Posted in Interviews

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.

Connect with Yecheilyah

Website | Amazon | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Linkedin

Buy Her Books

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Posted in Interviews

Meet Jon Budd, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Jon Budd to my blog!

Jon Budd, author interview

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a professional archeologist working for the state of Texas. Prior to that I worked in California for the Forest Service. I am also a singer, musician, and songwriter. I have released my own album of original songs entitled, “Musical Ontology”. I have also just released my first historical fiction novel entitled, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. I have a Master of Art’s degree in anthropology specializing in archeology from a California State University. I like to write fiction based upon facts.

How long have you been writing for?

I basically write for a living in my job as an archeologist. I write a lot. However, it took nearly twenty years to write my first and only novel.

What is your writing process like?

I get an idea and work on it and let it grow organically. It’s like building a house. First you create the framework, which is the draft. Then, you refine it by adding the fixtures. Like polishing your draft. I rewrite like crazy. I must have gone through at least a dozen proofs.

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

Most days I work, so I come home and spend ninety minutes a day practicing my acoustic guitar and then I write as hard as I can for an hour. I rotate chapters every day, so the book gets created as whole, together. I also like to have friends read what I write to check for typos and nonsense.

What motivates you to write?

I think that everyone has an artist inside them. I can’t draw, paint, or sculpt, so I express my personal artist through music and literature.

I didn’t consciously make any decision to become a writer. I just had an idea for what I thought would be a good, entertaining story, so I began to write it. I do remember though, a long time ago, while looking for a decent movie to rent at the local Blockbuster Video, saying to myself, “I could come up with a better story for a movie then what I see here”!

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

I always felt that my novel would be published, so it wasn’t a big thing.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Artistically, this novel drained me. That’s the way it supposed to be isn’t it? I poured everything I had into it. It’s a little painful to think about what my next literary project may be. I’m sure there will be one and I have some ideas, but that’s what they are now, just ideas, nothing firm. However, I am returning to my musical writing and performing. My next artistic endeavor will be bringing forth more original musical compositions and performances.

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

I am already a successful archeologist and musician.

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

The easiest part is coming up with ideas for novels. That comes pretty natural. The hardest part is the hard work it takes, plodding on day after day shaping the details and characters into something that makes sense.

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

I naively thought that if you wrote a good book, you would be successful. But, that’s not the case. As often in other fields, you really need to know someone. So, being a successful writer includes networking and schmoozing.

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

My genre, Native American Historical Fiction, is what I know. I have a Master’s Degree in Anthropology specializing in Archeology. I have well over twenty-five years working as a professional archeology for the United States Forest Service and the State of Texas where I work now. I have studied Native American Indian culture, religion, and history since I was a boy growing up in New Mexico.

I admire JRR Tolkien who wrote, “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” because he took me to a faraway place. I also admire Richard Henry Dana Jr. who wrote, “Two Years before the Mast” because he revealed to me that good history is entertaining. Finally, I really admire Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who wrote, “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” because of his earthy and ingenious ways of weaving humor into a story.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Take the first step and just begin. Commit, commit, commit. Write as hard as you can for an hour a day. Keep track of the days you write and try to set and break records for consecutive days. Write for an hour about each one of your characters. Who are they? What are they like? Who do they remind you of? That will help you develop deep, rich, memorable characters. Don’t be afraid of failing. You are only beaten when you give up. Never give up. Network, network, network. You can never have too many friends.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

The title of my novel is, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. It’s about Hank and Vince who are friends. They work together for the Forest Service near Lake Tahoe in California. Vince is an archeologist and Hank is a Native American Indian Hank is from a local tribe called, “the Washo”. They have an ancient, sacred, landmark known as “Cave Rock”. This place is located on the shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Precious tribal treasures are stored there. When one of Hank’s tribal elders learns that raiders have found their way into Cave Rock, he sends Hank down to San Francisco to retrieve what was stolen. Hank learns that there is a curse on Cave Rock and the strangers who have raided the cave may have set things in motion that could culminate in a terrible earthquake just like the one that destroyed San Francisco in 1906. Hank, Vince, and a War Party of Indians must travel to San Francisco and take back what was stolen from the cave before thousands of people perish or get injured from another devastating earthquake. This is their story.

About Jon

Jon Budd is an author, musician, and an archeologist. He is also known by his formal name, Jonathan Budd. He grew up in Northern New Mexico playing music and studying ancient Indian ruins. Jon started playing professionally for school dances when he was fourteen years old. By the time he was sixteen, he was performing in nightclubs. When he came of age, he lived and performed in Albuquerque, Houston, and Denver. It was in Denver where he began his university training in archeology. He moved to Los Angeles and recorded his original music album entitled, “Musical Ontology”. This album consists of ten original songs that Jon composed as well as a drum solo he performs. Jon wrote and produced all of the music. He sang all of the songs, played drums, keyboards, most of the guitars, as well as some of the bass guitar. There are some really talented musicians who also recorded on Jon’s album including Andy West (bass), Cornelius Bumpus (saxophone), and Steve Richards and Mike Richards on Guitars. This album is available as a compact disc album as well as individual song downloads at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jonathanbudd3. Jon now performs in and around Austin, Texas – the Live Music Capitol of the World!

In 2017, Jon released his first historical-fiction novel entitled, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. It is an adventure- fiction story about the struggle of the Washo American Indians during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush. It centers on the beautiful, pristine Lake Tahoe and reveals American Indians in a very positive light.  The novel uses ancient Washo mythology to tell a story of how these Indians persevered and eventually prospered during tumultuous Gold Rush era. The story travels in time to the initial gold discovery at Sutter’s Mill, the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, and into modern times. The tale features Lake Tahoe, Cave Rock, Washo Cosmology, gold treasure, earthquakes and San Francisco.

Jon graduated with a Master of Art’s degree from California State University, Northridge. He worked for seven years for the United States Forest Service in California as an archeologist. It was while working around Lake Tahoe that he get inspired to write his novel. For the last 17 years, Jon has been working as a professional archeologist for the State of Texas.  He is currently performing as a solo guitarist and working on his next novel and his next music album. You can follow Jon and his art at www.jonbudd.org. You can reach Jon at jonbudd@yahoo.com.

Connect with Jon

Facebook | Website

Buy Jon’s Book

The Legend of the Washo Gold by Jon BuddThe Legend of the Washo Gold portrays Native Americans in a very favorable light. It reveal the way one tribe could have overcome the invasion of their precious homeland by the onslaught of white miners during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush. The Legend of the Washo Gold is a thrilling adventure! Thieves have broken into the Washo Tribe’s sacred cave. Hank, a modern day warrior, is assigned the task of recovering what was stolen before an ancient curse triggers a repeat of the devastaing 1906 Great San Fransico Earthquake. He must overcome hi doubt about his tribe’s ancient religion and lead a war party of his companions to recover a cursed Indian treasure and secure the secret of the Washo Gold.

The Legend of the Washo Gold is available on Amazon as Kindle and paper back. It’s an excellent read.

Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, Interviews, Life

Big News And An Interview

This is the first time in a long time that I haven’t had a book review for a Saturday. Normally this would bother me, but honestly, I think I just need a quick break from reading.

I know, I know. That sounds ridiculous.

Still, the past two weeks I’ve finished my books on Saturday morning before whipping up a quick review and posting it. I didn’t read at all this week and I wasn’t about to read a book in its entirety to get a review up on time.

I want to enjoy what I read, so I skipped it this week. My book reviews will be back next week though.

Instead, I have some interesting news to share with you all and to back it up, I have an interview on another blog.

First…

I quit my job.

I’ve decided to finally take this leap and try to write/blog full-time. My last day of work was three days ago and it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It was a tough decision, but I think I made the right decision.

At the end of the month, I’ll be talking more in depth about this in my newsletter.

So, if you’re interested in starting this new journey with me, please consider signing up for my newsletter. It’s free and I only email you twice a month with an occasional tidbit here and there.

Click here to subscribe: SUBSCRIBE

Or, if you’re still not sure, click here for more info: NEWSLETTER

Second…

I was interviewed on Jaime’s Chaotic and Caffeinated blog!

I’m excited and grateful she allowed me some blog space. She interviewed me about entrepreneurship and the new journey ahead of me.

Please head over to her blog and check out the interview here: INTERVIEW

Also, while you’re there, browse her blog. She has some pretty interesting things there. If you want to know more about Jaime, go here: JAIME

And lastly…

I want to apologize for the link-heavy post. I know I don’t normally do this kind of stuff, but I had to share this all with you.

I hope to enjoy my interview, along with exploring Jaime’s blog, and I hope you subscribe to my free newsletter if you haven’t already. I want to share this journey with as many people as possible!

Thanks, guys!

rachel poli sign off

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Posted in Interviews

Meet Bridget Nash, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Bridget Nash to my blog!

Bridget Nash, Author Interview

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! Thanks so much for allowing me to take up some of your online space!

I’m Bridget Nash. I’m just your average wife and mother who likes to make up stories when I get a few minutes alone. I like to write a lot of different things but I tend to lean toward speculative fiction which is just a fancy way of saying, “What if our world was different than what we know now?” Players began with the question, “What if we lived in a world where there were still traveling players like in the time of Shakespeare?

How long have you been writing for?

Except for those blurry memories from before I could hold a pencil, I can’t remember a time that I didn’t write stories to entertain myself. I was an only child for eight years and, as a kid, I was completely comfortable being alone with my imagination. I never grew out of that.

What is your writing process like?

It’s a bit like daydreaming. I don’t plot out a story before I write it. When I’m doing something mundane, I imagine scenes for my current work in progress, but I don’t really know a whole lot about my stories before I write them down. Sometimes I’m even surprised at what happens as I write it. When I started Players, I knew the beginning and the end. I had to write to book to see how the characters got there.

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

I have a seven-year-old and an infant which means I squeeze in writing whenever I can but it doesn’t happen every day. One thing that hasn’t changed in my adult life is that I tend to write at night. I was a night-writer even before I was married or had kids.

What motivates you to write?

There’s no grand answer here. I just write to get the stories out of my head and onto paper so I can see what happens.

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

Honestly, I’d had Players in my sole possession for so long that I was eager to hand it off for the process. Normally, I probably would have gone back through it with a fine-tooth comb to try and catch more idiotic mistakes before someone else did, but I’d been through it enough times that I knew it was way past due for fresh eyes.

Are you currently working on anything new?

There is a sequel to Players in the works. I wrote the entire first draft of Players by hand, and it looks like the sequel is going to come to life the same way. The sound of the keyboard tends to awaken the sleeping baby, so I am back to pen and paper.

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

I do a little portrait photography, so maybe I’d go that route. I was a newspaper reporter until my oldest child was eight-months old and I decided to stay home with her. So, writing was my career before then, but even if I had a non-writing career, I think I would still write as a hobby. It’s been my hobby my whole life.

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

The easiest part is the writing itself. If I didn’t have other responsibilities, I don’t know how I’d ever stop. But, the hardest part is getting started. After a long day, when the house is dark and quiet and the night noises are coming through the window, sometimes I just want to lay down and rest. Once I convince myself to start writing, however, sleep becomes completely unimportant and I don’t want to stop.

I think another hard part is allowing a piece to be finished. It’s difficult to let it go and say, “It’s done.” I don’t want to leave the little world I made. And I always want to go back and change one more thing…

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

One thing I’m still learning to be okay with is that nothing is going to please everyone. William Shakespeare’s average Goodreads rating is 3.8 stars and it’s no secret that I’m no Shakespeare. People are going to hate my work. People are going to love my work. People are going to shrug their shoulders and say, “It was alright.” And I’m going to try really hard not to care.

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

There isn’t a certain book that made me want to write. I think the author that sparked my imagination the most was Madeleine L’Engle. She portrayed the most normal, mundane things in life as magical, mysterious and oh-so-important. I can never aspire to evoke even half the emotion and wonder as she did in her writings. If there was ever an author who changed me, it was Madeleine L’Engle.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

You just have to do it. You have to write. But you also have to read. Pay attention when you read. When you like a book, try to figure out why. It isn’t just the plotline that makes you enjoy a book; it’s something else. Try and put your finger on it.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Nothing but infinite thanks. Thanks to you for the interview. Thanks to anyone who gives me a chance as an author. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

About Bridget

Bridget Nash was a newspaper journalist who received several Associated Press/Oklahoma Press Association awards for both writing and photography, before starting her own small portrait photography business. She now stays home with her daughter, contributing to the news world on a freelance basis.

Players by Bridget NashPlayers is Bridget’s first novel but ever since she could hold a pencil, she has enjoyed writing as a recreational activity. As a child and a teen, she could often be found outdoors with a notebook and pen, listening to the birds and the wind while making up her own worlds on paper.

When she isn’t writing or taking photographs, Bridget enjoys reading and watching sitcoms simultaneously. Her favorite books are Frankenstein, Jane Eyre and A Ring of Endless Light. Bridget lives in a very small Oklahoma town, along with her husband; her daughter; two dogs, Trevor and Penny; a border collie named Taban; a cat named Taylor Swift; and a fancy rat named Sheldon.

Connect with Bridget

Facebook | Twitter

Posted in Interviews

Meet Michael Lent, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Michael Lent to my blog!

Michael Lent

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up on the mean streets of Stow, Massachusetts, population 6,502. Stow is a stone’s throw from Concord and Lexington, arguably the birthplace of the American Revolution. Legend has it that the area was first settled by Matthew Boon in the mid-17th century and that he traded the local native Americans a pocket knife for several hundred acres of land. In fairness, it was a cool pocket knife and had a spoon built-in. Apparently, the native Americans were satisfied with the deal until Boon decided that the area they had called “Pompocitticut” should be henceforth known as “Stow,” whereupon Boon was killed. That’s why it’s bad luck to give someone a
pocketknife on Pompocitticut Day.I write and produce in a variety of mediums and genres, the technical term being transmedia.

I write and produce in a variety of mediums and genres, the technical term being transmedia. My writing credits include the Prey series (Marvel), co-writer of Brimstone (Zenescope), writer of The Machine Stops (Alterna) and most recently the i, Holmes graphic novel, also for Alterna. I co-wrote four graphic bios of Keith Richards, JRR Tolkien, Steven King, and Stephen. The Steven King project also led to me adapting one of his short stories, The Reaper’s Image.

We just wrapped i, Holmes, a graphic novel that’s a gritty urban detective drama set in 2009. The story is about a brilliant loner, a streetwise 17-year old girl fresh out of juvenile detention now living in a rough group home who knows very little about her past except that someone wants to kill her and is willing to take out most of New York to accomplish their goal. Who she is, in fact, is pretty special, as is the identity of her would-be killer. About 300 panels of art for the graphic novel was drawn and colored by Marc Rene, who I most recently worked with on The Machine Stops series. Publisher is Peter Simeti at Alterna, which also published The Machine Stops.Recently, veteran TV producer David Rambo picked up

Recently, veteran TV producer David Rambo picked up i, Holmes to develop as a television series and has been instrumental in helping to shape the story. David has worked on EMPIRE, REVOLUTION and CSI, as well as the upcoming series on TNT, WILL based on the life of William Shakespeare. David is one of the most creative people I know.Outside of comics and graphic novels, I write and produce independent movies in Los Angeles.

Outside of comics and graphic novels, I write and produce independent movies in Los Angeles. I was executive producer on IF YOU’RE SERIOUS, shot in China in 2012. The film won several awards and was nominated for a sound design award by the National Academy of Sound Editors in 2014 and I was able to meet presenter George Lucas.In 2009/2010, I followed the Arctic ice road truckers made famous on the History Channel in

In 2009/2010, I followed the Arctic ice road truckers made famous on the History Channel in order to write the non-fiction book On Thin Ice for Disney Hyperion. The main staging area was out of Yellowknife, Canada and I experienced temperatures as cold as 45 below zero (F).

How long have you been writing for?

That would be since grade school when I used to enter essay contests. In high school, I cofounded a literary journal but I’m pretty sure I was a lousy writer until after college. After graduate school, I became a professional writer. My first project was writing a movie script about Muhammad Ali’s boxing coach Ben Becker. Unfortunately, the producer died and the story was never produced. At the time of his passing, we were concluding a contract to write the book, but for a time I was working with original documents and correspondence from Muhammad Ali.

What is your writing process like?

First, I’ll have an idea that’s only a sentence or two long, basically a premise or a startling image in my mind. I’ll try to figure why I’m drawn to this idea or image, as in “What is this really about?” That will usually give me my predominant themes. Next, I think of a charismatic but flawed character who is diametrically opposed to the theme I’ve just created. This protagonist doesn’t buy the theme and doesn’t live their lives by those values. This juxtaposition gives me both conflict and dynamic tension, as well as an arc for my main character since the theme and the hero are essentially locked in a death grip for the soul of the story. Once I have this basic structure down, I can structure the actual story beats while compiling material like research and images that I might find useful or inspirational. Sometimes I’ll make visual reference files but I don’t start the actual writing until I have the structure worked out.

I’m not the best at getting out a “quick & dirty” draft, but that’s my goal because so much of the writing process is in the structuring and later, the rewriting phases.

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

I have two routines: deadline and non-deadline. Deadline writing is all-consuming and starts as early as 4:30 in the morning. I roll out of bed and immediately start working. I might have coffee but usually I’m well underway by the time I stop for breakfast. During those days, I live as meagerly as possible, eating the same bland food and basically minimizing my existence. Sometimes I will do the cabin in the woods thing where all I do is write and sleep and maybe go for a walk to clear my head. Like a hermit or a cave troll. Besides grinding out pages, my goal is a sort of “method writing” whereby the world I’m writing feels more vivid and real than my own Spartan life. That immersion into a fictional realm is hard to pull off if in my real life I can stop to enjoy a nice lunch, see friends, go to the beach or whatever.Non-deadline writing is still every day but far less intense. I might start at 8 or 8:30 and wrap by

Non-deadline writing is still every day but far less intense. I might start at 8 or 8:30 and wrap by 4:00. I sometimes to write at night but we have three kids, so I’m usually exhausted by 9 or 10 o’clock, so mostly I use that time to read or see films mostly on Netflix. What motivates you to write?

What motivates you to write?

In the past, fear of personal failure motivated me – the sense that if I have a great idea for a story that never leaves my head was terrifying. It felt like a graveyard for lost potential that existed right behind my eyes. Nowadays, I get motivated knowing that my family is counting on me to finish what I started. Kids are a powerful, powerful motivation. They have tremendous needs that are balanced by their belief in you. Kids have brought me in balance. A little more, anyway.

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

I’ve written many books so if we’re talking about the very first book, the first thing I did was take a deep breath, exhale, and call my wife, Sonia. We are college sweethearts and she has been there every step of the way, so this was her moment as much as mine. My first book, Breakfast with Sharks, was published in 2004. My new agent sold the premise to Random House based on my proposal that included two sample chapters. Proposal and samples took three weeks to write. Later, I was told by many people that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to happen, but from that day on, I never worried about conventional wisdom. I think you have to be aware of the rules just enough so that you can break them.

Are you currently working on anything new?

We just spent more than two years finishing i, Holmes, the graphic novel. As I mentioned, the art is by Marc Rene, who I most recently worked with on The Machine Stops series, an adaptation of the classic E.M. Forster science fiction story. Marc is very, very talented and his style is ideal for this story. Our publisher is Peter Simeti at Alterna. Alterna also published The Machine Stops. I also have a few other writing projects in the works. One is a pre-Christian, pre-Viking Norse story that needs an artist. Another is a neo-noir graphic novel about a woman who witnesses a murder and seeks sanctuary in a church with the killers hot on her heels. We’re just beginning to draw this book. I’m also finishing a horror movie script about a boy who loses his family and must go to live with distant relatives who aren’t all that they seem. I also produce movies. MALEVOLENT is a horror film starring William Shatner, Marena Baccarin, Bill Mosely and Ray Wise, and TWIN CITIES is an ambitious independent drama coming out in festival.If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

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

Fantasy career would be professional athlete. A few years ago, kids were part of a pre-game gymnastics exhibition at Dodgers Stadium here in Los Angeles. I came along as a helper. Walking out onto that hallowed field where the players we rewarming up, seeing images of my kids on the Jumbotron and thousands of people cheering, it was heaven. Realistic alternate universe career would be lawyer or full-time college professor. I teach parttime so that one wouldn’t be a stretch and previously, I was a paralegal. Neither involved thousands of people cheering so maybe I should rethink this.

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

Coming up with ideas is the easy part but grabbing enough hours in the day to execute and dothem justice is the challenging part. Time is always the hard for me.

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

Take chances because mediocre ideas are common and great ideas are as rare as diamonds in a stream. A legendary television writer once told me that good writers have a tough life in Hollywood because if you lose one on a show, either the others can pick up the slack, or there a dozen more good writers that can fill the space. Great writers, on the other hand, are indispensable because they are visionary and you can’t imagine the show without them. You only get to be a great writer by taking chances. It’s the difference between proficiency and vision.

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

I love good fantasy and thought-provoking science fiction. Formative books for me would be the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings series, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and the The Road. Also Hamlet and A Tale of Two Cities. As a kid I tried my hand at Hobbit fan fiction because I wanted that world to continue on, so I guess that experience made me want to write.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read. A lot. Write. Every day. There’s a saying that good writing days can follow either good or bad days but they rarely come after days of not writing. Even the worst session can be cathartic and plant the seeds for a productive next day. Also, get your work out there any way you can. Take chances and be honest in your writing – own the “messes” of your life your message because people can relate… don’t judge the result, but keep getting your work out to readers. In between books and movies, I write on Quora.com where I am closing in on half a million reads. A friend of mine has 1.6 million and he isn’t even a professional writer. So the readers and the opportunities are out there waiting for you.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

People can reach out to me via Facebook and Twitter. This has been a wonderful, wonderful opportunity and I am very grateful. Thank you.

About Michael

Honored as a ‘Google Author’ in 2007, Michael Lent’s transmedia writing/experience spans films, fiction and nonfiction books, biographies, graphic novels, animation, video games, and reality television. He got his start in On-Air Promotions at MTV. More recently, Lent wrote the graphic novel i, Holmes (Alterna) adapted into a graphic novel E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” (Alterna) and Stephen King’s “The Reaper’s Image” for the Audio Theater for Our Troops radio. His credits include more than a dozen graphic novels and comics including Prey (Marvel), Brimstone (Zenescope), graphic novel bios for Orbit including Keith Richards, Stephen Hawking, Stephen King and JRR Tolkien. He has written eight books including On Thin Ice, published by Disney/Hyperion, based on the top-rated reality television series Ice Road Truckers. Research for this project entailed spending winter in the Arctic.

He was a writer on three video games including Vigilante 8: Arcade for Xbox 360 Live. Lent was a producer on five films including executive producer of IF YOU’RE SERIOUS, shot in Fenghuang, China and nominated in 2014 by the Academy of Sound Editors for the Verna Fields Golden Reel Award for Sound Editing. Lent has taught screenwriting at UCLA, University of Miami, Santa Barbara City College, as well as lectured at Chapman University. For 2 ½ years, Lent also taught creative writing at the Chino Mens’ Prison in the UCLA Extension/Artsreach Program. He has experienced a prison lockdown, which often comes in handy in a writers’ room.

Connect with Michael

Twitter | Quora | Facebook | Facebook Page

Buy His Books

Posted in Interviews

Meet Mark Canniff, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Mark Canniff to my blog!

Mark Canniff, Author

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Seattle, Washington, where I spent the first twelve years of my life. After my mom remarried when I was 12 (having been divorced since I was about two years old), we moved to England where I spent the next thirteen years. (My step-father invited us over to his place, which was how we ended up over there.)

Finishing my education in Britain, obtaining an “A” Level in English Literature (which I feel is equivalent to an Associate Degree in the US), having enjoyed my time there I was ready to return to the Puget Sound. I felt the “calling” of home.

The kind of books that I’m drawn to write, currently, is the paranormal. Specifically, I like “Paranormal Mystery” style.

Essentially, I’m trying to explore the world of the supernatural, while injecting my own theories as to what may be taking place. I find fiction is the perfect place for that.

While I haven’t gone on any “ghost hunts” per se, my life has been filled with those experiences. From haunted locations, to demons, I’ve seen a fair bit during my time. I’m also a Reiki healer, first degree. (I’ve been doing that for the past seventeen years now.)

Professionally, I’ve been in Retail, Film and the aviation industries (where I’m currently employed, while I move into my writing career).

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been creating in the written sense since I was a teenager. My “younger years” as I like to say. In the beginning, it was short stories, or concepts of possible book outlines to come. This grew to articles, which helped to teach me the importance of “cadence” (so for example, writing three to four pages a day is easy for me).

Finally, it was a natural evolution to turn to novels. The depth that I can go in there is far greater than any other form that I’ve done.

My first book finally took a total of eighteen years from concept to publication (which started out as a short screenplay for film). However, I wrote the first chapter back in 2012 and felt that I still didn’t have all the pieces just yet, even then.

So, in 2014 is when everything fell in place and I could figure the rest out. From there it took two years of actual writing, etc. that finally turned it into a book.

What is your writing process like?

When I’m writing, I work Monday through Friday (excluding the holidays) and turn in anywhere between 3-4 pages a day. Since I still must hold down a job while my new way of life begins, this is about as far as I can go.

However, it’s surprising what those small moves mean to my manuscript. What it looks like is something like this:

I’ll write 3 pages on Monday (for example) and then, no matter where I am (emotionally, etc.) with the story and characters, I stop.

Day two (Tuesday) would see me start my day by reading the previous work (for continuity and basic grammatical issues), then producing the next 3 or 4 pages. Picking up exactly where I left off from the previous day.

I repeat that until the book is done (for the first draft). After that, it progresses into editing.

Every novel of mine (in this series) has thirteen chapters. The manuscript is 20 pages long, in the original format. This helps me to know how “production” is going and approximately how long it’ll take. Structure is key for me.

Since I’m self-published (or an “Indie Author”) I’m constantly growing and learning better ways of working. I strongly feel that if I’m not doing that, then I can’t show the reader that I’m always thinking about them.

For example, if I say, “this is how I work, end of story” then my novels will become stale and I will lose any credibility I might have had with the first one.

So, I’m learning better ways to develop, write and edit my stories. Every one of those “categories” effects the other.

The better the plan, the better the tale.

The better the story, the better the editing, etc.

It all means that the reader’s experience should translate into a good one.

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

Yes. I do my writing in the morning, so I wake up around 9:30am five days a week and go to “the office” (my desk to do the next 3 or 4 pages of my new story).

My job (in aviation) has me work an afternoon/evening shift. This is perfect for me since I’ll get home anywhere from 12:50am to 2:50am (depending if I’m working overtime). No matter what I usually fall asleep around 3:30am to 4am.

This way of working has really helped me to find the time I need to tell my stories. Does it seem like I’m losing sleep? Well, that’s why I take the weekend off. I think it’s important, for me, to take a break.

Plus, when I finally go “full-time”, I’ll have designed the “structure” for my author career. (Less of course the aviation job.) Which will ultimately give me more time for writing.

What motivates you to write?

I feel this is what I was meant to do.

I want to tell stories that people will love. It should be something that readers will want to talk about to their family and/or friends saying, “you should read this, I think you’ll like it”.

If I’m doing my job right, then that means that the tale is somewhat complex but easy to follow. The characters are people the reader enjoys and will want to go on this ride with them. Plus, I want to make sure there is a theme that is subtle but there.

In short something that says, “this is awesome”.

I hope to entertain and show the world that I can produce good work. In short: If I can leave a lasting impact on people’s life for the better, even if it means they can escape their regular lives for a while, then that would be awesome.

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

Being “self-published” still meant that the idea of the book coming to life was exciting. Amazon has some amazing tools that help authors get their work into the public eye.

However, it didn’t really sink in until I saw the first “proof” copy. Eighteen years of moving through this process of bringing the story to life and it was becoming a reality.

I loved it. I could see one major hurdle being removed. Awesome!

(Next will be the movie. :))

Are you currently working on anything new?

Absolutely! “Dream, Recurring” is the first story in a four-part series. So, the next installment “When Night Has Fallen” is currently being written right now.

The series title is: “Island River Tales”. So, named because that’s the town the main characters live in.

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

Wow! Great question. I think I’d be in the film industry. When I was there, especially working on set, I loved it so much that it never really felt like “work”. Don’t get me wrong, we were doing a minimum of 12 hour days, which might be 6 to 7 days a week but there’s nothing like it.

If that didn’t happen, then I’m sure I would take up Reiki full-time and train to become a Master/Teacher. I already have 17 years as a “First Degree” healer. I love the way that makes me feel. The synchronicity that happens the more you do it… It’s magical.

Neither one of those are with an “employer” of course. Mainly because regular jobs, as I’ve come to learn, don’t even come close to what I’m really looking for in life.

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

The easiest part is the planning. That’s fun. I get to let my imagination wander when I begin the process. The next favorite step is the first draft. Even though that is never what the final book looks like, that’s when I’m able to go deep with my creativity. I love it.

The hardest part by far is marketing. Don’t get me wrong, connecting with my fans is awesome. I love that part. However, it is so fluid and ever changing. What works today, may not function in six months. It’s tough. Figuring out what works is the hard part for me. I’m not a “Marketer”.

In all its challenges, though, I love rising to meet it head on. There is only one way for me to grow and that is to push myself into areas that I’ve never been before. THAT I love.

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

The amount of effort it takes to bring a book into the public’s eye takes a team of people. Sure, the writer does the work of the story but there are so many others, some you will never meet in person, that are so critical to the process.

I wish I had that “team” from day one. The editors, the cover designer, the publicist, etc. Every one of them play such a vital role. (Hint: Some good ones can be found at “fiverr”.)

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

Terry Pratchett with his “Discworld” series really brought it home to me. “Mort” that was the first book I read of his and I was hooked. He is a large reason why I’m inspired to write. Pratchett showed me that you can craft stories that people love – and still do!

He is that spark for me.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

The first thing you want to do is write! You also must read. Those are the two things that you must do as a writer. Oh by the way, did I mention you need to read?

The more you do both, the more you learn. Every author has their unique way of telling a story. That’s why reading is so important. Find genres that you may not like either. Because what happens is that you always learn something from that author.

Once you have an idea, develop it. Run with it! Allow it to grow because you can turn that into something others will read. I promise you that. Someone will always be interested in what you do as a storyteller. (That’s true for both fiction and nonfiction.)

Once you have the concept, visualize the book already in your hands. Feel it, know it’s already there, then take the steps daily towards that goal.

It’s amazing how small moves can really take you up that mountain. Before you know it, you’ll be an author too and I hope to be learning about the tale that you chose to create.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

The reason why writers do what they do is so readers can enjoy their work. I’m humbled by that fact. Because in every case someone has chosen to buy “this copy or that copy”. It isn’t something they HAVE to do (like buying food, for example). They WANT to.

This means that for every author that has produced a novel, etc. they are asking the reader to “buy their book”. Of course, we all want people to validate us as writers and that they are enjoying what’s being created but no one “must” read it.

That’s what makes it so humbling. Besides hearing from your reviewers (which can be a whole other set of “humble” feelings), it really brings it home for me.

It ultimately means that someone has trusted me enough to try out this tale that I’ve woven. Especially if they don’t know me.

Which means I feel a great sense of responsibility to produce a good story. That’s why I always put my best effort in and why I’m always learning.

About Mark

Mark Canniff was born and raised for the first twelve years in Seattle Washington. The next thirteen were spent in England.

His mother remarried after ten years of divorce, finding an Englishman, so moving the family to London (at least at first), felt natural. Finishing his education in the UK, obtaining an “A” Level in English Literature (which is about the equivalent to an Associate’s Degree in the US).

While he isn’t a paranormal ghost hunter, he has personally experienced: demons, haunted locations and many apparitions, plus much more. “It’s been unnerving at times” as he would say.

He started his writing career by creating short stories and article writing. (Realizing that he found his “Calling” in life), he began work on a short screenplay (when he was in the film industry) entitled “The Dream”.

Although the script was never produced, it did show him that he had something that people liked. So, the road to “Dream, Recurring”, his first novel, began.

Currently in the Aviation industry, he sees his future in writing. “This is the first book in a series totaling four stories.” He plans to write the first one as a screenplay once the series is written. Hopefully turning “Dream, Recurring” into a film. Where the others go from there, no one knows.

He has been married since 2004, to the love of his life. They have one son and together, he feels his life is complete.

Connect with Mark

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Mark’s Book

Dream, Recurring by Mark Canniff | Book ReviewCan there be a mystery that goes back over a hundred years, that only the dead can reveal?

Lucy has been having a recurring dream. Night after night she finds herself driving on a winding road with her best friend Sam. She feels lost as this path seems to lead to nowhere. That is until she discovers a house. Curious, she goes up to investigate, discovering that the place is empty.

The mystery of the dream deepens when she realizes that she’s being haunted by an entity. Why is it attached to her?

Both Sam and her uncover a piece of history that only those that have passed on have kept secret. Why is it so important and does it have anything to do with the dark being?

It suddenly becomes a race against time as they grasp that their very lives might be at stake.

Can they uncover what is really going on in time, before it’s too late?

Is there a connection between the house, the uncovered past and the evil entity?

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

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.

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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.
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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.

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