An interview with fantasy author, Amanda Crozier

Welcome to the latest in my series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am pleased to introduce the very talented, Amanda Crozier, creator of the fantasy novel, Ride the Wind. Amanda has selected the self-publishing route with her work and I’ve enjoyed hearing her take on the pros and cons of taking that particular road.

Cover

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Born in London, I have lived in Middlesex, Essex and Derbyshire before finally settling down in rural Suffolk. I am married with three grown up children and a grandson. A springer spaniel and a mini lop rabbit complete my family. They say never work with children or animals – I have done both in addition to working in customer service with the public. I am an avid reader, have a sense of humour, enjoy rock music and love to dance. I have a love for dragons and a tale to tell.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
As well as writing, I enjoy stitch work. I have many bespoke tapestry and cross stitch pieces that have gone to customers worldwide. I believe the furthest travelled pieces are two chair seats that went to New Zealand. I love making jewellery and my favourites are bead woven necklaces. Other interests are photography, gardening, and, of course, reading.

3. Do you have a day job as well?
I retired from working in early years childcare (2 to 4 year olds) three years ago and now do occasional bar work for events. I also earn from my stitch work.

4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Whilst in High School, English was my favourite subject and all my essays were way above the requested word count. Since September 2000, I have been volunteering at my local Primary School, hearing children read, where they need extra support. I work with all ages from Foundation Stage (4 years) up to year 6 (11 years). One lunchtime, in the school library, I had an idea for a children’s story but it was years later that I actually did something with it. A Nativity poem that I wrote for Pre-School was published in an anthology in 2013 and a short story “The Inheritance” which was originally written for my ‘O’ Level exam, was published in 2014 in a new anthology. Ride the Wind was completed in 2017 with a final pre-publication edit early in 2018.

5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
Having been around horses for most of the first half of my life, as a young adult I progressed from “pony” books to westerns. Whilst having to lay flat following an injury to my back, a friend introduced me to Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragon Riders of Pern” books. I was immediately hooked! A dragon was so much more than a horse and my allegiance changed from a lover of equines to a lover of dragons. Since then, with a few author exceptions, Sci-fi/fantasy has been my favoured genre to read.
I do not know where I get my ideas. The story flows from within me and I am often surprised when I read back. The number of times that things tie in to clues that I did not even know at the time would be a clue never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes I will see a person for the first time and think to myself that they are exactly as I already imagined a particular character – it then makes it easier to describe them and bring them to life. I also once saw a fellow passenger waiting for a train who had the most amazing carved walking stick/staff, so I just had to write it in somewhere

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
No, never. I guess I have been lucky that way, but then I do not write if I am not in the right frame of mind for it.

7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
When I started, I had a good general overview, because it was intended as a shorter children’s story. However, when I got to the concluding dragon hatching, I realised that this was not the end but merely the beginning of something far larger. I rewrote the beginning and 400 pages later, I came to the realisation that there was too much for one book. Turning my thoughts to the sequel, I decided that it could be split into three and become The Dragonlore Trilogy. Once I started on the larger story, it simply flowed as I typed. When I write, I see a picture in my mind as if I am watching a scene from a film, and I write what I see. Now and again I will see a specific scene that I have to write down, even though I may not have got to it yet – but these have been in the second book rather than the first. I do know how the second book will end, and one event that will conclude the trilogy. Meanwhile, I await the words appearing on the page from the image in my mind to truly know what will happen.

8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I have always loved books. I was read to by my father at bedtime every night before I could read and later loved reading for myself. The three authors who have inspired my love for dragons are Ann McCaffrey, her son Todd McCaffrey (both together and separately have penned the Pern series), and Robin Hobb.

9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (self-published or traditional)?
I was lucky to have the support and advice of a very good friend who is a creative writing teacher and has worked in publishing. So getting self-published was not as challenging as it would have been had I been in the position to try and do it alone without advice and support.

10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would not have had the first book on an online site, but instead, would have self-published straight away. I was happy with the take up rate for readers, except for the fact that very few leave a review whether it is positive or negative, which is frustrating to not know how it had been received.

11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
My book has not been out long, and I have had a steep learning curve, learning to use social media platforms. I have designed A6 handouts and A4 poster which I keep with me when I am out and about so I don’t lose an opportunity to promote or advertise it. In some ways, though, you cannot beat the old fashioned word of mouth, although online recommendations are also a great help. I have several other ideas for promotion, but it is early days and I need to take one step at a time. I also have my own website. One problem with the Sci-fi/fantasy genre is people either love it or you get the reaction “Oh no, I don’t read that” even when you know they never have tried the genre.

12. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
My first book has recently been self-published and is available in large format paperback and Kindle editions and is available from Amazon, your local bookstore or local library. Ride the Wind is the opening book in the Dragonlore Trilogy, written under my pen name Amanda Crozier, which also happens to be my birth name (I was adopted from birth so it was only used for a few weeks). The trilogy is suitable for any age of reader including YA.
The back cover blurb reads:
Zysal was the only person who truly believed in dragons, the ancient guardians of the peace. A War Lord has invaded, subjugating peaceful folk and taking all in his wake. Zysal’s sire, Zimadon, returns from his travels with this news for the village Elders at the Kevii Hall.

Zysal is drawn to return to a cave where he gains access to a hidden way, leading him to discover a large egg from which a dragon hatches. Magic has frozen time allowing the pair to mature together before returning to the village over the sacred waterfall.

He has to adjust to his new status as a Rider with help from two guardians who are as old as the mists of time, and whilst his sire agrees to return to the coast to gather more information, the pair need time to grow in strength, but what can they do to help the situation that is so far from their remote village?

They discover that the Kevii’s apprentice, Axen, can communicate with his dragon, Opalina, so what part will he play in the adventure that unfolds, and what will Zimadon learn when he travels down the coast with two fishermen?

13. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I draw from life observations; after all, emotions are the same whatever the setting – whether real or made up. I also draw from half a lifetime spent with horses and most of my life living in a deep rural setting to create the type of world in my book. Place and people names are made up – I will see a name and think if you change a letter there and another there, that would give a good name. Mostly though, it is the product of my imagination.

14. What project are you working on now?
I am halfway through the second book of the trilogy “Weather the Storm”.

15. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Hopefully, Weather the Storm will be ready to publish late Autumn/winter 2018.

16. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I would like to do a prequel with the back story of Opalina’s dam Carnelia and Zysal’s ancestor Kethraine.

17. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest was receiving a rude post in response to one of mine in an online book group from someone who had never even read my book. The best was when a friend who does not normally read the genre came to me after she read it saying that she had really enjoyed it and could see everything so clearly.

18. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself, especially in those moments of self-doubt! Don’t rush the end the story; let it evolve at its own pace. I find that keeping a time line helps with continuity, especially when events occur in different places.

19. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
To anyone who has taken time to read Ride the Wind – thank you for helping the dream become reality, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. It was only becoming an author that made me realise just how important reviews are to an author. So, please, always leave a review, even if it is only a few words such as “I liked it” or “good book”.

Please join me in thanking Amanda for her comprehensive answers and for sharing her experiences of the modern day publishing landscape. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Amanda via the following links.

Ride the Wind by Amanda Crozier ISBN 9 781975 939373

Amazon Author page:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07GL8QKP8

Social media contacts:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaCrozierAuthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandacrozierauthor/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/authorcrozier/
Website: https://www.

Cover photo (waterfall) by Bernd Hildebrandt (User: Barni1 http://www.pixabay.com).
Skogafoss, Iceland

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An interview with romantic thriller novelist, SR Garrae

Welcome to my latest author interview in the series. This afternoon I am delighted to welcome the outstanding novelist, SR Garrae, author of the romantic thriller; Death in focus. It has been fascinating to discover her journey to publication and I look forward to hearing more from her in the future.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in a smallish village in Scotland, but spent all my working life based in London, with a year in Russia, dealing with international finance. I read for work, I read for a hobby: basically my life revolved around reading. Then one day I was diagnosed with an incurable, but manageable, eye condition, and I re-evaluated my life and started to write. I wrote fanfiction (and still do); then I was asked to write a screenplay for a major international sector conference, which was professionally filmed, and after that and a couple of bouts of eye surgery I retired to write original works full time.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
Now, I’m retired. I go to the gym, I still read a lot, I do cross-stitch and embroidery, jigsaw puzzles, travel, and deal with my small family. I have a lot of friends all over the world and I write to them, too. I have a garden, which has more weeds than flowers, so I’m trying to tidy it up a bit.

3. Do you have a day job as well?
Not now. I did have, when I began my book. It was pretty full on, but I retired in March 2018.

4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing (fanfiction) about 5 or 6 years ago. I finished my first original book in January 2018.

5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
It was a natural choice, as I’d been writing romantic crime fiction in fanfiction for a while. However, I wanted to use my own characters, not someone else’s. The case ideas in Death in Focus came from my own experience when doing a science degree – I didn’t personally see scientific fraud, but we all knew that it existed – and in finance, where I did see fraud and the significant temptation of lots of money. The first character who came to me was O’Leary, who simply dropped wholesale into my head on a business trip. The others took longer to develop. None of them are taken from real life, though Casey Clement has taken elements from every successful professional woman I’ve known, myself included.

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Yes. But when my original work is blocked, I go back to fanfiction, which generally clears my head.

7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
When I start, I only have a very broad outline – key plot points of character, relationships, and the case. Then I start to write the story, and as I go along I expand the outline so that it’s a summary of all the key points, colour coded for case, each relationship, and team. That way I can pick up plot holes and knit them back together by using the outline to find where they should have begun, and I can make sure that I don’t leave case issues hanging. The outline is as dynamic as the full manuscript.

8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
No. I’ve read pretty much every genre from slush romance to outright horror; classics to very modern. I reread many authors, and I’d say that you can’t be any sort of a decent author if you haven’t taken time to read widely as well.

9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (self-published or traditional)?
I tried to find an agent, and failed. Self-publishing with Amazon was surprisingly easy: the biggest challenge was formatting the cover for the paperback.

10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would edit harder, and make sure that there was more dialogue.

11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I mainly market through Twitter and Amazon advertising, and there’s a certain amount of word of mouth. I could do a lot more, but I’m taking it fairly slowly.

12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No, but that’s the benefit of self-publishing.

13. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
Death in Focus is a romantic police procedural set in Manhattan. Casey Clement, a driven detective, leads a team of misfits: giant, gay O’Leary; ex-Army Tyler; technogeek Andy. All of them have secrets in their past, and none of them play nice with others outside the team. When obsessive photographer Jamie Carval, searching for a new theme, stumbles across the team and their latest corpse, he’s found his new exhibition – and he’s found Casey. As he tries to follow the team, the team are more interested in solving the murder of a top-class scientist, and following the multimillion dollar trail of motives to the door of billion-dollar business. However, Carval won’t give up his exhibition no matter how much Casey pushes him away, and as he begins to discover why she hates photographs he also begins to be accepted.

14. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
The science and the financial elements are all based on real life, though the shenanigans in the lab are not. The fraud isn’t directly taken from real life, but is a composite. The setting is real (there was a lot of wandering around Manhattan using Google Street View) as are such things as the police Academy and the CSU lab. The story is all imagination, as are all of the characters.

15. What project are you working on now?
I’m working on a sequel to Death in Focus, which will feature the same team as they delve into the ugly underbelly behind the modelling world. Past history will return to haunt the team and Carval.

16. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I’m about 2/3 through the first draft, so it’s unlikely that my next book will be ready before March/April 2019. I’ll need to edit it and get it independently read once I’ve actually finished and done my editing.

17. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I want to stay with Carval, Casey and her team. They’ve got a lot of issues to explore and interesting cases to be solved. I’m especially fond of O’Leary, as my first really big original character.

18. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism was that my writing was naïve. The best compliment, though, was that the reader couldn’t stop turning the pages.

19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Read everything you can get your hands on – even if you think you’ll hate the author and the genre.
Get a good spelling and grammar check.
Two things I learned from writing the screenplay which translate to novels: (1) have a bio for each of your notable characters – not just your main character but the subsidiaries as well. It really helps with visualisation and continuity; (2) read your dialogue aloud to ensure it’s what people would say, not a “novelised” version of speech. Real people rarely use names in conversation, for example, and they almost always use contractions (isn’t, don’t). It really, really helps.

20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you! I hope you enjoy reading Death in Focus and I’d love you to join me on the next one. I take questions and comments on Goodreads and Twitter, and they will be answered.

Please join me in thanking SR Garrae for engaging with me and opining up with some revealing insights into the life of an author. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact her via the following links.

Social media contacts:
Twitter: @Garrae_writes
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/srgarrae

Please show your appreciation by checking out SR Garrae’s work on Amazon:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07D5DPKNK
Death in Focus on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D59T9VV

 

An interview with contemporary romance novelist, Kate McBrien

Welcome to the latest in my series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am pleased to introduce the very talented, Kate McBrien, creator of the contemporary romance novels, Waiting For You and Discovering You. Kate has selected the self-publishing route with her work and I’ve enjoyed hearing her take on the pros and cons of taking that particular road.


1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and live by the beach. I have a BA in humanities and an MA in art history. I taught art history at a local college, but quit when I realized I’d rather be a student than teach.
I love the Beatles, the Kinks, and the Moody Blues (music plays an important role in my books).

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
I enjoy reading, cooking, art, movies, taking my dog to the beach, listening to music…

3. Do you have a day job as well?
I work part-time as a dental hygienist. Free advice: everyone should floss.

4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve always enjoyed writing for school, but that’s a lot different than creative writing. In 2007, a friend convinced me to try National Novel Writing Month and I loved it!

5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
I started writing historical fiction, and I swear I will finish that book one day, but I wanted to write something with a happy ending. So, I decided to write a contemporary romance.

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
YES. Hasn’t everyone?

7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
It depends. I’m a panster by nature, but I do outline.

8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Katherine by Anya Seton fuelled my interest in historical (romance) fiction
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett was exquisite.

9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (self-published or traditional)?
There are so many books out there, it’s overwhelming. I decided to self-publish. The challenges are great. So many different hats to wear in order to get a book out there. Finding the help you need and can afford is a constant challenge.

10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would have spent more time working with a community of writers to find reliable beta readers or a critique partner. I’m very social by nature, but when it comes to my writing, I’m pretty isolated. I’m reluctant to show my work to just anyone. I want to really learn the craft and not just gather opinions because listening to so many differing opinions can be misleading. I have to seek advice when I need it, but ultimately, I’m the one who must choose what changes to make.

11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I just self-published my first book July 2018, so this part is new to me and I’m still trying to figure it out. The romance market is huge and it’s a challenge to get noticed. I did hire a PR company to do some promo work. It definitely helped get my book in front of people I would never been able to do on my own, but because it’s my first book it’s difficult to know how much this translated to actual sales.

12. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
My first book was the first book of a trilogy. The second book will be released in October, and the third book will be released in January.

13. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
My trilogy is about past lives. I had a friend who really believed in it and I thought it would be an interesting subject to work with. I mean, what if it was true?

14. What project are you working on now?
The novella that will follow up the trilogy. Because the trilogy is angsty, I thought it would be fun to write something more fun.

15. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Waiting for You is the second book of the Indigo Trilogy. It releases October 15, 2018.

16. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Writing a trilogy is a world-building experience. I hope to write three spin-off standalone novels using secondary characters.

17. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Toughest: I use the word “toward” too many times.
Best: I write great banter.

18. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Start writing. Keep writing. Never give up. Also, read the books by authors you admire.

19. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I appreciate each and every one of you and I hope to write many more books that explore contemporary relationships with passion and wit.

Please join me in thanking Kate for her comprehensive answers and for sharing her experiences of the modern day publishing landscape. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Kate via the following links.

Social media contacts:
Website: http://http://www.katemcbrien.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateMcBrien1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateMcBrienWrites/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17988289.Kate_McBrien
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katemcbrien8315/?hl=en
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kate-mcbrien

Link to publications:
https://www.amazon.com/Kate-McBrien/e/B07CW6W91Y/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1526092556&sr=8-1

An interview with Ugandan author, Achiro P. Olwoch

After a brief break, during which I have got married and finally published my first novel, I am pleased to welcome you all back to the latest in a series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am thrilled to introduce the gifted Ugandan writer and film maker, Achiro P. Olwoch, author of Achiro’s Kamunye Conversations, Achiro’s Taste, and Achiro’s Notes. Achiro is self-published and I’ve enjoyed hearing her take on the process.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Achiro P. Olwoch and I am a Ugandan writer, playwright and film maker.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
I enjoy watching movies, binging on boxsets or reading.

3. Do you have a day job as well?
I am a full time freelance writer and film maker.

4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing about 15 years ago but I was transcribing and writing someone else’s books as he recorded his thoughts using a voice recorder. Soon after that though, I started my own book and wrote it in three months.

5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
I usually write drama stories. Most of my stories are based on real life situations but I add a twist of imagination unless I am shooting documentary film, then it is as is.

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Yes, yes and yes. But sometimes I think it is more procrastination than anything else.

7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I start off with an idea and then start to write. When the ideas start to flood, then I make an outline. I also allow my thoughts to flow freely so even if I am writing from an outline, I may not always stick to it.

8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Yes, J.K Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkein and Alexander McCall Smith. The first two authors because their sense of imagination is just out of this world. And Alexander because he captures the attention of the reader with his sense of humour and his power of description.

9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
So far I have self-published all my books. I have been turned down numerously by publishers mainly because what I had was not what they were looking for at the time. My biggest challenge as a self-published author is marketing my books.

10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would start marketing it way before it has been printed.

11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I use social media especially and word of mouth. My family and friends have been my best marketers to date and this has worked well so far.

12. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
My upcoming book is set in the 70’s and is a story about life of the people in Uganda during the rule of the dictator Idi Amin through the eyes of one man.

13. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
It is based on a couple of real life stories but I dare say it is getting cloudy now because those stories are re-occurring this day and age by the present government. It is almost like history is repeating itself as I write my book.

14. What project are you working on now?
Working on completing my late Father’s book; completing a couple of documentary films; and writing a feature film.

15. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Hopefully, yes with the coming year.

16. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I love history and drama and I love to write on real life situations.

17. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I will start with the compliment; my writing is easy and down to earth. The toughest criticism, I occasionally breeze through a story and do not describe the situations enough.

18. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Keep your day job until you can actually pay your bills through your writing. Still, do not give up on your writing and try and write a bit every day even if it is just in your diary.

19. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you and keep buying my books and films.

Please join me in thanking Achiro for taking part in this interview and for sharing her experiences as a self-published author. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Achiro P. Olwoch via the following links.

Social media contacts: Twitter: @achirop

Website: http://www.achiropolwoch.com

An interview with multi-genre Author, Owen Richards

Welcome to the latest in my series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am pleased to introduce, Owen Richards, multi genre author of number of novels including, “A Fool’s Errand” and “Neither Here, Nor There.” Owen has opted to take the self-published route with his novels and has offered some cogent advice for anyone planning to undertake a similar journey.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Owen G. Richards is a pen name – I take the credit/blame for all my efforts as Owen.
Youngest child of nine, went to sixteen different schools by the time I was sixteen – due to travelling with the family.
My work experience has included Telecommunications, Information Technology, Building, Plumbing and Electrical work and international contracts, ranking from basic dogsbody to manager and back again.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, which tends to be periods of short duration, I fill my time either playing mind numbing games to eradicate any lingering thoughts relating to any of my work, or I’m messing about with Twitter, which is a fairly recent development. TV? No, don’t have one.

3. Do you have a day job as well?

My occupation is that of a teacher of English as a foreign language and it can be very demanding. However there are times when the rewards far outweigh the effort I put in to the lessons. Most recently a student commented that it had been a pleasure to have the lessons.

4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I first started writing at school, though my early efforts were stifled by the requirement for essays in place of fiction. I resumed writing later in life perhaps mid-thirties when I realised that with my ex-wife in control of the television, the evening’s entertainment would consist of soap operas, soap operas and more soap operas. I finished my first novel (an epic) within six months, if I recall correctly.

5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?

The genres that chose me to write them are predominantly SciFi, Fantasy and Horror, though I am experimenting with others. As for where the ideas come from that’ll be anything, anywhere and at any time. One story was provoked by someone saying – “It doesn’t matter.” – at an inappropriate time.

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Writer’s block is a right royal pain in the butt, and when we first encounter it, it seems insurmountable. But there are various methods for getting round it, from taking a break to changing the subject to one you wouldn’t normally write about. It takes time to identify what works for you, but don’t be afraid to try anything.

7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

A bit of both, and it depends which story I’m working on. Sometimes there is no time for planning as the story demands to be told NOW!
8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

There are too many to mention, from a wide variety of genres, though my reading has been dramatically curtailed since I started writing. I actually studied English Literature for a while and if I have to blame anyone for the pleasure I get from writing it would be my English Literature Teacher.

9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (self-published or traditional)?

I am self-published, but I am not someone who is any good whatsoever at the marketing aspect. I produce the book, publish it and usually make a single announcement just to say it’s out there on the bookshelf. I can’t ring the bells and bang the drums and shout – “look at me and my stuff”.

10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

With any first efforts you’re either a total genius, which I’m not, or you have regrets. My biggest regret is impatience. I rushed to write, without gaining any real experience and without remembering how others wrote their books. And I rushed to publish and perhaps should have tried harder to find an agent or publisher.

11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

Answered that one – I’m bloody useless at it.

12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I love all my books. I’m hoping to take my current WIP – probably a trilogy – down the agent publisher route. People seem to be quite excited about it when I describe it, or share snippets.

13. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?

My WIP – a sixteen-year-old orphan is thieving from a military shipyard in an effort to produce something to provide him with a future that does not include the draft. He gets shanghaied by an escaped blob of pico-technology and finds himself starting his adventure aboard a salvage vessel – the Resurrection. His father died in an experimental spacecraft, his mother subsequently committed suicide – at least that is what he believes. You’d need to follow his adventures to find out if he is able to discover the truth, or not.
Nope, not good at writing a synopsis either!

14. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Some small (undisclosed) parts are based on experience, but a lot of it is fiction. To write without including something of yourself in the story – even in horror stories – leaves the writing a little flat. Experience, desires, aspirations are all good elements to include. If you can’t feel it, your readers won’t feel it either.

15. What project are you working on now?

The Trilogy – Resurrection, Renegades and Revelations are the three working titles – the saga of Thomas Andrew McNulty.

16. Will you have a new book coming out soon?

Soon, no… I hope to finish all three books before I begin touting them around.

17. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I take each and every theme on it’s own merit. Maybe I do revisit some themes because they are related to the better qualities of the human animal. I’d revisit characters if they could be written into stories with continuity, or episodes.

18. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest – a report written about my first story, produced by a “reader”, whom I am pretty sure was on her menopause – though I will admit it was badly written – she gave 0 encouragement – hence I had a long hiatus before returning to writing.
The best feedback – when a reviewer compared my most recent publication to ‘Game of Thrones’ – they said it could have been an episode.

19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Learn from any source, any person, any other written work but mainly be prepared to learn from experience – and those can be the best lessons, though some will be brutal, some will be sublime.

20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

To my (few) readers I say – thanks for taking the time/making the effort to read my work. And fans… don’t know that I really have any, but I’d like to say – I hope that I can continue to produce works/commentaries that you can appreciate and enjoy.

Please join me in thanking Owen Richards for his candid and insightful responses regarding the publishing industry and for sharing his journey as a writer. If you would like to ask any further questions, please use the facilities available below and show your appreciation by checking out his work on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Owen-G.-Richards/e/B01LYI7AZE/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

An interview with horror author, Scott West

Welcome to the latest in my series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am pleased to introduce the gifted author, Scott West, creator of the horror novel, “Ghosts On The Highway”. Scott selected the self-publication route after attempting to track down a traditional contract. It has been interesting hearing his take on the positives and negatives associated with both routes and his experience in general.

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1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a writer/musician living in the pacific northwest. We moved up here when I was three years old and I guess I’ve got moss growing on my toes and mountain-fresh river-water in my veins because it’s still a place I love. I’m a comic book collector and horror movie aficionado. I also like to occasionally use words like “aficionado” to make myself seem smarter. Trying to be an adult and not lose my sense of wonder or love of the strange and offbeat.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
When the weather is good, I might be hiking around in the woods, looking for Sasquatch. Most likely, you can find me with a book in my hand, though. I haven’t played in a band for a couple of years now, but I haven’t put my guitar away forever. It seems that when I’m playing music, the writing takes a back seat. But increasingly the writing has become the focus of my life and music is more of a hobby at this point.

3. Do you have a day job as well?
I work for the library.

4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing all my life, but got serious about it about ten years ago. If you mean, when did I start the book, itself–that would have been in 2014. I finished it in 2015 and published it on New Year’s Day, 2016. There was a long and winding path to that finally happening.

5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
I think the genre generally chooses the writer, and my muse has always been a bit of a devilish figure that lurks in the shadows, beckoning me to write about the weird, the fantastic, the frightening or the preternatural. I’ve always had a fascination with horror–in fiction, movies, comics, etc. This is where my writing tends to lean, although I will write about anything that to comes to mind, takes up residence and refuses to leave until I type it out. Ideas are all around us. Learn to observe and remember. Eventually, a couple of disparate things will clash unexpectedly and often a story will be the result.

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I experience periods of laziness, where if something is proving too hard to describe the way I want I will let it lie and tell myself it’s writer’s block. But I’ve never just had nothing to write about.

7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I might have a vague idea in my head where a story is going, but I’ve never been able to work to an actual outline. I like the freedom of the story going wherever it wants to (to an extent–I also like playing God and forcing my will on the poor saps inhabiting my stories).

8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Ray Bradbury. As a kid I loved his work for the wonderful language and sheer brilliant imagination. As an adult I have a whole different appreciation for the bravery (although I doubt he thought of it that way) to truly be himself, to be one-of-a-kind, and not change his work to fit in with accepted styles of the time. And he succeeded spectacularly! Reading Tom Sawyer as a child, and then Huckleberry Finn a couple years later, was also hugely influential. Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury, John Steinbeck, Stephen King, Philip K. Dick and Harlan Ellison – those are pretty much to my go-to guys.

9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I tried, unsuccessfully, to find a traditional publisher. The rejections I received were pretty uniform: “We don’t know what genre this falls under”, “We wouldn’t know how to market this”, etc. Honestly, part of me was relieved. Coming from a DIY, sort of punk rock music background, I have been pretty used to having creative control over my projects. I had a great cover–an eerie, black and white picture by a local photographer, Tom Moore–some little visual things inside–and I really wanted to hang onto those. The real challenge is that I sat on the book for about a year while I was going through some personal struggles, and when I came out on the other side of that and had to start thinking about what to do with it, I had no inclination to go through another round of rejections. About this time, I found out a co-worker was self-publishing books and after talking with her pretty extensively about the pros and cons, decided that would be the best course for Ghosts On The Highway.

10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Although I’m happy with the way things turned out, and the amount of support and great feedback I’ve gotten from people, I think if I could go back I might actually try a little longer to find a traditional publisher. Mainly, because I’m just curious to see what would have happened.

11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Marketing has always been the hardest part, and that goes for all my musical projects, as well. I’m just not interested in that aspect of being a writer (or musician). Unfortunately, it seems more and more that an artist really does need to also be their own PR person. I’m getting slightly better at it. I was highly skeptical at first, but Twitter has actually been very effective–I’ve sold quite a few books through Twitter, even with my extremely limited marketing skills. Because my book is a little fuzzy around the edges, genre-wise, I’m able to deceptively infiltrate a lot of different literary enclaves, which is beneficial. It seems like the horror community has been very receptive to the book, which makes me happy because, even though Ghosts On The Highway doesn’t easily fit into that genre, it does share some aspects and I think a lot of horror fans have picked up on that. Other avenues for me have just been lots of word of mouth, networking with other writers, especially indie writers, and sharing each other’s work.

12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Oh, several! Maybe someday they will see the light…

13. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
The book I’m working on currently is the story of a very buttoned-down, well-adjusted, no-nonsense young man who has an unexpected encounter with something so mysterious and foreign that his entire life is upended and he begins to question everything he’s ever believed, all the minutiae–all the way down to the One Great Question of the Ages: What’s it all about?

14. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
The main character, John, is based partly on a real man I met at a gig in Seattle–a huge Native American who was living on the street and writing poetry in journals that he carried around in a garbage bag. John’s struggles with mental illness and medication are inspired by own experiences in those areas. The mythology that holds the story together is based on Coast Salish legends and history. The story itself is pure imagination, though.

15. What project are you working on now?
I have the above-mentioned novel and several short stories in the works. I also just recorded the first episode of a podcast I’ll be doing with my friend and co-host, Mike Longmire, who played bass in my first band. We’ll be talking about our musical misadventures with many, hopefully interesting, tangents. It’s called Feedback and Forth and should be out soon on iTunes and hopefully a few other platforms.

16. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Swan River Press just released the anthology, “Uncertainties Volume III” which contains my story, “Ashes to Ashes”. I’m very humbled to be included alongside Joyce Carol Oates, Lisa Tuttle, and several more award-winning writers.

17. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
My head is so full of vivid characters, I’m usually happy leaving the ones I’ve already written about where they are and move on to the next. As far as theme, I feel like I’m chasing the same one or two, but in different ways. There’s always something more I’m trying to understand about myself. I think I put my characters through the wringer in the hopes that if they can make it through, then probably I can, too.

18. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I’ve never had a criticism levelled at me that I couldn’t learn from. Probably the harshest was being told by an editor that my “endings suck”. I actually couldn’t argue with her about that. But it forced me to work harder to fix that, and I hope that I have gotten better.
The best compliment, easily, was from a friend who told me that he never reads fiction, but he read mine because we’re friends, and he told me that he went from reading Scott’s book, to reading A book, to actually getting lost in the story and not realizing it until he came to the end. That, coming from a non-reader, really meant a lot to me. I think that’s the ultimate compliment for a writer.

19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Read as much as you write, and write every day.

20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Just to say thank you and I very much appreciate every single person who has bought, read, reviewed, passed on or even mentioned Ghosts On The Highway to someone else. Read voraciously and if you have any kind of creative urge, yourself–follow it! There can never be too many stories!

Please join me in thanking Scott for his open and candid responses regarding the publishing industry and for sharing his experiences and journey as a writer. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Scott direct via the following links.

Social media contacts:
Twitter: @ScottMWest
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5448463.Scott_West
Facebook: @KingDinosaur6669

Please show your appreciation by checking out his work on Amazon:

Ghosts On The Highway (novel) – currently available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle format
“Sepulchro de Demonios” (short story) – Corpus Pretereo (anthology)
“The Monster in the Meadow” (short story) – Tales of the Talisman (magazine)
“Ashes to Ashes” (short story) – Uncertainties Volume III, currently available at http://swanriverpress.ie/titles.html

An interview with the multi genre author, Ellington Norris

Welcome to the latest in my series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am pleased to introduce, Ellington Norris, multi genre author of number of novels including, “Killer’s Forest” and “Immortal Curse.” Ellington has opted to take the self-published route with his novels and has offered some cogent advice for anyone planning to undertake a similar journey.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My pen name is Ellington Norris, I’m in my 30s, and I’m married with four kids. I decided to write under a pen name because my wife was concerned that my co-workers and other acquaintances would read my writing and feel perturbed by the intensity of it all.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
Outside of my day job, I enjoy reading, I just read “The Maltese Falcon” and I’m reading “Watership Down” right now. Having four kids also keeps me very busy taking time with them. Other than that, I enjoy movies, TV shows, and a few other odds and ends here and there.

3. Do you have a day job as well?
Yes! I’m a lawyer for a mid-size law firm. I primarily do litigation and court-room work, but also help with contract drafting and negotiating. It has helped in my writing career because I can represent myself.

4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I have wanted to be a writer since I was about 9-10 years old, and I wrote all sorts of things all the time from that age on. My first book I wrote was a collection of short stories I wrote with my brother about our experience selling alarm systems door to door in Kansas City. Killer’s Forest is my first novella, and it took me about 3 months to write my first draft, followed by about 2 years of editing!

5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
I’m not tied to one specific genre. My next book after Killer’s Forest will likely be a detective-noire, meanwhile I have a spy novel and a sci-fi novel idea I’m working on as well. Many of my ideas come from long contemplation where I adapt little experiences in my own life into bigger, grander events. I also get quite a few ideas from dreams, as well, and adapt those into actual stories.

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Of course, who doesn’t! My biggest struggle is getting through the middle-part of a book. I usually have a great beginning and an idea of where it will end, but bridging the middle-part is toughest.

7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I usually know where things are going, so I just write. Sometimes I’ll put an outline together for more complex stories with lots of characters to make sure I don’t forget anyone in the story.

8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Novels by Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton really spurred me forward in reading and writing in my teens. Those books were what kept me interested in reading for years, and really helped me get a good sense of what a book should feel like.

9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
My biggest hurdle was editing my story into a stronger piece. Between the family, the day job, moving, selling my house, changing jobs, starting the new job, moving to the new job; all of that took time and energy and editing my novel just took a back-seat to all of that. Once I had it edited and in final form, I knew that if I took the time to shop around to agents and publishers, it’d be another year before it hit shelves due to my limited time, so I opted to self-publish.

10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would do it the same. I love the writing process and love seeing a story come together, and Killer’s Forest came together so well in so many ways that it just felt right every step along the way. I don’t mind being self-published, so I have no qualms there, either.

11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I enjoy marketing to “writer twitter” because there are great folks online who are happy to retweet or help you promote your work. I also am considering a small run of ads on amazon, but I haven’t taken the dive, yet.

12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
While Killer’s Forest is my first novella, I have a few other short stories and works that will likely never get widely published because of the limited market for short stories and the limited time I have to market my work.

13. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
Yes! Killer’s Forest is a dark psychological thriller set in colonial Pennsylvania. It is about Al, Will, and Johnny. After Al and Will witness a murder in the forest near their small village, Al starts to feel himself drawn towards the idea of death. His friendships with Will and Johnny are tested, and when the new girl moving to the village takes an interest in Al, Al spins a web of lies to keep his dark desires a secret. It twists and turns several times before a great ending. I really enjoyed writing it and really feel like it is a book driven by the main character’s interactions with all of the side-characters. Killer’s Forest comes out August 26.

14. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
When I had the original idea for the book, it was actually supposed to be based upon four young boys who spur the Salem Witch Trials–telling lies and staging events so that another “witch” would get burned/hung. I thought that was too predictable and campy and moved it forward 50-100 years to 1750s Pennsylvania, instead, and that’s where the first paragraph of the book opens.

15. What project are you working on now?
Next up is my detective noire, set in modern day. The book opens on a suicide note that reads “this is not a suicide note.” The detective assigned to the case is a once-famous, turned lazy detective who has to dig deep and resolve his own demons to solve this one. I’m still not sure how it will end but its going to have a similar psychological feel as Killer’s Forest, but with many more side characters and a bit of a “whodunit” feel as it all comes together in the end.

16. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
So Killer’s Forest comes out August 26, then the detective-noire book will hopefully drop late spring of next year. My hope is to keep the releases around 9 months apart for all future books.

17. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I know that series are all the rage, but I have a hard time bringing myself to draft a series. I feel like character development is just so much fun to do, and having a series you really have to stall that character development in order to break up the book, and I hate to do that to my characters. I’d rather see them start, grow, and end (or die, in many case) instead of pause the growth for 25 chapters so that I can get a 2nd book out of it.
That said, I do have a few books that I think could work as a series, but they are much more story-driven than character driven…or they have so many deaths that the characters change a lot from book to book.

18. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
As far as criticism, I have had a few of those “1-star” amazon reviews that are not helpful, just something along the lines of “you have bad grammar your the worst writer” (ironically with poor grammar, itself) or people who just say “I just don’t like this kind of book.” The worst criticism to receive is the criticism that you don’t understand or that you cannot work on because its either vague or is based upon something you can’t change, like the genre of your work.
As for the best compliment? People saying they couldn’t put the book down is an amazing one. I’m the type of reader that, when I pick up a good book, I will not put it down for anything. I love knowing that someone felt the same about my book.

19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
There’s the basic ones like “never stop writing” and “believe in yourself,” but here’s something else: write something real. Every story will have something real, whether that’s real emotion or real situations. Even if your story features space pirates or medieval dragons, you can write some real emotion from your own experience to make that book real to your readers. As an example, Killer’s Forest is a dark psychological thriller, but I put something of myself in each and every character to make sure that readers will find someone to connect with, and I’ve had numerous people say they either liked Al, Will, or Johnny the best of the three, which tells me I did something right. You can do the same. Make your characters real people with real feelings and your readers will accurately respond.

20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
To my fan(s), thank you for reading my work and sharing it with friends. To readers who aren’t fans yet, please keep reading! I write the kind of books and stories that my mind has had trapped inside for years, and I’m sure I’ll tap into something you’ll love.

Please join me in thanking Ellington Norris for his candid and insightful responses regarding the publishing industry and for sharing his journey as a writer. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Ellington direct via the below social media links.

Twitter: @ellington.norris

Please show your appreciation by checking out Ellington’s work on Amazon.com.

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=Ellington+Norris&search-alias=digital-text&text=Ellington+Norris&sort=relevancerank

An interview with historical fiction author, Intrigue Sui Generis

Welcome to the latest in a series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am thrilled to introduce the very gifted, Intrigue Sui Generis, author of the historical fiction novel, The Witch Trials, The Becoming. Intrigue has chosen the self-publishing route and I’ve enjoyed hearing her take on the process.

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1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a life time learner with a particular penchant for medieval history. I love going back to the primary sources and pulling them apart, dissecting them to give me a better understating of how past events have helped mould and shape present day society.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
I play the violin, paint and take my children on adventures!

3. Do you have a day job as well?
I am starting an online retail store and recently started a publishing company.

4. When did you first start writing and when did you complete your first novel?
I started writing when I was 12. For reasons I won’t go into, I found myself grounded for a whole month and was bored out of my mind. My sister and I used the time to write stories to pass the time and try and entertain one another. To cut a long story short, I was bitten by the writing bug and my first book was finished 10 years ago. That said I am still re-writing it 10 years on, I’ve honed the craft over time and feel now is a good time to go back and look at the novel with fresh eyes and ideas. It’s amazing how I’ve been able to improve it already!

5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
I always wanted to write historical fiction. I love that I can lose myself in History and almost live alongside my characters during my first draft. A distinct timeframe also gives me a defined focus for the research phase, otherwise I’d simply lose myself in our planet’s fascinating past!

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
No, I honestly have so many ideas that pop into my head it’s hard to get them down before I forget them. There are so many I have yet to develop, time is my main problem.

7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I write an outline for historical fiction, but tend to allow my imagination to wander when writing regular fiction.

8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Karen Hancock, The Guardian King series and The Coldest Winter Ever, by Sister Souljah. They are amazing.

9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (self-published or traditional)?
I chose the self-publishing route and I must say, what I didn’t appreciate was how long the process actually is. From Editing, copy-editing, proof reading to cover art design everything takes weeks or even months. One has to learn to be patient way after the first (or even second or third) draft of the book is actually complete. It could still be years before anyone will actually pick up and appreciate your work.

10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Yes. Personally I would have created the book trailer way ahead of publishing date and been able to have It released at the same time as the book or possibly during the pre-sale period.

11. How do you market your work?
What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Social media (Twitter), my website (https://intriguingpages.com/), press releases and word of mouth. I am still investigating which avenues work best for my particular genre.

12. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
The Witch Trials series is a very informative, action packed way of telling the history of the witch trials themselves and how that contributed to other norms within our society.

13. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Yes, the events in this book are based on real events, but the characters are all fictitious.

14. What project are you working on now?
Marketing for The Witch Trials book one and I’ve just started writing the second in the Witch Trials series. I’m hoping to release it by the end of 2018.

15. Are there certain characters you would like to write again?
You can expect to see Sylvie in book 2.

16. What has been your greatest compliment as a writer?
My favourite compliment has been that they could not put the book down once they started reading it.

17. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Never give up. Perseverance is key, whether you are self or traditionally published.

18. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Please go out and get yourself a copy of Witch Trials: The Becoming http://a.co/8eQQsIK.
It is a short read and action packed. A necessary predecessor for the next book in the series. You will not be disappointed. There is something in there for both genders. History must not be forgotten.

Please join me in thanking Intrigue for taking part in this interview and for sharing her experiences as a self-published author. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Intrigue Sui Generis via the following links. Please show your appreciation by checking out her work on Amazon using the above link.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IntrigueGeneris
Website: https://intriguingpages.com/

An interview with YA author, Christopher Galvin

Welcome to the latest in my series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am pleased to introduce the talented author, Christopher Galvin, creator of the children’s fantasy novel, Strings. Christopher has selected the self-publishing path and it has been interesting to find out his take on the positives and negatives associated with his experience.

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1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m from Co. Offaly in Ireland. My background is in TV and film. I have a BA Hons Degree in Video. I’ve always enjoyed writing since I was very young, whether it was short stories or plays or comics. I write short films which seem to do reasonably well on the film festival circuit – the last one was called Stuck. I really enjoyed writing and co-directing that one.
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
Marketing my book! Pushing it on social media etc. But I’m also a videographer so I edit videos etc. too.
3. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing since I was old enough to pick up a pen, but my first book… I recently finished the third draft of my first novel, Arthur Smallwood’s Quest for Magic, which I’ve begun to submit to agents. Although ASQM is technically the first book I completed, Strings, is the first book I published. It’s a children’s fantasy book which I’ve self-published on Amazon and came out earlier this year.
4. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
I’m not sure I have a genre as such, but there’s usually something supernatural added whether its monsters or ghosts etc. but I wouldn’t classify it as horror. Maybe drama or comedy with a hint of the unusual about it.
As for where I get my ideas… Sometimes they jump out at me from nowhere. Other times they have been developed from something else. For example, Strings came about because I read about a competition for a story which had certain ground rules (i.e. the protagonist had to be a certain age and had to meet certain people). I simply started writing the requested scene and a couple of hours later I created the basis of a story around a young girl, her imaginary friend and their discovery of a mysterious puppet theatre materialising in her room. After writing that piece I started thinking about what would happen next, so I just continued to write and finished it in a few days.
5. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Yes. The way your head goes blank. It’s frustrating but it can be overcome. Either by sitting there thinking it through, or by walking away and going about your business. Usually when that happens the ideas eventually start flowing again.
6. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I just write. Most times I’ll have thought about it a lot, building the story in my head, but when I sit down, I simply write. I can edit out the bad bits later. I’m a great believer in just letting the words flow, especially with a first draft.
7. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I suppose the author or authors that stick out are Stephen King and Terry Pratchett. Their styles, while miles apart, really appeal to me. King’s strength is in his great build up of suspense and the horror he can unleash. Pratchett’s is his wonderful way with world play and his characters. Imagine combining those styles together!
8. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (self-published or traditional)?
When I wrote Strings I thought, well I’ll self-publish it. This was on the basis the experience would give me a better understanding of the market and the process if I decide to self-publish, Arthur Smallwood’s Quest for Magic. Publishing it on Amazon was fairly straightforward and went well. The decision on the size of the paperback was a challenge and the cover design certainly had its issues (although I’m pleased with the result). Sales went fine for the first few days (family and friends buying it) but there comes a time when you have to reach out to an audience of strangers and say, ‘Here’s my book – I think you’ll like it!’ I’m still trying to figure out how to do that effectively.
9. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I post about it on twitter and Facebook. I have a Facebook page for Strings and an Instagram account for it too. I made three short trailers for it (I think the last one got the most response) and I had a one-day sale where the digital version was free for the day. I haven’t cracked the market by any means but I’m constantly researching and plugging away.
10. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
Well, I mentioned Strings which is about a young Irish girl who has trouble making friends. She ends up creating an imaginary friend who helps her through her ups and downs. But some malevolent force has detected she is unhappy and initiates a plan to lull her into the magical town of Puppet Town. Now, Puppet Town is great, has marionettes and shadow puppets and hand puppets etc but if she stays there for 24 hours she will become a puppet too and can never go back home. The remainder of the tale follows her journey to do just that.
Arthur Smallwood’s Quest for Magic is a bit more complex and is aimed at the YA market. I’ll talk more about that when it’s ready to go.
11. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it purely imaginative?
One or two little pieces that reflect my own life but mostly pure imagination.
12. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been your greatest compliment?
The toughest I think is that I’m very much in a hurry to get things written and done. In the past my first drafts were ‘it’. I didn’t bother with editing much. But that has changed for the better and I’m more patient. You kind of have to be. It makes your writing better. My greatest compliment is probably that I tend to make things very vivid – if you read my stories you can really imagine what the characters are feeling and the worlds they inhabit.
13. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
This is hard as I’d still describe myself as an aspiring writer. That said I guess my advice would be firstly to take your time and don’t rush a project. Give as much time to perfecting your work as you can. Secondly is simply to keep writing – don’t wait for inspiration to arrive before writing, it won’t! You have to work at your craft, inspiration rarely just appears and if you simply waited you’d be staring at a blank page most of the time. Finally you must engage with those willing to help. Let people read your work; if you are lucky enough to be friends with someone who can edit, don’t be shy about passing over your manuscript! They are a huge help and can improve your writing. If you have writing heroes follow them and keep reading. Sometimes going to a book signing can push you to want to have one of your own. *takes a deep breath and ends answer*
14. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Please pick up a copy of Strings and take a look. While it’s a kid’s book, it’s also not. I would imagine a lot of adults now might feel some of what Mary is feeling and enjoy her adventure. And if you do, please leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Not only is It a huge boost when you read about someone loving the story you have told but reviews are the life blood of a self-published author and essential if new readers are to discover our work.

Please join me in thanking Christopher for the insight into his publication journey and for sharing his more general writing experiences. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Christopher via the following links.

Please show your appreciation by checking out his work on Amazon:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1981099468

Social media contacts:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisGalvin1981
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stringsbook/

Previous publications:
http://www.fishamble.com/fishamble-diaries/playsonatrain-my-lovely-molly-by-christopher-galvin

Donald Trump ate my Hamster – Crowdfunding a Novel

Fake news but amused me when I saw the shock tactic title on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wckL_lqL4aE – The video is irrelevant but I’m guessing the title may have drawn in more viewers than it should have received! Perhaps it’s something I should learn from…

I’ve just sat through my lunchbreak re-tweeting anything of vague interest appearing on my feed whilst intermittently checking the landing page of my crowdfunding project. Life has certainly changed from those heady and long forgotten days of just logging in and simply writing for the sheer joy of it.

I’m now a nervous wreck of a man, complete with sweaty palms and a nervous tick as I patiently pray for someone somewhere to click on my project – and God forbid – pledge their support. 96% now… 96 – a number I loved two days ago and now loath with abandon at its stubborn refusal to remove itself from my screen, making way for my new and upcoming love… number 97.

My relationship with Penguin’s crowdfunding publishing platform, Unbound, began almost six months ago now. Little did I know when I whooped and hollered at my acceptance email that this single word, crowdfunding, would impact on my life in so many different ways.

I’d just entered a world I knew nothing about, a world full of sharks wanting to separate you from your hard earned cash.

“We have thousands of contacts ready to crowdfund your project!” – No you don’t…

“We can market you on Twitter (or Facebook) to our 500,000 followers!” – Fake followers…

“We can DM all your Twitter followers and guarantee £££!” – Errr no you can’t…

There are so many of these preying vulture sites out in the internet ether, I can’t keep up. Maybe some of them do work, but I can safely say most of them will not work for first time authors. If you are currently in the same crowdfunding boat as I am, then as far as I have worked out there are really only three “guaranteed” mechanisms at your disposal. Your friends and family, their friends and family and anyone you have ever worked or had a relationship with in any capacity. This is where the majority of your initial pledges will be coming from.

It is all very well looking at Facebook and Twitter and dreaming but once online, your project will join hundreds of thousands of others, all of which are competing for the attention of potential backers and readers. It’s a tough environment to enter – as I know all too well.

Since the start of my campaign I’ve tweeted nearly two thousand times, acquired nearly ten thousand followers and spent hours doing so. So much so, there are people out there thinking I’m a bot! The infamous twitter trolls are certainly out there but luckily I don’t seem to be coming across too many. Those crossing my path just get blocked and quickly. I’m told engaging with them is the worst thing you can do. Plus it feels good to block rude people. It’s bizarre that people who have no interest in what you’re doing seem to want to interact more than those who are interested! I digress.

Although I’ve picked up four or five pledges via Twitter, I’m hoping the platform will show it’s true worth once the book is actually published. People are much more likely to spend two or three pounds/dollars or a product they will receive immediately rather than for something to arrive later. It’s probably the same for Facebook but I’m struggling with that medium at the moment (over and above contacting my own friend base).

The same long game style tactic goes for my Website. The first thing I was advised to do was set up a website “to legitimise” my claim to be an author. Although initially good fun, keeping it up to date with interesting blogs and information is not an easy task. Just coming up with potential topics is hard enough. Then you’ve got to write it, find interesting pictures, edit it, worry that it’s crap and then release it anyway. Again I know this is all a necessary evil to inspire whoever might be reading to click a link, but it’s something else I didn’t really think about when signing off with a flourish at the end of my novel.

I’ve been very lucky with my backers so far and in particular my brother in law and his Company have been amazing. Without him I’m not sure what I would be doing now. Writing off for Company sponsorship might have been a possibility; along with setting up workshops; pledge parties; reading to children at local libraries and perhaps a talk or two on the crowdfunding process. These tactics are now all in reserve for the sequel’s campaign (the well of goodwill from my friends and family is definitely drying by the day…) and I expect the night terrors leading up to such events will form the subject of another blog.

I don’t know who I’ve aimed this blog at but if you want to share your experiences or perhaps use me to bounce some ideas off, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

In the meantime, if you fancy taking a look at my project please find it at https://unbound.com/books/the-atlantis-deception

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

XWWX ATLANTIS SANDS OF RA