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Author Interview – Craig DiLouie

August 13, 2019
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AuthorInterview

craig dilouie Headshot

What inspired your latest novel?

Published in hardcover, eBook, and audio book by Orbit and released August 20, 2019, OUR WAR is about the consequences of political tribalism as told in a story about a second American civil war. This story is about a brother and sister forced to fight as child soldiers on opposite sides, and the people whose lives they touch: a UN worker who wants to stop the use of child soldiers, a journalist seeking to expose it, and a rebel militia sergeant who begins to see the humanity in those he hates.

The novel has several influences. The first is the rise of violence and polarization in American politics. Another is the Bosnian War of the 1990s; if a second civil war occurred in America, it would far more likely be between city and country than between states. And the last is American exceptionalism, the idea America is superior to broken countries like Syria, but should war ever break out inside our borders, the country will suffer like any other, producing refugees, atrocities, and even child soldiers. This brutal world provides the backdrop for a story about love, sacrifice, and the meaning of patriotism.

OUR WAR final cover                                                                                                                  

How did you come up with the title?

The title speaks to the personal nature of a war that divides communities and even families.

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

The message is simple. If Americans cannot agree on a common set of unifying ideas, then it is just another multi-ethnic empire. Aside from that, there are many minor themes.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it—that’s the intent, anyway! As I said, I took a great deal of inspiration for what a war in America would look like from the Bosnian War of the 1990s. This was a war between conservative and liberal, between ethnicities, between urban and rural. Most of the combatants were average people motivated to fight either out of resentment and demonization of their countrymen, or out of desperate self defense. In a war like this, everybody fights, and nobody wins.

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

I’m on Facebook and Twitter, and I have a blog at www.CraigDiLouie.com. At my blog, I review a lot of interesting books, movies, and TV shows.

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

OUR WAR is a standalone novel, though of course there is potential to continue the story, if enough readers want to read it.

My next novel is about a group of people who grew up in an apocalyptic cult and survived its horrific last days, and who reunite to confront the past and the entity that appeared on the final night. This novel is about trauma, memory, belonging, and faith.

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

I grew to love all the characters in OUR WAR, but my favorite is Hannah, a girl who joins a local militia after everything has been taken from her. Forced to grow up fast, she accepts her new cause and family and fights for them. In the end, she must learn to fight for herself if she wants to survive the war’s aftermath. Her story is heart-wrenching, relatable, and hopeful.

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

For me, genre is what the story needs, not what I need. My job as the author is to tell a good story. That being said, some genres allow you to do more interesting things. OUR WAR is a straight-up literary thriller. Otherwise, I’ve written sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, which allow me to play with a fantastic element. Horror is particularly fun because you can really push boundaries and entice the reader to consider uncomfortable truths.

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

Both, in that I outline the major plot points so I always know where I’m going. During writing, there is a process of discovery between the plot points, where the story and characters tell me what they want to do.

What is your best marketing tip?

Write the absolute best book you can write. Nothing sells a book better than a good book that resonates.

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

I use social media primarily to network with other writers. It’s been invaluable for that. I also connect with fans. I think it’s very hard to get new readers on social media these days unless you dedicate a lot of time and energy to developing a certain persona and flogging it. I’d rather my books speak for themselves, while remaining accessible and responsive as an author.

Bio:

Craig DiLouie is an acclaimed American-Canadian author of literary dark fantasy and other fiction. Formerly a magazine editor and advertising executive, he also works as a journalist and educator covering the North American lighting industry. His fiction has been nominated for major awards, optioned for screen, and published in multiple languages. He is a member of the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and the Horror Writers Association. He lives in Calgary, Canada with his two wonderful children.

Please check out Craig’s Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Craig-DiLouie/e/B001JS1SCQ

Author Interview – Alison Neuman

November 23, 2018
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Alison Neuman Picture

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing is one activity which energizes me. The process of creating characters and the stories in which they interact is an exercise for my imagination.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Editing is my Kryptonite because as much as I want to start reviewing the characters motivations and the grammar, giving in to the urge in the early stages of my writing process stifles the creativity and overall potential of the final product.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Yes I have considered writing under a pseudonym but as I write in the YA and nonfiction genres,  I didn’t feel a need to have distance or different identity, or anonymity associated between myself and my work.

Ice Rose Cover

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

As I experience a disability, it was important that my books always have a character experiencing a disability in them. The disabled characters can be secondary characters but must not represent incorrect disability beliefs and stereotypes.

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

The best money I have spent as a writer has been for any books or classes in which have helped me to build my writer’s skill toolkit. There are so many facets to the success of creating and marketing as a writer, that any money spent learning is returned with each completed project.

Searching for Normal A Memoir Cover

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

I currently have one book in which I’m finish the third draft, two which are finished the first draft, one children’s picture book and one YA sequel which are waiting to be written.

Don't Eat Family Front Cover

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Literary success for myself is when I receive reader feedback about how my books have affected them. While it would be wonderful to be on bestseller lists and be financially sustained from writing only, realistically if I have enough success to continue to write and publish books which find audiences, that is success to me.

On Ne Mange Pas La Famille Cover

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

Research is a part of the writing process which I complete at the beginning, during and also when my manuscript is completed. In order to build realistic characters and circumstances in which they negotiate, it is important for me to construct a realistic world. That said, I am working on a science fiction book right now and so while the characters are moving around in the real world, human anatomy, ethics, energy and time are areas which need exploring. As much of the one character comes from the future and the mission needed to be completed to save humanity from their own extinction, as much as I can base the fictitious elements from reality should help build legitimacy for my readers.

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

The time I spend greatly varies but I am for an hour and a half a week editing and three hours writing or working on activities to grow the manuscript content.

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

Sometimes I will hear a name that I really like but usually I look on baby name websites for the names and origins to see if they fit with my characters.

Help

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

The genres in which I write are Young Adult, Memoir, and Plays. Usually my writing projects become the one in which draws me to write. I chose YA because I wanted to write the books I was searching for when I was the age of the audience. Memoir was because I had read several and found I had something I wanted to share that was the truth as I remember it. Plays are because I love theatre and found limited opportunities for persons experiencing a disability to act or have a voice in the theatre community. When in the creation process, the genre in which the story can best be told balances which area I write and work in. As for balance, the project which I am most eager and energized to write is the one I select.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I started writing poetry, lyrics and screen plays when I was in my teens. Writing manuscripts with the intention of publishing has been only in the past few years. I still consider myself as an emerging writer as I fell there is so much for me learning to be a lifelong experience.

  1. What inspires you?

Life is my inspiration. Sounds weird but being in the world and interacting with people provides me sparks of interest which act as a jumping board for creation of my stories and characters.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?
    Just like with most activities, I have to schedule in the time to write to ensure that there is a  space and time where I’m able to do so.

 

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

In the draft stages of my sci-fi book.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

My future plans include brainstorming and writing the next children’s picture book in my friends and family series.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

www.alisonneuman.ca

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/alisonneuman.ca/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/crossingts

Bio

Alison Neuman lives in Alberta, Canada, where she works as a freelance writer. Her debut novel Ice Rose: A Young Adult Spy Novel, a YA book integrating her love of gadgetry with the broad imaginative license afforded by the secret agent genre, features a female protagonist in a wheelchair and was published in 2010 by Fireside Publications.

Alison’s work has appeared in MacEwan Today, Westword, and the Edmonton Journal, and on three tracks of the CD release, Outside the Window.

Alison was honoured in 2011 for her human rights work in advocating for the rights of persons experiencing disabilities and in 2013 she won the Glenrose Courage Award. One of her greatest achievements was the founding of Camp Mission Access, an integrative camp for children from all walks of life—both with and without disabilities. Her memoir, Searching for Normal, was released in 2013, and a musical of the same debuted in the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival in 2014. Don’t Eat Family and Help From Friends, in her children’s Friends and Family series were published through Dream Write Publications.

Her play, The Sunset Syndrome was selected for Walterdale Theatre’s 2016 “From Cradle to Stage New Works Festival” and produced in the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival in 2017. Don’t Eat Family and Help From Friends, in her children’s Friends and Family series were published through Dream Write Publishing.

Alison is currently working towards her Master of Arts in Integrated Studies through Athabasca University.

 

 

Author Interview – Leslie Hodgins

October 5, 2018
mandyevebarnett


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Leslie

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing usually energizes me. There’s nothing better than getting some ideas that have been running around in my head down on paper.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

My kryptonite would have to be grammar and sometimes, punctuation. I get confused by all the rules. I’d rather just write.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

   No. I always pictured my name on the books I wrote.

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

     Eva Blaskovic, Mandy-Eve Barnett, Konn Lavery. These guys have been huge inspirations and very supportive. Plus, they write awesome content.

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

For the most part, I’m writing stand alones. I might have a signature that shows up in all my writing but all my works are going to be different genres and different characters

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

So far, just getting my book published. Spending money on that is creating a dream that I’ve had since I was a young girl.

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

I don’t remember anything specific but jokes and puns were one way I learned about the power of language.

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

That’s a hard one to answer but probably Shade’s Children.

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

An anchor. It symbolizes my interest in pirates as well as helps me stay grounded. I’ve always been very attracted to anchors, whether in print, jewelry or real life.

Rebel-Destiny-CMYK-4x6

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

Two on paper and one in my head.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Walking past a bookshop and seeing your book there, and having people talk about it, either in person or on social media.

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

Most of my writing has to do in the sci-fi and/or fantasy genre. I researched a lot of myths, history, and science fiction that other authors or TV producers have put out. I don’t know the hours that I put in before writing. Usually, I get an idea, start writing and then research as I go along.

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

Depends on where in the book I am. Could be anywhere from 4-20/week

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

I generally want the names of my characters to reflect something of their personality so I’ll research some names and then pick the ones I like best. If I can’t find anything, I’ll just look up some names until something feels right. If that fails, I’ll find a random name generator and pick some from that.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

There’s a scene where one of my characters (who’s been having nightmares that no one else can understand) has a fight with her boyfriend about them. It was the point where she’s starting to lose her cool, from being scared all the time, confused and hurt as well as exhausted. It was hard to write her in a way that wasn’t to be confused with her throwing a fit. I had to choose my wording and emotional descriptions carefully.

  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 grew up watching and reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy. That genre really excites me and just seems to be a part of who I am. It makes sense for me when I’m writing in that genre.

  1. How long have you been writing?

Actually writing, probably since I was 6 but my mom told me I used to make up stories right from the time I was 3 or 4.

  1. What inspires you?  

I pretty much get inspiration from everywhere. Music, dreams, reading other books or watching something on T.V., nature walks. I have a pretty vivid imagination and will usually get a scene playing out in my mind daily.

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

It’s hard with kids and a business, but it’s something I can’t not do, so that means, sometimes staying up into the wee hours of the morning, or escaping to a coffee shop on a weekend.

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

I have a spin-off to the book I’m launching this year, and am currently splitting my time between a detective story set in a parallel 1920’s with some science fiction and steampunk elements. And, a science fiction book set in the future that has some inspiration from evolution and biology (that one will need lots of research).

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Hopefully publishing them and getting more well known in the author world.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

www.thatwellnessspot.com

I am a Wellness Coach but my book will be available through my site after September 29, 2018.

Bio:

Leslie Hodgins has been writing for years. Her areas of interest are science fiction and fantasy. She is a wife, a mom of two busy boys, a nature lover and a coffee addict. Music is a major inspiration, and when she’s writing, it’s always on.

When she’s not writing, she’s helping people through wellness coaching and helping them manage stress.

Leslie currently lives in Edmonton, AB with her husband, sons and her dog, Oscar.

Author Interview Beth Rowe

September 14, 2018
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Beth_-_color

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

While I am writing I feel energized but it often leaves me exhausted afterwards. I get excited about an idea and can’t wait to see where it goes but almost feel deflated when I get it on paper.

2. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No, I want to be known for what I write and not have people guessing.

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

             I have many writer friends in the Writers Foundation who work to help writers improve their work. They encourage, make suggestions on changes one might make and help promote work.

Beth cover

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 work in many different genres, so each of my books stands alone at this point. I want to keep it that way for the foreseeable future.

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

Membership in the Writers Foundation

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

I think the dragonfly would be my mascot. It represents so many things. It is like a fairy spirit.

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

Right now only one. 

Mischief

8. What does literary success look like to you?

       I feel if even a few people enjoy what I have written I am a success. If I make a small influence on someone’s thinking I have achieved something.

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

      It depends on the book. If I want the book to be so fictional it could happen anywhere and there aren’t facts that are in question then I spend very little time. One of the next books I will work on requires a lot of research in order to make it real. I want to make sure the reader will feel sure the events could really happen. I also don’t want to be using a cliched format.

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

     I try to write something every day but it doesn’t always work out. Having a deadline helps push me. It is difficult when I am ghostwriting if I am waiting for information. Then things can get behind.

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

     I have a hard time with the names. I start with what pops into my head but sometimes I have to change them if they don’t fit the time period or if I find I have chosen names that seem too similar such as same first letters. I became conscious of that in one book I read where the two male characters had names starting with the same first two letters and it became confusing.

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

       With my first book, the genre was chosen by my professor as it began with a class assignment. My second book followed that genre. I decided I wanted to try mystery as I enjoy reading murder mysteries but at the same time I felt a need for a young children’s book so I ended up working on the two simultaneously.

I dont want to go

13. How long have you been writing?

     Although my first book started about twenty years ago, I feel I have actually seriously been writing for about six years.

14. What inspires you?

     I can’t say any one thing inspires me. Sometimes it is a story I have read. Other times it is some event I have been at. It could be a conversation with someone or something I saw while on a trip.

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

     To begin with it was difficult for me. Now I have an office where all the things I need are well-arranged so I can go in and shut the door if I have to. Then the worst thing is telephone interruptions.

death

16. What projects are you working on at the present time?

A science fiction novel and a ghost writing project.

     I have two books I am ghostwriting. The next project is going to be an outer space science fiction story which I have begun the research on and have an outline in mind.

17. What do your plans for future projects include?

     Once I do the sci-fi book I want to work on some more children’s stories. I may consider a sequel to the sci-fi depending on how it goes.

18. Share a link to your author website.

https://www.albertaauthors.ca/Authors/Rowe/Beth

Bio:

Beth was born in Denmark and moved to Canada when she was two. Raised in Red Deer, she completed her schooling at Lindsay Thurber Composite High. She received her Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Alberta in 1971. Her teaching career took her north to the Peace River country where she met her husband-to-be. Moving to High Prairie, they raised two daughters. Finally settling in Sherwood Park, she was a substitute teacher for many years. During this time she began to write. Beth is a director on the board for the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County (WFSC) and currently produces the group’s monthly newsletter. Beth has five grandchildren and enjoys spending time with them.

 

 

Author Interview – Bianca Rowena

August 10, 2018
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Bianca

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Mostly it exhausts me, both emotionally and physically. But so does playing the piano and doing art. If I was doing those things to relax, then it would be like a colouring page or writing a diary entry. But when I’m truly working on my art (writing) then I’m exhausted afterwards because it takes a part of my very self, when I’m truly creating.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Constant interruptions.

Book 1 Rowena

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Yes. I wanted to publish a mid-grade book, which would be too far separated from my adult romance. I wouldn’t want the mid-graders to pick up the adult romance, so I considered writing the younger genre under a pseudonym.

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

I’m part of a writer’s group, where we write together and share our work. My best friend is also a writer, who writes romance and we talk about writing all the time. I am lucky to also have a couple friends who work at the local library and who like to write and read, not to mention writers I’ve met and become friends with through conferences, book fairs and author readings from Calgary, Edmonton and Medicine Hat. It really is a big community once you get involved. They help me become a better writer because we share insights and advice and things we’ve learned or discovered, from anything from writing style to book advertising options.

Ryn

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

Currently I’m working on a three book series. The first two definitely go together, originally written as one long novel split into two. The third book could be a stand alone and is the prequel to the first two. The series is a Young Adult Sci-Fi Fantasy based on a fanfiction novel I wrote two years ago. The first book has been published and is called ‘The Gift Stone’, book one of the Gifted Series ( https://www.amazon.ca/Gift-Stone-Bianca-Rowena/dp/0994851332/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 ).

Book two will be released in the summer of 2018, and will be titled ‘Takano Rynn’, the name of the main male character in the series. Book three will hopefully follow soon after that.

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

I was born in Romania and we were Hungarian speaking. So when I came to Canada I was five years old and put into Kindergarten. I remember being forced to go to these English language sessions in the office, where they would hold up a photocard of a boot and say ‘boot’ over and over again. It didn’t take me very long to learn English, and it was WAY before anyone realized I understood it. So I had the power to know what everyone was saying around me and about me, without them knowing that I understood them. Understanding English came quickly at age five, but speaking it back, took a bit longer.

Also, whenever my parents needed to tell us something that they didn’t want anyone else to overhear, they’d tell us in Hungarian. And when they wanted to discuss something that they didn’t want my sister and I to hear, they’d discuss it in Romanian (we were too young to have learned Romanian in school, before coming to Canada). So I recognized at an early age that language held the power of communication, either to make it possible or to close it off and leave you completely clueless, depending on which language was being spoken at the time.

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

‘Swim the Fly’ by Don Calame

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

The Eagle.

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

I’ve got five unpublished but completed novels and one half finished novel, as well as 4 full length screenplays and many, many, many stories I started.

Virgin

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

A movie made based on your book.

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

For my fan-fiction I spend a lot of time researching the details. Otherwise my novels are more character based so I don’t get into details, even in my sci-fi/fantasy novels, of the technicality of things. I sort of avoid too much research. As for character research I watch a lot of movies, read a lot of books in the genre I write and observe everyone around me. That too is research!

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

The last three months I’d been writing at least 3-5 hours daily, mostly for posting fanfiction chapters daily ( www.wattpad.com/biancawatson ). But when I’m not deep in my fanfiction I spend most of my time editing. I’ll write a novel in a month or two, non-stop, about 6 hours a day. Then I’ll stop and do edits at a slower pace. I’m not a planner, so when ideas hit me I write them as fast as I can (like my personal Nanowrimo), then I plan and edit and work hard on the rewrites, but at a slower pace, a few hours a day. It’s not a consistent thing for me, writing. It’s on a project by project basis, so the times fluctuate per month.

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

I like short, simple names. Usually I can just sense that the name is right for the character or if it is wrong.

  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 YA because everything I write comes out sounding YA, whether I intend it to or not. My first novel, The Virgin Diaries, was a contemporary adult romance. Yet anyone who has read it would tell you it ‘reads’ like a YA. I’m naturally drawn to writing in a more simple, easy to read, style and my understanding of the world around me seems to be naturally very young minded. So I stick with what I write best!

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

I was working on my Star Wars fanfiction right after the new movie came out, doing a sequel to it. Now I’m focusing on my next novel in the Gifted Series, Takano Rynn, which comes out this Summer. I also want to write some new material for future work, and I’m editing (alongside book two) book three of the Gifted Series, which may need a rewrite for the ending. I also write in a journal when I can.

  1. Share links to your author websites.

www.biancarowena.com

www.facebook.com/biancarowena

https://biancarowena.wordpress.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Bianca-Rowena/e/B0161S8DI0

https://www.instagram.com/biancarowena/

https://twitter.com/biancarowena

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14199529.Bianca_Rowena

 

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