Tag Archives: manuscripts

Author Interview M.J. Preston


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MJ Preston

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

That depends. In the beginning of a project I am most definitely energized and that is because the story is yet to be told. By the end of a project, after the editing multiple drafts, the process is mentally exhausting. Luckily, I have a very short memory and repeat this process again and again. 

2. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Distraction. When I write, all social media and the internet are shut down, except for bringing up a browser to reference something pertaining to the piece I am working on.

Acadia

3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

MJ Preston is as close to a pseudonym as I ever got.

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

Too many authors to name really. A short list would be Gregory L. Norris, B.E. Scully, F. Paul Wilson, Kevin M. Sullivan, Joseph Boyden. Reading their work certainly helps. I am often in awe at their creativity.

Equinox

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

My latest novel, which is in pre-publication has no connection to my other works, but often I will revisit characters and link them to other works.

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

That’s a tough one. Let me get back to you.

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

I believe it was around 1983. I wrote my first letter to the editor of my home town paper. The subject was regarding employers who pay their employees poorly. At that time, I was working for $4.00 per hour in a local carwash. The response to that letter blew me away. There was no email or internet back then, so people put pen to paper and mailed in their responses. That impressed me. Even those who disagreed with my opinion impressed on me that words were a way of invoking discussion and sometimes debate.

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

I’d have to say, Robert R. McCammon’s vampire novel, THEY THIRST. A great book, set in the 70’s and fun read.

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

Easy answer. The raven. I have always had love for these dark creatures. I’ve taken hundreds of photographs of them. Written stories and a novel that included them and I am always taken back by their intelligence.

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

I don’t discuss unpublished work.

11. What does literary success look like to you?

Readers. Plenty of readers. I don’t care much about awards or being the darling of critics. I just want more readers.

 

 

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

Research is certainly part of the process. It varies by project. In most cases, the research begins and continues during the project.

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

I don’t know really. Again, it varies. Could be 20 hours, could be 30, depending on my schedule. Let’s just say I write as much as I can and as long as my muse is available.

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

Usually, it’s random thought, but once that’s exhausted the internet provides a well of opportunity.

Highwayman

15. What was your hardest scene to write?

I have written about the murder of children. Not an easy task. You have to know where your line is and whether or not you’ve crossed it.

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

I guess I would be categorized as a horror/thriller writer, but I often ponder writing a book that is completely away from that genre. I sometimes write small pieces or opinion pieces that are of a more serious nature. Balance doesn’t really come in to. If somebody asked about me it would probably be, “That M.J. Preston is a horror writer.” ―but I consider myself a writer.

17. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing fiction since the 70’s, with a hiatus from about 1986 to 1998. During that period, I wrote articles for newspapers while serving in the Canadian military. So, technically, I’ve always wrote, but my love of fiction took a short vacation.

18. What inspires you?

Reading the work of others inspires me.  

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

If you want to be a writer you just make time. That’s what I do, anyway.

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

I said I don’t discuss unfinished work, so I’ll avoid specifics. I will say that there is a new book on the horizon pre-publication as well as another in the works.

21.    22. What do your plans for future projects include?

Warmer climates? 😊

Share a link to your author website.

Folks can visit my author website: http://mjpreston.net

 

Author Interview Glynis Guevara


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Glynis

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

I cannot think of any. I love writing. It helps my mental health and I can’t associate writing with anything negative.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No, I have always wanted to write under my real name.

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

I don’t have any close friends who are authors, but it would be nice to develop friendships with some authors.

under-the-zaboca-tree

  1. 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 written several stand-alone books, but I am currently working on a sequel to debut YA novel, “Under the Zaboca Tree.” The working title of the sequel is “Poui Season”

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

The best money I’ve spent as a writer was hiring a good editor.

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

I used to have a lot of pen-pals when I was a kid. I was able to develop good friendships through writing. I even met a couple of my pen-pals during my travels through Europe. Writing allowed me to learn more about other cultures.

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

The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips

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

A Dog or an Elephant. They are my favourite animals.

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

I have at least three unfinished books and four books that are completed but unpublished. I am currently seeking a literary agent for two of the finished book. Two of them have already found homes. My second YA novel, “Black Beach” will be published by Inanna Publications in the fall of 2018. A third novel, “Barrel Girl,” is also forthcoming from Inanna Publications.

Black

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Literary success means being able to support myself mostly by writing

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

I do a lot of research online, but I also speak to experts. The amount of research depends on the information I am seeking.

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

Lately, due to an ear injury I am writing only once or twice a week. But when I’m healthy I write at least ten hours a week. I sometimes write more depending on deadlines.

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

It depends. I sometimes just use names that come to me. Other times, I search baby books on line for suitable names.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

There have been many hard scenes to write. But one that was particularly difficult involved writing about leatherback turtles in my soon to be published YA novel, “Black Beach.”. I had to do a lot of research and I hope I got it right.

  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 write mostly YA novels. I didn’t set out to write YA books. It simply happened. I have one adult novel that I’m seeking a publisher for; I am currently making a few changes as requested by a literary agent who expressed an interest in reading the entire manuscript.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I have been writing all of my life. I tried to write my first novel when I was about fourteen. It was a learning experience even though I don’t think it was very good.

  1. What inspires you?  

Reading good books inspires me.

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

I am very disciplined regarding my writing. I usually challenge myself to write a specified amount of words per week and stick to it.

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

I am editing an adult novel and also writing a sequel to my debut novel, “Under the Zaboca Tree.”

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

My plans for future project including writing two more YA novels that I am currently researching as well as another adult novel that I have already completed about seventy pages of.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

glynis.guevara.com

Bio:

I was born in Barataria, Trinidad and I hold a Bachelor of Laws (Hons.) degree from the University of London, England. I am also  a graduate of Humber School for Writers creative writing program. In 2012, I was shortlisted for the Small Axe Literary short fiction prize and in 2014 my manuscript “Barrel Girl” was a finalist for the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean literature. “Under the Zaboca Tree” is my debut YA novel. I currently live in Toronto where I work as an adult literacy instructor.

Genres of Literature – Drama


drama

Drama is a genre of narrative fiction (although initially a genre of poetry) and specifically the mode of fiction most commonly represented by performances, whether a theater play or on radio, television or movie. The earliest work of dramatic theory was Aristotle’s Poetics. 

 

Wiki list:

  • Crime drama and legal drama: character development based on themes involving criminals, law enforcement and the legal system.
  • Historical drama (epic) (including war drama): films that focus on dramatic events in history.
  • Horror drama: a film that focuses on imperiled characters dealing with realistic emotional struggles, often involving dysfunctional family relations, in a horror setting. The film’s horror elements often serve as a backdrop to an unraveling dramatic plot.
  • Docudrama: the difference between a docudrama and a documentary is that in a documentary it uses real people to describe history or current events; in a docudrama it uses professionally trained actors to play the roles in the current event, that is “dramatized” a bit. Not to be confused with docufiction.
  • Psychodrama: an action method, often used as a psychotherapy.
  • Comedy-drama: film in which there is an equal, or nearly equal, balance of humour and serious content.
  • Melodrama:a sub-type of drama films that uses plots that appeal to the heightened emotions of the audience. Melodramatic plots often deal with “crises of human emotion, failed romance or friendship, strained familial situations, tragedy, illness, neuroses, or emotional and physical hardship”. Film critics sometimes use the term “pejoratively to connote an unrealistic, pathos-filled, camp tale of romance or domestic situations with stereotypical characters (often including a central female character) that would directly appeal to feminine audiences”. Also called “women’s movies”, “weepies”, tearjerkers, or “chick flicks”. If they are targeted to a male audience, then they are called “guy cry” films.
  • Romantic drama: a sub-type of dramatic film which dwells on the elements of romantic love.

What ‘drama’ genre do your novels fit into?

Which of your novels would you most want to become a movie?

For me I think The Twesome Loop – I would concentrate on the four main characters for the movie though.

amazonfullcovertwesomeloop

 

 

Extra Author Interview – Steena Holmes


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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you? Writing energizes me unless it’s a really emotional scene and then I’m exhausted. Being a writer, being able to sit down and write each day, it fills my well. My husband knows when I haven’t found time to write…apparently, I tend to get slightly grumpy (lol).
  2. What is your writing Kryptonite? This is a hard question to answer. Let me get back to you…(I’m afraid to admit to it because then it’ll be real, you know?)
  3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Absolutely. In fact, I’ve decided to create a pen name for a new series of books I’ll be writing and publishing starting this summer. But it won’t be a secret – I’ll be writing under J.M. Jack.

TheForgottenOnes copy

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
    I have a community of writers that are near and dear to my heart. There’s a group of four that get together once a month and chat almost daily. Then I have a large online group that I meet up with every conference I can attend. The community of writers is amazing and I’m so glad to have a large group of peers I can call friends.
  2. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I prefer to write standalones but I have written a few series. I find them harder to write – probably because when I began them, they weren’t series in my head.
  3. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? Signing up for classes with Margie Lawson. She has changed my writing! As well as purchasing Scrivener and Vellum.
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  4. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? House by Ted Dekker.
  5. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A black sheep!
  6. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Probably around 5 that will never see the light of day.
  7. What does literary success look like to you? Having a vast readership where people can name me as one of their favourite authors.
     

  8. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I tend to research as I’m writing. It can be in the form of reading articles, calling professionals…whatever is needed.
  9. How many hours a day/week do you write? I write a minimum of 1000 words a day. Some days I can get those words in 2 hrs, some days it takes me 8 hours. I write 5 days a week. I take one day off on the weekend and then plot on the other day.

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13. How do you select the names of your characters? I always ask my readers for names…they are the best resource I have!

14. What was your hardest scene to write? Every book has a hard scene to write. In The Forgotten Ones, it was when someone died. I bawled so hard I ended up with a massive headache.
abby-series

15. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them? I write what I love to read and what I’m passionate about. I tend to focus on one book at a time so that it gets my full attention.

16. long have you been writing? Full time, since 2010. But I began back in 2005.

17. What inspires you?  My family, my faith and my readers.

18. How do you find or make time to write? It’s not a matter of finding time to write, it’s deciding that writing is important to me and so I will write. If anything is important it will become a part of your lifestyle.

19. What projects are you working on at the present? I am working on my upcoming novel that will be out with my publisher in 2019.

20. What do your plans for future projects include? I have a new series that I’ll be publishing beginning this summer that I’m really excited about. It’s about a woman who helps to rescue abused women from cults.

21. Share a link to your author website. steenaholmes.com – I have a free book readers can download if they join my newsletter.

 

Author Interview – Shawn Bird


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shawnlbirdtealsmall

1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Generally, it’s an energizer while I’m writing; however, when plot problems or new ideas keep me up all night when I need to be teaching in my high school class room bright and early, it can lead to exhaustion! When I can write all night, during summer and holidays I’m in a constant state of creative euphoria

2. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Yes. I think if I decide to do something with that Romance manuscript in my drawer I would publish under a pseudonym to establish a separate audience for that genre.

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

From regular attendance at Surrey International Writing Conference (SiWC), I have developed a wide social network of writers. I probably interact the most with Carol Mason, Eileen Cook, CC Humphreys, Tyner Gillies, Sylvia Taylor, and Diana Gabaldon. From workshops, blue pencils, social time at events, and then continued social media or email contact through the years, I’ve benefitted from the experiences they share and the feedback they give. Diana in particular, has helped with a historical novel I’ve been working on and been very encouraging of other projects, including providing a cover blurb for Murdering Mr Edwards. When someone who’s sold millions of books is willing to put her name behind your project, it’s a profound gift.

I’m presently doing a mentorship with Giller nominated , local author Gail Anderson-Dargatz on a literary novel project.   There is so much to learn, and it’s wonderful to know people who are willing to share their knowledge.

When you become a regular at a conference, you have a built in support network. I love presenting at conferences, too, which is great way to give back. I’ve enjoyed meeting beginning writers and helping then bring their projects to life. At SiWC I also met Leena Niemela who’s an awesome Finnish Canadian poet. I’ve stayed at her place on Vancouver Island to play in poetry together. It’s wonderful to have friends who understand about the voices in your head.

Dreams

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

I seem to be writing many distinct things at this point. I have published poetry books; Grace Awakening is an urban fantasy YA novel (modern romance and Greek mythology), and the most recent project, Murdering Mr. Edwards, is a series of a short stories that became a ‘noir-vella’. I’ve got drafts of two more books in the Grace Awakening series, but lots of other projects, too. I suppose if something really took off, I’d turn my focus to that genre, but at the moment I just write what I’m in the mood to write at the time. I read a lot of different genres, so it’s not a surprise I write several, too. That said, I love Charles de Lint’s books that are set in Newford, with assorted characters that wander into each other’s stories. That’d be fun to do someday. I could send some of the teachers in Grace Awakening to teach at Canterbury High, perhaps they’ll want to murder Mr. Edwards, too…

Dreams & Power

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

The money I spend each year to attend writing conferences is an annual expenditure of around $4000, but I think it’s well worth it. I’ve been signed by an agent and two publishers as a result of pitches at conferences. I learned how to pitch at conferences. I network with others at conferences. They are worth the investment. You get the tools, the tips, and the encouragement at conferences. You get out of the slush pile and meet the people you need to impress face to face. I try each year to attend Word on the Lake Writers’ Conference in Salmon Arm, BC; When Word’s Collide in Calgary, AB; and SiWC in Surrey, BC. Usually I manage at least two of the three. Last summer I attended a fantastically inspiring poetry retreat with Patrick Lane on Vancouver Island. There is so much to learn from these masters.

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

I remember the laughter of the grade 3 class audience when I read stories or put on puppet shows I’d written for Show and Tell. I guess that means I can blame all of this on Mrs. Thompson.

Power

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

I’m a chickadee.  

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

Hmm. Half a dozen or so novels done or in progress, three completed novellas, and a dozen or more completed short stories. Hundreds of poems are published on the blog, but there are more in the computer, I don’t know which are which any more.

2011

9. What does literary success look like to you?

People laughing in an audience when I read my work. People writing or stopping me in the street or in the grocery line to tell me they’d read and enjoyed my books. I love it when that happens. I’m so honored that strangers will take the time to comment.

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

Depends on the project, of course. Usually I just write, and if there’s something I need to check, I look it up later, rather than interrupting the flow. Chris Humphreys and Diana Gabaldon have both cautioned about the research rabbit holes. It’s so easy to get lost in fascinating stuff, and forget there’s a story to be telling. I do some general reading on the topic, perhaps, but then I dive right in. There’s an exception to that. I have a historical piece that is on hiatus. I own translations of 600 year old texts and 300 year old volumes. I am not quite ready to pull it all together. I want to go to France where the events took place and immerse myself. I visited a few years ago, but that was only enough to tell me that exploring the museum and chatting with the curator was not enough…

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

On various projects (including editing and promotional tasks, educational and curriculum writing, blog, poetry, and whatever novel project has my attention at the time), somewhere around twenty to twenty-five hours a week. More in the summer. When I don’t have to be in my class room at 9 a.m., I write all night and go to bed at 4 or 5 a.m.

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

Sometimes baby name books, sometimes I use the name of students (with their permission, of course), sometimes they just introduce themselves with names in place, and I have no idea where they’ve come from.

13. What was your hardest scene to write?

I did a lot of weeping when I was writing a scene on a logging road about Josh and a Sasquatch in Grace Awakening Power. But apparently readers do a lot of weeping there, too, so that was a good emotional investment.

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

I don’t think about it. I’m writing what I’m writing when I’m writing. I don’t have anyone telling me what to do with my projects, so I just do what speaks to me at any given time. Of course, Coffin Hop has been a priority this fall. If they’ve sent edits or whatever, everything else stopped while I dealt with Murdering Mr. Edwards. That’s been a fun, and completely unexpected project.

For me the harder balance might have been sorting out teaching life and writing life. I’ve decided to blur the boundaries a bit by sharing my work and experiences with my students. Lots of them would like to be writers, all of them need to know how to write something. Lots of advice applies to both situations: “You can’t edit a blank page.” “First drafts don’t have to be good, they just have to be written.” I show them manuscripts covered with editor marks so they know it’s normal to have to re-write, edit, and polish repeatedly! So many scribble something on the page and think it’s perfect. None of us is perfect the first time!

15. How long have you been writing?

I won my first writing prize at age 9, and received my first rejection letter at age 10. Both for poetry. I paid for my husband’s wedding ring with short story prize money. Then I was busy with university and only did non-fiction writing for about twenty years while I raised kids. The month after the kids moved out, Grace awakened.

16. What inspires you?  

Almost everything. There are stories EVERYWHERE.

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

I sit in the chair and I write. I write in the evening after dinner. I write while watching TV (if I’m not knitting). At this precise moment, I’m sitting in the tub, typing this on a waterproof keyboard. (I think about a quarter of Grace was written in the bathtub). Like Nike, I just do it.

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

I’m promoting Murdering Mr. Edwards. It’s a noir-vella that’s a collection of 12 tales. The same annoying English teacher is murdered in each story. The literary novel I’m mentoring with Gail Anderson-Dargatz explores the relationship of a couple dealing with his mental illness. I’ve got some short stories brewing for contest season. I am trying to get back to daily poetry on my blog. I’m compiling a curriculum guide for teaching poetry. I compiling a collection of non-sectarian invocations for Rotary Clubs. I keep lots of stuff on the go all the time; that’s one of Diana’s recommendations for avoiding writers’ block. It works for me.

19. What do your plans for future projects include?

Finishing a few unfinished projects, editing a few completed projects, touring around telling people about Murdering Mr Edwards

20. Share a link to your author website.

www.shawnbird.com   Twitter and Instagram @ShawnLBird (I share a lot of shoes on Instagram. My shoe collection is infamous).

Bio:

Shawn Bird is a high school English teacher, an author, and a poet in the beautiful Shuswap region of British Columbia.  After 2 years as a graduate student in the Faculty of Education at University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus Shawn can no longer say she’s a  “jack of all trades master of none” ’cause she’s wielding a certificate that proclaims she’s a Master of Education! 🙂