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Ask A Question Thursday

July 4, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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Today’s question is: Some writers create a bubble around themselves until they’re finished with their project – how true is that in your case?

For me, once I am writing/crafting a story the outside world disappears. I am within that world of my own creation and all external forces are forgotten. As I write the scenes play like a movie in my head, I experience the characters and their struggles.

How about you? Do you need to lock yourself away, go somewhere in particular or can immerse yourself in your story no matter where?

deck

Last week’s question. What books do you keep for sentimental reasons?

I shared mine in the post and Pamela shared her love of Pinocchio.

The Adventures of Pinocchio. From the first time my mother read it to me, I was hooked on the little guy. His devotion to his father touched my heart like no other character in any book. I have a collection of at least 10 Pinocchio books in both English and Italian, and each is a bit different due to the various translators. And to add to my Pinocchio fixation, I have quite a collection of Pinocchio puppets, dolls, and figurines scattered around the house. They never fail to make me smile.

Author Interview – Shirani Rajapakse

June 25, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest book?

My latest book is a collection of short stories inspired by the time I spent in India. It’s about women and the issues faced by women living in contemporary India.                         

How did you come up with the title?              

The title of the book, I Exist. Therefore I Am is also the title of one of the short stories in the collection. Each of my other previous books also uses one of the stories/poems as the title. I’ve done this as I wanted to have a title that exemplified what was in the whole collection.

(ebook) I Exist. Therefore I Am - Shirani Rajapakse

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

The message is that women need to be treated as equals and with dignity and the respect that is their due.

How much of the book is realistic?

Although fictionalized the stories are about real people and real lives. I’ve used examples of incidents that I came across to create my stories. The characters aren’t real but the issues these women face and the treatment they receive at the hands of society and of other women are very real.

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

They are based on people I read or heard about from others or from newspapers. I’ve come across women who have either gone through similar experiences that my characters undergo or have known women who have.

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

https://shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/shiranirajapakseauthor

https://twitter.com/shiraniraj

https://www.pinterest.com/shiraniraj/

https://www.instagram.com/shiranirajapakse/

https://lk.linkedin.com/in/shiranirajapakse

https://www.goodreads.com/shiranirajapakse

My Book links are,

https://www.books2read.com/shiranirajapakse

https://www.books2read.com/iexist

https://www.books2read.com/breakingnews

https://www.amazon.com/author/shiranirajapakse

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

Yes. I’m planning on publishing a poetry collection this year. It is about the effects of conflict on people and how they live through it. As a people,  we in Sri Lanka have gone through 30 years of bloody conflict that left no real winners. People from all sides lost. The poems look at what happened and speak in many voices. They discuss a variety of issues and viewpoints. I wrote it because I wanted to create a collection of voices for those in the future to understand, as well as anyone else to realize the futility of war. It’s like a documentation of what happened in verse form.

Chant of a Million Women - Shirani Rajapakse

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

I don’t have particular favorites because I think all the characters are special and they serve a purpose in helping me tell my story.

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

I write both poetry and short stories. My poetry is free verse and the short stories are mostly literary fiction. I’ve also written a few stories that are fantasy or magic realism as well as a couple of children’s stories. Apart from the children’s stories the others are published in literary journals and anthologies but I don’t have enough to have a complete collection. I think it would be nice to have a complete collection of fantasy stories and also of children’s stories, but for this I need to write.

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

I’m mostly a seat of the pants writer, but I do plan a little. When I get an idea to write something I make a rough draft in my head. I let the sequence of the story or poem play in my mind like a movie and when I feel it is possible to sustain the story I start writing it down. But I don’t plan how the story evolves. That happens while writing.

What is your best marketing tip?

Marketing is the hardest aspect of writing and publishing. Moreover poetry and short stories are not easy to sell as there is a limited market compared to some of the popular genres. I prefer to get exposure for the book through reviews, interviews and word of mouth. 

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

I think it’s a huge benefit because it connects us to writers and readers around the world not merely to promote our writing but also to discuss writing get help and advice and find like- minded people. I decided to self-publish because I found many writers doing this and I felt encouraged. I also learnt everything about self-publishing through other writers who were on the same journey as I am and it’s amazing how many people I’ve come to know through social media.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I don’t know if there’s any particular aspect about writing that I like more than others. I just like to write. It’s like being able to direct my thoughts onto a blank canvas and create something beautiful out of the jumble of ideas and words that are there. Writing poetry or fiction is hugely liberating as I can express what I want or write about something that may not be possible to do as a fact.  It’s like painting, but with words.

Breaking News - Shirani Rajapakse

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I wrote my first poems and short stories when I was in university as an undergraduate student. These were experimental works and I never planned on publishing them.  There was a short period after my post grad study in India where I was doing nothing and I wrote some stories and poem that were better than the ones I wrote earlier. But it was really much later that I started to write seriously and this is where the bulk of my work is from.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

It has stayed the same for the most part, but I’ve dabbled in other genre, like fantasy. I’ve also written a couple of short stories for children but these aren’t published.

What genre are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading contemporary romance. Sometimes reading outside the genre I write can be more relaxing.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Both. Right now I’m reading for pleasure.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My lecturer from undergrad study Dr. Lakshmi de Silva was someone who encouraged me to write even when I didn’t know I wanted to write. Through the years she has been a huge supporter of my writing and I tend to discuss my work with her. She is also the only person who first sees my writing before I send it to anyone else.

Where is your favorite writing space?

In front of my computer. It’s a mess with papers and books all over the table but that’s where I write.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I belong to several writing groups on Facebook where we help each other with advice about writing and publishing.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Alice Munro and Carolyn Forche. I like the way they write and it would be nice to just talk to them about writing.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Right here where I am as this is the place I’m most comfortable. But if I could travel to anywhere in the world then the list would be endless. I think travel opens up your mind and give you opportunities to learn and experience diversity in all forms and this is good not just for writing but in general too. I’d like to visit several places, like Russia, China and some parts of the US like Colorado or Alaska and spend some time there, maybe a few weeks just taking in everything. But I wouldn’t want to move anywhere.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. It already is.

Bio

Shirani Rajapakse is an internationally published, award winning poet and short story writer. She won the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013 and was a finalist in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards 2013. Her collection of short stories Breaking News (Vijitha Yapa 2011) was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award. Her critically acclaimed poetry collection Chant of a Million Women (2017) won the 2018 Kindle Book Awards. It was chosen as an “Official Selection” in the 2018 New Apple Summer eBook Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing and received an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Readers’ Favorite Awards. Her second collection of short stories, I Exist. Therefore I Am (2018) is about women in modern India. Rajapakse’s work appears in many literary journals and anthologies worldwide. Rajapakse read for a BA in English Literature from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka and has a MA in International Relations from JNU, India.

shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com

 

Ask A Question Thursday

June 6, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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On the cusp of my week long writing road trip, today’s question is: Where would you go for the perfect writing retreat?

balcony

My answer is probably predictable for those who know me – I would go to Rome.

Last week’s question When crafting a new story – what works best for you, laptop, fountain pen, dictation, or longhand? certainly hit a note with many of you, although the answers went to my Facebook author page. However, here they are:

 

  • Notebook, legal pad, post-it notes. I suck at typing, so if I try to get thoughts down quickly, “spell check” works overtime and muddles my train of thought.

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    Mary Cooney-Glazer For a story,in progress, my laptop. For random ideas, I jot things in a little notebook or scrap that gets tucked into it.

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    Liz Knowles
    Liz Knowles I use a notebook and pen. This is ideal for me, in case of electricity going out, battery running low, I have an accessible record of what I have been writing and it as makes a good record for later, in case I need to reference something or prove something. Typed words, do not always constitute proof its yours or that you wrote it. And these types of records are important to have to secure your work.

  • Linzi Carlisle Nokes I write on my laptop but keep a notebook alongside, in which I am constantly scribbling ongoing story notes.

  • Montgomery Frogg I usually write and illustrate my books on my lap-top, but if the sun is shining outside, I’ll often sit on my patio, writing a story with pen and paper, or sketching out illustrations with the old faithful pencil and rubber.

     

    Used to be long hand. Now, laptop for me.

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    Karen Probert Longhand for sure – my mind works differently when I can write longhand. The laptop for sure for editing as it is faster and more efficient.

     

    Please join in and leave a comment below.

 

Ask A Question Thursday

May 23, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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Today’s question is: What is your motivation for writing more?

keep

My reply is that I have so many stories tumbling around in my head, I have to keep writing to get them all out. Many of you know I only began ‘writing’ when I came to Canada so I’m now making up for ‘lost’ time! I have always been creative but for whatever reason I had never written ‘stories’ before for the explicit reason of allowing other people to read them.

What is your reason – leave a comment below.

Last week’s question: Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?

 Katie O’Connor.

I’ve done that. Some of my best ideas come to me in dreams. If I was a thriller or suspense writer, I’d have even more writing material. My brain likes to frighten me at night.

Author Interview – Cindi Handley Goodeaux

April 23, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

me

What inspired your latest novel?

I have two nieces that live in two different states and created my adventure loving main character to stay in contact with them. It started as a poem and I later developed that into my story.

How did you come up with the title?

Because my character loves traveling and adventures the title seemed natural.

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

My purpose for this first book is to normalize disability for children. I use simple concepts like dancing on feet or wheels and singing out loud or signing with happy hands to accomplish this. I am a disability advocate and saw this as a way to connect my message with children.

How much of the book is realistic?

Other than disability being a normal part of life, the rest is a complete work of fantasy fiction.

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

Close friends call me Jellibean because they can see how much of myself I put into that character. She is positive, upbeat, and always ready to make a friend and learn something new.

princess

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

https://ch.goodeaux.com/

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

Oh yes! I have completed four Princess Jellibean books that are under publishing contract. The second is currently being illustrated. I have plans to write this series indefinitely and have a list of things I want my character to encounter including traveling around the world and experiencing other cultures.

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

Princess Jellibean is definitely my favorite. I love her wide-eyed wonder and insatiable curiosity.

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

I love writing fiction because it allows me to create something that didn’t exist before. I started with poetry and have written that since I was 10 years old. I do want to try to write some self help in the future since I have several ideas in mind.

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

I am a mix of both. For some stories I like to plot out what I want to happen and for others I just let the story flow. I just finished writing a bed time story that I had so much fun with because it just poured out.

What is your best marketing tip?

Find ways to connect with your readers and know your audience. My audience is children, so I think of things that they would connect with and have colorful, plastic cat ear headbands to hand out when they purchase a book. I also make necklaces that feature images of my main character they can purchase separately.

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

Social medical is a brilliant tool when leveraged correctly and often. You can build a fan base this way when you put in the effort and time.

swimming

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

It allows me to express myself and provides a creative outlet which recharges my batteries.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I wrote my first poem at 10 years old.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

No, I thought I would always write only poetry and could not have fathomed becoming a children’s book author.

What genre are you currently reading?

I have been reading self help type books for creatives.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Both! I love to read for fun and I love to dig into a topic that intrigues me.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My husband, Glenn, is my muse and biggest supporter. Behind him is my parents and his mother.

Where is your favorite writing space?

Right now, I write wherever I can since I don’t have a desk. We are currently planning to convert our unused dining room into a creative writing space.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

Yes, I belong to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and just applied to be a member of the Cat Writers Association.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Elizabeth Gilbert. Her book Big Magic is full of such wonderful sage advice about being fearlessly creative.

Do you see writing as a career?

I see writing as being my next level. I call it my retirement plan.

Bio:

Cindi Handley Goodeaux is a Florida resident who lives with her husband and muse. She is a proud mom, graphic designer wannabe, rescue dog lover, and a sometime poet. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

 

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