).

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Shay Fabbro: They can visit my website http://shayfabbro.com/ for sample chapters from all my books as well as author interviews, reviews, etc.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Authors, Epublishing, Interviews, Writing

 

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Author Interview : Joseph Rinaldo

Today’s Author interview is Joseph Rinaldo. He’s part of the Blog-A-Licious Book launch held by Pandora at Peace from Pieces. In my choice of authors to host that contacted me, I was intrigued by the story Joseph had to tell.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your book about?

Joseph Rinaldo: For me, genre is very difficult to pin down, and I hate to be put in a box labeled “genre”, but I guess if I had to, I’d call it contemporary fiction. Hazardous Choices follows a young man from Chicago, where he is a member of a deadly gang, to a rural Kentucky college, with a football scholarship and a dream to change his life.

Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

Joseph Rinaldo: I live near Nashville, Tennessee, and there are many gangs here. It shocks me that so many young men are caught up in that lifestyle; there are so many murders, and there is a great deal of “collateral damage” in the process. I am also a huge football fan, and I started thinking, ‘Could a gangbanger reinvent himself if he could get away from the gang’s influence and succeed at something positive?’

Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?

Joseph Rinaldo: I wouldn’t say that any writer “influenced” me, but I do give a lot of credit to Nicholas Sparks, because when I read about his million-dollar advance for The Notebook, I thought, ‘Holy cow! He’s a good writer, but I know I can do this, too.’ I’ve been writing since that day in 2004.

Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Joseph Rinaldo: The main character in Hazardous Choices, Darnell Jackson, is my favorite character. His struggle to free himself from his past is difficult and painful. He desperately wants to fit in at the college, but his background makes it nearly impossible. I can’t even imagine the “culture shock” of moving from a violent metropolis like Chicago to a rural, small Kentucky town where there is very little crime.

Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?

Joseph Rinaldo: As a rule, it takes me from nine months to a year to write a book. Then comes the hard part, editing, editing, revising, checking for spelling and grammatical errors, choosing a title, more editing, more revising…it seems to go on forever before I am ready to release the book.

Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Joseph Rinaldo: Just the basic framework. I know what I want the main character and the most important secondary characters to do and be, and then I just listen to the voices in my head and write down what they dictate! When I first started writing, I wrote outlines for the story first, and then began the work of writing it; I don’t do that anymore. Too time-consuming. Now I just start with a thought and let it lead me where it wants to go.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, i.e.: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Joseph Rinaldo: I think my “message”, if there is one, is that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t break away from our past. We carry it with us, and it colors everything in our present and our future.

Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Joseph Rinaldo: Finding the time to work on it, and the editing process. It is so difficult to edit your own work, so I hired a professional editor to read it and make suggestions, but before that, I had to re-read the book and make changes/corrections, and then I asked my wife to read it and make suggestions. I believe that now that all those eyes have seen the work, it is the best I can make it, and I am proud to have it listed on Amazon.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Joseph Rinaldo: I really can’t. My schedule and my family’s activities sometimes make it impossible to write any words on a given day; however, for the most part, I write in the evenings after supper and on the weekends.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Joseph Rinaldo: I guess for me it was discovering that I could create a whole world out of nothing, people it, and direct the actions of the characters. That is a heady feeling.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Joseph Rinaldo: “Ignore advice from other authors.” Seriously, each writer has his/her own style, and apart from “edit, edit, edit”, there is nothing I could tell an aspiring writer that would help him/her create his/her own story.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

Joseph Rinaldo: Plan on spending time each day promoting your book. It requires Herculean effort, much time, and making lots and lots of connections with other writers, readers, bloggers, etc., if you want to be successful. One of the most important things I’ve discovered is how supportive and encouraging other authors can be, selflessly promoting my work on their blogs and in other places, doing reviews of my books, and just generally helping me succeed. It’s a great community!

Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Joseph M Rinaldo: Well, of course, getting reviews is crucial. I also have done many author interviews, and I have stayed connected to the community of writers/bloggers and contributed where I could to their good work. I tried using paid advertising on Facebook and Google, but did not see any sales results from that. Likewise, using bookmarks. Because my books are in ebook format only, it limits what I can do in terms of promotions like book signings and so forth, so my main focus is on the internet. I also hired a website designer, book cover designer, and SEO consultant to make sure my books look good, and to get as much exposure for my books as possible. I belong to a variety of forums and discussion boards, and I try to participate in any online event that will put me and my work before an audience.

Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Joseph Rinaldo: “Breathe.”

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books?

Joseph Rinaldo: Yes, I have seven other books waiting in the “pipeline”. One is in the editing process right now and should be released in early 2012 if not sooner. That book is called Mountain Meadows Aftermath, and there is a blurb about it on the Upcoming Releases page of my website:  http://www.josephmrinaldo.com.

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Joseph Rinaldo: Both of my currently-available books: A Spy At Home and Hazardous Choices are listed on Amazon. In addition, I have a web page (see above) and a blog: http://www.josephmrinaldocom.blogspot.com and, of course, I am on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I will be promoting the newest ebook release, Hazardous Choices, on many other websites in the days and weeks to come. I welcome any offers for reviews and comments from readers.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in this interview. I have enjoyed it immensely, and it gave me much food for thought.

Amazon buy link for Hazardous Choices:Hazardous Choices

Amazon buy link for A Spy At Home:Spy At Home

Website: http://www.josephmrinaldo.com

Blogsite: http://www.josephmrinaldocom.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/joseph.rinaldo

Twitter: @jmrinaldo

Goodreads: Author Joseph Rinaldo

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/josephrinaldo



		
 

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Author Interview : Keta Diablo

Today’s interview is with Keta Diablo. A writer of Fantasy romance. One of the things that drew me to Keta was her covers and the fact she had trading cards. Now how awesome is that? You’ll find a couple after the interview.

Dust and Moonlight

Terry C. Simpson: What is your book about?

Keta Diablo: Dust and Moonlight is a time travel fantasy novel. Criminal profiler, Kira Barton, has a lead on a serial killer and follows him into an abandoned building. When he attacks her, a woman from another world descends to save her. Kira awakens in a strange land, one filled with sorcery, wizards, shape-shifters and a prince that makes her heart thrum.

Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

Keta Diablo: I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of time travel. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could travel into the past or into the future through mysterious venues? I’m particularly intrigued by history, would love to experience firsthand an era in early Wales, Scotland or Ireland. I say for a short time – lol – because times were hard, living conditions rudimentary. While the visit would be intriguing, I’m thinking a short period of visitation would be ideal.

Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?

Keta Diablo: I must say Harper Lee because To Kill A Mockingbird was the first novel I remember reading and remembered long after I put it down. I suddenly realized I could go anywhere in the world simply by turning the pages in a book. I loved the vivid depictions of her characters. Everything seemed so real  – the sultry heat of the South, the bitter taste of prejudice and the fascinating adventures of Jem and Scout’s childhood. Even the names she choose for her characters – Atticus and Boo Radley – were well suited to the overall ambience of the novel.

Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Keta Diablo: I liked writing about Kira, the heroine. An only child, she sort of floated through an idyllic childhood, yet knew something about her parents seemed strange. She wasn’t really prepared to be thrust into another world, yet rose to the occasion through determination and grit. As the alien, dangerous world unfolded around her, she kept her wits intact, didn’t collapse into hysterics – which I think many of us might have. She isn’t a perfect character – she has flaws, an annoying habit of comparing a situation or a person to something visual from her past. I think characters, like every day people, should have flaws and weird nuances whether physical or as a result of life’s experiences. Perfect characters are boring and unreal in my opinion.

Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?

Keta Diablo: Dust and Moonlight started out as a published short story. So many reviewers and readers wanted to know more about the world of Locke Cress and the people who lived there. They also wanted to know what happened with Kira and Prince Balion. I expanded the short story into a full-length novel that seemed to write itself. I knew Kira and Balion quite well after writing the short story. This helped in the journey to lengthen their story.

Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Keta Diablo: That depends on where the idea originates. At times, I find an idea for a story through research. A good example of that is my novel Land of Falling Stars. I read a true life story online about cousins who fought on opposite sides in the Civil War, yet lived only miles apart. That led me down a path of “what-ifs”. What if two men who loved the same woman fought for opposite sides in the War? What if one died and the other came home to tell her the horrific news?

And like many authors, at times for ideas stem from a dream. I’m a vivid, virtual dreamer and keep a notebook on my nightstand in case I wake up from a dream. And finally, I get ideas by people-watching. This is a great way to invent your next character. I look for peculiar expressions, and again nuances/quirks in their persona. It’s amazing to watch two people hold a conversation – forget the words, just watch the expressions and the gestures.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Keta Diablo: With all my books, I hope for two things: That for a short time I was able to remove them from their every day struggles and worries. Of course, authors want readers to remember the book when they’re done reading. I’ve read hundreds, perhaps thousands of books but distinctly remember only a handful years later. If one accomplishes the above, the author has done his/her job.

Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Keta Diablo: Always the pacing for me. I have a tendency to rush through scenes at times– my mind working much faster than my fingers. We all hope to improve with every book we write. Knowing what we need to work on is half the battle. The other thing is to know your characters well. You have to stop and ask yourself if your character would really say or do such a thing. Yes, it’s fiction, but it still has to be believable.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Keta Diablo: I wish I did strive for a certain word count each day, but that doesn’t work for me. I’m a binge writer once I get the story down in my mind. I think about the plot, the characters for weeks – run through every scene and conversation in my mind long before I sit down to write. When I have things squared away in my brain, then I might write for eight hours a day. If inspiration is still with me in the following days, I’ll do the same until I’m done.  That’s the first draft. Then I go back and look for plot holes, wrong words, bad writing, that sort of thing. And finally, I run through it a third time for typos and spelling errors. It’s a long process writing a full-length novel, and the first draft might not look too much like the final.  At least not my first drafts.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Keta Diablo: Two things: Freedom to do what I love without someone looking over my shoulder and the sense of satisfaction when someone likes your book – really likes “your” book. To me, that’s amazing.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Keta Diablo: I don’t know that I’m qualified to give advice. I think every writer needs to find their own path during their journey. What works for one, will not work for another. Some authors outline or use note cards before they attempt the next novel. Some write by the seat of their pants. I think you can’t listen to what everyone tells you – find what works for you. Be persistent and persevere. Writing is hard work; it’s a craft you must learn if you want a following. There are no shortcuts, but there are lots of rules. Learn the rules and then have the courage to break them when you know you should.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

Keta Diablo: Promotion and marketing is never-ending. Again, there are no easy answers here. You need to discover what works for you. How many hours a day do you have to devote to marketing? What are the best venues for your type of book? What can you afford to give time- wise so it doesn’t prevent you from writing the next book? There is no easy way around promotion and marketing. You must have a plan and again, persistence and determination eventually pays off.

Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Keta Diablo: I’ve run the gamut to see what works best. I have a large following on twitter (@ketadiablo) and my Facebook page is very active (http://www.facebook.com/KetaDiablo.Author). I post regularly on both and think they work well for me. I make sure my books are current on Goodreads, Shelfari and my Amazon author page is up to date. I do belong to Nings and other social networking sites but there’s no way of knowing how well they work when it comes to actual sales. I have a large blog following (http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com) and post regularly to the blog. I also have an author home where all information is updated on a regular basis. (http://www.ketadiablo.com)

Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Keta Diablo: If I truly did the best I could in all aspects of life, then I’ll be satisfied. To not try to improve no matter what role you play or what path you take is a mistake. We can always work harder at being a good person. We don’t always succeed, but what’s important is that you keep trying.

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books?

Keta Diablo: Yes, thank you so much for asking. I think I have about 21 books on the market now. You can view my books at my Amazon Author page here (http://amzn.to/qsrw5D). In 2009 my novel Decadent Deceptions finaled in the RWA Molly contest. In 2010 one of my stories finaled in the Scarlet Boa Contest and in 2011 my paranormal shifter Where The Rain is Made was nominated for a Bookie Award by Authors After Dark in the BEST enovel category.  Be sure to check them out at the link above.

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Keta Diablo: On the links I’ve listed, Amazon, Keta’s Keep Romance Blog and my web site.

Terry, thank you so much for hosting me on your lovely blog. It’s so kind of you to support your colleagues in this manner. Sending lots of good thoughts your way for your kindness.

Keta Diablo

Terry C. Simpson: You’re most welcome Keta. And thank you for the thoughts. Here’s a couple of Keta’s trading Cards for Dust and Moonlight.

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Individual Card links:

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2011 in Announcements, Epublishing, Interviews, Writing

 

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