Q&A with Brad Walseth

q & a

Please give a cold dead welcome to our next guest on the blog this week… Brad Walseth!

*****

 Brad1So, what have you written?

Two novels: One – Crystal Falls is published through an independent press (Satalyte); the other – The Courier is self published.

Where can we buy or see them?

Crystal Falls is available at http://satalyte.com.au or at http://www.amazon.com. The Courier is available at http://www.amazon.com.

What are you working on at the minute?

My work on the sequel to Crystal Falls (Bone Lake) has been interrupted by the need to create a screenplay version of Crystal Falls. I have recently completed the first draft of the screenplay and have begun editing the next draft.

What genre are your books?

I am aware of the desire for readers to stay within their comfort zones, but I personally find the need to stay within the boundaries of any “genre” to be too limiting to the array of possibilities to open new doors to experience for both the reader and the writer. As such, I would say my writing is cross/multi-genre. Ask any agent and they will tell you this is the kiss of death for marketing books to the mainstream. Ask an intelligent and open-minded reader/thinker and they should tell you that they are sick of the dumbing down and compartmentalization of literature into mass-market drivel.

If one feels the need to describe them as such: The Courier is an Action/Adventure novel with some elements of Psychological Thriller and Military genres, that is fairly straightforward chronologically in time (with exceptions), but with twists, interesting characters and some commercial appeal. Crystal Falls, on the other hand, is a Literary/Crime/Murder/Coming of Age/Love Story/Psychological Thriller/Slightly Paranormal/ Experimental Novel with multiple plot lines/incessant dialogue/flashbacks/changing POVs/references to literary and cinematic works/inside jokes/religious/political/humor/violence/drugs/ sex/big words/twists and “cruelty to animals” with little obvious commercial appeal, but providing rewards for the rare intelligent and open-minded reader.

What books are you reading at present?24777013

I just finished Middlemarch and John LeCarre’s The Secret Pilgrim and have started re-reading A Canticle for Leibowitz, which I haven’t read since I was a boy.

Where do you your ideas come from?

I am constantly compiling a file cabinet in my brain of characters and events I come across in life. For The Courier, I used my time as a stockbroker in Chicago, as well as a trip I made to Zurich to flesh out the initial idea I had of a person being placed in a situation where they had a limited amount of time in which to save someone (In this case, a courier whose plane is hijacked and crashes south of the border in Mexico, who has 6 hours in which to make it back to the U.S. with the heart he was to deliver to save a young boy),

For Crystal Falls, there were events I read about in the newspapers: a killing at a party where no one would step forward and testify against the murdered, another one where a street kid was murdered and the killer (s) got away with it, both entered my subconscious and lingered to form the basis of the story. Other storylines, such as the scene where the pastor urges the hero to join the CIA and the cop suggests a plan to cook bathroom speed, come from events from my own life. The characters as well, while not usually based on a specific individual, often display characteristics of people I have known in my life.

Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I am sure many writers feel the need to work under specific rules; however, I believe in using whatever means are appropriate for the work I am producing at the time. The Courier was heavily outlined due to its chronological time-sensitive plotline; whereas, Crystal Falls was written in completely random chapters. I didn’t know the ins-and-outs of the characters or the intricacies of the plot when I started, but I did have a general idea of certain elements I thought I wanted included, so I started with that. I knew I wanted a scene with a smash-and-grab robbery at a pharmacy, and that was the first thing I wrote. I knew I wanted them to jump a train, etc… As I wrote the chapters I knew I needed, the characters revealed themselves to me and different potential plot directions emerged. As a rather astonishing side note, and one that completely goes against the usual rules of writing, I had absolutely no idea how the book would end, and when it did, I was as shocked and surprised as I suspect most readers are.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Strangely, both books took 9 months (not counting the never-ending tweaking and rewriting process that may go on forever), as have many of my musical projects. In my case there is a clear connection between creativity and the human gestation period connected with giving birth. I am curious if any study has ever been done on this.

23058543Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Forcing the issue is rarely the answer, although sometimes you can just buck up and bully your way through a problem. Considering all alternatives, including the exact opposite solution is sometimes helpful (for example, in life you are blocked by a wall and are unable to go over or under: maybe you need to head in the opposite direction and find a door or bridge that will take you there instead). I personally find that exposure to Art and Nature are the keys. A refreshing walk in a forest or by the water replenishes the spirit. Art museums, films (especially foreign), interesting architecture and great music inspire me greatly. I found the Tate Galleries in London to be perhaps the greatest kick in the behind I have ever experienced. Take a break from writing/reading, listen to Sibelius or Miles Davis and pick up a book of artwork and let the sounds and images take you along into a different and more creative vibration.

What is your favorite book and why?

As I get older, it has become increasingly apparent that even the greatest books written have their flaws, while many extremely flawed works have incredible works of insight and beauty. While there are unlimited moments of the latter that I can recall and treasure, aside from Hamlet, I can only recall two extended instances of near perfection in literature: Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor sequence from The Brothers Karamazov and the middle section of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, where her writing attains a shimmering form of sensitivity that transcends any writing I have ever experienced.
While my favorite books list is too long to list here, is based somewhat on my own experiences and prejudices, and would probably change upon re-reading, I have for years declared my favorite book to be Thomas Pynchon’s masterpiece exploration of love and death – Gravity’s Rainbow, which despite its flaws, opened up my mind to the unlimited possibilities inherent in language and the novel.

What is your favorite film and why?

I know it’s been endlessly parodied, but my favorite film is still Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. In a world where most films (and books) are geared at adolescent-level thinking, it is one of the few, and the best, to ask the most serious questions to continue to plague humanity.

What is your favorite quote?

To think, to dream, to conceive fine works, is a delightful occupation. It is dreaming cigar-smoke dreams, or living a courtesan’s self-indulgent life. The work of art to be created is envisaged in the exhilaration of conception, with its infant grace, and the scented colour of its flower, and the bursting juices of its fruit. These are the pleasures in the imagination of a work of art’s conception.

The man who can formulate his design in words is held to be out of the common run of men. This faculty all artists and writers possess; but execution needs more than this. It means creating, bringing to birth, laboriously rearing the child, putting it to bed every evening gorged with milk, kissing it every morning with a mother’s never spent affection, licking it clean, clothing it over and over again in its prettiest garments, which it spoils again and again. It means never being disheartened by the upheavals of a frenetic life, but making of the growing work of art a living masterpiece… This is the the travail of execution. The hand must constantly progress, in constant obedience to the mind. And the ability to create is no more to be commanded at will than love is: both powers are intermittent.

The work of the mind, tracking down a quarry in the high regions of the intellect, is one of the most strenuous kinds of human endeavor. To achieve fame in art — and in art must be included all the mind’s creations — courage, above all, is needed, courage of a kind that the ordinary man has no idea of…

Honoré de Balzac from Cousin Bette

*****

Thanks so much for joining us this week Brad! Be sure to follow Brad and check out his work!

Website: www.bradwalseth.com
Blog: 
http://www.bradwalseth.com/?page_id=40
Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/brad.walseth
Twitter: 
https://twitter.com/BradWalseth
Lnkedin: 
https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAMAAAEQR7UBbjzTKFFDRMQQqjmtiHTLo8sEJyc&trk=hp-identity-name
Amazon Author Page: 
http://www.amazon.com/Brad-Walseth/e/B00J0HX1FA
Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7320650.Brad_Walseth

Sincerely Me…

sinsundaySo I thought since I have interviewed hundreds of authors over the years on this blog, that you would enjoy hearing me answer some of the questions I have posed to them over the years.

Each week I will answer one or two questions, if you want you can leave your own questions for me in the comments and I will try and answer them in a future blog post!

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Honestly the story lines come to me pretty darn easily. My mind is working away on something almost every moment of every day. It is tough sometimes because the muse wont turn off.

People and places from my day to day randomly become characters and scenes in my novels.

It can be fun, but at the same time when you aren’t in the spot to write whatever it is that struck your fancy down it can also be annoying. In reality I also cannot be able to possibly use all of the ideas that crop up every day but I would rather have far too many than to be stumped for what to write.

Q&A with Robin Donovan

q & a

Please welcome the lovely Robin Donovan to the blog… I like her. She kills things like me.

*****

 

 

k_IMG_0041What were you like at school?

I was a comedian. And I could ask just the right, provocative questions to keep the teacher talking and keep us from doing actual school work. I’m sure I was a teacher’s worst nightmare. And when I taught high school – Karma got me back in a big way.

Were you good at English?

I was great and I was terrible. I was placed in a college credit course because I have a passion for writing and literature, but I didn’t have the discipline to deliver what instructors wanted on my assignments so I got more C’s than A’s.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I’d like to be able to write my way into retirement and feel as though I’m accomplishing something worthwhile. I love the writing. I love the readings/signings. I love the interviews. I’m hoping that I’ll have developed enough of a network that it won’t be such an enormous amount of work to get the word out every time I write something new. The network continues to grow and I’m already seeing it work to an extent – and that has been very rewarding. Someone please tell me – if you get one big break – does it change your world?

So, what have you written?

I’ve written the Donna Leigh Mystery series which currently includes two books (I’m halfway through the third), various articles and Menologues (a blog created because: Stumbling Blindly Through Menopause Is Not As Much Fun As It Sounds http://www.menologues.com)

Where can we buy or see them? 

The books are on Amazon and a variety of resellers (they are both available on Kindle), Menologues is on http://www.menologues.com.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Donna Leigh is the menopausal owner of an ad agency in Omaha, Nebraska. Sort of like me. She keeps getting involved in murders because of her relationship with the victims. Donna is self-depricating, but has an ego. The various characters around her help to illustrate both the craziness that sometimes permeates the ad business as well as the foibles within Donna herself. Donna fills the niche of a mature, but not terribly old sleuth/sort of heroine. She’s not perfect, in looks or action – but she’s still damn good! Donna helps the readers see the beauty in what’s not traditionally beautiful.

What genre are your books?IsItMurder_BookCover

My books are cozy murder mysteries.

What draws you to this genre?

I love to make people laugh and I enjoy a good murder mystery. One of my pet peeves is that too many cozy mystery writers don’t take their murder mystery plot as seriously as they should – and that’s lazy. It’s a challenge to write comedy and tie up loose ends – but, from my perspective, it’s a challenge worth conquering.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I started my career as an English teacher and always thought I would one day write a book that was somewhere between Cornelius Otis Skinner and James Thurber (see I do have an ego). Years went by and no book materialized. One day I woke up and found myself the owner of an ad agency that could design and promote, writing a blog about menopause that seemed to appeal to menopausal women and I had a new client that published books. It was the perfect storm – I knew it was then or never. What I never expected was how much fun the writing itself would be.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series.

As an avid reader, when I find a book I really enjoy, I don’t want it to end. I can’t get enough Harry Potter or Stephanie Plum. The challenge is to keep the series from becoming formulaic. So far I have three plots in my series – the third one is still in development; if the series starts to feel formulaic I will keep it to a small number. I will have to find new ways to develop within the series in order to keep it fresh – that would be the only way I would continue to add books to any one series.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?

My first book is all fiction except for one story about a client throwing me out of her office – that really happened. Needless to say, after that incident I never saw that client again. One day, years later, I was standing in our local, trendy bookstore scheduling a book signing. The woman working with me had to go into the back room to check on something. As I stood awaiting her return I heard a small voice say “Robin, Robin Donovan?” It was the very same client who threw me out, acting as though we were long lost friends. My heart lurched and I was sweating bullets, praying that no one would mention my book

while she was standing there – I did my best to speed-greet my former client and usher her out the door. Luckily, the two women missed each other by seconds – that was a huge relief! I did not think the client would appreciate my depiction of her!

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?

I have a trailer for my first book http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmgkpYPi5q8

I’m not sure I’ve ever sold any books as a result of the trailer – but it was a nice intro when I spoke at the Tri-state Library Conference.

*****

Thanks so much for being on the blog this week Robin! Please be sure to follow her and check out her books!

Website: http://www.rldonovan.com

Blog: http://www.rldonovan.com/blog/

Facebook:

RLDonovan https://www.facebook.com/rldonovanauthorpage/?ref=hl

Donna Leigh Mysteries https://www.facebook.com/Donna-Leigh-Mysteries-279477928760374/?fref=ts

Twitter: @menologues

Lnkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAIAAACqchQB7c_4LYGKeALiV_N0U6DYgNCy5QY&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Robin-Leemann-Donovan/e/B009G5AKCS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1452184122&sr=1-1

Book Links:

Book 1 http://www.amazon.com/Still-Murder-Bitch-Donna-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B017T8X3EU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452184122&sr=1-1&keywords=is+it+still+murder+even+if+she+was+a+bitch%3F

Book 2 http://www.amazon.com/Didnt-Shortsighted-Donna-Leigh-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01741AB7Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452184205&sr=1-1&keywords=i+didn%27t+kill+her+but+that+may+have+been+shortsighted

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5343704.Robin_Leemann_Donovan

Q&A with Jessica Samuels

q & a

Please welcome the beautiful Jessica Samuels to the blog this week!

*****

 

 

12036386_10207448790475882_4493229659624464002_nWhat are your ambitions for your writing career?

I want to publish enough books to write full time, have a strong fanbase, and publish and write more stories readers love to read and ones I love to write.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

I’ll give you a little insight on Angeline from AngelWitch. She is a retail worker at Kyle’s General Store and she finds out she is more then just a special human. She is part angel and part witch, and it leads her to discovering her angel mate Felix who is her protector and she even gets to meet her real parents since they kept her a secret to prevent the bad angels from getting her till it’s time to come into her power.

What are you working on at the minute?

A New Adult book called AngelWitch.

What’s it about?

Angeline hates her miserable job working at Kyle’s General Store where the customers are horrible and the boss is an asshole. When she goes to her friend page1image256Ginger’s shop to rid herself of all the negative crap the customers throw at her she ends up almost taken by Zack who is a dark angel, and winds up meeting Felix who is her Protector and learning that she has a guardian angel named Kalisa who also works with her in Kyle’s store. She is an AngelWitch who is half angel and half witch her mom is a high witch and dad is an arch angel. She can only come into her power with the help of an angel soulmate and then she can stop Zack from being free of Blood Fall Hills which is the realm he is trapped in.

What genre are your books?

Young Adult/ New Adult paranormal romance/fantasy

What draws you to this genre?

I love vampires, werewolves, and fantasy is a subject I love to experiment with. I love supernatural creatures, and I’ve been fascinated with it since I was little.

How much research do you do?

It depends on the book since I could be doing hours worth of research to weeks or month. I’ll use past experiences, movies, books, and television shows. I’ll even use video games too.

The Killer Contract Agency_Final front CoverWhy do you write?

I love to tell stories, and I want to show people my fantastical world. I want my characters to be happy, and I also write for my sanity. I love it and I have to write or I’ll get sick.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I currently write part time since I work retail part time and go to school full-time. I want to just write full time.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I write long hand first then I type it on the computer. I wish I could use a type writer and I have dictated notes at times.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing about writing is finding the time and the drive to finish a story. Spending long hours alone does not help, and sometimes the words don’t come as easily.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

The hardest thing about this book is finding the time to write it. I also have to take breaks since it can rile me up, but it helps me get it all out there. I love it though, and I think creating an angel witch magical system is also going to be hard. It will be worth it when it is done though.

*****

Thanks so much for being here this week Jess! Please be sure to follow her and check out her books!

Website: https://jessicasamuelsauthor.wordpress.com

Blog: http://wolfdreamer25-myjourney.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicasamuels/

Twitter: @jdsamuels25

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAMAAAez_ycBJB_306GForChGfpN2aq5wmtM2T0&trk=hp-identity-photo

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/wolfdreamer25/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/jessica-Samuels/e/B005O2W7UA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1452182439&sr=1-2-ent:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jdsamuels

 

Q&A with Kelly Modulon

q & a

Please give a cold dead welcome to the ever lovely Kelly Modulon!

*****

 

IMG_6246cWhen did you decide to become a writer?

I never made a decision to become a writer. I suppose there was always a writer sitting patiently within waiting for her moment to arrive! I was an avid reader as a child…still am of course. I was raised to appreciate language and have always enjoyed the challenge and satisfaction of finding just the right words to express myself with depth and honesty but most importantly, correct exactness. I suppose I became a writer when I decided to make myself complete my first novel. You might say I became a writer when my creative mind finally married discipline.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Norah is a character whom I feel represents an urge in a lot of us. She struggles with being herself whilst still in the somewhat desperate process of finding herself. Most of us go through our lives trying to level the balance of what others expect of us or suggest for us whilst trying to retain the right to be allowed to work that all out for ourselves at our own pace. On one hand Norah is strong-willed, decided and independent. On the other, she is lonely, hurt and searching. A contradiction personified. We are all multi-leveled but the main message here is to allow yourself to be on the journey and it’s okay if you find out that all those others may have been right, even just a little bit.

What does she do that is so special, you ask? Well, she changes without really changing! It’s subtle, clever and opens up a happy ending that will continue throughout the rest of her lifetime…. I hope!

What genre are your books?

Being Norah is a gentle women’s fiction/romance. The romance part isn’t the main storyline but it’s a nice side effect.

I also write children’s fiction stories that are far more adventurous!

What are you working on at the minute?

I’m currently entering the editing stage of my second publication through Satalyte Publishing. The book is entitled Evangeline and it is for readers of around 9-12 years old. I am also working on writing a sequel to go with this story.

What’s it about?

Evangeline is the story of a young girl who finds out that she is part of a secret community that exists within her ordinary small town. The members of this special group are enlightened with certain gifts and talents and a world of astral travelling, ancient symbols, healers and doppelgangers opens up before her.

When a cold mist threatens the local community, it is the enlightened ones who must protect them and Evangeline must learn her gifts quickly in order to help as much as she can.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes Norah-MU4-2you?

I feel I’m supposed to say that I plot first and then write around it in the same way one might build the frame for a rose archway and then train the vine, but I would not be being honest. Evangeline certainly happened mostly in that way because a lot of the ideas came from my daughter and I tried to write the story around her original structure but often one thing leads to another and unforeseen vines branch off and I find myself chasing threads around the page trying to just keep up with the story that ends up feeling like it wrote itself.

I often find myself reading back over parts of the story and thinking, wow, I could never have thought of that! …and then I wonder who on earth did then, because there was only me and the keyboard present at the time!

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

For Being Norah? Cate Blanchett. She would be graceful, stubborn and beautiful in her simplicity.

For Evangeline? Hmm, not sure. I’ll have to hold auditions!

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

Good old-fashioned books in the hand. Paper or hard back without question. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the convenience of ebooks though. I borrow online and buy online all the time but to have bookshelves you need real books and I love to be surrounded by bookshelves!

Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?

I was very fortunate when Satalyte Publishing offered to publish my books to be lined up with Lyss Wickramasinghe as my editor. For my first editorial experience she was gentle, honest and insightful. Let’s add patient and forgiving in there too. I’m looking forward to repeating the process with her for the final outcome of Evangeline.

Who designed your book cover?

Again it was my great fortune to have my book cover created by Marieke Ormsby of Satalyte Publishing. Marieke, an artist in her own right, beautifully captured the inner sexiness of Norah that is so well hidden that I’m sure even Norah herself would be surprised to see herself depicted in such an alluring light on her own front cover!

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

I make myself just keep writing. Even if it’s rubbish and you end up scrapping the lot and changing it later, you have to force yourself to trudge through the mud. It’s almost as if the block needs to be vented. I pretend it’s a school assignment and I have to have something to hand in on Monday no matter what. You’ll pick up the thread sooner or later and you can come back and fix the dodgy bit once your brilliance has been restored! Most importantly, don’t give in to frustration. Go for a good long walk, then sit back down and write until it comes good.

What is your favourite motivational phrase?

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

I don’t know the original brain behind this phrase but I first heard it from my father. I love it because it’s true and it’s empowering. It suggests luck isn’t something we sit back and hope for… we can have a say in it!

*****

Thanks so much for participating this week Kelly! Please be sure to follow Kelly and check out her work!

Booklinks

Being Norah by Kelly Modulon

http://www.readings.com.au/products/19432309/being-norah

https://www.qbd.com.au/being-norah/kelly-modulon/9780992558512/

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/523043

http://www.booktopia.com.au/being-norah-kelly-modulon/prod9780992558512.html

Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13562799.Kelly_Modulon

Q&A With Deborah Shelton

Please welcome the lovely Deborah Shelton to the blog this week!

*****

Deborah SheldonSo what have you written?

I’m a professional writer living in Melbourne, Australia. My latest releases include the crime-noir novella ‘Dark Waters’ (Cohesion Press, 2014), and ‘Mayhem: selected stories’ (Satalyte Publishing, 2015). My short fiction has appeared in dozens of well-regarded Australian journals such as Quadrant, Island, Midnight Echo, and [untitled], as well as in various anthologies including ‘Hard Labour’ (Crime Factory), ‘The One That Got Away’ (Dark Prints Press), and ‘Lighthouses: an anthology of dark tales’ (Black Beacon Books).

Other writing credits include TV scripts such as ‘Neighbours’, ‘State Coroner’ and ‘Australia’s Most Wanted’; feature articles for national magazines; stage plays performed in Melbourne and Sydney; award-winning medical writing such as the adolescent health CD ROM ‘SomaZone’, patient information for various Australian and Australasian medical associations, and the ‘Better Health Channel’ website; and non-fiction books for Reed Books and Random House Australia.

For more information and links, please visit my website.

Already, 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year. I have short stories appearing in SQ Mag, Aurealis and Tincture Journal, and a flash fiction piece in the anthology, ‘100 Lightnings’. In the second half of the year, Cohesion Press will release my bio-horror action-adventure novel, ‘Devil Dragon’, and Satalyte Publishing will release my contemporary crime novel, ‘Garland Cove Heist’. I’m hoping for more acceptances as the year progresses!

What are you working on at the minute?Dark Waters front cover

The second draft of ‘Devil Dragon’, my bio-horror action-adventure novel. ‘Devil Dragon’ will be the first in a new series by Cohesion Press called ‘Natural Selection’.

The premise of ‘Devil Dragon’:

The hunt for a prehistoric beast… Dr Erin Harris may be a scientist, but she has an unscientific obsession: to find a living Varanus priscus. This giant Australian reptile, ancestor of the Komodo dragon, is believed extinct for some 12,000 years but like Big Foot or Nessie, there are occasional sightings. Spurred by a credible witness, Erin cobbles together an expedition party and travels into the unexplored heart of a national park. A nerdy scientist, an elderly farmer and two gun-toting deer hunters stranded in the bush versus an apex predator the size of a campervan – what could go wrong?

What genre are your books?

I write across the darker spectrum: horror, crime-noir, contemporary crime, romance-suspense, and literary.

300 Degree Days - High ResolutionHow much research do you do?

It depends on the project, but generally speaking, enough to ensure verisimilitude. Since I’m writing fiction, I allow myself a degree of artistic licence.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I aim for a minimum of 2,500 of publishable, final-draft words per week. Using this method, I can write a novel in about six to eight months. Some projects are written faster than this, depending on my schedule. For instance, over the Christmas break, I wrote a 13,500 word novelette in about six days but that kind of output is unusual. I’d exhaust myself if I produced that much every single week!

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

I always outline. I’ve tried ‘free writing’, and I find it frustrating, time-consuming and wasteful. My outlines are usually less than a page: just a line or two for each major plot-point. And I need to know my ending before I write a single word. Knowing what I’m driving towards helps me to create my characters, themes and motifs.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Definitely the business side of it. The market is glutted and therefore extremely competitive.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Never. Having an outline instead of winging it is like following a recipe – you know what you need and what you’re trying to make. I also believe that writer’s block is a symptom of boredom or burn-out. I keep myself enthused by writing in different genres and lengths. For example, in 2015, I wrote: the final draft of a romance-suspense novella, four horror stories, one flash fiction piece, two (short) crime plays, the first draft of a bio-horror action-adventure novel, and a romance-horror novelette. With so much variety and fun, writer’s block can’t even put its foot in the door.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?Degrees of Clarity - High Resolution - Version 2

Draw up an outline! Secondly, if you don’t feel enthusiastic about your project, you’ll get writer’s block. Stop writing what you think the market will buy, and start writing stories that excite you. Thirdly, challenge yourself with new techniques and genres. Nothing saps passion like doing the same old, same old.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I’ve always got a book (or three) on my bedside table. At the moment, some of my favourite authors include Daphne du Maurier, Walter Tevis, Dashiell Hammett, Shirley Jackson, Larry McMurtry, Patricia Highsmith, Raymond Chandler, Annie Proulx, and Pete Dexter.

Mayhem coverWhat would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I’m from the old school. If I can choose between traditional publishing and self-publishing, I’ll go traditional every time. Firstly, because I would rather write than worry about issues like cover design, marketing, and distribution. And secondly, competition in the marketplace lets me know where I stand. When I’m vying with hundreds or thousands of other writers for limited publishing slots, over time, I can get a rough idea of my competence because industry professionals are constantly judging my work. Self-publishing doesn’t put your work through the same trial-by-fire. (And I say this as a writer who occasionally self-publishes.)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write because you love it. Whenever the business side of writing gets me down, I think: if I was the last person on Earth, would I still write? And the answer is always a resounding ‘yes’. Do what you can to hold on to your passion.

And find a writing group of like-minded individuals. Nothing improves your skills and boosts your enthusiasm like hanging out with other writers.

*****

Thanks so much to Deborah for joining us on the blog this week! Please make sure you follow her and check out her books!

Blog: http://deborahsheldon.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Deborah-Sheldon-936388749723500/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/deborahsheldon

Book links:

Mayhem: selected stories (paperback)

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Mayhem-Selected-Stories-Deborah-Sheldon/dp/0992558077

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mayhem-deborah-sheldon/1121223029?ean=9780992558079

Book Depository http://www.bookdepository.com/Mayhem-Selected-Stories-Deborah-Sheldon/9780992558079

Satalyte Publishing http://satalyte.com.au/product/mayhem-selected-stories-deborah-sheldon/

Fishpond http://www.fishpond.com.au/Books/Mayhem-Selected-Stories-Deborah-Sheldon/9780992558079

Mayhem: selected stories (ebook)

Amazon http://www.amazon.com.au/Mayhem-selected-stories-Deborah-Sheldon-ebook/dp/B00TP1FCZI

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mayhem-deborah-sheldon/1121223029?ean=2940046583090

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/520178

Itunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mayhem-selected-stories/id968888076?mt=11

Satalyte Publishing http://satalyte.com.au/product/mayhem-selected-stories-deborah-sheldon/

Dark Waters (paperback):

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Waters-Deborah-Sheldon/dp/0992558158

Book Depository http://www.bookdepository.com/Dark-Waters-Deborah-Sheldon/9780992558154

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-waters-deborah-sheldon/1120936372?ean=9780992558154

Fishpond http://www.fishpond.com.au/Books/Dark-Waters-Deborah-Sheldon/9780992558154

Dark Waters (ebook):

Amazon http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00QZ6UKD0

Degrees of Clarity (FREE ebook on all platforms)

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/544700

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/degrees-of-clarity-deborah-sheldon/1122070384

Itunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/degrees-of-clarity/id1002085497?mt=11

300 Degree Days and other stories (FREE ebook when you sign up for my monthly newsletter – no spam guaranteed)

Deborah Sheldon http://deborahsheldon.wordpress.com

Sincerely Me…

sinsundaySo I thought since I have interviewed hundreds of authors over the years on this blog, that you would enjoy hearing me answer some of the questions I have posed to them over the years.

Each week I will answer one or two questions, if you want you can leave your own questions for me in the comments and I will try and answer them in a future blog post!

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

I started out writing suspense thrillers so that is well withing my comfort zone. However being that I have recently branched out in romantic suspense I would have to say that making people fall in love is far harder than killing off characters.

See love has to have logic to some degree in order to work. It has to be viable. Where as only the thing that has to work in a murder mystery is that the bad guys win. The crimes dont always have to make logical sense. At least not normal logical sense.

My mind does warped better than it does normal apparently. Which if you have read any of my thrillers should not surprise anyone!

Q&A with Stephen Dedman

q & a

Please give a cold dead welcome to Stephen Dedman, another of our friends from Satalyte Press!

*****


IMG_0191What are your ambitions for your writing career?:

Making a good enough living that I don’t have to look for other work (though would probably still teach creative writing).

So, what have you written?:

NOVELS:

The Art of Arrow Cutting

Shadows Bite (sequel)

Foreign Bodies

Shadowrun: A Fistful of Data

North of the Dragonlands (2016 release)

SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS:

The Lady of Situations

Never Seen by Waking Eyes

NON-FICTION

Bone Hunters (YA)

May the Armed Forces Be With You: The Relationship between Science Fiction and the US Military (expanded from PhD thesis, 2016 release)

OTHER

130+ short stories, innumerable reviews and articles, quite a lot of role-playing game material

Where can we buy or see them?

Amazon.com, amazon.co.uk (The Art of Arrow Cutting e-book), Ticonderoga Publishing (The Lady of Situations), Warehouse 23 (role-playing material, mostly GURPS), DriveThruRPG.com (other role-playing material)

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

The main character of NORTH OF THE DRAGONLANDS is Zuri, kidnapped and sold into slavery as a girl, who becomes a scribe in a city far from her home. I had become tired of writing about action heroes proficient with guns, swords or magic, and decided to create a protagonist who was good at languages and running away. One thing she does have in common with the protagonists of my earlier novels, and most of her allies in this one, is that she’s an outsider who reluctantly becomes a hero mainly by chance, and only later by choice.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

I didn’t have anyone in mind when I wrote the novel, but Quvenzhané Wallis would be excellent.

How much research do you do?

Difficult to say. I read a lot of non-fiction, and I draw on that when I write, but mostly I do research when the story requires me to look up something, be it street views of city where a scene is set, the latest developments in forensics, how to kill a particular mythical monster, or just a likely name for a character born in some other country in a certain year.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve been making up stories to entertain myself for as long as I can remember; I started writing some of them down when I was seven. I’m not sure how old I was when I realized that that might be a way of making a living, but it was probably about the time I started high school.

Where do your ideas come from?

The same place as anyone else’s. The only difference is that writers grab ideas that look interesting, play with them, and bash them against other ideas to see what happens.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

It depends on the length of the work. The shorter it is, the less likely I am to write an outline first. I only started writing outlines so publishers would pay me in advance; I don’t like writing them, but once they’re done, they do help me to write my first drafts more quickly and get stuck less often.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

For me, at least, it’s constantly trying to write something at least as good as my best work, while also trying to write and publish enough that I stay in print.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

When your characters come to life and make up their own dialogue for you, so all you have to do is take dictation.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Only in years that start with a 1 or a 2, or on days that end with a y.

*****

Thanks so much for joining us this week Stephen! Please be sure to follow him and check out his work!

Website: http://www.stephendedman.com

Blog: https://stephen-dedman.dreamwidth.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.dedman

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stephenmdedman

Lnkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAIAAADhK7YBDUpxEsnhVKDnVWysKUzFcnrwo8E&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Stephen-Dedman/e/B000APMU08

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

 

Sincerely Me…

sinsundaySo I thought since I have interviewed hundreds of authors over the years on this blog, that you would enjoy hearing me answer some of the questions I have posed to them over the years.

Each week I will answer one or two questions, if you want you can leave your own questions for me in the comments and I will try and answer them in a future blog post!

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

What is the hardest thing about writing?

For me lately it is just the act of sitting down in an environment where distractions are minimal and I can focus for more than thirty seconds on whatever it is that I am working on.

Having and raising kids has been both a blessing and a curse when it comes to finding time to write. When they were younger it was easier as I was home with them a lot more (also they went to bed early, and took naps)  now we are a family who is on the go a lot more than we ever were so finding time where it is quiet and I am not exhausted is a trick sometimes. Most of the time when it comes down to it I end up literally scheduling a writing weekend here and there to make it happen.

The rest of the time it is here and there, which of course is annoying at best, but I’ll take what I can get most days.

Q&A with Jack Dann

q & a

Welcome yet another guest from our friends at Satalyte Press… Jack Dann!

*****

Jack Dann and friendWhat were you like at school?

I had ADHD. That should just about cover it.

Were you good at English?

Yes.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Well, I’ve been writing for close to forty years. My ambitions are as they always were: to keep writing, to keep living in those created worlds, submerged in what is probably a waking dream.

Which writers inspire you?

So many. Where to begin? Fitzgerald, Salinger, Borges, Dutourd, Gene Wolfe, Brian Aldiss. If you were to ask me who is inspiring me right now, I’d say Patrick O’Brian: his Aubrey/Maturin series of novels is astonishing.

 

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Well, I wrote a novel about Leonardo da Vinci entitled The Memory Cathedral, a ‘secret history’ in which Leonardo actually gets to bring his inventions to life. The novel was #1 on the Australian Age bestseller list.

What are you working on at the minute?

I’ve just finished an alternate history novel about Gnostics and the renaissance, and I’m ‘thinkin’ about the next book.

What’s it about?

I’ve been researching Benjamin Franklin’s life. Have some ideas for a historical novel…

What genre are your books?

Science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, historical, and contemporary.

What draws you to this genre?

The idea determines the genre.

How much research do you do?

A lot. I believe research drives plot and is a major driver for verisimilitude.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Yes, High Steel, with the late Jack C. Haldeman II.

When did you decide to become a writer?

High school dream…that I nursed into reality.

Why do you write?

It’s a way of being in the world, a way of thinking and seeing.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Full.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I try to write in the AM, but it depends on how and whether the outside world intrudes.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I try…and usually fail.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

No. If I do 500 words every day, I figure I’m doing okay.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Computer.

Where do the your ideas come from?

They are everywhere. Ideas are the easiest part of writing.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

A combination of both, actually.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Doing it!

 

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Being finished.

 

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

It’s a tough call, as there is so much ‘noise’ out there. It’s difficult to get above it. Only advice I might give, which probably won’t be helpful is (a) sell your work to a commercial publisher that has the wherewithal to promote your book and (b) use social media as best you can. Re social media: don’t publicize yourself daily: give your followers other interesting material to read, so that when you have something to promote, they’ll look at it.

*****

A great big thank you to Jack for being on the blog this week! Please be sure to follow him and check out his work!

Website: http://www.jackdann.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jack.dann2

Twitter: @jackmdann

Lnkedin: Jack Dann