Posted in Interviews

Meet Anne Goodwin, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Anne Goodwin to my blog!

Anne Goodwin, Author

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a book blogger and author of over seventy published short stories and two novels in the genre of literary-commercial / accessible literary fiction. I’m interested in themes of identity, mental health and how the past influences the present, but mostly I aim to write fiction that people will want to read. My first novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity secret for thirty years was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. My second, Underneath, about a man who thinks he can resolve a relationship crisis by keeping a woman captive in a cellar, is published this week.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been secretly scribbling since early childhood, but have been writing seriously – by which I mean editing in response to feedback – for about fifteen years. I had my first short fiction publication ten years ago and my first novel almost two years ago.

What is your writing process like?

A chaotic mélange of dazzling insights and hard slog.

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

I don’t have a routine, but I do have a sense of what’s most productive for me. When it works well, I knuckle down to whatever on my mental to-do list most fits my mood. Other days, I’m either overwhelmed by a surfeit of ideas or constantly distracted by Twitter or the need to hang out another load of laundry.

What motivates you to write?

I suppose it started as an attempt to make sense of things I couldn’t talk about, either because they were too painful or because, in my family of origin, freedom of thought was discouraged. For many years, when I was concentrating on my career, I wrote very little fiction but now it’s an extremely enjoyable addiction. I fear my head would burst if I didn’t somehow get the chatter of my characters out of my head! And, of course, it’s lovely now that I’m building a supportive band of readers who like my stuff.

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

Mmm, check it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke?

Are you currently working on anything new?

I’m always working on something. It’s still a long way to go but I’m hoping the mess of disjointed scenes about a brother and sister separated for over fifty years while she’s in a mental hospital will eventually come together well enough to be my third novel. I’m also assembling a collection of short stories around the theme of identity to fill the gap before my next novel’s ready.

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

I worked for twenty-five years as a clinical psychologist and, even though it’s a good few years since I left it, I still perceive that as my “proper” career. When the weather’s good I sometimes think I’d like to have done an outdoor job, but when it’s pelting with rain I’m extremely satisfied with the paths I’ve taken.

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

Generating ideas, creating characters and finding situations to put them in comes much more easily to me than plotting. Perhaps that’s why I tend to defer it, except in a fairly loose sense, until the other aspects are fairly well established. The other difficulty is excising those overused words, which is where an editor will hopefully come to the rescue.

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

That it takes so much longer than you’d ever imagine to develop the skill to write well! Perhaps because I was older, and well-established in a career that involved some writing and publication, I completely underestimated how much I had to learn. I might have enjoyed those early years of trying and failing much better if I’d been less focused on getting published.

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

I like to read literary fiction with some kind of marginalised characters and emotional depth. While I read a lot as a child, I never gave much thought to the person who was doing the writing! Rather than inspiring me to write, most of my favourite books have made me think I couldn’t, because I’d never be able to do it as well. However, a big favourite from recent years is A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Know what you want to achieve and what it will take to get there. For example, if you just want to write for yourself, go ahead and enjoy it, but if you want to write for publication be prepared for a lot of hard work and disappointment. If there’s anything you’d rather do instead, do it!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just to draw readers’ attention to my blog tour and that there’s a pre-publication Kindle reduced price offer (£1.99 / $2.48) on Underneath AND on my first novel Sugar and Snails for the next couple of days.

About Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, is scheduled for publication in May 2017. Anne is also a book blogger and author of over 70 published short stories.

Connect with Anne: Annethology | Twitter @Annecdotist

About Underneath [Release Date: May 25, 2017]

Underneath by Anne Goodwin

He never intended to be a jailer …

After years of travelling, responsible to no-one but himself, Steve has resolved to settle down. He gets a job, buys a house and persuades Liesel to move in with him.

Life’s perfect, until Liesel delivers her ultimatum: if he won’t agree to start a family, she’ll have to leave. He can’t bear to lose her, but how can he face the prospect of fatherhood when he has no idea what being a father means? If he could somehow make her stay, he wouldn’t have to choose … and it would be a shame not to make use of the cellar.

Will this be the solution to his problems, or the catalyst for his own unravelling?

Buy the Book:
Amazon UK | Amazon USA

Check out the Underneath Blog Tour!

Underneath by Anne Goodwin Blog Tour

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Posted in Interviews

Meet Aditi Sharma, Writer

It’s my pleasure to welcome Aditi Sharma to my blog!

Aditi Sharma, Writer

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

If only I could tell about the books I write. Right now I can only tell about the books that I read written by others.
Anyhow, as this question is about me I would suffice its answers with a few adjectives and phrases about me as a person-
A loner by choice; dog-person; peace lover; morning and green-tea person; planner; moody (big time, and trying to get it removed from this list); simplicity-believer; stories over poems; inclined more towards mountains than beaches; stationery lover.

A quote I firmly believe in and always keep by my side-
“There is no short cut to success and there is no everlasting success achieved through short cuts.” 

How long have you been writing for?

If copying quotes, stories, and small messages in my diary can be considered writing then I had been doing that since I was a kid of around 12 (maybe). But if something serious, something new, something original is concerned, that I have started writing only in my late teens. I started when I was 19, but after a long break of two-three years (due to graduation, which by the way is in Engineering) I restarted when I turned 22.
It is after being 22 that my writing got down on the race track with no other pen to compete with but just with its own previous records-striving to create new ones. I am yet to turn 23 in July, so it’s been 9 (serious) months that I have taken my found passion to another level, a level of nurturing.

What is your writing process like?

It depends on the kind of content that I am writing.

If I have chosen to write on a political issue then I ought to do a sufficient amount of research. Once done with researching, I bookmark the pivotal pages or points and then I put my thoughts down on the screen. Even though I haven’t written much on political or social agendas, this I have understood that the deeper and accurate the research, the more impactful the end product would be.

If it is something fictional (which most of the times my writings are) or simply a self-help article, all I do is put down my story or article on paper. I prefer to (though still struggling) pen down my story the way it comes to me, without any pause or over-thinking. Then I rephrase the sentence structures, replace the almost-right words with the perfect words and the placement of paragraphs is rearranged.

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

Being a naïve, I am still struggling (like lot of other things) to have a routine, a decent writing routine. Having heard a lot about how a fixed time at a fixed place can help in creating and maintaining the writing flow, I still am trying to make such a routine my niche.

But if it comes down to a typical day for me then such day cannot be inclusive only of writing. My typical day involves sessions of writing, reading and studying about reading or writing.

What motivates you to write?

I have always been an artistic person. Since childhood I had been into many such fields like sketching, calligraphy, pottery, and music during school-time. After hopping from domain to domain, finally I have landed down on the art of writing and reading. If art cannot define me then nothing else can and if I cannot define art then I dread if there is anything else that I can ever define; that is the reason which motivates me to write and strive for betterment every day.

Also, immersing into the world of fiction allows me to be the creator of my new world, lets me decide what should and should not be happening, and that fun is what keeps me going.

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

When I will find out that my book is being published then like any paranoid person, I wouldn’t believe it first. Then my optimistic side would try to overpower the paranoid one and I will re-confirm the news from every source that is possible. I know this because this is what happens when I achieve anything huge.

Once everything is confirmed, I will share it with my dad and all my close ones.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Well, I have a lot going in my head but haven’t settled down on anything as of now. Though there is a project that has been offered to me and soon I am going to get started with it. The project is nothing like what I had thought but as a beginner I wouldn’t mind experimenting.

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

This question is bit weird for me to answer, *laugh* as by profession I am an engineer and writing is what I do before and after my office timings.

But there are plans, some major ones, in my head. Let’s see how the implementation goes.

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

For me, the easiest part of writing is to have the crux of my story in my mind. Knowing what is the basic message or theme of my fictional work/ non-fictional article is almost always there in the back of my mind.

Hardest part (here I am talking about the content of my blog-posts) is definitely to be me in my short stories and still make them go along different paths from the ones my previous stories/articles had gone through. Knowing what I want to write about but how and what form of story would convey it in the best way becomes a daunting task for me.

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

As I am still in the inception stage of this art-Writing, I think I am yet to find/ learn about any such thing, if there would be any.

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

Anything that pertains to fiction, be it fictional romance or suspense or thriller or anything, can be considered my favorite.
I won’t say that A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini made me realize that I wanted to write because I knew that writing is something that I should be doing long before reading them, but it was after I read them that something clicked and I started my serious writing.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Myself being one of them, the only advice that I give to myself and would offer to others too is-Never give up on your dreams. And if you dare to dream, dare to work for it too.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I think I have already said enough in my answers above. The only thing I would like to add is to pay my gratitude to Rachel, the interviewer, to have my interview published on her blog even after me forgetting to send her my answers back on time. *giggle*

About Aditi

Aditi SharmaHaving relished the diversity of an as large nation as India, Aditi Sharma, a B.Tech graduate, has her home in New Delhi and is currently working in Bangalore. Having said about diversity, she has lived in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Bhubaneshwar during her course from schooling to graduation to her job in Bangalore.

Engineer by profession, her soul’s most cherishable moments are the ones around books. Reading and writing came naturally to her (though a bit late) when she had her first serious read-The Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, but now they are here to stay, for ever. Though she prefer to read and write more of fiction work, now-a-days she is having her hands and eyes on non-fiction too.

Through blogging she is trying to reach out to more and more like-minded people, who believe in the art of writing, in the hard work behind writing, in the qualitative writing.

Connect With Aditi

Facebook Page | Facebook Profile | Instagram | Twitter

 

Posted in Interviews

Meet Patrick Roland, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Patrick Roland to my blog.

Meet Patrick Roland, Author: An Interview

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

 My name is Patrick Roland. I am a gay, bi-polar, drug addict, alcoholic, widow who is now sober, healthy and happy. I wrote a self-help book about grief and addiction called Unpacked Sparkle. My hope is that my experience, strength and hope will help others unpack their own sparkle and learn to love themselves exactly as they are. I’m still beautifully broken, but I’m joyful and hopeful about it!

How long have you been writing for?

Ironically, the first thing I wrote that got any attention was a poem in the sixth grade about my dog who had died. I won second place in a state poetry contest. Now, 30 years later, I’ve written a book about grief. I’ve been a writer my whole career – mostly journalism – but this subject matter seems to have chosen me.

What is your writing process like?

For this project, I made a list of all the things I wanted to write about and then did so. I didn’t write things in order of how they happened because that isn’t how I think. That’s also not the way they appear in the book. Because grief isn’t linear. Grief is kind of a puzzle that you have to put together, so that’s what I did with this book. The narrative is like a tapestry, weaved together by the friends who kept the lights on for me while my sparkle was dimmed.

I wrote the majority of the book in about 12 days. It poured out of me. But it didn’t feel “done.” I also only had about 100 days of sobriety when I wrote it so I fleshed out the first six months – when it ends – about a year later. There were some key things that happened that became the last three chapters that really completed the puzzle and made everything come together.

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

I was so inspired when I wrote this book. I wrote it on lunch breaks. I wrote after work. I wrote all weekend long. The same was true of the editing process. I blocked off a week and went to Iowa and sat on a lake – my lifelong dream – and completed the final manuscript.

What motivates you to write?

I was trying to write myself out of pain. Everything that happened to me when my partner died was very traumatic, but as long as it stayed inside me, it was going to haunt me. I became an entirely different person as a result of writing this. I moved from victim to survivor; from pain into power. As I grew as a person, I became motivated to tell my story to help others. I felt like I went through all of this so that I could help the next person not suffer as much as I did. I’m here to say you can overcome whatever you are struggling with. I am living proof. I’m also here to say you are not alone and you are worth it. Loving yourself as you are is the first step to a glorious new life filled with joy and possibility.

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

I texted my best friend, Megan. We’ve been best friends for 20 years but we were fighting when what happened in the book transpired, so I initially wrote the book to “fill her in.” Plus, when we reunited after our five year hiatus, she had given me some freelance work that was super creative which got me feeling like I could pull this book off. I owe a lot of the success of this to her in a way; so I wanted to have a private moment with her before it became public.

Are you currently working on anything new?

I wrote a children’s book with similar themes that needs to be illustrated and I want to turn Unpacked Sparkle into a screenplay. I so feel like it could be a movie!

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

I know I would be helping people. I’d either be a counselor or a pastor or something like that.

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

It’s easiest to be honest and it’s hardest not to be. I think that’s why this book poured out of me. It is my truth. It it directly from my heart. I wouldn’t have even done it if it wasn’t honest. It wouldn’t be worth it if it wasn’t.

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

Well, it’s not nearly as glamorous as it’s made out to be. And just because you’ve written a book and gotten it published- which is a pretty major accomplishment – it doesn’t automatically mean people are going to care about it. But I think I did something amazing – and my friends and recovery community have really embraced me – and that’s beautiful.

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

I’m probably most inclined to read a self-help memoir because I am always interested to learn about other people and how they overcame things they thought they couldn’t. There is something very intimate and human about that – and that’s what I was going for with Unpacked Sparkle. So somewhere along the way, I was inspired by say Maya Angelou or Augusten Burroughs and I decided that I wanted to be as open and brave and free as they were, and I was.

I also love Toni Morrison. She doesn’t write memoirs per say but her words move me to my core.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. If you believe in yourself and love yourself as you are, you will be successful. It all starts with you!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Always remember this: “The very things you are the most afraid of are the very things that bring the most growth. It’s in facing those intimidating and unrelenting fears that we become who we are. The other side of fear is always a miracle. Magic isn’t created when you are comfortable, it manifests when you are not.”

About Patrick

A new voice in self-help, author Patrick A. Roland, in partnership with Az Publishing Services, has released his new memoir about grief and recovery, Unpacked Sparkle, now available on Amazon.
Unpacked Sparkle chronicles Roland’s transformative journey upon finding his partner Pack dead in January 2014. It begins on the day of the funeral that he was uninvited to by Pack’s homophobic family and details the nearly two-year journey back to a now thriving, joy-filled life he experienced after attempting to jump out of a twenty-six-story Vegas casino after a weekend of intended Britney Spears and Mariah Carey concerts that he mostly missed in the throes of grief and addiction. He was instead hospitalized there after his mother miraculously found him. There, he began to take the vital steps necessary to take back control over his life.
The book discusses addiction and the recovery from it, grief and the journey to acceptance that ensued, the family dynamics and DNA that resulted in a life-saving bi-polar diagnosis, and the importance of civil rights and marriage equality. This miraculous journey is threaded together by a tapestry of amazing friends who helped him find his way back to happiness, as well as signs from beyond that his partner is still with him spiritually, even though his body is not.
Book Links
Posted in Interviews

Meet Jen Benjamin, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Jen Benjamin to my blog.

jen-benjamin

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello and thanks for having me! I’m Jen Benjamin and I write romantic comedy/chick lit. It’s basically light reading that’s fun to write and (I hope!) fun to read.

How long have you been writing for?

Writing has been one of my favorite pastimes since I was pretty young. When I was really little, like ages 6 through 10, I used to write stories and try to get my friends to act them out. The pre-teen and early teen years were mostly spent writing lame poetry. (Poetry itself isn’t lame, but mine was!) I returned to stories in seventh or eighth grade and have been writing stories ever since.

What is your writing process like?

I don’t outline or anything like that. Basically, I make myself sit down. Sometimes I have to bribe myself. You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Well, I’m not. If I can just talk myself into turning on the computer or opening the notebook, I can get going. But it seems very daunting until I start. When I do start, I just go where the story takes me.

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

I don’t really have a routine. I usually write at night when everyone else is sleeping and I almost always have a sitcom playing in the background. And I usually write from beginning to end but every once in a while, I’ll have a scene that I have to get down while it’s still fresh in my mind. That’s rare and is the only time I write out of sequence.

What motivates you to write?

That is the hardest part of writing! Just getting motivated to DO IT. It feels impossible sometimes. There are times when I have to just force myself to start and I know that once I do, the words will flow. But sometimes I’ll have a story bouncing around in my head until it starts to drive me crazy and I simply MUST get it out of my head by putting it down on paper or screen.

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

You know, I honestly don’t remember but, knowing myself as I do, I’ll bet I read through the whole manuscript again to try to catch anything that might be outrageously stupid.

Are you currently working on anything new?

I have another book coming out in April. It’s about Annie Gallagher, a small-town museum curator who believes that if she’s patient, Fate will bring love to her doorstep.

I do have some other stories and fragments bouncing around but I’m not sure which of those will come to fruition first.

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

Oh, I have no idea. I used to want to be a history teacher. But I ended up making a career as a newspaper journalist before I decided to stay home with my kids.

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

I think, for me, the easiest part is getting the story out. The hardest part, aside from, you know, actually turning on the computer, is tying the end up so that readers will be happy. I’m a person who is content with ambiguous endings when I’m reading, but I know that most readers want closure. I try to be true to the story and give the readers what they need. For me, it’s a fine line.

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

An author will never make everyone happy. I cannot write a book that will appeal to everyone and trying to do that is a waste of time.

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

I really read just about everything. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a long, wordy classic. Sometimes in the mood for something that requires zero thought. I can’t think of any one book that made me want to write. I have my head in the clouds a lot and sometimes those daydreams turn into a good plot and I want to write it down.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I have no clever advice. Just write. Just do it. You can’t just wait around for someday. But when you do have to wait, read, read, read!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’d just like to tell you how grateful I am for this interview and how grateful I am to anyone who gives my stories a chance! I hope they make you smile. That’s really all I’m after.

About Jen

Jen Benjamin is a newspaper writer who enjoys fiction when she gets time away from writing facts. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and various furry creatures. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys photography, reading, catching re-runs of Frasier and playing the violin. She used to play the violin for church and various other events, but now just plays for herself (and still has nightmares about her one gig as a strolling violinist!).

You can email Jen at authorjenbenjamin@gmail.com, or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorjenbenjamin or on Twitter, @jenbenjam.

Jen’s Books

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Buy Links

Amazon

Posted in Interviews

Meet Jessica Dall, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Jessica Dall to my blog.

Jessica Dall

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a history nerd turned writer who, I think, has finally worked out how to properly join the two. I’ve written a little bit of everything at this point, but most recently have been focusing on my historical fantasy and just plain historical fiction works for the last year or so. It takes a good deal of work when you’re writing things in historical settings (especially since I’m a stickler for accuracy. I spent much longer than I should have looking up the moon phases in 1755 to make sure I had the right moon on a particular date in the work I’m shopping at the moment…) but I find it incredibly enjoyable being able to marry my two passions so completely.

How long have you been writing for?

My mom will tell you that I’ve been writing since before I actually knew how to write. As a four-year-old I would take pieces of paper and do a bunch of loops on them pretending it was cursive (before leaving the scribbled papers around and driving my mother crazy, of course). I didn’t seriously get into writing until much later, though. I dabbled in fan fiction early on in high school because my friend was very much into it, which then led me back into writing original works (though I entirely admit my first novel is pretty much Harry Potter with the characters’ names changed…) By college, I was fully immersed in writing once again, and it’s been my life since!

What is your writing process like?

Since I have recently been focused on settings that take a fair bit of research these days, I start out with my trusty friend Scrivener (a writing software) and begin researching. Most of the time that ends up getting a relevant book on my Kindle and then taking notes from it so I have a good background in the time period I’m using. From there I work out who my main characters are and how they fit into the events playing out around them. Since I’ve never been able to fully stick to an outline, I try not to over plan, though. If I have my beginning worked out, I’ll start that and then stop and plan again when I hit a snag. This often means that there are times when I’ll have to stop and do some more research along the way, but as I said I’m a history nerd, so I like the researching almost as much as the writing some days.

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

I admit I’ve never been good at sticking to a routine. I work from home most of the time, so I tend to have whatever I’m writing open in one tab with whatever editing work I have open in another and then bounce back and forth throughout the day whenever I need a change of pace. Some days that means I get thousands of words written, some days nothing (especially if I’m up against an editing deadline and my focus is entirely on that other work), but everything always seems to get done in the end, and so the system works for me!

What motivates you to write?

I always joke and say I have self-diagnosed hypergraphia (the compulsive need to write). Whether or not I actually do, I do get rather tetchy if I go too long without being able to write something, so it’s often not what motivates me to write but what keeps me from writing the times that I’m not. If you run into me sitting alone somewhere, you’re very likely to find me scribbling away wherever I am.

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

The first time I got an acceptance, I’m pretty sure I jumped up and down then felt the need to tell everyone I know. Sadly I’m a little jaded at this point down the line, and so there hasn’t been jumping recently, but it’s still always an amazing feeling to hear that it isn’t just you who thinks your book is good and it really is going to get out there for the world to see.

Are you currently working on anything new?

There are a bunch of pans in the fire at the moment. I’m in edits for the third book in my historical fantasy series (currently titled Shattered Tempests) which will be out sometime this year if all goes as planned. I’m also shopping my straight historical fiction novel, set in Age of Enlightenment Portugal, which is a really interesting time period I knew absolutely nothing about before writing the book. As for writing, I’m in the early stages of working on a book set a little closer to home—namely colonial Maryland.

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

I actually have a political science degree, since in high school I was planning on going to Law School after college. It was an internship junior year that turned me on to being a writer/editor full-time (with some teaching on the side). I love what I do so much that it’s difficult to imagine being as happy in another profession, but I have to imagine I would now be somewhere in the legal profession, had I not had that switch in college (lawyer, paralegal, wherever life would have had me end up).

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

The easiest part of writing for me has always been dialogue. Once I develop my characters, they seem to take on a life of their own and writing dialogue becomes me trying to keep up with what they’re doing. Coincidentally, the hardest part is keeping everyone on track. I have a tendency to end up with conversations that don’t move the plot forward/add much that I know need to be cut but really like. I’ve started another document full of conversations that don’t add anything to the stories they were a part of but are too enjoyable to delete entirely.

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

While your first novel is always going to be your baby, it likely isn’t going to be very good. There are certainly people who are the literary equivalent of Mozart and the first thing they put down on paper will be brilliant, but for the rest of the world, you will finish your first novel, think it’s amazing, and then look at it five years later and go “What was I thinking?” Writing is a skill. One that gets better the more you practice, and that means while your first novel will always have a special place in your heart, it likely isn’t the first thing you’ll want readers to see—not unless you edit it several years down the line once you have gone from “beginner” to “professional.”

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

Unsurprisingly, my favorite genres are what I’ve ended up writing—namely historical fiction and fantasy. When it comes to a favorite book, I have plenty, but the one that I tend to come back to is The China Garden by Liz Berry. I first read it in high school, and the historical and fantastical combination really spoke to me, I suppose. I still have the beat up copy in my bookshelf now and I pull it out from time to time since it has a brilliant sense of nostalgia mixed into the storyline now.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? 

Write. No matter how good or bad you feel you are doing, you need to keep going and put words on the page. As said above, writing is a skill, and you can only get better if you practice. And remember, there’s always editing. You can’t compare your rough draft to a completely edited, published book. Editing fixes many sins; it just can’t fix an empty page.

About Jessica

Jessica Dall finished her first novel at the age of fifteen and has been hooked on writing ever since. In the past few years, she has published novels such as, Raining Embers and The Paper Masque, along with a number of short stories that have appeared in both magazines and anthologies.

In college, Jessica interned at a publishing house, where her “writing hobby” slowly turned into a variety of writing careers. She currently works as both as an editor and creative writing teacher in Washington, DC.

Connect with Jessica

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jessica’s Books

raining-embersgraven-idols-hi-res

Buy Links

Raining Embers
Graven Idols

Posted in Interviews

Meet Phyllis Edgerly Ring, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Phyllis Edgerly Ring to my blog.

Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Because I began life as an Army brat, and I’m a Baha’i, I value a world citizen’s perspective about where our human family is going on its shared journey.

My nonfiction books explore how to create balance between the spiritual and material aspects of life. I write fiction because, like so much of art, it can help us discover just what shape this balance is taking within our own lives. More than any other kind of writing, book-length fiction requires an absorption and immersion that will lead to what wants to be known and realized — in a story, and in a life. When a writer goes the distance with this, it allows mysterious unseen threads to weave into what both emotions and spirit can recognize as true and, in that recognizing, encounter what transcends this earthly life.

How long have you been writing for?

Since my teens and, in a focused way — selling and publishing work — since my late 20s. I wrote for magazines and newspapers, which was a great way to build the skills I now value and rely on as I write books.

What is your writing process like?

I allow whatever portion of a work that wants to come to reveal itself and I capture it down. I’ve never started at the beginning, but what the beginning is always becomes clear as I allow the process to reveal things in its own way, which is almost never in chronological order. Once enough pieces come into existence, they begin to show me how they connect and relate to each other, and what further directions to take. This, for me, is one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience.

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

I’m possessive and protective about the start of my day (which may come even before the sun shows up) because of the quality of its energy. For newly arriving writing, this is the very best time. For revision work, late morning and late afternoon seem best. I don’t necessarily get words onto a page every day, but I am always writing – living with the work, and “noodling” and discovering more about it.

What motivates you to write?

The utter joy of it, immersion in this deeply absorbing and revealing experience. As some writers describe, it can be like living in my own movie. Plus, the research that most of my writing requires is a delight for nerdy me. It never feels like work, just pure delight in discovery, with inevitable surprises.

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

Called my sister, who is also a writer, as was our mother. Then I went straight downtown to inform my wonderful local independent bookstore.

Are you currently working on anything new?

My first book for children, Jamila Does Not Want a Bat in Her House, is coming out this year. And my latest novel, The Munich Girl, keeps me busier as I interact with book clubs and other widening circles of readers, and offer presentations about it at libraries and such. I’ve also waded into 2 new projects. One is what I’d term spiritual memoir, based on my experience with writing The Munich Girl and some of the nearly inexplicable synchronicities that it brought. The other is historical fiction set in 19th-century New England.

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

Something that incorporates the powerful role of story in human experience, and healing. I worked in the healing field early in my life. I learned that story plays an enormous part in how people heal, because it supports how they come to resolution, understanding, and eventually, find peace as they make meaning about life experience.

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

The easiest: that it’s there waiting for me everyday, and I can pursue it anywhere I am in the world. Hardest (sometimes, at least), is that every writing work has its own timetable, directly related to the one connected with my own development, and that it’s wise not to try to force or speed up.

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

If I am true to the nature of my own writing self, allow it to be the soul-led experience it is, the process will be enjoyable, full of discovery, even empowering. It will amaze me. And, I believe, it will be a part of what transforms me.

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

Historical fiction has attracted me from my earliest (grade school) reading days. The first book I read on my own that made a huge impact on me (third grade) was a biography of the medieval life and work of St. Elisabeth.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read, persevere, learn craft — do all of these until you find both your voice and the process that works for you. Then relish the rewriting as much as you do the exciting early drafting that brings with it so much discovery. Also, learn how to be edited, so that you’re able to recognize when someone’s applying this fine skill to your work and it really does improve it, help you past your blind spots, etc.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I love hearing from readers with their thoughts and reflections about my books. They can contact me at info@phyllisring.com. Thanks very much for this opportunity, Rachel. ☺

Author bio:

Phyllis Edgerly Ring lives in New England and returns as often as she can to her childhood home in Germany. She has studied plant sciences and ecology, worked as a nurse, been a magazine writer and editor, taught English to kindergartners in China, and frequently serves as workshop facilitator and coach for others’ writing projects. Her published work includes fiction and inspirational nonfiction.

Connect with Phyllis Edgerly Ring:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Phyllis Edgerly Ring’s Books:

munich-girlBuy Links:

Amazon | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK | Audible

Posted in Interviews

Meet Heena Rathore P., Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Heena Rathore P. to my blog.

Author Heena Rathore P.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thank you, Rachel, for having me on your blog.

I’m an introvert who likes to stay at home 99.9% of the times. I’m a movie buff and watch at least 2 latest releases every week in theatre and the old ones at home in the rest of the week. Being a book reviewer I get to read a lot and over all I read around a 100 books every year (or have done so from that last 3 years) – sometimes more, sometimes less.

My writing style is simple; I believe in writing stories that can be read and understood, and hence, be enjoyed by everyone (and not just literary geniuses.) My writing is a bit on the darker side and that is something that I have no reason for as it comes naturally to me. It’s probably the influence of the kind of books and movies I prefer.

How long have you been writing for?

I started writing in early 2014, so I’ve been writing full time for almost 3 years now.

What is your writing process like?

My writing process is quite simple. I generally keep a fixed timing for writing. In the mornings (either early or between 9-12am) but that’s not the case everyday. Sometimes the inspiration hits in the evening or sometimes in the middle of the dead of the night. So I write whenever I feel like it.

All I need to get going is a scented candle (mild one) and absolute quite. I can then write for hours.

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

As I said I have a fixed schedule for writing, but that keeps on changing while working on different aspects of the book and also on my mood. But for most of the time this is the schedule I try and stick to – I’m a morning person, so I get up around 6 and make it a point to complete my exercise, yoga, Gratitude practice, and breakfast by 9:00 am. Then I sit for writing on my dining table (I have 2 dedicated study rooms, but the only place my creative mind likes is the dining table.)

I write continuously for 2-4 hours, meditating in between for 5 minutes every 45 minutes. Some days are good, but some days are a struggle, so I make it a point to complete at least 1500 words before getting up from the table. I follow this routine strictly for at least 5 days a week.

Then I read in the afternoons and if I feel like it again, I write for another hour or two in the evening or night again (this happens at least 3-4 days a week.)

Sometimes, if I skip the morning session, I do it in the evenings. Saturdays are mostly dedicated to other things so I write only for an hour on Saturdays. And Sundays are completely dedicated to spending quality time with my husband, so I never write on Sundays, except while participating in WriMos or meeting deadlines.

What motivates you to write?

I am a disciplinarian. The voice inside my head is more than enough to get me through anything, even writing. But on off days, I read stuff about by favorite writers and authors and that seem to work like a charm.

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

I cried, a lot! And then I celebrated with a bottle of red wine with my husband.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes, I’m presently working on my second novel, Sinister Town. It is a crime thriller with elements of horror and is based on the concept of ritual and cult killings.

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

I guess, Librarian, but I’m quite sure my family wouldn’t have let that happen. So I’ll say that if I would have not left my engineering college for finding the right path for me then I’d still be an Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer.

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

Easiest part is writing itself and the revising. And the hardest part is the taxing amount of research that goes into a project. Sometimes the research is fun, but after a while researching about haunted stuff and psychopath and serial killers starts to get overwhelming.

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

Nothing. 

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

I love psychological thrillers and dark fantasy genre. I also enjoy apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stuff. So in general, I like dark genre. I wanted to be a writer since childhood, so there’s no single book that made me realize it as such. I guess it was the effect of the sum of all the books I’ve read in my life so far.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

My advice is always the same: Write only if you have a story inside you. Write if you have a passion for sharing that story with the world, and write only if you actually have the guts to sit down and write.
A lot of people don’t realize it, but writing needs a certain level of self-discipline. And if you think writing can be done without any discipline, then you might be able to write for a while, but you’ll never be able to do it consistently for long.

About Heena Rathore P.:

Heena Rathore Pardeshi is a novelist, novel critic, as well as a book reviewer. She is also an ace social media strategist and an acclaimed YouTube Podcaster. An award-winning writer, she has won several NaNoWriMos and JuNoWriMos since 2014.

Heena also manages her own book club, RMFAO on Goodreads.com.

A fan of crime-thrillers, apocalyptic fiction and slasher movies and series, she draws inspiration from the works of legendary writers such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Sidney Sheldon.

An introvert and free-thinker, Heena prefers neatness over chaos – in her fictional themes as well as in her real life. She has a special place for German Shepherds and books in her heart.

Heena is twenty-five years old and lives in Pune, India with her beloved husband, Vishal – a successful entrepreneur, in a house full of books, music, and love. Heena passionately creates vivid fictional worlds; some to read and cherish, and some to live in.

Connect with Heena Rathore P.:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | Goodreads | YouTube

Heena Rathore P.’s Book:

Deceived by Heena Rathore P.

How well do you know your loved ones?

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.

A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.

A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.

And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, unwittingly to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.

Deceived will be available in 2017.