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Posts Tagged ‘interview’

strange thing 2

A strange thing happened on the way to the blog.  I received an email out of the blue from someone I’ve never heard of.  That’s not so strange in itself; I get enough spam to feed a spambot until it vomits flowery poetry.

 

What was strange is that it was a request for an interview.  This wasn’t the usual, “Let’s fill out interview questions and share them on each other’s blogs to cross promote ourselves,” interview request.  This was a straight up, “I want to interview you.”

It surprised me.  The first thing I did was check the email address it came from.  It looked legitimate.  Then I skimmed (that’s what my eleven year old called it) her online.  I Googled, found and checked profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn, investigating if the person looks legitimate.  She looked legitimate.

uh oh

It was time for the, “Oh, uh, wow?” moment.  Me?  Why me?  Out of all the authors out there?

Now I had to know.  I’m not a cat, so hopefully curiosity won’t bring me to my swift demise.

I asked others on one of the author groups what they thought.

I contacted the young lady requesting the interview to ask those two big questions: Why me? – and – How did you happen to find me?

Honestly, I didn’t think I would be all that findable without specifically looking for me.

Her answers were simple.  I’m an author and she got my information from the local writers’ guild, which I’m a member of.

 

terrorThen I had a moment of terror.  I’ve never had a real interview.  I almost did once on a blog radio show, but it fell through due to technical issues.  We, the interviewers and my fellow intervewee, spanned states and countries.  Something went wrong and we couldn’t call in.  The blog show failed after too, so there was no redo.

Why does that even matter?  Because, I was in very near to a state of panic.  An actual talking interview with people I have to answer on the spot.  I can’t come back hours later when I think of something that I think sounds clever.

And now I’m panicking again at the thought of a face-to-face interview.  I would have to try to be clever on the spot.  I can’t do that.  I can write, the words coming effortlessly and fluidly, and sounding marvelous.  I can’t bloody talk.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I sound like a complete moron when I talk.  The words in my head just don’t come out the same way through my mouth.  My brain freezes, I jumble, stumble, and stutter.  I couldn’t do a speech with my eyes glued to the cue cards I’m reading mechanically from.

 

leave your comfort zoneTo truly live, you have to step out of your safety zone.  I decided to swallow my anxiety and give it the old college try.

It made it easier that I wasn’t doing it for myself.  I can’t count the times I opted not to do something because it was just for me.  I’m not used to doing things just for me.

The young woman interviewing me is from McMaster University. She won funding for a research project exploring the connection between Canadian literature and identity.  I was a stop on her trek across Canada interviewing authors about their craft and sense of identity as Canadians.

I went to the interview hoping that I would be of help, but still with that nagging doubt pulling on me like a toddler sized imp trying to whisper in my ear, “Why you?”

I survived the interview and she didn’t look ill listening to my jabbering.  I have to say, the best part of the interview was the end when I gave her a copy of my latest published book, The McAllister Farm.  She was actually excited I gave it to her.
impAfter the interview, that same nasty little imp kept tugging on my shirt hem and whispering my doubts.  Why me?  There are a lot of authors out there, ones people actually heard of and know; authors who sold a lot book books and made bestseller lists, and everything.  Telling me, “You don’t even feel like a real author.”

 

magic quill

What does it take to make you feel like an author?  Of course, the simplest answer should be, “You wrote a book,” or, “You published a book.”  If only life were so simple for everyone.

 

In all the years I spent writing, I’ve always had that nagging doubt.  I’m nobody.  Unknown.  Just some person with a story in her head (okay many stories) that need to get out.  I’m not James Patterson or Stephen King.  I don’t go by the moniker Dean Koontz or any other name anyone would recognize and say, “Hey, that’s an author!”

I always had the doubt, expecting anyone at any time to say I’m wasting my time, I’m not a “real” author, or that my writing stinks like the rancid breath of the partially desiccated reanimated corpse of a komodo dragon with a dead skunk stuck in its mouth.

Even after my first book, Where the Bodies Are, was published, doubts remain.  It’s only one book, after all.  But, it can’t be all that bad if someone else found it worthy of publication, right?  I still didn’t feel like a “real” author; which is probably odd, since I would without question think of anyone else who published a single book as a “real” author.

Now I have a couple of books published, with Indigo Sea Press picking up not only Where the Bodies Are, but also my latest book, The McAllister Farm.

With published books I now have to count on more than one finger, I still don’t feel authorey; and yes, I did just make up that word.

intangible personTo me, an author has always been that intangible person on the other side of the book.  The magic behind the story.  Funny, I don’t look or feel magic.  Not mystical in any way.  I’m just me.

If I had ten published books, I would probably feel the same way.  I’m just me.  Someone asked me to autograph my book she bought and it felt really weird.  I very recently sold a few books to a few people I know and they asked me to sign them.  It felt just as strange, awkward really, in a, “This is a joke, right?” kind of way.  And these were all people I’ve known for years.  I might get sucked into an abyss of weirdness in the floor if an actual stranger wanted me to sign a book.

I’m not sure what it will take before I feel like a “real author”.  At what point this will happen, if ever.

I asked my eleven year old what would make her feel like a “real author”.  Her answer: “If my books sold; lots.  A lot of them.”

I asked my thirteen year old the same question. Her answer: “When a lot of people buy my books and are asking for them, and when I’m making a good profit.  And, when I’m a New York Times bestseller, because all my books are New York Times bestsellers.”

pose question.jpg

I pose the question to you, and this is all about YOU, not for you to try to convince me that I’m a “real” author.

 

Authors: What made or would make you feel like a “real author”?

Readers: What defines a “real author” for you, as opposed to thinking, “Yeah, whatever, so you wrote a book, but you aren’t a real author”?

 

Let the game begin.

Can you handle a little darkness?

L.V. Gaudet is the author of the McAllister Series and Garden Grove.

Tormented by his inability to stop killing, the killer is taunted by his need to find the one thing he must find …

where the bodies are

Learn the secret … behind the bodies and how the man who created the killer became who he is …

McAllister Farm cover 052316_edited-1 - front cover.jpg

The third book will bring these two stories together for a dramatic climax… but no story truly ends.

 

Sabotage, vandalism, poisoned work crew, buried bones, and two strange old people … why is someone trying to stop the new housing development?

Garden Grove Cover - McNally - front cover

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Ben Hale author photoBen Hale, author of The Second Draeken War series and The Chronicles of Lumineia series joins us so we can dig a little into the psyche of a writer.

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Let’s join Ben in this author interview.

  1. Is there an author or book that inspired you to write, whether to become a writer or just to write a specific story?

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Not one specifically. However, when I was a kid I read a lot. One night as I fell asleep I decided to come up with my own character. It turned out to be a relaxing way to fall asleep so I kept doing it. (Twelve year old problems are so stressful, I know.)  This practice became a habit that continued for almost fifteen years. By then I was married and my wife asked me why I fell asleep so fast. I responded by telling her I had a story I thought about. At her request I began to tell it. It was the first time I had voiced the ideas, and I was quite surprised to realize how much there was. In spite of her prompting to write it, I did not feel that writing was within my skill set. Fortunately she overcame my hesitation and the next thing I knew I had started Elseerian. Because I’d imagined it in such detail it was easy for me to write, and within a month I realized that the story I’d thought of would not fit in one book. The Chronicles of Lumineia began with a single idea and now spans ten books, two series, and ten thousand years.

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  1. What is your last story and what made you want to write it? What was the inspiration, the drive that started the idea for it?

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The last story I wrote was The Forge of Light, the end of my second series, The White Mage Saga. It could be compared in some respects to Percy Jackson or Harry Potter but there is a marked distinction in its scope. I always liked the stories of magic being hidden in our world, but was curious what would happen if it became public. What could compel mankind to believe that magic was real? Who would be strong enough to unite the magical world with the normal world? I also wanted to explore a blending of a fantasy book with real world military elements. The series contains mages that fly and stunning magic, and yet characters that are navy SEALs and a former marine sniper. The combination is hopefully unique and fun to read.

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  1. It is the age-old debate: scene setters vs. seat writers. What is your writing process like? Do you outline extensively, carefully mapping out your story ahead, or do you just go with the flow writing as it comes to you?

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I am certainly a planner over a blurter. My outlines span thousands of years, multiple series, and hundreds of characters. If I didn’t outline it I would lose track, and the story would ultimately crumble. I also practice what I call layered writing, which means there are more layers to a plot than are first visible. For example, one of my more subtle plots will ultimately span several multi-book series before finally being tied into the overall story. Hopefully it will make the story exciting on subsequent reads as readers discover hints and connections they had not noticed before.

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  1. We all know names hold a certain amount of power to give us all a pre-judged idea of what a person is like. You want to hate someone just for having the same name as a despised ex, a strong sounding name makes you think they must be strong, and a name like Poindexter, well you get the idea. How important are your character names to you? What resource would you recommend for someone having trouble finding names?

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A term I frequently use is, “The impression given is more important the text used”. The name does not matter as much as the connotation of the name. I choose names that inspire images of innocence, evil, or morality, to name a few. Since coming up with names on the spot can be difficult I have become a collector of names. When I need one, I go to my list and look for one that fits the character. Google and a thesaurus are always good backups.

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  1. Each writer has their favorite type of scene, the kind of scene that just flows naturally for them. Is there a certain type of scene you find hard to write?

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When I started writing, conversation was difficult for me. It was hard for me to write it so it did not feel stilted. Writers that excel in conversation can bring tension and intrigue without drawing on the conflict in the scene, but that was not my strength from the beginning. Part of my problem was due to a lack of vocabulary. As my vocabulary has grown I have found that writing conversation is easier. Now I’m happy to say that writing conversations are much easier after ten books.

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  1. If you could give only one piece of writing advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

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Write, write, write. Set a goal to write every day and stick to it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a couple hundred words or a few thousand. Consistency is what matters. Professional writers maintain a pace. Also, if I was to choose a second most important item it would be to edit, edit, edit. My first book I edited 24 times before I published it, and I still think it’s not as good as I would like. It’s good to remember that there is just as much creation in the editing as there is in the writing.

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  1. What is your best do or don’t marketing tip?

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Time is the most precious commodity for a writer, so don’t waste it. I’ve met authors that are engaged in endless marketing of a single book, and end up writing very little. The more you write the more you have to sell, and the more your marketing efforts matter. Keep your marketing time to a minimum by remembering one thing; a book release is the biggest marketing event you can have.

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  1. What is your pet peeve when it comes to writing? It could be about any part from the writing process to publication, marketing, fans, etc.

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The perception that it is free. With indie publishing it is now possible to publish for free, but that does not mean the preparation is. Invest in an editor, cover designer, and if needed, a book coach. It costs money to do it right because you are investing into something. The lack of knowledge and quality can cost you a career as a writer.

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  1. Reviews can drive writers to distraction; looking for them, yearning to get them, and scared of getting them. At the same time it takes a certain kind of reader to put themselves out there and actually post a review. How do you go about encouraging your readers to rate your books or stories and post reviews? How do you respond when you get a negative review?

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I make an effort not to solicit reviews. That said, I do request one if someone has said they liked my books. The unfortunate truth is that reviews carry a lot of weight—especially the negative ones. Some reviews are given because the reader didn’t like you, or they read a couple of pages and tossed your book aside in favor of another interest. The good news is that reviews tell you things, and you should listen to them. Even the bad ones give you an idea of how your writing is perceived. Again, perception is more important that the actual words—and far more important than the idea itself. Your idea as a writer may be stunning, but it will not matter unless it is perceived as such.

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  1. And finally, the question every author’s fan wants to now: What are you working on now? What is your next published project going to be?

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I haven’t announced it yet, but I have started a new trilogy in the Chronicles of Lumineia. I will say it follows a fan favorite, and that he is a rock troll. Feel free to post a guess on my facebook page! I hope to write and publish his trilogy this year. With five kids and starting a Masters program, it’s going to be a busy 2015 for me. Good luck to all of you in your own works, and feel free to contact me if you are looking for a book coach.

.Assasins Blade Ben Hale

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You can find Ben Hale and his books on his Amazon author page. .

Visit Ben Hale’s website at The World of Lumineia

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.Eiseerian Ben Hale

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Today I am pleased to present a guest to the blog.

 

Joan De La Haye

 

Fellow author Joan De La Haye joins us to in a blog interview. Pull up a chair and your favourite cup of tea, glass of wine, or whatever, and let’s join Joan for a few questions.

 

Joan has written Burning, Requiem In E Sharp, and Shadows.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Is there an author or book that inspired you to write, whether to become a writer or just to write a specific story?

 

      That’s a tough question. I grew up in a household full of books. Both my parents were avid readers and I grew up with a love for books and stories. My Grandmother once said that I was writing stories before I could even walk properly. Writing was something that I always wanted to do. When I was about 12 or 13 I wrote a fairytale and forced everybody in my class to read it. But I couldn’t really tell you who or what really inspired me to be an author, I think it was just every book on the shelf that I read and loved that made me want to be able to take others on those sorts of journeys as well.

 

 

  1. burning-cover-1What is your last story and what made you want to write it? What was the inspiration, the drive that started the idea for it?

 

      My last story is called Burning. It’s about a witch who takes drastic and dangerous steps to improve her love life with deadly consequences. It started off as my failed attempt at writing something romantic and erotic, because everybody kept telling me that I should. So I did and failed. Burning ended up being anything but romantic. My publisher did however come up with the label ‘erotic horror’ for it, so I guess I at least did succeed in writing the erotic bit, just not the romantic bit.

 

 

 

  1. It is the age old debate: scene setters vs. seat writers. What is your writing process like? Do you outline extensively, carefully mapping out your story ahead, or do you just go with the flow writing as it comes to you?

 

         I don’t map my stories out at all. I start off with a basic idea of how the story starts and where it might end up. But it just builds from there. It’s almost like watching a movie in my mind which, unfortunately, sometimes hits the pause button while my brain and the characters argue about where the story is going to go.

 

 

  1. We all know names hold a certain amount of power to give us all a pre-judged idea of what a person is like. You want to hate someone just for having the same name as a despised ex, a strong sounding name makes you think they must be strong, and a name like Poindexter, well you get the idea. How important are your character names to you? What resource would you recommend for someone having trouble finding names?

 

      It all depends. Sometimes people will ask me to name a character after them. Sometimes I name a character after an ex-boyfriend, like in Burning (although he did ask me to do that). Sometimes I’ll name a character, especially a character that’s going to die really badly, after someone I really, really don’t like. And then there are times when I’m at a complete loss and I have to consult a baby name book which also gives you the meanings of the names which comes in handy when trying to figure out if a name will suit a specific character or not.

 

 

  1. Each writer has their favourite type of scene, the kind of scene that just flows naturally for them. Is there a certain type of scene you find hard to write?

 

      Sex scenes! I find getting the balance in them just right is a little difficult. You don’t want it to be just a boring blow by blow sort of thing and you also don’t want it to end up being overly flowery, romanticised twaddle that won’t turn anybody on and will only result in uncomfortable giggling.

 

 

Requiem Cover

 

6.    If you could give only one piece of writing advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

 

      Just focus on writing that first word, then the first sentence and the next sentence. Before you know it you’ll have the first paragraph and then the first page. Writing is sometimes like walking, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Also read extensively in all genres.

 

 

 

  1. What is your best do or don’t marketing tip?

 

      Don’t spam. The thing that will stop me from ever buying an author’s book is if they friend me on Facebook with the sole purpose of messaging me to tell me to buy their book or getting me to like their author page. If you haven’t bothered to interact with me on any other level there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell that I’m going to rush out and buy your book because you begged me to do so on Facebook or twitter.

 

 

  1. What is your pet peeve when it comes to writing? It could be about any part from the writing process to publication, marketing, fans, etc.

 

      It’s the self-entitlement that I’m seeing amongst some newbie and aspiring writers that gets to me. The fact that they think other published authors owe them something confuses me. If you want to get published write a good story and submit it and keep submitting it. You have to pay your dues like the rest of us. You don’t just private message a published author and say ‘Hey! I want to be a writer, so you have to help me.’ We don’t have to do anything of the sort. There are plenty of books and online resources available for newbie writers; they really don’t need to demand it from other writers who have deadlines to meet and books to write. And what really gets to me is how rude some of them are when demanding it. One so-called aspiring writer even went so far as to try and get my home phone number so they could harass me at home. That kind of attitude boggles my mind.

 

 

  1. Reviews can drive writers to distraction; looking for them, yearning to get them, and scared of getting them. At the same time it takes a certain kind of reader to put themselves out there and actually post a review. How do you go about encouraging your readers to rate your books or stories and post reviews? How do you respond when you get a negative review?

 

      I must admit I’m rather bad at getting people to review my books. I try to every now and then put a little note up on twitter or Facebook to ask that if they read the book and enjoyed it, that a review would be greatly appreciated but I don’t hound people for reviews, which is probably why I don’t have that many reviews on Amazon.

 

      As to how I deal with a bad review … well … I think it depends on just how bad the review is and whether it’s constructive and fair or not. If it’s a fair review I process what the reviewer said and implement it in my future works. And by process I mean glug a glass of red wine and eat a slab of chocolate. But if it’s just a particularly nasty one where you can see that the reviewer wasn’t actually interested in writing a fair review or if it just wasn’t the sort of book, no matter how well it was written, that they would enjoy there’s not all that much I can do about it. Those sort of reviews you have to just shrug off, hard as that may be, because those tend to be more about the reviewer than about the book.

 

 

  1. And finally, the question every author’s fan wants to now: What are you working on now? What is your next published project going to be?

 

      I’m busy working on a full length novel called Fury which is due for publication in June 2016 by Fox Spirit books. I’ve also got a couple short stories coming out in anthologies. The first of which is European Monsters due out in November.

 

Thank you Joan for joining us.Shadows cover

 

 

 

You can follow Joan and her writing here:

Website: http://joandelahaye.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoanDeLaHaye

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Joan-De-La-Haye/e/B002CJBAWY

 

 

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