Author: kdell.

Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview. I really enjoy hearing about the journey other take in getting their books published. I did a little searching and found that you have three books out, Witch in the Woods, Clearly’s Corruption, and Blood Moon Ritual. Can you tell us a bit about this series?

Thank you for having me. My Witch in the Woods trilogy takes place in the year 1601 and is about a professional witch hunter named Victor Steep. He takes on a case in a small town called Beth’s Hollow, believing it to be a normal case. However, Victor quickly discovers that this witch is not like the normal witches he hunts, and that she was the last witch his father tried hunting before he died. Meanwhile, as he searches the woods of Beth’s Hollow, Victor meets a mysterious young lady by the name of Clearly, befriending her and promising to find a cure for her cursed brother named Fabian. Things only get more complicated for Victor as he tries to finish the case and save those he holds most dear. Throughout the trilogy, battles are fought, secrets are revealed, and sacrifices are made in a battle against good and evil.

What inspired you to write these books?

I originally wrote Witch in the Woods as a short story for my creative writing class in high school. My fascination with the Salem Witch Trials and my love for the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales were my biggest inspirations for Witch in the Woods.

What other titles are similar to your books?

I really haven’t seen any other books that are similar to mine. I really tried to make mine unique, but I have been keeping an eye out for anything similar that may come along.

Tell us a bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you choose that image/artwork?

I illustrated the cover art for all three books in my sketch pad, and then edited them on the computer. I wanted my covers to be beautiful, dark, and a little mysterious. For me, book covers featuring silhouettes have all those qualities, so I felt it was the right design for my trilogy.

Witch in the woods creataspace   Clearly's Corruption cover art (1)   BloodMoonRitual1

Other than writing, do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I grew up in a very artistic family, which gave me a passion for the arts. I am especially fond of drawing and am very much influenced by the Japanese manga style. I also enjoy working in the kitchen to making crazy desserts, like a giant S’mores brain.s'morebrain

I see that you’ve been working on a new book called Desolation. Is it a fourth book in the series?

I just recently renamed “Desolation” to “Forlorn”, which is actually a standalone novel set in modern times. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy about two young adults named Gabby and Nathan, who meet while hiding from the aliens who’ve just invaded and are wiping out everyone on Earth. They fall in love while on the run, but their responsibilities threaten to separate them and even put them in danger of being captured by the aliens.

Being an indie author isn’t easy. What’s one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in creating your books?

I didn’t find anything very surprising while creating my books, but what I did find surprising was the amount of supporters out there. It’s not just friends and family giving encouragement to keep creating, but other indie authors, artists, and readers too. The amount of indie supporters out there is amazing, and I love that we all can support each other.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Readers can check out my blog, Facebook page, and Twitter profile. They can even find me on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, or check out my boards on Pinterest.

Website/Blog: http://witch-in-the-woods.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Taylor.Ann.Bunker

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ann_bunker

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/taylorbunker12/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Ann-Bunker/e/B00JGEXVCU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1437409950&sr=1-2-ent

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7558024.T_A_Bunker

 

What draws you to the genre you write in?

Fantasy and the paranormal have been lifelong interests of mine, so I was always looking to read books with those themes! They take you to another world full of adventure, suspense, romance and conflict. They add magic to your everyday life, and let you experience things that are rare or does not exist in our world. Those are what draws me in and makes me want to be part of that genre.

Give us an interesting fact about one of your books?

In Witch in the Woods, Fabian was originally named Gabriel. He wasn’t going to appear in the series until the second book, as was going to be the new antagonist. Yup, Victor’s best friend was originally going to be his enemy.trilogymain

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m extremely excited to say that I’ll be having a cover reveal for Forlorn on my blog very soon. Thank you so much for the interview, I really enjoy your website. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Best of luck with your writing!

Katherine Dell

 

It seems these days that a lot of people treat Twitter like their own flashing neon billboard. Buy this! Re-tweet my post! Join my team! Be my ultimate fan! Sure, Twitter is a great platform to promote yourself. I promote my self and my writting all the time on social medias, but it’s easy to get turned off of it when a good chunk of it is a tidal wave of people’s spammy ads. Now, before you all get discourage in Twitter-land let me share with you a few real people I’ve meet in the Twitter-verse.

 

Cristen Iris: https://twitter.com/CristenIris

She’s a nonfiction creative writer, freelance editor, speaker, and aspiring literary agent. She has an incredible zest for all things literary and is very interesting to chat with on the topic of publishing and author platforms.

Kurt Chambers: https://twitter.com/emailmanROCKS

Kurt hails from across the pond, and is the author of the Truth Teller fantasy series. He has a wealth of Twitter tips and is a pleasure to chat with online. His BlogSpot Genius Bordering Insanity is also a very witty read!

Adam Dreece: https://twitter.com/AdamDreece

Adam is the author of the YA series, The Yellow Hoods, and fellow Calgarian. I met Adam at a book signing. The store manager said I must meet this this genius of indie author marketing, and I’m glad I did. If you can catch him between zealous writing spells and energetic comicons, Adam likes to chat ‘books’ over the strongest cup of coffee know to man. No correlation to his writing speed I’m sure.

Kelly Charron: https://twitter.com/KellyMCharron

I recently met Kelly on Twitter. She’s not published yet but she’s one to watch out for! She writes in the YA, with genres including horror, psychological thrillers, and urban fantasy.

B.K. Raine: https://twitter.com/BK_Raine

A wonderful person who loves her vampires! B.K. writes dark erotic urban fantasy. She also writes an upfront and interesting blog. Check it out https://bkraine.wordpress.com/blog/

 

There are many more I could have mentioned on this blog… but it would have gotten too long. I encourage you all to make your own list of ‘real Twitter people’. Don’t get discouraged. Start treating Twitter more like a water cooler than a flashing ad and you might be surprised at what an enjoyable pace to hangout Twitter can be.

Happy Tweeting

Katherine

 

So nice to meet you Betty. I’m glad we could do this interview. Looking over your Goodreads profile I see that you’ve published three books: Discarded Faces, Mistress of the Topaz, and Mistress of the Land and Sea. Which one of your books is your favorite and why? Tell us a bit about that one.photo of betty for interview

 

I don’t have a favorite, so I’ll summarize all three. Discarded Faces is a YA dystopia centered in a viciously homophobic police state where if you’re gay, they send you on a one-way trip to a concentration camp. The heroine is a Lesbian teenager from a family that’s always supported the government, for a different set of reasons. When she finds out about the underground resistance movement that some of her friends are in, she joins.

The other two are Mistress of the Topaz, and Mistress of the Land and Sea, which form a two-book fantasy series. The mistress in question is a 19 year old Queen whose father used to govern most of the planet, but there was a rebellion and he died with only one odd corner as his domain. The Topaz in question is a magical gem that answers her questions. Her opponent is a 30-something woman who belongs to the ruling council of the kingdom that is now dominant. The young queen is fighting to restore the Hegemony (her father’s global empire), but the older woman counselor has the power to manipulate other people’s thoughts. Both magical powers have limits, and the two novels show how two ambitious women might use them. At the end of Land and Sea, the battle has been resolved.

discarded-faces-DD-cover-art  mistresstopaz-pub-cover    mistressoflandandsea-510

The books you’ve written are science fiction/fantasy for young adults. What draws you to this genre you write in?

It’s what I like to do. I developed a taste for science fiction from watching the original Star Trek series when I was a teenager–because, yeah, I’m that old. Before that, I was very interested in science but turned up my nose at science fiction. “The future won’t be like that,” was my attitude. Since then I’ve realized that sci-fi isn’t really about predicting the future. It’s about present possible futures and asking us how we would respond to those altered conditions, both as individuals and as a society.

The Lord of the Rings introduced me to fantasy, although before reading it I was wishing such a genre of fiction existed. Fantasy takes the settings of traditional folklore–elves, dwarves, magic rings, dragons, and kings who actually do something–and presents us with a world that never existed and probably won’t, but forces us to consider the uses and misuse of the magical powers that the characters we have, but we have not and never will.

I don’t think I’ll ever write so-called “realistic fiction.” It’s just not my calling.

Having published three books, you must have some advice for writers just starting out? Give us a few tips or pointers that you’ve learned along the way.

Don’t lose the momentum. Write every day. Don’t worry about inspiration. That will come to you in the course of your work.

Write in the format you’re most comfortable with. You don’t have to write short stories first. That might help, but results vary. I find my stories are by definition novel length.

If you have writer’s block, try writing two stories at once, alternating between them.

Write the kind of stories you’d love to read if somebody else wrote them. Don’t just imitate what’s selling right now.

 I’ve read on Goodreads that you’ve ‘weaned your TV watching habit’. I myself read more than I watch TV but I’m always curious… If one of your books became a TV show or movie, who would you cast as the main characters?

 First of all, a book with complex world-building, like all of mine, works best as a TV miniseries. A single two-hour movie isn’t long enough. Eight or ten hours of television programming would work fine. Then you could put them on DVD and rent them out through Netflix.

Characters? That’s tough for me, because I’m 65 and don’t get little exposure to up-and-coming young actors. I know who I’d cast for the young Queen in my fantasy books–Jennifer Lawrence. She can already ride a horse and use the bow and arrow. Just die her hair red, give her some hand-to-hand combat training, and she’s good to go.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Blog

Facebook Page

Goodreads

Twitter

As an indie author, what’s your best marketing tip?

Social media. It’s never been easier and cheaper to publicize your books.

Are you working on anything right now? Can you tell us about it?

Yes, Discarded Faces is now officially a trilogy. The second volume, already submitted, is Dispelled Illusions. The third is the one I’m writing now. It’s called Unleashed Hopes. I call the whole set The Danallo Chronicles.

TLDR: After the dictatorship is overthrown, the rebel alliance (not its real name, of course) breaks down. Everybody has their own agenda and nobody trusts anybody else. The rival factions contend with each other. Sometimes they settle their differences through elections. Other times, not.

Tell us a bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that image? (Just pick one cover to describe)

mistresstopaz-pub-coverOkay, let’s pick the cover of Mistress of the Topaz. I found my own artist, and sent her some jpg’s showing her how the Queen’s armor looked, what her face looked like, and the shape of the window I wanted in the background. I described her magical gem, the Oracular Topaz, and described the scene in a general sort of way. She did the rest. There was some feedback along the way. I forgot to mention at first that the Queen has six fingers on each hand. Also, it took us a while between us to figure out where and how she hung her sword. We succeeded in avoiding the sword-hanging-down-the-back cliché. I’ve had many complements on the result.

 

Other than writing, do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I read a lot–mostly YA these days since that’s what I write. I like to watch movies, but I prefer to do that through Netflix or buying the DVD.

Who is your favorite character from one of your books, and why?

Hard to say. I really like Peb, Balk, and Kanath from The Danallo Chronicles. I like the World Queen from my fantasy books too. Underneath her boundless ambition, there’s a lonely, but humanitarian, heart.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

You’ll never know whether your good at something or not until you try.

 

As much as I ‘d like to lock myself in my office and write fantastical prose to the wee hours every night, it’s not very feasible. Not only will I get nothing else done, but my family and friends will start to wonder if I’ve become some writer-hermit. Sooo, every now and then it’s good for a writer (or anyone) to step away from the keyboard and do something else. And no, I’m not talking about that pile of laundry that’s been haunting you. I’m talking about really stepping away!

As a chronic work-o-holic, I’ve been known to take very few vacations. I like the idea of taking trips, but am not easily convinced to go on them. I’ve always been like that… Now that I think about it, I’m not sure why.

So, this year I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf because hey… nothing good ever comes from your comfort zone, right? I’ve taken a trip to Mexico and Kelowna so far this year, and I have another two and a half weeks planned in trips coming up. When I go on my trips, I leave the work at home. I take a real, honest break from writing and I’ve never been more productive! Who knew!

So next time your feeling burnt, I’d recommend (if you can) take a trip, big or small. Go for hike in a local park or fly somewhere far where your email can’t find you.

 

Well… back to work for me.

Katherine

 

 

 

Whether it be in an actual elevator or a chance meeting at a party, someday, somehow, someone is going to ask you… “So, what’s your book about?” You have about 30 seconds of their attention and you need to be prepared with a short, yet informative answer. Something that will spark their attention, not loose it.

Crafting an elevator pitch has been a difficult challenge for me. I can be long winded in my stories… So when I’m asked to sum up my full-length novel down to a few sentences, it can cause a bit of anxiety. But, I did some research online about how to pitch a book and craft a spiel and I’m feeling good about what I’ve come up with.

There’s a tonne of ways to go about it but here’s the method I liked the best.

Your pitch should have three parts:

  1. The hook.
  2. A killer logline
  3. A short synopsis

The Hook:

There are different ways to write a hook. My favourite is the Hollywood Pitch. You take your book and compare it to other well-known books that are similar.

E.g., My book is a YA fiction, coming of age novel, that’s a bit Stephanie Meyer’s, The Host, meets Chris Van Allsburg’s, Jumanji.

 With a hook, your trying to create one line that peaks people’s interest so they want to know more. You could also try these ways of starting a hook.

Give a time and location:

E.g., It was the summer of 1982 in rural Mississippi…

Set up your main character:

E.g., A fast paced thriller, staring a bumbling 60-something detective…

Variations of when:

E.g., After years of hardship and political unrest…

 After you get your hook down pat, you’ll want to craft up a killer logline. A logline is two sentences (or close to that) that explains your main character, their goal and the conflict in the story. Even though a logline is short it can take forever to write. Here’s one I wrote for my book, Harmless.

A disconnected high school senior searches for closure after her brother’s tragic death, and parents’ divorce, all the while coping with the unwitting release of an ancient spirit that has possessed her friend. To save her friend, and heal her own conscience, she must accept a reality she never could have imagined to be true.

Now… If you’ve gotten someone to listen to your hook and logline and they still want more, this is when you give them your short synopsis. A short synopsis is your whole story summed up in about two paragraphs. I haven’t completed this yet for my book. Surprisingly, I found the one and two sentence summaries much easier to write.

Here are some suggestions I have to writing your synopsis.

 

Read the synopsises of other books.

  1. Read articles on how to write a synopsis. Here’s one I found helpful. http://carlywatters.com/2013/11/04/how-to-write-a-book-synopsis/
  2. Try not to drive your friends crazy asking them to read it.
  3. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite until it’s perfect.

 

 

After you’ve finished writing these three pitches, memorize them! Practice in front of a mirror so you don’t sound canned or loose your place.

 

Good Luck and Good Writing

 

Katherine

 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kayti Nika Raet this week. Kayti is the author of  the YA series The Outsider Chronicles, a five book series to which the first three are currently published.10659400_298202547035793_9011333378634101133_n

Looking at your books on Amazon, I see that you currently have three books published in a series called The Outsider Chronicles. Tell us a bit about this series and why it would appeal to your target audience?

Hi! Thanks for having me. The Outsider Chronicles is a five book YA dystopian series featuring a badass girl with a baseball bat and set in a world of acid rain and flesh eating monsters.

It starts of with Niko, the main character, searching for her brother, who went missing after a devastating fire. From that small goal the series expands to touch on things like genetic modification and classism.

As a dystopian, it leans more to the action horror side of the genre, but there are some sci-fi elements and quite a bit of romance.

I’m guessing the same person did the cover art for all three books. Can you tell us about who designed it and why you went with those particular images?

I’m lucky enough to have an artist for a sister! Hana Kura has done all my covers. I try to have them showcase a particular mood or scene from each book, while the color red ties them all together. I’m hoping for something that fits the dystopian genre but stands out at the same time. My sister has created three covers so far, and she’s working on the fourth one right now. I’m really excited about it.

niko03H2OUTSIDER

Other than writing, do you have any other talents or hobbies?

I mostly like to write, but I do a lot of reading, dabble in photography, and occasionally create a new outfit to wear. I think 90% of my brain is dominated by writing though!

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book series.

NOTE:  Here are some links to my fun facts blog post.

http://kaytinikaraet.com/2014/06/02/bones-roses-and-random-things/

http://kaytinikaraet.com/2014/09/19/wet-moons-and-firetraps/

These are always fun! I’ve actually made a list of fun facts for Niko and Harm, but I have yet to post something about Outsider, book 3.

1) The first draft of Outsider was finished before I published Niko. It was a personal goal of mines and I almost didn’t make it!

2) Alice and Zenith, two new characters in Outsider, where originally going to be named Alyss and Zen. At first they were twins, then they were a couple, then finally, I settled on brother and sister. They’re super fun to write (I love snarky people) and the kind of characters you’ll love to hate.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

For the most part. Though other things might grab my attention, I’ve always gravitated towards writing.

Are you working any anything new? A fourth book in the series?

I’m working on the fourth book in the series right now. I’m in the editing stage. It’s called Monster, and I plan on releasing it July 18th.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: http://kaytinikaraet.com/

Blog: http://writebitches.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaytinikaraetbooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KNRwrites

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kaytinikaraet/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1fb2cR7

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1IDVehs

Book Links:

Niko: http://amzn.to/1u5sFAe

Harm: http://amzn.to/1s9Nbz0

Outsider: http://amzn.to/1w3tP3H

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1uWYEpr

What advice would you offer to people just starting out in the book writing business?

Don’t be a hermit! Make writer friends! Don’t expect your book to be a bestseller right out of the gate. Have a social media platform in place before you hit ‘Publish’. Don’t stress. Have fun. Always learn.

I see that you are active on social medias. Which one do you like best for promoting yourself as an indie author?

Twitter has been really good for me. You just have to make sure you’re engaging and doing more than screaming ‘buy my book!’ I retweet a lot of stuff that I hope my followers will enjoy, and I use a tool called Roundteam to make sure that I catch most of my followers tweets and share them.

I’m slowly getting the hang of Facebook. I’ve had an author page for about 6 months, I use it pretty much in the same way that I use twitter. I try to share interesting and fun book related memes as well as sharing photos of fans who brought a physical copy of Niko. It’s been more fun than I’ve expected.

I also have a blog and tumblr account, which I need to be on more, and a youtube account where I review (fangirl over) books.

Basically, I’m everywhere!

You see quotes from books all the time online. Give us a memorable quote (or snippet) from one of your books.

Are you sure you want me to do that? I might get quote happy. I love making these things, but I’ll restrain myself and post just a few (five counts as a few, right? Oh well, it does now!)

SketchDevMis4

 

 

 

This weeks author interview is with the most talented and funny Christina McMullen. Christina has always dreamed of being a writer. Except for a short time in the late eighties :). She has nine books to date! I know I’ll be adding many of them to my reading list.

McMullenHS

Looking at your website http://mcmullenwrites.blogspot.ca/p/the-books-i.html, I see that you’ve written eight books? Wow, how long have you been writing?

 Actually, as of right now, there are nine. 😉

While I’ve always written for fun and had hopes and dreams of becoming the next great American novelist, it was 2012 before I finally dragged out my notes, dusted off the computer, and actually finished an entire novel. Once I made it past the first book hurdle, the rest were much easier.

Of the books you have published so far, which is your favorite? And why?

 This is a very tough question, but I would have to say, Kind of Like Life, which is my only young adult novel at the moment. Why? Because it’s something of an homage to my own young adult days and how I would spend far too much time day dreaming and coming up with crazy adventures. Also, despite some very heavy and serious subject matter, it was fun to write.KindofLikeLifeMKLow

Tell us a bit about that story and what inspired you to write it?

I read a lot of YA and noticed that because there seems to be a formula, I had come up with some standard scenery in my mind. I recognized this scenery as being my ‘ideal world’ from my own youthful daydreams. From there I came up with the concept of a young girl with an overactive imagination who moves to a place that matches her ideal world perfectly. Her life goes from boring to the ideal ‘YA perfect’ practically overnight. Of course, I couldn’t let her enjoy it for too long because that wouldn’t make for an interesting story.

What happens next, also known as the spoiler that makes it impossible to talk about the remaining 80% of the book, was inspired by shows like The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone, where things aren’t always what they seem.

 What the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing?

To have patience. I really had no idea what I was doing when I first submitted my first book back in 2012. As such, I hadn’t edited nearly as much as I should have and ended up going back and uploading several revisions. That first book is still far from perfect, but it taught me to take my time and put out the best product I can.

In your experience, where do you find the greatest support for indie authors?

Amongst other indie authors. Through social media, especially the groups on Goodreads like Support Indie Authors, I’ve met some fantastic people and became part of something positive. It may seem cliché, but we really are stronger when we stick together. I think indies know this better than most. We don’t see each other as competition. We see allies.

Are you reading anything right now? Tell us a bit about it.

I just started reading Atomic Aardvark by Ryan Guy as part of the Indie Book Club on Goodreads. It’s a quirky, light fantasy that seems to center around a strange celestial event and an aardvark who had been a mascot for an Italian restaurant.

Who is your favorite author or favorite book?

There are so many. I have many influences of the famous or infamous variety, but I’ve really been digging on indie books for the last few years. If I had to pick, the closest I could come to naming a favorite would be to name all of the amazing women who write science fiction and fantasy, breaking the stereotype that these are men’s genres. Since I can’t name them all, here’s a few that I adore: G. G. Atcheson, Ann Livi Andrews, Chess Desalls, S. Usher Evans, and BB Wynter.

What draws you to the genre you write in?

I’ve been a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy (with a little horror and romance thrown in) since junior high at least. While I do like to stretch the boundaries as much as I can, I can’t imagine writing anything that I don’t love reading.

Did you always want to be a writer?

 Well, other than that awkward time in the late eighties when I wanted to be a hair metal rock goddess, yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

I always want to know this question… If one of your books is made in to a TV show or movie, who would you choose to play the main cast?

This is a very tough question because I live under a rock! Seriously, the last movie I watched was The Lego Movie and I didn’t recognize half the voice actors despite them being the hot actors of the day!

But…

I have actually thought about this for my first series, The Eyes of The Sun. For Lucy, I would want an unknown actor. Hopefully, this would be the project that kick starts her career. Andre would have to be whoever the swooniest (that’s a word, I promise) young man of the day happens to be. The internet tells me this is Matthew Lewis. You go Neville Longbottom!

The older characters are a bit easier, even if casting this makes me feel old. For the ‘holy trinity’ of Evan, Dara, and Abe, I would go with the ‘holy trinity’ of nineties actors and get Brad Pitt, Selma Hayek, and George Clooney. And since we have Brad, we’ll have to give one of the diabolically sexy vampire roles to Angelina Jolie.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Blog: http://mcmullenwrites.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mcmullenwrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mcmullenwrites
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Christina-McMullen/e/B00AM3R1MK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/cmcmullen

Tell us a bit about the cover art of your books. Who designed them? Why did you choose those images? (Pick your two favourite covers)

I am my own cover artist. I don’t have a lot of talent for visual art, but I really enjoy dabbling and think what I’ve done so far is at least passable. I prefer to use my own images and art mainly because it’s so much easier than searching out and carefully reading the licensing agreements on stock photos. Also because the pics are mine, I know that my covers will be unique.

PastLifeStrifeMKLowSplitsvilleMKLowYouWishMKLow

My favorites would be Past Life Strife and Going Green. The painting I used for Past Life Strife was only meant as a placeholder until I figured out what I wanted, but it turned out nicely. Unfortunately, it set the bar pretty high for that series and I’m not sure I can keep that up. Going Green was serendipitous in that my husband and I found the remains of an abandoned theme park in the Adirondacks and I was able to snap a shot of him wandering about with no other people.

GoingGreenMKLow

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you very much for the interview opportunity. I’ve had a great time answering these questions.

 

 

 

 

 

So I’ve written a book! Now all I need is a book cover that sums up the whole thing in just one image. Ha! A lot easier said then done, as many of you might know.

I had an idea in my head of what I wanted for my cover but didn’t have the talent to do it myself. So, having worked in the media industry, I reconnected with a former coworker to help me out. After explaining my story, my friend Brianna Schretlen signed on for the challenge. She’d never done a novel cover before but hey, neither had I. Her years of graphic design knowledge shone through with ever draft she produced. Some of you  have seen my finished cover but I wanted to show how that cover came to be.

For starters, it defiantly helped  the whole cover design process that my Brianna read my book not once, but twice. (That’s dedication for you!) We both agreed that the cover should depict as least one of the white spirit animals talked about in the book. There was a white deer, white bear and a white crow. The animal associated most  with the main character was the white deer.

Here are a few of her first drafts. Although beautiful, they did not make the cut.

Harmless covers 004Harmless covers 002Harmless covers 009Harmless covers 010Harmless covers 001Harmless covers 008

 

I loved the images of the white deer, the contrast between black and white, and the silhouette of a faded totem pole.  Figuring out how to put all those images together was another challenge. So back to the drawing board!

Round two of cover design.

Upside down deerDeer with totem brown footerDeer legsDeer in the forest

Sticking with the deer theme, Bri come up with these covers . The upside down deer was a little to ‘Hitchcock’. The full face was really nice but, I didn’t like the shading on it’s face. Cover three didn’t do much for me. And cover four, it was nice but a little dark and busy.

So, round three… The final cover! A seamless integration of the white deer, shadow and hint of a totem. I also like  it’s monochromatic  color scheme with it’s eyes matching the color of the title. I  can’t wait to see it wrapped around 400 pages of YA fiction!

Harmless_JustFrontCover_Final

Brianna is now working on my kiosk displays, promotional materials, illustrating the graphic novel prequel to Harmless, and the Harmless book trailer. I’d recommend her to any author looking for polished professional images for their books.

 

 

 

 

 

This week I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing the young writer Sydney Scogham. Her debut novel Chase is due out soon. I’m told the target audience for this YA fantasy novel is geared towards horse lovers, old school video games enthusiasts and  those who have a soft spot for original Disney movies. So, without further adieu… Sydney Scrogham.

author photo

I’ve read on your website (www.sswriter.com) that you have a book coming out with a publishing house in Virginia Beach, VA. Can you tell us a bit about this book?

Two worlds will collide under one reigning Promise.
He’s chosen to die.
She’s destined for Snix skin.

 Financial strain from her mom’s lost job means Lauren has to sell her horse. In a desperate attempt to keep her beloved animal, Lauren pursues an escaped genetic experiment worth a ten thousand dollar reward—a bright red horse.

 With the red horse in sight, Lauren disappears into Agalrae and comes face-to-face with Chase, a man raised by Alicorns. Lauren wants to return home, but the Snix, Chase’s enemy since birth, has other plans. The Snix confronts Lauren with an ultimatum: Kill Chase for ten times the red horse’s reward money, or sacrifice the lives of her mother and horse.

 Forced to stay in Agalrae until she decides, Lauren wrestles with possible outcomes. But she can’t hide the truth from Chase forever.When destiny splits, which path do you follow?

~~~~

Chase has been through a rocky publishing road, and you can’t tell that from reading the back cover copy. I had to wait until my 18th birthday to sign a traditional contract for publishing with a small press. I was so excited—I still have the pen I signed the contract with. But a little over three years later, the contract was broken on the publisher’s end, and my dreams were smashed.

In the midst of that fallout, I was worried that the small press I’d been signed with had published Chase and sold it without my knowledge. (Very stressful time that took me forever to get to the bottom of things.) Now in the present day, I know that’s not the truth, but at the time in 2014, I was so worked up about “the scandal” that I decided to scrap the entire manuscript (which received so much negative feedback at this point I was sick of the thing) and rewrite the whole story for NaNoWriMo 2014. That means I rewrote the story in 50,000 words during the month of November—while I was a senior in college—yes, crazy, but it happened.

Since my fresh version of Chase didn’t have a publisher yet, I experimented with writing query letters and sent countless e-mails to agents and publishers. Three months-ish later (a very short window of time, in my opinion), Nora Firestone, an acquisitions editor for Koehler Books, got connected with me, and as they say, the rest is history. I’m currently on the Emerging Author Program track that Koehler Books offers (a hybrid publishing deal that could lead to a traditional door), and everything is going beautifully. This is how it should’ve been the first time around!

It’s hard to believe that, finally, four years later, after all the tears and struggle, I’m going to hold Chase in my hands. Yes, it’s for the rest of the world, too, but this book means so much to me especially after losing the story’s main inspiration, my first horse named “Blue,” back in March 2015 because he broke his leg. Koehler Books has allowed me to include a picture with Chase’s dedication to Blue, so I’m not only sharing my story with the world, I’m sharing my horse. And I know when I hold Chase, Blue’s going to come galloping back to me.

How did you come up with the idea for this story?

I was home schooled between second and ninth grade, so I had a lot of time to think and write as a kid, and I loved it. Oftentimes in the quiet playground of my room (littered with Bionicles and Breyer model horses), God would snap his fingers and story ideas would pop in my brain. He still does that. When He snapped the idea behind Chase into my brain, I had a friend who was going through a particularly hard time and debating whether or not God really cared about her. I wrote Chase because I felt God wanting me to show that He wants to romance people rather than force religious regulations on them. But be warned, Chase reads like a hard-core YA fantasy with romantic sparks. You won’t see any inspirational Christianese unless you’re looking for it. (I think the traditional Christian market would turn me away. 2

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book?

 Well, for one, I didn’t know publishers backed out of contracts. I’ve also been enlightened behind how much has to be done with a book outside of the writing process. Writing the beast is the easiest part! As a student fresh out of college, coming up with the finances to do this hasn’t been easy. I wish that, for all the young writers out there, that money will never be a defining factor in whether or not you can publish your book. I’ve had incredibly supportive family as well as understanding people on the Koehler Books end. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, even if you have to beat that way through a brick wall.

Lastly, about the writing process itself, I’ve learned… Nothing will ever be perfect. There comes a point when you’ve just got to let your story go. Not even the best sellers are perfect, which is refreshing, because it means indie authors can have just as much success.

How did you come up with the title?

It’s the hero’s name, and he’s possibly my favorite part about the book. Chase was raised by the Alicorns, and so he thinks like a horse. Writing his parts was so fun! That’s where Blue’s influence really shines on the pages.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website/Blog: http://www.sswriter.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SydneyScroghamWriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sydney_writer

Lnkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=403799906&trk=hp-identity-name

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sszoewriter/

Amazon Author Page: (coming in July)
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/42938734-sydney-scrogham

WattPad (to read a free story that’s about the history of Alicorns before Guardians like Chase arrived in Agalrae): http://www.wattpad.com/story/40692041-nephtali%27s-gift

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was 12, I wrote 30+ “books” in a series within a year. I had never felt so alive, but my writing wasn’t heavily encouraged and was often met with phrases like, “You’ll never have any money.” That deterred me. I let my writing gift go unused after Chase because I used all my extra time trying to get the manuscript ready for print while I pursued a “real job.” Redoing Chase last year cracked open the closet on my writing gift, and I’ve had words spilling out of me regularly again since then. At the ReWrite 2015 conference in Austin, Texas, I knew yet again that I’m meant to be a writer, and I’d been running from it trying to find that “real job” so I can “have money.”

Life’s too short to be governed by having money. Even though it’s scary, I’m pursuing what I know I was made to do. And yes, it’ll probably be a few more years before I can work from home. But that’s okay.

Do you have any suggestions on how to become a better writer?

Write and read. It’s that simple. And don’t ever force yourself to write something you don’t like. You are your first audience. Write to please you. The world will come later, and you’ll see that you weren’t alone.

Are there any new authors out there that have grabbed your attention?

I’m in love with Tamara Shoemaker’s debut fantasy Kindle the Flame. http://goo.gl/Rgi7nh

And I’m excited to read Margaret Locke’s debut romance, A Man of Character. http://goo.gl/8yLC4o

Tell us a bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?

*drum roll*

I… don’t have it yet. I’m waiting with just as much enthusiasm as you are! The team at Koehler Books is working hard for me, and they’re expecting to get something to me by late June.

chase promo graphic with Blue

What’s your favorite movie and TV show?

TV show: Hands down, ABC’s Castle. That was one of the things that encouraged me to write again. I’ll still be watching episodes from my rocking chair when I’m 80.

Movie: Oh, it’s so hard for me to juggle between Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor… But if you’d asked me when I was way younger, I’d have told you my favorite movie is Pocahontas.

Are you reading anything right now?

I’m doing reviews for a lot of people right now, and currently I’ve got my nose in an advanced reading copy of E.D.E Bell’s The Banished Craft. https://goo.gl/q3Qhql

 Who is your favorite author and what strikes you about their work?

Maggie Stiefvater—The Scorpio Races http://goo.gl/5eX2d0

Anyone who’s read that book knows I don’t need to say anything beyond that. Everything about the style and tone of The Scorpio Races influenced my second draft of Chase. Stiefvater’s voice is incredibly poetic. She could write about making toast and I’d be happy. I’ve gone back and reread my favorite lines so many times. It’s beautiful.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I love connecting with people, especially if you’re a young writer people. I don’t care how old you are, if you write a My Little Pony inspired story and ask me to read it, I will. I promise to recognize that your book is your baby, and I won’t crush your hopes. Everyone’s got a story inside of them.

 

TRUST YOUR VOICES. You can and do write great things.

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What's Next

 

 

 

What’s Next…

 

As a self diagnosed achieve-a-holic, I’m always asking myself this question… What’s next? This repetitive query plays like a broken record in my head pushing me to constantly explore and think out of the box. Even now, when my goal/to-do list is a mile long, and great things are in the works… I’m still asking myself, what’s next in my writing career? What can I do to make this book of mine a booming success? So, in terms of my writing, here’s what’s next for me…

 

  1. I’m looking at having a book trailer made for my novel. As my audio-visual skills leave something to be desired, I’m hiring this one out. Ha… if I did it it would resemble power point presentation done by blind cavemen. (Zoom in from far left… fade to sparkles…Ta-da!) I’m also on the hunt for the perfect song to go along my trailer… I think I may have found one! Yeee!

 

  1. I’m thinking of joining my local Toastmaster club to polish my public speaking abilities. I’m not as bad at public speaking as I am at making a video trailers but my skills defiantly need a tune up. When I was a kid I competed at many a public speaking competition though my local 4-H club. It was mandatory, and something I wouldn’t have done to do if I had a choice. I’m sure glad I did though; I even made it to provincial level competitions a few times.

 

  1. My book is not out until fall but I’m already thinking about how I’m going to get those oh so crucial book reviews. I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head on how to do this… All of them involving lots of tedious of man-hours. (Insert dramatic sigh)

 

  1. I’m working with an artist to create a fantastic booth display I can use when doing book signings. I’ve been very lucky find such creative people that are as dedicated to this project as I am.

 

  1. I’m already taking notes and swirling around ideas for book two in the Harmless series. Hoping it won’t take as long as book one to write.

 

  1. The graphic novel prequels to Harmless are started. Not sure if I’ll market them as a prequel series or an accompaniment book. Time will tell…

 

  1. Always looking for new ways to promote myself and other fellow writers. Along with my #Mondayblogs, and Friday book review/blog, I’m now starting Wednesday author interviews. If you’re an author and would like to be interviewed, give me a shout.

 

  1. And last but not least… I’m working on the editing of my novel. I’m half done! I don’t mind the editing part; it’s the merging of the 20 individual chapters in to 1 ‘Pangaea’ of documents that has me fretting. But, it will feel good once it’s done!

 

So, I ask all you writers out there… What’s next for you?