Meet Ari Meghlen, Writer

Ari Meghlan, Writer | Author Interview | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thanks for having me on your blog!

I’m Ari and I write mostly Traditional Fantasy and Preternatural Urban Fantasy.  Though I have turned my hand to sci-fi and crime.  When I’m not writing I am blogging about writing and supporting other writers.  So yeah…it kinda infected my who life.

How long have you been writing for?

I have been writing since I was 8 years old.  Despite struggling to read through most of my young years, I always held a strong love for writing.  I think I just had too much crazy inside my head and it started to leak so I found putting it down into notebooks helped.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

I began writing after a teacher created a project where we had to create a monster under the bed and from this little spark of creative writing, my love for writing bloomed and has continued to grow.

I don’t really consider there a motivation to write.  It is more like, I can’t NOT write.  It is my purpose.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I try and have a writing routine but other things manage to mess it up.  On days when I actually get a nice long stint of writing done, it usually starts early (I work better first thing in the day).  I get a glass of water (which I usually don’t drink), a cup of tea (one of many) then lock myself away in my room.

I play no music when I’m actually writing, as I find it a distraction.  If I am struggling to write, I will read through something else I’ve written to spark the flame.  I then write until someone knocks on the door to tell me how late it’s gotten.

On writer block days, then my routine is to stare blankly at the screen in front while sobbing.  Thankfully I don’t have many of those days any more 😀

Have you thought about self-publishing or traditional publishing? Are you leaning towards one over the other? If so, why?

I am not yet at the stage for publishing but I have already been contemplating the options.  They both have their pros and cons.  I am a bit of a control freak and with self publishing you have a lot more creative control.

Also, with traditional publishing you are expected to do a lot more of the marketing than it was years ago.

I think if you write a good book, polish the crap out of it then pay a professional editor and book cover designer you can do really well in self-publishing while keeping a lot of the creative control.

Not to mention, moving from self published to traditionally published is apparently a lot easier than moving from traditionally published to self published.

Are you currently working on anything new?

My current WIP is a preternatural urban fantasy called Dark Hart featuring exactly what you’d expect from any preternatural – vampires, shifters, gargoyles, goblins, psions… It is currently gone through its first edits and is with my Alpha Reader.

While I’m waiting to get it back from all his red penning, I have been working on a completely new fantasy story.  I had ideas about it last year and decided to flesh it out during the 85K 90 Day Writing Challenge.  It is still in a very tentative phase as the plot is a little fluid right now.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

Definitely something creative.  I do run my own online shop where I make items, so I am always drawn to creative endeavours.

Failing that I would probably have become a vet or a paleontologist, I’m not sure all I know is I’m really not cut out for more “normal” work.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

I wish I had learnt to outline sooner than I did and also to not get caught up editing while writing.  For a long time that is how I wrote.  A constant back and forth of writing then editing what I’d written then editing it again… without actually finishing the work.

I am a lot better now, thankfully.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

My favourite author is a tie between James Clemens and Anne Bishop.  These two fantasy writers created the bar for me when I got seriously into writing.  I wanted to get my work to their level.

Their books are the ones I can read over and over.  They create worlds I want to just continually visit.  And I would love to have readers who feel that way about my work.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

First, don’t call yourself aspiring.  If you write, you’re a writer.  Own it.

Second, keep writing.  Ignore all the nay-sayers and people who will try and tear you down.  If you do anything creative in this world people want to crap all over it and that can sometimes include friends and family.  Find people who will support you and lift you up.

Third, work hard.  Writing gets better with practice.  With the surge of self publications, everyone now thinks they can write and publish their work.  The problem is we are seeing so much rough work.

Your manuscript should be edited, re-edited, professionally edited and polished.  The more you write the better you get, you learn and grow and develop your skill.  There is no rush to be published and it is better to take time and do a good job than rush and put out something lacking.

Finally, learn about the business side.  Yes writing is awesome and creative, but there’s a business side too such as networking and marketing.  The more you learn, the more you plan the better situated you will be when you are finally ready to release your novel.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I like octopi.

Too weird?

I’d like to say a big thanks to you Rachel, for inviting me onto your awesome blog for this interview.  😊

And to all the readers, if you were born to be a writer?  Then let nothing stop you.  Writing is one of the hardest, awesome, exhausting, exhilarating things you can do.  So go do it!

ABOUT ARI

When not immersed in her worlds full of screaming trees, living gargoyles, vengeful demons or trapped souls… Ari is pretty much day dreaming about said worlds.

She writes fantasy, lots of it and also blogs about writing to help other writers, because apparently working on over 5 different novel series’ is just not enough “writing.”

Most days she is surrounded by cats and books though she also enjoys watching really bad movies with her boyfriend.  Like REALLY bad movies.

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Meet Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas, Author [Interview]

This post contains affiliate links, which means should you purchase from these links I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep the blog up and running. Thanks so much for your support!

It’s my pleasure to welcome Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas to my blog!

Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas | Author Interview | Creative Writing | Historical Writing | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas and am a Ph.D. history student attending the University of California, Davis.  My research centers on Asian American women’s history.  I particularly am interested in intergenerational experiences and their contributions to history and American culture.  As a second generation Asian American woman growing up in the Bay Area during the nineties, I noticed my generation didn’t have Asian American female role models or historical figures visible in mainstream American textbooks and curriculum.  I hope to produce readable historical material that showcases Asian Americans, or minorities for that matter, as active, present, and influential so that younger generations of Asian Americans have a history to fall back on, reference, and find role models in.

How long have you been writing for?

I believe professionally, I have been writing history for five years.  If we count how long I have been writing as a hobby I would probably say since I was six years old.

What is your writing process like?

My writing process really is to first read secondary sources.  For example grabbing history books off the shelves written by both trained historians, Ethnic Studies, American Studies, Women’s Studies, and Asian American Studies scholars.  I tend to write down topics of interest to me from those resources and begin to write summaries or annotated bibliographies on those resources.  Through this process, I have made a grand collection of important scholarly material readily available to me as a reference that can help guide me through defining subject material for my own research.

The other more fun process is simply reading historical fiction, the news, or even English literature and finding stories that might interest me that way.  I jot down notes in a journal or Google Document for safe keeping as to the topics I want to write on from interests I find from these less conventional resources.  When I am ready, I return to those topics, sit down, write, and basically “word vomit” as much as I can because I know that proofreading is an inevitable painstaking process I have to commit to later on.  Therefore getting all my ideas and notes down without worrying about the way it sounds helps ease the anxiety that comes with professional writing.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

As a Ph.D. student, it really is hard to maintain a writing routine.  If we aren’t reading for research, we are writing furious notes for our own seminar papers, or we are working as Teacher’s Assistants or writing papers/articles with deadlines.  I feel as if on a whole, my daily routine is really reading and writing for 8 to 10 hours.  The nature of graduate school really forces you to be on top of reading and writing, not just for your classes but towards the research you hope to produce.  My writing routine therefore is, whenever I can squeeze in writing, I try to write a page or two a day, that way by the end of the week I would have at least 8 pages of a rough draft ready.  Procrastination is a scary habit, and this routine helps me to avoid that.

What motivates you to write?

What motivates me to write include my family and friends who believe in my scholarly aims, my own family’s fascinating and complicated ethnic history, and teaching young students.  As a second generation Asian American woman, I am exposed to two very different cultures and always found those two worlds of identity both fascinating and complicated.   Especially as  a woman of color, I believe marginalized communities have less of a voice, if any, in traditional histories taught in both public and  private school curriculum.  Thus I really strive to write narratives of minorities who have been made to feel less important, or even secondary because traditional histories, news, and even film often lack variety and speak to only the majority perspective.  But really overall, I love reading and how the written word can transport you to other worlds, times, or places.  Stories, if written well and with heart, can make more visible the perspectives of other people from both the past and present. I want to create literature that can serve as a necessary medium that teaches empathy and compassion.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I was, and still am, so grateful to Pacific Atrocities Education head and editor, Jenny Chan, and those I had collaborated with (Klytie Xu, guerrilla veteran Lourdes Poblete) to make that dream possible.  I think the first thing I did besides tell my immediate family was to write in my journal that I had fulfilled a lifelong dream.  I wanted to document it and write down all my emotions and essentially scrapbook that moment so that when I  was older, I could still feel how happy I was because my writing would still pour those emotions out.  Also, the historian in me finds documentation as evidence of the lived experience and I’m sure a part of that professional training made me want to jot it down.  Of course, after I received the news, I celebrated with a trip to the coffee/boba cafe with my older sister to get myself the chubbiest cup of milk tea I felt I deserved.

Are you currently working on anything new?

As a second-year graduate student, I am working on a paper discussing the roles of Asian American women during the Yellow Power/Asian American Movement (1968-1970s).  I am trying to tease out the barriers that Asian American women faced as women of color during both the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Rights Movement.  They weren’t allowed to fully participate in both because gender and racial prejudices, unfortunately, plagued both movements respectively.  I also have in mind writing historical fiction stories that reflect the personal struggles that my family, friends, and peers have faced as women of color with long immigrant family histories.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I would be a Humanities teacher (History, Language Composition, English Literature).   I have teaching experience and always feel safe and energetic in the classroom.  As a history graduate student, we are allowed the opportunities to lead classroom discussions with undergraduates as Teacher’s  Assistants and I have found working with youth as a mentor to be very fun, rewarding, and another way to understand history by seeing how younger generations interpret the past.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part of writing for me is the outline, formulating and making arguments/narratives, finding primary resources, and creating resource guides like the bibliography or footnotes.  The hardest part is getting the time to sit down, relax, and actually write a full introduction especially if there is a deadline looming over you.  The introductions are still to this day very nerve-wracking.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

Honestly that you won’t know how to do it until you go through it.  Always be open to constructive criticism and recognize that writing is a continuous process;  you’re always learning how to improve.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

That is really a  tough question.  I would feel terribly ungrateful if I only mentioned one.   If I had to narrow it down it would have to include genres like Children’s Literature, Fiction, History, and Asian American Studies.

  1. Corduroy by Don Freeman.
  2. Asian American Women & Men: Labor, Laws, & Love by Yen Le Espiritu
  3. Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America by Mary Paik Lee
  4. On Gold Mountain by Lisa See
  5. Anne of Green Gables by M. Montgomery

My favorite Authors:

1. Yen Le Espiritu
2. Susan Johnson
3. A. Milne
4. Huping Ling
5. Yoshiko Uchida

Books that really inspired me to write early on was Paul Zindel’s novel, The Pigman, and Scott O’Dell’s  Carlota.  They center on young women, teenagers even, who are struggling with their identity, culture, and what it means to be an adult.  Not only were their dilemmas relatable, Scott O’Dell especially had a knack for transporting his audiences to another time and engaging historical narratives.  I fell in love with literature the moment I understood the personalities of their characters.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Getting that first sentence on paper is the first obstacle and I know how nerve-wracking a blank Word or Google Document can be.  Writing and telling yourself you can write is much easier said than done.  But honestly, my advice is simply to just write, and really I mean to write, write, write.  Always be open to practice.  Write short stories, practice oral histories and writing out interview questions, immerse yourself in the secondary sources on the topic you really connect with or find interesting.  Always ask yourself “Do you love to read?  Do you still love to write?” If the answers are still YES after heaps of constructive criticisms from mentors, peers, and editors, you really can’t lose.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I hope that those who do get a chance to read my work will be inspired to read more history or at least become a history enthusiast; the Humanities always needs more fans.

Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas | Author Interview | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comAbout Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas

Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas is a history Ph.D. student currently attending the University of California, Davis.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and received her Master’s degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, both in American History.  Her research focus is on Asian American History centering on the roles of Asian American women and their impact on America’s Civil Rights Movement(s) and contributions to the diversity of the American woman’s experience.

When not focusing on dreary graduate coursework, Stacey Anne enjoys binge reading historical fiction, English literature, and manga with the background noise of old Hollywood, or Disney, films playing on the TV as she reads.  A native of the Bay Area, Stacey Anne hopes to one day write a history of the diverse cultures and peoples that contributed to the unique and positive atmosphere of the area.

Connect with Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas

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Meet Sacha Black [Author Interview]

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Sacha Black to my blog!

Meet Sacha Black, An Author Interview | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m predominantly a Young Adult fantasy author but I’ve also got some dystopian, science fiction and contemporary YA in me too. With my other writing hat on, I pen non-fiction writing craft books, the first of which was about creating better villains.

How long have you been writing for?

With a view to publishing, I’d say five years. But I’ve always loved writing. Nine was when Eden East, the character for my first book, Keepers came to me. I wrote on and off at school, but nothing serious until I started blogging almost six years ago.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

I absolutely love creating new worlds and seeing how characters develop. The process of creation boggles me a bit. Where do the characters come from? How are they so whole and life-like in our consciousness?

Part of me NEEDS to write. I find it a real positive point in my day, I guess it’s therapeutic in some ways, but it’s when I’m at my happiest.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I write at every spare opportunity I can. Whether it be sentence fragments in corridors between meetings or on the toilet!! Mostly, I write from 7pm to midnight every night after my son has gone to bed.

How did you decide to self-publish instead of going the traditional company?

Good question. I wanted to be traditionally published at first. But then I looked at both processes and realized there was no way on earth I’d a) give up control of everything and b) earn a tuppence for my books.

I had a clear vision for my book cover and I didn’t want to be told what I could and couldn’t have on it. Nor did I want them to change my plot in any way and I also didn’t really fancy having my confidence knocked by years of rejections.

Last, and one of the biggest drivers was the money. I really want to write full time and the traditional route was far too much of a gamble. You only earn between 10% and 15% of a books sale price, and of that 10/15% you have to give your agent 15%. So, for every $3.99 eBook I’d be lucky to take home 30c. Whereas with indie publishing I can earn $2.69 on that same eBook sale. I know that you get bigger visibility with trad, but I had faith that this was the right way forward. And so far, it has been. I’m well on my way to reducing my hours at work in favor of writing time.

What was the self-publishing process like? How long did it take?

EASY and super-fast. I’m not bashing the traditional route I am sure if the opportunity arose and it was the right one I would take a trad contract. But it’s kind of empowering doing it all yourself. The first book was a HUGE learning curve, it was hard trying to understand all the nuances of formatting and cover designers, but once I’d done the first, it was smooth sailing.

Everything is down to you – from finding and approving a cover designer to the formatting and physical uploading and publication to Amazon. But there’s a bunch of software out there that makes it easy for you. It took me 40 minutes to format the eBook and paperback for Keepers – and it was only that long because I couldn’t choose a template of what I wanted it to look like!

As soon as you have your edits back from your editor and you’ve completed them, you can format a book and have it live in the Amazon store in hours. No two-year waiting period like the trad industry – but even short timescales has it’s downsides, like less time to build an audience. But swings and roundabouts!

Are you currently working on anything new?

YES.

I’ve got an entire production schedule set up with dates and my designer and editor booked for next year. I’m currently working on the sequel to Keepers – I’ve got a freebie novella in that series and the third book in the series coming out next year. I’m also writing a non-fiction book on productivity and if I have time a creative writing prompts collection to bust the block. Oh, and if I get all that done then I will draft up the first book in my dystopian YA series!

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

There is no other career. I am going to make it happen. I know that’s a cop out. If you’d asked me a few years ago I’d have given you five different possibilities but now I know there is no other career for me!

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

To celebrate the small and big successes alike, celebrate as you go and give yourself a slap on the back. I’m terrible for not acknowledging achievements and that doesn’t help my mindset or imposter syndrome.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

Too many.

I read about 50/50 YA in any form, and non-fiction. I crave knowledge, so I read a lot of business, marketing and mindset books. Don’t get me wrong, I do read some other stuff too. But those are my predominant genres.

Three books I love this year:

Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

A Darker Shade of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Don’t let anyone tell you no.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

If you want writing to be your full-time job, or your business, then treat it like one. Don’t write in your PJs get up, get dressed for work. Your books are more than a string of words in a story, they’re products. You can iterate them in a million different ways. Never underestimate how much you know and how valuable that knowledge is to others.

About Sacha Black

Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.

Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.

When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

Connect with Sacha Black

Email: sachablack@sachablack.co.uk

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About Keepers

Title: Keepers – The Eden East Novels
Where is it published: Amazon
Release Date: 17th Nov
Formats: Paperback and eBook
Purchase from: Universal link to all bookstores is here

 

Book Blurb

Eden’s life is balanced…

…until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.

Three boys.

Two murdered parents.

One deadly choice.

Book Excerpt

    Chapter One

‘Where there is Balance, there is Imbalance.’

First Law – The Book of Balance

* * *

Father always said not to trust a Fallon that can’t keep the Balance. I should have listened.

* * *

My mother and father are fidgeting. Perched, along with everyone else’s parents, on the front row of the lecture hall’s steep tiered seating. Someone must have opened a door because a ripple of air drifts through the auditorium and makes the stage’s velvety green curtains wrinkle. I close my eyes, letting it wash over my skin and take a deep breath. It doesn’t help. The wind is carrying everyone’s anxiety, and my Elemental power can’t help but seek out the anomaly and feed it into my system like a virus.

I snatch a glance at the Earth simulator door. It’s in the middle of the stage, entrance dark, exterior plain and cube-like; a solitary shape; a grim reaper ready to make me fail my exams. Behind me, the last couple of classmates are waiting their turn, chewing their nails and watching the current exam play out on the screen above the stage.

They’re useless, of course. A virtual sim is nothing like being on Earth. But the Council won’t allow anyone in the field until they’ve been Bound and passed their finals. Especially not if they’re me.

“You’re too precious,” Arden, the Council deputy said every time I begged him to let me go on the school field trips. “Your Fallon blood is too royal to risk injury or death before you’re properly qualified. You know that, Eden.”

I do know; I just wish I could change it. Frustrated, I scan the sea of parents in the theatre seats. But their faces are as strained as my classmates. I focus on Father instead. He sits up a little higher, and for a brief moment, we share a knowing look. Then it’s gone. Replaced with a poised expression and a smile befitting any Fallon. He broke the rules and smuggled me through the barrier into Earth to practice. Under normal circumstances, as a Fallon, I’d have an unfair advantage because I’m stronger than most Keepers. But today, Victor is on my team, and he’s more useless than the sims. Worse, his score impacts mine. And that is exactly why Father smuggled me out to practice.

Victor’s lanky figure slides into place next to mine. His white-blond hair is muted with grease that’s turned it a mousy shade of beige. The sloppy top knot is, I imagine, an attempt to hide the oil. I swear I can see the strands twitching and moving like bugs crawling over his scalp. I turn away to stop my nose wrinkling.

Victor might be my Potential, but it’s still a mystery to me why the Council of Trutinor think Victor is the most probable candidate to become my Balancer. How is he supposed to Balance my soul?

“Victor,” I say, struggling to hide the distaste in my voice.

His clawed index finger extends until it pokes me in my ribs.

“You better not mess this up for us, East,” he says.

You can’t practice with magic for long without it leaving a trace. I like to think of it as a magical signature. I’m lucky. My eyes, like Mother’s, are turning violet, like the bright glow of a lightning flash. Victor isn’t so lucky. As a Fallon and a Shifter, with the ability to shift into any animal he wants, he could have had any animal trace. But our traces reflect our truest selves, our magical essence, and his is a wolf. One of his hands is gnarling up and forming a mangled wolf paw. A paw that I’ll have to hold.

I knock his dog nail off my side and glare at him. Fire elements flicker in my belly, daring me to retaliate. But my parents are watching so I stay composed, stand a little straighter and under my breath say, “We both know I’ll carry your whimpering ass across the finish line, Dark. So why don’t you play nice and I’ll let you thank me after. Hmm?”

He bares his canines, and for a second, I think I hear a growl emanate from his chest. Before I can call him out, Professor Kemble signals the auditorium’s silence. Two students exit the sim door, they’re pale, eyes darting over the crowd as they weave their way stage right and down into the waiting room.

“Fallon Victor Dark? Fallon Eden East?” Kemble says and gestures for us to approach the Balance simulators.

Victor’s face pinches like he’s sniffing something sour. It takes all my willpower not to slap the expression off his face. Even though he’s never said it, I know he can’t stand the thought of being Bound to me any more than I can to him.

The stage stairs creak underfoot as we climb. I flash a final glance at the front row. Mother’s violet eyes are bright as she nods and urges me on. I look at Father and smile to myself. Physically, I am like him with the same stocky stature and dark, curly bird’s nest on top of my head. But behind Mother’s sparkling eyes I see the grit and determination that’s burning in my gut too. Her palms cross in her lap, an attempt to hide her tension. But even from the stage, I can sense the electricity sparking like hot static between her palms.

Victor doesn’t bother to look at his parents and it’s that ego that’ll catch us out in the sim if I’m not focused.

Professor Kemble moves center stage, his floor-length green Keeper robes a stark reminder of what’s at stake. If we mess up, we won’t secure a place at Stratera Academy, and we won’t keep the Balance or get a place on the Council.

Kemble opens the sim door. I take a deep breath. Then Victor and I step into the darkness.

 

Meet J.D. Oldenburg, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome author J.D. Oldenburg to my blog.

Author J.D. Oldenburg

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve always loved good stories about the human condition spiced up with magic, fantasy as the shell of a deeper story about being alive, and that’s what I aim to write and read.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember, and writing them since I was about 9.

What is your writing process like?

Most of it is cooking up an idea, imagining, telling it to friends and finding out new things about it each time I tell it. When I finally feel ready to write one, I get it out as fast as possible. If I abandon it for more than a day before a draft is ready, I have to read the whole thing again to keep going and some excitement gets lost with each break.I’ve learned to keep the first draft to myself, and come back to it a month or so later, detached

I’ve learned to keep the first draft to myself, and come back to it a month or so later, detached from it, so I can chop it up without feeling guilty.

My first drafts are usually rough as hell and make me wonder why I thought I was any good at this. Something happens after, though, like I’m being rewarded for sticking to it.Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

When I’m pushing for that first draft I try to get up really early, work out and go to a library or café. I find home distracting. I have to, and love to, dive into into the world I’m creating, play all of the characters in my head,
the faster I get that draft out the better.

What motivates you to write?

The power that main stream stories have to move masses and make them think of something they wouldn’t necessarily if it wasn’t hidden in entertainment really excites me. A good book can entertain me and inspire me to be a better person.

I also just simply love telling stories. It’s a good way to spend time.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

Well, I published it myself. After a few encouraging rejection letters I decided a publisher was not some magical entity I needed to be picked by, they were simply businesses, and if I could learn how they did it, I could do it myself.

I also had a friend who was published by a big time publisher, and his experience with the process and how things panned out really turned me off to that system. Publishers care about authors who can sell books, new authors are mostly on their own. I embraced that and created my own team.

I love them, wouldn’t be here without them.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes, I’m working on a coming of age horror that explores growing up sexually confused in a world where werewolves (and any other creature of the kind) are real. It may be called The Feeder, or Narcissist, I’m still not sure. It’s inspired by a short film I directed coming out of a film program in Los Angeles a few years back. [YouTube]

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I’m about to launch products on amazon. I have a line of greeting cards I’m really excited about because I give royalties to the artists who paint them for me. I’d like to continue to become some kind of patron of the arts. Selling products and paying royalties is a fun a way to do it.

I believe in passive income. When not writing, I like to create the most income with the least work and have time to enjoy the world and my family.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part is dialogue, I guess I have a gift for that. I’m really observant of people and how they talk.The hardest part would be waiting for a good idea to come through. It takes months of freewriting

The hardest part would be waiting for a good idea to come through. It takes months of freewriting thoughts and turning dreams into short stories, so I guess sleeping a lot and taking notes, until something that really excites me comes through.What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

The process is the gift, not the result. The result is just a reminder. That means you have to have fun doing it. It’s really not that serious, you are just writing stories, so have fun, and the final product will remind you that you did.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

It’s a bit odd I guess, but my all time favorite book is non fiction. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. The understanding of self I’ve gained through reading and re-reading this book over and over has made me a writer of better characters and relationships. Jim Henson, J.K Rowling and Neil Gaiman have done a lot for my writing as well.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write every day and have a job. A job will take the pressure off your stories.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thank you for taking the time to read about my work. I hope you enjoy reading and listening to Horatio and the Fear of Dying as much as I enjoyed creating it. Remember the book comes out for pre-sale through Kickstarter on October 3rd.

About J.D. Oldenburg

J.D. Oldenburg is a Venezuelan author who lives in Los Angeles. He works in film as a camera operator and loves to write in the fantasy and magic realism genres. His stories are most often thoughtful and aim to leave the reader with a hopeful and inspired view of life. J.D. believes work is play and thrives to take nothing too seriously. He loves to travel and spend time with his family.

Connect with J.D. Oldenburg

Website | Booksite | Facebook | Book Facebook | Twitter | Book Twitter | Instagram | Bookstagram

Horatio and the Fear of Dying by J.D. Oldenburg

Meet Emily Stroia, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Emily Stroia to my blog today!

Emily Stroia Author Pic

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am an intuitive and spiritual teacher.

I write and teach people on how to connect to your intuition and find healing after loss and trauma.

How long have you been writing for?

All my life.

I started with short-stories as a child. English was always a favorite class of mine in school.

What is your writing process like?

It starts usually with an inspirational idea that nags me until I put it into words. I use post-it notes to build the skeleton of the book. The post-it notes are like reminders of ideas for chapter names, concepts, themes and information.

I may go into meditation for answers or guidance when I am feeling stuck at a particular part in a book. If I am avoiding the book I will take a break and read another author for inspiration, listen to a podcast or practice yoga to gain insight.

It is so important to move the energy the writing process. There are moments of sitting and reflecting on what I am crafting and other times when I am 1000% in the flow and have created a message that feels aligned with the theme of the book.

Another tool that has helped me is recording voice notes of book downloads for what will come next in a chapter or section.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

My writing practice has become more consistent over the years.

I explore through journaling and free-writing to loosen my attachment to how I “think” the book should look.

I ask myself in a day what I can commit to with writing and some days it is only 15 minutes. Other days it can be an one-two hours.

I brainstorm in the morning and in the evening when I am in the trenches of the book.

What motivates you to write?

Realizing that my message is relatable and one that many people can connect to. I write to inspire others to never give up on the journey of life and find their own healing journey. It is most humbling to receive an email from someone about how my book has touched them or changed their life, or awakened them to finding their truth, courage and special gifts.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

Self-publishing my own books is a great feat! It takes so much courage to not only write a book but to be brave enough to share it with the world. It is truly being the master of my own fate.

Are you currently working on anything new?

I am working on a second book as sibling to Into the Light. This book will explore healing and growth in relationships, trust, and living a transformed life.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I am a woman of many talents and also coach people on finding their intuitive gifts, connecting to their inner voice and sharing their stories with the world.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part of writing is the inspired ideas that come to me. The hardest part is trusting that this is a book people will want and can relate to. The actual writing process without judging it.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

Structure and routine are important to hone the writing craft. I think before it was more spontaneous for me to write.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

Sabrina Ward Harrison is a collage artist and writer who changed my life with her books when I was in high school.

She spoke to my heart about the struggle of life and being brave in the unknown. My favorite book right now is Milk & Honey but Rupi Kaur.

Genres of books are poetry, self-help and spirituality.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

To explore writing with being attached to the outcome. Write because it is a part of you that brings you the gift you need.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Writing for me is a constant state of exploration and self-discovery. I write because I am endlessly curious about what my next work will be like, feel like and how I will be different. I get to be the witness to my own growth and transformation in the writing process.

About Emily Stroia

Emily is an intuitive, writer, spiritual leader, teacher, and artist. Her life is a breathing expression of intuition, passion, spirituality, and creativity. Most days you can find her coaching clients, writing, practicing yoga and playing with her dog in Los Angeles. Her life’s work is to inspire everyone to find the gifts in their story and share them with the world.

Connect with Emily Stroia

Facebook | Instagram

Buy Emily’s Book

Amazon

Into The Light by Emily StroiaInto the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts. The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of experiencing trauma & darkness to finding hope, miracles and light.

In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity and healing through brokenness. This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration, and empowerment. This book is for anyone who has ever experienced loss, grief, brokenness, depression, abuse, trauma and heartbreak.

 

Meet Serina Adham, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Serina Adham to my blog!

Serina Adham, Author

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Serina Adham and I am a newly published author of a children’s book called Luu’s Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves, which by the way is the first edition of many more to follow.

I also have a young adult novel I have been working on that is on hold at the moment while I finish writing and publishing the children’s books.

How long have you been writing for? 

Around ten years.

What is your writing process like?

It’s about picking the character I would like to work with and building up from there.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you? 

I prefer writing in the mornings, with a nice cup of tea, and a sweet spot in a café is usually my favorite. 

What motivates you to write?

It’s like painting or creating a piece of jewelry. An idea hits me and I just have to create it.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published? 

I actually had no patience for the whole process of submitting my book to a publishing house then wait for 6 months for a response or none at all, so I decided I would self-publish on Amazon.  

Are you currently working on anything new?

All the time. I always have a few different projects on the go. But the next one in line is another children’s book about a giraffe.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be? 

I have not yet completely switched over to a full-time writer just yet, I hope I will soon, I am optimistic. My other career or careers I should say were as a designer/artist and dance instructor. 

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest has always been coming up with an idea the idea.

The hardest has always been the editing, although sometimes, I do enjoy doing that too because it might lead me in another direction. 

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

I wish I had started earlier.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

My favourite book has to be The Long Dark Tea Time Of  The Soul, written by Douglas Adams.

I realized I wanted to write when I felt I needed to express my creativity in a different way.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? 

I would still call myself an aspiring writer, but I can say one thing, write every day, even if it’s nonsense.  

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I would like to thank everyone that took the time to read this interview and for those of you who will give Lulu’s Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves a read.

About Serina Adham

Serina Adham drew on her experience as a dancer and dance instructor to give you this fun new adventure with Lulu and all her animal friends. She hopes that Lulu will teach children to enthusiastically follow their dreams but also consider the effects they have on others.

Adham lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to teaching dance, Adham has also worked as a jewelry and clothing designer and an interior designer. She has one fearless, dancing and singing daughter of her own.

Connect with Serina Adham

Website | Amazon | Goodreads

Lulu's Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves! by Serina Adham

Meet Tyfany Janee, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Tyfany Janee to my blog!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a writer and devoted mother of two. I continue to work full-time as a career professional in the field of membership retention and marketing for a non-profit association. Continuing my education to obtain a degree in business for the goals of becoming an entrepreneur in the literary and marketing industries.

I love to read fiction, poetry, non-fiction books. I’m just as much a movie junky as I am a reader. I like to see a vision come to life. Many great filmmakers that have taken a great spin on some of the classics. I aspire to be one of them. My writing style is descriptive, I’ve always had the ability and write to create a scene in the written form. Stay tuned for it, some production moves are in the works.

Finally, the equation of music in my life is like a daily dose required to function. LOL. Yes, it is that serious. I grew up with it with always around and being created by my Dad. I sung in choir and at home. I write with it probably fifty percent of the time to get into that undistracted place in my mind. I cook or clean with it in the background. When I’m feeling all those emotions from whatever the cause, and just need some sounds to work through.

How long have you been writing for?

I have been writing since the age of 13. It was something that I couldn’t help to do. I found that it allowed me to travel to places and reflect all while not ever physically moving. I used words to create or paint a picture that wasn’t easily translatable verbally. They empowered, embraced, drove and more. I was thirteen when I knew that being a creator was it for me, that the creative tool to do so was my pen.

What is your writing process like?

It’s focused but fun. I listen to music when writing. I reread sometimes to ensure clarity. I also at times have made act it out like a scene in my mind to give the description of the surrounding atmosphere. Bring out the things that are not said but you can envision by the word choice or the sentiment around the thought.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I don’t write daily. Mainly because right now there some promotion and marketing that as a self-published Author it’s all on you do this. I aim to write 2-3 times a week. However, there are times when an idea or a poem forms and now I’m in this flow of writing. I have to get it down. So, I keep my journal nearby or use the memo pad on my cell phone.

What motivates you to write?

People, current and past events of their daily lives inspire me to write stories that are a fiction upon those circumstances. I can use them for character or story development. For example, an angle from the epidemic of bullying and the increased suicides in our country. teenage pregnancy, divorce, social and criminal injustice, drunk driving, battles with cancer or other diseases, war and the Homefront etc. there are lots of situations that can provide a character or characters for a fictional story. I believe real issues give a background and a tone when writing. It provides a real sense to a fictional character and makes them come alive.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I self-published my book, on that note I knew it was coming, but it was still an awed moment for me to see the proof copy. It was the feeling of anxious, a little scared, and overwhelmed excitement at the same time. The day had come and I did. The world would be privy to read my words. That is an honored and fearful moment.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes, I am in the writing lab now, working on The Road Sometimes Traveled, a compilation novel. It’s going good so far. There are some stories in this one guys. Makes you think about the importance we place and just how hard it is to get past the past.

If you’re reading this and you’re a writer. That means the good sleep is gone for the moment. LOL. 2am is for the writers. But who am I kidding? I’m a Mom, that good sleep was sacrificed many times, and it won’t be the last.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

This question would have been different had you asked me ten years ago. I would have said a singer or contemporary dancer. However, I’m not in my twenties anymore and I have some pretty important little people depending on me. Now, I’d say a Digital Marketer or a Life Coach.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

 The easiest part is coming up with the idea or vision for a story. The hardest part…let’s be honest, writing it. It sometimes takes a dedication to come home after a full-time job, kids, housework, and school work to do the writing work. But I do it because I’m at peace when I’m in it and I find value in it. I just hope whoever reads it does to.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

That it is great to have a gift but when it’s this competitive you have to develop your brand and who you are to stand out. The earlier the better.

I say that to say that there are so many great authors and books that trying to gain an audience can be tricky. The consumer buying process has so many facets. As a developing Marketer on the professional side

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

My favorite genre is Contemporary Fiction. I love the modern techniques and the Authors of this genre are diverse.

I read, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou in the 7th grade. That’s when writing became this other world for me.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

 Stay at it. Don’t quit. You can put off the ideas or goals that you want every day. That’s what they will be in 10 years, ideas. Figure out how you could accomplish them. It’s better to have waited because you were planning along the way step by step or day by day to do, rather than doing nothing and wait until then.

Write everyday even if it is not the best, until you become better or write a page a day of that manuscript until you can afford to get published. Don’t let kids or finances stop you, work to find ways in the meantime to overcome it, even if that means you can only do a little. You’re limited but you’re still striving for the day you are limitless.

Simply don’t wait until it’s too late. If you can’t actively be the one, mentor or teach one to do. And if the idea is bigger than what you can do by yourself, don’t be afraid to collaborate. The world could use your ideas, stories, to open the door for more.

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

For each and every one of you to be awesome and find comfort in being yourselves. Know that I am truly grateful for you reading this interview and I hope that the introduction to me and to the work was inviting. I look forward to making great stories to share with you.

About Tyfany Janee

Tyfany Janee is a devoted mother and a graduate of Strayer University in Virginia. She is a prolific writer, author and poet and she has an upcoming plan of releasing a debut novel in 2018 that she titles; “I Used to Love Him.” and another book titled “RSVP: To Be You Unapologetically.”

Tyfany Janee’s love for poetry has gained her several publications in Anthologies as a young adult for poetry. Her recent book is comprised of truth, meaning, hope, possibility and a much needed element of humor when it comes to exposing the true nature of humankind. Tyfany devours inspiration wherever she can get it, from cult classics, to just about anything she can see.

Connect with Tyfany Janee

Website | Goodreads

Buy Tyfany Janee’s Books

Amazon | Goodreads

Meet Kate Trinity, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Kate Trinity to my blog!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Cactus owning, cat slave, cowboy boot wearing, coffeeholic, writer of horror and fantasy.

How long have you been writing for?

For as long as I can remember. I wrote stories, poems, and songs from a fairly young age. Then I would stop for a while and become interested in other things – horses, music, kickboxing. But writing has always been something I’ve gone back to again and again. Those ideas just keep popping into your head no matter what you’re doing.

What is your writing process like?

When I wrote It is the Demon in Me I started with pen and paper before typing it all up. But now I get an idea and open up a blank document on the computer (I can type faster now too). Sometimes I start the story straight away and other times I plot it so I don’t forget anything. Some days I can write 10k words, others I might only manage 500 – if I only write 500 it’s probably a difficult part to write or my character took the wrong path and I need to go back a way to change their choices.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I usually sit down at the computer at about 10am after I’ve done a few household chores and made a coffee. Then I deal with social media for an hour or so before opening whatever manuscript I’m working on. Some days I’ll write till 2 or 3 pm before taking care of other things like possible book covers or copywriting for people. Whilst other days I can happily sit at the computer till 8 or 9 at night because the story is just flowing.

What motivates you to write?

It’s more of a compulsion. The story plays around in my head until I agree to begin writing it down. Then I set goals for myself, figure out roughly how many words it needs to be, and what my self-imposed deadline is, before figuring out how many words I need to write a day. There are always days where I just don’t want to write and I’ve learnt that it’s better to take a day to myself than try to force myself to keep working because the following day I’ll be back at the computer and on schedule.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I went into my kitchen and made a huge chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting. And shared it with my kids.

Are you currently working on anything new?

At the moment, I’m working on a script. I began writing the story as a book and realised it would make a much better movie. So, I figured I’d give script writing a shot. There’s also the Moribund which is a story appearing in parts on my blog katetrinity.co I’ve written a few chapters and if people enjoy it I’ll post a new chapter about once a month.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

Probably something sciency – I have two degrees (a BSc and MSc) in Forensics, and Fire and Major Incident Response. Or horses, I always enjoyed working with the horses.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part is the bit in between books, where you’re letting go of one story and allowing another to enter your brain. The hardest part is everything else because it’s a lot of rushing forward and hauling yourself back. There’s always a process of getting the ideas down before going back over them to see if they work, fit, sound right. Oh, and opening that email from the editor to say they’re done with your manuscript.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

I always used to get the most incredible pain in my right hand and I put it down to the weather, writing too much, and past injuries from kickboxing and working with the horses. Turns out, it was the mouse. The best mouse is a gaming mouse – exactly the right shape. I’ve only had one for about the last year but the difference it’s made is amazing.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

I’ve always loved Westerns, Horror, and Thrillers. And I can often be found curled up with a good fantasy or sci-fi novel but I’m a little bit more particular about those.

I don’t think there was ever a book that made me want to write but there were a few that influenced the first things I wrote. The first story I wrote -about novella length- was a western. I wrote it by hand and somewhere I still have it in a binder. Maybe one day I’ll get around to typing it up.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Do a little research on the story arc – once you understand how that works with the brain, to help the reader become involved in your story, you’ll find plotting that much easier.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

If you have a cat like me, get yourself a large bowl and put it at the end of the desk. Or nearby. Maybe with a little cat nip in. It’ll keep the cat from sitting on your keyboard – for a little while at least.

About Kate:

11 countries, 2 degrees, a love of animals, and all things supernatural. When Kate isn’t writing she’s baking and loves to decorate cakes in unusual ways. Brought up around steam trains, her father was an engine driver and her mother a nurse in St. Luke’s. The eldest of five siblings and with 2 children of her own her family is a large one. After the break up of her marriage and becoming unwell Kate began to write, and never stopped. Her world is filled with gods and demons, monsters and fae.

Connect with Kate:

Facebook | Twitter | Blog

 

Buy Her Books!

It is the Demon in Me (Book 1)

Sheriff of the Eternal Law (Book 2)

Meet Mike Prelee, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Mike Prelee to my blog!

Meet Mike Prelee, Author

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, my name is Michael Prelee and I am the author of the Milky Way Repo scifi series and the crime fiction novel, Murder in the Heart of It All.

How long have you been writing for?

My first novel, Milky Way Repo, was published in 2015.

What is your writing process like?

Once I have an idea for a plot, I research the subject matter as much as I can. This involves looking things up online and interviewing people who are knowledgeable in the field. Then I begin writing the first draft of the novel. Lots of writers use outlines or beat sheets but I’ve found a looser approach works best for me. I usually have a stack of notes that I work from.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I have a day job and a family, so both of those come before writing. I read as much as I can during the week for inspiration and to see how other writers put their stories together. I also use that time to plan out what I’m going to write during my next session. Most of my writing gets done on weekend mornings. I get up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings and work as hard as I can toward that week’s goal. Again, this goes against the advice most writers give but it works for me.

What motivates you to write?

I think that everyone has a creative outlet in them. It helps us find satisfaction with our work and in our private lives. Mine happens to be writing. I have stories I want to tell and I’ve been lucky enough to have some success in that regard.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I read the email from the submissions editor a dozen times then handed it off to my wife so she could read it and confirm what I was seeing. It was an amazing feeling.

Are you currently working on anything new?

I was fortunate enough to have two books published this year but there is a lot of work that goes along with that. Each required changes with and editor, proofing, promotion and marketing. Things have just slowed down to the point where I can begin writing another book so I just started another crime book. After that I’ll probably begin the third chapter of the Milky Way Repo series.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

If I weren’t a writer I would probably do the same thing I do now, which is perform quality assurance testing on software.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

Coming up with the initial plot can be easy but following through on it is difficult. I kind of let a story idea roll around in my head and make a bunch of notes before I decide I want to write it and then once I start, it can be a slog to get it fully formed and finished. I have plenty of half-started manuscripts taking up space on my PC’s hard drive.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

I wish I understood that marketing and promotion are probably more difficult than writing. It is satisfying to see readers enjoy your work and leave reviews but it  takes an immense amount of effort to make people aware of your work, to get them talking about it and create the buzz necessary to reach your goals.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

I enjoy books in many genres by many authors. I’ll read anything by Elmore Leonard or Stephen King and both authors inspire me in different ways. Elmore Leonard’s dialogue caries a story by keeping the reader interested in what the character is going to say next, Stephen King has a way of drawing the reader into the setting and story that makes you want to keep reading without putting the book down. After I close one of his novels I often find myself wondering what happened to those characters after the end of the story.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

In order to be successful, try to be as organized as possible before putting words on paper. Work hard to complete your first draft and once you do, remember that it’s only the beginning of the process. There is rewriting, beta readers and once you think you are ready, there is the submission process. If you are lucky enough to be published or self-publish, prepare yourself to work with an editor. They are going to dig in hard and make changes to your work. You’ll see whole chapters thrown out, character motivations questioned and changes you never imagined. It’s just part of what happens before the book makes its way to the shelf.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I write in two genres, scifi and crime fiction. If you are a fan of Firefly or Killjoys, check out the Milky Way Repo series. If you are a fan of Unsolved Mysteries and true crime, give Murder in the Heart of It All a try. If you like them, please leave a review.

Thank you for this interview.

About Mike Prelee

Michael Prelee is a graduate of Youngstown State University. He resides in Northeast Ohio with his family where he enjoys writing. His Milky Way Repo sci-fi crime series includes the novels “Milky Way Repo” and “Bad Rock Beat Down”. It is published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy. He is also the author of “Murder in the Heart of it All”, a gripping mystery set in Ohio, published by North Star Press in 2017.

Connect with Mike

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Buy Mike’s Books

Murder in the Heart of It All

Milky Way Repo

Bad Rock Beat Down

Meet Yecheilyah Ysrayl, Author

I’m happy to welcome author Yecheilyah Ysrayl to my blog.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thank you, Rachel, for having me. My name is Yecheilyah (pronounced e-see-lee-yah) Ysrayl known to most as EC. I’m a native of Chicago and have been writing since I was twelve years old. I’ve been publishing my work now for about ten years. I am passionate about black history which is funny because I was never a history buff in school. But I enjoy reading and learning about the history of my people. I love sitting at the knees of elders and hearing stories of life back before I existed. So naturally, I got into writing about us just the same. Toni Morrison said that if there’s a book that you want to read that hasn’t been written yet then you must write it and that’s exactly what I do, though not always consciously. Poetry also has my heart and I dabble in Sci-Fi as well so don’t be surprised if you see me releasing something about aliens in the future. I try not to be limited.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing since I was twelve years old, so about eighteen years now.

What is your writing process like?

I’ll admit, I don’t like this question. It always sounds a bit weird to me because I like to keep things simple which means I don’t have much of a process. I sit down and write. The end.

I do write in silence and I try to tune everything out as I am writing the first draft. I think writers must learn the art of ignoring people. Otherwise, it can be difficult to create anything of value as you’re worrying about what people say and what people think. You’ll be constantly changing to fit someone’s opinion or version of what should be. So, my process is to stay to myself until it’s time to get deep into those revisions where I’ll need the assistance of others.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

Awwue Rachel. Is this another “process” question? Lol. OK. Let’s see here. It really depends on what day we’re talking about but on average, I start my day with a good workout. I get up in the morning and I head to the fitness center and it’s the first thing that I do aside from morning prayers and coffee, of course. Working out really helps to get the juices flowing mentally, the energy pumping and I find I have more clarity afterward. This is important to me because I think we forsake the mind a lot and forget that it must be exercised just as much as anything else.  After the workout, it depends on what’s on the calendar. I have this gigantic calendar I keep at my desk as well as notebooks and sticky notes as reminders of what needs to be done. Is there a book I need to finish taking notes on for a review? Is it researching I need to do for a scene? Is there something outside of writing that holds priority? When I sit up on the bed, before I even get up, I usually spend a few moments staring out into space thinking about what I need to do that day with such questions.

What motivates you to write?

I am inspired the most by the people I meet and the books that I read. I love a book that just has you looking at the cover after you’ve read it and wishing there was a movie being made about it so you can see how the characters look in real life, and if they are different from how you imagined them in your head. The kind of book that leaves your mouth hanging open because you can’t understand how to process the fact that this book is over. Like, this is literally it. Those kinds of books get my hype and I want to write a book that is just as engaging. I am also motivated by the people that I meet, lifting them up and inspiring them to aspire for greatness. For me writing does not come from a focus on writing but a focus on living. The desire to educate and motivate others is most inspiring for me.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I jumped up and down and then ran next door to show my neighbors.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Currently, I am revising Revelation which is book two in The Nora White Story. I am also working on a short inspirational piece called BREATHE. One of the things I am passionate about is motivating others and so this book is something I hope to offer to writers who specifically struggle with stress and low self-esteem, pressure and that beast called doubt. It’s a short project I hope to have out by the close of this year. It won’t have a big launch or anything.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

An elementary school teacher, hands down. I have worked with children for most of my life. I started with small children at The Louisiana In-Home School Program. I did that for four years. Then my husband and I managed a center in Shreveport for inner-city youth among other things where we tutored children of all ages, from as young as three to as old as seventeen. I did that for another five years. If I wasn’t writing I would definitely be teaching in some capacity.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part of writing for me is when I sit down to write that first draft. Not easy as in I snap my fingers and there’s a book but easy in that it’s the most fun part to me when you sit down and you write the story for the first time. Most of what you write at first may not even make it to the book (there are lots of chapters that did not make it to the final copy of Renaissance!) but that’s not what you worry about right then and there so it makes it a most exciting time. On a more serious note, it’s also the time where I am most serious about not letting everyone in because although the first draft, this is also where I feel that I am writing most of my heart. And the heart is important because despite going through so many changes later, the heart can never change. If it’s there it can never change. It can never be edited or critiqued or omitted. Because if the heart is there, the manuscript has its heartbeat and can live. That said, the fun part is just writing and being me as I write.

The hardest part is everything else! Lol. It’s the revising of the novel and making sure the plot makes sense enough to consider actually publishing. It’s the hustle for reviews later and market, promote, and so on. That’s the most challenge part for me, everything after the first draft. It’s challenging because I’m a shy person and to sell books it’s not like you can really stand in the background. So, I find myself doing a lot of what I am not comfortable doing. I’m not complaining because that’s where the growth is, outside that comfort zone. It’s challenging though.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

Oh, Rachel. You really trying to have your readers here all day now. To keep it brief, I really wish I knew more about dialogue tags, head-hopping, and interior formatting before I started.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

My favorite book since sixth grade is Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. This book made me want to write Literary Fiction. Not just this book but all the others. Let the Circle Be Unbroken, The Road to Memphis. I mean, her collection was life for me as a girl and I still have Roll of Thunder on my bookshelf today. It’s a little beat up but I have it. I may just order the others for the sake of it. Native Son by Richard Wright also changed my life.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read a lot, write a lot, and stay disciplined. Reading will keep that fire in you to create stories of your own. Discipline will force you to write them. Inspiration is great. Motivation is cool, but these aren’t constant. They don’t last. No one feels inspired or motivated forever. But if you have discipline and endurance then you can force yourself to do what needs to be done consistently enough to achieve your goals.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thank you, Rachel, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to pencil me in. Thanks to everyone reading this for the likes and shares. And if anyone would be interested in learning more about me and my work, I would be humbled if you could sign-up for my email list HERE to keep in touch. Thanks again.

About the Author

Yecheilyah Ysrayl is an Independent Author, Blogger, Poet, and Book Reviewer and writes Historical Fiction / African American Literature and poetry. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is her ninth work and is due for release Saturday, July 15, 2017. A native of Chicago, she now resides in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes and blogs full time.

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