Interview with Justyn Simon

Justyn SimonChristine: When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Justyn: Surviving high school, working on becoming an eagle scout, reading, making art, reviewing, blogging, social media, and walking my dog.

Christine: What is your writing process like?

Justyn: Research, outline, rough draft, polish, add more stuff, add story to a document, check for errors, add more, convert file to the type I need, check for more errors, publish, check for conversion errors and fix any as needed. This is how I’ve decided to do this, as this is somewhat easier than the path I took while writing my first book.

Christine: What do you write about?

Justyn: I enjoy writing about adventure. Right now I’m working on my second book: Rufus in Teralupis. It’s in my first series, Brindle stories, which is an animal fantasy genre series.

Christine: What sort of mythical creature would you be?

Justyn: I would be a griffin, as they stand for bravery, are not able to breathe fire, and are a “mash up” of two real animals. They are the same as dragons.

Christine: What are some of the social media sites you are on?

Justyn: All of the social media sites I’m on can be found here.

Christine: Anything else you would like to share?

Justyn: Yes, I would. Other than writing, I also enjoy drawing animals, mostly dogs.

Christine: Thanks for interviewing on my blog!

Interview with Carla Woody

Carla Woody

Carla Woody has been mentoring people toward conscious living for more than twenty years. In 1999 she established Kenosis LLC to serve human potential and support the vision: “One tribe, one world.” In 2007, she founded Kenosis Spirit Keepers, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, to help preserve indigenous wisdom ways. Carla is the author of Portals to the Vision Serpent, Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage and Calling Our Spirits Home: Gateways to Full Consciousness. She also writes articles related to personal growth, natural healing and advocacy of Native traditions, and is a fine artist. She makes her home near Prescott, Arizona.

Christine: How long have you been a writer?

Carla: I’ve been writing off and on since childhood. The first story I can remember writing was called The Empty-Treed Forest. Looking back, this was an environmental piece somewhat strange for a seven-year-old to produce. As a teenager I wrote bad protest poetry, and then set creative writing aside for a long time in favor of the academic reports and theses necessary to acquire degrees. In the early 1990s I picked up the pen again to start writing articles and books in earnest.

Christine: What types of writing do you do?

Carla: The themes have to do with spiritual evolution, natural healing, indigenous cultures, and advocacy related to Native wisdom traditions in danger of decimation. I cover these subjects in journal and magazine articles, as well as narrative nonfiction and fiction books.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Carla: I view my books and articles as vehicles for my lifework, a way folks can be introduced or as an adjunct to my programs. For more than twenty years I’ve been mentoring people toward conscious living. In 1999 I founded Kenosis LLC to support human potential through travel journeys working with Native spiritual leaders and healers in Peru, Mexico, Guatemala and the USA, and mentoring programs integrating Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and sacred world traditions. Then in 2007 I established Kenosis Spirit Keepers, its 501(c)3 nonprofit extension, to help preserve indigenous lifeways through various projects.

Christine: What is your writing experience?

Carla: I have a passion for expression. That’s why I find it so important to, as much as possible, integrate some form of it into my everyday life and live through deeply held values. There were too many years I didn’t do that and felt cut off, which—of course—is how I came to do the work I do with others. In particular, writing and artwork are how I work things out internally and keep the creative juices flowing.

Christine: What have you published recently?

Portals to the Vision SerpentCarla: Portals to the Vision Serpent was just released on June 17, 2013. It’s a coming-of-age novel—a Hero’s Journey—that takes the reader into the realms of shamanism and the Maya world as a young man searches for his lineage and missing father. Interwoven are the struggles of indigenous peoples to preserve their way of life and tragedies that often come from misunderstandings. It’s basically a book about spiritual healing. Readers are likely to see themselves in various ways, the same as reported to me from readers of my nonfiction books Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage (2004) and Calling Our Spirits Home: Gateways to Full Consciousness (2000).

My article The Last Spirit Keeper was published in Sacred Fire Magazine in November 2012, Issue 16, about the last Lacandón Maya elder in the rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico still maintaining his traditions against great pressure. My article Acts of Creation was just accepted by Stone Voices, a spiritually oriented, literary arts journal, no date on publication yet.

Christine: What is a typical day like for you as a writer?

Carla: I’m definitely a morning person and have a ritual that sets my day. I usually get up before dawn, feed the cats, have a cup of coffee, and meditate for 20-30 minutes. I’ve been doing it, in that order, for nearly thirty years. Then I start writing if I have a project, or other work. Several years ago I put Joseph Campbell’s writing practice in place: at least three hours a day. It became automatic, and often the time extends itself without me noticing.

Christine: What interests you about writing fiction?

Carla: I’m most interested in teaching stories. The reader learns or resolves something themselves through identifying with different characters, in the course of being entertained. As the writer, the same is true for me. The process is magical to me. It’s like a movie unfolds in front of me, and I just write it down. It’s particularly surprising when a new character appears to take me somewhere I hadn’t imagined.

Christine: How do you come up with an idea for a new novel?

Carla: The ideas present themselves. It may be something I want to explore myself, or a point I want to get across. Right now I’ve got two different ideas vying for my attention, both well developed. I’m not yet sure which one will win out to focus on first. It would be great to be able to split myself in two!

Christine: Are you traditionally published or self-published? Why did you choose that path?

Carla: I’ve published articles through professional journals and magazines since the early 1990s. When it came to my books, I specifically chose to self-publish through Kenosis Press, my own small press, for these important reasons: 1) they never go out of print; 2) the publishing process is truncated; 3) I have control over the content. Since my books are vehicles for my work, I continue to feel this is important.

Christine: Where can we find your books and websites?

Carla: Find Portals to the Vision Serpent, Standing Stark, and Calling Our Spirits Home on Amazon, or order through local bookstores.

Please note that I donate 10% of profits from book sales to Kenosis Spirit Keepers, the 501(c)3 nonprofit I founded to help us with our projects to preserve Native traditions.

You’re invited to visit Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers to learn more about offerings and sign up for free material and the Kenosis Inspirations ezine. Follow my blog The Lifepath Dialogues.

Christine: Thanks so much for joining us today, Carla. Your work and your books sound so interesting. Best of luck with your articles and books.

Interview with Valencia Roner

Valenica Roner

Valencia Roner is a writer and blogger living in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Her work has appeared in Black Enterprise Magazine, USAToday.com, BusinessWeek.com and the Los Angeles Times. She is a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA). She is completing her book, The 7 Most Common Barriers to Success and the Strategies to Overcome Them, which is due out in 2013.

Christine: How, and when, did you decide to become an author?

Valencia: I guess it’s fair to say that I first decided to become an author when I was 7 years old. I was in the 2nd grade and the teacher instructed us to write a story with pictures. I wrote a story about the Bionic Woman and the Bionic Man getting married and having a Bionic baby. Although I don’t remember the exact story, I do remember getting an A. I guess you could say right then and there I at least gave very serious consideration to becoming an author.

Christine: What interests you about writing nonfiction?

Valencia: I have always had a preference for nonfiction writing. I particularly enjoy biographies.  As early as age 9, I recall going into the school library and checking out biographies written about Abraham Lincoln and Wilma Rudolph. While I also tried to get through the entire Nancy Drew series (I think I got up to volume 18), I have always loved reading and studying about how people overcome adversity to achieve a goal or a life of success.

Christine: What is the writing process like for you?

Valencia: I take working on my books in project stages. By that I mean I play around with the title and chapter outlines. I also work on a draft of the book cover which provides me tremendous motivation. Seeing a mock cover lets me know the book can be real. I can do this pretty fast. However, when it comes to the body of the book, I try to write as much as I can in one sitting – even if it comes out to be a couple of pages per chapter.  From there, I begin to tweak and work on one chapter at a time – again in one sitting – until I have a solid, workable first draft. This process can take up to 10 – 15 hours per week.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Valencia: As of now, I do have the proverbial “day job”. However, I am working on a plan or variations thereof for that not to last forever. As a former business owner of a marketing and P.R. firm, I understand the value of a flexible work schedule. Meantime, I am grateful for a means by which to pay the bills.

Christine: What topics do you write about in your books?

Valencia: My primary genre is self-help/motivational books.  So many people are looking for possible approaches by which to enhance their lives. I consider myself among that group. I have had some interesting experiences and have overcome some challenging circumstances which allow me to believe I can offer something of value to those seeking encouragement.

Christine: How do you come up with an idea for a new book?

Valencia: I currently have nearly 50 book ideas. Having blogged since 2005, I have no shortage of ideas. Many can be current-event based. However, most of my ideas stem from my seeking to offer new perspectives on traditional ideas like faith, success, trust, relationships and self-awareness.

Christine: What is the title of your most recently published book and a description of it?

Chasing JoyValencia: My most recent and first published book is Chasing Joy: Principles for Making Joy a Core Life Principle.  This book is my effort to address the ongoing quest of many people to find joy in their lives.  I attempt to share how the key to joy is first finding it within oneself as oppose to those things and others outside ourselves.

Christine: What are your strengths as a nonfiction author?

Valencia: My strength as a nonfiction author is that I tend to be able to write quite fast. I am one of those writers who can be laser focused. Once I get started, I tend not to stop until a designated phase of the project is complete. I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced writer’s block. Most of the time, if I have to stop writing, it’s because I’m tired, or because I have another commitment I must fulfill.

Christine: What marketing techniques do you use to promote yourself as an author and your books?

Valencia: Right now I am still working through this based on my current schedule. I do have a blog at www.onesright2peace.blogspot.com. I also have Facebook and Twitter accounts. I was sure to have author profiles on both Amazon.com and Goodreads.com. While I know there are a host of other marketing techniques I could and want to employ, I want to make sure I have enough time and resources to ensure that all marketing efforts are executed correctly and of quality.

Christine: Are you traditionally published or self-published? Why did you choose that path?

Valencia: I am a self-published author. I chose this path because it is “easier” now more than ever with such tools as Createspace.com. I have more control, and many financial resources were not required to publish this first effort. Also, if I find a mistake it is a lot less stressful to fix with a POD (Print on Demand) format than with the traditional self-publishing route which requires you to order several hundred (or thousand) copies you have to peddle yourself out of the trunk of your car.

Christine: Where can we find your books?

Valencia: Currently, Chasing Joy can be found at Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book formats.

Christine: What advice would you offer writers seeking to become published authors?

Valencia: If you are passionate about your work as a writer and you are confident that your voice can serve of value to a segment of readers within the marketplace, write that book now. Start small. Chasing Joy may be small, but it was written to impact. Don’t be afraid to publish your first book on your own. I am extremely pleased with the process of Createspace and would highly recommend it.

In the meantime, find a way to get paid for your writing. I had my first major article in a national magazine at 27. I sold a movie script at 25 (although it didn’t get made into a movie). Selling my movie script did get me into the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA).

I will leave you with a quote by Stephen King that keeps me inspired:

If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.

Christine: Thanks for joining us today, Valencia. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you. Best of luck with your books.

Interview with Carrie Golden

Carrie Golden

Carrie was born in a small city of Plattsburgh near the border of Quebec, Canada and grew up in the Adirondack Mountains. She now lives near Raleigh, NC with her husband and son, and a small cat farm.

Christine: How, and when, did you decide to become a writer?

Carrie: As a girl, I pretty much lived in my imaginary worlds. I felt like an outsider; different from the others mainly because of my hearing disability and my strange accent. The problem was I tended to act out whatever went through my mind. One time this landed me in the ER. When I was in 5th grade, a good friend and I decided, just for fun, to see who could write the best short story. From this single experience I discovered another way (safer too!) of bringing things to life. Writing changed everything for me. Since then, it helped me to stay out of the ER!

Christine: What types of writing do you do?

Carrie: I like to write different types especially micro-poetry, short stories, screenplays, and web novels.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Carrie: One day I’d love to be able to stay home and write on a full-time basis; in the meantime, I work in the banking industry as a Loan Servicing Specialist so my husband can complete his Engineering degree.

Christine: What do you like to read?

Carrie: I enjoy reading apocalyptic types of books that have elements of fantasy in them (books written by Terry Brooks for example).

Christine: What genre do you write, and why?

Carrie: I tend to write cross-genre. My favorite is blending Fantasy with Horror while sprinkling in a bit of Science Fiction. I primarily do this because I don’t like being confined to one genre.

Christine: Where can we find your published writing?

Carrie: I have several short works published on Piker Press as well as Zombie Poetry and Literature for Kids

Christine: What seems to be the recurring theme(s) in your writing?

Carrie: Death and hopelessness as well as hope and faith. I like to include most if not all of these in my stories. No matter how bleak things get, if you just hang on, there is an end to this darkness and misery. The light is just around the next corner.

Christine: Where can we find you on the Web?

Carrie: On Twitter or on my writing blog A writer and her adolescent muse.

Thanks so much for interviewing on my blog today, Carrie. Good luck with your writing and your writing career.

Interview with Jennifer Raygoza

Jennifer Raygoza

Jennifer Raygoza was born in Riverside, California. She attended Fullerton College with a Major in Psychology.

She lives with her husband and two children in Corona, California.

“I have always wanted to write a book that readers would love. I spent a lot of my High school years writing poetry, but never had the nerve to put a story down with pen and pad. I hope everyone enjoys the story as much as I did writing it.”

Christine: Welcome, Jennifer. Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Jennifer: For the last six years I was a manager for a Market Research firm. I also had a purse retail business on the side, but I had to manage some health issues so I have been off work at home working on my writing.

Christine: How much time do you spend writing each day/week and what do you normally work on?

Jennifer: I try to dedicate parts of everyday to writing or promoting my work.

Christine: What marketing techniques do you use to promote yourself as a writer and your writing?

Jennifer: I use Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. I also run ad campaigns once in a while to keep the audience fresh.

I made my own press releases and located online sites that would post them for free. I also do giveaways to get the readers excited.

Christine: Where can we find your published writing?

The GuardiansJennifer: www.amazon.com/The-Guardians-ebook/dp/B00C13CKVG

Christine: What interests you about writing fiction?

Jennifer: I love creating events that don’t happen in life. It makes me laugh when people read a fantasy fiction book and say that’s not realistic. Isn’t that the point to writing a fantasy fiction book-to make things happen that wouldn’t normally?

Christine: What are your favorite characters that you have created? Tell us about them.

Jennifer: I love Gianna and Caleb. They are my two leads. I wrote them and watched their relationship develop and it was fun to see them unfold together.

Christine: Are you traditionally published or self-published? Why did you choose that path?

Jennifer: I did my homework and read about how many authors who tried to traditionally publish and were constantly declined. The thought of that was discouraging. I didn’t even try that route. I didn’t want anyone raining on my parade. I had heard about self-publishers who were successful and I thought I would give it a go. It’s been tough because when you self-publish you don’t have the man power of a publishing house doing all of your work for you. You have to get a good editor, publish it, promote and advertise until you drop. I love it though.

Thanks for joining us today, Jennifer. Good luck with your book!

Interview with Will McClinton

Will McClinton

I’d like to welcome Will McClinton to my blog for an interview. Here is a little about him:

In high school, my passion for writing grew. By the summer after graduation it was a possibility. Then I was blindsided by a MVA (motor vehicle accident) that changed the direction of my life. I lost sight of my joy in writing. This is still sending ripples through my life. After two decades of work in the healthcare field (I’m a RN now), I recognized a need to connect with the creativity that was missing from my personal life. So Lineage was begun. I refused to stop writing even for shoulder surgery. My mom typed and painted in classical oils for over thirty years, even with having lost an arm during the great depression. So I took the strength I had learned from her and went on as I do now in her wake. Reading, writing, and gardening will always be a part of my life, as she will.

Christine: It’s nice to meet you, Will. What inspired you to write your first book?

Will: My inspiration to write came out of necessity – needing a creative outlet that is year round of which writing can be. Unlike gardening, one of my pleasures, time, is limited. There is nothing like getting my hands into the soil – a way of connecting with the earth, its energy. Writing is a seedling at the beginning of a story, small and fragile, but as time goes on, the characters grow and change, developing before your mind’s eye.

Christine: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

LineageWill: There are several messages that readers can take away from Lineage – The Descendants. First, but only one of several. Beauty can often be a disguise for evil, appearing innocent and harmless. Take a page out of resent American or French politics; we all need to look beyond the surface of the story. Do not accept on blind faith that the truth and the facts are one in the same. The news communication networks like nothing better than a good – or is it bad – sex scandal to sale time or space.

Christine: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Will: I was in 9th grade English, a creative writing class taught by Ms. Woodring. Not a typical English teacher, for she was aggressive and outspoken. By the time I finished that semester, I was bitten by the graphic arts bug and wanted to write for my life.

Christine: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Will: The hardest part of writing a novel was committing to it. Then it was choosing a subject. I enjoy reading over a range of genres.

Christine: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Will: I tell anyone that will listen that wants to write a story or a book, make the time and sit down and do it. Once you begin, a fertile imagination will bring the story, as in planting a seed.

Christine: Where can we find out more about you and your book on the Web?

Will: Blog: www.mcclintonlineage.wordpress.com
About the Book: www.mcclintonlineage.wordpress.com/about-the-book
Twitter: @WillMcClinton1

Thanks so much for joining us today, Will!

Interview with Stephen Brayton

Stephen Brayton

Stephen L. Brayton owns and operates Brayton’s Black Belt Academy in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is a Fifth Degree Black Belt and certified instructor in The American Taekwondo Association.

He began writing as a child; his first short story concerned a true incident about his reactions to discipline. During high school, he wrote for the school newspaper and was a photographer for the yearbook. For a Mass Media class, he wrote and edited a video project.

In college, he began a personal journal for a writing class; said journal is ongoing. He was also a reporter for the college newspaper.

During his early twenties, while working for a Kewanee, Illinois radio station, he wrote a fantasy-based story and a trilogy for a comic book.

He has written numerous short stories – both horror and mystery.

His first novel, Night Shadows (Feb. 2011), concerns a Des Moines homicide investigator teaming up with a federal agent to battle creatures from another dimension. His second book, Beta (Oct. 2011), was the debut of Mallory Petersen and her search for a kidnapped girl. In August 2012, the second Mallory Petersen book, Alpha, was published. This time she investigates the murder of her boyfriend.

Christine: How long have you been a writer?

Stephen: Well, I can’t claim I was a writer right from the womb, but soon afterward. ‘Soon’ being a relative term, of course. I loved books from an early age, and one day I thought that with all of the books I’d read, mysteries and science fiction and horror, I’d like try my hand at writing some stories. I created a character called Sam P. Petersen who lived in the Quad Cities (where I spent my early years) and worked for the East Moline Police Department. I wrote short stories featuring him. Those were my first attempts at short story writing and character profiling. From the time I started talking about writing, my parents encouraged me to continue creating stories. I wrote during college and became serious in the late-90s.

Christine: What have you published recently?

Stephen: Well, my last book, Alpha, was published in August of 2012, but my most recent publication has been the first part of a serialized short story called “White Belt Weapons” in Taekwondo Times magazine. The March issue published an interview with me as a ‘Person of Interest,’ and the May issue began what I hope to be a long-term relationship with them on short stories.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Stephen: I’m a Fifth Degree Black Belt and own and operate a taekwondo club in Oskaloosa; plus, I have a full-time job. I have to find time to write during the slow hours or days off.

Christine: What is a typical day like for you as a writer?

Stephen: Depends on the day. My schedule is never the same from week to week. I could work weekends or nine nights in a row. Usually, I’m on the graveyard shift from 11-7; sleep until the middle of the afternoon; class on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings; back to work at 11. During the night, I have plenty of time to write. On days off or afternoons, I may head outside to write or fish or visit family. I wish I could tell you I was an international spy in a different locale every day… At least the travel part sounds fun.

Christine: What is the title of your most recently published novel and a description of it?

AlphaStephen: Alpha is about Mallory Petersen, a Fourth Degree Black Belt in taekwondo and private investigator in Des Moines, Iowa. Usually her cases involve the oddballs of society, but every now and then she takes on a serious investigation. In this book, she’s relating a story to her current boyfriend about her involvement in the investigation of the murder of her previous boyfriend. Along with that case, she’s also searching for a missing woman.

Christine: What are your favorite characters that you have created? Tell us about them.

Stephen: Of course I’m in love with Mallory. Six feet tall, blonde, blue eyes, drop dead gorgeous, excellent martial artist and instructor, strong, independent, quirky sense of humor, and a romantic.

I know an author is supposed to know almost everything about all the characters, but I’m still discovering things about Mallory’s office manager Darren. Currently, he doesn’t have a last name. That issue will be solved in the next book. He’s enigmatic, quiet, loyal, and always seems to know where Mallory is and what she’s doing. This drives her crazy sometimes.

Christine: Where can we find your novels?

Stephen: Alphawww.amazon.com/Alpha-Stephen-L-Brayton/dp/1610091159
Beta (Mallory’s introduction. Ebook only) – www.amazon.com/Beta-Mallory-Petersen-Mystery-ebook/dp/B005UHEWPC
Night Shadows (eBook only) – www.amazon.com/Night-Shadows-ebook/dp/B004O0VD1M

Christine: Who are your favorite authors?

Stephen: Ellery Queen – I think I’ve read almost every one of his mysteries.
Erle Stanley Garnder – Ditto.
H. P. Lovecraft – The master.
Clark A. Smith – A close second to Lovecraft.
Elaine Viets – She helps inspire my humorous creativity.
Sparkle Abbey – Who doesn’t like dog and cat mysteries?
Robert Pobi – A true genius with words.
Frank Kane, Carter Brown, Day Keene, (and others in the same genre) – Pulp fiction mysteries. I really enjoy the flavor of these stories.

Christine: Where can we find you on the Web?

Stephen: Website – www.stephenbrayton.com
Blog – www.stephenbrayton.wordpress.com
Book Review Blog – www.braytonsbookbuzz.wordpress.com
I’m also on Facebook and Twitter (@SLBrayton).

Interview with Michael Brookes

Michael Brookes is an Executive Producer with a leading UK games developer. Working in games and writing are two of his life passions and he considers himself fortunate to be able to indulge in them both. He lives in the east of England, enjoying starry skies in the flattest part of the country. When not working or writing he can sometimes be found sleeping, which is good, as that is where many good ideas come from.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Michael: I have a day job as an executive producer for a video games developer. I write in my spare time. I consider myself fortunate that I can devote so much time to two of my life passions.

Christine: What is the title of your most recently published novel and a description of it?

Conversations in the Abyss


Michael
: Conversations in the Abyss is the sequel to the 5-star rated supernatural thriller The Cult of Me. Here is a description:

Stealing Lazarus’s miracle gifted him immortality. Combined with his natural ability of invading and controlling people’s minds this made him one of the most dangerous people on Earth.

But the miracle came with a price. His punishment was to be imprisoned within the walls of an ancient monastery and tormented by an invisible fire that burned his body perpetually. To escape the pain he retreated deep into his own mind.

There he discovers the truth of the universe and that only he can stop the coming Apocalypse.

Christine: Where can we find your published writing?

Michael: My books are all available from Amazon:

An Odd Quartet
A collection of four dark short stories:
www.amazon.com/An-Odd-Quartet-ebook/dp/B009QJMMPC

The Cult of Me
A supernatural thriller – the first book in ‘The Third Path’ trilogy:
www.amazon.com/Cult-Me-Third-Path-ebook/dp/B008O7ZVXW

Conversations in the Abyss
The sequel to The Cult of Me:
www.amazon.com/Conversations-Abyss-Third-Path-ebook/dp/B00BCP08JU

Christine: Do you formally plan out your novels before you write them? Why, and how?

Michael: Yes, I’m a great believer in planning before I start writing the first draft. I tend to start by writing a single line summary of the book. I then sketch out the characters and develop a chapter plan. I don’t start writing until I’m happy with the chapter plan.

The good thing about having a decent plan is that if I get stuck, I can skip to the next bit and carry on.

Christine: What are your strengths as a novelist?

Michael: I focus on the story. For me, the story is the most important part of a novel. Once you have the story, the characters and plot follow. And one of the great parts of writing is that I can constantly improve. In fact, that should be every writer’s goal – to get better.

Christine: What marketing techniques do you use to promote yourself as a novelist and your novels?

Michael: This is the part of self-publishing I haven’t mastered yet. I write a regular blog and post on Twitter. I also participate in communities, like Goodreads and the Kindle Users Forum. I’ve tried various paid advertisements as well.

Christine: What do you like to read?

Michael: Science fiction by Ian M Banks (especially his culture series) is my favourite type of read. I also enjoy horrors by authors like Clive Barker and Stephen King. I’ve recently expanded out into reading other indie authors’ work.

Christine: Do you find you “mentally edit” other writers’ works as you read them? Does doing this help you or bother you?

Michael: I do find myself doing this. For the most part it doesn’t bother me, but on a few occasions where the book really needed an edit pass it can be quite distracting.

Christine: Where can we find you on the Web?

Michael: You can find my blog at: www.thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk. And you can follow me on Twitter here: @TheCultofMe.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Michael!

Interview with Aoife Marie Sheridan

Aoife Sheridan

I met Aoife on Book Blogs – a great website to network with other authors. Aoife is twenty-eight years of age. She lives in Kells, Co. Meath, a small town just outside Navan. She was raised in Navan but left with her family at the age of sixteen. She has always had a passion for writing but mostly poetry. This is her first time writing a novel. She studied Accountancy and qualified as an accountant technician. She worked in this profession for several years, but with the economic downturn she was made redundant. She now spends endless hours reading and writing. Read on to learn about her inspirations and her books.

Christine: Aoife, what have you published recently?

Aoife: My works so far:

Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy)
Four banished Angels,
A world created by the hands of God,
A Kingdom on its knees,
A secret protected for centuries,
And one mortal can save them all.
Step into Saskia.

City of SecretsCity of Secrets (Part two of the Saskia Trilogy)
A war awaits her arrival,
A warrant for her arrest.
She must rise as a princess,
And Darkness shall fall.
But will their love survive this battle?
For Tristan and Sarajane?
Step back into Saskia. 

Pending:
The Rise of the Rightful Queen (Part three of the Saskia Trilogy)

Aoife’s Other works:
Wisps
Nine

Christine: How, and when, did you decide to become a writer?

Aoife: I have always written but mostly poetry; it’s always been my way to deal with my emotions, no matter how big or small. Two years ago I lost two people I was close too. I had never lost anyone before, so I didn’t deal with it very well. One night I had a dream of a man and a woman on a horse, passing through a wall of fire. The dream lingered with me, as did my grief. So, instead of writing poetry, I started my story. My starting point was my dream and I worked my way from there. Eden Forest helped me once again deal with death and all that comes with it. So, in a way, I am very grateful for this story.

I always wondered why God created us and what was our purpose, but those questions are unanswered. So in my story I give you the answers for this world called Saskia. In the story, God creates a world parallel to ours for four fallen angels.

Death is something that I also question now, like why do we die? Is 60 to 90 years of life enough? Imagine having immortality…what would one do to gain it? And that’s where a lot of my plot lies. The greed for immortality, for powers that only God should wield, drives Saskia into war.

God decides to give one person all the powers that anyone could possess to banish evil before it destroys Saskia and Earth. This one person happens to be a young lady called Sarajane Anderson who lives in the mortal world (Earth) but is actually from Saskia.

Christine: Where can we find your published writing?

Aoife: I have my own website: www.aoifemariesheridan.com
It displays my work, links to where you can purchase my books, listen to my interviews, watch my book trailers, and more.

Christine: What is a typical day like for you as a writer?

Aoife: I work full-time, so I write when I can, but always with pen and paper, never typing at first. I carry a pen and paper wherever I go and when an idea comes to mind I jot it down. Also, if I had any weird dreams (the ones that linger) I will keep them maybe for a different story. At present there are seven books I want to write. Since I started, I just can’t stop.

Christine: What types of writing do you do?

Aoife: My writing I would consider fantasy. I write about the impossible, of different worlds that have magic in them. I always feel this can’t be it. All of us on this little planet, floating in the galaxy…there has to be so much more; we just haven’t discovered it yet. Maybe in a couple hundred years people will look back and say, “They knew all along that there was more”. Well that’s what I like to think.

Christine: What are your favorite characters that you have created? Tell us about them.

Eden ForestAoife: My favorite characters in Eden Forest would have to be:

Queen Bellona – she was the most interesting to write about. Bellona is all that is bad in the world. She is a combination of people that I have crossed paths with in my life. But she does not represent one person alone. Through her, I could vent the injustice of people’s ways and display it.

Second would have to be Sarajane. She plays the main character. She is relatable as in she isn’t perfect. I created Sarajane with flaws, as we all have them. Mine can be that I am selfish, so that’s the flaw I gave Sarajane.

I am surrounded by very strong women in my life, and I am grateful for this. I take a lot of their personalities and place them in my characters, or something they might do, or even a facial expression. I love to watch people’s reactions as they talk to me. If they stumble on a line, they may chew their lip in an endearing way. I note it and file it away for later.

Christine: Do you find you “mentally edit” other writers’ works as you read them? Does doing this help you or bother you?

Aoife: Yes, which I absolutely hate. I am so much more aware now. It drives me spare. But in another way it makes me feel better that I am not the only one who makes mistakes. LOL.

Christine: What music do you listen to while writing?

Aoife: My favourite musician would have to be David Guetta , Titanium, and She Wolf. I wrote nearly the whole two books to these songs. I find the words empowering and a story is told even in the beats.

Christine: What do you eat while writing?

Aoife: O God, I am really bad; I have a serious sweet tooth. I do try and control it. Sometimes I do, but other times I fail. So I love sour cream Pringles. Yum. Cadbury’s cream eggs. Love the centre. After that, I love Sprite. These are my three enemies yet my favourite things ever (apart from writing and reading, of course).

Christine: Where can we find you on the web?

Aoife:
My website: www.aoifemariesheridan.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Aoifemariesheri
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/Aoifemariesheridan
Twitter: www.twitter.com/aoifesheri

Thanks for joining us today, Aoife. Good luck with your future novels.

Interview with Pamela “Penlady” Jones

I first met Pamela “Penlady” Jones on Twitter when she asked me for help with technical ghostwriting. I wasn’t interested in technical writing, but we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I love visiting her blogs and chatting with her about writing careers. She is an online writer who resides in Northern California.

Christine: How long have you been a writer?
Pamela:
I’ve been a writer for 17 years.

Christine: What types of writing do you do?
Pamela:
I’m very diverse in my writing. I write nonfiction articles; now I’m expanding my horizon to write nonfiction eBooks. I also do copywriting, blogging, and press release writing.

Christine: What made you want to become an author?
Pamela:
I like having the freedom to choose the topics that I want to write on, so this was definitely a driving factor. Another reason I became an author is the joy I have in educating readers with valuable information. Plus I love writing eBooks – it’s my favorite type of online writing!

Christine: What interests you about writing nonfiction?
Pamela: I love research and writing, and nonfiction brings the two together perfectly. Even better, nonfiction writing offers me a chance to learn new things while I research and write on a topic.

Christine: What is the title of your most recently published eBook and a description of it?
Pamela: My eBook is entitled, “Virtual Love: Everything You Need to Know About Online Dating.” This is my first nonfiction eBook.

This eBook basically provides advice on how to be safe and successful with online dating. More people are logging on to their computers in search of love these days. Before they join any dating website, however, there are a few things they should know.

Christine: Where can we find this eBook?
Pamela:
It’s available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Virtual-Love-Everything-Online-ebook/dp/B009YC99MK/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_3

Christine: What topic will your next eBook cover?
Pamela:
Child bullying. Although this problem has always existed, this is a problem that has worsened over time. So I’m working on an eBook that can hopefully provide guidance to parents on dealing with this issue.

Christine: In your spare time, what do you like to read?
Pamela:
My writing career keeps me so busy, that I hardly have spare time anymore! Nevertheless, whenever I do have it, I like to read about spirituality, health, relationships … anything that’s going to empower me with knowledge. I also like to read materials that entertain me such as romance novels, women’s fiction and biographies.

Christine: Where can we find you on the Web?
Pamela:
For starters, I have an Amazon Author Central Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009YJKA3A. My blog is: www.penladyebooks.com. And you can find me on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/penlady.jones.

Thanks so much, Pamela, for stopping in at my blog today. Best of luck with your writing and your eBooks!