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Author Interview – Elizabeth Crocket

February 5, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

the author pic

What inspired your latest novel?

I wanted to write a book with an authentic cancer story line in it. Having experienced a cancer journey myself, I recognize that life goes on despite your illness. So in Full of Grace, protagonist Angela, who has made her living as a romance author thus far, begins writing the story of Grace, whose husband is having an affair. Again. (Luckily, that part I didn’t experience.) (:                                                                      

How did you come up with the title?

The title, Full of Grace, is multi-layered. Angela becomes full of the character she is writing about, Grace. Also, the character Grace, is told she is full of Grace. There are different ways to interpret it.                              

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

No, no specific messages. If the readers take anything from the book, I’m pleased! I think different things will resonate with different women.

How much of the book is realistic?

I think the book is quite realistic, being that it is a contemporary women’s fiction novel. I like to think I write about current societal issues.

full of grace liz crocket wrap (1)

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

While there are no characters directly based on someone I know, I certainly drew from all the people I have known, including myself, who have had a struggle with cancer. I also wanted a story line where someone adored their grown children, as I do mine.

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

Readers can find out more about me on my website, Elizabethcrocket.com. (And I love when they comment!) I’m also active on facebook. Facebook.com/Elizabeth.crocket.7923

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

My next book, The Smell of Roses, is hopefully due out in the next year or so. It’s also women’s fiction with a strong romantic element. And so was my debut novel, A Path to the Lake.

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

I grew to love both of the protagonists (there are two) Angela and Grace, as the story unfolded. I enjoyed Angela’s sense of humour, and Grace’s kindness, in particular.

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

I do write in more than one genre. In particular, Japanese short form poetry, including haiku, haibun, photo-haiga and more. I had two chapbooks published by Red Moon Press, the largest publisher of Japanese short form poetry in the western world. There are many samples on my website.

path

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

I start with getting to know my characters really well. I have been surprised myself by where they take me sometimes!

What is your best marketing tip?

I’m not sure I have a “best”. But I do think it helps to try and build a network of support around you of people you trust and enjoy.

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

I think in today’s market, a certain amount of social media marketing is a necessity.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

I am so blessed in that regard. My husband, my family, my dear friends and my writer friends are all enormously supportive.

Author Bio

Elizabeth is a women’s fiction author and poet living in Ontario, Canada. She has written three women’s fiction novels, all with a strong romantic element. A Path to the Lake debuted in April, 2018, and Full of Grace launched in January, 2019. The Smell of Roses is slated to be released the end of 2018 or early 2019. You can find out more about her at Elizabethcrocket.com https://elizabethcrocket.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Crocket/e/B07KSHLHXM%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

 

 

 

Author Interview – Anita Kushwaha

January 15, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

kushwaha portrait

What inspired your latest novel?

I lost a loved one to suicide and felt that there were so many misconceptions—or plain lack of knowledge—about what survivors experience, I wanted to shed light and give voice this loss like no other. The book also examines the cultural complexities that come with this kind of loss, as the characters of East Indian descent. Writing the book was also a way for me to process my grief and transmute the pain into something artful, hopeful.

How did you come up with the title?

SIDE BY SIDE refers first and foremost to the closeness of the relationship between the siblings in the novel, Kavita and Sunil. But it also refers to the themes examined in the novel, such as love and grief, loss and healing, self-destruction and self-discovery, universal experiences that often occur side by side.

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

If the book is about anything, it’s empathy. The protagonist in the novel, Kavita, encounters ignorance and shame in many parts of her life after her brother’s death. But when she finally meets someone who treats her with empathy and she learns to give that empathy to herself, and later to others, her healing journey truly begins.

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

Readers can find me on:

Twitter: @MsAnitaKushwaha

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MsAnitaKushwaha

And at my blog: anitakushwaha.wordpress.com

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

My next book, CAUGHT IN A LIE, will be published by HarperCollins. It’s a mother-daughter story told in alternate timelines that delves into identity, belonging, and the cultural pressures placed upon women.

sbs_cover

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

My favourite character in SIDE BY SIDE is Hawthorn, whom Kavita befriends at a bereavement group meeting in the third part of the book. To me, he is empathy. He is definitely the most aspirational character I’ve ever written. I wish I was more like him and I wish I knew more people like him too.

 


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

A bit of both, actually. I like having a skeleton outline, so I have some idea of where I’m going with the story. How I get there, though, is always a great surprise!

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

Depends on the day! I often find it distracting. But it’s wonderful to be able to connect with people and share what you’re going through. One of my new year’s resolutions is to be more active and engaged online. When things get busy, though, I definitely slack off. So, I’m trying to be more consistent with it. I guess social media has the potential to be both a great tool and a hindrance. Boundaries are important!

Bio:

Anita Kushwaha grew up in Aylmer, Quebec. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Human Geography from Carleton University and is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at the Humber School for Writers. She is the author of a novella, The Escape Artist (Quattro Books, 2015). Her novel, CAUGHT IN A LIE, will be published by HarperCollins Canada in 2020. She lives in Ottawa.

SIDE BY SIDE Synopsis:

Kavita Gupta is a woman in transition. When her troubled older brother, Sunil, disappears, she does everything in her power to find him, convinced that she can save him. Ten days later, the police arrive at her door to inform her that Sunil’s body has been found. Her world is devastated. She finds herself in crisis mode, trying to keep the pieces of her life from falling apart even more. As she tries to cope with her loss, the support system around her begins to unravel. Her parents’ uneasy marriage seems more precarious. Her health is failing as her unprocessed trauma develops into more sinister conditions. Her marriage suffers as her husband is unable to relate to her loss. She bears her burden alone, but after hitting her lowest point, she knows she needs to find a better way of coping. Desperate for connection, she reaches out to a bereavement group, where she meets Hawthorn, a free-spirited young man with whom she discovers a deep connection through pain. After being blindsided by a devastating marital betrayal, she wonders if a fresh start is possible in the wake of tragedy. Will she escape her problems and start over? Or will she face the challenges of rebuilding the life she already has? Side by Side is a story about loss, growth and the search for meaning in the wake of tragedy, illuminated through one woman’s journey from harm to care.

ASK A QUESTION THURSDAY

January 10, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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Continuing the discussion for this month’s topic. See 3rd January for main post.

Should you pick the genre before beginning your story or figure out what genre it is after you have written it?

Last week’s responses were:

Konn Lavery 

Genre tends to come second for my process. The genre of choice comes up naturally as the plot, characters and conflict unfold. Sometimes I’m not sure what the genre is, but did get a handy booklet called Genre A Short Reference Guide and Dictionary by R. L. Bennett that has descriptions for each genre.
Once the first draft is done I look up in the booklet, then research about the genre and revise the manuscript.

Karen Probert

I never consider genre at all. I’m not even sure there is a genre name for my style of writing – maybe ‘realism’ would fit as my characters act and speak as normal people and there are no situations in my stories that could not happen to real people or be a part of normal day-to-day living in our society.

Gerri Bowen

Many of my stories tend to be paranormal, but I go where the characters take me.

Lisa de Nikolas

My genre preference is noir suspense thriller murder mystery! But my writing is more literary than genre and that makes it problematic when it comes to sales and marketing because promotion departments and bookstores like to have a simple, clear-cut definition.

I’m often asked for current, similar examples in bookstores of my books, and that’s very hard to do! I’d love to reply: “I set out to write good story, something readers can sink their teeth into, it’s fiction, that’s what it is!” But booksellers want something less complicated. I’ve described my work as Little House on the Prairie meets Pulp Fiction and what genre would that be?.

I didn’t set out to write this way, in fact, I’ve tried really hard to write formulaic genre mystery but it’s just not my style. Sometimes you’ve got to go with what you’ve been given! Thanks Mandy!

Kathie Sutherland

Life writing is my genre. The forms vary: journal writing, personal essays, poems, short stories,and autobiographical narratives. These forms end up in collections. I want the pieces to be realistic. I find fiction difficult to write. I have a novel in first draft and autobiographical fiction pieces and even they are life writing. The writing comes first, and then the genre follows.

Mary Cooney-Glazer 

I write second chance love stories with the primary characters age 45 and over. I chose the main genre because I wanted to portray mid-life women as resilient, attractive, productive people still fully engaged in life and capable of enjoying romantic adventures. Their men treat them well and respect their talents. I do like to include a little goofiness on both sides when it comes to figuring out relationships. Although the main genre is romance, there are elements of women’s fiction and rom-com. So, I guess I do choose the overall genre first, but the blending elements appear as the characters and plot develops.

Mike Deregowski

I generally have some sort of idea of what genre I am writing in, I don’t pick it though, it all depends on what will fit the story that wants to be told. Same goes for style I use. I believe there are no bad writing ideas, just not the right format or style.

Mandy Eve-Barnett

I have always written free flow so never think what the genre might be as I write the narrative. That comes later once the story has completed the first draft and I read it through, making revisions and getting to know the theme of the narrative. Sometimes the characters define the genre and other times it is the story structure and theme.

 

over to you
So is this the general consensus regarding genre? Do you agree or disagree?
If we are writing without a clear genre in mind does this make the process easier or more difficult?
There are certain well known ‘formats’ for certain genre’s, complete with cheat sheets. Are these a great writer’s tool or apt to make one a ‘lazy’ writer?
Let’s see where this topic takes us shall we? Over to you and your thoughts. Please leave your comments in the section below.

ASK A QUESTION THURSDAY

January 3, 2019
mandyevebarnett


Hello,

Here is the first question for my new monthly blog topic for writers and authors. Please join in the discussion.

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Should you pick the genre before beginning your story or figure out what genre it is after you have written it?

We can ask, answer and give our opinions in the comments on this post or subsequent Thursdays in January. Let’s make it as interactive as possible.

What is your genre preference?

How do you decide on the genre?

Would picking the genre first make it more difficult to write the story or not?

Do you merge genres to match your story?

Now-a-days there are many merged genres so it is easy to combined a couple (or more) to make your narrative ‘fit’ but is that okay or not?

More discussion on Thursday 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st January. We may go off topic slightly, reveal writing styles, publishing house experiences, agent advice or …

Let each other know about you!

Experience

My experience:

I have always written free flow so never think what the genre might be as I write the narrative. That comes later once the story has completed the first draft and I read it through, making revisions and getting to know the theme of the narrative. Sometimes the characters define the genre and other times it is the story structure and theme.

I have children’s books, YA novellas and several adult novels, so am a multi-genre author. I am led by the story initially, which can be sparked from an overheard conversation, a life event, a prompt/photo or an experience on a road trip.

What about you?

 

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday

December 12, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Today’s prompt is a Christmas themed story.

bandstand

Mine is here:

The Bandstand

From the outside the Christmas tree glittered and sparkled with lights, tinsel and ornaments. It’s place in the bay window as always. Miriam gazed at the symbol of Christmas shining like a beacon of family and cheer. Pulling her coat more tightly around her, she walked on stopping at each window to gaze at the many Christmas trees on display along the street.

At the corner she entered the park, the light dimmed the further she walked away from the streetlights. The only beacon of light came from the old bandstand decorated for the season by local authority workers the week before.

She looked forward to attending the carol service the following week – a regular occurrence each year. After looking this way and that, Miriam pushed aside a panel on the side of the bandstand and crawled in.

This was home, a safe place hidden from sight and as comfortable as she could make it. A platform made of old pallets kept her off the cold wet earth, cardboard and an old single mattress on one side and food supplies on the other. She’d been able to hook up a little heater scrounged from a dumpster, to an electrical outlet on the underside of the bandstand to keep warm. To disguise her apartment she’d placed panels on each side so even if the workers crawled under they would not see her. Well, that was her hope.

A can of soup and a stale loaf made a meal and then she lay down to sleep.

Arthur tugged at his dog’s leash.

“Come on, Duke, its getting cold and I need a cup of tea.”

The old dog ignored him and continued to sniff the grass unaffected by his owner’s impatience. As Arthur tapped his foot, he saw a shadow approach the bandstand and disappear under it. Well that’s odd, it’s too late for authority workers and I can’t see a truck. Duke pulled on the leash and Arthur followed him down the path to home. The incident left his mind until two nights later when once again walking Duke; he saw the shadow repeat the disappearance into the bandstand. Now he was curious.

The following evening he walked closer to the bandstand but hid behind a clump of bushes. A figure appeared after sundown and with a glance back and forth crawled under. The person was wrapped up in an old assortment of clothes and could have been man or woman; it was too hard to tell. Was there a homeless person under the bandstand? Well that is sad. Once he returned home he pondered what would be the best thing to do. Report them? Engage them? Leave food and blankets nearby? I’ll sleep on it and make a decision tomorrow.

Miriam saw a box to one side of her secret entrance and stopped in her tracks. Was it discarded, some local workers possession or something else? She looked around but did not see Arthur crouched behind the bushes. Cautiously she approached the box and raised the lid with one foot. Inside were cans and a thick blanket. Conflicting thoughts entered her head. Someone knows where I live, I’ll have to move, a kind benefactor has left me a gift, do I take it or leave it? A slip of paper fluttered and caught on the breeze, she grabbed it before it blew away. A hand written note read:

Hello,

Please do not be alarmed, I will keep your secret but wanted to help you. I have put some supplies in the box. I know it is getting colder and food is probably hard to come by. I happened to notice you while walking my dog one evening. If you need anything my name is Arthur and I live at number 36 Amber Avenue just across from this park.

Miriam read the note twice, it was a long time since someone had been so kind to her. She made up her mind to thank him but to say this gift was enough.

The next evening she took her note and walked Amber Avenue searching the house numbers. To her surprise and delight, number 36 was the house of her favourite tree nestled in the bay window. Tiptoeing carefully, she pushed her note through the letterbox and turned away. A bark halted her tracks. Fearful the dog’s warning would alert Arthur to come to the door, Miriam hid around the corner of the house.

The front door did indeed open and a wet nose and wagging tail found her with ease, followed by an elderly gentleman.

“Well hello, you must be the mysterious bandstand occupant.”

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t want to disturb you, I was leaving a note of thanks. I don’t want to be a bother.”

“No bother at all, it would be lovely to have company, apart from Duke for a change. Why not come in for a cup of tea?”

“Oh, I don’t know, I’m rather dirty to enter a house.”

“Nonsense, just take off your boots, old Duke here comes in with more mud and dirt than anyone I know.”

Miriam took off her boots, curling her toes to try and hide the holes in her socks. Arthur led her into the front room, a fire flickered in the fireplace and that tree stood in pride of place.

“Oh, its so much more beautiful than through the window.”

Arthur smiled. “I always take pride in decorating my tree, the family only come on Boxing Day for the afternoon but its not Christmas without a tree, I always say.”

“I walk past all the houses and look at all the trees and this is my favourite.”

“Well, that’s is kind of you to say. May I ask your name?”

“It’s Miriam.”

“Well, I will make the tea, why not take off your coat and sit by the fire?”

Miriam eased the coat off her shoulders and lay it on the floor. The warmth of the fire was wonderful. Arthur walked in with a tray with a teapot, cups and biscuits.

“Now we can get warm inside and out. Take as many biscuits as you like.”

With the strong tea and several biscuits inside her and the warmth of the fire, Miriam could feel herself getting sleepy.

“Thank you so much for the tea and biscuits and the lovely blanket and food. I should go before I fall asleep.”

“Well, it is up to you but you are more than welcome to stay if you would like.”

A tear rolled down Miriam’s cheek.

“Oh dear, I’m sorry did I upset you?”

“No, no not at all. It has been such a long time since someone has been kind to me, that’s all.”

“Well that settles it. Have a nap and then you can enjoy a bath while I make supper. I should have plenty of clothes in my closet you can choose from, we are close to the same size I think.”

“I don’t know what to say but thank you so very much, this is the best Christmas ever.”

“Tis the season, as they say and it brings me joy to help you.”

Bathed, dressed in clean clothes and feeling peaceful, Miriam re-joined Arthur later to find he had cooked a feast of a meal for them both.

“Are you expecting more people? There is a lot here.”

“No just us two but you are welcome to take the leftovers.”

“You are so kind, thank you.”

“And if I may, I would like to ask you if you would visit me from time to time, I get so lonely you see.”

“I would love to visit again.”

Their glasses clinked as they smiled at each other. Their loneliness forgotten.

 

I would love to read your story or poem.

 

 

 

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