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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

 

 

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday

November 21, 2018
mandyevebarnett


As many people have fast forward to Christmas, today’s prompt is a snow globe.

I’m immersed in National Novel Writing Month so I have not written a response.

Have fun with it!

snow-globe-2

Author Interview – Carla Howatt

November 9, 2018
mandyevebarnett


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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing both energizes and exhaust me, depending at what stage I am in the writing process. Coming up with cool plot lines and ideas, as well as character development is fun and energizing but about half way through the book, I bog down and get tired. A bit of writing ADHD?

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Chocolate. Laundry. Anything I can use to procrastinate!

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Absolutely! Still haven’t ruled it out in fact.

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

I didn’t have any writer friends until I decided to go on a writers retreat. It was there I learned I could call myself a writer even if I didn’t have a bestseller.

Bearing

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

Both. Some will be connected, some absolutely not.

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

Time away; retreats, get-aways, whatever I need to do to focus.

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

I remember coming home from grade one, waving my reader. I was so excited, and so amazed at the world that was opened up to me through the words. I have never forgotten that feeling of awe and amazement.

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

I’m not sure it is under-appreciated but I loved The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I was hooked beginning with the first paragraph; such lyrical words and such a beautiful picture she painted.

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

Gosh, I really don’t know. Maybe the A&W Root Bear?

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 How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Two.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

People like what they read and my writings make a difference in this world.

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

I don’t do much research, as the type of books I have written don’t really require it. I may research the odd thing as I go along, just to make sure I have a name right or something. Most of my writing is based in some way on real life.

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

Very sporadic and not disciplined. It can be from 20 hours to zero, sometimes one week after the other.

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

I try them on with their character to see if there is a fit or not. Pure gut instinct.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

Sex scenes

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

My first book just happened. I call it my accidental book. It is a collection of FB posts from the time I announced my son had taken his life until about a year later. The second was a children’s book. Coming up I have a novel that walks the line between romance and smut (lol!). I also have a collection of stories that all involved the same women going through different things in their lives.

There is no real balancing as I go with what I am in the mood for and tend to work on that one until I am finished.

  1. How long have you been writing?

Since I learned to read. I don’t really remember not writing.

  1. What inspires you?  

If I can find a place of solitude and peace with little distractions, lots of sleep and nature, I find that is when my creativity flourishes.

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

Honestly, I don’t find enough time. I fit it in for the most part.

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

Finishing a novel is my primary focus right now.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I have a few non-fiction ideas that I would like to work on when I have the time to do the necessary research and interviews. There just are not enough hours in the day!

  1. Share a link to your author website.

Right now the only website I have is for my first book Bearing Witness – www.Carlahowatt.com

Bio:

Carla Howatt lives in Alberta, Canada where she helped raise four children, two husbands and a pug. She is a recovering politician and business owner. A communicator at heart, Carla is also a proud introvert, port inhaler, and dark chocolate hunter.

Author Interview – Leslie Hodgins

October 5, 2018
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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.

Rebel-Destiny-CMYK-4x6

  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.

Author Interview Beth Rowe

September 14, 2018
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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

While I am writing I feel energized but it often leaves me exhausted afterwards. I get excited about an idea and can’t wait to see where it goes but almost feel deflated when I get it on paper.

2. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No, I want to be known for what I write and not have people guessing.

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

             I have many writer friends in the Writers Foundation who work to help writers improve their work. They encourage, make suggestions on changes one might make and help promote work.

Beth cover

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

         I work in many different genres, so each of my books stands alone at this point. I want to keep it that way for the foreseeable future.

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

Membership in the Writers Foundation

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

I think the dragonfly would be my mascot. It represents so many things. It is like a fairy spirit.

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

Right now only one. 

Mischief

8. What does literary success look like to you?

       I feel if even a few people enjoy what I have written I am a success. If I make a small influence on someone’s thinking I have achieved something.

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

      It depends on the book. If I want the book to be so fictional it could happen anywhere and there aren’t facts that are in question then I spend very little time. One of the next books I will work on requires a lot of research in order to make it real. I want to make sure the reader will feel sure the events could really happen. I also don’t want to be using a cliched format.

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

     I try to write something every day but it doesn’t always work out. Having a deadline helps push me. It is difficult when I am ghostwriting if I am waiting for information. Then things can get behind.

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

     I have a hard time with the names. I start with what pops into my head but sometimes I have to change them if they don’t fit the time period or if I find I have chosen names that seem too similar such as same first letters. I became conscious of that in one book I read where the two male characters had names starting with the same first two letters and it became confusing.

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

       With my first book, the genre was chosen by my professor as it began with a class assignment. My second book followed that genre. I decided I wanted to try mystery as I enjoy reading murder mysteries but at the same time I felt a need for a young children’s book so I ended up working on the two simultaneously.

I dont want to go

13. How long have you been writing?

     Although my first book started about twenty years ago, I feel I have actually seriously been writing for about six years.

14. What inspires you?

     I can’t say any one thing inspires me. Sometimes it is a story I have read. Other times it is some event I have been at. It could be a conversation with someone or something I saw while on a trip.

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

     To begin with it was difficult for me. Now I have an office where all the things I need are well-arranged so I can go in and shut the door if I have to. Then the worst thing is telephone interruptions.

death

16. What projects are you working on at the present time?

A science fiction novel and a ghost writing project.

     I have two books I am ghostwriting. The next project is going to be an outer space science fiction story which I have begun the research on and have an outline in mind.

17. What do your plans for future projects include?

     Once I do the sci-fi book I want to work on some more children’s stories. I may consider a sequel to the sci-fi depending on how it goes.

18. Share a link to your author website.

https://www.albertaauthors.ca/Authors/Rowe/Beth

Bio:

Beth was born in Denmark and moved to Canada when she was two. Raised in Red Deer, she completed her schooling at Lindsay Thurber Composite High. She received her Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Alberta in 1971. Her teaching career took her north to the Peace River country where she met her husband-to-be. Moving to High Prairie, they raised two daughters. Finally settling in Sherwood Park, she was a substitute teacher for many years. During this time she began to write. Beth is a director on the board for the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County (WFSC) and currently produces the group’s monthly newsletter. Beth has five grandchildren and enjoys spending time with them.

 

 

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