Tag Archives: writing projects

Author Interview Jim Christina


Author-Interview-Button

Jim Christina

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?  

It can, depends on what and where and when I am writing.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Crown Royal, a good Martini or constant interruptions…

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No

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

Too many to mention, but, we all feed into each other. Read each other’s work and give constructive criticism when and where needed.

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

Excellent question. Whereas I try to make each book readable on it’s own, I do incorporate characters and elements from prior novels in each book unless it is truly a stand alone story.

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

Editors

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

11th grade, Drama class…we did an impromptu ad-lib skit

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

‘Still Waters’

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

Horse

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 How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

None anymore

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Folks reading and enjoying my stories. Getting rich from writing is a pipe-dream, one of which I have never fed into.

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

Long hours of research if it is warranted for the story. So, I guess that would depend. I have researched for months, and I have researched for only a couple hours.

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

12-15

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

Yet another good question. I find names popular or prominent in the old west, and then remember that almost everyone on the outlaw trail had a nick-name. Hit and miss, I reckon.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

The death of Bobby Malloy in ‘The Rights of Men’.

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

Expertise in the field. Know what you write and write what you know.

  1. How long have you been writing?

10 years

  1. What inspires you?  

Just about everything.

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

Along with running a small publishing company and preparing for a weekly radio show, it’s my job.

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

The building of an artificial leg that works like a normal leg in 1876.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Vacation

  1. Share a link to your author website.

www.jimchristina.net

www.tuscanybaybooks.com

www.blackdogpublishing.co

 

Author Interview – Richard Paolinelli


Author-Interview-Button

richard_paolinelli_headshot_2

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both at times, as strange as that may sound. When the words are flowing I seem to gain energy as I go along. But there are times, usually when I am pushing to make a hard deadline, when I feel like I’m dragging about five tons of brick around on my shoulders and it is difficult to write the next sentence.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

The Internet. It is just too easy to hop on to check my email “really quick” and get distracted by something and three hours later suddenly remember I was supposed to be writing. The house hound also tries his best to distract, usually when I am really on a roll.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Briefly. But I was writing for newspapers for so long that it just seemed natural to continue to do so when I transitioned to fiction writing. Plus, I really dislike posting in online forums under fake screen names as I feel that leads to bad behavior by folks who feel they can get away with anything without any accountability. So I have always made it a point to put my real name behind everything I write, online or off.

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

I know so many of them that if I tried to list them all here we’d break the internet. Not to mention I’d probably forget some of them and then have to spend the rest of the year apologizing. But in their own ways they have all helped me become a better writer. Sometimes it is from just reading their work and seeing how they develop a character or lay out a scene. Sometimes it comes from the way they market their books or deal with unfair criticism.

 

 

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

Almost all of them are stand alone, although I have readers asking me when the sequel to Escaping Infinity is coming out. I do have one trilogy though, the Jack Del Rio political thriller series. Writing in so many different genres as I do I very much doubt there a way for me ever to be able to connect them. All I really hope for is that they are all enjoyable stories that readers continue to want to read.

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

The $20 that I spent on three Himekami CDs many years ago (pre-MP3 era). Listening to the beautifully enchanting synthesized music produced by this group from Japan seems to put me into the perfect state of mind to write.

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

When I sat down one day at the age of 4 and heard a man say that he hoped for a world where his children would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. It took a few more years for me to fully understand the concept, but those words made perfect sense to 4-year-old me. It wasn’t what a person looked like that mattered, it is what they said and did that was all that counted. I’ve always strived to keep that lesson in my heart in the half-century that has passed since I first heard them and am reminded of that day every time I read those words again.

 

 

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

Time Traveller’s Never Die by Jack McDevitt. I loved the way Jack (I get to call him that because we’ve worked together on a Sherlock Holmes anthology and corresponded a few times since) dealt with the paradox of time travelling and it was this book, and discovering Jack’s path to becoming a writer at a later age, that inspired me to try to give fiction writing another try at the age of 46. 

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

Polar Bear. Because they are patiently relentless in their pursuit of their goal. For them it is their next meal but for me it is getting the current novel finished so I can begin working on the next one.

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

About 30 in various states of started but not finished to just outline-only.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

When I have finished a book and it is available to be purchased on Amazon or in a bookstore. That means another story of mine – another world or universe of my creation – is available to be read and, hopefully, enjoyed.

 

 

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

With my two non-fiction books I spent years going through newspaper microfilms, online searching and interviews before I sat down and started writing them. It probably worked out to two years each from starting research to writing completed and the book released.

With my fiction works I’d say I research for about a week before I start writing. Even then I find I will pause writing at points to do additional research when something does not sound right or if I make a change in the original outline along the way.

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

At least 30 hours a week and sometimes as many as 60 depending on other things going on in my life.

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

I have a couple of ways. Usually the names seem to come to me and I go with them if they “feel” right. But I discovered a website that generates first and last names based on several factors of race, ethnicity, gender and genre. I’ll scroll through a few randomly generated names until I find a combination I like.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

In Reservations which was the first Jack Del Rio novel. I had decided to kill off one of the major characters and when I got to the chapter when the death was to occur I found it harder to write with each passing word. I kept going back and forth on whether or not to kill the character or not. It took me 14 hours to write that chapter and I recall finishing it, saving it and then walking away from my desk in tears when I finished writing the death scene that ended the chapter. It felt like I had murdered a loved one. But the response I have received from readers has convinced me that I made the correct decision.

 

 

  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 early books were sports non-fiction, which were easy to do coming off 20 years as a sportswriter, and then my initial fiction works were political mystery-thrillers. But my first love as a young reader was science fiction and that is the genre I will be doing most of my writing in for the foreseeable future.

  1. How long have you been writing?

Since 1983 when I started as a freelance writer. Aside from being the lead writer for two issues of a comic book series in 1986, I started as a full-time novelist in 2011 after I retired as a newspaper writer/editor in 2010.

  1. What inspires you? 

 My family. I want to leave a legacy in my writings that my children and grandchildren and their grandchildren can be proud of long after I am gone.

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

I am fortunate in that this is my full-time job so I have a nice routine that allows me to write on a regular schedule. Having worked for 20 years in newspapers where I was expected to write 2-3,000 words a day has made it something of a habit now, one that seems as natural to me as breathing.

legacy

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

Many. I am helping finish the final book written by my friend Gibson Michaels, who passed away last year before he could finish it. It would have been his fourth book and we want to make sure his readers get to read it. I am co-writing a western novel with Jim Christina, with whom I co-host an online show about writers and the craft of writing – The Writer’s Block on LA Talk Radio. I’m editing one of the 11 books in the Planetary Anthology series (and have stories in several of the others) and I am helping start up a new organization for professional creators in science fiction and fantasy, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild ( www.sffcguild.com)  .

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I have three science-fiction/fantasy projects lined up I want to finish by the end of 2018 – When the Gods Fell, Cursed Firstborn and Seadragon.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

https://scifiscribe.com/

 

Author Interview – Shawn Bird


Author-Interview-Button

 

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.

mr-ed-ebook-d

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! 🙂

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My escape on a writing retreat from 18th – 22nd May was absolutely fabulous. Surrounded by fresh spring greenery, bird song, blue skies, fellow writers and delicious food (cooked for us!) what more could a writer need? The photos above give only a glimpse of my time there. I particularly love the A frame cabin – wouldn’t that be a perfect place to have to write in?

Strawberry Creek Lodge may only be an hour or so away from home but it is a different world away from the normal reality of life. This enabled myself and my fellow writers to indulge in the written word, discuss plots, formats and support each other. With an open or closed door policy we could shut ourselves away to write or be open to conversation and walks through the woods and along the creek. The lodge is a magical place where ‘real’ life disappears allowing your creative muse to flourish. 

I did manage to achieve my writing goals at the retreat so that was an added bonus.

  • Final revisions to The Twesome Loop final word count 75,007.
  • Wrote new YA story Bubble the Gruggle word count 8306.
  • Began revisions on The Giving Thief 70,394 word count.

With my writing goals attained I can immerse myself in the ghost writing project and hopefully have the revised draft to my client by the end of May.

Have you been on a writing retreat?

What benefit did you gain?

Did you achieve your writing goals?

Books:

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger- I completed this book while on my writing retreat. The ending had a great twist to it and I found the characters to be intriguing all through the narrative. The story contains complicated relationships, past loves, new loves, strange addictions, cemetery walks, and ghosts. 

Symmentry

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn – I began this book at the retreat. It has a unique format and is good research for my novel, The Twesome Loop.

2507213

Writing Tips

Make it your business to understand grammar and language. Do you know a noun from a verb, a predicate from a preposition? Do you understand tense and verb agreement? You should.

My tip: Find a way to escape ‘normal life’ be it a road trip, a mini break at a hotel, or a weekend getaway – it doesn’t have to be far away to achieve the tranquility to write.

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

I am pleased to announce I completed the two beta-read & editing assignments given to me and both authors were happy with the feedback. One will require me to re-read once certain details are confirmed for legal consistency and correctness.

Another project – ghost writing – is proceeding well and I am waiting on some input from the client.

As for personal projects I made progress on my reincarnation romance, The Twesome Loop this past week and the word count is over 80K – so that makes me happy. There is still some polishing to do. A surprise road trip with my dear friend Linda this weekend will give me uninterrupted writing time to do this. Love when we can escape on a whim! I had to plead for a rain check with another friend for a proposed meeting this Saturday but she was accommodating. Thank you Kathie.

15073509_10207622558337301_1573629241843353787_n

The new book cover for my fantasy romance, The Rython Kingdom is in the hands of my publisher and should be ‘live’ in the next couple of weeks. All in all I am happy with my progress and writing life.

How are your projects progressing? Care to share?

Books:

I am really enjoying this book – it doesn’t give up it’s secrets quickly that’s for sure.

uninvited guests

What are you reading? 

Do you review books on Goodreads? Why not follow me for my reviews and books just click the link on the side of the page.

Writing Advice:

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”Saul Bellow

So is this true? How about you?

I know I have ‘dreamed’ scenes or story ideas but always improve on them when awake.