Tag Archives: Author Interview

Author Interview #9 – Mercedes Prunty

When I put out a call to writers, I’m always excited to get responses from authors who also take part in other art forms. As someone who draws pictures inspired by my own writing, I took a lot of joy in looking through Mercedes Prunty’s, my next author to interview, website!

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Q. What’s life like for you outside out of your writing? How do you like to spend your time when not behind a computer?
A.My life when I’m not writing is spent with my two daughters, my eldest is at school but my youngest is with me most of the time as she only does nursery a couple of days a week. So I’m mostly out and about with her going to toddler groups or seeing family.
 
Q. Tell us a little bit about the book you’ve recently published. When did it come out, and how did the project surprise you?
A. The book I recently published is called Junia, it’s a Fantasy I’ve set in another world called ‘Junia’. The story see’s a young princess called Mira go on an epic journey learning about the world she will one day be Queen of. A great war divided Junia and with the help of others she wishes to repair the magical bond that was broken but there is danger afoot as a grand dark witch called Andromeda plans on taking the throne for herself to turn Junia to the dark side. Along this journey Mira must collect the element souls which are the gods for each country of Junia each representing a different element, with those she hopes to destroy Andromeda’s plan but only if Andromeda doesn’t get them first. It was released in March this year and I have entered it into the Kindle Storyteller 2017 competition, so fingers crossed 
😉.
This book surprised me because I actually started writing it when I went to Legoland with my family on holiday, I purchased a notebook from the Lego Elves section and instantly fell in love with the world map at the back and whilst my family slept I drew my own world map in the notebook and that is where Junia began.
 
Q. What tips do you have for other mommy writers to work with kiddies underfoot?
A. Just work as and when you can. Some weeks I go days without writing because the kids have been a handful or I’m too tired after having so much fun. But don’t beat yourself up if you have short breaks from writing to spend time with your family because in my eyes they come first, writing comes a close second. I am even known to stay up into the small hours writing if I have an idea because that’s the time when I truly get any peace.
 
Q. You look like you have a love of obscure movies. Which movie do you recommend that you think is underrated? 
A. I love all the Final Fantasy films which my little sister got me hooked on so I would recommend all of those but also The Girl with all the Gifts, a great take on a zombie horror book and I find the zombies represent what would be quite realistic to me.
 
collage-2017-03-20-19_23_38Q. You have so much artwork on your website. Do you do them yourselves, or do you have someone else in your life who draws for you?
A. I tend to draw a lot of my own artwork, mainly because it helps me imagine my stories better if I can see them my way on paper. I also like to design my own covers more to do with a non existent budget because I don’t want to take anything away from the kids, so if I practice drawing more I hope to make even better covers for my future works.
 
Q. I’m always interested in why authors choose the way they publish their novel. What made you decide to self publish instead of going the “traditional” route?
A. I mainly chose the self publishing route because I have so many idea’s for stories that to chase agents and traditional publishers would take so much of my writing time. I also like the control I have over my books, I set the price, chose the cover and do all my own self promotion, which I have heard from traditionally published authors that they have to market a lot of their own work too so I thought I might as well just do it all myself.
 
Q. When you work on a novel, what is your favourite part of your writing process?
A. The first draft. I love just power writing it all down so I know the whole initial idea. It’s exciting getting to know the new story and also the characters and how they grow as the first draft takes shape. My least favourite part is editing but I think that’s more because of how much time it takes.
 
 
92f9654826ee60226cb97cf8ab62204eQ. Which author influenced your writing the most?
Funnily enough when I was younger I was obsessed with the Resident Evil franchise, the games, the films and the books. The books were written by S.D.Perry and I loved them so much I read them to death and had to buy all new ones again so I could re-read them. I think I liked her initial style and the way the horror and gore was described it made it scary not just a gore fest, which I have hopefully done in my horror books the Alone series. But another author who really got me writing the way I do is Laurell K Hamilton who wrote the Anita Blake series, the main reason for this is because she writes in the first person and since writing I find myself writing in first person as well. When I try to write in third person I really struggle and always end up back at first person so I think her writing influenced me as well as S.D.Perry.
 
Q. In your novel, The Keeper of the Key, Selene is tossed into a world of shadows and monsters. What type of creatures does she find there, and how were you inspired by them?
A. The shadow’s are almost like an illuminati type cult that plans on destroying the world (I think I like the world being destroyed scenario too much) but even though most of them are people a lot of them are monsters with dark powers too. The creatures can be anything from black mists with tentacles to her best friend becoming a source of all evil controlled by the head Shadow Master. I was inspired by them through other films and television shows I had seen growing up but also video games. I love Tomb Raider when growing up and wanted a feel to it a little like that, in the tombs there were always shadows that monsters could hide in and I wanted to play on that feeling of what the shadows in my books could hide inside them.
 
Q. Which of your protagonists do you find is the most like you? Which one is the least?
A. I think Stacie from Alone is a bit like me in the sense I gave her blonde hair and mine is naturally blonde. I saw a lot of protagonists that were heroines with dark flowing brunette locks and wanted someone I could connect with. I would also like to think that in a situation where the world was overrun by zombie like creatures I would be a survivor like her. I think Selene would be the least like myself but in a way they are all extensions of me so I can’t completely rule her out as not being like me a little bit.
 
Q. What do you find is the most rewarding part about writing?
A. Holding the published paperback copy in your hands, the smell of the new book and the feeling of accomplishment but also the proudness of my husband. He supports me so much with my writing and that is really rewarding because although they might not get anywhere in the book world he is proud of me and that makes it worth it.
 
Q. Some authors spend years editing their work, others don’t have an editing process at all. How long do you usually spend on your novels, and what advice do you give to fellow writers when it comes to editing?
A. Each novel normally takes me around a year to write and edit. I tend to write one for a couple of months, leave it and start another one, then go back to the first one, finish it and edit it. My advice when it comes to editing is; mistakes happen!! I have to edit all my own work I cannot afford for a professional, I also know someone who had her work stolen by an editor who published the work as their own and she had to fight and spend money on Solicitors and Lawyers to get it back which scares me, so I find trusting people with my work hard due to her experience. But I would say we are only human, there is going to be the odd spelling or grammar mistake no matter how many times you read it. I love my mistakes because to me I know that I made that work by myself, it was all my hard work and dedication that gave birth to my book baby and no one else.
 
Q. Do you set writing goals for yourself, or do you prefer to have a more freeform style with your work?
A. My writing is more freeform, I just write and hope to finish by a certain time of year. I normally publish books around March and August time so I just aim for those months with my works that are nearly complete.
 
Q. Which villain from a book or movie do you love the most? Which hero do you love the least?
!!!SPOILERS FOR WALKING DEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN UP TO SEASON 7!!!
I’m obsessed with The Walking Dead and the Villain I love the most on there is Negan. He’s a lovable rouge even if he did kill my Glenn (highlight for word) which I don’t think I can fully forgive him for. I like how funny and charming he can be but also the dark, evil side is a bit attractive haha. The Hero I’m not the most keen on is Bella in Twilight, I actually loved the books and I liked Bella in the book but in the film I found her irritating and not at all like I’d imagined her but I guess that’s the risk with book to film adaptations.
 
Q. Who do you find yourself relying on the most in your writing life?
A. My husband, he is quite knowledgeable about things and I’m always asking him questions. He also advises me on the storyline and the characters. He is also like my agent as he’s always telling people about my books and getting me a few more sales.
 
Q. What’s your guilty pleasure “cliche character trait” do you love, even when everyone else says it’s over done?
A. The teenager that is the ‘One’ the chosen one. I know people find it overdone and annoying but I love it and enjoy reading and writing it.
 
Q. Tell us a little bit about the world of “Junia”! What’s your favorite part about world building?
A. Junia is a world built on magic and shaped like a pentacle star, each section or country represents a different magical element and has different cultures and races living there. I love world building because I can make it how I see fit, I make it fit my book not the other way around.
 
Q. The release date for your fourth book, Junia was set for April 9th. How do you prepare yourself for book release dates and how’s the event planning going?
A. The release party was indeed the 9th April although it had been out since mid March. I prepare by using apps on my phone to create fun games, create pictures with snippets from the book and teasers, I always buy one of my books to use in a competition that someone can win. It takes a lot of planning it’s not something you can just throw together.  I also make my book free to download as obviously as an author you want as many people to read it as possible and leave a review or two 😉. Next up I want to do a signing day at my local library or supermarket but I have to wait till pay day to order some more books.
 
Q. What’s next on your agenda? What’s your next project and when do you plan on finishing it.
A. I’m currently writing the final book in my Alone series, the end to my own zombie apocalypse. I’ve written half of it but with getting Junia ready it did take a little bit of a back seat but now I can plan and write again for it. I plan for it to be released around August time if I get my butt in gear that is.
 
Thanks for having me. xxxx
bdrWant to learn more about Mercedes Prunty, her love of vampires, and the world of Junia? Check her out below!
Twitter: @MercedesPrunty
Instagram: MercedesPrunty
 (.Com link)
(.Co.uk link)

Author Interview #8 – Jo Carson-Barr

I’m happy to announce my first children’s book author interview! Jo Carson-Barr creates adorable stories that are great for kids, teaching them about differently abled kids, and also including New Zealand Sign Language into her novels. As someone who grew up involved in the ASL community, I was happy to get a chance to interview her and share her fun books.

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Q. To start, let’s hear a little bit about you, outside of your writing life.

I am a wife, mother, sister, grandmother and I live in Auckland City, New Zealand.

I moved to the city after many years of living in Rural NZ where I was a very active gardener, created pottery and led the ‘good life’. Part of my work history was living and working with people differently abled people.

 

Q. Your children’s book, Talking to Nannie, was translated into New Zealand Sign Language. How has working with the differently abled community influenced your work?

I am keen to portray them in my books in a very natural way.

 

Q. You come from a big family with lots of kids. Do their ideas help shape some of the plots in your work?

A. Yes, their life experiences and mine influenced the short stories I wrote for adults.

My children’s picture books feature my grandchildren….exaggerated of course.

71fZ6hVHMPLQ. Simon Barr has created beautiful, colorful illustrations for your work. Which book do you feel like he’s captured the best?

Simon is my son, so this is a very hard question as they are all amazing…but I would have to say Waata the Weta: Can He Find The Perfect Home? this book has stunning illustrations.

 

Q. Do you ever foresee yourself writing for an older audience, such as Middle Grade, or do you prefer to stick to picture books?

A. I did start off writing short stories for adults, but because I am now working with Simon I imagine we will stay with picture books.

 

Q. When breaking into the world of children’s books, what’s been the most challenging part?

A. I think as a self published author the most challenging part has been the marketing, though I have been quite successful.

Q. On your website, you have the option to buy your books as part of a fundraiser. What fundraiser are you taking part in and how is it close to your heart?

A. We have completed two fundraisers, one for a club who help children and the other for a Hospice. At the moment one of my books is being used as a fundraiser to get a Downs Syndrome woman to attend a Conference in Ireland. This is very satisfying.

 

Q. As a librarian, what did you notice when working with children that’s helped you write educational yet fun books for a younger audience?

A. I must let you know I am not a qualified librarian, just a Play Centre librarian. That position exposed to a large variety of excellent children’s book which fueled my passion to write books and hopefully to add more excellent books to the world.

 

Q. What did you learn the most from your first children’s book, Talking to Nannie, and how do you feel like you’ve improved since then?

A. I learnt …..’I can do this and it is fun’…..and very rewarding working with Simon as a team to produce The GoodBye Chair, The Chill Out Chair and Waata the Weta.

 

Q. When it comes to being an author with a family, there’s always a fine balance between being with them and needing to work. What advice can you give to writers who are trying to find time to write with children and grandchildren?

A. If you have a real passion in your heart to do something you will always find time. I virtually never watch TV!!! Just DO IT.

 

Q. Who’s been the biggest part of your support system when it comes to your writing process?

A. I have a close friend who is an ex school teacher, who reads my manuscripts, helps me when I am stuck, makes suggestions and just tells me to go for it.

 

Q. What do you think is the most enjoyable part about writing for children that you don’t think you’d feel if you were writing for adults?

A. The best part is seeing the children’s faces, when they see the books, or they tell me this is the best books ever, or they just love one of the books and their Mum or dad tell me they have had to read it ten times.

 

Q. If you could sit down with any children’s book author, alive or dead, and have lunch, who would it be?

A. Being a New Zealander, my absolutely favourite children’s author is another New Zealander called Joy Cowley and I would love to have a chance to chat with her.

 

Where_The_Wild_Things_Are_(book)_coverQ. Which children’s book did your children love to have you read to them the most?

Where the Wild Things Are.

Q. You’ve been writing for ten years now. What piece of advice did you receive and didn’t take, but wish you did?

A. To be honest I don’t remember anyone actually giving me any advice. Now days I learn lots on webinars, fb pages, groups etc…..what I wish is that I had started earlier.

 

Q. Lastly, tell us a little bit about your upcoming projects, and when you hope to have them finished.

We have just finished The Chill Out Chair and are waiting for the books to arrive from the printer. We hope to have our third book in the Nicholas series and two more adventures of Waata the Weta by the end of the year and then I want to do a simpler version of the Nicholas stories for a board book series.

 

Want to learn more about this author? Check out her websites below, and be sure to look out for her newest children’s books!

Website: http://www.veritasaotearoa.co.nz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/josephinecarsonbarr/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jocarsonbarr/

 

Author Interview #7 – Alexandra Badita

My favorite part about these author interviews are getting to speak with and learn about writers from all genres and walks of life. This week, I have Alexandra Badita, a woman who’s actively trying to make the world a better place through her blogs and writings.

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Q. I like to start with a quick introduction. Tell the audience a little bit about what your life is like outside your writing life. 

A. My day to day job is juggling tasks and deadlines as project manager in a digital marketing agency. Writing though keeps my evenings and weekends busy, together with my other passions that I try to squeeze in my schedule, such as salsa dancing, learning to play the piano, reading, getting better at cooking, volunteering in a bookstore and discovering my current city of adoption, London.

 

Q. In your blog, you talk about how you came up with the word “Impressivity”, and that people should “make impressions wherever they go”. How do you live your life by this mantra, and what advice can you give to live a more impressioned life?

A. When I thought about this word, I pictured all the small things from our daily routine that can make an impression on us, like spotting a blossom tree on the way to the office or smelling the fresh croissants from the street bakery, as well as big things that make a bigger impact. Impressivity also incorporates the meaning of each of us making an impression on the world surrounding us, as the beautiful and unique individuals that we are. I just believe we all need to collect daily impressions and also leave an impression  whenever we step into a room and there is no secret recipe for all this, just take the time to observe and be observed.

 

Q. I was taken by your website, “The Guy That”. What inspired you to create a website to help people through their past relationships?

A. Writing has always been the best way for me to get over strong emotional episodes in my life. Besides, I figured there are so many things – crazy, beautiful, interesting things –  happening in my life on that front, that I might as well share my stories and maybe other women will learn from my mistakes. When I hit the depression stage a couple of years back, I went to therapy for a while and the best cure was the writing exercise that my therapist recommended. Putting feelings onto paper is one of the most useful tools to cope with extreme emotions. That combined with my passion for writing about relationships lead to “The Guy That” idea.

 

Q. As you help people through relationships, give advice on everything from life, to fashion, to your life in London, who’s there for you the most when you need advice?

A. I obviously turn to my friends for pieces of advice and to my parents, but  there are situations when I choose to stay introvert and debate it with myself rather than put it on someone else’s account.

Q. What would you recommend for people who want to tell their stories but are too nervous or don’t know where to start?

A. Write it, then burn the paper. If it’s the fear to share your thoughts, this will come with time and confidence and understanding that one must not be ashamed of their feelings. But the most important step is to write your feelings down, your thoughts and everything that seems unnatural to be spoken out loud. Then rip it out or burn it. But once the first wave of relief washes over you, writing will soon be the best reflection of the stories that you keep inside and deserve to be shared.

 

Q. In the “How To” portion of your blog, you have a great list of “How to make time for things that really matter”.  Do you find it easy to take your own advice, or is that something you have to work on?

A. It’s definitely not easy to juggle with a day job, a side hustle, hobbies and an active social life. And I know most of the people manage it. But my 3-step secret to be able to keep up with the schedule is to ‘List, Prioritize, Commit’. I hear so many of my friends finding excuses  that they don’t have time to accomplish their goals. But it’s all about time management. Not having time is my own fault for not being able to prioritize. Finding excuses won’t make the day longer or put more minutes in an hour. We make the choice. We commit to what is important to us.

 

Q. You do a lot of traveling, and have pictures of yourself in places all over the globe. Where’s one place in particular that you are the most inspired as a writer?

A. The best places where inspiration hits me happen to be by the water – whether it’s at the seaside, on the quiet shore of Edinburgh’s beach, along the Seine river in Paris or just by the Thames in my London neighborhood. Water always calms me down, lets my thoughts clear away and gives me a sense of clarity.

 

2326098Q. What book would you say has made the most lasting impression in your life?

A. The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky was one of
the life-changing books that gave me a new perspective into the abstract concept of happiness. After my panic attack and coming close to depression, I became more and more interested in this whole happiness pursuit and reading this book has opened so many windows of my understanding.

 

Q. What have you found to be the most rewarding part about your writing?

A. Writing has always helped me in the soul-healing process, but beyond the personal benefit, the best rewards are the pieces of feedback from my blogs’ readers who find meaning and useful lessons in what they read.

 

Q. Like many writers, finding inspiration can be difficult and often times an uphill battle. How do you deal with writer’s block when working on your blog, or is it something you don’t believe in, in the first place.

A. I wish this was just a myth, but I’ve experienced writer’s block to the extreme decision of taking a break from writing. After going through an attempt to a relationship that dropped my self-esteem level and drained my whole energy, I just couldn’t get myself together to write down the experience. Whenever I’d sit down in front of the computer, I would stare at the blank Word document trying to dive into my thoughts but I was too angry with myself for having allowed  my inner balance to be shaken again. It was too painful to accept having been offended to such an extent that I considered myself guilty. I had to deal with all the demons first, then I went by myself on a trip to Paris to reflect and reach my healing point and only then I started to write again.

 

Q. Are you working on making your blog or website into a book any time soon?

A. My plan for this year includes writing a book about – what else? –  writing. People need to be encouraged to find their way into this beautiful world of healing through writing and I believe that there is a writer in all of us.

 

Q. On top of giving advice, you also do movie reviews and talk about current films that are popular in today’s culture. What do you think makes for a good movie, and what type of movie would you like to see more of?

A. As far as I am concerned, a good movie has to connect with myself and reflect a realistic way of seeing life. I am not a fan of SF or action movies, although I do appreciate their entertainment value. But I am more intrigued by movies that question real life aspects like Richard Linklater’s trilogy of the Befores (“Before Sunrise”, “Before Sunset”, “Before Midnight”) or Woody Allen’s films.

 

Q. What is your favorite part of living in London?

A. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of big cities. But there is always something to do here: if you want to be entertained, you just look up plays, shows, the newest bar, or if you want to take a long walk, you just get comfortable shoes and head to one of the parks or along the river. I am lucky to live in a beautiful neighborhood and I rarely feel the need to indulge in the hustle and bustle of the city.

 

51j10qkqfsL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Q. Let’s say you’re snowed in for a few days, and you only have five books in your whole house to keep you busy. Which five books are they?

A. “Indian Love poems” – I just can’t get enough of reading them, there is a special way of putting love into words in the Indian culture; “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now” by Maya Angelou – so many great lessons and insights on feminism, racism and much more; “The How of happiness”; “A Tale of Love and Darkness” by Amos Oz – the writing was really impressive and I’d love to re-read it, “The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo” by Amy Schumer – she’s funny and witty, curious to see how she puts it in writing.

 

Q. Your goals for 2017 was to push yourself out of your comfort zone. How have you been reaching for this goal, and what do you have planned to help you achieve this in the future?

A. Although it’s only been less than half a year since my New Year’s Resolutions, I have to proudly admit I already took a couple of steps that were the most frightening to me. One was my trip to India in March, which included so many firsts ( first long flight, first trip to Asia, first time applying for a visa and so on). But I am so happy I did it and now my travel planning is no longer limited to Europe, I can be more confident when thinking about future destinations. Another big step outside of my comfort zone was launching “The Guy That”, after two years of playing with the idea of this project and I am excited to plan its evolution into more and more challenging tasks. It’s the only way to succeed.

 

Q. Your fashion photos and personal style looks like it came straight off the runway! If you could sit down to brunch with any fashion icon, past or present, who would it be and why?

A. Fashion is for me more of an esthetic way of playing with impressions. Dress to impress, right? There are many icons along the history who made daring steps in the evolution of this art, but if I could sit down and talk fashion, I would do it with Annie Leibovitz, one of my favorite fashion and portrait photographers. I’m sure she’s seen so much style and beauty in her photo shoots that her stories must be fascinating.

 

Q. Lastly, are there any big projects coming up on your horizon that you’d like to promote, or talk about?

A. Many ideas are lined up on my agenda and it may be premature to talk about them, but I would like to see my websites helping as many people through live workshops and online courses and obviously through the upcoming book that will be full of tips and valuable advice for healing through writing.

 

Want to know more about Alexandra and her projects? Check out the links below!

34b98e6Website: www.theguythat.com
Blog: www.impressivity.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Impressivity_
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/impressivity/ & https://www.facebook.com/theguythat/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/impressivity_by_alexandra & https://www.instagram.com/the_guy_that/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/impressivity/ & https://www.pinterest.com/theguythat/
G+: https://www.google.com/+ImpressivityNetbyAlexandra

 

 

Author Interview #2 – Hope Ann

After a busy week of getting my foot in the door in my new position at work, it’s nice to be able to sit down and look over author profiles. I stumbled across Hope Ann on Twitter a few weeks back, and since I’m a lover of fairy re-tellings, I was happy to find her! I plan on downloading her book after this, and hope to be able to do a review (after I’m done with the five other books I’m reading right now *sigh*)

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Q. You have quite a few books under your belt, and it looks like you have a couple more in the makings. What are you currently working on and do you have a deadline for it to be done? 

A. I have three main projects in the works right now… I have a slight problem sticking with one thing at a time. The most important wip is my third Legends of Light novella, a retelling of Hansel and Gretel. It’s progressing well and I hope to have it published in March 2017. The second major project is Fidelyon, which is a full-length fantasy novel and is in the editing stage. I’m hoping to have it read for submission to a traditional publishing house by the end of this year, or spring at the latest. The final project is Scarlet Rose, the first book of a futuristic trilogy. I’m hoping to complete a readable draft of that novel by the end of 2016.

Q. You’re very active with your caption challenges, flash fiction, and just generally being engaged with your readers/other writers. Which writing community games and challenges are your favorites?

A. My favorite challenge is the weekly six-word-story I do on my blog every week. I can’t enter them myself, but it’s so much fun to see all the different thoughts people can encase in just six words.

Q. In your book, Fidelyon, how are you most like your antagonist(s), and least like your protagonist(s)?

A. Ooo…let me think. I’m probably most like my antagonist in his stubbornness to get done what he’s determined to get done, no matter what. I am least like my protagonist in his insecurity and fear of failure.

Q. Which author, if any, inspired you to be a writer? 

A. It was more a lack of authors and books which inspired me to write than otherwise. I couldn’t find the kinds of books I wanted to read, so I slowly came to the realization that I’d need to write them. I have found more Christian fantasy in recent years, and draw inspiration from a number of favorite authors, like J. R. R. Tolkien and Gillian Bronte Adams. Now I write because I’ve so many story ideas in my head and they simply must be written.

51f90vdsxql-_sy346_Q. You’ve put out two books in your “Legends of Light” series, both retellings of fairy tales, with the first one free. What made you decide to take this route? 

A. The idea behind having my first novella free is that people can sample my writing with no risk to themselves. Then, if they like the novella, they can go on to buy my other works. I will also, eventually, be offering a free story at the beginning and end of my free novella to anyone who signs up for my email list, making it even more of a marketing tool than it now is. You can check out my free retelling of Beauty and the Beast here.

Q. I notice you’re very open about your religion. Do you find this is something that readers respond to, either positively and/or negatively?

A. I have got some positive feedback from other Christian readers and writers about my openness when it comes to my religion. So far, I’ve not got negative feedback, though I’m sure that will come eventually. But my religion is not part of my marketing. My reason for writing is to inspire others and so, while I at no time try to be pushy or preachy about Christianity, I am also very upfront about who I am and what I am offering in my stories and on my blog.

Q. You say on your blog that you like making movies. Would you be interested in doing screen plays in the future? 

A. Not really. It’s been fun to make some small movies with siblings, and I’d love for some of my own books to be made into movies, but at this point I’ve not much interest in trying to write a screen play.

Q. I’m a huge fan of learning about other writer’s “writing rituals”, little things you do before and during your writing process. Do you have a writing ritual, and if so, what’s the first thing you do before you sit down to write?

A. Put on music…either YouTube music on the computer, or other music in my headphones. I write better when there is some music going on, and it helps block out background noise from the house in general.

Q. You have eight siblings that you help home school. Do you find this cuts into your writing time, or do you think it helps come up with more ideas to write?

A. Homeschooling itself doesn’t cut into my writing, because I schedule it into my day. Have eight younger siblings who like to chatter or need help certainly does cut into ‘my’ time. Learning how to balance time spent writing and time spent with family is something I still struggle with, but I’d not trade them for a silent still house despite the frequent disruptions. And, occasionally, I do get some ideas from a few of my siblings which are then jotted down in my idea profiles.

 

Q. If Fidelyon were to be picked up as a movie, what country would you want it filmed in?

A. New Zealand! Especially if that meant I could go there and visit the sets.

Q. What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far? 

A. Scarlet Rose. Perhaps because the main character is quite a bit like me, or perhaps because many of the plot lines are closely connected with imagined scenes in my own head. Whatever the case, it has been so much fun to write.

Q. As with a lot of writers, family plays a part in their lives, for good and for bad. Who in your family has been the biggest influence in your writing life?

A. Probably my father, who has constantly encouraged me in my writing (even while occasionally pointing out that a certain scene is very ‘movie-like’ and not quite realistic). He reads all my writing when I get it in a readable enough condition to reveal it, and takes interest when I talk about plots even when he must have no idea about the half of what I’m saying.

Q. Octavia Butler once said that the most important trait to have as a writer is persistence. What keeps you going even when you feel like throwing in the towel?

A. I know the downs won’t last. There are always moments…sometimes many moments, when a work feels like it’s the worst thing I’ve ever done, and that I’ll never get it right. But I know the feeling won’t last. I know that the end result will be worth the work once I’ve muddled my way through my corrections. And so I keep on, no matter whether I feel like writing or not.

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Want to know more about Hope Ann? Check her out below! 

Pinterest: Writing in the Light Publishing
Twitter: Authorhopeann
Facebook: Hope Ann
Website: Writing in the Light Publishing
Blog: AuthorHopeAnn.com
Amazon: Hope Ann
Youtube: Hope Ann
Instagram: author.hope.ann

Original interview done in October 2016

Author Interview #1 – Anna Kaling

The small town of Steilacoom is quiet as I sit in the appropriately named coffee shop, Espresso By The Bay, and look over Anna Kaling’s website. What first drew me to want to interview her was the phrase “big fan of the Loch Ness Monster” on her twitter page (@annakaling), and I found myself smiling as I read her site.

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From her relationship with her family, to herwriting, to book reviews, there was no shortage of information to look through to find questions to ask her that didn’t fit the “traditional author interview” box. Getting to chat with her was a real treat, and I hope you enjoy as well!

Q. So I took a peek around your blog, but for those who are new to you and your work, tell us a little bit about your first and second books, Untouchable and Unthinkable.

A. They’re both contemporary romances featuring a trio of best friends in their 20s: Rachel, Sam and Ally. They aren’t published yet, but watch this space!

Untouchable focuses on Rachel, who has a phobia of touch and is destined to be a spinster cat lady (even though she only has one cat so far) and Alex, who hasn’t let anybody into either of his double lives since his father was murdered. When he bats a cricket ball into Rachel’s ribs at ninety miles an hour and is responsible for getting her to hospital, both of them have to test their boundaries for the first time in years.

Unthinkable features Ally, an artist who works three part-time jobs and is terrified of swans. She burns through men like matchsticks, but she’s fiercely loyal to her friends and has never been tempted to lie to them… until she falls in love with her best friend Sam’s father. Marc’s 20 years older than her with a jealous ex-wife, and Sam would never forgive Ally for ruining any hope of a reconciliation between his parents… but Marc’s the only man she’s ever wanted for more than a fling.

Q. I see you’re already working on your third. What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve encountered?

A. Book #3 centers on a veterinary pathologist who’s sent to Loch Ness to study a parasite endangering the local animals, so the biggest challenge was getting the science right. I don’t go into much detail about the research because I realize not all readers are science geeks like me, but I did want the project to be scientifically accurate. I’m lucky enough to have a writer friend who’s also a vet (hi, Simon!) and he’s been an incredible help.

For writing in general, the hardest thing for me is trying to maintain a zen-like patience when publishing moves at the pace of an arthritic snail. I’m a 90’s child–I need instant gratification.

Q. You have such a wide writing background, from writing bids to a construction company, to blogging for a cow sanctuary. When did you know you wanted to turn your love of writing into novels?

A. It started how many great adventures do: I was bored. It was just after Christmas, I was off work waiting for the office to re-open in the new year, and I began writing down a story that’d be in my head for years. A few months later I had a novel on my hands–the first draft of Untouchable.

Q. What made you decide you wanted to write romance?

A. It wasn’t a conscious decision and, in fact, my big love as a reader is horror–the gorier the better–though I read and enjoy most genres. While I was writing Untouchable I realized I wanted to go somewhere with it rather then leave it languishing on my hard drive, so I researched the publishing process and looked up genres. I discovered I was writing a contemporary romance and then began my romance education (still in progress, so if anyone has recommendations for me please comment!).

I love love love writing romance and don’t see myself deviating any time soon, though I have a vague ambition to one day write a cozy mystery.

Q. If you could go back to when you first sat down to write your first book, what advice would you give to yourself?

A. Oh gosh, I could fill another book with the things I had to learn writing that first one. Honestly, I think it was a necessary (if painful) learning curve, so I’d let myself make the same mistakes all over again.

Or maybe it’d be, “Don’t tell your mother you’re doing this.” because she keeps bugging me to read my novels and I know she’ll give me 1* reviews because of the swearing and sex (“It’s just not necessary, Anna.”)

Loch Ness Monster

Q. I noticed you have a love of Nessie (something I have to say made me first excited to contact you). Have you been able to take a trip to Loch Ness?

A. At the moment I have to live vicariously through Google maps and YouTube videos. 😦 I’m planning a visit around Christmas to make sure I have the details right for my third book, and I’m VERY excited. I’m also confident I will see Nessie and I won’t let anybody convince me otherwise.

Q. Who’s inspired you the most on your journey as a writer?

 A. So many people. One of my favourite things about writing is the writing community, where other authors are so selfless with their time and advice.

Q. If you could give yourself a literary family tree, with authors you either admire, or consider yourself inspired by, who would be your parents and grandparents? 

A. Ooh, that’s tricky! I suppose grandparents should be the ones who inspired me in childhood–Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Jacqueline Wilson and Noel Streafield. My family were ahead of the times with a same-sex marriage in there.

I think my mother will have to be Jennifer Crusie. Various readers have compared my writing to hers, which is a massive compliment, and when I began reading her books I fell in love with them. They gave me confidence that my kind of books have an audience.

I’m going to go all modern again and have a second mother instead of a father–Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre is probably the first romance I read, albeit literary romance, and I was blown away. If I can make just one person’s heart swell as much as mine did over Jane and Mr Rochester, I’ll be a happy author!

Q. I got a kick out of seeing your mother’s reaction to your writing (“too much sex and swearing, there’s no need for it” for those of you who haven’t checked out her blog yet). Does she play a part in your creative writing process at all?

A. Ha! She hasn’t read a single word of my writing and I don’t think she will, even when they’re officially published. For a start she almost exclusively reads crime / detective novels in the vein of Peter Robinson and Tess Gerritsen–two authors I also enjoy. She doesn’t even like kissing in novels, let alone full-blown (so to speak) sex scenes. And at least once a week she rants to me about a book she’s downloaded that was “spoiled” by all the “F-this and F-that.”

When I am published, if you see any 1* reviews complaining about swearing and sex, you know I caved and told her my pen name.

Q. What’s your favorite quality about your antagonist, and what’s your least favorite quality about your protagonist?

A. In Untouchable, I like that the antagonist is physically attractive whilst being a misogynistic cockwomble. Too often in fiction it seems that ugly equals bad, and life just doesn’t work that way.

The protagonist’s lack of confidence was often hard to write, and when I read it back I’m screaming, “DON’T PUT UP WITH THAT COCKWOMBLE!” at her. But that makes it all the more gratifying when she finally stands up to him.

Q. Tell me a little bit about your adorable cats! I love Sir Tedward McGinger’s name, by the way. Very cute.

 A. My protagonists are all very unlike me in various ways but one thing they all have in common is a love of animals. I just cannot relate to a person who doesn’t like animals, unless it’s centipedes. I don’t trust anything that thinks it needs that many legs.

Sir Ted was my soul mate in cat form, and although he passed away a few months ago he’ll always be my baby. He helped me write by plonking himself on the keyboard just as I was getting to the juicy bit of a scene. I’d often wake up to find him sleeping on my hip, or hear him in the garden yowling at the fence.

Now I have Pepper, a neurotic tortoiseshell who emits deadly silent farts and hides behind the sofa for no apparent reason, and Charlie, who manages to take up an entire king-sized bed all by himself and has the most pathetic meow in existence.

Q. What’s been the most exciting thing about the road to becoming published?

A. All the people I’m meeting along the way, from other authors to my lovely agents to the editor/s I’ll be working with. There’s something special about a community of people brought together by a love of books that outweighs a shared, introverted horror of human contact.

Q. I noticed you’re represented by someone in Inklings Agency. What made you decide to do that route vs. self publishing?

A. I’m lucky enough to have two agents from Inklings – Michelle Johnson and Amanda Jain. They both have incredible senses of humour and Amanda shares Loch Ness Monster news with me on Twitter.

For me, I think traditional publishing is the best way to get my books in front of readers. Besides that, writing can be a lonely thing and I love working with other people rather than doing it all by myself. And thirdly… if it was left up to me and my complete lack of design skill or taste, I’d probably end up on one of those “Worst Book Covers In The World” blogs being mocked mercilessly.

I do really enjoy talking to readers directly though, whether on my blog or Twitter.

Q. Let’s say your book gets picked up for a movie. Which actress/actor do you see playing your leads? 

Jennifer LawrenceA. This is easy because I always picture my characters as celebrities, or random people found on Google Images. I’m awful at visualizing new faces.

Untouchable – Rachel is a redheaded Jennifer Lawrence, and Alex is the model Isha Blaaker.

Unthinkable – Ally is Christina Aguilera in Burlesque (called Ali, funnily enough), and her love interest is Roy Thinnes circa 1980… though he’s nearly 80 now so we’d need a large plastic surgery budget.

For my current book, it’s Neha Sharma and Jessie Pavelka (who isn’t an actor but… we’ll convince him).

Q. John Barth once said, “Those rituals of getting ready to write produce a kind of trance state”. What is your “writing ritual”?

A. Boring answer, but I just sit down and write. Sometimes I turn the WiFi off first, which increases my word output by 3,000%.

Q. What are you working on right now, and do you have a deadline you’d like to have it done by?

A. I’m working on the Loch Ness book, which I hope to have ready for beta reading by 2 October. All going well, that should be finalized and on its way to my agents by the end of October. Then I plan to have a break from writing (during Nanowrimo, because I’m a rebel like that) before getting back to novel #4 in December. When I’m not writing, I’m usually beta reading for other people to build up my writer-karma bank. 🙂

Q. Anything else you’d like to share before we wrap up?

A. I’ve just been accepted as a #FicFest mentor for 2017 and I’d love to mention that so any aspiring writers reading the blog might enter. It’s a Twitter-based event where the mentors choose unagented and unpublished writers to mentor, and then help get their manuscripts and pitches ready for all the agents and small publishers taking part. I’m one of the 15 mentors in the adult category but there are also 15 for picture books, MG, YA and NA. We accept any genres and, of course, it’s absolutely free for everybody involved. All the info can be found here: http://www.tiffanyhofmannauthor.com/ficfest-writing-contest.html

If you’d like to find out more about Anna Kaling, here’s some ways of getting in touch with her!

Website: https://annakaling.com/
Blog: https://annakaling.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annakalingauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnaKaling

Want more author interviews? Check out the one she did for me!

Originally posted Sept. 2016. Reposted due to website change.