Does writing energize or exhaust you? Usually it energizes me. I get excited when I read something I’ve written that is well done, or when a character takes me on a journey I wasn’t expecting.
What is your writing Kryptonite? My busy life. I’m a middle school teacher, coach, volunteer, and mother of a one year old.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I thought about it before I became married. Butrenchuk isn’t a great pen name. Once I got married and changed my name to Greene, I thought “That’s a good one!”
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’ve become acquainted with several Lethbridge and Calgary writers. G.W. Renshaw has given me tips on book signings and introduced me to my publicist, Mickey Mikkelson. While I don’t know Adam Dreece as well, but have spoken to him and find him very nice, he’s my motivation to become successful as an indie author.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I have a YA fantasy series, which will eventually have a companion picture book. Each book has a distinct connection to the previous and forthcoming. However, I also have a YA contemporary that is a stand-alone. (It may have a companion book someday though…)
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? On a publicist. Creative Edge has opened a lot of doors for me. Also, ordering business cards, booklets, and banners through Vistaprint. They have great products that don’t cost writers and arm and a leg and a thigh.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Every time I stood up to a bully with just my tone and the word “No.”
Listening to stories on my mom’s lap, or my grandma’s, or my sister’s.
Watching She-Ra in a big, brown chair, shouting “For the honor of Greyskull!” and transforming into a powerful woman.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? Most of the indie authors I’ve met. As for a favorite book, I think my favorites are appreciated. However, THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE, by Avi, should be read more often, and it deserves its own movie.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I want to say NYX, the Greek goddess of the night, but I don’t think anyone would believe me. Let’s go with chipmunk. They’re small, cute, but have a bit of spunk.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Plenty. A few picture books that I’m seeking publishers and/or illustrators for. One YA novel that I’m looking for the right market for. Half-finished books aren’t too common for me, but barely-started projects are.
What does literary success look like to you? When someone laughs, cries, or screams from reading one of my books. Oh, and a million dollars in sales.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I don’t do a lot of research, except in my head. The joy of fantasy is that I get to make a lot of stuff up. But I have to formulate it in my mind, write it down to keep continuity, and brainstorm ideas with my best friend, Rachel, to make sure things are clear.
How many hours a day/week do you write? It varies. During the school year, only 1-2. During summer vacation (teaching rules!) it quadruples.
How do you select the names of your characters? Sometimes it is based off people I know. Other times the names are from literature.
What was your hardest scene to write?Any time a character dies or loses someone they love.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them? I think the style of YA chose me, more than I chose it. I like YA literature, and feel there are fewer boundaries with what you can do.
How long have you been writing? Since grade 1.
What inspires you? Adventures.
How do you find or make time to write? I write in short doses. Maybe thirty minutes at a time.
What projects are you working on at the present? I am editing the third book in my YA fantasy series. (Imagine, Reality, Heritage). I’m also working on a short story – not my forte, but I’m experimenting – for an anthology.
What do your plans for future projects include? Dabble with picture book manuscripts. Perhaps a humorous autobiography about teaching.
This coming weekend is not only a long weeked (whoop!) but also when I am spending four wonderful days fully immersed in my writing at Strawberry Creek Retreat. Anticipation is high for my fellow wordsmiths and I. My plan is to read through, revised and to some extent edit my current WIP – Willow Tree Tears. The novel is a cowgirl romance, with the heroine a champion barrel racer, enjoying rodeos and a ranch lifestyle. She finds herself having to choose between an old high school friend who lives a similar horse ranch life, or a suave, handsome wel- traveled Italian. There are numerous plot twists and several other characters and it does include adult content. Currently standing at 25 chapters (50,365 words) – I am aware it requires additional descriptions, dialogue etc. It was my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel so is rough to say the least! For an excerpt go to https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/
When we attend a writing retreat there are many personal aspirations and goals set – it is a time to have 100% focus on our work but we must decide on what our level of interaction will be within a group retreat. There are simple ‘rules’ that can be set out at the start of the retreat, such as a closed door means no interruptions, meals are taken together, prompts or short workshops will be available, exercise/walks can be taken in a group or solitary – no matter the format you should decide on what works for you.
Vital elements to the retreat are of course your means of writing! Bring your laptop, charger and memory sticks, notebooks, pens and pencils, research material, and any other related material that will assist you with the task in hand. Secondly, think about what you want to achieve within the time limits of the retreat. Make realistic goals so you enjoy the process but are not too exhausted to enjoy sometime away from the computer screen to refresh your mind, body and muse.
OK so be honest what image came into your mind immediately you read today’s word? A movie scene from An Officer & A Gentleman? Calendars with men in uniform? Or maybe a loved one, who is in the military? There is something very striking about a man in a uniform – we imagine being whisked up into his arms and carried off into the sunset. We all have levels of romanticism from the knight on his magnificent steed to a dress-suited gentleman to men in uniform, whether on or partly off!
No matter where you shop you will find multiple ‘corset ripping’ tomes. Not all are set in historical times though; some are delightfully modern with today’s struggle of the sexes. It seems to be that women want the romance but also the independence of modern day. Is this actually possible? Asking a man to be both is probably pushing your luck, but how about his dilemma? If he treats his significant other as a delicate flower he’s being chauvinistic but to let her be ‘her own woman’ he is unsympathetic and unromantic.
Are there any guidelines out there do you think?
My dear friend, Lisa de Nikolits has a most delightful book called West of Wawa, in which the heroine journeys not only geographically but emotionally across Canada. Here is the site and some awesome reviews for the book, I would recommend it. http://www.lisadenikolitswriter.com/WestofWawa.html
It is truly a modern day romance for not only does Benny (heroine) meet some rather scrumptious men but also finds love for herself.
Maybe as modern women we no longer need a man to ‘fulfill’ our emotional void as much as in days gone by. A woman had a certain social standing once she was married and was ‘looked after’ financially – she was complete. This mode of thinking has, in the most part – disappeared however, there are still some women out there that need it! And I, for one, certainly don’t think that is a bad thing, if you can find happiness then go for it.
We have the ability to easily fulfill our own needs now-a-days with our own careers and financial independence but what of those day dreams? Can we separate them from reality or do they linger making an under current of dissatisfaction?
Love should begin with yourself. Not an easy task if you are a mother, I understand that only too well, but when you are happy the people around you notice and respond in a positive way. Self love is not selfish, it is giving everyone a better you.
Trajectory – definition: the curve that an object travels along through space (such as a bullet, a rocket, or a planet in its orbit)
What a shame this word was not on my desk diary a couple of days ago, it would have been perfect for the spectacular but frightening event in Russia. Having a massive piece of rock hurtling towards earth certainly shakes our false sense of security doesn’t it? At any time a projectile could plunge to earth devastating everything in its path or at the very least showering molten fragments into the atmosphere with an accompanying sonic boom.
Reviewing all the data that flooded the Internet and news programs made me realize why we like disaster movies so much. In every one there is a seemingly insurmountable problem that is neatly resolved at the end. You can probably think of quite a number of them without much thought. We humans are portrayed as being able to overcome aliens, the earth’s core becoming unstable, mutant animals and a host of other threats. But when it really comes down to it, we have no answer for space rocks apart from tracking them and hoping they miss. A sobering thought. No futuristic spacecraft to shoot them down or massive laser beams exploding them thousands of miles above the earth – but lots of material for ideas!
If we use the comet as the basis of a story, there are a few options. We could start with the object approaching and how the inhabitants react and plan, or the big burning ball could be viewed as a sign and worshipped or we could write about how the survivors deal with the after effects of the impact. Just one event can spark many view points and scenarios. Which view would you choose?
When we develop our stories we need to give our readers the same form of scenario – the ‘normal’ life for our characters, the obstacle they need to overcome and ultimately the resolution. The greater we can make the odds, the better we engage our readers. Obviously, we don’t all write disaster type stories but every hero or heroine needs to conquer something or someone. Finding a new perspective or view point in which to tell our story makes it unique even if the basic scenario has been ‘covered’ before. This is something I did with my children’s story, Rumble’s First Scare. Instead of the usual Halloween – people are scared by monster – I viewed the night’s events of All Hallows Eve from the monster’s perspective. Rumble experiences his very first scaring expedition.