Monthly Archives: June 2018

Author Interview – Jenna Greene


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Jenna

Does writing energize or exhaust you? Usually it energizes me. I get excited when I read something I’ve written that is well done, or when a character takes me on a journey I wasn’t expecting.

What is your writing Kryptonite? My busy life. I’m a middle school teacher, coach, volunteer, and mother of a one year old.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I thought about it before I became married. Butrenchuk isn’t a great pen name. Once I got married and changed my name to Greene, I thought “That’s a good one!”

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’ve become acquainted with several Lethbridge and Calgary writers.  G.W. Renshaw has given me tips on book signings and introduced me to my publicist, Mickey Mikkelson. While I don’t know Adam Dreece as well, but have spoken to him and find him very nice, he’s my motivation to become successful as an indie author.

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Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I have a YA fantasy series, which will eventually have a companion picture book. Each book has a distinct connection to the previous and forthcoming. However, I also have a YA contemporary that is a stand-alone. (It may have a companion book someday though…)

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? On a publicist. Creative Edge has opened a lot of doors for me. Also, ordering business cards, booklets, and banners through Vistaprint. They have great products that don’t cost writers and arm and a leg and a thigh.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Every time I stood up to a bully with just my tone and the word “No.”

Listening to stories on my mom’s lap, or my grandma’s, or my sister’s.

Watching She-Ra in a big, brown chair, shouting “For the honor of Greyskull!” and transforming into a powerful woman.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? Most of the indie authors I’ve met. As for a favorite book, I think my favorites are appreciated. However, THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE, by Avi, should be read more often, and it deserves its own movie.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I want to say NYX, the Greek goddess of the night, but I don’t think anyone would believe me. Let’s go with chipmunk. They’re small, cute, but have a bit of spunk.

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How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Plenty.  A few picture books that I’m seeking publishers and/or illustrators for. One YA novel that I’m looking for the right market for. Half-finished books aren’t too common for me, but barely-started projects are.

What does literary success look like to you? When someone laughs, cries, or screams from reading one of my books. Oh, and a million dollars in sales.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I don’t do a lot of research, except in my head. The joy of fantasy is that I get to make a lot of stuff up. But I have to formulate it in my mind, write it down to keep continuity, and brainstorm ideas with my best friend, Rachel, to make sure things are clear.

How many hours a day/week do you write? It varies. During the school year, only 1-2. During summer vacation (teaching rules!) it quadruples.

How do you select the names of your characters? Sometimes it is based off people I know. Other times the names are from literature.

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What was your hardest scene to write?Any time a character dies or loses someone they love.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them? I think the style of YA chose me, more than I chose it. I like YA literature, and feel there are fewer boundaries with what you can do.

How long have you been writing? Since grade 1.

What inspires you?  Adventures.

How do you find or make time to write? I write in short doses. Maybe thirty minutes at a time.

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What projects are you working on at the present? I am editing the third book in my YA fantasy series. (Imagine, Reality, Heritage). I’m also working on a short story – not my forte, but I’m experimenting – for an anthology.

What do your plans for future projects include? Dabble with picture book manuscripts. Perhaps a humorous autobiography about teaching.

Share a link to your author website.  www.jennagreene.ca

Bio:

Jenna Greene is a middle school teacher, dragon boat coach and paddler, and semi-professional napper. She lives with her husband Scott, daughter Olivia, and their dog Thor: Dog of Thunder. 

 

 

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday


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Write a poem about your favorite things.

This is mine these things bring me joy.

An embrace

Rosy light of a sunset

Aroma of mown grass

Waves upon my feet

Feeling a smooth pebble

Beethoven’s sonata

Cradling a baby

Snow glistening

Clasping hands

Planting a flower bed

Words

A walk in nature

Slumber in a hammock

A kiss

Reading a good book

Summer warmth

Light of a full moon

Friendship

Have fun and share your favorite things in the comments.

 

 

 

Genre of Literature – Social Novel


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The social novel, is also known as the social problem (or social protest) novel, the sociological novel and is a work of fiction, which dramatizes a prevailing social problem through the effect they have on the novel’s characters. Topics covered can be as diverse as gender, race, or class prejudice although the narrative can also address poverty, conditions in factories or mines, violence against women, rising criminality and epidemics caused by poor sanitation or overcrowding in urban areas.

 

Other terms used to define this genre are thesis novel, propaganda novel, industrial novel, working-class novel and problem novel. A more recent development in this genre is the young adult problem novel.

Early examples can be found in 18th century England, as well as throughout Europe and the United States. Henry Fielding’s Amelia (1751) and William Godwin’s Things as The Are OR The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794) are thought precursors of the genre. During the social and political upheavals following the Reform Act of 1833 in England social novels began, such as Charles Dickens’ novels highlighting poverty and unhealthy living conditions. Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables (1862) was a significant protest novel. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) dealt with anti-slavery and The Grapes of Wrath is probably the best known social protest novel.

How many social novels have you read?

Have you written one?

 

 

Author Interview M.J. Preston


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MJ Preston

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

That depends. In the beginning of a project I am most definitely energized and that is because the story is yet to be told. By the end of a project, after the editing multiple drafts, the process is mentally exhausting. Luckily, I have a very short memory and repeat this process again and again. 

2. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Distraction. When I write, all social media and the internet are shut down, except for bringing up a browser to reference something pertaining to the piece I am working on.

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3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

MJ Preston is as close to a pseudonym as I ever got.

4. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Too many authors to name really. A short list would be Gregory L. Norris, B.E. Scully, F. Paul Wilson, Kevin M. Sullivan, Joseph Boyden. Reading their work certainly helps. I am often in awe at their creativity.

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5. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

My latest novel, which is in pre-publication has no connection to my other works, but often I will revisit characters and link them to other works.

6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

That’s a tough one. Let me get back to you.

7. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I believe it was around 1983. I wrote my first letter to the editor of my home town paper. The subject was regarding employers who pay their employees poorly. At that time, I was working for $4.00 per hour in a local carwash. The response to that letter blew me away. There was no email or internet back then, so people put pen to paper and mailed in their responses. That impressed me. Even those who disagreed with my opinion impressed on me that words were a way of invoking discussion and sometimes debate.

8. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I’d have to say, Robert R. McCammon’s vampire novel, THEY THIRST. A great book, set in the 70’s and fun read.

9. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Easy answer. The raven. I have always had love for these dark creatures. I’ve taken hundreds of photographs of them. Written stories and a novel that included them and I am always taken back by their intelligence.

10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I don’t discuss unpublished work.

11. What does literary success look like to you?

Readers. Plenty of readers. I don’t care much about awards or being the darling of critics. I just want more readers.

 

 

12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Research is certainly part of the process. It varies by project. In most cases, the research begins and continues during the project.

13. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I don’t know really. Again, it varies. Could be 20 hours, could be 30, depending on my schedule. Let’s just say I write as much as I can and as long as my muse is available.

14. How do you select the names of your characters?

Usually, it’s random thought, but once that’s exhausted the internet provides a well of opportunity.

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15. What was your hardest scene to write?

I have written about the murder of children. Not an easy task. You have to know where your line is and whether or not you’ve crossed it.

16. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I guess I would be categorized as a horror/thriller writer, but I often ponder writing a book that is completely away from that genre. I sometimes write small pieces or opinion pieces that are of a more serious nature. Balance doesn’t really come in to. If somebody asked about me it would probably be, “That M.J. Preston is a horror writer.” ―but I consider myself a writer.

17. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing fiction since the 70’s, with a hiatus from about 1986 to 1998. During that period, I wrote articles for newspapers while serving in the Canadian military. So, technically, I’ve always wrote, but my love of fiction took a short vacation.

18. What inspires you?

Reading the work of others inspires me.  

19. How do you find or make time to write?

If you want to be a writer you just make time. That’s what I do, anyway.

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20. What projects are you working on at the present?

I said I don’t discuss unfinished work, so I’ll avoid specifics. I will say that there is a new book on the horizon pre-publication as well as another in the works.

21.    22. What do your plans for future projects include?

Warmer climates? 😊

Share a link to your author website.

Folks can visit my author website: http://mjpreston.net

 

Blog Tour – Simon Rose


Simon Rose

My guest today is Simon Rose, author of many novels and nonfiction books for children and young adults. His latest novel, Parallel Destiny, has just been released.

So tell us about the new book

Parallel Destiny is the third part of the paranormal Flashback trilogy. The first instalment, entitled Flashback, was published in 2015 and the second, Twisted Fate, was published in 2017.

The trilogy features ghosts, psychics, alternate timelines, parallel universes, and Project Mindstorm, a secret operation involving deadly mind control experiments, as Max and Julia investigate events concealed for over twenty years.  

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Parallel Destiny takes place immediately after the events depicted in Twisted Fate. Project Mindstorm no longer exists and Kane and his associates no longer represent a danger. However, Max and Julia now have to contend with the sinister Alastair Hammond and his experiments into the existence of parallel universes and alternate realities. Marooned within a bewildering series of multiple universes, Max and Julia are forced to fight for their own survival and to save the very fabric of reality from Hammond’s deadly scheme.

Will there be any more books in the series?

I’m not sure. Right now I’m not planning on any more since the story has reached a logical conclusion. However, Flashback was originally going to be a single novel and I didn’t consider sequels until later, so you never know. I think there’s certainly some potential to write something else in this genre featuring the two main characters, but I guess time will tell.

You don’t seem to have any shortage of ideas. Where do you get them all from?

Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere really. Books, movies, TV, online research, out walking the dog, dreams, an overheard conversation, friends and family, history, mythology, and so many other sources. I have a few ideas that may never come to anything, but I still keep them anyway. It’s always a good plan to save them because you never know if, or when, an idea might fit into a story. My first four novels were all very early story ideas and were the first books to be published. However, more recently published novels, such as The Sphere of Septimus and the Flashback series, were also very early ideas for novels. They just took longer to develop as novels. Flashback was also one of my earliest ideas but again it took a while for me to develop the initial story, and consequently the rest of the series. Even if the ideas don’t work right away, they might in the future and you just never know when you’ll get another piece of the puzzle.

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What other novels have you written? 

I’ve written fifteen novels so far, since the first one came out in 2003. The Sorcerer’s Letterbox and The Heretic’s Tomb are historical fiction adventures set in medieval England, – The Alchemist’s Portrait is a time travel story, The Emerald Curse is all about superheroes and comic books, The Doomsday Mask is all about the legend of Atlantis, and The Sphere of Septimus involves the characters traveling into another world and is in the same vein as the Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Narnia, or Lord of the Rings. Future Imperfect is a technology-driven story featuring mysterious messages from the future and The Time Camera about a myserious device that captures images of different historical periods, and The Clone Conspiracy features secret experiments into human cloning. The Shadowzone series featuring ShadowzoneInto The Web, and Black Dawn, was published last year. The series involves the discovery of a grim dystopian version of Earth that’s ruled by a totalitarian dictatorship, the threat of a deadly virus, and a race against time to save the lives of millions.

I’ve also written seven nonfiction guides for writers, including The Children’s Writer’s Guide, The Time Traveler’s Guide, and The Working Writer’s Guide. 

Are these your favourite genres in which to write? 

Yes, there are certain genres that I like. When I first read the Harry Potter books, I knew that they were written for the age range, style, and had the level of danger and excitement for young readers that I was aiming for with the many story ideas that I had at the time.

However, as much as I enjoyed all the Harry Potter books, I wasn’t interested in writing my own story ideas on themes like folklore, mythology, magic wands, witches and wizards, or mythological creatures and monsters. Instead, I wanted my stories to be about the sort of things that I enjoyed reading about. These included time travel, fantasy, history, science fiction, lost cities, superheroes, other worlds, parallel universes, and the paranormal, and those are the types of stories I’ve been writing ever since. 

So is it true that authors should write what they know? 

In some ways yes, although this might sound a little odd because no one actually knows how to travel in time, attend a wizard school, visit other dimensions, have super powers, or go to the edge of the universe, at least as far as we know anyway. But what this term actually means is that it’s much easier to write about what you know or about what you’re interested in. You’ll have far more ideas about your own favorite topics and you’ll also decide exactly what you want to write about and not just try to do the same as everyone else or follow a hot new trend, whether it’s teenage wizards, vampires, zombies, or something else. If you write about unfamiliar topics, you’ll have to do more research for a story or perhaps plan out the story a lot more, rather than letting the ideas from your imagination flow into the computer or onto the paper as the story keeps coming to you. Writing about things that you’re not passionate about will seem much more like work, when writing is supposed to be fun. Write about what you know and love and it’s going to be a much more enjoyable experience.

Have you worked with lots of other authors? 

Yes quite a lot over the last few years, in many different genres. This has involved both substantive and copy editing of completed novels, but I also work as a coach for writers with works in progress. Some of the projects I’ve worked on that have subsequently been published are here on my website. You can also see some of the references and recommendations from other clients that I’ve worked with.

What are you currently working on?  

I’m always working on something but currently I’m writing a number of nonfiction books and doing quite a lot of editing and coaching work with other authors, helping them with their novels, short stories, or works in progress. I’m also working on a historical fiction novel set in the turbulent era of the English Civil War in the 1640s and I hope to be able to focus on that a little more in the coming months. 

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Where can a reader purchase your latest book? 

Parallel Destiny is available in paperback and as an ebook worldwide on Amazon, KoboBarnes & NobleiBooks, and Indigo Chapters in Canada, and at many other locations online. Your local bookstore should also be able to order a copy.

You can learn more about Simon and his work on his website at http://www.simon-rose.com or online at the following social media sites:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Google +
  • Pinterest

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