Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Creative Edge Author Interview – Kristine Raymond

May 13, 2021
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. You have written several different genres. Do you decide on the genre before writing or decide which one it fits after writing?

Both!  For most of my books, I knew the genre going in.  The Hidden Springs series – historical western romance.  The Celebration series and Seasons of Love – contemporary romance.  Tempted – erotic drama.  But with Finn-agled, my cozy mystery, I’d intended to write a thriller.  However, the moment Finn Bartusiak took shape, I knew her antics were way too humorous for anything other than a cozy.

  • What draws you to the genres you write?

I wish I had an easy answer to this one.  For the historical westerns, it’s because I love that time period.  The other stories just came about on their own.  When I wrote By Dawn’s Early Light, the first in the Celebration series, I knew it would be contemporary romance for no other reason than I needed a break from historical.

  • Do you plot your series’ book by book or as a series arc?

To date, book by book.  Usually, the storyline in one leads me to the next.  The exception to this is the thriller series I’ve planned.  I can’t go into details, but as it stands now, it’ll be a trilogy with the main character’s background as the series arc.  Of course, that’s what I say today.  By the time I get around to writing those books, I’ll have changed my mind a dozen times.

  • Do you decide on a theme/topic for your series before writing book one?

Only in the most general sense.  I know how the story will begin – more specifically, the opening paragraph or two, a vague sense of the plotline, and how I want it to end, although it rarely happens the way I think it will.  Once my characters take hold, they author their own destinies.  I’m merely their transcriptionist.

  • How did you come up with the idea of your side stories?

Side Stories came about after a discussion with a guest on my podcast, Word Play with Kristine Raymond.  Aside from writing books, he’s also a college professor and told me that he encourages his students to explore the stories that happen off the page.  Between the chapters, so to speak.  I thought it was an intriguing concept and added it as a feature on my website, though, to date, I’ve only written one.

  • When and why did you start your The Felonious Scribe podcast?

The Felonious Scribe was a collaboration with author Dawn Hosmer, who writes the most amazing psychological thrillers!  We thought it would be fun to answer questions from readers pertaining to murder, mystery, and mayhem – eh em, on the page, of course. 

We recorded five episodes of the show, which can be found on YouTube, and then moved on to different projects.  Dawn currently hosts a podcast called Unravel the Binding with her daughter, Jesi, while I’m working on my next book.

  • Who has influenced your writing the most?

This will sound like a copout answer, but every book I’ve ever read has influenced my writing in some way.  How an author tells a story – their voice – is the determining factor in whether or not I choose a particular book, and I believe that has a direct bearing on how I tell my stories.

  • Do you have an author hero?

All those who took the chance to send their stories out into the world for readers to enjoy – and critique.  Because one doesn’t happen without the other, and criticism can be soul-crushing.  And, that’s what authors’ stories are, including mine.  A piece of our souls.

  • Where is your writing space? Can you describe it?

I have one room in our house that is furbaby-free (I type sardonically while looking at the cat who jumped over the baby gate before falling asleep in my lap).  It’s a combo room – part office/part library/part craft room/part whatever else I can stuff in here.  Personally, I think the hubs is afraid to step foot in it which is how it became my space.  Lol.

My desktop sits atop a messy desk covered with scrawled notes, pens, and notebooks.  It’s a wonder I can find my keyboard.

  1. Where can readers find your books?

Links to all of my books can be found on my website – www.kristineraymond.com.  They’re available on all major platforms (and a few minor ones, as well).

  1. Do you have a current release? Can you share what it is about?

My most recent release is Finn-agled, the first book in the Finn’s Finds cozy mystery series.

Running an antique store in the fictional seaside town of Port New, Finn Bartusiak is quite happy with how her life is going – until both a coded message and her high school crush figuratively fall into her lap on the same day.  With murder, intrigue, and pierogis – what’s not to love?

This was such a fun story to write, and I’m currently working on the second in the series, Finn-icky Eaters.

  1. Is there anything you would like your readers to know?

Thanks to my readers, both new and existing, for taking a chance on my books.  I hope you enjoy them.  And thanks, Mandy, for hosting me today.  This has been fun!

Bio:

It wasn’t until later in life that Kristine Raymond figured out what she wanted to be when she grew up, an epiphany that occurred in 2013 when she sat down and began writing her first novel.  Over a dozen books in multiple genres later, there are a multitude of ideas floating around in her head thus assuring she’ll never be idle.

When a spare moment does present itself, she fills it by navigating the publishing and promotional side of the business.  When not doing that, she spends time with her husband and furbabies (not necessarily in that order) at their home in south-central Kentucky, gardens, reads, or binge-watches Netflix.

To find out more, please visit her website at www.kristineraymond.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and BookBub.

Amazon.com: Seasons of Love: A collection of seasonally-themed short stories 

Amazon.ca: Seasons of Love: A collection of seasonally-themed short stories

Barnes & Noble: Seasons of Love: A collection of seasonally-themed short stories

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Crime Fiction Research and Discovering Juggalos

May 4, 2021
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With a complete read through this weekend of the manuscript for the first book in my detective series, An Elusive Trail, I am fairly happy with the edits and revisions. The new word count is 61,626 – a far cry from the ‘finished’ story of National Novel Writing Month in November last year of 50,156. This shows how a manuscript changes and grows over the course of revisions. Scenes are added or cut, moved or changed and information researched in order to improve the content. Not only for accuracy but also to ensure the characters and story reflect the trope expected by readers of the specific genre.

I recently attended a crime writer’s week long presentation course online. The most interesting and helpful sessions were with a retired detective. His insight and knowledge gave me several pieces of information I have included in the manuscript to enhance the police and forensic procedures. There are a couple more months of revisions to be done, (an author has a hard time relinquishing a manuscript!) but the first book in the series is well on its way to being ready to submit to a publisher for review.

Writers and authors research their specific genre through books but also movies. My choice of movies to watch has been said to be eclectic. I can watch and enjoy action, romance, sci-fi, fantasy and many others, it all depends on my mood at the time. Take several I watched during April for example:

The Father – Anthony Hopkins was spectacular. Hillbilly Elegy – Glenn Close was exceptional. Penguin Bloom – as a natural lover this true story was heartwarming and wonderful in so many ways. Diana – I always feel my heart break a little reading or watching anything to do with her. The Age of Adaline – I have watched this movie several times because I love the premise of it. Elizabeth and Margaret – because we can only glimpse their lives. Coroner – this series was for my book research mainly. Monty Python -In the Beginning – I grew up with Python and still recite sketches to this day. Ladies in Black – life in 1959 Australia a merging of cultures within the structure of society expectations. It shows how a person’s life is affected by the era’s limitations put upon them. Elvis Presley – The Searcher – I learned more about his life, but also that if he had broken away from the Colonel, his fame would have been even greater, such a shame he was so manipulated. As you can see some are factual, some research, while others are pure escapism.

The most unusual and surprising movie I watched was FAMILY, at first look it is a workaholic woman asked to look after her brother’s daughter for a short time. However, what is so unexpected is the unknown (to me anyway) cultural phenomenon of Juggalo. I have never come across this group (and I listen to an even more of an eclectic selection in music). The Juggalo’s are fans of the group Insane Clown Posse. They dress in clown-like makeup and fantastical outfits. Their motto is ‘I shall not judge. I shall love my Family. I am a Ninja.‘ You may not enjoy their music but their inclusiveness to all is inspiring.

Have you discovered something new through a book or movie? What was it?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Writing Conference and Book Cover Creation

March 18, 2021
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It is that time of year again, I have been working with the Board members of my writing group to finalize details for our annual writing conference. As I am hosting an online session about blogging, I revised my presentation notes in readiness. The countdown is on!

I would ask any writer that is interested in gaining new skills, honing their craft or wants to expand their network to attend this remarkable conference. The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County’s Conference on 27th March – The Art of Writing is covering a wide range of writing skills. https://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/annual-writers-conference

We will also be live on our Facebook page if you want to drop by anytime between 8:30 am – 5:00 pm MST https://www.facebook.com/wfscsherwoodpark There is the opportunity to promote your book(s) as well throughout the day so click the link to submit.

Apart from continuing to write my current WIP; book one of the The Delphic Murders trilogy, I have been thinking about the book covers. Each book needs to reflect the story within it but also tie-in to the other two books. After a conversation, an idea has been bouncing around in my head but on Tuesday a much better idea for the imagery came out of nowhere. I am now discussing the possibilities with my cover artist. This is such an exciting stage of any the book creation.

As always, working with any artist, it is paramount to have good communication and be able to describe our ‘vision’ for the illustrations. We are lucky to have the power of technology to find samples and suggested imagery. I have been lucky to have worked with several artists to create artwork that reflects my stories.

With any cover we need to ask ourselves three main questions:

Does the cover reflect the story?

Is it eye catching?

Does it reflect the genre?  

How did you decide on your book (s) cover?

Did you use your own photographs, commission or draw you own drawings or manipulate images some other way?

Interestingly, I searched best book covers for 2020 and there are several lists to look through. All of them have different covers, so it is really a matter of person preference. A cover might attract one reader but not another. It is a balancing act, for sure.

Do you have a favorite book cover? Why not share one?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Books for Environmental Change

November 10, 2020
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We all know our planet is slowly dying and in consequence us! I read an incredible novel by Nina Munteanu, which uses the diary of a future personality to highlight the nearsightedness of the previous decades of politics and big business. Yes, I understand it may seem like a heavy topic, however, the narrative carries you through an incredible journey, through the eyes of the protagonist.

The rise in books covering climate change has increased in the last decade or so. They have been a positive eco-political influence on their readers allowing them to imagine potential climate futures. This in turn, persuades those readers of the gravity and urgency of climate change.

Through research, it has been discovered that the most popular readers of these books are younger, more liberal, and more concerned about climate change than nonreaders of climate fiction. It is our youth, who will have to live with today’s decisions after all.

Please consider reading about climate change, whether with non-fiction or non-fiction books. We can make a difference.

Ten best books on Climate Change https://www.ecowatch.com/the-10-best-books-on-climate-change-according-to-climate-activists-2645893407.html?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2

In other news, I am enjoying my participation in National Novel Writing Month and as of last night had a word count total of 27,685. The first novel in The Delphic Murders trilogy is well under way.

For research I have begun a novel by M.J. Arlidge called Eeny Meeny. It has captured me from the start.

What are you reading?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – NaNoWriMo Writing Sprints & Doubts

November 5, 2020
mandyevebarnett


Yes, it is NaNoWriMo month and there is the usual flurry of activity. Pre-planning, devising ideas, questioning if you should do it or not and the encouragement of the writing community. As I said before this year’s NaNo, for me, has me delving into an unknown genre and the start of a trilogy.

I have booked every Monday off work in November to allow myself extra time to write. This doesn’t normally happen but without the option of taking vacations, this year due to COVID19, I thought my best use of my days would be short writing retreats and extra time in November.

My first writing day, Sunday, was a super day. I had the house to myself, apart from the dogs, so indulged in writing for most of the day. Apart from several dog walks, and the occasional snack! My total for the day was 14,558. And at the time, I was super happy with that.

However, the next day doubts began to creep in. Had I given too many clues or sited too many suspects within those 14K words? This halted my writing. Should I re-start or continue? As we all know NaNo writing is just the first draft of a manuscript, so I shook off the doubts and returned to the story. Last night’s total was 16,951.

I may have to dissect this novel in the New Year, but for now I will enjoy the journey my characters are taking me on.

Are your participating in NaNoWriMo? What is your project?

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