Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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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.

Writing Prompt Wednesday

November 14, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Today’s prompt is this beautiful image. Let the image speak to you.

It drew me in and I wrote what it inspired in a stream of consciousness.

umbrella

 

Curtains of rain fall. Thundering upon the pavement. Running in every direction. Splashes soak coat hems and legs alike. Rivulets steadily flow together.  Along gutters and crevices. Cars drive past creating waves. Flooding shoes and boots. All heads are hooded and facing downward. Speech impossible.  Eagerness to be home the driving force.

A glance sees a girl. Standing as if a statue. Tattered umbrella sheltering her head. Fanning raindrops in a circle around her.  Thigh length boots below a flimsy dress. An opened coat. Not affected by the cold dampness. Gazing at trickles becoming a stream. Her skin deathly white. Radiates a glow. No sway of body. Or blink of eye. Ramrod posture.

Unable to bear the torrent. Turn away. Homeward bound. Unanswered question.

Writing Prompt Wednesday

October 24, 2018
mandyevebarnett


With snow fall here in Alberta, this prompt seemed appropriate.

What does the winter season bring to your mind?

I hope you enjoy my poem.

Creator of Winter

winter

Her cloak glistens and sparkles in the moonlight

Intricately made from icicles and snowflakes.

Gliding across the sky, flakes fall behind her

They increase as they tumble

 

Blown hither and thither by the breeze

Coating branches grass and houses alike

With a thin white gauze

That builds layer upon layer

 

She is cold to the touch

But not cold of heart

Spreading a glistening white cloth

For all to play in and enjoy

 

Her eyes are the purest clearest blue

With skin as pale as the snow she creates

She is a glimpse in your eye

A sparkle in the twilight

 

Please share your response in the comments below.

Writing Prompt Wednesday

October 10, 2018
mandyevebarnett


mermaid

 

Inspired by the news story headline: ‘mermaid tails emerge from washing machines at a laundromat in LA’ I thought it was perfect for a word prompt.

Let’s see where it takes your imagination.

 

Author Interview Sarah Nachin

July 27, 2018
mandyevebarnett


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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing definitely energizes me. I get so wrapped up in my writing sometimes that I lose track of time.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

My writing Kryptonite is disorganization and procrastination.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No. I like my name. It’s kind of different and I want people to get to know me as a writer under that name.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Jerry Cowling is a published author who has helped me immensely when it comes to editing my books. Archie Scott is another writer. I can bounce ideas off him and he has a wealth of knowledge on many subjects which broadens my horizons.

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  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Each book I’ve written has been in a different genre, so for the most part they stand alone. However, I am planning a sequel to my first book, so there will be a tie-in between the first book and the sequel.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Traveling to Europe, which became the inspiration for my third book.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Having my parents help me write reports when I was in grade school and having them show me how to use my imagination to make the reports more interesting.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

“A Prayer for Owen Meany.” It’s not well-known, but it really moved me.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

An eagle because they soar high in the sky and symbolize freedom

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Three

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Having people appreciate and enjoy my work

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  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I haven’t really done any research for any of my books. My first two were based on interviews with people I met. My third book was based on my experiences traveling in Europe. 

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

On the average two-three hours a day.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Only one of my books is fiction. I selected fairly common names that were similar to the names of the actual people I based the characters on. 

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

Since all my books are either non-fiction or fiction based on actual experiences, I really haven’t had any difficult scenes to write because I didn’t have to really imagine the circumstances. They were actual events.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I feel very comfortable writing non-fiction, but I am spreading my wings, so to speak, and branching out into fiction. I like the change of pace that fiction offers – the fact that I can use my imagination, so it’s not difficult to balance the different genres. 

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  1. How long have you been writing?

Since I was about 10 years old

  1. What inspires you?

People and events inspire me, especially people who have overcome odds and accomplished something. Events that have shaped our world also inspire me.   

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I get up early in the morning and write while I’m fresh and don’t have any distractions.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working on a self-help book and also an historical novel.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Finishing my self-help book and my novel and writing a cookbook. 

  1. Share a link to your author website.

I don’t have a website, but my Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Sarah-J-Nachin-Author-273249936028795/

Also here is the link to my books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sarah+nachin

Bio:

Sarah J. Nachin is an author, freelance writer, speaker and blogger. Her most recent book is the “The Odyssey of Clyde the Camel” She has also published two non-fiction works. “Ordinary Heroes, Anecdotes of Veterans”relates stories of men and women who served in the military during five decades of conflict – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. “The Long Journey,” co-authored with Felicia McCranie, is an inspiring story of a woman who grew up in the Philippines, immigrated to the United States and overcame almost insurmountable obstacles. Sarah J. Nachin also writes for two weekly newspapers and a chamber of commerce magazines produced by Heron Publishing. She has two blogs. Sarah also works as an editor and proof reader, specializing in working with writers whose native language is not English. She is a public speaker, as well.

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