Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Author Interview – Jaclyn Dawn

December 24, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

Jaclyn Dawn

What inspired your latest novel?

  • The idea for The Inquirer came to me in line at the grocery store where the tabloids and gossip magazines are on display. I wondered what the featured celebrities thought of the headlines. What would my neighbors and I think if our local newspaper was publishing sensationalized articles about our love lives, blunders, and appearances? In The Inquirer, a mysterious tabloid starts airing the dirty laundry of a small town here in Alberta, and Amiah Williams becomes an unsuspecting feature.

How did you come up with the title?                       

The Inquirer struck me as the perfect title. It brings to mind the National Enquirer, which is the type of newspaper I want readers to imagine. And it represents Amiah, the protagonist, who is forced to dig into the twisted truth behind the tabloid and her past.

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

I hope The Inquirer entertains readers. On a deeper level, it explores different types and levels of stereotyping and gossip. Perhaps some readers will question what happens behind closed doors or think twice about when to speak up and when best to be quiet.

The Inquirer - cover.jpg

How much of the book is realistic?

It hasn’t happened, but it could, if that’s what you mean. I was surprised by how often I would come up with what I thought was an outrageous headline for the fictional tabloid and then something similar would happen in real life! Most often, I would then change the headline for fear that people would think it was based on them.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The Inquirer is fiction, but I feel like the characters are familiar and I have had readers say they have known similar sets of characters in their lives.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

Readers can connect with me on Twitter (@readjaclyndawn), on Facebook (@authorjaclyndawn), and at jaclyndawn.com.

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

I recently started putting on paper an idea for another stand-alone, fiction novel that has been percolating for some time. I don’t have an elevator speech quite ready yet, though.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

I really like Ray Williams, Amiah’s dad in The Inquirer. He doesn’t fit his stereotype, buy into stereotypes, or give stereotypes all that much thought. I has a quirky sense of humour, and I wish I could feel as comfortable in my own skin as he does his.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I dabble in many genres as a writer and a reader. NeWest has called The Inquirer genre-bending but primarily markets it as literary fiction; it is located in the general fiction section of the library. I enjoy writing children’s stories, but so far that has been reserved for entertaining my son.   

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

My story ideas have to percolate for a while. If I try to write or discuss them too early, the ideas fall flat. I have a general idea of what will happen before I start writing and will jot down notes I don’t want to forget, but the characters tend to take over and connect the dots from there. 

What is your best marketing tip?

Embrace the digital age, including finding social media that suits you and your readers, connecting with fellow writers online, and participating in blog interviews like this! 

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? 

Social media can help you reach a lot of potential readers and connect with fellow writers, but it can also be distracting and disheartening.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

For me, writing is cathartic and entertaining. It is a way to explore topics. I find myself asking the same two questions in most of my writing: Why do people do what they do? And, what if?

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I have been writing stories for as long as I can remember, and telling them even longer according to my parents. You would probably be rich if you got paid a dollar for every time you’ve gotten a variation of that answer!

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

I consider myself lucky that this is a difficult question to answer. However, to keep it brief, I will just mention the two I live with: my husband and son. Logan makes sure when I get too grounded that I get my head back in the clouds and write. And Seth’s teachers and coaches knew about The Inquirer before the publisher’s catalogue even came out.

Where is your favorite writing space?

The space in our house that the previous owners called a dining room is my library, with shelves of books and memorabilia that has more personal than monetary value and the writing desk my husband refinished for me for one of my birthdays. I call this my writing hub because I come and go with my notebooks, scraps of paper used when inspiration hits at inopportune times, and laptop. I find myself writing for snippets of time everywhere I go. If I was limited to a traditional work space, my creativity, efficiency, health (migraines), and – I admit it – mood would all suffer.

Do you see writing as a career?

With a Bachelor of Applied Communications from MacEwan University and a Master of Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University, I have made a career of a combination of writing. I taught at MacEwan and NAIT, work with my Scriptorium team, and am now also fulfilling my childhood dream of seeing a book of my own in the bookstore and library.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

The Inquirer was originally my MA dissertation, and involved being part of a writing group. Otherwise, I am not part of a formal group but have a growing and much appreciated network of fellow writers.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

My writing times and locations vary, but I will never turn down popcorn.

Bio:

Jaclyn Dawn grew up in a tabloid-free small town in Alberta. With a communications degree and creative writing masters, she works as a freelance writer and instructor. She now lives somewhere between city and country outside Edmonton with her husband and son. The Inquirer is her debut novel.

Special Author Interview – Jenna Greene – Moonbeam’s Award

December 17, 2019
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AuthorInterview Jenna

Congratulations are in order to Jenna Greene for winning the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. I asked Jenna some questions about her experience.

  1. Which book won the award?

Reborn – a YA dystopian novel. (The first in a new series).

  1. Can you tell us a little about the story and its characters?

This is a story about a girl named Lexil who is banished to slavery because of the marks on her skin. These marks state that she has lived previous lives and, as such, is to toil in service for those not fortunate enough to have multiple lives.

Reborn

  1. Why is this story important to you?

This story is important to me on many levels. One – it is a genuinely good story. I feel it is the best writing I’ve done so far. Two – I love the characters and the mythology. I kept the premise of the story simple, but the mythology is unique. Three – I wrote this book in a turbulent part of my life. This story will be forever connected to my mother, as I wrote the first half of it when she was sick and the second half of it after she passed away. And when you write a book about connection to past lives, and those who have lived before … there is no way to escape the fact that maybe those who love us never really leave.

  1. When did you decide to submit this book for the award?

I’ve never submitted a book for an award before but, as mentioned, I feel very proud of this book and very connected too. It just felt okay, for once, to see if others thought it was worthy of recognition.

  1. Where was the award ceremony held?

Traverse City, Michigan.

  1. Can you tell us about the Moonbeam‘s Award – who can apply, who sponsors it etc.?

The Moonbeam Children’s Book Award has bronze, silver, and gold for various categories in Children’s Literature. My novel, Reborn, tied for gold in the YA science fiction and fantasy category. The awards are sponsored by the Jenkin’s Group.

  1. How was your trip to the award ceremony?

Eventful, to say the least. I nearly didn’t make it, as traveling from Canada in winter isn’t exactly easy. Security scanners broke at the Calgary airport, delaying my traveling buddy and I in the line for two hours. We barely caught our flight to Chicago. Our connecting flight to Michigan couldn’t land because of snow, so we had to try again the next night. My luggage wasn’t lost, but it was inaccessible, so I spent 24 hours without it… and the list goes on. But travel adventures make good writing later!

  1. Where can we find your book to purchase?

Either on Amazon, or at Foundations Books.

https://www.amazon.com/Reborn-Jenna-Greene/dp/1729409547/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=jenna+greene&qid=1574567521&sr=8-1

Bio:

Jenna Greene is the author of the acclaimed Young Adult Fantasy series, Imagine! She is a middle school teacher, dragon-boat coach, enthusiastic dancer, and semi-professional napper. She lives in Lethbridge, Alberta with her husband (Scott), daughter (Olivia), and dog (Thor, dog of thunder).

 

Author Interview – Wren Handman

December 10, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

WrenAuthor

What inspired your latest novel? I had this idea—if the legends are real, why do they change so often? I started to imagine worlds where various legends were true. Werewolves, vampires, fairies. And what that world would look like, how it would have to be made up, in order for all these disparate legends to somehow be based on the real magic that underpins it all. I started with fairies, and how the stories about them change and are shaped, over time, by human invention. So I came up with an idea that fairies themselves are actually shaped by humans. By our dreams, by our collective stories. But once every thousand years or so, a human comes along who shapes the fairy world more drastically. The Phantasmer. And that’s where the story started.

How did you come up with the title? I always joke that titles are the bane of my existence! When I first started writing the book I called it Phantasmer. And one of my friends read it, and he told me, “That’s terrible, it sounds like it’s about a ghost or something. You have to change it!” So I thought I would try to find a lyric or a bit of poetry that I liked, and name it after that. At first I wanted to use a line from the poem by Emily Dickinson about fairies, there’s a beautiful line about, “Buy here! … Even for Death, a fairy medicine.” that I really loved, so I called it Even For Death, for awhile—death and ghosts! It sounded way too maudlin, not at all what the book was about, and if you didn’t know the quote it was even worse. So I was scanning through song lyrics, trying to find something, and then this line from “Sounds of Silence” just hit me, and it was just so perfect. What is Sylvia is not a dreamer, restless and wary? And “In Restless Dreams” was born. I don’t recommend choosing a song lyrics as your book title, though. I have that song stuck in my head constantly now!

Command

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Life is beautiful and life is messy and life is precious, and it’s never too soon and never too late to go on the biggest adventure of your life. And it gets better.

How much of the book is realistic? It’s really important to me, both in my writing and in the books I read, that novels that are fantastical are even more rooted in the real and everyday than novels that are set on the real world. I hate how much young adult literature especially dives into magic and forgets all about the real consequences of being a teenager. Your parents, your friends, keeping up with school—none of those things vanish just because there’s something huge going on in your life. I think we’ve all experience that to a lesser degree, whether it’s having a huge fight with your best friend but you still have to write a math midterm, or your parents are getting a divorce but there’s a party on Friday night and everyone is going. Magic is a bit like that. It doesn’t make room in your life for itself, it just is.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? I’m inspired by the stories I read and the themes I find in the world around me, but I don’t usually base characters on specific people. My next novel that I’m working on has a character based on my best friend, though! She thinks it’s really weird to see her name in print.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog? I’m very active on Facebook, you can find me at facebook.com/wrenhandmanwriter, and I do have a blog on my personal website, www.wrenhandman.com/blog

Restless

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone? I am forever writing the next book and working on the next idea, and I have quite a few finished projects waiting in the queue. We’ll see how it goes, but I would like to return to the story of In Restless Dreams. I don’t think Sylvia is done with her journey yet.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? Stranger is by far my favourite character. I love that he breaks that ‘mystery guy’ mold by being funny, by enjoying laughter and life and knowing his place in the world.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one? I dabble in a lot of different genres, but always speculative. I love the intersection of mystery and magic with the everyday, that’s where my passion is. So I write a lot of near-future science fiction, and a lot of paranormal fantasy. Things where we still recognize our lives and the world, but something has been added to it.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer? Both! I think a combination is the key to a really great story. You need to have an idea of the shape of it, or it can get really meandery and lost. But if you stick too closely to an outline you had before you really knew your characters, they can feel stilted. So I like to write an outline that’s usually 4-5 pages for a full length novel, and then I let it grow and spread and change as it needs to over the course of writing.

Last Cut

What is your best marketing tip? I really like providing something fun for readers who follow me. So I talk a lot about my process, and I post quotes as I work on the book, things that might not even end up in the final draft.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? Yes! It’s so necessary and every author has to do it, but it can be a huge time suck. I recommend choosing your platform and concentrating there. I’m on Twitter and Instagram, but my real focus in Facebook, and that’s where I put the majority of my time.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing? When I’m not writing I grow restless, as if something I can’t quite define is missing. It’s that sense of building something you hope will last, those stories crawling up your throat that need to be told. It’s seeing a finished product and knowing it will mean something to someone one day, that it will take them away and erase the world, just for a little while.

What age did you start writing stories/poems? Since before I can remember I was telling stories, playing make-believe, inventing. I was always a child of great imagination. I wrote my first play when I was six years old, and got everyone in my class to star in it. I wrote my first novel in junior high, was sending it out to agents by the end of high school. It was rough, those early things I wrote. But I had a lot of support from family and friends, and that made all the difference.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same? It’s stayed pretty consistent, actually. It’s always been that sense of imagination and escape that’s appealed to me.

What genre are you currently reading? I read about 50 books a year, and most of them are either fantasy, science fiction, or paranormal, in both adult and fantasy. I like to be transported.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both? For pleasure, though there isn’t anything that isn’t research in a certain sense. If you don’t like to read it, you have no business writing it. You need to know what’s already been done. It’s like when Oryx and Crake came out, and a bunch of reviewers said how groundbreaking it was, and the entire science fiction community was like… You’ve never read sci-fi before, have you? It was a well written book, don’t get me wrong! Of course it was, she’s a literary master. But it wasn’t new. It wasn’t saying anything that hadn’t been said before.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? My family is a bulwark I could not live without. My mother especially loves to read works in progress, and never has a single negative thing to say. My friend Hollis I call my cheerleader. I really don’t know if I would have come so far without her. I always knew I had someone to write for, that even if I was never published at least I was creating something for someone. That really got me through the long days before my first publishing success.

Do you see writing as a career? Yes, absolutely. Of course it’s a passion, and a vocation, and a calling. But I think people who fail to become “writers” fail because they don’t see it as a job, too. You have to put the time in. You have to start at the bottom and work your way up. You have to do some boring stuff to make money while you work on your creative projects on the side. It takes discipline.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food? I am a terrible snacker! Thankfully writing usually keeps me more distracting than my other work, so it’s almost a dieting aid.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? I’m all about the champagne. Finish a novel? Champagne! Get a writing contract? Champagne! Book release day? Champagne!

Bio:

Wren Handman is a novelist, fiction writer, and screenwriter. She’s written three novels: Last Cut (Lorimer Ltd 2012) and Command the Tides (Omnific 2015), and In Restless Dreams, which was originally self-published and is now forthcoming from Parliament House Press. Check out The Switch, Wren’s TV comedy about trans life in Vancouver. Follow her blog at www.wrenhandman.com/blog, or on Twitter @wrenhandman. 

Photographer & Writer Interview – Janice Meyer Foreman

December 3, 2019
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  1. What inspired your latest book? 

Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, twice, once in the autumn, again a few years later in the spring, and I wanted to share the beauty.        

2. How did you come up with the title? 

A Photographer Walks the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, I wanted people to understand that this was a visual journey along the Camino route.

3. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?  

For those who have walked the Camino the book would serve as a reminder, for those planning their journey it would serve as an inspiration, and for many who cannot make the journey the book will be their virtual journey.

4. How much of the book is realistic? 

The Camino I walked is the same one walked by hundreds of thousands every year, each of us have our own walk, we have our own journey, affected by our senses and sensibilities. Each walk during different seasons, different weather and even different times of days, each see and experiences, and stay in different places, travel with different people. But we all travel the same road, and the images and stories are realistic. 

5. Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog? www.jmeyersforeman.com  https://www.instagram.com/jmeyersforeman/  https://twitter.com/meyersforeman

6. Do you have plans or ideas for another book?

I have no other plans for another book at this time, we do want to walk another Camino to Santiago de Compostela, so another book is possible.

Camino Book draft Nov 19, 2019 Cover

Please note this book is still in the process of being published. Links will be added at a later date.

7. What is your best marketing tip? 

I’m new to marketing, so far, marketing has been about the photographs, as individual images, just recently I have started to work towards putting the images together as a series.

8. Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? 

For me social media has been tool to share and sell my photography, and sharing stories with family and friends, only recently have I started to make an effort to expand my social media reach, to make connections with others who.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

9. What do you enjoy most about writing?

 Writing has been a wonderful challenge, and it has been helpful in developing stories related to my travels.

10. What age did you start photography/writing? 

I learned about photography, early in life, while in school, while I was traveling I started to write a blog, much before the days of Instagram, to share my photography and tell my travel stories, much later in life.

11. What genre are you currently reading? 

I read fiction, at this time I have been reading World War ll fiction with women at the center of the story.

12. Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

I read for both pleasure and for research. Prior to my first Camino I read a lot about the history and architecture of the pilgrimage, and several autobiographical stories. I enjoy reading fiction with strong female characters.

13. Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My husband is my biggest supporter, my sister-in-law has been helping with proof-reading, and several good friends have been very encouraging.

14. Where is your favorite creative space?

I work at my desk, processing images with the computer. I also have a laptop and can work from anywhere, I write wherever I can find a quiet space, but my favourite space is early in the morning, in bed, with a cup of coffee, before the day has begun.

15. If you could meet one favorite photographer, who would it be and why?

David Duchemin, a strong photographer, who uses his writing to explore and expand his photography, he is a motivational writer, and his work has inspired me to better work, and better storytelling with my photography.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

I love Calgary, this is my home, while I love to travel, and have a long list of places I want to spend a month or two, Calgary will always be my home.

17. How do you use writing?

Writing supplements my photography.

18. Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

I don’t often nibble while I write, but I do love my tea, Cream of Earl Grey or Chai are favourites. 

19. What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? 

Completion followed by a long walk is my great reward.

Bio:

Experience Photographer @ Jmeyersforeman Photography

I first learned the magic of photography while taking pictures for the high school yearbook, and developing images in the darkroom. Since then I have been commissioned for both personal and corporate projects include portraits, architecture, travel, and products.

Master Photographer International

In 2018 I applied for and was awarded a Master Photographer designation for my Travel images.

Alamy Stock Photography: Contributor since 2012

Exhibits

I was excited to have my image of “Getting Ready” exhibited in the world famous Calgary Exhibition Stampede Photo Gallery July 2017

Presentations:

Calgary Public Library – Camino slideshow and talk

Calgary Chapter of the Canadian Company of Pilgrim – Camino Slideshow and talk

Leadership

Camino 101, Leadership team, Calgary Chapter of the Canadian Company of Pilgrims.

Volunteer

Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, Western Living, Art Auction

Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, Western Photo Gallery Committees

Wellspring Calgary

Calgary Women’s Center

 

#NaNoWriMo #Interview: Mandy Eve-Barnett

November 28, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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A huge thanks to Carrie Ann Golden for interviewing me regarding this year’s NaNoWriMo. Here’s the link.

https://awriteradolescentmuse.wordpress.com/2019/11/18/nanowrimo-interview-mandy-eve-barnett/

Tell us why you participate in National Novel Writing Month

I find it a superb way to practice writing to a deadline, write without the worry of editing and letting my creativity flow with no constraints.

How/When did you first learn about NaNoWriMo?

My first NaNo was 2009 when I was persuaded by a new writing friend from my writing group to participate. At the time I’d only written very short stories (and I mean short). The idea of fifty thousand words made me refuse point blank but gradually she convinced me I could do it. That first NaNo’s project was edited and revised almost every year until I finally published it 2018.

How many years have you participated in NaNoWriMo?

This will be my tenth NaNo – I only missed 2017 when I was working on two manuscripts that were published that year.

What is your NaNoWriMo project for this year?

The idea came late in October (almost November) it just popped into my head to write a young romance set within a university campus. The two main protagonists have evolved into fully rounded characters now.

If you were to introduce yourself to a group of strangers, what would you say?

I indulge my creativity in writing whether writing fiction or aiding clients within my freelance business and am a writing community advocate.

Do dreams inspire your writing ideas?

I have used several dream sequences within my works of fiction, they are always vivid and I quickly write them down. I always have a notebook on the bedside table.

Who is your favorite author? Why?

Stephen King is my literary hero. He is the greatest story teller, creating characters with minimal description, grips your interest from the first page and never disappoints. My greatest possession is a personal letter I received from him. It is framed about my writing desk.

What is your preferred genre to write in?

I do not write to genre, I write the story an it chooses which genre it is as it unfolds.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I use my blog to interact with writers across the globe: http://www.mandyevebarnett.com

You can find me across social media –

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mandyevebarnett

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mandyevebarnett/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V

On NaNoWriMo site I am MandyB

Mandy’s writing desk

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