An interview with Science-Fiction author, Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi

Welcome to the second in a series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am thrilled to introduce the Romanian writer, Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi, author of the science fiction thriller, The Restoration. Andrei has selected the self-publishing route and I enjoyed hearing his take on the ups and downs of the experience.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello and thanks for having me. To begin, my name is Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi, friends call me Andrew. I was born in August ’77 therefore I chose my nickname ACE977. I do not use a pen name. I live in the European Union (rubbing it in for your English readers – Ed.), Romania – best known as Dracula’s homeland more recently, Simona Halep, the world number one tennis player.
My goal is to become a professional writer and my dream is to have one of my books turned into a movie.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
Like every good writer, I spend most of my downtime reading (particularly books in the science fiction and fantasy genres), but also enjoy a good film, gaming, travelling, cooking, nature, wildlife, geography, history, astronomy, science, space exploration and weird phenomena (UFOs and USOs (unidentified submerged objects) – possible alien vehicles or living fossils like Megalodon). I listen to epic music when I write. I like Two Steps From Hell, Audiomachine, Lindsey Stirling & Peter Hollens, Hans Zimmer and Jan Chmelar.

3. Do you have a day job as well?
I work as IT Engineer and write novels in my spare time.

4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Once I was a consumer of books. I watched movies and I played video games, but one day I decided I’d had enough of imagining the creations of other authors and sat down to create my own Sci-Fi universe. I write my novels with the reader in mind and always try to see my work through the eyes of a potential consumer. As a result, the project named Starship “Apple of Discord” was born. Labelled as a space opera, I completed the first three volumes (350K word count) towards the end of 2017. I’ve spent the time since querying the concept and I’m awaiting answers from several publishing houses from the US, UK, Canada and European Union. I know nothing happens fast in the publishing industry and I’m developing a thick skin while I’m awaiting. I’m just worried the project is a little large in scope for a debutant author – but hey, even Stephen King was a debutant once! If you know any agents or publishers, don’t be afraid to put in a good word and send them my way!

5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
I’ve been writing seriously since August 2016, and chose the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre simply because I love it and wanted to share my stories with people. I get my ideas from science stories appearing in journals and books and websites around the world. It helps I have an untamed imagination!

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I certainly have but learnt how to deal with the issue. When I am exhausted or have no inspiration, I simply leave my writing desk for a while and recharge my batteries with a completely different activity – walking, swimming etc. It seems to work for me!

7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I always start with a title. Then I create a short plot outline which will form the backbone of my story. I add characters and details on the fly as they come to me. I like to allow my ideas to flow and not restrain they with an overly detailed outline. The feedback from my beta readers seem to confirm this works. I create my own book covers using GIMP and other free software. I try to include as many subjects as I can in my stories – physics, mathematics, biology, psychology, genetics, history, geography, computer science, chemistry, astronomy and xenology – the sky is the limit (or not) when I’m in the creative phase. In my genre inventing new names a even language is part of the draw. I now have a massive database of information otherwise I’d lose track!

8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
My favorite Sci-Fi books are:
Roadside Picnic by Arkadi & Boris Strugatsky
The Men in the Jungle by Norman Spinrad
Dune by Frank Herbert

My favorite Fantasy books are:
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Rune Swords by Clayton Emery and multiple authors

9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Although working on Starship “Apple of Discord”, in the spring of 2017 I decided to take a break and learn more about Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Therefore, I created a Sci-Fi story named The Restoration. The initial impression was favourable and The Restoration received 4.5 stars. Unfortunately, later, Amazon decided to change the rules in the middle of the game and removed all reviews posted by people who received free books on promotions. This happened to The Restoration. Now it has 3.5 stars, because the person who posted this review said that this is a great book but complained about my English skills. My English was rough when I started to write, but the more I write, the more my style is evolving.

10. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I am trying to raise the awareness about my writing mainly through self-publicising myself on social media. Marketing is my kryptonite. I’m trying and hope it clicks for me soon.

11. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Yes, Starship “Apple of Discord” but I’m trying hard! As I’ve said, I’m still waiting for a reply from several publishing houses. In Starship “Apple of Discord”, I’ve created a number of interesting alien species, worlds and technology and love describing the numerous space and ground battles littered through the books. I’ve spent hundreds of hours carefully sculpting my Sci-Fi vision and hope the readers will fall in love with the series as much as I have. I’ve certainly been told it has all the ingredients for a successful book and perhaps even a movie…

12. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
I published a revised edition of The Restoration in the summer of 2018. This book is available on all Amazon websites.
I am only couple chapters away from completion and intend to release a Sci-Fi novel called, SS Vagabond, during the autumn/winter of 2018.
SS Vagabond: In a distant dystopian future, Captain Edward Turner is struggling to survive, transporting goods and passengers with his freighter, SS Vagabond. Eileen, the second in command and Edward’s lover, urges him to accept a risky yet lucrative mission to Mars.

13. What project are you working on now?
Once SS Vagabond is complete, my plan to write a fantasy novel and aim to publish sometime around Christmas 2018. Ideally I’d like to add another volume to my Sci-Fi book series Starship “Apple of Discord “.

14. 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 am in my comfort zone writing science fiction. I enjoy writing Fantasy, but I find this more challenging. IMO there is little room for manoeuvre in the Fantast genre and you must create genuine stories if you want to hook the readers. Plus competing with the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, and Clayton Emery isn’t easy!

15. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The weirdest rejection I received was the first one. This came from a publishing house from my country. They responded me that my book Starship “Apple of Discord “, I quote, “it doesn’t fit in our editorial line”. This publisher is also a retailer and sells Sci-Fi and Fantasy books among others. Unfortunately they promote only well known foreign authors, like Isaac Asimov and G.R.R. Martin, and they don’t encourage local authors like me. This was the reason I first began to write in English.
People who bought The restoration and my beta readers said only good things about my books. This encouraged me to keep writing.

16. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Write, publish, repeat.

17. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I hardly believe that it’s been a full year since I became a published author.
I want to thank those who read my first chapter and asked for more. You gave me the courage that I could really do this.
I want to thank those who purchased my book, The Restoration and helped me through my fear that I wouldn’t sell any.
I want to thank those who recommend my work to their friends and continue to spread the word about my writing.
I want to thank those who continue to encourage me through social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Deviantart, Linkedin, Google+)

To all of you, I promise I will publish more great books soon.

Please join me in thanking Andrei for his honest assessment of the industry and for sharing his experiences and the problems associated with writing in a second language. My hat goes off to him – I certainly couldn’t do it!

If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Jon via the following links. Please show your appreciation by checking out his work on Amazon:

Social media contacts:
Website: https://sites.google.com/view/cosutchi/about
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ACE977

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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, Nathan Hopp

Welcome to the latest in my series of interviews from around the world. This afternoon we find ourselves in North America and I am delighted to welcome the talented writer, Nathan Hopp, author of the recently published historical fantasy novel, The Adventures of Peter Gray. It has been fascinating to hear about Nate’s journey as a writer and his route to publication.

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1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Nathan Hopp, and I’m a college student/author born and raised in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. I’m a big nerd when it comes to topics such as history, anime, the furry fandom and I love exploring new places wherever I go. I mostly write short stories, but I’m pleased to announce my debut novel, The Adventures of Peter Gray, was recently published earlier this year.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m either biking, studying for / attending university classes or meeting new people such as your good self, on the Internet.

3. Do you have a day job as well?
Unfortunately, yes. At the moment I’m an associate at Walmart, and while the pay is good it doesn’t beat the thought of waking up one morning and doing nothing but writing!

4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve loved reading ever since I was in kindergarten, but I guess you can say writing my own stories began somewhere in my high school library. One day I decided to write poetry, this led to short stories and eventually I hit the hard stuff and completed my first novel by the time I started college. A year later, and here I am.

5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
When I first started, I wrote short stories geared towards fans of serious science fiction. The Adventures of Peter Gray is a historical fantasy; two genres I hadn’t attempted at that point. As such I needed to undertake an extensive period of research and cherry picked features from each genre that best worked for me. As for plot ideas, most of the time they just come to me in moments of inspiration, but they can come from anywhere and at any time. I just have to keep a notebook handy!

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
My God, who doesn’t? Some days I feel unable to write a single sentence, and the next I’m hastily writing entire paragraphs of a story on the back of a napkin or scrap paper taken from the Walmart break room. On those days, I’m terrified of forgetting these ideas and additions to a story.

7. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Where do I start? There’s too many books that influenced me, but I can tell you the writers who shaped me. There’s classic authors like Stephen King, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Ray Bradbury and the like. Then there’s Marie Lu, Alex London, Kyell Gold, Scott Westerfeld, Anthony Horowitz, George Orwell and countless others that would need an entire book of its own.

8. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I am lucky enough to have been traditionally published but it has been a tough route. From my point of view, taking criticism was probably the hardest part of being traditionally published. I signed my contract thinking my manuscript was the finished article. Far from it! I think I’d have found the process much easier if I’d started knowing my first draft was about to undergo a substantial period of revision and editing. It is an essential step when it comes to publishing any book, not just mine, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier when you receive your first set of notes from the editor. The side I enjoyed and therefore found easiest was the promotion side. It helps that I’m currently attending college and my minor is in Marketing, but I’ve loved the creative side and the myriad of ways you can put yourself and your work out there in public and on the web.
Coming back to the process itself, aside from developing a thick skin, patience is a virtue. There is so much waiting once the various edits leave your desk and return for reassessment. I believe the average time to publish a book is a year but it can be much longer. To cut a long story short, my editor and I knew each other back when we were in high school. During our first professional encounter she read the first couple of paragraphs of a short story I’d written and turned to me to say, “If this were a book and you asked me, I wouldn’t publish it after reading the first sentence.” That cut to the bone!
So I worked hard. I practiced and practiced, honing my writing skills, taking on-board any criticism thrown my way – learning from it instead of getting upset. I made sure I grew as both a person and a reader before writing the first draft for, The Adventures of Peter Gray. Five years later, I told her about the concept during one of our email correspondences and she was intrigued by the pitch. I sent her the manuscript and the rest is history!

9. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I mostly utilize online and local sources. Given my book is about an anthropomorphic wolf who lives in a historical setting, I already know my audience is the furry fandom, that makes it much easier to pitch in arena’s and on sites where I know this type of book will thrive.

10. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Tough question – yes and no. There is another related project I’ve been itching to complete, but both life and my current publication have served to delay it. I will certainly go back to it and I’m hoping my new and existing fanbase will support it once I breathe life into it over the coming months.

11. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
Absolutely! The Adventures of Peter Gray is a historical coming-of-age fantasy set in 1899 New York City. My protagonist is an anthropomorphic wolf who lives a life of mischievous shenanigans & adventure on the Manhattan streets. Think of, The Adventures of Peter Gray, as a crossbreed between Disney’s Zootopia and a work of fiction by either Mark Twain or Charles Dickens.

12. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Given it involves childhood, I have taken some aspects of my own and implemented it into the narrative. You’ll have to read it to start guessing which parts though!

13. What project are you working on now?
Mmm, it’s a bit of a secret, but let’s just say Peter’s story isn’t finished yet.

14. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
There are, especially in the fictional world of my novel. As for themes, I don’t shy away from tough issues and indeed prefer to embrace and explore them; most recently I’ve run with themes such as diverse as economic inequality and prejudice.

15. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
J.K. Rowling and Stephen King didn’t become famous by imitating others. It is great to be inspired by others, but don’t let that be the only thing you’re known for in your writing career. Surpass your role models, take and assess the criticism you receive, and be unique in every way you can.

16. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you so much for all your support, I really appreciate it.
The Adventures of Peter Gray is a coming-of-age tale that will invoke nostalgic memories of your childhood and bring it back to life. The novel is available on Amazon, Goodreads and at any Barnes & Noble store you can visit. Please leave a review if you enjoy my work, not only will I be very appreciative but it is the only way to nudge the Amazon algorithms into life!

Please join me in thanking Nathan Hopp for engaging with me and discussing some of the finer points of life as an author. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Nate via the following links.

Please show your appreciation by checking out Nate’s work on Amazon:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adventures-Peter-Gray-Nathan-Hopp/dp/173205116X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531410182&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Adventures+of+Peter+Gray
Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Peter-Gray-Nathan-Hopp/dp/173205116X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531410278&sr=8-1&keywords=the+adventures+of+peter+gray+by+nathan+hopp

Social media contacts:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HoppNate
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NathanWHopp/
DeviantArt: https://www.deviantart.com/domus-vocis
FuAffinity: Userpage of domusvocis — Fur Affinity [dot] net

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

An interview with Argentine author, Ëlina Ënza.

Welcome to the fourth in a series of author interviews from talented writers around the world. Today I am pleased to share the words of an up and coming writer from South America, Ëlina Ënza, an author operating in multiple genres. Ëlina has not yet chosen which route to take with regards publication and it has been interesting finding out her take on the current state of the industry. It seems to be as hard as ever for emerging talents to get that bit of luck and make the breakthrough allowing them to take their writing forward as a career.

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1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am Ëlina Ënza, 30 years-old, originally from Argentina and now a resident of Guatemala with itchy feet. I have ambitions of moving to Europe to pursue my writing career and hopefully the opportunity will present itself once my first book is published. I am proud of my country, and lucky to live on such a beautiful continent, despite some of its people, certain systems of government and a level of corruption not really understood outside of Latin America. Unfortunately, at present it isn’t really an environment conducive to fostering and encouraging artists such as myself.
I used to think myself an extrovert, but over time I have become more comfortable in my own skin and now exhibit the traits of an introvert. Some might even label me a loner – I certainly prefer to spend my days indoors, writing and creating stories; generally using it to block out reality surrounding me. That and I believe I’m good at it!
I live for Literature, and consequently striving to make a living from my gift – although it has definitely been a struggle so far! I have literally been saved by the written word – I suffer from a few mental disorders, and on a practical level, reading and writing is what keeps me going – whenever I read or write, I feel alive. It is my reason for being.
I studied Political Science and International Affairs, and the experience opened my eyes to how the real world works (or doesn’t), and ironically one of the main reasons why I much prefer to create and live in my own creations. I haven’t stopped learning and love the power knowledge brings. I have learnt knowledge is infinite, but my curiosity ensures the level of my education increases every single day. I write 7 days a week, and have a very strict discipline about it, just because… I love writing.
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
A variety of domestic chores. I live with my mother and two siblings. I treat writing as my job and improving is my main goal. You might say I’m very dedicated to the cause!
3. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first novel?
I started writing around 7 or 8 and completed my first novel in 2010, ‘Soccer Fighter’ – the first in my Fighter Saga series. Prior to that, I dabbled in poetry but it took time to build my confidence to complete a full novel.
4. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
I love to write about whatever peaks my interest at that moment so I haven’t really got a genre. I’m multi genre and I think that comes through in my writing. I don’t like being pigeon holed so instead combine them. It also keeps me entertained and interested in where I’m going to go next. Many of my ideas come from dreams. A notebook by my bed is a must so I can write them down when I wake! I also daydream and more often than not mulling over new storylines and ideas. My brain barely gets any respite to be quite honest – so much so, insomnia can be a problem!
I write mostly about women, mainly because I feel as a gender we are often under represented as, what one might term, the “hero” of a story. I like to portray my protagonists as courageous, powerful and influential. I also write about women falling in love with women, because I am a proud member of the LGBT+ Community myself. I want more people to read about reality from a fictional point of view. With struggles other than rejection, hatred and discrimination, because I love causing an impact with my peculiar characters.
5. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
No, never. Luckily, I am always creating new scenarios for my characters. I try to work on at least two projects at the same time. So if I’m struggling with one, I can flit to the other. It also means boredom rarely sets in.
6. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I’m what some might term a pantser. I write whatever comes to my head. I so work with a vague structure in mind but I generally just let my imagination be my guide. I tend to be more disciplined with the structure once I reach the editing stage.
7. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
My grandfather. He used to write poetry. He used to be a school professor and he has been my biggest influence. He presented me with my first book, written by a friend of his, another author from South America. I still keep it with me now.
8. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Unfortunately I have not yet been published and the negative responses have certainly been discouraging. I am erring on the side of traditional publication mainly as I believe self-publishing won’t serve my purpose of building a career from writing. Although I know the onus is shifting towards the author I still believe the strength of the marketing departments of the various publishing houses are key to ensuring long and hopefully prosperous career in writing. I want to become a best-selling author (and although I know some self-pubbed authors have achieved that) and don’t believe that is something I can achieve on my own.
9. 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?
No. I have to remain true to myself and will continue to write what I want to read, and populate an area I feel lacks published work.
10. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Every single one of them! I only write a story once I have fallen in love with the characters and find the plot engaging. I have written 7 novels now, all edited and completed. There are more in the in the pipeline but unfortunately they are all awaiting representation.
11. Are your books based on real life experiences or purely taken from your imagination?
It is a mixture of both. I love to combine fact with fiction. There is nothing better for me than to imagine the life I want to live and the worlds I want to live in.
12. What project are you working on now?
I’m currently working on four books, all in different genres. All of them are about women, each of them struggling with life in different ways; Be it with love, loss, sickness and general survival within a chaotic world. The core theme for me always revolves in some way around love. I believe love can counter and provide a solution for almost every social issue our planet faces.
13. What has been your greatest compliment as an author?
A critic once reviewed me as a raw and innocent writer, which from my point of view was the most endearing thing I have ever read about my work.
14. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
One of my professors in college once has said to me: “If you want to write, you must learn to write by writing. That is the only way!” I have taken this on-board as my personal mantra and certainly now practice what I preach. It is the only advice worth taking – aside from this I believe it is important for each individual to discover the wonder inside of him or her – it sounds cliché but every aspiring writer needs to undergo their own singular journey to find themselves and their voice.
15. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
That one day, when my work is published, I hope they can feel touched and identify with at least, one of my characters. I pray my stories can help fill their hearts, souls and minds with hope and a certain faith in humanity. Hopefully my work can offer my readers a place to reflect and focus on the positives in our world.
Please join me in thanking Ëlina Ënza for her honest appraisal of her situation and for sharing her experiences as a writer. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Ëlina via the following links.
Please show your appreciation by checking out her blog with details of her upcoming work below:

Social media contacts:
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/amtouchedwfire
PERSONAL BLOG: https://wonderwomenwednesday.wordpress.com/

An interview with SciFi/Fantasy author, Anne Elizabeth Winchell

Welcome to the third interview in the series. This afternoon I am delighted to welcome the outstanding science fiction / fantasy novelist, Anne Elizabeth Winchell, author of a number of published works including; The Last War, Dystopian Galaxies: Visions of the Future and Moon of Lycca. It has been fascinating to discover Anne’s journey and I look forward to hearing more from her in the future.

eBookCover_LastWar

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

As a Millennial female writer, I specialize in science fiction and fantasy and try to prioritize representation of underrepresented groups in my writing. I earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Texas State University and I always have at least three writing projects on the go. This May, I published my first novel, a science fiction work entitled The Last War, and a collection of short stories and poetry, Dytopian Galaxies: Visions of the Future. My writing is constantly interrupted by my wonderful cat, who insists on sleeping on my desk and regularly rolls over on my keyboard.

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

When I’m not writing, I’m either teaching, creating digital art assets, or designing video games. For art, I create human figures and poses for artists and video game designers. I also create interactive stories, which are text-based video games available online. I’ll join the occasional protest march as well, and keep up-to-date on politics.

3. Do you have a day job as well? 

My day job is teaching English Composition and Video Game Studies at Texas State University, where I’m also the faculty advisor for the Video Game Club. I teach a variety of classes on how to use writing to promote social justice, and how to write for video games.

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

I started writing speculative fiction as soon as I could write and I finished my first novel in second grade: a thirty-page illustrated dystopian retelling of the Bible set on an alien planet. Drawing the illustrations was almost as much fun as writing the story itself! My first full-length novel was finished in high school, then revised several times and finally partially published as my thesis for my Masters of Fine Arts. I recently revised it yet again and self-published the novel as The Last War.

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

I’ve always been drawn to speculative fiction, though I veer back and forth between science fiction and fantasy. Most of my ideas come from dreams, and I keep a dream journal that I can refer to whenever I’m stuck and looking for new ideas. Occasionally I’ll have an idea for a story that just appears fully-formed and I scramble to write it out before I forget it.

6. Do you ever experience writer’s block? 

Writer’s block can be debilitating, but sometimes it’s also a sign that I’m taking my story towards a dead end and I need to rethink things. I write a minimum of two thousand words a week, even if I’m just rewriting or writing something I’ll never use. Everyone has a certain amount of terrible writing in them and it’s best to get it out when the stakes are low. Sometimes, though, I’ll just stare at the screen and can’t think of a single word. I usually put my story away, do something to take my mind off it entirely, and come back a day or sometimes a week later. The time off gives me time to reconsider and regroup, and I’m usually able to return after a while.

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

My first draft of a novel is usually written very quickly, often in a matter of days, with no planning at all. But I revise every novel to make sure the overall structure works and I’ll use an outline when revising. Occasionally I’ll have a beginning and ending in mind but I’ll be stuck on the middle, and then I use an outline to help bridge that gap.

8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? 

As a child, the Redwall series by Brian Jacques was very influential, as was Dune by Frank Herbert. As I grew older I started reading female authors such as Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, and C.S. Friedman, and I felt as though I had found writing that truly spoke to me as a female author.

9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published? 

Some challenges I faced in publishing started because I wanted to publish The Last War traditionally, with an agent and a publisher. I started writing to agents and attending conferences over ten years ago and while I received positive feedback, no one actually accepted the book. I took a few years to develop my writing and get an MFA, revised the novel quite a bit, and then chose self-publishing as a way to get my book out to people with fewer hoops to jump through and more control over the finished product.

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? 

The one thing I regret about my publishing experience is that I didn’t have enough confidence in myself and my writing. As I revised and rewrote my novel, I found that what I really loved about the novel was slowly getting written out and by the time I partially published my novel as my thesis, it felt as though the energy of the book had been drained. Once I gained more confidence in myself and my voice, I rewrote my book (again) but added back what I felt was missing and I believe it improved the book immensely.

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

I market my book through reviews and some advertisement on Amazon and Facebook. I had been using a wonderful advertiser that specialized in science fiction, fantasy, webcomics, and fanfiction; however, this advertiser just closed and I’ll be looking for new places.

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

One novel I adore but haven’t published is a dark fantasy novel with some of my best writing, but I’ve had trouble finding representation for it because of the primarily gay/trans characters, which makes it less desirable to some agents and publishers.

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

My recently published novel The Last War is set in a dystopian future sixty years after World War III devastated the globe. WWIII was waged by genetically enhanced superhumans who continue to rule the world with power is balanced between them. When a rogue superhuman appears, she threatens the balance that has prevented another nuclear war and she must work with an ex-revolutionary in order to keep humanity alive.

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

Quite a lot of my writing comes from my life and the world around me. My novel features genetically enhanced superhumans whose DNA has been supplemented with diamond, an idea I had when I first learned about scientists creating liquid diamond. In terms of timing, I set the events of the novel about fifty to sixty years after the last world war, which is about the same time that has passed since World War II. Based on current events, that seems to be when the lessons of previous wars are forgotten; this novel warns about the dangers of forgetting past tragedies and examines how personal choices can and can’t change the course of the world.

15. What project are you working on now? 

Right now, I’m completing an edit on a young adult fantasy novel tentatively entitled Invasion. It’s about a young woman fighting to save her continent after war has devastated her world. It will be a trilogy and I have the second book mostly written and large parts of the third book written as well.

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

In addition to The Last War, I just published a new collection of science fiction short stories and poetry. The stories and poems are unrelated but share common themes of adaptation, family, and love – they are all very dark. The collection, Dystopian Galaxies: Visions of the Future, is now available!

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 tend to get attached to my characters and my writing is rarely limited to stand-alone novels. I want to stay in my worlds and explore my characters, so I tend to write too much for a single novel and most of my new projects turn into trilogies. I have one unpublished space opera that is currently six books long (no end in sight) with two spin-off novels because I fell in love with some minor characters. While I doubt I’ll ever publish any of it, I enjoy working on it and I’ve been working on it for fifteen years between all of my other projects.

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

The worst criticism I ever received was from a friend. I gave her a draft that I was especially proud of and she started reading. A day later, told me she wasn’t going to finish because she just didn’t care about the characters. That was pretty painful, but spurred me to rethink how I introduced and developed my characters and ended with much stronger writing. On the positive side, I gave a (different) friend an advance copy of my collection of short stories and he skimmed through it, then sat down and read one story, and then kept reading because he was enjoying it so much. I love when people enjoy my work and can see themselves in my characters and worlds.

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

My best advice to writers is to keep writing! If you’re facing writer’s block, write about something unrelated. Write a description of the room you’re in, or what your cat is doing. It doesn’t matter what you write as long as you keep writing. Even if you’re not having any luck getting published, keep writing. If you can’t see a way forward on a book or project, put it away for a while, perhaps even years, and work on something else. And have faith in your voice and your writing. Losing faith in yourself and finding too much fault in your work can be devastating, so remember that you are unique and as long as your writing reflects you honestly, you are doing the right thing.

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

To my readers and fans, I always love hearing from you! Please check out my website and get in contact with me through the website. If you have any feedback, comments, or suggestions, I love hearing all of them. I’m always working on new projects and love incorporating reader comments into my writing.

Please join me in thanking Anne for engaging with me and opening 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 Anne via the following links.

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

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/author/awinchell

Social Media:

Website: http://annewinchell.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilaeris_9 

Artist Store: https://www.renderosity.com/mod/bcs/?uid=741174

Previous publications:

The Last War: https://www.amazon.com/Last-War-Anne-Elizabeth-Winchell/dp/1944969047/ 

Dystopian Galaxies: Visions of the Future: https://www.amazon.com/Dystopian-Galaxies-Anne-Elizabeth-Winchell/dp/1944969055/

Moon of Lycca: https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Lycca-Anne-Elizabeth-Winchell-ebook/dp/B00C0237S8/

 

Final Versions – Atlantis Deception Illustrations

I am really pleased to announce the editing phase of ‘The Atlantis Deception’ is finally complete and the novel is being typeset. Coinciding with this huge weight being lifted from my shoulders was the submission of the final versions of the novel’s associated illustrations (although still subject to Unbound’s approval).

John Howse (XWWX) has done an amazing job and I am proud to have his name associated with my work. I understand John will make all the designs available as individual limited prints in due course (in different colour ways) and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they turn out!

Next stop is the all important cover…

WEB LOW RES ATLANTIS DECEPTION GIZA
The Giza Pyramids
WEB LOW RES ATLANTIS DECEPTION LINDOW BOG
The Lindow Man Bog Body
WEB LOW RES ATLANTIS DECEPTION CITY
The Lost City of Z
ATLANTIS MAP LOW RES FOR WEB
Atlantis

Editing (the Atlantis Deception) with Professionals

This is my first post in a while for which I apologise. As many of you will know, I am in the lucky position to have found a publisher (Unbound) willing to take my book and polish it towards that elusive goal of publication.

I have been writing the book on and off for several years, self-editing the manuscript around four times now, each time thinking it was perfect. I was very wrong. I knew it was good as it managed to get through a couple of rounds of the Amazon breakthrough contest but something was definitely lacking. On the verge of ditching the project, I happened upon the Unbound crowdfunding model. Initially I dismissed it any another way of labelling vanity publication but the more I looked into it the more I was convinced this could be the route for me. They had published a number of big names including one of the Pythons and that (along with their distribution contract with Penguin) convinced me to submit my manuscript. After reading they only accept around 10% of applicants I wasn’t expecting much, but two months later I received a contract and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now I am a fair way into the editing process I thought I’d share a few of the insights I’ve received along the way. They are only snapshots, but I believe emphasise the need for professional help at this stage. Within a month of funding I received an editorial report comprising 6 pages of rhetoric essentially ripping my work (or rather what I perceived was ripping my work) to shreds. It took me three days before I could read more than the first page – I’d experienced critics before but never at this level of detail! It took my partner to metaphorically, talk me off the ledge. She told me that I needed to detach myself emotionally from the project and just treat it as a piece of work – work that has now been marked and now needs improvement. Eventually I took this on board and implemented a whole host of changes. As an example of the critique I was given, I have included a brief extract below:

Editorial Report

Basically, I think you have made negative decisions regarding point of view. Usually, in a mystery story, (mystery in its broadest sense), we follow one point of view, the detective-like character, as they uncover the clues and the plot.

Now, perhaps this main detecting point of view can be augmented with the point of view of an antagonist, and/or a sidekick. But still, we are pretty squarely, and most often, with our hero.

But here you have elected to pursue the points of view of your hero, Hunter; a copper, McInerney; then a second copper, Tom; the antagonist, Hans; the sidekick, Sarah; the priest, Nathanial, and the bodyguard, Darren. Plus a few others whom we waver into briefly.

As a result, we are not often enough in the cockpit of the mystery, experiencing it, uncovering it, as your detective figure experiences and uncovers it. If we had pursued only Hunter as he unravelled the mystery, then the mystery would have been pressing and close. As it is, he does not carry the burden of the uncovering substantially. He does not shoulder the protagonism, and we are not with him enough – feeling, sensing, hoping, empathising, closing in on the mystery. Instead the protagonist’s role is split between at least himself and Sarah, at times also Paul and Tom.

Basically, the main protagonist whose point of view we follow in a story like this is the reader’s proxy, our psychological avatar, who uncovers the mystery for us. But you have split the protagonism across characters, and therefore blunted, for me, the dramatic effect of the mystery.

But in sum, each time you jump from one point of view to the next, you risk blocking the experience of the reader and knocking the reader out of an immersive reading experience. The consequence of your narrative decision is that you undercut our sense of empathy with your main character.

Once I’d worked through the points raised in the Editorial Report and implemented a whole host of changes, I submitted a fresh draft for closer examination by the same editor within a structural edit. The manuscript was returned mainly with comments and a limited number of tracked changes. The edit challenged the way the book was written – what I could delete and where the plot needed to be thickened. Another rewrite resulted which I completed in conjunction with the editor, asking questions and gaining an insight into why things didn’t work – particularly when I thought they did. The process certainly opened my eyes to the difference between seeing things through the eyes of a reader and a professional. The novel is certainly much tighter as a result and even if self-publishing, I’d advise taking this route. It is expensive but there is a reason for this, and in the end it will make you work infinitely more saleable.

My final brush with the professionals came at the copy edit stage. Unbound provided me with a different editor (and fresh pair of eyes) which initially filled me with dread and a little fear. What if he disagreed with all the changes and asked for yet another rewrite? After a month the report dropped on my desk and certainly didn’t disappoint. The copy editor probed the manuscript with what might be described as a finer sieve, delving deeper into the minutiae of my work. Again, as an example of what one might expect please find an extract below (keep in mind this arrived alongside the manuscript and hundreds of tracked changes):

edit tracked example

The Copy Edit

My main issues with the text are: 1. Sentence construction – more specifically, how you use clauses. More specifically still, commas and semicolons. There are many instances of what is known as ‘comma splicing’, where you use a comma to join what are effectively two separate sentences. Sometimes this sort of thing can be used for effect (all rules for this sort of stuff can be broken under some circumstances), but here it generally seems to be an error. Conversely, you also use semicolons wrongly a lot, usually where a comma is needed instead (before a clause rather than a complete sentence). In general, semicolons should be used sparsely anyway (if you’re interested, the book The Bestseller Code suggests there is some evidence that readers are put off by them, in this sort of genre at least). I have tried to fix all of these things. 2. Overuse of capitals. Again, I have hopefully fixed this. Sometimes there are cases where they are needed (I’ve kept them for the Order, unless referring to ‘an order’ more generally; I’ve kept ‘the Pyramids’ for the specific monuments, but not for more general references to a pyramid or pyramids). I’ve tended to use lower case for the sun, as that’s common modern style. Generally, things like capitals snag the eye a little, so are best avoided unless needed for sense. 3. Occasionally overdone or slack expressions. A particular persistent example is things like ‘He appeared to be pulling at something and something heavy.’ – I’ve favoured simplifying where possible, with just a handful of cases left as they were for effect. 4. There are a number of places where ‘he’ is confusing, so I have tried to sort those out too. 5. It’s a shame, as I like the name, but I wonder if you might want to change the name of Lucien Knight – something made me google it, and I discovered a Lucien Knight is the hero of a series of erotic bestsellers! 6. Chapters in parts 2 and 3 needed renumbering – perhaps some chapters were cut? In a few places there are some abrupt transitions – I’ve attempted to suggest solutions in the comments. 7. There’s quite a lot of adrenaline surging (no capital needed, by the way) – you might want to chop a few instances, but up to you.

I have still a couple of hoops to jump through before my elusive publication date is announced but so far the opportunity to work with Unbound has been amazing. I cannot thank the professionals enough for their time and effort spent with me. I have certainly been through the ringer emotionally speaking but come out the other side without too many scars and all the better for the experience. I do not know what the future holds but whether Unbound choose to publish my next novel or not, I will be seeking the advice of professional editors in the future. They are invaluable in creating a creditable and professional persona for an author’s work. I’d previously hoped to skimp on aspects of the edit when considering self-publishing – now I know this is where the bulk of any budget should be spent. There’s no point building a house if you haven’t got strong foundations.

If you are interested in the Unbound model, please take a look at Unbound.com.

In terms of my own work, hopefully my next post will detail cover creation and why books (of new authors at least) are always judged by their covers!

 

XWWX THE ALANTIS DECEPTION SAND limited edtion print