Today the Author Gang members are answering questions about writing
What genre do you enjoy reading and writing?
Erika M Szabo: http://www.authorerikamszabo.com/
My favorite genre is fantasy, alternate history, magical realism. I have enough reality in my life, when I write I like to create a fantasy world.
Grace Augustine: http://www.graceaugustine.weebly.com/
I’m a romance girl all the way. Although, I’ve been into self-help books lately, as well.
Joe Bonadonna: https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Bonadonna/e/B009I1KYIK/
I was going to be flippant and say, “I just wait for the movie to come out.” LOL! But seriously, I don’t read much fantasy anymore, because I write fantasy and prefer to read outside my genre. I like my WWII thrillers, hard-boiled crime, and biographies. Writing fantasy exercises my imagination.
Mary Anne Yarde: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.co.uk
I think Stephen King was right when he said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” I certainly read a lot! If I had to read one genre for the rest of my life, I would choose Historical Fiction because I love getting lost in a bygone era! But saying that, Fantasy would come in at a very close second.
I always intended to write historical fiction, but throw in the Arthurian element of my books, and suddenly I found myself writing historical fantasy — which for me is the best of both worlds.
Rich Feitelberg: http://www.feitelberg.net
I started soaking up science-fiction and slowly changed to fantasy, only to find out speculative fiction covers both. For writing, it’s the same with bizarre/horror mixed in to keep things interesting.
Ruth de Jauregui: http://www.ruthdj.weebly.com
I’ve been a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy since grade school. I love urban fantasy and am working on my first novel, a crime meets urban fantasy set in a Sacramento that exists around the corner and one dimension over...
Toi Thomas: https://www.etoithomas.com
I enjoy reading all kinds of things. While the speculative genres (Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Paranormal) are my favorite, I also appreciate comedic writing, some romance, action, historical, and mystery. I love comic books and graphic novels; visual storytelling will always be high on my list. As far as my writing goes, I mostly stick with the speculative genres. I do have an alter ego, Glorie Townson, who likes to write romantic comedy, but she’s not as active as I am. Because I work as a Special Education T.A., I’ve been inspired to create educational materials for my students that have been turned into picture books.
From where do you get your inspiration to write a story?
I research interesting historical facts for my fiction novels and then I let my imagination fly. For my children's books, I get inspiration anywhere. I saw a grandmother struggling to understand her granddaughter after a stroke. When I was a child a cruel old woman tried to drown kittens, or when I saw the saddest expression on a Hispanic boy's face who didn't understand English and his classmates made fun of him.
I find inspiration in all of life experiences. My Acorn Hills series was born from a bad break-up. Then each character seemed to take on a persona and demand their own book. My love for music bled over into Moonlight & Music. I wanted to document my journey with MS with the hopes of helping others who suffer from the effects of it, and voila...So You Have MS, Now What? was born. I’ve written poetry since 7th grade and put together a compilation of 40 yrs of prose and poetry in Fragments of Reflection. The Diva to the Guides trilogy was based on the card reading talents of a dear friend. My latest release, Protected by His Grace, shows my faith foundation and belief that we are all protected by our Creator.
Everywhere. The news, things people say, songs, paintings, poems, old movies.
Research! Research! Research! I spend hours researching the era that I want to bring to life. I think all writers borrow from their own experiences as well, and I am no exception to that rule.
Life. Just about all my experiences are fodder for new stories.
I was actually conversing with a fellow author by private message and we were talking about the bitter life that many authors lead and my main character, Bitter, began coalescing in my head. I’m also inspired by other authors’ works, and influenced by greats like Andre Norton, JRR Tolkien, and modern authors Patricia Briggs, Ben Aaronovitch, Patricia McKillip and CJ Cherryh.
I find that I’m inspired by everyday life. While my first book was the result of a reoccurring dream, none of my other current works have been. However, I have a WIP (work in progress) that totally came from a dream. Even though most of what I write is full of fantasy elements, I know that deep down, on some level (however small), my works are autobiographical.
Out of all the books you have written which book is your favorite?
My favorite is The Ancestor’s Secrets series because I had so much fun creating a magical, fantasy world using bits of real historical facts and real life events from my years of working as a trauma nurse.
It’s a toss up...I love Blake and Renee from Moonlight & Music, and the storyline. I also love the 5th book of the Acorn Hills series...Richard’s Relics, because of the intense research I did on the Vietnam war and the country then vs. now.
My first, “Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser.” There was a magic in that . . . the magic of innocence because I had no idea what I was doing.
I usually favour the book I am currently writing!
N/A. While I have plenty to choose now, I really can’t pick a favorite any more than a parent can pick a favorite child. I like them all.
Right now my published works are all nonfiction, so I’d have to say that 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, inspired by my mother’s curiosity about those black tomatoes in my garden, is my favorite. (They were Indigo Rose tomatoes.)
I’m not a parent to a human child, and while I love my little fur-baby, Margie, I know better than to make direct comparisons to the mother-child relationship. With that said, trying to choose a favorite among my works is kinda like choosing a favorite kid. I just don’t think I can to it. I feel like the answer will be different every time. But, akin to that mother-child relationship, the first one holds a special place in my heart and the last one (or current one) is the one that I’m always most excited about. My first book, Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel changed my life in more ways than I can get into right now.
Which one of your characters is your favorite?
My favorite character is Ilona in the Ancestors' secrets. She is honest, loyal, and brave, and throughout the story she grows from a naïve girl into a strong, honorable woman.
Each character has a small piece of me...choosing is difficult, but I’d have to say Renee Manelli from Moonlight & Music. She retired early from her paralegal job to pursue her dream...performing music.
Dorgo the Dowser, my legacy character. He is me, after all.
My favourite character has to be Merton du Lac. Merton is a very complicated soul, with a lot going on. He really challenges me as a writer and I love him for that!
Again, I really can’t do that mostly because many characters of mine aren’t in stories yet.
Bitter. She’s smart, tough and downright ornery. She’s been a homicide detective for a long time and has connections with agencies and individuals all over the city, which comes in handy when strange things happen in her world.
While the last question was too difficult to narrow down, I know this one easy. I have many characters that I either adore or love to hate. But until I finish a few more WIPs and have time to evaluate them overall, I’ll say with certainty that my favorite character is, Mira (like miracle), from my Eternal Curse Series. She’s one, of few, human characters surrounded my being with powers beyond her comprehension, yet she’s one of the most important and influential beings in the Eternal Curse world.
When you write, do plan your stories or do you just start writing and let the story develop?
Usually, I only have a vague outline of the story when I start writing and I hate making notes or to follow a formula. I let the story develop as I progress and often end up with a totally different story than what I planned.
I try to be disciplined with a schedule...that I miserably fail more than stick to. Usually write from 9-2 Monday through Friday. Nothing book related on the weekends. I have an outline notebook for each story...however, I only outline after I write the chapters. The characters get to talking in my head and tell their own stories.
I do some planning, plotting and outlining in advance; if I’m world-building anew, then a lot more prep work. I always wait for the characters to start talking to me and telling me the story.
I know how each book ends — I just have to get my characters to that point! I don’t plan, but it all seems to come together. I don’t know how. It’s a mystery.
Both. I plan for the plot. Then let the character take me where they will. Often I surprise myself. And sometimes I keep it and sometimes I don’t.
I get an idea and start writing. After a bit, the end of the story comes to me and I write it, then jump back to fill in the rest of the story. I’m forcing myself to write Bitter in order instead of my usual jackrabbit approach of writing chapters as they pop into my head. When I’m working on nonfiction, I outline and research the information, then start to write.
99% of the time I plan out my stories from beginning to end. I outline in great detail, including: storyboards, character profiles, timelines, scene notes and more. I do have one story, at the moment, that started out as a writing challenge. I liked it so much I decided to develop it into a novel, but whenever I try to think about it, nothing happens. When I sit down and start from the last point I stopped, the story flows. Can’t explain it.
For you, what is the most difficult part of being an author?
Definitely promotion. Writing is fun and exciting, getting the story edited and published is tedious work, but bringing the book to the view and attention of readers is very difficult. No matter how good a story is, until readers find it, it will be sitting in the corner of a virtual bookshelf. Promoters charge thousands, which I cannot afford, so my books are discovered one reader at a time.
The most difficult part of being an author for me is two-fold...promoting to get my name/product/name out there and getting reviews. I’d prefer in person promoting to social media, but we are such an instant society that social media is the only way to promote.
Editing, proof-reading and The Dread Promotion.
Marketing is probably the most challenging aspect of being an Indie author. Like Erika, I concentrate on one reader at a time!
Getting reviews, marketing, and selling my work. Writing is for sharing, as I’m fond of saying. Without the reader, what’s the point of writing in the first place?
Sitting down to write! It’s all right there in my head, but I have to force myself to stay off social media and get to writing my story.
I’m not sure if this is cliché or jumping on the band wagon, but it’s definitely promotion. Marketing and promotion is hard. I do it, but it’s hard. Not really much else to say about it.
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