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Author Interview – Christie Stratos

November 12, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

Christie Stratos headshot_outdoors_crop

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me big time! I feel so excited when I get a good writing session in, it’s hard to stop. I could go for hours, but my time is usually limited. When I write short stories in particular, I usually can’t stop until it’s done and I’m happy with it, all in one session. I love it!

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Stress. There are certain things I can write while stressed, but the most common issue for me is settling my mind into writing. I have to work to get myself relaxed and creatively focused, which can take music, ambiance, changing the colors on the screen, and other things. Not fun.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I have! I like writing a lot of different genres, from dark psychological suspense to positivity poetry and haikus, cozy short stories to horror. I’ve polled my readers on this, and they tend to agree that I should keep my real name and at most use my first initial instead of my full first name.

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

I’m friends with loads of authors, both in person and online, and they all offer different perspectives on writing as well as balancing writing with other work. They’re really good at getting me inspired and motivated! It’s really good to have friends who understand your creative successes and dilemmas—not everyone does.

Anatomy of a Darkened Heart ebook 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?

Both! My Dark Victoriana Collection is written so that readers can enjoy each book as a standalone, but they’ll enjoy my books on another level if they’ve read the whole collection. Characters and scenes cross over in each novel or short story, so some scenes mean more with the full understand of the collection.

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

Scrivener, for sure. Using Word was actually stopping me from writing anything longer than a short story. I don’t write in order, I write my scenes in random order, so trying to control that in one Word document or multiple Word documents was not productive for me. Using Scrivener, I just put each scene in one project but in separate text pages, and voila! It’s organized!

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

I think Shakespeare’s Hamlet impacted me heavily with this. It was in that play that I realized how important it was to infuse meaning that could be interpreted different ways, and that’s a huge part of my books, which are purposely multi-layered so that readers can either read for entertainment or for depth—whatever they like best.

Brotherhood of Secrets ebook cover

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

The Distant Sound of Violence by Jason Greensides. He’s an incredible author, and I recommend his novel to anyone who will listen. The psychology, the depth of emotion, the varied characters, and a lot more all come together into something that should really be much better known. Highly impactful contemporary fiction at its best.

I also have to mention Josh de Lioncourt’s The Dragon’s Brood Cycle series, which is bestseller-level fantasy. He’s an outstanding author who blows me away with his incredible worldbuilding and careful attention to detail. He’s on par with some of the biggest fantasy authors out there.

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

I think alpacas are my spirit animals because they’re very curious and intelligent, and I think they’d really appreciate all the Victorian research I do. They’re herd animals, too, and I have to say my writing community means a lot to me. Plus they’re just so CUTE!

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

An uncountable amount. Seriously. I have a whole bunch of notebooks dedicated to different ideas yet to be written, and I have a whole ton of notes on yet more fiction to be written. The ideas are unending!

The Subtlety of Terror

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Ideally being able to publish at least once per year. That’s difficult for me, although I always have something published, whether it’s a novel, short story, or poetry in an anthology or literary journal. But I’d like to publish at least one novel per year along with other short stories and creative projects.

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

I spend a ton of time researching in general, some before the book, a lot during, and a lot after the creative writing is finished. My books take place in Victorian America, which can be harder to research than Victorian England, and I want every detail to draw the reader into the time period. It’s important to me that my books are saturated with the Victorian era and are extremely accurate, so I research everything from how many times per day the mail was delivered to what type of wood would be used on a dresser in a middle-class home.

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

Not nearly enough. Writing isn’t my priority at the moment, my editing business is, but hopefully that will change in the future…

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

They’re all meaningful, and for those that don’t have Biblical meaning, there’s a reason for it. I choose Biblically significant names because of the time period and to discuss the concept of religion without discussing it outwardly. It doesn’t smack you in the face, it’s just there if you’re interested.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

In my first book, Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, I have a scene that finally breaks one of my characters, and that scene was extremely hard to write. I felt terrible about what I was doing to her, as bad as if she were a real person. I actually took a month off writing to mourn what I was about to do to her, then came back and wrote the scene in one go. I was glad it was over with once it was done!

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

My favorite genre to write in is psychological suspense, and that’s what my Dark Victoriana Collection is. It includes everything I love: psychology, suspense, historical fiction, and horror. I’ve had readers call my books psychological thriller and psychological horror as well. I also write horror short stories, and they also rely heavily on what would terrify a person psychologically more than anything. I write positivity haikus and poetry because I’m actually a very positive person despite all my very dark writings! I like to dabble in all genres—I feel it expands my writing horizons and improves my craft.  

  1. How long have you been writing?

Literally since I was capable of writing. I started out with poetry, then moved straight into novels, then short stories. I also love writing haikus and micro-fiction, which I find to be the most challenging and the most rewarding.

  1. What inspires you?  

Victorian jewelry, fantasy art landscapes, hidden object games with strong ambiance, all kinds of music, art… There’s really no end to what inspires me! If I had my way, I’d write all day and night.

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

This is the toughest part for me. I’m trying hard to make more time to write, and the only way I find that works is to set aside a reasonable amount of time per day (usually a 15 minute writing sprint) and force myself to write despite all the other things I have on my plate. The thing is that once I start writing, I usually pour out creativity for about an hour, so stopping myself is hard, and a lot of times I just end up not writing at all because of the time suck (for me, an hour is a lot of time to lose on other projects). I’m trying to develop a routine for myself to avoid that catch-22.

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

I have two projects ongoing: the third book in the Dark Victoriana Collection and a positivity book based on the positivity writings I do on Patreon. I do work on other things in the background, but those are my two main focuses. I can’t wait to finish writing my third novel and publish it!

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

A lot more books for the Dark Victoriana Collection. Originally I was going to write one standalone book, then I decided I’d write five books, now the plan is six books and additional short stories. I’m slowly developing a fantasy novel as well, but that’s way on the back burner. I have some horror short stories I’d like to pull into an anthology too. Really the amount of projects I have ideas for is never-ending.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

You can find me at http://christiestratos.com, and from there, you can buy paperbacks directly from me that are signed, gift-wrapped, and include a personalized note. They’re great gifts for the holidays, especially since you can ask me to write the personalized note to anyone. Brotherhood of Secrets also comes with a key charm when you buy the paperback directly from my website. Best of all, the cost is exactly the same as buying a plain paperback with nothing special on Amazon.

AoDH BoS_Blog Advert Banner

Anatomy of a Darkened Heart links:

Amazon: amzn.com/B015KYJXZ8 

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/anatomy-of-a-darkened-heart-christie-stratos/1122766074

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/580327

Brotherhood of Secrets links:

Amazon: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B073YPBHST

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/locke-and-keye-christie-stratos/1126977290

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/742458

“The Subtlety of Terror” links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G4PGRG5/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-subtlety-of-terror-christie-stratos/1129229846

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/886308

Social media links:

Patreon: http://patreon.com/christiestratos

Website: http://christiestratos.com

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2thw6Pn

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Christie-Stratos/e/B015L5FMTM/

Author YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/christiestratos

The Writer’s Edge YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/thewritersedgeshow

Creative Edge Writer’s Showcase: https://soundcloud.com/authorsontheair/sets/creative-edge-writers-showcase

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christie_stratos/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/christiestratos

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christiestratosauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/christiestratos

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cstratoswrites

Bio:

Christie Stratos is an award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. She is the author of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart and Brotherhood of Secrets, the first two books in the Dark Victoriana Collection. Christie has had short stories and poetry published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, Andromedae Review, 99Fiction, and various anthologies. An avid reader of all genres and world literature, Christie reads everything from bestsellers to classics to indies.

Author Interview – Pol McShane

October 12, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Author-Interview-Button

 

Pol

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

      It most defiantly energizes me. Even during those times when nothing else seems to be going right, as soon as I lose myself in a story, it all falls in line.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

       I would have to say the way I feel. If I have a headache or I’m tired, I just can’t bring myself to write. If I do, it usually shows up in my writing and I end up deleting and rewriting.

      3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

      I have written an erotica series that I write under the name Rick Pearson. But that was only because it was an erotica series and I wanted that separation from my other books.

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

I have made many author friends on Facebook, and I find that I am always learning from them and with them.

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

When I am writing a series, I am the cliff-hanger king. I love them. So usually books that follow will be leading from a cliff hanger. However, it has been said that each book in whatever series I write, can be read alone.

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

        I would have to say on my current computer (knock wood). It is just one of the best ones I’ve had, and I’ve gone through quite a lot.

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

It had to be during the initial release of my novel Luthor. It is one of my darkest novels that centers on a boy born with terrible deformities. I have had many people post reviews on how the novel effected them. Some have told me that they loved the book and story, but couldn’t continue because of the depth of sadness the tale touches on.

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

Of my own? I would say, Blue Moon. It was one of the first books I ever published (2000), and it is a story written by a werewolf on the night of a blue moon, the only night when he is able to take his own life. Before he does, he tells his story.

I’ve always loved writing werewolf tales, this book and the sequel, The Rise of the Son.

I enjoyed taking certain liberties with the lore and putting my own spin on it.

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

I have only two. The final installment of my Genie series, that is in the final edit stages, and also a book called Reunion-the Children of Lauderdale Park, which is a book I wrote long ago but has never been quite finished.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

I would consider literary success to be able to make a living off of my writing. That may seem like an obvious goal, but it’s what I strive for.

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

I love doing research. I enjoy looking up whatever I can about a subject and putting it in my stories. The most research I’ve done on a series would be for my other YA books, Serpenteens. The books center around five teenage siblings who are demigods. They can transform into various kinds of snakes and then control different aspect of weather. They travel around battle the increasingly dangerous weather scenarios that are plaguing the planet.

        Research was started the whole series for that. I had the idea to do a story about people who could turn into snakes, and while I was researching information about snakes I discovered their connection to the weather, and that took the story in a whole new environmental direction. After that I researched weather and various locations around the United States where the Serpenteens traveled, and even had to somewhat learn how to drive an airboat. 

12. How many hours a day/week do you write? I am still working a part-time day job, so on work days I don’t have a lot of time. But on my days off, I love to start as early as I can, and I could easily sit for three-to four hours.

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

Naming characters is always fun for me. I try to find names that directly fit the character. I have a children’s series called The Adventures of Johnny and Joey, where two brothers find a magic elevator buried in their backyard and they travel to magical lands like Imagination Land, or Wooden Land, or Aqua Land.

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 started writing horror and suspense, and that is what I truly enjoy. But when I began writing YA series, I found I had to focus on not getting too scary.

15. How long have you been writing?  

I wrote my first story when I was ten years old.

16. What do your plans for future projects include?

I am currently working on the final installment of my Genie in a Bottle series-After the Wishes, which will be out in a few months.

17. Share a link to your author website. polmcshane.com

Genres of Literature – Mystery

February 19, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Mystery_fiction

 

Mystery literature deals with the solution of a crime or the unraveling of secrets. Any scenario that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown.

The most common scenario for this genre usually involves a mysterious death or a crime to be solved. It focuses on a closed circle of suspects, with each suspect having a credible motive and also reasonable opportunity for committing the crime. A detective is the main character, who will eventually solve the mystery by logical deduction from facts fairly presented to the reader. However, sometimes mystery books are non-fictional. “mystery fiction” can be detective stories but the emphasis is on the actual puzzle or suspense element with its logical solution revealed later, such as in whodunit’s.

Due, in part, to the lack of true police forces prior to the 1800’s, mystery fiction was unheard of.  Many towns only had constables or a night watchman at best. As populations grew in towns and cities, police forces were institutionalized, and detectives employed – thus formulating the mystery novel.

The most famous mystery sleuth was of course Sherlock Holmes. The novels and subsequent movies and TV shows have delighted audiences for generations.

Do you write mystery novels?

What or who is your favorite mystery sleuth story?

 

 

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…

May 31, 2017
mandyevebarnett


writing-hub

Writing

I plan on immersing myself in the ghost writing project for the rest of this and most likely next week. It needs to be propelled forward so a final draft can be approved. A graphic designer is working on the images so the placement of these will have to be worked out as well. With possible sizes of print books and price estimates from the publisher we are nearing a conclusion in the next month. An exciting time for both my client and I as we all know when we hold a physical copy of our book for the first time it is magical and awe inspiring.

However, prior to that schedule, I invested in a workshop last night for my writing. A local author, Jennifer Snow is currently writer in residence at a downtown bookstore, Audrey’s and she was holding a workshop, which intrigued me. The evening’s workshop title was – First Five Pages & Avoiding a Saggy Middle in your Novel.

There were several other writers attending and it was interesting to hear their questions and the advice given by Jennifer. Although you may not write in the same genre as the presenter or the other attendees at workshops or conferences, there are basic fundamentals required to entice, engage and hold a reader no matter the narrative.

We all need to invest in our writing, no matter how much we think we know. You can always learn from another writer or author and as it happens I did have an idea pop into my head during the evening, which will assist in the revision of one of my manuscripts. (For those of you who don’t know I am editing four manuscripts over this and next year!) I detail my progress here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/

Books

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn

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My review:
What a wonderful book – stories of life, death and rebirth. Perfectly linking each of the souls/characters lives. Sometimes they linked up, others not. Suzanne weaved a perfect tale of past lives making great use of the ‘echoes’ of past life bringing them forward to the new existence.

If you are intrigued, interested or fascinated by reincarnation you must read this book.

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel   

Onto this novel – a great opening line and the story propels you forward with enticing glimpses of what might have happened.

Evidence of Life

Writing Tips

Invest in a few valuable resources starting with The Chicago Manual of Style and The Elements of Style.

Grammar: learn the rules and then learn how to break them effectively.

Do you have particular resources you use? Care to share?

What ‘writing rules’ have you broken?

Mandy’s Year in Books – Goodreads.

December 29, 2016
mandyevebarnett


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This is a cool graphic from Goodreads – detailing your year’s reading. If you are on Goodreads – take a look at your book reading chart.

https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2016/5477628?utm_source=fb

Why not share yours here? Recommend books here too.

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