Category Archives: manuscript writing

Author Interview – Shawn Bird


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1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Generally, it’s an energizer while I’m writing; however, when plot problems or new ideas keep me up all night when I need to be teaching in my high school class room bright and early, it can lead to exhaustion! When I can write all night, during summer and holidays I’m in a constant state of creative euphoria

2. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Yes. I think if I decide to do something with that Romance manuscript in my drawer I would publish under a pseudonym to establish a separate audience for that genre.

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

From regular attendance at Surrey International Writing Conference (SiWC), I have developed a wide social network of writers. I probably interact the most with Carol Mason, Eileen Cook, CC Humphreys, Tyner Gillies, Sylvia Taylor, and Diana Gabaldon. From workshops, blue pencils, social time at events, and then continued social media or email contact through the years, I’ve benefitted from the experiences they share and the feedback they give. Diana in particular, has helped with a historical novel I’ve been working on and been very encouraging of other projects, including providing a cover blurb for Murdering Mr Edwards. When someone who’s sold millions of books is willing to put her name behind your project, it’s a profound gift.

I’m presently doing a mentorship with Giller nominated , local author Gail Anderson-Dargatz on a literary novel project.   There is so much to learn, and it’s wonderful to know people who are willing to share their knowledge.

When you become a regular at a conference, you have a built in support network. I love presenting at conferences, too, which is great way to give back. I’ve enjoyed meeting beginning writers and helping then bring their projects to life. At SiWC I also met Leena Niemela who’s an awesome Finnish Canadian poet. I’ve stayed at her place on Vancouver Island to play in poetry together. It’s wonderful to have friends who understand about the voices in your head.

Dreams

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 seem to be writing many distinct things at this point. I have published poetry books; Grace Awakening is an urban fantasy YA novel (modern romance and Greek mythology), and the most recent project, Murdering Mr. Edwards, is a series of a short stories that became a ‘noir-vella’. I’ve got drafts of two more books in the Grace Awakening series, but lots of other projects, too. I suppose if something really took off, I’d turn my focus to that genre, but at the moment I just write what I’m in the mood to write at the time. I read a lot of different genres, so it’s not a surprise I write several, too. That said, I love Charles de Lint’s books that are set in Newford, with assorted characters that wander into each other’s stories. That’d be fun to do someday. I could send some of the teachers in Grace Awakening to teach at Canterbury High, perhaps they’ll want to murder Mr. Edwards, too…

Dreams & Power

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

The money I spend each year to attend writing conferences is an annual expenditure of around $4000, but I think it’s well worth it. I’ve been signed by an agent and two publishers as a result of pitches at conferences. I learned how to pitch at conferences. I network with others at conferences. They are worth the investment. You get the tools, the tips, and the encouragement at conferences. You get out of the slush pile and meet the people you need to impress face to face. I try each year to attend Word on the Lake Writers’ Conference in Salmon Arm, BC; When Word’s Collide in Calgary, AB; and SiWC in Surrey, BC. Usually I manage at least two of the three. Last summer I attended a fantastically inspiring poetry retreat with Patrick Lane on Vancouver Island. There is so much to learn from these masters.

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

I remember the laughter of the grade 3 class audience when I read stories or put on puppet shows I’d written for Show and Tell. I guess that means I can blame all of this on Mrs. Thompson.

Power

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

I’m a chickadee.  

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

Hmm. Half a dozen or so novels done or in progress, three completed novellas, and a dozen or more completed short stories. Hundreds of poems are published on the blog, but there are more in the computer, I don’t know which are which any more.

2011

9. What does literary success look like to you?

People laughing in an audience when I read my work. People writing or stopping me in the street or in the grocery line to tell me they’d read and enjoyed my books. I love it when that happens. I’m so honored that strangers will take the time to comment.

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

Depends on the project, of course. Usually I just write, and if there’s something I need to check, I look it up later, rather than interrupting the flow. Chris Humphreys and Diana Gabaldon have both cautioned about the research rabbit holes. It’s so easy to get lost in fascinating stuff, and forget there’s a story to be telling. I do some general reading on the topic, perhaps, but then I dive right in. There’s an exception to that. I have a historical piece that is on hiatus. I own translations of 600 year old texts and 300 year old volumes. I am not quite ready to pull it all together. I want to go to France where the events took place and immerse myself. I visited a few years ago, but that was only enough to tell me that exploring the museum and chatting with the curator was not enough…

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

On various projects (including editing and promotional tasks, educational and curriculum writing, blog, poetry, and whatever novel project has my attention at the time), somewhere around twenty to twenty-five hours a week. More in the summer. When I don’t have to be in my class room at 9 a.m., I write all night and go to bed at 4 or 5 a.m.

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

Sometimes baby name books, sometimes I use the name of students (with their permission, of course), sometimes they just introduce themselves with names in place, and I have no idea where they’ve come from.

13. What was your hardest scene to write?

I did a lot of weeping when I was writing a scene on a logging road about Josh and a Sasquatch in Grace Awakening Power. But apparently readers do a lot of weeping there, too, so that was a good emotional investment.

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

I don’t think about it. I’m writing what I’m writing when I’m writing. I don’t have anyone telling me what to do with my projects, so I just do what speaks to me at any given time. Of course, Coffin Hop has been a priority this fall. If they’ve sent edits or whatever, everything else stopped while I dealt with Murdering Mr. Edwards. That’s been a fun, and completely unexpected project.

For me the harder balance might have been sorting out teaching life and writing life. I’ve decided to blur the boundaries a bit by sharing my work and experiences with my students. Lots of them would like to be writers, all of them need to know how to write something. Lots of advice applies to both situations: “You can’t edit a blank page.” “First drafts don’t have to be good, they just have to be written.” I show them manuscripts covered with editor marks so they know it’s normal to have to re-write, edit, and polish repeatedly! So many scribble something on the page and think it’s perfect. None of us is perfect the first time!

15. How long have you been writing?

I won my first writing prize at age 9, and received my first rejection letter at age 10. Both for poetry. I paid for my husband’s wedding ring with short story prize money. Then I was busy with university and only did non-fiction writing for about twenty years while I raised kids. The month after the kids moved out, Grace awakened.

16. What inspires you?  

Almost everything. There are stories EVERYWHERE.

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

I sit in the chair and I write. I write in the evening after dinner. I write while watching TV (if I’m not knitting). At this precise moment, I’m sitting in the tub, typing this on a waterproof keyboard. (I think about a quarter of Grace was written in the bathtub). Like Nike, I just do it.

mr-ed-ebook-d

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

I’m promoting Murdering Mr. Edwards. It’s a noir-vella that’s a collection of 12 tales. The same annoying English teacher is murdered in each story. The literary novel I’m mentoring with Gail Anderson-Dargatz explores the relationship of a couple dealing with his mental illness. I’ve got some short stories brewing for contest season. I am trying to get back to daily poetry on my blog. I’m compiling a curriculum guide for teaching poetry. I compiling a collection of non-sectarian invocations for Rotary Clubs. I keep lots of stuff on the go all the time; that’s one of Diana’s recommendations for avoiding writers’ block. It works for me.

19. What do your plans for future projects include?

Finishing a few unfinished projects, editing a few completed projects, touring around telling people about Murdering Mr Edwards

20. Share a link to your author website.

www.shawnbird.com   Twitter and Instagram @ShawnLBird (I share a lot of shoes on Instagram. My shoe collection is infamous).

Bio:

Shawn Bird is a high school English teacher, an author, and a poet in the beautiful Shuswap region of British Columbia.  After 2 years as a graduate student in the Faculty of Education at University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus Shawn can no longer say she’s a  “jack of all trades master of none” ’cause she’s wielding a certificate that proclaims she’s a Master of Education! 🙂

 

Author Interview – Lorna Schultz Nicholson


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lorna_chair

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

In all honesty, it does a bit of both.  I get so energized from the thinking, creating and writing.  But the mind is a funny thing and once I/we (my editor and me) are down to the nitty-gritty edits, it starts shifting towards my next project.  Ideas start popping up and I have to hold them down. This is often the time when I also wake up in the night and think…I made a mistake and then I lose sleep over that one mistake.  Often I get up in the night and make the change, then I can’t go back to sleep.  Does this make any sense?

But writing does give me charge.

2. What is your writing Kryptonite?   I want to say my dog because he is always wanting to go for walks but then when I walk I get energized and my mind frees a bit and thoughts come through.  So that isn’t really true and I don’t want to blame him anyway, he’s too good a dog.  Well sometimes.  I know that coffee and chocolate are my reverse Kryptonite’s.  Maybe being with friends?

3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I haven’t really thought about that.  Right now there is no need for me to do that.

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

I have tons of author friends.  I dog walk with Karen Spafford-Fitz and Debby Waldman and I eat dessert or talk about eating dessert with Natasha Deen.  I get together with Sharon Jennings, Karen Bass and so many others when I’m in Toronto.  They all help me because they write such amazing books and reading their books makes me better.  And talking about plot problems, character problems or even publishing problems is really helpful. 

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

I have done both.  I have written series. In fact the 4th book in my One-2-One series has just been released and all the characters are connected through their high school Best Buddies group.  But I have also written stand-alones and have one pitched as I’m writing this.  No confirmation but it is pitched.  I also take on the odd non-fiction project.  I’m currently writing a 40th anniversary Oilers book which has been a huge project as I interviewed so many people.  Just different work. 

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

Years ago, I took a trip to the NWT and I paid out of my pocket but it was such a great trip and gave me insight into my characters and their landscape.  I went to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk and it has stayed with me.  Years later I went back to the NWT with the TD book tour and loved it all over again.

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

I loved to read as a child and my mother really encouraged us to read.  I remember reading Anne of Green Gables and I loved Anne so much. The scene with Matthew and the puffed sleeves has stayed with me for years.  I also loved Trixie Beldon and wanted to be in the Bob Whites of the Glen.

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

That is a super hard question because I don’t think any novel is under appreciated but I know what you are asking.  You know, I can’t answer this question if I’m honest.  I’m thinking and thinking and to me all the books I’ve read and loved are appreciated by me.  It’s a hard business and sometimes as a writer you wonder why your book doesn’t get this or that, why you don’t get foreign sales or front spots in Chapters, then you get an email from a reader who tells you how much it meant to them.  That means it was appreciated.

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

Wow, you ask really amazing questions.   But they are hard.  I’ve never thought about this but once I went to a shaman and he said perhaps I was a deer in a past life.  So maybe a deer.  Because sometimes I need to slow my work down, and fill the holes.  I’m a fast worker and I like to get to the end so it would be helpful to slow down every now and again BUT deer can get moving too when they have to and can they jump! 

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

Tons.  I have a few adult mysteries, an early reader, a middle grade reader and a couple of teen novels.  Boo hoo.  No one wanted them.  Oh, and I have a one-act play and a screenplay.

11. What does literary success look like to you?

This is something that keeps changing as I raise the bar for myself.  At first it was to get published. Then it was to get a second book published.  Then it was to try a non-fiction and a teen novel.  Now I want to maybe do a teen thriller, something completely different.  I would also love some foreign sales.  BUT…all that aside, what is important to literary success is the reader telling you they read your book and got something from your story.  I think in the end that will be my definition of literary success. 

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

I do a lot of research.  How long I spend depends on the book and what I know or don’t know about the subject matter.  I can research for months before starting a novel. 

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

This really depends on my travel schedule.  I travel a lot, and do a lot of author visits to schools and sometimes this disrupts the writing.  When I’m home, at my desk, I can work 4-5 hours on a new project before I have to answer emails and questions like I’m doing now.  Lol. 

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

Names just come to me.  Although once I wrote an entire novel knowing I didn’t like the one character’s name and when I finished it and was doing my second draft I changed it.  And the name worked. 

15. What was your hardest scene to write?

I wrote a bullying scene in a novel titled Born With (One-2-One series) and it was hard to write because I know that it was mimicking reality and that made me sad.  My character getting bullied was gay.

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

I write in many different genres because I’m always trying to improve my writing and challenge myself.  For instance, I’m writing this Oilers project which is non-fiction and I’m almost nearing the end – woo hoo- and I can’t wait to write a middle grade novel I signed a contract with Orca.  Did I tell you I can’t wait to go back to fiction???  So exciting. 

17. How long have you been writing?

Since I was little.  I took a break in high school to play sports and be a jock and in university to get a science degree.  But I did write a lot when I was young.

18. What inspires you?  

Everything and anything.  My mother wrote poetry and loved books so she is a huge inspiration to me.

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

I don’t believe in writer’s block.  I call it procrastination.  I just make time to write because I can’t not write.  Even when I wasn’t published and was getting rejected and wanted to quit.  I just couldn’t not write.

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

I have my non-fiction Oilers book which will come out in the fall, and I’m currently doing photo captions for.  I will go back to my work as soon as I finish this questionnaire.  (Nice break.)  And I just had a teen novel A Time To Run: Stuart and Sam be launched, so I should do some media stuff and get my website updated.  I have a middle grade I’m going to write for Orca Currents in the spring and another hockey book in my Amazing Hockey Series.  

21. What do your plans for future projects include?

Not sure.  I’ve pitched a couple of teen novels and I’m playing around with a teen thriller.  Not sure where it will go.  It’s fun sometimes to play around. 

22. Share a link to your author website.

www.lornaschultznicholson.com  

lornasn on Instagram

Lorna Schultz Nicholson on facebook

Lornasn on twitter

Bio:  

 

Lorna Schultz Nicholson has published over thirty-six books, including picture books, middle grade fiction and non-fiction, adult non-fiction and YA fiction. (She is currently working on a 40th Anniversary Edmonton Oilers book.)  Many of her books have made the CCBC Best Books list, been Resource Links picks and been nominated for awards.  Her children’s books are about kids and their diversities and friendships and school and family life and emotions and feelings and… the ups and downs in life.  We all have those ups and downs, and we’re all different, which makes us all special.  Lorna lives in Edmonton with her hubbie and two dogs, a whiny Bichon Shih Tzu, and a naughty, hyper puppy she rescued from Mexico.   Well, he’s not a puppy anymore but she treats him like he is.  Over the years she has been a television co-host and reporter, radio host and reporter, theatre and murder mystery actor, fitness coordinator and rowing coach.  Now she is full-time writer. She travels to schools all across Canada to inspire children about her love of reading and writing, and she loves talking to adults about writing, and leading writing workshops.  She remembers her before-published days and wants to encourage writers to keep pursuing their dreams.  Being an author is a dream come true. 

 

Author Interview Kelly Charron


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Schmidt_Charron

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Usually writing energizes me. I absolutely love it. Even those moments when I’m exhausted from my day job, as soon as I force myself to dig in I’m so happy I did. I love to get lost in the worlds that I’ve created with characters that truly do surprise me.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

If you mean what can deter me from writing, it’s being so tired that I can’t properly focus or having a migraine, which I unfortunately get too often. Creatively, I’m lucky that I don’t really have anything, except on the rare occasion when I’ll get stuck on a plot point (usually unsure where to go next in the story), but it usually means that my character isn’t doing the right thing for the story. I usually talk it through with my amazing writer friends and my husband, who has quickly become the best person to talk through plot with (and he’s not even a writer).

  1. How does having friends who are also authors help you become a better writer?

We keep each other accountable, talk through all of our issues on and off the page, and root for each other. No one else fully understands the highs and lows in this business, so it’s so comforting to have them. We critique each other’s work and have become our own little family over the years. We joke about starting a writing commune.

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

I have a few series on the go, but all my books share commonalities. I write gritty, dark stories that explore human motivation and how well you really know the people in your life. I have currently two books in The Pretty Wicked series published and I’m writing a YA witch urban fantasy that’s a ton of fun. The Wicked books can be read as stand-alone novels, though they do complement one another and the reader will get the full story arc if they read both. The YA series will be sequential and need to be read in order.

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

I recently read two books that I think people would love but don’t really know about. UNEARTHLY THINGS by Michelle Gagnon and THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY by Stephanie Oaks. They happen to both be YA books but they will be loved by all if given the chance. Unearthly Things is a modern reimagining of Jane Eyre complete with a creepy, haunted mansion, a misplaced orphan, a turbulent love story and dangerous liaisons. It’s great. The Scared Lies of Minnow Bly was so beautifully and hauntingly written that I was actually angry when it ended. I don’t even want to say anything more as to not ruin it. Go look them up.

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

I have two finished but unpublished novels, one half-finished book, and I’m currently completely replotting and reworking another novel that was complete but I realized was all wrong.

Wicked Fallout

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

I do a ton of research. I read articles and books as well as watch documentaries and movies on the subjects I’m interested in. I’ve even travel and tour places when I’m able. I interview experts in the different fields I’m looking into/studying. I usually do a lot of heavy research before the bulk of my writing starts, but it continues throughout the writing of the book as other things arise.

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

Typically, I try and write or research 4-5 days a week anywhere from 1-4 hours per day. I work Mondays to Fridays so I cram in what I can in the evenings and on weekends. I’m also trying to get more reading in because I find it helps my own words flow a bit easier. It’s like a primer.

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

I often look at baby name websites, though sometimes I look up the meanings of names and their ancestry to make sure it fits the character. I will also jot interesting names down in the notes section on my phone when I hear them. I work at a school with 600 kids, so that also helps.

  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’m drawn to certain genres to read and by extension I want to write my own stories and create my own worlds in those genres. For me it’s thriller, horror, and urban fantasy. I love reading and watching some historical but refuse to research that much or I might delve into that. I’d love to write a gothic or Victorian horror—for that I might fall into the research hole.

I balance them by writing one at a time. I have friends that can write anywhere from two to five different books at once. I prefer to get lost in one world from start to finish. I get very focused so the only time I’ll veer off is if I’m editing, then I can split time writing something else.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I think this is year twelve or thirteen. Though I’ve had to take some huge breaks for various degrees I’ve gone back to school for. It’s difficult to keep up on school work and write for me.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

I love to connect with readers and writers. Here’s where you can find me:

Website: http://kellycharron.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyMCharron

Facebook: https://goo.gl/UNkH3g

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/rf4NlM

Pretty Wicked

13. What is Pretty Wicked about?

Pretty Wicked, is a mature YA novel that follows a fifteen-year-old girl named Ryann Wilkanson who has always known she’s a little different than most people. Early on she recognized that she had a darkness inside of her that she didn’t see in her friends or family members. She becomes obsessed with serial killers who she refers to as “The Greats” and decides that she wants to join their ranks. Lucky for Ryann, her father is a detective and she has made good use of her visits to the station, paying close attention so that she can get away with murder. In this series, Ryann is the protagonist while the detective hunting her, who also happens to be her father’s partner, is the antagonist.

14. What about the sequel, Wicked Fallout?

Wicked Fallout was a natural extension of the first book, though it takes place twelve years later and is classified as an adult novel. I didn’t feel ready to leave the characters and world behind and felt there was a lot more to the story that I wanted to explore including how possible it is for someone to change drastically as they mature, how well can you trust your own judgment and how all of your life’s experiences culminate to inform everything that you do. The book shares a point of view with Dr. Nancy Clafin, a forensic psychiatrist, who is hired by Ryann’s new and formidable defense team to evaluate her to determine if she should be released when new evidence comes to light.

Bio:

Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor. She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. Kelly has a degree in English Literature as well as a Social Work degree. She has worked as a hairstylist, youth outreach worker and education assistant. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

 

Genres of Literature – Autobiography


autobio
Often written in narrative form an autobiography gives the history of a person’s life, written or told by that person.
The definition states: 
“he or she gives a vivid description of his or her childhood in their autobiography” Sub sections are memoirs, life story, or personal history.
It differentiates from the periodic self-reflective mode of journal or diary writing because it is a review of a life from a particular moment in time, rather than a diary entry, which although reflective moves through a series of moments in time. In other words an autobiography takes stock of the writers life by way of memory from the moment of the composition. A distinction on autobiography versus memoir is that a memoir is less focused on self and more on others.
The ‘life’ autobiography may focus on a subjective view of the person’s life, which in some cases can lead to misleading or incorrect information by way of the inability or unwillingness of the writer to recall memories accurately.
A ‘spiritual’ autobiography follows the writer’s journey towards God or other deity, which resulted from a conversion. It is a vehicle to endorse his or her new found religion.
A ‘fictional autobiography’ is a novel about a fictional character written as though the character were writing their own autobiography in first-person and reflecting on both internal and external experiences of their character.

An I-Novel is a Japanese literary genre used to describe a confessional type literature where the events related correspond to the author’s life. In many cases it exposed the darker side of society or the author’s own dark side.

A memoir differs from an autobiography as it focuses on more intimate memoirs, feelings and emotions, rather than the ‘life and times’ of a writer in a typical autobiography. For example, memoirs about politicians or military leaders glorify their public exploits.

Have you written or are you thinking of writing your autobiography?

Whose autobiography have you read that you enjoyed?

I still vividly remember reading The Dairy of A Young Girl (Anne Frank) at school. It is such a powerful and emotive book. Of course, I have read ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King several times (or more!) 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview. Mandy Eve-Barnett


Link: https://charliesangel0069.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/6316/

#ASI:
Mandy Eve-Barnett

Hi, Mandy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I am originally from England but moved to Canada ten years ago. This is the third continent; I have lived on, as I was born in South Africa. The sharp contrasts in culture, weather, landscape and experience have left traces in my soul that I draw upon for my writing. My lifelong interest in the natural world and fairy folklore, influence my writing style and some of the subjects I cover. Although, I have been creative my whole life, delving into paint, clay, textiles, and everything in between, it was not until I moved to Canada that I ‘found’ writing. It seems bizarre that I never tried writing as a creative outlet before, but I am now making up for lost time. My first book was published in 2011 and to date, I have four others published with two more launching in 2018!

Discuss your newest book. My novel, The Twesome Loop, starts its journey in the late 1990’s English countryside, where several characters make seemingly unrelated choices to travel to Italy. Melissa is fleeing a loveless marriage, Gerald wants to find his soul mate, Brett is motivated by greed and Nancy’s insatiable lust drives her. They are drawn not only by the beauty and life of Italy, but by an unexplained inner longing. Each is unaware that a pact made generations before, links their souls to each other and the beautiful villa they will stay in. A parallel story takes the reader to 1874, where a young woman’s happiness is sacrificed for her father’s ambition. Unable to resist she suffers at her older husbands hands until his brother offers a way to escape.

The story came about because I have been fascinated with reincarnation for decades and it was a way to incorporate it into a narrative. I also love England and Italy and enjoyed featuring both places. Sounds amazing!

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? When I came to Canada I promised myself a creative outlet. My children were older and did not need constant attention so I wanted to find something for me, not just for my creativity but also to meet new people in our new country. During our first library trip, a regular Saturday occurrence, I browsed the many leaflets displayed for local clubs and picked up a handful. As we left I saw a notice board promoting a writing group the following Tuesday. I sorted out the leaflet read the information and decided to attend. The first meeting was nerve racking – new people, new place, and new craft. I listened and stayed quiet for a couple of meetings then braved reading a brief story. The surprise ending had everyone gasp and that’s the moment I was hooked.

What are your current projects? Oh wow! This is going to be a list.

  1. YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria – publishing spring 2018 – chapter header illustrations to decide upon & complete.
  2. Adult speculative fiction, Life in Slake Patch – final editing & revisions -publishing fall 2018
  3. Adult western romance, Willow Tree Tears – final editing & revisions 2019
  4. Adult suspense/thriller, The Giving Thief – final editing & revisions 2019
  5. Sequel to adult romance novella, The Rython Kingdom – writing narrative 2019
  6. Finding a steam-punk anthology for my short story, The Toymaker
  7. Freelance work – ghost writing a business book

A lot to look forward to in the next year. Good luck. 🙂 

What books have most influenced your life most? I would have to say, I have been a compulsive reader my whole life and there are far too many books to mention. I loved magical themes, stories of the natural world and a broad spectrum of genres. However, I am a huge Stephen King fan, his skillful story telling is masterful and awe inspiring. King is such an inspiration to many, myself included. He is a great mentor, even if he is not aware of it.

What inspired you to write your first book? My first book was a children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare, so not a complicated or long narrative! It came about when I wrote a story prompted by a word prompt on my writing group’s website. The theme was Halloween but I didn’t want to write the usual ‘someone gets scared by something’ so wrote from the point of view of a young monster on his first scare. My friend and fellow writing group member, Linda persuaded me to publish it. And that was the start.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? This is a difficult question in the case of The Twesome Loop as there are four main characters whose lives are impacted by the discovery of their past lives. (see above question). The novel, Life in Slake Patch is set in an alternative future under matriarchal law. The sexes live in separate compounds and only have weekly visits. My main POV character is Evan – a young man living the life unchanged for generations. He becomes the vehicle for change, while fighting a band of dissents, holding a secret book and becoming married.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? In The Twesome Loop, I want my readers to see love can be a powerful thing across time but also that love can overcome religion, traditions and oppression. This is a good message, especially with Valentine’s day just a few days passed.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? For The Twesome Loop, I see Liam Hemsworth and Camilla Belle as the love torn lovers.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? Once I began writing short responses to word prompts, it soon became a flood of ideas crowding my mind. The more I wrote the longer the narratives and the more I became obsessed.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Unfortunately only part-time – I have a full time job as well as a freelance writing business. I also have roles as secretary for the local writer’s foundation and president of the local arts & culture council.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? To actually finish it, I wrote the first draft during a NaNoWriMo in 2010. It was revised and edited, put away and the process repeated seven times. I loved the story but the complication of two time periods and multiple characters back and forth across time took some careful plotting and continuity. NaNoWriMo is a daunting task within itself, but the complexities of your work make it twice as. That also means twice as rewarding. 

What is the easiest thing about writing? Sitting down and typing while the story unfolds on the page – I am a free flow writer, so do not plot prior to writing. I let the narrative and characters carry me on a journey.

What book are you reading now? I have just finished Sleeping Beauties and started 11/22/63 – yes I know both Stephen King and I don’t usually read them back to back but they were Christmas gifts. I will have to check out Sleeping Beauties, it’s one I haven’t heard of.

What is one random thing about you? I used to sit in graveyards cleaning the gravestones as a youth. I find graveyards so peaceful and think it is a respectable job, cleaning gravestones.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Most of my writing is on my laptop although I do jot down short stories in notebooks when an idea hits me.

What does your writing process look like? An idea will come to me, whether from a news story, an overheard dialogue, or even a photo and it sparks a character or setting in my mind. As I have said before, I let the story flow through me and even when it diverts in a direction I was not expecting I just go with it. I can sit and write, when left alone, for hours. Sometimes I listen to classical music but mostly in silence. It is my happy place.

How important are names to you in your books? I try to make sure the names reflect the character’s traits, time period and their place in the narrative.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I am spasmodic in my promotion and need to be more organized in avenues of advertising and target marketing.

What is your favorite book and why? You will find this interesting as it is not a Stephen King book. I love and re-read on a regular basis a book called Ferney by James Long. It centers on a young woman and an old man who are the reincarnations of past lives. It is a fabulously written book and the story totally mesmerizing.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Find a writing group who supports and encourages you and where you can receive constructive critique. Like the Authors Helping Authors Beyond Marketing (New budding group on Facebook).

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Apart from the day job – freelance projects, event planning for both non-profit organizations, traveling to book events and attending local author readings.

From where do you gain your inspiration? It is a common answer from writers – everywhere and everything but I have found unusual news stories, fairy folklore and the natural world to be my main sources of inspiration. I’ve been waiting to plug this in because I found it to be my favorite cover of one of your books!

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What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? As I am published through a small publishing company, I cannot comment on self-publishing. I will say that a smaller publisher enables me to have more control over the process, the design and look of the books and it is a far more personal service.

How do you market your books? I am prolific on social media, I have a blog where my books are featured, and my publisher’s website has all my titles. I regularly attend author readings and local and provincial literary events. My books are in the local libraries and independent book stores.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? Funny you should ask I have just had discussions with a PR company this week. It is a new venture for me.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Start local and build from there – try not to conquer the world in one go. Gauge how much you want to market and where and focus on that, spreading yourself too thin only exhausts you and leaves no time to write.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? I would say writing is 60% and marketing 40% – it is the writing I enjoy and if people read my stories now or in the future that is my reward.

What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?

I do not openly request book reviews apart from the occasional meme share on social media. When people buy my books I do request a review. I am keen to see what this PR company can do on this subject. Watch this space.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? When I was promoting The Twesome Loop I did entice readers by mentioning that it contained ‘spicy bits’ – several purchasers remarked on this strategy saying it was the reason they wanted to read it.

Which social network worked best for you? I find Facebook, twitter and Goodreads all have on par success for me. My blog seems to be the place readers and writers visit a great deal.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Without a doubt I would love to spend time with my literary hero, Stephen King. He is a skillful writer but also a fascinating personality, to sit down with him would be a dream come true. I would like to find out what makes the man tick.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? I would be honored to have written Ferney. It is the ultimate reincarnation story.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Don’t be afraid to try new styles, don’t restrict yourself to one genre explore them all. Let the story flow and do not edit as you go but later on once the narrative is finished.

How can readers discover more about you and you work? I am all over social media:

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

Twitter: @mandyevebarnett

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/mandyevebarnett

Author Page: http://dreamwritepublishing.ca/authors/mandy-eve-barnett

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mandy-eve-barnett-58235250/