Emmanuel Obi Interview

Today I’m speaking with Emmanuel Obi.  Hello Emmanuel.  What made you decide to become a writer?

Actually, I don’t think I decided to be a writer.  I think it is something that I gravitated to from a young age.  For some people it was music or instruments, others it might have been sports.  For me it was writing and art.

I know what you mean.  How long did it take you to get published the first time and how did it happen?

Well, I’m self-published, so not that long at all.  I tried submitting my short stories to magazines and so on and it drove me crazy.  I hate waiting.  Especially, if the reply is a no. So I looked into online publishing and have not looked back since.

I know about waiting.  I once heard back from a publisher ten years after I had submitted my manuscript.  It had changed so many times over the ten-year period.  Would you do anything differently the next time?

Not really, in terms of self-publishing.  However, I wish I had been more patient with writing and kept doing it and publishing online instead of taking a five year hiatus.

Sometimes you need the time to experience life to be a better writer.  What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Make writing a priority.  It can be stressful, there is a ton of stuff you have to do.  But if all you can do is an hour a night, then that hour is better than nothing.

So true.  What or who influences your writing, Emmanuel?

Anything or anyone can inspire me.  People I see on the street, a newspaper article, an episode of Daredevil or Game of Thrones.  It doesn’t matter.  I draw inspiration from everything.

What are your latest releases and when or where can we find them?

You can go to my website, www.noirshortstories.com, there I will have links to all my latest works.  You can subscribe and receive free stories every month or discounts.  I have actually begun two monthly short story series. One is about two police detectives (currently, their police station is under siege by unknown attackers) and the other is a horror series (currently, it is centered around people disappearing because of an app very similar to Uber). However, my latest novel was released in October.  It is the latest collection of short stories about a private investigator, Bruce Howard.  It is available in paperback and e-book.  It is my second favorite thing that I have ever written.

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I like police procedurals. How long have you been writing professionally and do you write full-time or part-time?

Am I a professional?  I don’t know if I would call myself that just yet.  However, I write part-time.  It’s really just a hobby for me.  Something that I love to do and share.

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So what do you do for fun other than writing?

Film making, drawing, painting, basketball, go to the gym.  I try to express myself creatively whenever possible (and yes, you can be creative while playing basketball)

Where do you reside, Emmanuel?

I have lived in Zurich, Switzerland for the last nine years but I was born and raised in Auburn, Alabama (War Eagle).  How did I end up in Europe?  That is a book by itself.

Do you have any appearances or book signings scheduled?

I recently met with a fellow indie writer and our goal is to have an event for indie writers at a bar or cafe.  Kind of a mass book signing where all the authors bring copies of their books and sign them for people that come.

What an awesome idea!  Can I borrow it?  I can think of a new bar that could use the business and a lot of romance authors I know could join me.  You can find Emmanuel at his website:  www.noirshortstories.com, or on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/the.gentleman.returns/  or follow him on Twitter at:  @efaceless or email him at:  faceless.production.ch@gmail.com

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Thank you for this wonderful interview.  Thank you, the reader, for reading it and hopefully you will subscribe and fall in love with my work (or at least fall in like).

Thank you Emmanuel.  I enjoyed it.

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Interview with BG Brainard

Hello BG, it’s good to have you here today.  Can you tell us what made you decide to become a writer?

I loved to read from a young child, was a storyteller to my younger brother and sister in grade school, and won my first essay competition hosted by the Women’s Temperance Union about the perils of drinking in the eighth grade.

That’s cool.  How long did it take you to get published the first time and how did it happen?

It took 12 years to get my first novel about the biblical Hadassah, “Esther’s Song:  A Novel,” published from when I started writing it.  I finished the first draft in a year and edited it and rewrote it for another 2 years, but no one was interested in publishing it.  Then the Lord gave me a vision during my evening devotions.  I saw myself holding a yellow helium balloon and felt the Lord telling me to let it go.  I watched the balloon rise into the cerulean sky, knowing the book was on its way under God’s guidance.  Then I was holding a red balloon facing a path in the distance.  I knew it was time to start the next book about the biblical prophet, Daniel.  I attended writers’ conferences, joined a writers’ group, and honed my writing skills.  I rewrote the first book several more times.  Then 11 years later, I attended a session with former literary agent, David Sanford, called “No-Fear Book Publishing Strategies That Work!”  He challenged attendees to set a goal of being published in a year.  With David Sanford’s encouragement, sage advice, and endless support, “Esther’s Song:  A Novel” was published on April 30, 2013–twelve years and a month after receiving the vision of the yellow balloon.

Wow, so you have a book anniversary coming up.

Yes, and the novel about the life and times of the prophet Daniel, “Babylon:  Center of the World” was published less than a year later on March 27th, 2014.

An anniversary just passed!  Congratulations!  Would you do anything differently the next time?

No, just keep writing.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Attend writer’s conferences, join a writer’s group, read widely, hone your writing skills and never give up.  

Great advice! So who or what inspires or influences your writing?

My inspiration to keep writing, besides the sheer joy of writing biblical fiction, is God’s promise of hope coming to pass in my life.  I know with absolute certainty that God does cause all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)

I believe that too.  What are your latest releases and where can we find them?

My first three books in the “Grace in Exile Trilogy” include “Esther’s Song:  A Novel” about the biblical Esther, the second, “Babylon:  Center of the World” about the prophet Daniel, and “Jerusalem Bound!” about the Jewish exiles return to Israel from Babylonian captivity.  You can see the reviews and learn more at:  https://www.amazon.com/author/bgbrainard

Were you traditionally published or self-published and how did that go?

Self-published with the encouragement of two literary agents.  It has been a wonderful ride.  “Esther’s Song” made #1 two days on Amazon in historical books and 1 day for Jewish literature.  It was just featured in Book Bub and did very well.

Tell me, BG, how long have you been writing professionally and do you write full-time or part-time?

I do technical writing in my professional career and write historical novels about the ancient Near East whenever I can.

And what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?

I like to read, travel, and have coffee with my friends.

Where do you reside, BG?

Salem, Oregon.

I bet it’s beautiful there.  Do you have any appearances or book signings this year?

Well, I did a book signing at the Salem Public Library’s Authorama at the Central Library where 40 authors from throughout the Williamette Valley participated in displaying and selling their works.

That sounds like an interesting venue.  You can find BG Brainard at:  https://www.facebook.com/bgbrainard  or on Smashwords Author Page:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/bgbrainard and on Amazon’s Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/author/bgbrainard  and on BG’s website at:  http://www.bgbrainard.com and you can email BG at:  http://www.info@bgbrainard.com

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Sci-Fi Adventure Romance Readers Wanted

I just finished edits (for now) of my second book, “Revenge,” a sci-fi adventure romance.  It’s book two in “The Vaedra Chronicles.”  I’m looking for reviewers for this book as well as reviewers for book one, “The Abduction.”  If you would like to read and review either or both books, you can comment on this post or email me at:  ester@esterlopez.com and put ‘Book Review’ in the subject header.  I will send you a PDF or eBook file.  When you’ve posted the review on Amazon or Goodreads for “The Abduction,” I will mail you a signed copy of the book.  For book two, I would ask you to hold the review until the book is available (hopefully by the end of this month).  After that, I will send you “Revenge.”  If you would like to get any of my future books FREE, sign up for my Readers Group and then Ester’s Launch Team at:  http://www.esterlopez.com.

Thanks in advance!

 

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Kevin Chapman Interview

Thank you Kevin, for taking time with me today.  I’m always curious as to how someone decided to become a writer.  What’s your story?

I’ve always been a writer — it’s more a question of what made me decided to publish.  I write for a living as a lawyer and have always written stories just for my own amusement.  I don’t consider myself to be a writer first.  I’m still a lawyer and until I retire, I’m a writer on the side.  I think of it like being a musician; I still have a day job.

I know what you mean.  I tried retiring, but to keep my publishing business going, I’ve had to re-enter the job market to cover expenses.  So, how long did it take you to get published the first time and how did it happen?

My first novel, “Identity Crisis:  A Rick LaBlonde, P.I. Novel,” was self-published in 2003, although I had written most of it in 1998 and 1999.  My wife posted the money to publish the book as our twentieth anniversary present to me.  Since then, I have written a few screenplays (none purchased or produced) and a bunch of short stories (one which won a small writing contest and was published in a trade magazine), but nothing that was published in any meaningful sense.  

I’ve written a couple of screenplays myself and that takes a different mindset altogether.  It’s hard to switch back to novels after that.

My latest novel is also self-published via Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, which is so much easier than the independent publishing house model from 2003 (XLibris).  I have been working on this novel for about ten years.  In 2013, I decided to force myself to “finish” it by announcing on my author blog on Goodreads.com that I would be publishing the new book, one chapter per week, every week during the year.

Wow, how did that go?

This forced me to edit and rewrite things that needed to be fixed and finally write the ending.  I posted the final chapter in December of 2013, then let the book sit for almost two years before picking it up again and deciding to re-edit and then publish on Kindle after I discovered how easy it is now to self-publish.

Yes, you started early in 2003 and things changed so quickly after that.  Would you do anything differently the next time?

I’m hoping that the next book will be written with more continuity and in a shorter period of time.  Writing something over a course of ten years leads to lots of stops and starts and trying to remember who the characters are and what happened in prior scenes, which in turn leads to inconsistencies and re-writes later.  I really want to make more of a concerted effort to follow one story through to conclusion before becoming distracted by the next new idea.

I know exactly what you mean.  My first published book took me 25 years from start to finish and I wrote several others in between.  When I made my concerted effort to publish it, I found so many redundancies and the same things you came across.  So what advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

First, don’t write the whole story.  The whole story includes a ton of background and back-story that you know as the author, and which the characters may allude to, but it’s not necessary to tell the whole back-story.

Good point!

Second, edit, edit, and then edit some more.  I find that I am always seeing errors, inconsistencies, and issues each time I carefully read the same chapter or full book.  Have other people read and edit and give feedback and comments.  The more set of eyes you can get on a manuscript before you declare it to be “final,” the better.  Having obvious mistakes in the text can be a big turn-off for many readers.

I also find that letting time pass before doing edits gives you more perspective and lets you see obvious mistakes that you miss when you re-read something over and over.  So tell me,  Kevin, who or what inspires or influences your writing?

One of my favorite writers is Robert Heinlein, and I aspire to write stories that are as interesting and multi-layered as his.  I want my stories to include important issues and I want characters to be meaningful to my readers.  I am also a huge Star Trek fan and I love the story lines developed by the writers of all the different Star Trek series that include politics, culture, religion, and interpersonal relationships.  I want my writing to be entertaining, but also to initiate thought and discussion about issues.

I like Heinlein as well and I enjoyed the newest Star Trek movies.  So tell me, Kevin, what are your newest releases and where can we find them?

My new novel, “A legacy of One,” is available now on Kindle and as a paperback at:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/BO1LY1IP5X.

Readers can follow the novel’s Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/ALegacyofOne and can view the book’s page on Goodreads.com at:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32325475-a-legacy-of-one

 

 

Tell us more about your experience with self-publishing the first time.

It’s amazing to see how much easier it is to self-publish now as opposed to thirteen years ago when I self-published my first novel.  Back then, you had to go through a semi-traditional publishing house that would print your books for you.  There was a minimum order size and significant up-front costs.  Even if they would do print-on-demand for orders, the logistics and costs of getting your own book published was a barrier to entry for most independent writers.  Now, Kindle Direct Publishing makes it so easy to get something up on Kindle, and I used the Amazon CreateSpace publishers to print a paperback version.  This was not free (like Kindle), but was much less costly than my first book.  My only regret is that CreateSpace won’t do a hard cover version.

Now that it’s easier to get books published, I’m finding it’s harder to get them into book stores.  A lot of book stores (large and small) order their books from a distributor and won’t work with authors or small publishers unless they have distribution.  Basically, this puts a “middleman” in the mix and cuts into the profits of both the bookstores and authors.  So, how long have you been writing, Kevin?

As a lawyer, I “write” professionally all the time, but I’m not a professional author.  I will have spurts when I will write 20 hours a week, and then weeks when I will do almost no writing.  I’m looking forward to the day when I can write full-time, but while I have a day job, that’s not happening.

What do you do for fun when your aren’t writing?

I am an avid tournament poker player, which is a great outlet for my competitive juices and a terrific intellectual challenge.  I often meet people at the poker table who end up becoming characters in my stories.  I’m also a huge baseball fan (New York Mets) and spend a lot of time in the summer going to games and watching on TV.  Baseball’s pace of play allows for writing in between pitches!

That’s something I never thought of.  Golf is like that, too.  And where do you reside or spend your time writing?


West Windsor, New Jersey.

Awesome!  Do you have any appearances or book signings coming up?

Not yet.  The new novel was just published and I’m working on getting some appearances and signings in the local Central NJ area in the next few months.  One other point to mention is that “A Legacy of One” started out as a story about a character roughly patterned after myself — a freshman at Columbia College fresh off the bus from a small town on the west coast whose adventures in college and in New York would be the main vehicle for telling the story.  He would have a freshman roommate who is from a rich and politically powerful family, and the contrasts between him and his roommate would provide fodder for a story about cultural differences, class struggles, friendship, politics, and how college changes how you view yourself and the world.  As the writing happened, the story became more and more about the roommate (Jonathan Prescott III), and that’s the focus of the final novel.  But, much of the story is still told via flashbacks to the college years of Jonathan, his freshman roommate (Frank), their friend and budding journalist (Janice), and Jonathan’s eventual wife (Gwen).  So, much of the story is set in and around Columbia University in the late 80’s and early 90s.  Part of the target audience for the book is anyone who had attended Columbia, and particularly alumni from that era.

So the book cover is a photo of Low Library, the center and most recognizable landmark of Columbia University.  For anyone wondering why a political drama about a Senator who is potential candidate for President has a cover that is not a Washington, DC landmark, that’s the answer.

 

 

Thanks Kevin.  I’ve enjoyed this interview today.

Thanks for offering me this opportunity, Ester.

You can find Kevin at:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5194743.Kevin_G_Chapman/blog and he’s happy to respond to emails at:  kevingchapman@gmail.com

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Margaret Southall

Hello everyone!

Today I’m speaking with Margaret Southall.  Can you tell us what made you decide to become a writer, Margaret?

Mmmm.  That’s not an easy one to answer.  Having lots of books, newspapers and magazines available in my home when I was a kid must have helped.  But I don’t recall making any conscious decision to become a writer.  I just started telling and writing stories at a very young age.  First, I made up stories to tell my sister when we were quite young.  We had this long-running serial – I told her a different episode each night when we had gone to bed – about a colony of rabbits (Think Watership Down meets Coronation Street).  When I was seven, I wrote and illustrated my version of Snow White on paper sheets folded to form a book. 

How clever.

I wrote a play about Robin Hood on a writing pad. Unfortunately, the pad ran out before I finished this gem.

I bet that was a good one.

Aged 10, I wrote a story for the annual of the final class of my elementary school, a book written, illustrated and hand bound by the students.  And when, in my early teens, I looked through the windows of the local paper’s printing plant and saw its press putting words on paper, I was hooked on the notion of seeing my words on a printed page.

I know that feeling.  How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

As I said, my first publishing venture was when I was ten.  Then I had to wait until I went into journalism (it seemed the most natural thing in the world for someone who wanted to be a writer) to be published on a regular basis as a reporter.  For most of my working life, I worked on newspapers both large and small, and other media outlets, on both sides of the Atlantic as a reporter, news editor and editor.  But, as they say, ‘life happens while you’re making plans,’ so it wasn’t until the second part of my life that I started doing something I had always wanted to do:  write fiction.

And both are so different in format and scale.

I entered the Toronto Star annual short story contest and came in fifth out of 3,000 entries, winning both a prize and publication of my story. 

That’s awesome!

So I knew I could write fiction. In addition to my book, “A Jacketing Concern,” I also have a children’s story with a Canadian setting, and a TV animation script, the latter the product of a scriptwriting course, both of which I will be ‘putting out there,’ hoping someone will show an interest in either one or both of them.

I wish you luck with that.  Would you do anything differently the next time?

I would have started writing fiction a lot earlier.  I would have taken more time than I did in finding a publisher for my current book.  I did try for quite a while to get an agent, but was unsuccessful.  Perhaps I didn’t try hard enough.

I heard from other published authors that it was harder to get an agent than to find a publisher, so you did the right thing.  What advice would you give an aspiring author?

‘Hang in there, and don’t give up.’  Start off in a small way, perhaps try entering a short story contest or creative fiction contest.  Join a writer’s organization, attend conferences, and Network, Network, Network.

I agree with you there.

You learn so much from other writers, particularly about the business aspects of writing.

Yes, you do.

And read, read, read.  It’s amazing how much you absorb about good writing without realizing it.  By all means, learn from the works of other writers, but don’t try to emulate their style.  Don’t be afraid to be yourself and develop your own voice.

Developing your own voice takes time.

I admit there were times when I was sorely tempted to throw in the towel several times, but I didn’t because I knew writing was something I could do, something I had to do.  I had honed my journalistic writing as a reporter, but writing fiction is not the same thing and I feared I wouldn’t be able to make the change.

What or who inspires or influences your writing?

I am not consciously aware of any one individual inspiring me, but a lot of my ideas are derived from just what I see happening around me.  As a reporter, I was always being told by editors, ‘What’s the story here?’ Or ‘Is there a story here?’  I think that I now do unconsciously — and it helps a great deal.  Writing is a solitary activity, but you need to stay plugged in to life.  That’s where the stimulation and the ideas come from.

So, what are your latest releases and where can we find them?

My upcoming debut novel, “A Jacketing Concern,” should be out fairly soon.  It’s set in England in 1811.  The story begins with a climbing boy – a seven year-old sweep’s apprentice – accidentally falling down a chimney and interrupting a sexual encounter between a bored aristocrat and a courtesan.  To save the courtesan’s reputation, the aristocrat takes the boy home, an act that leads to lots of trouble.

Were you traditionally published or self-published and how did that go?

I am being published in the traditional way.  It has not been going as well as I had hoped because there have been several hold-ups in the publication date.  The publishers are a relatively new company based in the U.S. and U.K., so my book will have international exposure.  However, I am largely responsible for its promotion.  Hopefully, “A Jacketing Concern” should be in the bookshops this year.  Please keep an eye out for it.

Sure.  How long have you been writing professionally, Margaret?

I guess, since I have written gazillions of words as a reporter, I started writing in my late teens, so I’ve been at it, on and off for over 40 years.  I consider myself a full-time writer.  However, now that I have a book due for publication, I find a lot of that time is taken up with the business side of writing and promotion.

I know what you mean.  And you still have to write in between all that.  So, what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?

I love to travel when I have the chance.  I draw and paint and have even done a little sculpting.  I love live theatre and, surprisingly, in my middle years have become a bit of a fitness buff.  And of course, I have been an avid bookworm since I learned to read.

That sounds interesting.  So where do you live?

Although I was born in the U.K., I have lived in Canada since 1967.  I now live in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.

Thank you so much Margaret.  I enjoyed our little talk.  I wish you luck with your new book, “A Jacketing Concern.”  You can find Margaret on Facebook.com and on Goodreads.  She has excerpts from her book on her website at:  www.margaretsouthall.com, as well as on Goodreads and the Historical Novels Excerpt site on Facebook.  You can email Margaret at southall@rogers.com.

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Author Sheila Cronin

Hello everyone,

Today I’m speaking with author, Sheila Cronin.  Hello Sheila.  What made you decide to become a writer?

It wasn’t a decision.  It came naturally.

How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

When I was nine, a poem I wrote was published in the church bulletin.

How exciting for you!

My first short story was published in 2002.  I had joined an online group called Writersnet.com.  The moderator, Gary Kesslor, suggested we publish an anthology of short stories and he volunteered to be the editor.  I was thrilled when my story, “Airport Romance” was accepted.  I published my first novel, “The Gift Counselor,” in 2014 via Createspace.com.

You’ve been busy.  Would you do anything differently the next time?  If so, what would it be?

With regard to the novel’s sequel, in progress, it’s likely , but not certain, I will use Createspace again.  I still hope to obtain a literary agent.

 

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Take a course if your spelling or grammar needs tweaking.  That said, a good writing group offers encouragement during the long, lonely process.  A beta reader or two is most beneficial – not too many opinions, just one or two that you trust.  Websites such as absolute write.com provide excellent resources for both writing and publishing.  Finally, make time to read books while you write your own.

Great advice!  Thank you.  What (or who) inspires or influences your writing?

Frank Capra inspired me as a story teller.  So did stories I heard in childhood and fairytales.  My parents read or made up stories at bedtime when I was young.  My mother was a non-fiction writer who showed me what it takes to be a serious writer.

I think seeing a parent read or write while you are young also inspires us without realizing it at the time.  Tell us about your latest releases, Sheila.

Besides “The Gift Counselor,” a 2014 novel, I have “Heart Shaped:  A Collection of Short Romances” a 2015 release.

 

 

Were you traditionally published or self-published and how did that go?

After years of resistance, I self-published my novel.  I was represented briefly, but when that ended, I finally chose Createspace following in depth research and discussion with other authors.  The process went fairly smoothly.  I was especially fortunate to obtain an excellent book cover through them.

I’ve heard other authors refer to Createspace.  Tell me, Sheila, how long have you been writing professionally and do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time and work part-time.

What do you do for fun when you are not writing?

I draw portraits, compose songs on the piano, read, swim, enjoy movies and libraries.

You are a multi-talented person!  Where do you call home, Sheila?

I live in Chicago, Illinois.

And do you have any appearances or book signings scheduled this year?

Several book clubs pending in the Chicago area.  I want to thank readers for supporting independent authors!

Thank you Sheila!  You can find Sheila at:  www.giftcounselorbook.com or email Sheila at: sheila.giftcounselorbook@gmail.com

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Debbie Baldwin Interview

Hello everyone!  Today I am speaking with Debbie Baldwin.  Hi Deborah.  Thank you for being here.  Can you tell us what made you decide to become a writer?

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a very little girl.  I penned my first story about a pig when I was around five years old.

That’s interesting and so young.

My father was a radiologist and he would bring home to me the recycled orange colored papers that divided the x-ray films.  I LOVED them and wrote many a story on them.  I didn’t take my writing seriously until about five years ago, however.

How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

I published my book independently.  I am a self-starter.  I didn’t want to wait around for a publisher who may or may not look at my book.  My story is somewhat unique in subject and although it is a good story, I knew it wasn’t mainstream.

Mainstream.  That’s the catch, isn’t it?  Would you do anything differently the next time?

Next time, I’d like to pay someone to edit for me.  Several qualified people edited it for me but I think it would be useful and more beneficial to have someone who’s an editing professional focus upon it.

Yes, and finding the right one is hard.  What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read, read, read.  There are many free resources now that will help you with your writing.  Keep your first draft to yourself.  If you expect your family to support your aspirations, you need to disengage from that hope.  Look for unbiased people to read your manuscript when you are ready.  Everyone’s opinion should be heard, but not acted upon.  Trust your instinct.  It won’t fail you if you are truly honest with yourself.  Lastly, a man whose opinion I wholeheartedly trust told me that if I wait until my book is perfect, I’ll never publish it.  He reminded me that software is updated all the time, because if a company waits until it is completely perfect, they will never get the product out there.  Finish the project.  Just that action puts you way ahead of most people who only talk about their dreams, but never even take one step toward them.

That’s good advice.  Thank you.  What or who influences your writing?

Because of my background in theatre, in particular, acting and directing, I appreciate stories with solid characterization.  In my thirty-nine years of directing, I have guided thousands of actors to create characters.  I am also a newly retired teacher having taught drama classes to students of all ages for as many years as directing.  Consequently, I am a good judge of one’s character.  I like many authors, but in particular, most recently, I have enjoyed Fredrick Backman’s books.  He weaves an unusual story with interesting characters.  My favorite novel is “To Kill a Mockingbird,” because again, it is an unusual story.  Jodi Picoult comes to mind because she writes about modern day issues from an unusual slant.

What are your latest releases?

Bumbling Bea is my debut novel.

Tell me, Debbie, how long have you been writing professionally?  And do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time.  I keep up a blog, in particular-Dramamommaspeaks.wordpress.com.  I am about to publish an audio CD of drama class lesson plans.  There will be a series of them beginning with a storytelling unit.  They will be helpful to any teacher.

Oh, yes!  Making lesson plans is hard enough.  So, what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing, Debbie?

I love to see a good movie and try to see one each week.  I read quite a bit, enjoy the outdoors and traveling with my husband.

And where do you reside?

We moved to Lawrence, Kansas about three months ago to retire near our family and FIRST grandchild.

I know exactly what you mean.  Do you have any appearances or book signings scheduled?

My book signings are very sporadic, as are book talks, but I do announce them on the various social  sites.  I am willing to travel to surrounding states for book talks.

That’s great!  Thank you so much for spending time with me.  Debbie’s website is: www.Bumblingbea.com and her blog is:  http://Dramamommaspeaks.wordpress.com.  You can “friend her” on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BumblingBea/  Or follow her on Twitter at BumblingBea@dhcbaldwin

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Author Zachary Paul Chopchinski

Today I’m speaking with author Zachary Paul Chopchinski.  How are you Zach and what made you decide to become a writer?

As long as I can remember, it has been a dream of mine to be a writer.  There wasn’t a specific moment exactly that defined this dream for me.

Did it take long to get published the first time?  How did it happen?

The first time I was published, I self published.  I wrote my first novel, “The Curious Tale of Gabrielle” for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so it took me roughly a month to write it.  I really rushed through the publication process because I was so excited to get my first book out.  I think I spent all of a month or two getting it edited and published.

That was fast!  Would you do anything differently the next time?

Research!  I really didn’t spend enough time learning about the publishing process.  If I could go back, I would really do more research into formatting, cover design, editing and general publishing.  Because of my hasty decisions on publishing, I have four editions of my first book out and I am only now, almost two years later, happy with the edition that is currently being sold.

I have heard a similar story from other authors.  I think the hardest part is getting the books into “brick and mortar” stores.  Based on what you’ve learned and experienced, what advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Never give up.  I know it sounds corny, but it’s true.  It’s going to look daunting and people are going to critique your work (which is going to bring up a whole lot of emotions you didn’t even know you had), but know that these are all bricks in the foundation that is you as a writer.

Very well said, Zach.  What or who inspires you as a writer?

My wife.  She is the driving force behind everything that I am as a writer.  Not only did she encourage me to do NaNoWriMo, but she created my first website, content edits my books, does all my formatting, helps with marketing and sets up interviews for me.

That is awesome!  There are authors I know who are looking for virtual assistants that don’t even do half of what your wife does.  Can you tell us about your latest releases?

“Curiosity and The Hounds of Arawn” was released in August of 2016.  It’s the second book in the Gabrielle Series.  You can find it on my website www.zachchop.com/store (free personalization with purchase) as well as Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Nobel.  The universal link to all locations is books2read.com/u/mK9DBv.  Book 3 in the series will hopefully be out in February or early March of 2017.

Were you traditionally published at all?

Self Published.  The reason that I am self published is because I wanted to be in control of what I make.  I am very happy with my decisions to self publish and although I am still learning a lot about the process, I believe this is the best option for me.  I also own my own publishing company, Putrescent Oak Press, which licensed in Florida this year.

Good for you.  That can be a hard decision to make.  How long have you been writing professionally and do you write full-time or part-time?

I have been writing professionally for about two years now.  It is every bit of a full time job but I do have a day job so I get my writing in when I can.

I know that’s hard.  I tried writing full-time without a day job but I had too many distractions, especially worrying about income and how to pay the bills.  So what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?

Hang out with my wife, watch movies, play video games, all the fun stuff kids are doing these days.

Where do you reside, Zach?

Orlando, Florida.

My kind of place!  Do you have any appearances or book signing scheduled this year?

Yes, I will be appearing at Utopia Con in Nashville, TN (June 22-25) and Ozarks in Springfield, MO (October 19-22).  I am also in the process of setting up some appearances locally at several middle schools in the area.

That sounds like fun.  You never know what kids will ask you.  Do you write under any other name besides your given name?

Presently, I only write under my name but I do have some projects going that will be done under a pen name.

Thank you Zach!  Zachary is a bow tie wearing, formal vest rocking, pocket watch using, sarcastic monster of a writer.  He spends his days working, writing, procrastinating and sweating off extremities he swore he would need in life ’cause it’s HOT in Florida.

Zach has multiple college degrees in the field of criminology and criminal justice…because he wanted to catch ALL the bad guys.  Now, coupled with being an author of young adult fiction, he spends his days yelling at people for breaking regulatory laws.

The Gabrielle series is a young adult fantasy with a paranormal-historical-time-traveling twist (try saying that five times fast)  Zach’s book links:

“The Curious Tale of Gabrielle”  Amazon:  http://bit.ly/The_Curious_Tale_of_Gabrielle

http://zachchop.com/mywork/

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/524345

Universal link to all locations:  https://books2read.com

“Curiosity and The Hounds of Arawn”  Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2bDkFnr

Smashwords:  http://bit.ly/CTHAsmashwords

Universal link to all locations:  books2read.com/u/mK9DBv

Connect with Zach on social media:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Zachary-Paul-Chopchinski-772308849490741/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

website:  http://zachchop.com

Tumblr:  http://an-author-and-his-books.tumblr.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ZachChop

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9853623.Zachary_Paul_Chopchinski

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Melissa Addey Interview

Today I’m speaking with Melissa Addey.  Hi Melissa!  What made you decide to become a writer?

I have loved reading since I was a small child and also wrote little stories and essays for schoolwork.  I let it drop for awhile and then began writing again:  a few articles on being home educated and some children’s stories.  I took some lessons in writing, both by correspondence and at evening classes.  Eventually, I thought I would like to take the writing more seriously and started writing novels and non-fiction, which got me a literary agent.  Having had two children, in 2015 I decided to stay at home and write as much as I could fit round the kids!

Kids are a full-time job.  You must have been very busy.  How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

I got published in a few magazines on a range of topics, then had a close call with a major publisher for my novel.  After that, I decided to self-publish.  For now, I’m happy self-publishing, but am always open to new ways of working.  I self-published “100 Things to do While Breastfeeding,” which is now on some La Leche League recommended reading lists around the world which is wonderful, as well as “The Fragrant Concubine,” which got me long listed for the Mslexia Novel Competition 2015 and was Editor’s Choice at the Historical Novel Society which felt great.

I bet it did.  I wish your book on breastfeeding was available when my kids were younger.  There were lots of women into breastfeeding then.  Would you do anything differently the next time and if so, what would it be?

Self-publish quicker!  I did learn a lot through working with my agent and an editor and going through the submission process, but I do very much like having the control back in my own hands and think I’ve learnt a lot from it.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Write a full-length piece, then redraft till you think it’s as strong as you can make it alone.  Then work with an editor – it will be excruciatingly hard work but you will learn so much and your work will improve massively.  Read lots.  Write every day.  Make a business plan to keep you focused and keep stretching yourself.  Don’t be snobby about things like self-publishing, genre fiction, etc:  you can learn from everything.  Enter competitions.  Learn to take feedback.

What or who influences or inspires your writing?

All the wonderful writers I’ve read over the years.  Travel books and history books (I write historical fiction) – tiny mentions of some minor detail suddenly spark ideas.  “The Fragrant Concubine” was a brief mention of a Chinese legend in a travelogue, which became my first published novel.

Cool. I like that.  Do you have any works in progress you’d like to tell us about?

I wrote a novella called “The Consorts,” which is a prequel for “The Fragrant Concubine” (it’s a free novella for people on my mailing list).  My next two non-fiction books, “The Storytelling Entrepreneur” (storytelling in a business context) and “Merchandise for Authors,” a book for writers who want to create their own merchandise as a way of engaging their readers and bringing in extra income are both out.

This past fall I started a Creative Writing PhD and that will involve writing another novel set in China.  Keeping busy!

I’ll say.  The two non-fiction books sound really interesting.

They are available on Amazon as ebooks and paperback.  “100 Things to do While Breastfeeding” is also available as an audiobook.

I’ve thought about doing an audiobook as well.  Tell me about your first experience with publishing.  How did that go?

I did a lot of work with an editor and learnt so much from them – I looked back at previous writing and realized it needed so much work.  It’s definitely something worth doing.  I am always happy to take on feedback if I think it will improve the book and fits with my image of it.  If a person likes your work, they will usually see how to make it better without drifting away from the heart of it.

So, Melissa, how long have you been writing professionally?

I’ve been working on my writing for over ten years.  2015 was my first year of doing it as my job.

So, what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?

Read!  Look after the kids, cinema, gardening, meeting up with friends, cooking.  You’ll find a lot of food in my historical novels.  Researching food is fascinating.

I bet it is, especially if you get to eat what you are researching about.  Do you write full-time or part-time?

As full-time as I can manage with two kids in tow.  That means writing in tiny, energetic bursts and finding gaps where I can write.  But it’s wonderful to feel that your time is focused on the writing rather than on a day job, it does make a difference.  I’m looking forward to the chance to really develop my writing at another level with the Creative Writing PhD I’ve started.

Good luck with that.  I have a hard enough time focusing on my writing.  I don’t think I could stay focused long enough to finish a PhD program.  Where do you live, Melissa?

London, UK.

Tell us a little about your latest release.

In “The Fragrant Concubine,” there are many versions of the legend.  It is true that in 1760, the Chinese Emperor, Qianlong, conquered Turkestan and that a Muslim woman from that region was sent to the Forbidden City as his concubine.  It seems she was something of a favorite, being promoted twice and given many gifts.  But other stories have grown up around her.

In China, they say that her body emitted an irresistible natural fragrance and the Emperor was besotted with her.  She was homesick, but he gave her many gifts to remind her of home and at last she fell in love with him and they lived happily ever after.

But, in her homeland, they say that the woman was named Iparhan and born to a family of rebels.  Brought to court by force, she kept daggers hidden in her sleeves to protect her honor.  At last she took her own life rather than submit to the Emperor’s desire for her.

I found myself wondering which woman was the real Fragrant Concubine.  Which ending was true:  the sad one or the happy one?  This novel is about what might have happened.

That sounds intriguing.  Do you have any appearances scheduled?

During 2016, I was a writer in residence for the British Library, in their Business and IP Centre, which really was a dream come true.  I worked there two days a week for ten months, looking at storytelling for businesses and business for storytellers.  Keep an eye on my website for more information at www.melissaaddey.com .  On my ‘about’ page, you can find links to my Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts.

Thank you so much Melissa.  I’ve enjoyed our chat together.  Melissa grew up on an organic farm in Italy and was home educated.  Along the way, she worked for Sainsbury’s head office looking after the organic range of products as well as developing new products and packaging; for Roehampton University developing student entrepreneurs; she did a Masters focused on creativity and worked as a business consultant on a government scheme for over six years offering mentoring, advice, training, and grants to small businesses, mostly in the food sector.  She now lives in London with her husband, young son and baby daughter, looking after the kids and writing.

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RM Gauthier Interview

Hello RM and thank you for joining me today on Indie Author Day!  You did a great job on the Indie Author Day Facebook page.  Tell me, what made you decide to become a writer?

March 16, 2009 to be precise, was when I started writing.  I would now say it was an out-of-body experience when I began my writing journey and if you ask me today where it came from or how I do it, I couldn’t tell you exactly.

Now that’s interesting.  I’ve never heard that reason before.

When a story comes to me, in my mind it appears as a movie.  I can see the characters, see their conversations and their surroundings, but the hard part is writing to make it sound like I see…very difficult.

Oh my gosh!  That’s how it happens for me!  It’s like I’m eavesdropping, but they don’t see me.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m taking notes to get it all in, but there’s so much information.    How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

I’ve been working on my debut novel for the past five years.  Actually, I’ve been sitting on it, going back to it every once in awhile.  Last year, when I thought about publishing it, I did some research and found out how behind I am with all things publishing, so, I decided to write a novella about a minor character in my novel and publish that first.

book-cover-red-label

I like that idea better than a “prequel.”  But the publishing industry has changed so fast in such a short time, it’s really hard to keep up.  It’s like a “learn as you go” project.

I spent the past year learning the ins and outs of the publishing world and now I feel it’s time to put my novel out there.

Good for you!  That’s the hardest step, to be sure.  So would you do anything differently the next time?

I would try and build a bigger audience, mailing list, etc…But, other than that, no, I’m happy with everything so far.  Ask me again once I drop this book.  LOL

Building a bigger audience and mailing list takes time, but I hear that giveaways on Amazon works great.  I just haven’t tried one yet, but I’m thinking about it.  What advice would you give an aspiring author?

front-cover-finished

Write what you love and don’t worry about selling it.  I think we can get too caught up in the numbers and really, the numbers don’t matter if you are happy with what you are producing.

I think that if you aren’t happy with what you are writing, it would show in your work.  So tell me, who or what influences your writing?

My stories come to me like a movie in my head.  I can actually see my characters as if they’re standing in the same room.

Me, too!

It’s weird to think about, which I don’t very often.  I just let the story come.  Funny thing about that is when I write the story, it takes awhile to get the writing right.  It never sounds like it looks.  LOL

I guess that’s something we have to work on.  RM, what are your latest releases and where can we find them?

My latest novel is, “Control,” which will be released this month.

Oooh that’s exciting!  How did your publishing experience go?

So far, I’m fairly surprised with the results.  It was easier than I thought it would be.  The hardest part is marketing, but that will come.  As I produce more books, I’m sure that will get easier.  Or, at least I hope it will.

So, how long have you been writing professionally and do you write full-time?

Part-time for now and I’ve been published for one year.  But, at this point, I only have one novella out.

Me, too, but I’m feverishly working to complete book two before Christmas.  What do you do for fun, RM, when you aren’t writing?

I do graphic designs, 3D animations, and video editing.  I’m always trying to learn more in all these areas.  When not writing, you can find me doing tutorials to learn more.

No wonder you did such a good job with the Indie Author Day Facebook page!  Where do you reside, RM?

Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Cool.  Do you have any appearances or book signings scheduled this year?

No, haven’t got that far yet.

Well, you can certainly count Indie Author Day on Facebook now!  Thanks RM.  I enjoyed it!  It’s really cool to meet someone else who gets her stories in movie format.  You can find RM Gauthier at her website:  http://www.rmgauthier.com/  or on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/R.-M.-Gauthier/e/B0180XLIRW  or on her blog at:  http://writing-myjourney.blogspot.ca/  or on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/BooksbyRGauthier/  and on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/Ren071968

 

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