Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Author Interview – Elise Brooke

May 6, 2021
mandyevebarnett


  1. What age were you when you began writing?

I was at primary school about 7 years old.

  • Why did you make the decision to write about your life?

I decided to share my life journey so far to give hope and inspiration to others and let them know they are not alone.

  • What do you believe readers gain from your experience?

I believe by reading my story readers gain hope, inspiration, an honest birds eye view of New Zealand, a reminder never to give up, it makes one think and is informative, entertaining, a means to draw strength from and can even save lives.

  • Did you think The New Zealand Dream idea would grow into a series?

Originally I planned to release The New Zealand Dream as one book, I may still do this later. The idea of releasing the books as a series is a way for me to give my readers something to read while I am still completing the series.

  • How has your life experience impacted your writing?

Writing has been my therapist and brought me healing. My life experiences made me realize people need to hear my story, so many go through similar experiences isolated and alone, by sharing my story one can know they are not alone and you can heal and come through. I wanted to give readers the bare truth, no sugar coating, keeping it real and honest as this is what people need to hear, by doing my story is relatable.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

Somewhere quite, usually my lounge room or outside in amongst nature.

  • How do you juggle home life and writing?

When I was working as a nurse full time and bringing up two children, one with special needs. I would write in the evenings and early mornings. My health dictated I change careers, I know write fulltime, my books, short stories and my blog. I also help others to share and write their story and collaborate with other writers and authors. I am very blessed that I now have a loving husband who supports me in this.

  • What factors made you choose a pen name?

I chose a pen name and to use made up names for the characters and places in my book to protect myself from any law suits and respect the privacy of the characters who are real life people and some are still alive.

  • When writing fiction and non-fiction what differences in your demeanor occur?

When I write fiction my imagination really shines through and I can take the reader into another world. When I write non fiction I write simply and to the point as though I am sharing a lesson or revelation.

  1. Where can readers find you and your books?

One can find me on my website; https://www.mynzdreamblog.com

Amazon; https://www.amazon.com/dp/1543495966/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_UJfXFbCF58K6

Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/mynewzealanddream/

Facebook group; www.facebook.com/groups/263602651477787/

Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/thenewzealanddream

Linkedin; https://www.linkedin.com/in/elise-brooke-61682b136/

Pinterest; https://www.pinterest.nz/business/hub/?utm_source=homescreen_icon

  1. Tell us more about your mentoring services. 

I offer one on one mentoring services where I can coach you through finishing your writing project. Sessions are done by email in hourly slots.

This is for anyone struggling with a writing project fiction or nonfiction or who would like to share their story and discover how writing can help you heal.

Bio

My name is Elise Brooke, I grew up in Hawkes Bay NZ.  My parents moved to NZ from England and South Africa, to create their New Zealand Dream, this quickly turned into my New Zealand nightmare. Writing is a very powerful healing tool, sharing your story can save lives. I have written and published two autobiographies in my book series “The New Zealand Dream,” by Sheila my pen name, I wrote this book to inspire and give hope to others.  

My passion is creative writing, I’ve been writing for 24 years in fiction and poetry and content.  I have published many articles and guest post and conduct interviews on my website I built from scratch. I am a writing coach/mentor I mentor people who would like to write and share their own stories.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Crime Fiction Research and Discovering Juggalos

May 4, 2021
mandyevebarnett


With a complete read through this weekend of the manuscript for the first book in my detective series, An Elusive Trail, I am fairly happy with the edits and revisions. The new word count is 61,626 – a far cry from the ‘finished’ story of National Novel Writing Month in November last year of 50,156. This shows how a manuscript changes and grows over the course of revisions. Scenes are added or cut, moved or changed and information researched in order to improve the content. Not only for accuracy but also to ensure the characters and story reflect the trope expected by readers of the specific genre.

I recently attended a crime writer’s week long presentation course online. The most interesting and helpful sessions were with a retired detective. His insight and knowledge gave me several pieces of information I have included in the manuscript to enhance the police and forensic procedures. There are a couple more months of revisions to be done, (an author has a hard time relinquishing a manuscript!) but the first book in the series is well on its way to being ready to submit to a publisher for review.

Writers and authors research their specific genre through books but also movies. My choice of movies to watch has been said to be eclectic. I can watch and enjoy action, romance, sci-fi, fantasy and many others, it all depends on my mood at the time. Take several I watched during April for example:

The Father – Anthony Hopkins was spectacular. Hillbilly Elegy – Glenn Close was exceptional. Penguin Bloom – as a natural lover this true story was heartwarming and wonderful in so many ways. Diana – I always feel my heart break a little reading or watching anything to do with her. The Age of Adaline – I have watched this movie several times because I love the premise of it. Elizabeth and Margaret – because we can only glimpse their lives. Coroner – this series was for my book research mainly. Monty Python -In the Beginning – I grew up with Python and still recite sketches to this day. Ladies in Black – life in 1959 Australia a merging of cultures within the structure of society expectations. It shows how a person’s life is affected by the era’s limitations put upon them. Elvis Presley – The Searcher – I learned more about his life, but also that if he had broken away from the Colonel, his fame would have been even greater, such a shame he was so manipulated. As you can see some are factual, some research, while others are pure escapism.

The most unusual and surprising movie I watched was FAMILY, at first look it is a workaholic woman asked to look after her brother’s daughter for a short time. However, what is so unexpected is the unknown (to me anyway) cultural phenomenon of Juggalo. I have never come across this group (and I listen to an even more of an eclectic selection in music). The Juggalo’s are fans of the group Insane Clown Posse. They dress in clown-like makeup and fantastical outfits. Their motto is ‘I shall not judge. I shall love my Family. I am a Ninja.‘ You may not enjoy their music but their inclusiveness to all is inspiring.

Have you discovered something new through a book or movie? What was it?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Creating An Amazon Author Profile

April 29, 2021
mandyevebarnett


The next site that offers an author profile page is Amazon. As you can see from the image below of my author page on Amazon, it can detail not only your bio and books but have a link to your blog, book trailers, videos and more.

As with the Goodreads process there are steps to follow to create this author profile. It is a simple step by step procedure.

  1. Go to https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ and click “Join for free.”
  2. Sign in with your regular Amazon username and password. If you don’t have an account, select “I am a new customer.” You’ll need to give a little more information.
  3. Read the Terms and Conditions, then click “Accept.”
  4. Enter your author name, pen name, or book title into the search field. A list of possible books appears. (Once your account gets set up, you can add more titles by clicking on the “Books” tab in the navigation menu and select the blue button labeled “Add a Book.”)
  5. Select any one of your books to create the account. If your book is not on the list, you can search for it by title or ISBN. (Note: Your book must be available for purchase on Amazon to set up an Author Central Amazon Account.)
  6. Amazon will send you a confirmation email to finish creating the account. (Amazon may contact your publisher(s) as an additional measure to verify your identity, which may take three to seven days.)

Once again there is a follow button for your readers to click and you in turn can follow other authors. It is a great tool for marketing and increasing your author platform.

Let me know when you have yours set up so I can follow you and if you wouldn’t mind please follow me. https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – How Do You Choose Your Next Book?

April 27, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As our options for choosing a book to read have become virtual for the most part, during COVID, we have to decide which one works best for us. The easiest option for many is a book selling site, such as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble or Kindle, to name a few. There is also the option of utilizing your local library, where you can browse online, order and pick up your selections. And visiting your local bookstore too. Whatever method you use the author will sincerely appreciate your leaving a review. So please do.

It is a matter of personal preference where we purchase our books and in what format. Whether it is print or e-book. As I work on a computer all day for my day job and then work on my laptop most evenings, my preference is a print copy. I enjoy the tactile feeling of weight, smell and texture as well as the physical turning of a page. For me it is better to read without a backlight at night, as it stimulates my brain rather than calming it.

Which do you prefer? Print or e-book?

Why do you make this choice? Is it a practical concern or something else?

I am lucky to have a friend, who gives out books after she and her daughter have read them. I recently visited her and she handed over a huge bags of books! Such a delightful surprise and it was like Christmas lifting each one out to read the blurb. However, it then gave me a problem – how should I choose which one to read first, second, third and so on.

After reading all the blurbs, I categorized them. Ones that did not instantly appeal, others that were soft choices and others that engaged my curiosity. Depending on your specific likes and dislikes, favorite genres and subject matter, choosing can be little easier. So from this stack.

I choose my first three reads as below.

I choose these particular books because two have characters in them that write and the third because I love myths, legends and magic.

This is my review of Saying Goodbye is Easy by Kathie Sutherland

A compelling, complex and enlightening narrative, full of truths, struggles and internal emotions. Every reader will find a connection with the struggles, highs and lows of the narrator. A courageous, heartfelt and revealing story, told in short stories and reflections.
This book will change your outlook on your life and your life’s path.

Please leave a comment on how you choose a book and the last book you reviewed so other readers can find them.

Joint Author Interview 22April David Ellis & Cendrine Marrouat

April 22, 2021
mandyevebarnett


Today I welcome a joint interview with Daivd and Cendrine, authors who collaborate to publish a variety of books and a magazine. Welcome to you both.

David Ellis

1.     What drew you to poetry?

I grew up trying to write spoof lyrics for a lot of different songs, inspiration would come out of all sorts of places. When it turned out that my lyrical structures became too big and unwieldy for songs themselves to contain, I started turning to writing poetry because I was drawn into the musicality of playing with words and phrases. I was fascinated by how you could treat words as if they were musical instruments. I began reading lots of poetry written by my peers and in doing so, I gained the ability to write on an emotional level that connected with many different people. This is what forged my love of poetry, being able to communicate with like-minded souls and give them hope, inspiration, passion, courage and kindness in their lives.

2.     You embrace a variety of topics in your poetry. Can you explain your process in choosing a theme?

Theme for me is pretty easy, in that I am most interested in writing things that are inspirational, romantic, funny or all three combined! I’ve always thought that when it comes to choosing a theme or topic, it should be something that you are passionate about. You should actively try to combine multiple elements to give you enough drive and material to visualize a project. For example, you may choose to write about snow but that on its own is not very inspiring. However, if you were to then combine other elements of an emotional nature (a first romance in the snow, playing in the snow as a child/with your own children, etc) then this will give you the means to flesh out your piece. From then on, you can continue to add whatever details you need to give enough colour to your piece of writing to interest others into reading it.

3.     How does writing flash fiction differ from poetry for your writing process?

With Flash Fiction I am usually thinking of a specific scene taking place in my mind. Whilst this can also be true for poetry, stories tend to unfold themselves when I have some characters chatting to each other. Usually my flash fiction pieces consist of dialogue between quirky characters and action unfolding. I would say that a poem can embrace many different angles but a piece of story writing is focused, concise, every word needs to count when it comes to describing the scene/event. With a poem, you can be more vague when it comes to the overall meaning of the lines and still have a deep message that can be conveyed. Whereas with a piece of story writing, it is important to convey to the reader where they are and what is happening (even if the twists, turns and outcomes are a mystery), so that they can quietly imagine being there themselves enjoying the experience.

4.     Who are your writer heroes?

I have tons in different genres! My favourite genre is Fantasy, so I will say that my top two literary heroes are Terry Practchett and Neil Gaiman. Stephen King for horror. For poetry, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson & Maya Angelou are also but a very small selection. I could literally spend all day and night naming people in the literary, TV and film world who constantly inspire me on a daily basis!

5.     How did you come up with the title –  “TooFullToWrite – I’ve started so I’ll finish”?

The short answer is that I always thought about the notion how writers and artists start things but struggle to finish them. Maybe they lose their creativity or drive, or some other shiny thing comes along to distract them. My philosophy was born out of wanting to finish things that I start because I am not a fan of loose ends and it is satisfying to complete things (no matter how long they take!) for our own peace of mind.

I actually wrote a humorous origin story about the namesake of my website, so if your readers are interested they can read it here:-

https://toofulltowrite.com/2013/02/12/daily-prompt-all-about-me-the-mostly-true-origin-story-of-toofulltowrite/

6.     You have created workbooks for authors. Can you tell us about them and why you created them?

Cendrine & I created our workbooks series at Auroras & Blossoms because we wanted to inspire artists to create more material, to become more professional and to thrive at what they do best. We focus on a variety of different topics, including writing prompts, inspirational tips/techniques, new poetry and writing forms, social media etiquette, social media marketing, marketing your artwork better and many more. We want to keep expanding and evolving what we offer to be on the cutting edge of what inspires artists to show up and produce the best material of their lives! 🙂

For more information, check out the link here:- https://abpoetryjournal.com/journals-workbooks/

7.     How, why and when did you formulate the partnership with Cendrine Marrouat?

Cendrine goes into deeper detail in her interview segment below. We crossed paths years ago when I was interviewing fellow authors and artists. We have an excellent creative partnership that we have built a strong platform on. We complement each other with our skills sets and are both a creative force to be reckoned with. She is an excellent business partner and extremely talented too!

8.     You have a wide range of skills, including podcaster, lyricist, humorist – do you feel these are all components of your writer life? How do each of these disciplines aid your writing?

I have never wanted to tie my creativity down to just one single thing. As I learn how to do one creative discipline, I become interested in others by way of association and because of my passion in existing disciplines, this enthusiasm carries over to new things that I try out in the artistic world. I do not feel like they are actually defined by a writer’s life, although to be fair, a writer’s life has led me to all of them and so much more. It’s very true what they say about how being a writer means that you can literally be anything you want to be in life! Being involved in many different artistic outlets gives you a much broader palette to paint from. It is not for everyone, since some people prefer to focus on one thing and get really good at it. I have to focus on many things in my life, otherwise I will get bored doing the same thing over and over – variety is the spice of life!

9.     Does living in England enhance your writing – if so how?

This is an interesting question. I definitely have a British sense of humour and it comes out in my jokes, quips, puns and writing style because that is an integral part of who I am. I feel like it gives me a unique perspective on the world, one that is endearing, comical and entertaining to read. I embrace these aspects of my own personal character in that I have manners, am well behaved and professional (plus a bit old fashioned) but at the same time I do have an extroverted side, like to be playful and let my hair down regularly as well!

10.  Please share your social media sites.

Website: https://toofulltowrite.com

Blog: https://toofulltowrite.com/blog

Books: https://toofulltowrite.com/my-books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TooFullToWrite

Instagram: https://instagram.com/TooFullToWrite

11.  What would you like to say to your readers?

I want to thank every single one of you for your support and interest in what I do. I hope to inspire you, make you laugh or move you deeply in some kind of profound way that connects with you on an emotional level. We live in tough times right now and I would encourage you to spread as much kindness, help and support that you can. Work hard and bear with your struggles, there will always be better things on the horizon, if you weather the storms.

Cendrine Marrouat

1.     How long have you been writing?

Like many people, I wrote sappy stuff when I was a teenager. However, I only got serious about writing in 2005. So, I’m just counting the last 16 years. 😉

2.     What drew you to combining poetry and photography as artistic expression?

Because both art forms work extremely well together.

Most of us are scared of poetry. In school, we are taught to analyze every word and line of the poems we read to uncover some kind of arcane meaning. The adults we then become cannot pick up a poetry book without over-thinking about the way we should respond to it.

As a former teacher to adults, I know that a majority of people prefer visual cues to written ones. Pairing imagery and poems helps redirect the focus towards enjoyment.

The images I use to complement my poems (all mine) have triggered very positive reactions from people. They realize that poetry can also be very relaxing and fun to read!  

3.     You are the co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms – how did this partnership begin?

A few years ago, I was looking for interview opportunities to promote a new book. I found David Ellis and we instantly connected. I was impressed with his professionalism and personability.

After the interview, we decided to stay in touch. At the beginning of 2019, one of our chats led to sharing our frustrations about the process of submitting work to magazines and journals. We did not like how many of them factored in “who you know” and your number of publishing credits into their acceptance process.

So, on a whim, I suggested we start working on something that would run counter to that status quo. We decided that we would do things differently and give a chance to everyone. And our focus would be on something we did not see enough: positivity, inspiration and family-friendliness.

Within a few days, we had laid the foundations of Auroras & Blossoms. It took us a few months to set everything up properly, and we launched officially in October 2019.

4.     What are the benefits of a collaboration with another artist?

In this day and age of fierce competition for visibility, partnerships are pretty much the only chance for artists to be successful.

Collaborations give you the opportunity to tap into other artists’ platforms, build relationships with like-minded folks, and pool resources together to achieve greater things than you ever could on your own.

The key to a great partnership is to find someone who is on the same wavelength as you and shares your values. David and I get along really well because we are both very hard-working, committed to our craft, and professional. We respect each other’s time. Finally, we understand what it takes to build solid projects.

5.     Where do you prefer to write and why?

I always write in my office, with very occasional sessions in my backyard. My office is my private space, nobody bothers me there. So I can fully concentrate.

6.     Can you tell us about why you created Reminigram, Sixku, Flashku and the PoArtMo Collective?

I wanted to challenge myself and increase my creativity. 

The reminigram is a type of digital image that seeks to capture scenes that could have existed in the past. It’s my way to pay homage to early photography (daguerreotypes, tintypes, collodion processes, etc.).

To see some of my reminigrams, visit https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Portfolio-Series/Reminigrams.

Based on the Haiku, my favorite poetry form, the Sixku is a six-word poem inspired by a photograph. It’s a fun poetry form that any person will enjoy reading and writing.

For more info: https://creativeramblings.com/sixku/.

The Flashku is my latest creation; it borrows from the Sixku, Haiku, and Kindku, another poetry form David and I created (along with the Pareiku). I came up with the idea because I love flash fiction but suck at writing descriptions. The goal of a flashku is to write a whole story in 50-100 words inspired by an image, using 7 words taken from another piece. I like to call that poetic prose! 

For more info: https://creativeramblings.com/flashku/.

The PoArtMo Collective was one of my long-time dreams. I wanted to bring a group of artists together to create and release inspirational, positive and uplifting art and artistic projects; the goal being to show that good art goes beyond technical aspects to tell memorable stories.

When it launched in 2019, the collective was called FPoint Collective and focused exclusively on photography. But co-founder Isabel Nolasco and I quickly realized that we needed to be more inclusive. Isabel left us last year to focus on other things and there are now three of us. We have recently released our second project, a book titled Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography.

For more information, visit https://abpoetryjournal.com/poartmo-collective/.

Our book: https://abpoetryjournal.com/seizing-bygone-light/.

7.     What is your writing process like?

Quite strange. I always have to start with a title, otherwise, I’ll be stuck. I’m a very slow writer. And I have zero routine.

8.     How have your life experiences affected your work?

Like other artists, I share my life experiences through my writing and photography. That’s why my art is a constant state of flux.

9.     What would you like to share with readers?

Just enjoy poetry on your own terms. Don’t over-analyze. Just embrace the words and let them unleash their meanings over time.

10.  Can you share your social media and blog links?

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Blog: https://creativeramblings.com

Books: https://creativeramblings.com/books

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cendrineartist

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/cendrinemarrouat

Auroras & Blossoms

Website: https://abpoetryjournal.com

Latest submission calls: https://abpoetryjournal.com/submit/

Books: https://abpoetryjournal.com/store

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlossomsPoetry

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

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkAh-EnwcJbd865SEXJQsEw

Bios:-

French-born Canadian Cendrine Marrouat lives in Winnipeg. She is a photographer, poet, multi-genre author, and the co-founder of several artistic projects. She is also the creator of the Sixku, the Reminigram, and the Flashku.

Cendrine started her career in 2003. She has worked in many fields, including education (language instruction), social media coaching and training, content creation and curation, translation, photography, poetry, theatre, art criticism, blogging, and journalism.

David Ellis lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent in the UK. He is an award-winning poet, author of poetry, humourous fiction and music lyrics.

David’s debut poetry collection (Life, Sex & Death) won an International Award in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards 2016 for Inspirational Poetry Books.

David is extremely fond of tea, classic and contemporary poetry, cats, and dogs but not snakes. Indiana Jones is his spirit animal.

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