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Author Interview – Halli Lilburn

October 1, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest WIP?

A dream. Most of my ideas start with dreams. I am a vivid dreamer.  I tweak them to make sense. My current work involves steampunk pirates and I’m collaborating with my 16-year-old daughter. She invented one of the characters so she decides what they say and do. It makes for an adventure we can share together and twists in the plot that even I didn’t see coming.

How did you come up with the title?

First it was called Evelyn of the Sea because I wanted to write about a woman disguised as a man on a sailing vessel.  I want a female hero who isn’t judged because of her gender.  However, I soon realized that I couldn’t write a historical novel so I made it steampunk, put Evelyn in an airship, and called it Evelyn of the Air instead. I also set the story on a different planet so I could mess around with technology, laws of physics and mythos. Airships don’t work very well on earth and I didn’t want to be limited.  The best way to break rules is either off planet or magic.  I do both.

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

I want readers to find validation, sympathy and inclusion. I want to shine a light to people underrepresented, marginalized or odd in any way. We are all a family and we should fight for our place in the world.  But I don’t want to preach.

How much of the book is realistic?

My goals are to escape and entertain. I don’t want them burdened with the same problems they face in real life. I want my readers to work with their imagination. Get those brain cogs turning. Of course, the mystery of the human condition is very real. Just because the obstacles are fantastic, our reactions, emotions and instincts are still the same. So, I sneak in some sympathetic elements while battling monsters and hope the parallels and symbols are subtle but noticeable.

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

Authors can’t help but draw on their own experience but I try to keep my own words out of my characters minds. I ask myself what I would do in the situation and is it the same thing my character would do? If it is, I run the risk of having all my characters sound the same. I do want my characters to get into worlds I could never visit or adventures I wish I could have. So, would I want to be a pirate on an airship? Of course!

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

hallililburn.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/groups/147239652049490/, @hallililburn

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

I really enjoy writing short stories for anthologies.  I like themes on monsters.  Maybe soon I’ll have enough monster stories to make my own collection.  I am also an artist so I want to do an art book but I need a grant for that project. I also want to write a play. I want to see my characters interpreted by others.

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

I am a feminist so I really push the female hero who is smart, invaluable and saves the day. I also have male characters who are sensitive and respectful.

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

I can’t sit still so I am always starting new projects.  I want to try everything. Monsters and ghosts are my favourite in horror, fantasy or sci-fi. Sometimes those monsters are the good guys or even the love interest.

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

I totally understand the advantage to planning and plotting but I cannot force it out. And I’m too impatient.  If a scene is rattling around in my brain, I have to put it on paper. And it morphs as I go, so I deviate from any plan I had.  If I get stuck, I leave it for a few days and let my subconscious mull it over until the idea snaps into focus.

What is your best marketing tip?

Be friendly. Go to your readers for book signings, school visits and conferences.  The people you associate with will be your best promoters and collaborators.

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

Social media is a two-edged sword.  It can kind of work, but usually it slows me down. It’s best for keeping in contact with associates and hearing about submission calls. I don’t spam people, I invite them to book signings then talk to them in person.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Reading anything is always research. It can’t not be. Even if I’m just researching an author to see if I like their style to determine if I want to read more. If it’s not a good fit, I’ll stop reading.  It’s simple. Everything I read gets stored away for future reference.

Do you see writing as a career?

No.  It is a lifestyle. If I wanted it to be a career, I would have got my bachelors of English or journalism and applied myself to these professional labels, deadlines and salaries. A writing career involves writing for other people. I haven’t done that since school assignments. I want to let my creative side out when it suites me without worrying about paying the rent with my words. Depending on a writer’s income is hazardous. I won’t quit my day job but I will write during my lunchbreak.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

No. I realized early on that I binge and it’s not healthy so I stopped. I will only drink water or tea. Some of my binge worthy treats are praline trail mix, and popcorn. I try and save those things for parties.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

Netflix! It’s time to purge the brain. Maybe cheesecake.

Bio:

Halli Lilburn was born in Edmonton, Alberta.  Her first story at age nine was about unicorns and fairies.  Over the years she has explored other genres including poetry, science fiction, paranormal and horror. She has works published with Tesseracts 18: Wrestling with Gods, Spirited by Leap Books, Carte Blanche, Vine Leaves, Renaissance Press and many others.  She teaches workshops on creative writing and art journaling. She is a certified structural editor with essentialedits.ca and is an editor for The Dame Was Trouble, with Coffin Hop Press. Her education includes Library Operations, Art History, Creative Writing, Music and Fashion Design. She is a librarian, artist and mother of three.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…

October 9, 2017
mandyevebarnett


events
My upcoming events are numerous this week.
Tuesday is my Writers Foundation AGM – so as secretary I am compiling the agenda, and will take the minutes.
Wednesday I am excited to join several other great authors for a book signing and reading. Audreys Books, 10702 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, AB T5J 3J5  Please come down for hot & spicy and romantic readings and lots of treats!
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Thursday evening I will have my President hat on for the Arts & Culture Council Board meeting and on Friday another meeting with my freelance client for the ghost writing project.
In all a super busy week but fun all the same.
What are you up to this week?
Other events:
Logo Wordfest

In Calgary, AB, Wordfest takes place from October 9–15, with Canadian authors including Michael Redhill, Linda Spalding, Nick Cutter, Lindan MacIntyre, Claire Cameron, Heather O’Neill, Ron Sexsmith, and many others.

Logo Knowlton Literary Festival

The Knowlton Literary Festival runs October 12–15 in Brome Lake in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, with featured authors including Douglas Gibson, Ian Hamilton, Donna Morrissey, Heather O’Neill, and Kathy Stinson.

Whistler Writers Fest

The Whistler Writers Festival runs October 12–15 in Whistler, BC, with Caroline Anderson, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, Gurjinder Basran, David Chariandy, Barbara Gowdy, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Teva Harrison, Helen Humphreys, Lee Maracle, Suzette Mayr, Lenore Rowntree, Doug Saunders, Michael Redhill, and more.

Logo Litfest

October 12–22, the non-fiction festival Litfest takes over Edmonton, AB, with Janice MacDonald, Kit Dobson, Merilyn Simonds, Scaachi Koul, Britt Wray, Chris Turner, Kamal Al-Solaylee, Jen Agg, Jessica Kluthe, and more.

Logo Celebrating Stories

Family festival Celebrating Stories is back in Milton, ON, on October 15, with Sharon Jennings, Patricia Storms, and Vikki VanSickle.

Upcoming & Past Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…

October 2, 2017
mandyevebarnett


Web site banner WitP 2017_0

Well what can I say I am still floating with happiness with the spectacular response to my romance novel, The Twesome Loop on Saturday! Seven books purchased and the prize draw basket won, and the recipient messaged me on Sunday to say they were half way through the book, and enjoying the wine and pasta.

I was certainly happy with how my table display worked out – but am thinking I will need to investigate some sort of shelving system soon. I can’t have three tables!! B the way the artwork is by the owner of Spark Gallery – Glen Roland. His work is spectacular.

WITP TABLES

With over 30 authors, 9 artisans, musicians, dancers, a clown, a great food truck and more it was a special day all round. It was a great way to celebrate 10 years of Words in the Park.

My next event is this Saturday  I will do a presentation/speech for a local company, Pinebox Funerals at their annual event. This falls under my other writing hat – freelance writer.

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Other events:

WGA Open Mic Night – Read Like the Pros(e) – Edmonton

OCT 5 19:00 – 22:00

The Almanac

10351-82 ave, Edmonton, Alberta T6E 1Z9
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Joe Calendino ‘To Hell and Back’ Book Launch

OCT 5 19:00 – 21:00
Audreys Books Ltd.

10702 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3J5
What events do you have in your area?

Image Is All – Choosing An Illustrator…

September 8, 2014
mandyevebarnett


articlesOnce the writing, editing and revisions are complete, we have another choice to make regarding our novel. Do we want or need illustrations within the book or just the cover? This decision can be determined by the genre, such as children’s books but also the type of visuals we want to share with our readers.

Dependent on the age group of your children’s books, you may have numerous pictures with minimal text for younger readers or chapter header or facing page illustrations for older readers. For example, my young readers book, Rumble’s First Scare (http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/rumbles-first-scare) is mainly pictures, while my chapter book for older readers, Ockleberries to the Rescue (preorder here: http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/) has chapter headers illustrating each particular animal or event within that chapter. I took the decision not to have an illustration drawn of the woodland sprites in the narrative as I would like my young readers to envision the characters themselves. However, I did have the sprites woodland home created for the book cover.

Rumble

When working with an artist it is best to describe in as much detail as possible the visuals you require. This can be done, either in rough sketches, composite collages or by detailed written descriptions. No matter where your chosen artist may reside, you can communicate your vision. For Rumble’s First Scare, I chose an artist, who lived in Australia (although he was in Canada at the start of the project). With a mulitude of emails, we were able to create Rumble, his yucky pets and his underground home. Matthew McClatchie‘s style beautifully created how I ‘saw’ Rumble.

Ockleberries Cover

However, for Ockleberries to the Rescue, I knew I wanted realistic pencil drawings of the animals and that is why I chose J. E. McKnight. His sketches resemble those of Bernie Brown’s type of illustration. Joe was also able to create the book’s cover image by utilizing a computer program. This is in full color and more striking than a  pencil sketch. We have to capture our readers eye in the book store after all.

With both artists, I enjoyed the collaboration in creating the ‘look’ I envisaged for these books.

Of course there are numerous options for cover art and interior illustrations with every book. It is up to the author to decide what ‘look’ they require. For my upcoming western romance, Willow Tree Tears (Fall 2015 launch – excerpt here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/) I am thinking of having the image of a barrel on the chapter headers and scene breakers. This will convey the barrel racing theme in the narrative.

What were your illustration requirements for your book(s)?

Did you hire an artist or illustrate yourself?

How did you decide on the image’s and their style?

 

It’s All About the Book Cover…

August 18, 2014
mandyevebarnett


articles Some of you may know I’m in the midst of working with an illustrator for my upcoming children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue. Each chapter will have a drawing of the animal or event that is within the narrative. I count myself lucky to know my artist from within my writing group. Not only is he the current President but a good friend. Joe McKnight’s pencil drawings are similar in style to Bernie Brown’s wonderful pictures. This is the reason I choose him, I want realistic drawings of the animals. As most of the internal pictures are completed, my thoughts have turned to the cover. I have a specific image in mind, which will reveal the woodland sprites home, however I am not including an image of the sprites, I want the children to imagine them.

When we work with an artist it is paramount to have good communication and be able to describe the ‘vision’ we have for the illustrations. With Joe, I can have face to face discussions as well as email communication and have supplied him with sketches/images to assist him. When I worked with Matty McClatchie on Rumble’s First Scare, we only had the option of email as he was in Australia and I was in Canada. His style is wonderfully stylized and suited Rumble’s world so well. We frequently underestimate the power of technology but this is proof it can work to our advantage. No matter where our artist may be situated we can work together to create our ideal images.

With a cover we must take into account the initial response of our potential readers and ensure it has its own style. Ask yourself:

Does the cover reflect the story?

Is it eye catching?

Does it reflect the genre?  

As you can see from these revised covers for the Harry Potter saga, covers can evolved.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/11000405/Harry-Potter-covers-then-and-now.html

It is interesting how much more ‘action’ there is in the new covers and the style is more dramatic. Understand you can change your cover at any time – feedback from readers is important in ensuring the book cover encourages more people to purchase it. You can have a re-launch, an anniversary re-issue or upload a new cover for an e-book. Just because your book is published doesn’t mean you should forget about it. Constant promotion and revision will keep it fresh and engage new readers.

A cover is an important part of any book and time should be spent in creating it. Here are some useful tips for cover design:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2014/08/judy-probus/

How did you decide on your book (s) cover?

Did you use your own photographs, commission or draw you own drawings or manipulate images some other way?

Rumble’s First Scare Rumble

The Rython Kingdom 3d3df1f7d1f382285315cbfd851c3329b33bce46

Why not share your cover?

 

 

 

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