Summer Spotlight: Marie Ann Bailey

Today I am a happy guest over at Jill Weatherholt’s blog. Jill is wonderful writer and also one of the nicest people I’ve met in the blogosphere. I consider her a good friend. Please enjoy my spot in the spotlight and take a tour of Jill’s blog while you are there 🙂

Jill Weatherholt

Marie Ann Bailey is a writer, knitter (among other needle arts), and stray cat magnet. She started her blog 1WriteWay.com in November 2007 when she was participating in the National Novel Writing Month challenge for the first time. She wanted 1WriteWay to be a serious resource of all things related to writing and editing. But Life happened, she got distracted, and went offline for awhile. In February 2013, she returned with a new purpose for her blog: Simply to share her writing and to engage with a dynamic and supportive community of writers and readers.

Marie’s background as a writer is similar to many. She started writing stories at a young age and took creative writing classes whenever she could, joined college literary guilds, and participated in readings. But she was never very confident about her writing talent. She was shy and introverted and easily discouraged, in spite of the…

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Author Interview: Andra Watkins

Welcome to an interview with Andra Watkins, author of the forthcoming To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis from Word Hermit PressTo Live Forever debuted on March 1, 2014, the same date that Andra commenced to walk the entire length of the road where Lewis died, the Natchez Trace, all 444 miles of it.

alw-headshot-blog

Andra also has a very popular blog at The Accidental Cootchie Mama, where she writes about writing, traveling, her dad, MTM (her husband), boiled peanuts, and anything else that comes to mind.

Andra “sat down” with me for this interview some days before the full launch for To Live Forever.

M:  Andra, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview and for walking all the way from Charleston, South Carolina.  That’s almost 400 miles.  Your dogs must be hot and tired.  Here, I made you a warm bath that you can soak them in while we talk.  Please sit here and make yourself comfortable.

AW: Aaaaahhh. Incredible. My feet are perking up already.

M:  Can I get you something to drink?  Here’s a bowl of boiled peanuts we can share.  I got them from a roadside stand about a mile from here.  And don’t mind the cats.  They just like to sleep on the back of the couch.

AW: Gin and tonic goes best with boiled peanuts. I won’t ask for a Thunderclapper. I had to sample too many versions to get it just right for my novel. I think I still have brain damage…..

M:  Yes, I saw the recipe on your blog (smile).  You know, I’ve been wanting to interview you for quite some time.  I’m fascinated by the novel that you’ve written, To Live Forever:  An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis.   Now, on your blog, you describe it as thus:  “It’s a mishmash of historical fiction, paranormal fiction and suspense that follows Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame) after his mysterious death on the Natchez Trace in 1809.”  What possessed you to write an afterlife of Lewis?

AW: What if you lived an amazing life, but a few bad decisions at the end tainted how you are remembered? Maybe your story was so much bigger than people would ever be taught, but because the winners write history, few people outside the circle of history geeks will ever really understand all you accomplished or contributed. If you were given the chance to erase the end, to ensure that people remembered you the way you wished to be, would you take it? I gambled that Lewis would take that chance. He doesn’t know how he’s remembered, but he’s terrified that his actions at the end will relegate him to a historical footnote. He’s willing to risk total obscurity to change that.

M:  And as part of the debut of your novel, you plan to walk the 444 miles of Natchez Trace, where Lewis died.  What (in heaven’s name) has inspired you to walk the Trace?  What kind of training are you doing for this walk?

AW: My dad is almost 80 years old. I wanted to give him an adventure to look forward to in the twilight of his life. When I pitched this to him, he was hooked. Because my novel is in part about a little girl who’s looking for her father, having Dad along made sense. To train, I’m walking. A lot.

M:  How are your feet doing right now?  Is the water still warm enough?  There’s a fluffy towel next to you if you want to dry them off.  Now, Andra, you have two stories published, that I know of:  “A Man With a Satisfied Mind” which was published in Precipice Volume II, a literary anthology, and “Bad Deal” which was published in another anthology, Echoes in Darkness. [includes links to books]  First, do you have any other publications?  And, second, could you talk about these two stories, how they came about, and how they got published in anthologies?

AW: Not currently. “A Man With a Satisfied Mind” came from my imagining what it would be like to be trapped in Mammoth Cave after a visit there. “Bad Deal” is an excerpt from my novel. Both came about through connections I made by blogging. Cameron Garriepy is an awesome writer, and she invited me to participate in Echoes. I submitted the other story to Precipice, and the Write On Edge people selected it.

M:  When you’re not training and writing and traveling, what else do you do?  I’ll admit, I was happy to see on your blog that you like yoga, but that you don’t stand on your head.  I’ve been practicing for several years and only once I did a headstand, but with help (my instructor held onto my legs).  If you can picture me upside-down, practically yelling “Let me down!  Let me down!”  I was going quickly into panic mode.  That was my first and last headstand.  Shoulder-stand is about as inverted as I’ll allow myself now.

AW: Isn’t shoulder-stand the best? I like to eat, and I still enjoy hanging out with my husband. I’m really involved in Rotary International, and I’m proud of the work they do in the world.

M:  What is a typical writing day for you?  Do you set yourself goals like word or page counts?  What needs to happen for you to say that you’ve had a productive and satisfying writing day?

AW: When I’m working on a book, I write in the afternoon and evening. I usually go for a walk late morning. If I write anything, I consider it productive.

M:  Now, many of the authors I’ve interviewed and reviewed are self-published.  Your novel will be published by Word Hermit Press.  How did you come about to choose Word Hermit Press?  What is it like to work with them?

AW: Word Hermit Press chose me. It’s been an amazing experience so far.

M:  That’s wonderful!  Do you have any advice for writers who aspire to be published authors?

AW: Be true to yourself and your goals for your writing. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, to believe in yourself, to trust yourself.

M:  Finally, Andra, your blog.  It is hugely popular.  On any given day, you can have 30-50 comments, and you post frequently, almost every day.  How do you keep up with your blog and your followers?  Besides the fact that your blog is very entertaining, many of your posts are humorous and include photos, what else might you attribute the success of your blog?

AW: My readers are a priority for me. They matter. I care about them. People care what they have to say more than they care about what I have to say. I have always operated my blog with that attitude. I hope my readers know how much I appreciate them.

M: Andra, it’s truly been my pleasure to talk with you today.  Thank you again for taking the time for this interview, and for traveling all this way by foot.  Although, now I think you’re ready for a new pair of shoes.

AW: I was honored to walk all this way. Thanks for having me.

***

Thanks to everyone for reading my interview with author, Andra Watkins.  Be sure to follow her blog at http://andrawatkins.com/ and pick up a copy of To Live Forever:  An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis as soon as it’s available.  In the meantime, check her other stories, both available as ebooks or paperbacks from Amazon, Echoes in Darkness and  Precipice:  The Literary Anthology of Write on Edge, Volume II

You can also follow Andra at: Twitter, Google+, and Facebook

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Interview With Jayde-Ashe Thomas, the Genius Behind The Paperbook Collective

Welcome to an interview with Jayde-Ashe Thomas, entrepreneur extraordinaire!  Jayde is the creator of the online literary journal, The Paperbook Collective Zine.  She also blogs at The Paperbook Blog; makes bound paper copies of the zine as well as Paperbook cards, posters, and bookmarks; sells her photography at a pop-up shop; and recently started a book exchange in her city of Bunbury, Australia.

[Excuse me while I take a few minutes to catch my breath.  Just listing all that Jayde does leaves me a bit winded :)]

PaperbookCollective (more…)

Indie Author Land Interviews Charles Yallowitz

Why you must read Charles E Yallowitz’s Allure of the Gypsies | Indie Author Land.

Please hop over to Indie Author Land and read a great interview with Charles!

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Author Interview: Amber Skye Forbes

Welcome to an interview with Amber Skye Forbes, author of When Stars Die, a young adult paranormal romance novel recently published by AEC Stellar Publishing.

amber-forbes-author

Amber also has a blog at http://amberskyeforbes.wordpress.com, where she writes about writing and publishing and also about mental illness, her own struggles, as well as others.

M:  Amber, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview and for coming here from your home in Georgia.  Please have a seat here on my couch and make yourself comfortable.

ASF: This couch is quite cozy. Feels like the one at my psychiatrist’s office, although I hope you’re not here to change my meds. (more…)

Interview With Ryan Attard, Author of Firstborn

Welcome to an interview with Ryan Attard, author of Firstborn, first novel in the Legacy Series, published by AEC Stellar Publishing.  Firstborn is available at Amazon.

Ryan Attard

Ryan Attard

Ryan also has a blog at http://ryanattard.com/ where you can partake of his often irreverent, sometimes off-color, but always funny commentary. (more…)

Interview with Kevin Brennan, Author of Yesterday Road

Welcome to an interview with Kevin Brennan, author of Parts Unknown, Our Children Are Not Our Children, and the recently released Yesterday Road.  Kevin also has a blog at  http://kevinbrennanbooks.wordpress.com/ where he takes his readers along on his sometimes funny, sometime harrowing road to self-publication.

Kevin Brennan

M:  Kevin, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed.  I’m excited to be able to talk with you about your current book, Yesterday Road, as well as your other books.

KB: Glad to do it, Marie. I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, and I’ll be rooting for you during NaNoWriMo.

M:  Thanks!  I’ll need the support.  It was nice of you to beam yourself all the way out here from the West Coast.  Fortunately, our weather is finally showing signs of the autumn season, so let’s sit out on my porch.  Would you like something to drink?

KB: Only if you want to shake up a nice dry martini.

M:  Indeed and I’ll make one for me too!  Now, as I tell everyone who visits, don’t mind the cats.  They tend to be well-behaved, though, among strangers.

KB: They seem… benign.

M:  (Yup, for now they are.)  Kevin, since you’ve just released Yesterday Road, let’s start there.  This is a novel about an older man, who has problems with his memory but who takes off on a journey to find his daughter.  Along the way he meets a young man with Down syndrome and a middle-aged waitress who takes both men under her wing.  How did you come about to put these characters together on such a journey?

KB: It started with the littlest fragment. I had a note that said, “Woman with dementia hits the road.” Then I started fiddling with it, changed the woman to a man, gave him a particular goal, and then Joe Easterday showed up. He’s the young man with Down syndrome. From there, it just became a road picture, like Hope and Crosby. (Do people remember them anymore?)

M:  I remember Hope and Crosby 🙂  How has your experience in self-publishing Yesterday Road been so far?

KB: Well, there are two angles to all of this: production and promotion. For the most part, the production has gone pretty smoothly, with the small exception of ebook formatting. It’s a little tricky, and even though there are a lot of people out there who you can pay to do it for you, you might not get exactly what you expect.

On the other hand, I had a seamless experience having my cover done. I went to a freelancer’s directory and found an artist with sensibilities that seemed to fit the book (Max Scratchmann of Glasgow, Scotland), shot him over my source image, which he then manipulated, shot back a couple of revisions, and boom — it was finished. And not expensive!

The promotion side of things has been more complicated. I’m learning as I go along. Frankly, I’d been avoiding Twitter ever since I heard about it. Facebook? More like Faceblech. Blogging has been fun (I had a political blog a few years back), but what I’m finding is that it’s very hard to find readers through these tools. Other writers seem to fall from the sky like the frogs in “Magnolia,” but readers? I’m not sure how to get to them without spamming left and right and making more enemies than friends. Then there’s the problem of literary fiction. Most online reading communities are geared toward genre writing.

M:  That’s a great point about how easy it is to find other writers, not so easy to find readers.  You know I wish you the absolute best in sales and hopefully this promotion will do that for you.

Now, you also have a novel that was traditionally published, Parts Unknown.  This novel too has an interesting premise with the main character, Bill Argus, having a late “mid-life crisis” at 63 and deciding to return to the small town and family he had left 40 years before.  Parts Unknown was published in 2003. Could you talk about that publishing journey for a bit?

KB: For that book, I did everything the old-fashioned way. Queried agents. Landed one. She was able to sell the novel very quickly (and called to give me the good news on my birthday!), then working with the editor was smooth and painless. She didn’t ask me to do too much to the book.

Ironically, I enjoyed the pre-publication stuff more than the whole post-pub thing — readings, book clubs, radio, all that. That’s where you learn that your little novel is not on most people’s radar, even if it’s the biggest thing in your entire life.

Since then I’ve been writing more books, always trying to go the traditional publication route, but frankly the business has changed a lot since 2003. For the kind of books I write, it seems like self-publication might be a better way to get the work out there. The old clock on the wall is ticking, after all…

M:  I would really like to know how these two journeys—traditional publication and self-publication—compare.  I imagine both have their pros and cons.  Can you say at this point whether being traditionally published was more advantageous for you than self-publication?

KB: The advantage of traditional publication is sort of built-in: a publisher thinks your work is good enough to publish. That said, for midlist novels, they don’t do a heck of a lot of promotion, unless the sales force really gets behind it. They do send out advance copies, which can translate into reviews, and through that route I got a couple of terrific print reviews in big newspapers. But in terms of events, I managed to set up a lot more things myself than they did. Mostly regional, but somehow I  got myself onto a panel of “Emerging Voices” at the BEA that year. I think they were kind of stunned that I landed that one. Michael Chabon was in the room, believe it or not, and Daniel Halpern of Ecco Press.

The advantages of self-publishing are mainly that you are in charge. You’re the editor, the designer, and the marketing executive on top of being the author, so you need to be aware of — and good at — a lot of different things. And, if you do well, you get 70% royalties on Amazon. That’s not bad.

M:  And your other book, Our Children Are Not Our Children, was self-published to test the waters of self-publication.  It’s a wonderful collection of very short stories, odd slices of life where the parents might be emotionally abusive or neglectful or very supportive in a weird sort of way (I’m thinking here of the nudist dad). Please talk a bit about these stories.  What inspired you to write them?  Were any of them based on real slices of life, or were they musings that you simply took as far as you could go?

KB: I first put them together to submit to literary magazines, possibly as the start of a larger project along the same lines. I think I had the piece called “Baby Teeth” in mind at the outset, based loosely on the childhood experience of someone I know. Then I just started brainstorming other crazy-parents tales, though I will say that “Day Care,” about a couple who lock their toddlers in a closet all day while they go to work, came from a true story. The theme that kids are at the mercy of their parents’ sensibilities is very strong. Dickensian. I tried to set these tales to a kind of objective tone that I hope makes them feel absurd but powerful at the same time.

M:  Even though you’re in the midst of promoting Yesterday Road, are you still writing as well?  You’ve mentioned on your blog that you are self-employed.  How do you find time to write?  What needs to happen for you to say that you’ve had a productive and satisfying writing day?

KB: I haven’t been writing much in recent months. I’ll have a book ready to publish in the spring, but as far as new material goes, I’ve been focusing almost 100% on building a platform for Yesterday Road.

Luckily, self-employment gives me complete flexibility in terms of writing at a set time every day (when I’m writing new stuff, anyway), plus I can stay in my sweat pants till noon if I want. And I do.

In terms of what makes a successful writing day, I’ve always had the habit of reading the prior day’s output before moving ahead, so if I’m happy with what I did, I guess I had a good day. That method seems to propel me into the story with a little momentum.

M:  Earlier you describe the fiction you write as literary.  Do you mean it is more character-driven than plot-driven?  Most self-published authors I’ve met write in a specific genre, such fantasy or romance.  Do you have any advice for writers, especially writers of literary fiction, who aspire to be published authors?

KB: I usually describe my stuff as literary, or as a hybrid, like literary comedy or literary chick lit (as my next book is), and you’re exactly right, because it’s character- and theme-driven. I’ve never been attracted to plot-oriented novels, probably because I find plot very hard to do well. It seems suited to genre writing because there really are formulas and conventions that have to be met, or the reader isn’t happy. With literary fiction, it’s more of an “anything goes” thing — at least as long as it works.

I would advise writers of literary fiction to find something more fulfilling to do with their lives. Or, if you must write literary fiction, please do it responsibly.

Just kidding. You always hear “it’s a tough market,” and it really is, but if you write literary fiction you owe it to yourself to try to break through and get a book out. I guess the best advice I can offer is, if you think you have the stuff, hit the traditional system hard. Things are tight, but there are also small presses like Two Dollar Radio and Tin House, so all is not lost if FS&G passes on you. And now there’s self-publishing waiting in the wings, which is very fulfilling in its own way. Like complete control of the product.

M:  Kevin, that’s wonderful and down-to-earth advice.  It’s truly been my pleasure to talk with you today.  Thank you again for taking the time for this interview.  I know I am one of many others who are look forward to reading more of your work.

KB: I’ve enjoyed it, Marie. That was a pretty acceptable martini. And I hope you don’t mind if I shower you with thanks as I slide out from under these cats.

M:  Thank you about the martini!  First time I ever made one 🙂  I think I have a lint brush somewhere …

***

Well, that’s it, folks!  My interview with author, Kevin Brennan.  Be sure to follow Kevin’s blog at http://kevinbrennanbooks.wordpress.com/  and pick up a copy of Yesterday Road.  Please stay tuned for more interviews by Marie at 1WriteWay.

To get your own copy of any of Kevin’s books, visit any one of these links:

YesterdayRoad

Yesterday Road
(Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/Yesterday-Road-ebook/dp/B00FZX2L22
(other formats): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/368692

our-children-new-3

Our Children Are Not Our Children:
(Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EDWEHW8
(other formats): http://kevinbrennanbooks.wordpress.com/our-children-are-not-our-children/

Parts Unknown

Parts Unknown (direct from author): http://kevinbrennanbooks.wordpress.com/buy-parts-unknown-2/

Wednesday Feature: An Interview with S.K. Nicholls

Welcome to an interview with S.K. Nicholls, author of Red Clay and Roses.  Susan also has a blog at http://redclayandroses1.wordpress.com and is an editor and contributor at The Community Storyboard.

sknicholls

M:  Susan, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed.  I’m excited to be able to talk with you about your current book, Red Clay and Roses, as well as the novel you are currently working on.

SK:  I am delighted to be here.  What a lovely home, and your new kitchen is fantastic.  What a great job!

M:  Thank you!  Let’s sit out on my porch.  Our backyard is kind of like a green jungle with the palms and water oaks and hydrangeas.  I thought it might remind you a bit of Georgia.  Would you like something to drink?

SK: I love it out here, such a nice habitat.  I live on my back porch. Yes, please, a glass of sweet iced tea would be great.  The ceiling fans keep a nice breeze, but it is Florida and it is hot.

M:  Indeed it is!  As I tell everyone who visits, don’t mind the cats.  Actually it looks like they are all sacked out.

SK: Oh! You reminded me that I brought presents.  I have kitty toys with catnip.  The stuffed hamburger is Wendy’s.  Nurses always have the best drugs.

M:  You are so kind to think of the kitties!  They love catnip.  Since you mention nursing, before we talk about your writing, would you mind describing your career as an RN?  I’ve always been in awe of nurses, having worked with them and also been taken care of by them. Would you say that nursing led to you to writing, either directly or indirectly?

SK:  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Nurses and have the greatest respect and admiration for most, but I think the level of professionalism seen today has declined.  I had to get out of that profession due to stress and the lack of professionalism among certain coworkers.  I started out in Med-Surg, ER, and CCU, and always had two jobs in GA working Psychiatry/Forensics simultaneously.  When I came to FL, I dialed it down a bit and went into geriatrics and pediatric extended care.  It appalls me the changes over the years.  I started out with 4 patients at most, and when I retired I had 44 patients.  It is no wonder the degree of professionalism has declined.  There is so much burn out, overwork, and stress in the field.

SK:  As to my writing, it is sort of a given that Nursing influenced Red Clay and Roses.  The protagonist is a nurse.  When I found the ledger, I was both a Nurse and a student, and the people interviewed were actual patients/people I met in my Nursing career, being a fictionalized true story.  I am hoping that having worked so many years in psychiatry, and particularly in forensics with the criminally insane, will lend some insight to my future writing.

M:  I’ve read Red Clay and Roses and really enjoyed it.  You’ve written on your blog about the difficulty in categorizing it.  Much of the book is nonfiction, but some events are fictionalized.  When you set out to write it, did you already have a structure in mind?  Or did it come to you as you wrote?

SK: I am a linear writer who uses deductive reasoning.  I see the big picture and then break it down into parts.  I did not have a genre template or lean to any formulaic style of writing with Red Clay and Roses.  The novel was sort of an accident.  I have always kept journals, and have been attracted to journalism.  It was where I wanted to go after high school, but life didn’t work out that way.  The novel came about when I was going through old journal notes and decided to compile them.  Then, I had the good fortune to reunite with my cousin and receive her related diaries.  That it doesn’t fit into an easily recognizable genre results from it not being written to fit into one.

M:  One of the many things that impressed me and many others about Red Clay and Roses is how you bring that era of pre-Civil Rights to life and how you also illuminate the political powerlessness of women during that time as well.  Did you plan to have that kind of broad impact when you were writing your book?  Or were you focused only on telling the stories of Althea and Moses, Sybil and Nathan?

SK:  Most writers try to avoid politics and religion when writing.  I wrote Red Clay and Roses as personal story documentation, so I didn’t really give its public image much thought.  I have strong convictions concerning the value of intercultural acceptance and the 14th Amendment, whether speaking of race or religion, and have always been actively involved with Civil Rights, Planned Parenthood and NOW.  Women’s history, reproductive rights and responsibilities, and how they have changed over the past century interest me greatly.  Friends, and other Nurses I know through these channels encouraged me to publish the work.

M:  You recently released a revised version of Red Clay and Roses.   What prompted you to do this?  Do you see this as one of the benefits of self-publishing, to be able to revise and republish?

SK: I am most pleased with the control one has over their work with self-publishing, yes.  I changed my cover three times. The one my small press publisher wanted was horrible in my not-so-humble opinion.  The revision was no big deal actually.  I published on feedback from friends, not beta readers, and given some more feedback from readers, I decided that a chapter I had worked by condensing three into one needed a little more work to smooth out rough edges and help the flow as a good read. I did not take it down and republish, but submitted some text changes to include some corrections found necessary with the copyediting done. Again, self-publishing makes that easy to do.

M:  Let’s talk about the book you are working on now.  I hear that not only is it fiction, but it is genre fiction.  It’s a murder mystery or thriller?  What inspired you to do something so different from your first book?

SK: I have several WIPs, but you must be referring to my crime novel.  I have always loved John Grisham’s legal thrillers, and the works of the Kellermans and Patterson, but lately I have fallen in love with some Florida regional authors, Randy Wayne White, Carl Hiaasen, and Tim Dorsey.  I love the very real characters that you can relate to.  This is genre specific writing and much more formulaic and imaginatively creative, hence the need for much organization.  It is not without some serious research and I am grateful to have Jan C. Garavaglia, ME (Dr. G. from the Discovery channel) right here in town.  I am hoping, with your three widowed P. I. ladies, and my future work, we can blaze the trail for some regional female authors in the areas of crime and mystery.

M:  Oh, that would be great fun to blaze that trail!  Now, what is a typical writing day for you?  Do you set yourself goals like word or page counts?  What needs to happen for you to say that you’ve had a productive and satisfying writing day?

SK: I have three works that are about 30,000 words each.  I have just scrapped my entire crime WIP and am now using it as a reference for another one that is coming together but hasn’t quite gelled.  So I sort of feel like I am starting over.  It was necessary.  Getting onboard with Scrivener and taking that online course to get a practical working knowledge of the use of it has been a Godsend.  It is starting to come together now, but I don’t have strict writing frames.  I can easily spend a half day writing and might end up with the perfect paragraph or the perfect chapter.  Much of what I am doing now is new to me, as I am using Scrivener to outline a series and the first book, so my time is mostly spent in planning for now.  I have been working the very opposite way to the NaNoWriMo method in the past. But having Scrivener on hand now is really helping with getting me organized and my methods are changing. I also have a new timeline tool, Wendy’s Story Timeline, which is making this so much easier than it was with my last book, much less of a struggle.

M:  You know, publishing, whether it’s self-publishing or traditional publishing, is very competitive.  Writers who are coming out with their first novels or short stories may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the marketplace.  Do you have any advice for writers who aspire to be published authors?

SK: I don’t see the competition as much as the camaraderie.  For example, as readers, we may read ten books a year or twenty, so the more we, as authors, can produce and promote together…the better off we will all be in the long run.  No serious reader is going to read just one book in their genre in a year, (and I know I can’t write but MAYBE one).

SK: I didn’t feel the intimidation with my first book because I had no online presence, but I certainly feel it now.  Marketing can be overwhelming. My best advice to aspiring authors is to read and take the ideas of other people’s opinions and glean from them what applies to you specifically…let the rest roll off like water on a duck, else you will go nuts. Also, write, write, and keep writing!

M:  That’s so true that there is wonderful camaraderie and that by helping each other, we help ourselves.  Susan, it’s truly been my pleasure to talk with you today.  Thank you again for taking the time for this interview.  I know I am one of many others who are look forward to reading more of your work.

SK: Thank you, Marie, for having me.  Dear me…I have rambled on all morning.  It is lunch time already.  Let me get out of your way so you can get on with your business.

M: No hurry.  I’ve enjoyed every minute, as I’m sure our readers have too!

***

Well, that’s it, folks!  My interview with author, SK Nicholls.  Be sure to follow her blog at http://redclayandroses1.wordpress.com and pick up a copy of Red Clay and Roses.  Please stay tuned for more interviews by Marie at 1WriteWay.

To get your own copy of Red Clay and Roses, visit any one of these links:

RedClay&Roses

Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/297631

Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18084912-red-clay-and-roses

Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Red-Clay-and-Roses-ebook/dp/B00C2CNWGS

Barnes & Noble at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/red-clay-and-roses-s-k-nicholls/1114998823?ean=2940044412095

Papi Talk!… With S.K. Nicholls

Great interview with S.K. Nicholls on The Literary Syndicate!

Friday Feature: An Interview With Jade Reyner

Welcome to an interview with Jade Reyner, author of Twelve Days: The Beginning.  Jade also has a blog, Jade’s Jungle, at www.jadereyner.com where she takes you along on her “self-publishing safari”!

Jade Reyner

M:  Jade, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed.  I’m excited to be able to talk with you about your current novel, Twelve Days: The Beginning, as well as the two sequels I believe you have planned.

J:  Marie, it’s a pleasure to be here and thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me!

M:  Can I get you anything?  There’s a bit of a time difference between us so I think you’re in the right time zone if you want anything harder than tea.  Some sherry, perhaps?

J:  Thanks – but I am a true Brit, tea, tea and more tea.

M:  Wonderful!  I’ll make us a pot of tea, then.  Let’s sit here on my couch.  Don’t mind the cats, especially Wendy.  She’s young and quite curious.

J:  Oooh, is she the one that you rescued from the restaurant? I would love to do something like that. I hope she’s settled in okay.

M:  Yes, she has!  Thank you for asking.  OK, let’s get started.  First, let’s talk about your first novel.  How did you come about to write Twelve Days: The Beginning?  What was the impetus?

J:  This is going to sound odd but it just kind of ‘happened’. There are several events that have occurred throughout my life which I have used as inspiration but once I got started, the book really did write itself. I have always wanted to write a novel, it was on my bucket list so to speak and then after taking a Creative Writing course I decided to just sit down and give it a go. Twelve Days – The Beginning is the result.

M:  Of course, I’ve read your novel and thoroughly enjoyed it.  But I have to admit, I had read very few romances before yours and I was very surprised at the rather explicit sex scenes.  They were well-done, not at all gratuitous, but is it common for such steamy scenes to be in romance novels?  Or have I misunderstood your genre?

J: Yes is the short answer to that. Romance as a genre has probably evolved more than many in recent years and there are now distinct genres within the genre, if that makes sense. Twelve Days – The Beginning would sit at the erotica end of the spectrum and then your classic Mills and Boon would sit as far away from it as possible. There are a huge number of books that incorporate explicit sex scenes nowadays and I think that many women (and men) are more open about wanting to read these types of books. I tried very hard to make my scenes relevant however as I did not want to put the sex in just for the sake of it. I think that this development of the genre can only be considered to be a good thing because it allows authors more freedom if they wish, but it doesn’t take anything away from the classical romance which is still widely written and enjoyed.

M:  Thank you for explaining. I was also quite impressed with how you handle the issue of domestic violence in your novel.  As someone who has worked with victims of domestic violence, I thought your writing was spot-on.  When you began the novel, did you know that domestic violence would be part of the storyline?

J: I always knew that there would be domestic violence in the book, the issue that I had was how in-depth it should be explored because although it is a major storyline, it is in no way the sum total of Twelve Days. I did draw on some personal experiences to write the part of Elise (the female protagonist) and I am just really pleased that someone with your experience, found the scenes to be spot on. I take that as a massive compliment.

M:  (smile)  I do appreciate how you approached domestic violence in your novel. Let’s talk a bit about your next two novels.  I believe you have two in the works, based generally on the same characters as your first novel.

J: Yes, actually I have quite a few in the works, but at the moment I am nearly finished writing Twelve Days – The Future which is the sequel to Twelve Days – The Beginning. This is the final book covering the story of Elise and Vaughn and completes their tale which as anyone who has read Twelve Days – The Beginning will know, ends on a bit of a knife edge. There are many more twists and turns and the ride is in no way smooth, but I hope that readers will enjoy finding out how they both fare after what has been a hugely emotional journey for both of them.

I then plan to release two more books in the Twelve Days series which will be from two of the other major characters points of view and will cover the same twelve day period in which everything happened in the first book. I am planning to write both Twelve Days – Dale and Twelve Days – Cole as these are the two other major characters who I think readers have identified with.

I then have other projects which will move away from Twelve Days but the beauty of this series is that there are so many characters whose lives I can develop, and so it will be sitting there like my favourite slippers, to return to any time that I wish.

M:  Oh, I love that metaphor:  your favourite slippers!  That’s a wonderful way to look at one’s writing.  You know, so many writers are influenced by other writers.  Are there writers who have influenced you?

J: Whenever I get asked this question I would really love to say something profound but actually the answer is no. I do not really have any particular literary heroes as I enjoy so many authors for so many different reasons. I think the only book that I can really say stuck in my mind and made me appreciate the power of words was An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley which I read at school. I think that it is such an amazing and clever piece of writing and I try to emulate some of the style and the twists and turns in my writing. I would like to say though that since I have been on WordPress, I have been hugely inspired by all of the wonderful writers that I have met and connected with. You truly are the unsung heroes.

M:  I agree.  There are some amazing writers in this community.  What is a typical writing day for you?  Do you set yourself goals like word or page counts?  What needs to happen for you to say that you’ve had a productive and satisfying writing day?

J: I have a word goal usually. I try to do 4,000 words a day when I am on a ‘writing’ day and if I achieve that then I am happy. I have the morning’s only to write and so I have to try to fit in blogging, networking and marketing as well which we all know can take up a huge amount of time. There are days when I just don’t get any writing done and that is definitely not a satisfying day!

M:  Four thousand words is impressive!  You know, publishing, whether it’s self-publishing or traditional publishing, is very competitive.  Writers who are coming out with their first novels or short stories may feel  overwhelmed or intimidated by the marketplace.  Do you have any advice for writers who aspire to be published authors?

J: I think my only advice would be that they need to take on board just how hard it is. I know that I definitely entered this with my eyes closed but now I am so much more aware of what it takes to get the book from inside your head to the bookshelf. I would urge everyone to follow their dream and to keep at it and just to believe in themselves as that is the key. I would also say that you need to build up a good support network. Without you Marie and my other blogging friends, I don’t think that I would have come anywhere near as far as I have. You are all such a great inspiration and support to me. So thank you for that.

M:  Well, it’s truly been my pleasure to get to know you and read your novel and your blog.  I want to thank you again for taking the time for this interview.  I know I am one of many others who are eagerly awaiting the publication of your next novel.  I assume you will announce it on your blog, which again is Jade’s Jungle.  Would you like some more tea before you head back?

J:  Marie, it was my pleasure to be interviewed by you and I never say no to a cuppa! Thank you for a brilliant interview, I had a great time.

And yes, Twelve Days – The Future should be out towards the end of the year but please keep watching my blog (www.jadereyner.com) for updates.

***

Well, that’s it, folks!  My interview with romance author, Jade Reyner.  Be sure to follow her blog Jade’s Jungle and pick up a copy of  Twelve Days: The Beginning.  Please stay tuned for more interviews by 1WriteWay.

To get your own copy of Twelve Days: The Beginning, visit any one of these links:

Cover 2

www.jadereyner.com (follow the links from there)
Twelve Days – The Beginning. Amazon UK
Twelve Days – The Beginning. Amazon.com

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