Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Author Interview J.E. McKnight

September 22, 2022
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You have written many novels, and most are time travel or sci-fi – what drew you to this specific type of genre?

The easiest answer to this is to say that I was inspired by my love for Back to the Future that I saw at the drive-in theater with my parents in 1985. It is my all-time favourite movie and gave me my love of time travel, which also extended to science fiction in general.

Do your story ideas come easily, or do they develop over time?

Some of them come easy while others take quite a bit of time. Initial ideas come pretty easy. I’ll hear somebody say something or I’ll be listening to a song and that sparks an idea. My ideas come from many different places. It seems I always have ideas coming. I have a list for NaNoWriMo up until 2028.

What is your writing process?

I usually just sit down and write. I’ll come up with an idea and I may take a few notes, but I don’t do a lot of plotting. I prefer to just write and figure things out in editing.

Do you have future projects pending?

I have two projects in editing right now and another one ready for editing, but I’m honestly not sure what I’m doing with that one. I also have the previous year’s NaNoWriMo project that needs to be completed. I unfortunately did not meet my goal.

You are attending a book fair event on 24th September, can you tell us about it?

Yes. Words in the Park is held in Sherwood Park in the Strathcona Community Center’s Agora Room from 9 am – 4 pm on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to it. This is the first live event for Words in the Park that we’ve had for 2 years. There are going to be around 30 artisans, and authors in attendance. There is going to be lots to do for all ages.

Tell us a little about your most recent published books?

Virtual Age

What inspired your novel Virtual Age?

I’ve always liked the idea of virtual reality. I can’t think of any one thing that inspired the idea. As for the title, I came up with that at work. I work as a commercial pipe insulator and I remember being on a job and I had to wait for material as it hadn’t been delivered yet. As I was waiting, I took notes on the different ages from history – dark ages, iron age, computer age, etc. – and I ended up using that list in the book.

Do you think this format could become real?

I wouldn’t be surprised. I hope it doesn’t come to the point where it becomes a necessity for survival as the world dies but, as far as the technology is concerned, we are becoming more and more advanced as the years go on. Today VR is impressively advanced; maybe one day we’ll get to step into these computer worlds rather than just have images coming at you.

Would there be dangers to being immersed in such a ‘world’?

I could only imagine the dangers that would be involved with immersing your mind into a computer. I included some of the dangers, in my novel, I figured would be relevant in this scenario.

Does your narrative have a message for your readers?

 In most of my books I include the message of acceptance and trust – accepting people for who they are and trusting people until they give you a real reason not to. Don’t judge someone before you get to know them.

Last Stop

When did this story idea come to you?

I’ve had this idea for years. I don’t know exactly when I came up with it. All I know is I heard the Journey song Don’t Stop Believing. There’s a line in the song about a couple meeting on a midnight train. I loved that idea and it spawned from there.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I am intrigued by the idea of ghosts. I have not had any experiences with ghosts and am kind of skeptical. I think if something has happened or were to happen, I would try to explain it away logically. Though, I hope there is something out there.

Why did you base the novel in Edmonton’s LRT system?

I based the novel in Edmonton because I love where I live and, because I live here, it’s easier to write what you know. I chose the LRT system because it perfectly met with my initial inspiration of the couple meeting on a midnight train.

Hello Baby, Nice to Meet You!

Why did you write this story?

I have always wanted to write a children’s book. I have had other ideas in my head in the past but then, when my sister announced she was pregnant, I had an idea to write a book for her child. The title of the story was going to be for a very different story. In that one it was going to be about a father trying to get to the hospital in time to see his wife have his baby. I chose to change the idea as I thought a book about animals would appeal more to kids.

Did you base the characters and location on personal experience?

It’s not about anyone or any place in particular. I did grow up on a farm but, by the time I came around, my parents had gotten rid of most of the animals. We did have cats, a rabbit at one point, and a bunch of laying chickens. I wanted to expand a little bit on what I knew, and chose the animals for the book that would be different enough from each other to be interesting. I could have done more, but I needed to draw a line somewhere.

What advantages does this story have for parents as well as children?

For parents it’s easy to read and there really aren’t a lot of pages, so if their child has a short attention span it’s great for that. For kids I included bits of trivia for them to learn from. Also, the kids will enjoy the brightly coloured illustrations of the fun animals and their young.

Who was the illustrator?

I illustrated it. This is the second full-coloured illustrated kids book I illustrated, but this is the first one I had both written and illustrated.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Steampunk Prize Draw

June 14, 2022
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Until the end of June, if you buy any one of my books from this incredible Edmonton bookstore, you will be entered to win this superb steampunk themed basket.

The contents include a shawl, cookie tin, steampunk crow, china cup, candle, steampunk pin, clockwork plaques, chocolate bars, teatime cloth purse, and a bookmark.

Go to Daisy Chain Bookstore, 12525 102 Ave, Edmonton, AB T5N 0M4, from today!

Fill in the entry form for the draw. Good luck!

Fighting against society’s feminine expectations, Owena’s excellent strategic and swordsmanship skills come to the fore after an attack and imprisonment of villagers. Running for their lives, a small group escape persecution but find new dangers ahead. Propelled into the world of rebel forces, she joins the battle against the Buldrick Empire. After seeing the failings of the rebel encampment, she makes changes – some well received, others not. Her unlikely champion is a giant of a man, who is feared by all. Their mutual respect and his acceptance of her as an equal propels them to organize a win or die fight to restore the rightful King to the throne.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Love a Local Bookstore – Daisy Chain Book Co.

March 8, 2022
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1.     How did you start your journey into a bricks & mortar bookstore?

I began by resurrecting and researching an idea that had been brewing in my mind for many years: a mobile used bookshop. In time, and with a lot of work, the book mobile became a reality. I enjoyed connecting with readers, but realized I was leaving them behind when I traveled to other communities. That was the impetus to open a bookstore.

2.     What was your motivation for owing a store?

To create a community space where readers can gather, creating a literary hub for the neighborhood

3.     Will your book van still be touring at some point?

No, the van was decommissioned just after the store opened – a side effect of the pandemic

4.     What is your view of print versus digital books?

There will always be room for both, and there are dedicated readers of both eBooks and tree books. Paper books (or tree books) are still a relaxing respite from screens which we desperately need. eBooks do not support independent bookstores, so I am a biased fan of tree books!

5.     You are obviously a reader – do you have favorite genres? If so which ones?

I prefer contemporary fiction, and I especially like books with strong characters that tell a story that makes me FEEL something. A book that makes me cry gets extra points.

6.     Do you have a special place to read?

Although I do have a very cushy corner of my sofa, I don’t get to sit there as often as I’d like. So, I guess I don’t really have a favorite place to read. I am on the move a lot and one thing I love is that my books can adjust to wherever I am and make any place I sit down cozy and satisfying. 

7.     Which book began your reading journey as a child?

The Ringmaster’s Secret by Carolyn Keene

8.     What are your plans for the future of the store?

To develop a strong community and always make newcomers curious about their next great read. I have many ideas about future plans, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out what’s happening next!

9.     What makes the Daisy Chain Co unique?

No two indie bookstores are the same, they each reflect the passions and character of its owner. DCBC is very much like me, so it’s hard to answer that without talking about myself. I guess you’d have to ask someone in our reading community this question!

10.  Can you tell us about the programs and events you offer?

It’s best to go to our calendar for all the current events.

11.  How can book lovers find you?

Social media, website, Google, and walking by. Address: 12525 102 Ave, Edmonton, AB T5N 0M4

12.  Is there a message you would like to relay about the store?

Choosing to support your local indie bookstore keeps your community vibrant. I would encourage readers to cease the “Add to Cart” habit and instead choose to get books from a local bookstore that is dedicated to your community and cares about you. There is nothing quite as magical as an indie bookstore, and if we want to keep them around, we have to be supporting them. I am so grateful for the remarkable readers who support us!

Connect with Daisy Chain:

Instagram: daisychainbookco

Facebook: @daisychainbookco 

Ask a Question Thursday

August 22, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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Today’s question is: What steps do you take for a book launch?

Book-Launch-Banner

Obviously, there are a multitude of on-line tips and many books & blogs covering this topic but have you found a creative way to get your new book noticed?

My new novella, Rython Legacy will be launched at Words in the Park on 28th September after numerous readers requested a sequel the The Rython Kingdom. It’s a nice problem to have – pressure from readers that’s for sure! I have spent time and effort writing the novella, finding a great illustrator and taking advice from my editing team. So my tips are:

  1. Tease your readers with a cover reveal.
  2. Create blog and social media posts regularly leading up to the launch.
  3. Notify your readers of the new book launch venue with date and time.
  4. Have sign by the author stickers and several pens.
  5. Decorate your table to reflect the book’s theme/topic.

Now it’s your turn, please leave your responses in the comment section below.

legacy continues

https://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/words-in-the-park

 

Ask a Question Thursday

August 15, 2019
mandyevebarnett


 

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This week’s question is: How do you prepare for an author reading?

I have a reading with several other authors this Saturday for Bookstore Romance Day, so have prepared a gift basket, gathered not only the book I will be reading from but also most of my other books to take with me. As there will be a table at the front of the store with our books I have packed a display shelf, summaries of each book, and have decided on the excerpt I will read. Obviously, this has to be practiced to allow me to look up at the audience but also practice my inflections to give the piece a real sense of drama.

romance bookstore

If you happen to be in Edmonton, Alberta come and say Hi. We will be at Audreys Books Ltd.  10702 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3J5 at 2 pm. I will read from Life in Slake Patch, which is a speculative fiction romance set in a matriarchal society from a young man’s perspective. Yep, it is certainly an interesting and unique story.

Please comment below with your typical planning for an author reading, we may learn new tricks from each other!

Last week’s post was a 10 minute writing prompt: A bag of multiple buttons.

When I worked with K-3 writers, I always carried by button tin inherited from my mother. Each student would receive one large button. Next they would draw the person or animal wearing it and glue the button in place. It could be a nose, a toenail, a wing decoration. Anything.Then they would write a story or poem about the character. They had a lot of fun.

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