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Author Interview Eva Blaskovic

November 30, 2018
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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Traditionally, it energizes me, but not because it’s easy. Transcribing from images and feelings to the right words takes blood and sweat, no matter how well I know my story.

I’ve worked under schedules that have exhausted me, though.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Kryptonite weakens Superman, brings him to his knees, makes him unable to go on. For me, that has always been my work hours, which have not only been odd, keeping me out of writing groups and events, but also long. Determined to find a way to improve my writing skills and become part of a writing community, I connected with writing instructors and industry experts through international online courses since 2006. It was a community I could interact with by leaving messages in the middle of the night when no sane local person was awake. It has taken superhuman effort to write my first novel during many upheavals in my life and three jobs at a time, but I was determined to do it.

The second Kryptonite would be my fiction writing speed, which is much slower than my non-fiction speed. Taking part in NaNoWriMo means committing several hours a day to make the 1,667-word daily quota, plus writing about 12 hours on Sunday. I ultimately “won” NaNoWriMo in 2014 with over 50,000 words in 30 days while working six days a week.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I’ve looked into why some authors do it. Sometimes it’s because what they write conflicts with their job or image. Others simply want a name that sounds good and is more likely to sell than their real name. Still others want to cover their gender to prevent publisher or reader bias.

Using my real name just makes sense to me, even if it doesn’t have the eloquence and appeal of a best-selling author name. Or I could be Klára Dvořák.

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

My first author connections were international, mostly from the US and UK. As a single mom, I was working through all the local author meetings and event times. I couldn’t be anywhere in person unless it was in the wee hours of the night. Thanks to the Internet, I had an extensive online community before I ever became involved locally. Even now, I miss all weeknight meetings, and I’m lucky if I can make a Saturday event. Fortunately, I know a small number of local authors (Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Morinville) with whom I meet in person several times a year. I wish I could meet with the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County (WFSC) a lot more often.

More recently, my daughter, Leslie Hodgins, has published her first book, Rebel Destiny. It has been wonderful talking “shop” with her.

Author friends and instructors have helped with feedback on my writing, with knowledge of publishing, graphics, promotion, and events. But mostly, it just feels good to be in the company of other writers and be able to talk about writing or read their work. Special mentions go to Mandy Eve-Barnett and Linda J. Pedley.

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

Right now, I have a published novel that could stand alone, although I have started writing a companion novel/sequel to expand on some of the situations mentioned in the first book.

The two other books in progress are stand-alones.

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

The absolute best money I ever spent was on writing courses in 2006 to 2012, which gave me access to professional critiques, editing, and communication with instructors who had worked as acquisition editors in publishing houses, instructed Fine Arts programs at universities, wrote for well-known magazines or publishers, and/or traditionally published their own books. These courses and individuals helped me hone my craft. After that, the best money I spent was to Dream Write Publishing.

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

When I was very young and said something stupid that couldn’t be taken back with an apology.

Later, in school, I couldn’t impress anyone with my writing or verbal presentations—neither teachers nor students. A few teachers gave me credit for my mechanics, though, especially in writing dialogue.

Only once ever, in the final year of high school when I answered a child development/perspective question during a discussion period, did the class, much to my amazement, clap. (I was a nobody in school, so that was kind of a big deal.) I guess that’s the one time I can actually say I had insight beyond my years and an ability to get into the developing brains of children and youth, and actually advocate for them. That ability later became the foundation to my job, my parenting, and my writing, but the credit for it goes to my mother.

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

I can’t even begin to say.

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

Interesting question. I never thought about it and can’t answer this question even after months of pondering it.

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

Three fiction books and a parenting/educator handbook.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

VJ Gage (January 2018) described it like this: “It would be that many thousands of people have read and enjoyed my books. I would want them to say they could not put my books down and that my plots are unique and clever, and that I have a great imagination.  Then I would like to make lots of money.”

Writing a book is a heck of a lot of work, and prepping it for publication is a heck of a lot of work on top of that. With that in mind, it would be nice if my book had some traction, both in terms of readership, literary credibility, and sales. That’s just the reality of life. Anyone can write for the joy of it, but to make a book and keep making them needs some form of return.

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

It depends on what kind of book it is. For my first book, the events, relationships, interviews, and readings from my whole life, distilled, were my research. When I needed more, there was the Internet. I researched the psychology of grief in real life as well as through literature.

For my fantasy and supernatural books, the process was different, since the decision to write each was sudden. But I did research locations, clothing, tools, mineshafts, etc.

Research can be done at different stages: before writing, at the beginning of writing when you come across something you need to know, and toward the end to verify or adjust information.

With non-fiction, though, the brunt of the research and organization comes up front.

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

When I do get to write, it’s a marathon. I’ll write until it’s done (an article or short story), or until I drop. In the past, I had written for 17-20 hours a day for many days straight when writing novels. Unfortunately, this kind of time was rare and usually took long weekends and holidays.

I often can’t go near a novel (first draft or revision) unless I’m guaranteed an uninterrupted three to four hours at a stretch.

I do not get distracted by social media or anything else during these times. It’s very intense focus.

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

*Evil grin* I steal and collect names. I’ve had some sort of protagonist for as long as I can remember. He—yes, always he, though not the same one over my lifespan—often came with a family and a community of friends. These people needed names, so I was always writing down and saving names I liked. Nowadays, I search baby name lists as well.

It’s a little more difficult with last names. I have to be more careful.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

One of the oldest yet hardest scenes to write was the first climax in my published novel. I grappled with it for over five years. It has been rewritten more times than any other scene in the book.

Beyond the Precipice

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

I’ve always written a form of reality fiction or literary fiction. My novel took on a psychological theme because I guess that’s what I know best.

As a child, I watched sci-fi, but I wrote adventures and was particularly interested in outdoor survival stories—for which I had no hands-on experience, and Internet research was still a good twenty years away. The nifty thing about living life is that you gain experience whether you want to or not. One day, I was finally in a position to write a book, but it was about a different kind of survival—more internal, more cerebral.

I wrote a fantasy adventure for NaNoWriMo 2014 because I could make that form of writing go much faster.

Each genre and book is so different that it’s hard to mix anything up because what belongs in one story doesn’t belong in another.

Random ideas for any story can be written down at any time. However, in order to complete a book properly and give it the best continuity of style, foreshadow, and character, it’s best for me to immerse myself in one book during the processes of revision and preparation for publication.

  1. How long have you been writing?

Since before I could form letters. Then, during my childhood and right through university. I took a hiatus after marriage and while the kids were small. Writing was difficult to justify because I couldn’t produce anything worthwhile. I was alone with my passion until the age of the Internet, when I could seek help from people outside of my immediate geographical location. In 2006, online writing courses made it possible for me to connect with writing experts who taught me how to write novels (and articles) properly. Over the next decade, I began to find books and articles with valuable information for the professional writer. I educated myself as much as I could, conferred with my writing mentors, and practiced, practiced, practiced.

  1. What inspires you?

Anything in life, real or fictional, can be an inspiration or become a part of a story. Authors see potential stories and character traits everywhere.

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

There has only ever been one way, and it is not healthy: sleep less.

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

I began working on Beyond the Music (companion/sequel to Beyond the Precipice), Druyan (fantasy adventure), Ironclad (supernatural adventure), and a parenting/educator handbook. However, they are on hold indefinitely.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I would have to finish the above projects first, unless I got an incredibly hot new idea that pretty much wrote itself.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

My website link is https://evablaskovic.com/.

Thank you, Mandy, for this interview.

Eva

 

 

 

Author Interview – Leslie Hodgins

October 5, 2018
mandyevebarnett


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Leslie

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing usually energizes me. There’s nothing better than getting some ideas that have been running around in my head down on paper.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

My kryptonite would have to be grammar and sometimes, punctuation. I get confused by all the rules. I’d rather just write.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

   No. I always pictured my name on the books I wrote.

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

     Eva Blaskovic, Mandy-Eve Barnett, Konn Lavery. These guys have been huge inspirations and very supportive. Plus, they write awesome content.

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

For the most part, I’m writing stand alones. I might have a signature that shows up in all my writing but all my works are going to be different genres and different characters

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

So far, just getting my book published. Spending money on that is creating a dream that I’ve had since I was a young girl.

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

I don’t remember anything specific but jokes and puns were one way I learned about the power of language.

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

That’s a hard one to answer but probably Shade’s Children.

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

An anchor. It symbolizes my interest in pirates as well as helps me stay grounded. I’ve always been very attracted to anchors, whether in print, jewelry or real life.

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

Two on paper and one in my head.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Walking past a bookshop and seeing your book there, and having people talk about it, either in person or on social media.

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

Most of my writing has to do in the sci-fi and/or fantasy genre. I researched a lot of myths, history, and science fiction that other authors or TV producers have put out. I don’t know the hours that I put in before writing. Usually, I get an idea, start writing and then research as I go along.

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

Depends on where in the book I am. Could be anywhere from 4-20/week

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

I generally want the names of my characters to reflect something of their personality so I’ll research some names and then pick the ones I like best. If I can’t find anything, I’ll just look up some names until something feels right. If that fails, I’ll find a random name generator and pick some from that.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

There’s a scene where one of my characters (who’s been having nightmares that no one else can understand) has a fight with her boyfriend about them. It was the point where she’s starting to lose her cool, from being scared all the time, confused and hurt as well as exhausted. It was hard to write her in a way that wasn’t to be confused with her throwing a fit. I had to choose my wording and emotional descriptions carefully.

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

I grew up watching and reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy. That genre really excites me and just seems to be a part of who I am. It makes sense for me when I’m writing in that genre.

  1. How long have you been writing?

Actually writing, probably since I was 6 but my mom told me I used to make up stories right from the time I was 3 or 4.

  1. What inspires you?  

I pretty much get inspiration from everywhere. Music, dreams, reading other books or watching something on T.V., nature walks. I have a pretty vivid imagination and will usually get a scene playing out in my mind daily.

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

It’s hard with kids and a business, but it’s something I can’t not do, so that means, sometimes staying up into the wee hours of the morning, or escaping to a coffee shop on a weekend.

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

I have a spin-off to the book I’m launching this year, and am currently splitting my time between a detective story set in a parallel 1920’s with some science fiction and steampunk elements. And, a science fiction book set in the future that has some inspiration from evolution and biology (that one will need lots of research).

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Hopefully publishing them and getting more well known in the author world.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

www.thatwellnessspot.com

I am a Wellness Coach but my book will be available through my site after September 29, 2018.

Bio:

Leslie Hodgins has been writing for years. Her areas of interest are science fiction and fantasy. She is a wife, a mom of two busy boys, a nature lover and a coffee addict. Music is a major inspiration, and when she’s writing, it’s always on.

When she’s not writing, she’s helping people through wellness coaching and helping them manage stress.

Leslie currently lives in Edmonton, AB with her husband, sons and her dog, Oscar.

Genres of Literature – Non-Fiction

August 6, 2018
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Non-fiction or nonfiction is created, where the author assumes responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the events, people, or information presented within it. The subject of the book, either objectively or subjectively, deals with information, events, and people in a realistic way.

Although the narrative may or may not be accurate, the specific factual assertions and descriptions can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question. However, the author will genuinely believe or claim the narrative’s content to be truthful at the time of their composition or, they convince their audience it is historically or empirically factual. 

Nonfiction can also be literary criticism giving information and analysis on other works. And also informational text that deals with an actual, real-life subjects. This  offers opinions or conjectures on facts and reality. This genre includes biographies, history, essays, speech, and narrative non fiction. 

Common examples are expository, argumentative, functional and opinion pieces, essays on art or literature, memoirs, and journalism as well as historical, scientific, technical or economical narratives.

As a writer my favorite non-fiction book is On Writing by Stephen King. (No surprise there as he is my literary hero!)

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How about you? 

Which non-fiction book is your favorite?

Author Interview Sarah Nachin

July 27, 2018
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sarah

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing definitely energizes me. I get so wrapped up in my writing sometimes that I lose track of time.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

My writing Kryptonite is disorganization and procrastination.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No. I like my name. It’s kind of different and I want people to get to know me as a writer under that name.

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

Jerry Cowling is a published author who has helped me immensely when it comes to editing my books. Archie Scott is another writer. I can bounce ideas off him and he has a wealth of knowledge on many subjects which broadens my horizons.

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

Each book I’ve written has been in a different genre, so for the most part they stand alone. However, I am planning a sequel to my first book, so there will be a tie-in between the first book and the sequel.

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

Traveling to Europe, which became the inspiration for my third book.

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

Having my parents help me write reports when I was in grade school and having them show me how to use my imagination to make the reports more interesting.

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

“A Prayer for Owen Meany.” It’s not well-known, but it really moved me.

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

An eagle because they soar high in the sky and symbolize freedom

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

Three

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Having people appreciate and enjoy my work

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

I haven’t really done any research for any of my books. My first two were based on interviews with people I met. My third book was based on my experiences traveling in Europe. 

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

On the average two-three hours a day.

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

Only one of my books is fiction. I selected fairly common names that were similar to the names of the actual people I based the characters on. 

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

Since all my books are either non-fiction or fiction based on actual experiences, I really haven’t had any difficult scenes to write because I didn’t have to really imagine the circumstances. They were actual events.

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

I feel very comfortable writing non-fiction, but I am spreading my wings, so to speak, and branching out into fiction. I like the change of pace that fiction offers – the fact that I can use my imagination, so it’s not difficult to balance the different genres. 

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  1. How long have you been writing?

Since I was about 10 years old

  1. What inspires you?

People and events inspire me, especially people who have overcome odds and accomplished something. Events that have shaped our world also inspire me.   

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

I get up early in the morning and write while I’m fresh and don’t have any distractions.

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

I’m working on a self-help book and also an historical novel.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Finishing my self-help book and my novel and writing a cookbook. 

  1. Share a link to your author website.

I don’t have a website, but my Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Sarah-J-Nachin-Author-273249936028795/

Also here is the link to my books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sarah+nachin

Bio:

Sarah J. Nachin is an author, freelance writer, speaker and blogger. Her most recent book is the “The Odyssey of Clyde the Camel” She has also published two non-fiction works. “Ordinary Heroes, Anecdotes of Veterans”relates stories of men and women who served in the military during five decades of conflict – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. “The Long Journey,” co-authored with Felicia McCranie, is an inspiring story of a woman who grew up in the Philippines, immigrated to the United States and overcame almost insurmountable obstacles. Sarah J. Nachin also writes for two weekly newspapers and a chamber of commerce magazines produced by Heron Publishing. She has two blogs. Sarah also works as an editor and proof reader, specializing in working with writers whose native language is not English. She is a public speaker, as well.

Genres of Literature – Speeches

July 23, 2018
mandyevebarnett


 

speech writer

 

It can be argued that speeches are not strictly a literary genre, however a speechwriter requires the same writing skills and experience in formulating a well structured and informative speech for a diverse range of people as a non-fiction author covering a specific topic.

The definition is: a speechwriter is someone hired to prepare and write speeches that will be delivered by another person. They are employed by a variety of people, such as senior-level elected officials and executives in the government as well as in the private sector. They can also be employed to write for weddings and other social  occasions. Speechwriters specialize in a writing style that merges marketing, theater, public relations, sales, education and politics all in one presentation.

The actual process of writing a speech has several steps. Initially, they need to meet with the executive and the executive’s senior staff to determine the broad framework of points or messages that the executive wants to cover in the speech.  With this information they will then research the topic to flesh out this framework with anecdotes and examples. They must also consider the audience for the speech, which can range from a town-hall meeting of community leaders to an international leaders’ forum. Once this framework is created, the speechwriter blends the points, themes, positions, and messages from their research to create an “informative, original and authentic speech” for the executive. This draft is then presented to the client and the executive (or the executive’s staff) make notes, revisions or changes to it. If the speechwriter is familiar with the topic and the positions and style of the executive, only small changes may be required.

Credit for speeches is mainly contributed to the person making it rather than the speechwriter, much like a ghost writer. Their name may never appear in public or a credit given on paper. However, a good speechwriter will be known for their work in select circles, such as in a government setting.

Have you written speeches? 
Was it for a person setting or for a client?

royal-speechwriter

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