Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Author Interview – Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait

May 19, 2022
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1.     What drew you to write your first fantasy story?

Believe it or not, it was a picture I made from a picture application of me with a dragon next to me. I wrote a short catchy phrase that I only later learned was a ‘blurb’ I still use on what became my first fantasy novel. It all started with a picture I posted on my Facebook page and people kept saying they wanted more of the story…there was no story! So, day by day I wrote more and posted to my Facebook page for the first 30 days, at which time I discovered I was writing a book!

2.     Did you plan a series or were the characters/worlds too fascinating to leave behind?

This tickles me pink! Since I had no concept I was writing a novel in the beginning, I just keep writing and the characters took control. When your characters are dragons and they talk to you all night long, you awaken and start writing! There was/is so much about these characters that a series developed.

3.     Why did you create a dragon’s world in particular?

This is a great question. The answer stems from that picture we spoke about, but what I didn’t say was that at one time I found out a few people liked to speak behind my back, calling me a dragon. Well, when people cast stones… you build a castle and that’s what I did with my dragons. They are highly intelligent beings and are the protectors of those who cannot protect themselves. 

4.     What is your writing process? Planner or panster.

I’m a pantster all the way. I’m a visual writer. I see the story in my head. Sometimes it is only flashes or glimpses of a moment, but when my hand hit the keyboard, it pours out.

5.     Do you only write prose?

My first outlet in writing was through poetry. I used it as a way to describe my feelings in a more powerful way. Gradually, it morphed into a way of telling stories.

6.     Are you a lifelong writer?

Thankfully, yes. I recently turned 64 and the first I remember writing was a poem to my grandmother when I was eleven or twelve, so with more than fifty years behind me, writing is one of those things that has always been with me.

7.     What are you working on now?

As writers, we always stretch. My first stretch outside of fantasy came last year when I decided to write a contemporary romance novel. Which, wouldn’t you know it, developed into a series. I’m writing the fourth book in this series currently. I actually have three books I’m writing. One is the fifth book in my current dragon series, The Spires of Dasny, one is the one I mentioned, the fourth in the Hope Falls series under my pen name, C.H. Eryl and the third book is one for a romance anthology I was fortunate to be asked to contribute. It will be a starter book for a companion series to the Hope Falls romance series.

8.     Where do you see your series going and for how long?

I have to laugh at this question! I really don’t plan on a series, but they just grow and expand and sometimes make me mad when a character acts up near the end of what ‘should have been’ the last in the series… like now. The Spires of Dasny should have been a four book series, and here I am writing book 5. But wait, not only that but now the same character has stretched beyond his boundaries and now new books will come as a result. At the present I’m unsure if it will carry the same series name or if it will have a new series title.

9.     Where can readers find you?

The best place to find me will be on Amazon. I have two author pages there. https://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Rush-Cowperthwait/e/B078HTLP5X

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – Movie Adaptations

March 22, 2022
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If you are like me you have a movie running in your head when you read a book. You can ‘see’ the characters, their surroundings and what is happening. As a writer this is a wonderful tool for my stories. I see everything as I write, getting those images onto the paper is the trick.

So when we watch a movie, sometimes an adaptation of a book or a play we have read or watched, we compare what our vision is or was of the story. Sometimes the director and screen writer get it ‘right’, other times they do not. As you all know I am a Stephen King fan and have watched some of the movies made from his novels. The interpretations can be cringe worthy, such as Shelly Duvall in The Shining. I got angry at her scenes, she did not represent the character at all, she ruined that movie for me. Jack Nicholson, of course, was stupendous in his role, as only Jack can. One movie I watched, and re-watched was The Green Mile, it was expertly portrayed. This is most likely due to Mr. King being on set!

This brings me to several movies I re-watch due to their intriguing plot, my emotional response or the actors characterization. I have a basket of DVD’s that contain many movies, I enjoyed a lot. (This is not all of them though, it would be a very long post!)

The Lake House, which was adapted from Il Mare, a 2006 American fantasy romance drama film written by David Auburn. The movie has a time slip element with the two main characters living years apart but communicating through a mailbox.

Educating Rita, an adaptation of a screenplay by Willy Russell based on his 1980 stage play. I love the two opposing characters in this movie, chalk and cheese as they say. However, as their relationship grows there is a metamorphosis.

Shirley Valentine, this is another Willy Russell screenplay adaptations based on his 1986 one-character play. For many women this is the ultimate ‘escape’ movie. Who hasn’t dreamed of living on the ocean?

Ladies in Lavender, another screen play adaptation, this time based on a 1908 short story by William J. Locke. Superb acting by Dame’s Judi Dench and Maggie Smith bring this delightful story to life. There is heart ache, lost love, new passions and secrets. And, for me, the coastline is memories of home.

Julie & Julia, the film is the first major motion picture based on a blog. Giving yourself a deadline or a ‘monumental’ task can have its ups and downs as is plainly obvious in this movie.

Calendar Girls, based on a true story of eleven members of a women’s institute group raising money for a cancer charity with a nude calendar.

Which movies do you enjoy over and over? Are they adaptations?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – My interview with Simon Rose

March 15, 2022
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Hop on over to see my interview with Simon Rose today.

An interview with Mandy Eve-Barnett

Mandy Eve-Barnett is a multi-genre author writing children’s, YA, and adult books full of adventure and surprising twists in plot and genre. Her passion for writing emerged later in life and she is making up for lost time. With nine books published since 2011, she indulges her muse in creative fiction as well as freelance writing, which you can learn more about at https://tailoredthemedtosuit.wordpress.com/

Mandy regularly blogs at www.mandyevebarnett.com and is a writing community advocate. As secretary of her local writers’ group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, and past secretary of the Alberta Authors Cooperative, as well as past-president of the Arts & Culture Council, she lives her creative life to the fullest. She hosts the WFSC monthly writing meetings and also creates writing prompts for their website. She has presented on various writing topics at conferences and seminars. Originally from England, Mandy now resides in Alberta, Canada. You can find Mandy across social media and her books through all the online purchasing sites and her publisher, Dream Write Publishing.

What genres do you write in?

I write multiple genres, as I follow the story rather than a genre when I write. As the characters and story develop it becomes clear which audience and genre the narrative fits into. This is a personal approach, as I have to feel my way through a story rather than conform to a structure.

Tell us a little about your work for adults

I use my life experience and interests to give my writing authenticity even though it may not seem evident within the story itself. For example, my novella series, The Rython Kindom and Rython Legacy are set in medieval England. I regularly visited historical sites when I lived in England so can draw from those experiences and learnt history. Another novel, Life

 in Slake Patch, is a speculative fiction story set in an alternative future with a matriarchal society. The seed of the novel idea came from a heated discussion on the perceived place of a woman in our patriarchal society. I feel these themes not only draw in but allow my readers to relate to the story’s basic theme even if they are not consciously aware of them.

What about your books for children?

I have always been fascinated with the magical and mysterious – fairies, dragons, fantastic creatures, as well as the natural world. These two themes are the foundation of my children’s and young adults’ stories. I want my younger readers to love the world they live in, to cherish the flora and fauna within it and to experience a sense of magic. No matter the setting of the story, or the characters within it, there is always companionship, and the message to be true to yourself and those around you.

What are your sources of inspiration?

Goodness, as I have said earlier, everything and anything. It might be a conversation, a photo, something I read or interests I want to explore within a narrative. Dreams also give me ideas or topics, or even a scene I can use within a story. I keep my mind open to influences around me.

Are you involved with your local writing community?

Very much so, physically (when we could!) and virtually. I am the current secretary of my local writers’ group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. We host three monthly (currently virtual) meetings – writing circle, kids creative writing workshop and Poets in the Park. I host the circle meetings, create the Saturday Writing Prompts on the website, and assist with the planning and organization of our two main annual events. Our Spring Writers Conference and our Fall Words in the Park – author and artisan sale and promotion, in conjunction with Alberta Cultural Days. Within this group I found my people, so to speak. I am also a writing community advocate on social media supporting and encouraging other writers. I am happy to share my experiences and knowledge to help others.

What are you currently working on?

I am in the midst of a detective trilogy, The Delphic Murders. I have book one in third draft and am writing book two. Most of my writing is free flow but with this current project I learnt to become a plotter planning separate and multiple arcs, which has been an enlightening exercise. The trilogy spans three Canadian cities and a elusive killer.

You also offer a variety of writing services, don’t you? Can you tell us a little about those?

I am versatile freelance writer drawing from a wide-ranging life experience from twenty-six years as a business owner, working within the medical field, parenting and relationships, extensive travel, and beginning a new life on another continent. I am able to communicate ideas, notions and information on a wide and unlimited range of subjects to ensure I deliver clear, creative, and compelling communications for my clients. It has been a pleasure to create projects for my clients from a magazine article to ghost writing a hybrid marketing book.

So where can people find out more about you and your books?

My blog is the best place to find everything about me and my writing: www.mandyevebarnett.com. I am also across multiple social media sites so I’m easy to find.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Finding Your Writing Mojo

March 10, 2022
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We have all felt disheartened as writers. It can manifest itself in a variety of forms. Lack of impetus, illness, stress, unrealistic comparisons, self expectations or stumbling over a particular section in a writing project. Some call it writers block. In truth it is just life.

Here are some tips to bring you back your writing mojo.

1. Focus on enjoying telling your stories. Do it to the best of your ability.

2. Remember you are building an inventory of your writing but also learning your craft.

Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

3. Lessen your expectations, don’t be so hard on yourself. Yes, we all want a certain quality to our work, but with patience it will come. There is no quick fix.

4. Don’t compare another writer’s finished work against your in process drafts. You have no idea how many changes they made.

5. Remember you get to rule over your own creative process. You choose, shape, mold, and create whatever you want.

6, Your words will, in time, sway minds, move hearts, and touch the lives of dozens of people you will never meet in person.

7. Your words, your stories are your legacy.

8. Do not take rejection personally. Think of it as a learning tool.

9. Take a long-term view of your writing career – no-one is ever an overnight success.

10. Participate in supportive writer groups. Share your work with encouraging friends.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

What have you found works for you when you are feeling disheartened?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Character Creation: Ten Questions To Ask

February 24, 2022
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When creating a story the main element is the characters within the narrative. To ensure we, and our readers, can visualize and become empathic with these protagonists and antagonists, we need to take into account their personalities and backstory. We can begin by asking questions to enable us to create a fully formed character.

  1. What is this character’s name?

Names are a vital first impression for your reader. It can denote an age, location or era. Research names for your story that will fit time and place. You may also chose a name that has a significant meaning.

2. How old are they?

You can state a character’s age, or allude to it with their reactions, preferences or actions.

3. What do they look like?

You can give subtle clues to your character’s looks through careful descriptions rather than listing their physical features. For example, the steamed up mirror gradually revealed her wet long black hair. He easily picked the box off the top shelf.

4. Who are they?

Utilize a character’s occupation, a prominent personality trait, or interaction to give your reader a glimpse at them.

5. Where are they?

Ensure the location of your scenes is ‘visible’ to your reader. A dark room, a summer day in the park or a sandy beach. Place your character within these locations and have them interact with their surroundings.

6. What era/season/day do they inhabit?

With historical fiction, or date/era sensitive stories this is important so your readers are orientated to where your characters live.

7. Who are your characters interacting with?

Name other characters within a scene, this is usually accomplished through dialogue, or interaction.

8. How do they relate to the other character(s)?

Create scenes that help your reader understand the relationships between your character’s. For example, Tom laid his hand on Cheryl’s shoulder as she typed up the letter. She shrugged her distaste at her boss’s physical touch. Tom positioned himself on one side of her desk and grinned.

9. What is your character accomplishing in each scene?

Each scene should relay what your character is trying to accomplish, with whom and how. Give your readers enough information, but also ask questions on what happens next.

10. Keep your character’s plight foremost.

Keep your reader engaged with curiosity, emotional investment, or sympathy for your character, this will keep them present in the story.

Remember to be true to your story but also your readers expectations within the specific genre.

Do you have certain questions you ask your characters? Care to share?

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