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Author Interview – Jenna Greene

July 16, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest novel?                                        

While I didn’t realize it at the time, the illness and subsequent death of my mother. There are many hints about connection to the afterlife in the novel.

How did you come up with the title?                 

It has a dual meaning. First of all, it describes a class of people in a dystopian society, but it also represents the journey of the main character, Lexil, as she overcomes challenges and becomes a new person.

Reborn

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

That your personality is not static, nor is your life. You can change and grow at any time and stage of your life.

How much of the book is realistic?

The essence of each character is. Their emotions are no different than any other person, but they are in extraordinary circumstances.

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

I think the character of Ceera, who is only five years old in the novel, represents myself when I was younger, as well as the innocence I see in all the children I work with. (I’m a teacher).

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

While I do not have a blog, I am very active on social media. My website is www.jennagreene.ca and I can be found on Twitter (@jgreenewrites) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/jennabutrenchukgreene)

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

I always have a thousand projects in the works! I’m doing my best to finish the sequel to Reborn as fast as my fans desire. I am also collaborating with illustrators for some children’s picture books

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

That’s not fair! I have to pick a favourite? That’s like picking a favourite book. Nope! Not doing it!

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

I love YA! Read it! Write it! And fantasy has a special place in my heart, of course. But I’m trying to dabble into new genres.

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

Some parts are planned, usually the beginning and the ending. The rest is filling in the middle, which is more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants.

What is your best marketing tip?

Dive in! Be ready to stay active and try new things. Marketing starts long before the novel is released (or sometimes even written) and continues long after.

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

I think it’s very useful. It just takes a lot of time.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Every part except editing!

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

Grade two. So… I must have been six or seven years old.

PRESS RELEASE

A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH?
NEW SERIES BY ACCLAIMED YOUNG ADULT FANTASY AUTHOR
LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA: Influenced by the illness and subsequent death of her mother, young adult author Jenna Greene pens the first in a new series, Reborn. In this coming of age fantasy, Lexil discovers through the marks on her skin that she is a Reborn–someone who has lived before. Because of this, and the intricate mythology of her world, she is sold at auction and forced to become a slave, abruptly throwing her life and everything she’s known into a chaotic spiral. At a time when Lexil is already struggling with the adversities of being a teenager, still reeling from the loss of parents, the effects of being portrayed as different take their toll. Lexil is out to understand and discover even more about who she is, and who she will become.
Intermixed with a unique and complex mythology, drawing from her own life experiences, and her ability to write truly authentic characters, Mrs. Greene tugs at our hearts when Lexil must save a young child, form a new ally with a charming boy named Finn, but most importantly, fight to survive.
Jenna is known for her talent of creating characters the audience can relate to whether they are young adults or adults, and this time, Lexil is no different. Her compelling writing style continues to captivate readers, asking tough questions and revealing the answers all while creating tension, true emotions, and imaginative world-building.
With five published novels to date, including her outstanding Imagine series, Jenna has a passion for writing that shines. Recently, in a spotlight feature in Pandora’s Box Gazette, Jenna stated:
“I don’t know how young I was when I identified as a writer. It was probably when I first started school and a teacher told my parents I had talent. Since then, I’ve always known writing was something I would pursue. There are stories in my head that I have the desire and ability to tell

 

Ask A Question Thursday

May 30, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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This week’s question: When crafting a new story – what works best for you, laptop, fountain pen, dictation, or longhand?

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For me, I write best on a laptop as it is the fastest option to free flow my words. What about you?

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

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. Mandy Eve-Barnett

Marketing Tips from Authors

May 28, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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As we are nearly at the halfway point for this year’s author interviews, I thought it would be interesting to review the answers I received to the question: What is your best marketing tip?

The answers are varied and, I think reflect how comfortable (or not!) writers are when it comes to promoting ourselves.

These are not on any specific order.

1) Be consistent on social media and within your local community

2) To have a blog

3) Build an authentic brand

4) Connect with other authors in the same genre and be a presence in specific social groups relating to it.

5) Word-of-mouth promotion

6) Promotional items sold separately reflecting the book/genre i.e. toys, necklaces, headbands etc. Also hand-out bookmarks everywhere you can.

7) Live videos/podcasts either on Facebook or YouTube – this can be book specific or about you as a person and your writing/genre.

8) Be original, authentic, and make intentional connections

9) Utilize your readers/tribe to help promote through social media and local connections.

10) Use your connections that are involved in newspapers/magazines etc.

11) Talk to your local library and bookstores. Offer your time to do signings/readings.

12) Use Canvas to create your own ads for Twitter and Facebook.

13)  Youtube book trailers.

14) Market yourself as an author before you market your books.

15) Take part in interviews, whether online or face-to-face.

What have you found works best for your book promotion?

 

 

Author Interview – P.D. Workman

April 2, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest novel?

The first book in this new series, What the Cat Knew was actually inspired by a dream my husband had! I hadn’t written any paranormal before this, haven’t written any kind of fantasy for decades, and I decided to give it a try.

How did you come up with the title?

I brainstormed a number of ideas, checked to see how many were already in use, and tried them out on the cover to see how they looked. The “cat” themed title has carried through the first three books, I’m not sure whether it will carry through the rest of the series.

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

There are a number of messages in What the Cat Knew; that people should be what they are and pursue their natural talents; that things are not always as they appear; not to judge a book by its cover; that there are many different kinds of talents; and one that is fleshed out more in the next two books… the issue of consent.

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How much of the book is realistic?

These books are paranormal mystery, so there are witches, spiritual messages, other psychic phenomena and magical races. But it is a balancing act between the concrete, “real” world that Reg has always tried to survive in, and the new magical world she is just getting to know.

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

In some of my books, yes. In What the Cat Knew, there is not much that is pulled from my own experience.

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

You can find me on most social media with the name pdworkmanauthor.

https://www.facebook.com/pdworkmanauthor

https://www.instagram.com/pdworkmanauthor/

My website and blog is at pdworkman.com.

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

I have three books written in the Reg Rawlins, Psychic Detective series so far, and you can expect more after that. You can find out my plans for the rest of the year at https://pdworkman.com/upcoming-in-2019

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

I created this spin-off series from the Auntie Clem’s Bakery series because I liked Reg Rawlins so much and saw that she had a lot of potential as a character, so she is at the top of the list. But I also really enjoyed the psychic cat, Starlight, and Sarah, the feisty old witch. The villainous Corvin is a lot of fun to write and really rounds out the story and adds intrigue. In books two and three, I started to explore some other magical races and have had a lot of fun with Callie and Ruan.

Of all of the stories/series that I am working on right now, the character I think I am enjoying the most is Zachary Goldman.

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

I write crime fiction, but that has turned out to be quite a wide umbrella, ranging from suspense/thriller to P.I. mystery, to cozy mystery, and now paranormal cozy mystery. I have both young adult and adult books and series. They all tend to focus on outcasts, underdogs, and social issues.

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

For thirty years I only wrote seat-of-the-pants. I have been writing using mind-maps and outlines the last few years, but I still occasionally pants a novel here and there. Because I am writing a lot in series right now, the books tend to develop a general shape that is reflected in each book in the series, so there is less planning to do in the later books, and I am settling into a sort of minimalist outline plan right now.

What is your best marketing tip?

I struggle with marketing. It doesn’t come nearly as naturally as the writing itself. Learn from others, try new things, and be willing to stick with what works.

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

While I am in a number of writing groups, I tend to answer other people’s questions more than to write mine. It can be good entertainment, but I find it best not to spend too much time on social media.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I like to work out the emotions I am feeling and get my thoughts down on paper, to produce something that both entertains and makes people think. I love the creative process and sitting down and rereading my characters’ stories again and again.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I wrote my first novel-length fiction at age 12. I have always loved writing and making books and have some of the little construction-paper books that I stapled together written in scribbles before I could even read or write.

What genre are you currently reading?

I am reading a murder mystery right now. I read a lot of crime, with some YA, literary, and nonfiction thrown in.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

I read mostly for pleasure. I do a lot of research, but generally rely on articles and short non-fiction rather than novels. I don’t generally analyze the writing of the fiction books I am reading, though I do take note if there are things I particularly like or don’t like.

Do you see writing as a career?

I am hoping to make it my full-time career in the next couple of years. I currently work full-time hours at my writing business as well as at my day job.

Bio:

P.D. Workman was born and raised in Alberta, Canada. She writes riveting young adult and mystery/suspense books dealing with mental illness, addiction, abuse, and other social issues. She has won several literary awards from Library Services for Youth in Custody for her young adult fiction. She currently has over 30 published titles and can be found at pdworkman.com. She has been married for 25 years and has one son.

 

 

 

Author Interview – Janet Wees

March 5, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest novel?

I visited The Hidden Village in 2005, 2007 and decided, after reading the history at the site, that children in North America had to know the story. The man I interviewed was the boy in the Village and he inspired me as well. 

How did you come up with the title?

My publisher chose the title and I liked it.     

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

I want them to proclaim “Never Again” – that inhumanity and evil will not be repeated against anyone anymore, especially children!

How much of the book is realistic?

It is all realistic; most of it really happened, and the few fictionalized parts could have happened. It is not fantasy.

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

The characters are based on the boy and his family upon whose stories the novel is based. I met “Walter” when I interviewed him about his life in the Hidden Village.

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

Readers can and have found me on Facebook. I am also on Twitter and I have a blog.

Blog – http://whenwewereshadowsbyjanetwees.wordpress.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pg/WhenWeWereShadows/posts/

Twitter – @JanetRWees

Email – powertutor1@hotmail.com

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

This novel is a stand alone book. I have no present plans for another novel, but I have written two children’s books that could be picture books, but I have to “finesse” them before I submit to publishers.

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

My favourite is Walter of course. I met him as an adult and after listening to his stories, I could see the little boy he may have been – intelligent, precocious, sensitive and devoted to family. I heard his voice in my head as I wrote the book.

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

This is my first book, so this genre is presently my favourite. But if I were to pick a genre, it would be books for children – historical or historical fiction.

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

Sometimes I sit down and just write and forget to eat and pretty soon it’s dark. The next day I have to review what I wrote. I plan in my head, but I am more a seat of the pants author I would think. During this process, in my revisions, I would go back to previous chapters and add something I thought about. I was constantly re-reading and changing. But with this book, I did have a plan and it was somewhat sequential because it was based on real life. I don’t know what I would do if I had to write fiction. Not sure I could do fiction; I need some facts.

What is your best marketing tip? 

The best marketing items were the bookmarks from the publisher. I have handed out/mailed/presented over 1000 bookmarks since April. They have the title, author and contacts for ordering. For a “tip”, I would say to be consistent and approach bookstores in person to offer your time to do signings/readings. If this is your first book, lead with something that your publisher might have published in the past that would be known to a bookseller. They seem to worry about risking their time on a first-time, unknown author.

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

My publisher wanted me to have Facebook and Twitter (both public) and a blog. What I find hindering is keeping up, and not overwhelming or underwhelming readers. I am not a fan of social media and I’ve resisted Instagram mainly because it involves photos and most of the exciting photos from the launches are old now. Not getting feedback from any social media posts is disconcerting; I get likes etc from friends, but nobody new has really seemed to read or respond. I did get messages from students in Belgium and The Netherlands. They were doing book reports on the book and wanted information about the author. They communicated through Facebook.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?  

Being an abstract random thinker, writing forces me to focus and let the ideas flow, blocking out any other distractions.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I was probably 9 years old. Poems came later – in university when I was in love; it just promoted poetry all over the place!

Has your genre changed or stayed the same? 

The first stories I wrote were based on pictures from magazines. It was fiction back then.

What genre are you currently reading?

Currently I am reading biography – In My Own Words (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

Do you read for pleasure or research or both? 

Pleasure and escapism

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? 

Rona Altrows

Where is your favorite writing space? 

I only have one writing space – my den.

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

Geraldine Brooks, because she wrote a book about penpals and I’d love to swap stories with her.

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

Terschelling, an island in the North Sea, in Holland…or… Vancouver (if I could afford it).

Do you see writing as a career?

I am retired so no career for me.

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

I actually forget to eat when I am in the throes of writing.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

I don’t set deadlines; being retired there are no deadlines. It took me from September 2008 until April 2018 to get the book written, edited, revised and published, in between substitute teaching part-time, traveling, volunteering, reading and daily living.

 Bio:

Born in Winnipeg, raised in a Saskatchewan village, with no running water or TV until she was 12, Janet Wees was a voracious reader. She borrowed books through the mail from the lending library in Regina to quench her curiosity about the world. Radio and Eaton’s Xmas catalogue were sources of entertainment. Being a precocious child, her mother sent her, at age 5, to grade 1 every Friday afternoon. In Grade 8 the principal would ask Janet to “sub” for a Grade 1 teacher who was late for school, occasionally. Thus began a passion for teaching and learning.

Janet attended the Universities of Saskatchewan, Calgary, and Oregon gaining her B.Ed in Special Education, and an M.Ed in Gifted and Talented Education. During her tenure she was involved in professional committees, was a volunteer for the Calgary Youth Science Fair and set up pen pal, environmental, Young Olympians, running, and debate clubs where she was a debate coach and a judge at local and international levels. In her off-times, Janet was a semi-professional photographer for the Calgary Sun, taking photos of Sunshine Boys. It was the 80’s!

In 1959 Janet began writing a pen pal in Holland. It was while on vacation in Holland, with the family, that she discovered The Hidden Villlage and the seed for her book took root.

Now retired, Janet lives in Calgary where her daughter also resides. She is a volunteer greeter at the Calgary Airport, and enjoys reading (favourites are Jhumpa Lahiri, Rona Altrows and Geraldine Brooks) writing letters (400 a year!), travel, snowshoeing, old movies, writing stories, and photography.

Book link:https://www.amazon.ca/When-Were-Shadows-Janet-Wees/dp/177260061X/ 

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