Interview with Nicole Strycharz

  1. Introduce yourself! What is your experience with writing?

Hello everyone! I’m a multi-genre author of modern, paranormal, and historical romance. I live in Virginia with my three crazy, wild, feral children, and our nanny Pitbull. We are surrounded by my incredible parents and I’ve been writing and/or telling stories since I was capable. I’ve always had an intense love of history and research, so my work began as mostly historical, but I’ve branched out over the last few years. I have twelve published works plus, one co-written book, and an anthology I was honored to be part of. A few more will be re-released by next year, along with other anthologies and some new stuff.

  1. How many hours a day do you write?

Well, hahaha, it’s never a consistent amount. With three little ones running around, I must work around their time. Some days I might get lucky with cave time in abundance, while others, I might get ten minutes or nothing. It just depends.

  1. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Actually, I love writing about the opposite sex. Men are far less complicated to write and whenever I do stumble upon uncertainty, I interview the many men in my life like an avid journalist!

  1. Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

I do. After I lost my guy in a car accident a few years ago, I threw myself into my writing to cope and it became a kind of therapy. He supported my stories and after he passed on, my words became uninhibited, raw. I started to trust myself, and in doing so, I found a lot of spiritual serenity in my characters.

  1. Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

Every book I’ve ever read has left me with something special. All the stories have shown me another side of history, religion, politics, ethics, traditions… I’ve discovered more cultures, more insights… Nothing has made me think differently about fiction, but each book has made me more aware of how important a break from reality can be.

  1. What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

I could never repay my mother for the never-ending fountain of inspiration she has been. From situations and escapades, she shared with me from before I was born, to things she has accomplished while I could stand witness, she has become the main source of clay for every one of my characters.

Otherwise, almost everyone who has passed through my life has left some sort of impression; something I could mold a protagonist or even just a side character from. I have friends that completely embodied the type of personality or appearance I needed to envision. That’s always a lucky feeling, but I owe them so much just for existing.

  1. How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?

That’s not something I overthink, and yes, that has gotten me into trouble. My only goal is to tell the story that needs and wants to be told. I enjoy offering conflict. Going by a rule that a hero should have a little villain, and a villain should have a little hero. I like to feel that I’m making myself and readers feel something. Anything. Because that’s what books are supposed to do. So, I never write for shock value, I don’t do things to deliberately make readers cringe, I write them because that’s how the story goes.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I have a huge author family that I network with daily all over the world. Their books have carried me away from any troubles or struggles. I’ve spent sleepless nights needing to turn pages, going on journeys and finding new perspectives on life. A couple years ago, I could have given you quite a few underappreciated names, but honestly, my author family’s careers have skyrocketed since then. They deliver epic stories, smart business sense, warm personalities, and they thrive from it. 

  1. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I drop things about myself into books that I desire to share, therefore, I’m mostly open about that fact. I dedicate each book in The Relationship Quo Series to anonymous people of note in my life. People that either taught me something about the topic of the relationship the book will explore or people that directly inspired a protagonist in them. I won’t ever disclose their names because their legacy is the story, not their identity. They will likely know if they read the story or see the dedication, but otherwise, muses are sacred and should be somewhat a mystery to readers, in my opinion. My job is to use the muse to create something that only a reader can really claim. It’s like buying a house. It’s just a house until you start to live in it, decorate it…

Characters are created by authors but made alive by readers.

  1. Where can readers learn more about you?

Readers can follow me in the links below and on my website: http://www.nicolesbooks.wix.com/authorpage
FB: https://www.facebook.com/nicolestrycharz/
IG: https://www.instagram.com/nikkiwrites2/
GR: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12633370.Nicole_Strycharz?from_search=true
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rY9dw4

 

 

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Author Interview with Rinna Ford

Q: Introduce yourself! What experience do you have with writing?

I live in St. Louis, MO with my husband and two daughters. Right now I stay at home with them and would love it if I could become a full-time author by the time they both start school. Rinna Ford is a pen name I created to help write the stories that I make up.

I made up and wrote down stories a lot when I was younger, and they always had fantasy elements. I’ve always loved fantasy and the paranormal so when I decided to take up writing again, that’s what I wanted to write. I have an education background so I use that to help with writing and creating stories.

Q: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I write what I would want to read and I hope that others will like it too. I’d like to think my stories are at least somewhat original, but I do like getting suggestions from people who have read something I’m working on for what they would like to see happen. It’s always nice to get fresh prospective on what you’re working on.

Q: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

It’s definitely streamlined the process. It took me almost 9 months to outline the first three books in my first series. Just outlining. It took me another almost 4 months to write, revise, edit, and publish my first book. I’m hoping to publish book 2 within 3 months, and I think I can definitely do it. Outlining has become less time consuming as well.

Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self to never be afraid of using my imagination. I think somewhere along the way I lost that because I stopped writing and making up stories. It took me getting breast cancer and going through treatments and needing an escape from reality to realize that it was gone. That’s when I decided to start writing again.

Q: What is your writing Kryptonite?

Pinterest, Facebook, and pretty much the internet in general LOL would be my Kryptonite. I have to constantly make myself turn off all of those distractions to start writing.

Q: Do you believe in writer’s block?

Definitely! Stress creates writer’s block for me. Ugh! I hate it!

Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It took almost a month to write the first draft of Queen of the Fireflies, but start to finish it took a little over a year. I think the next books will go much quicker now that I have a better idea of what I need to do.

Q: What was your hardest scene to write?

The hardest scene to write was the first sex scene. I originally didn’t plan on including sex scenes, but I kind of felt like the book needed them. I needed a little liquid courage to get through it. That’s also when I created my pen name. Being someone else for a little while helped me write it. Sex scenes have gotten easier since then.

Q: Do you Google yourself?

No, not yet!

Q: Where can readers learn more about you?

FB Author page: www.facebook.com/rinnafordauthor/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Rinna’s Reader Group: www.facebook.com/groups/rinnaford/

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/profile/rinna-ford

Twitter: www.twitter.com/FordRinna

Instagram: www.instagram.com/rinnaford/

 

 

Interview with Eliza Ames

Q: Introduce yourself! What is your experience with writing?

I’m Eliza Ames. I write fantasy. I currently have one book out, a young adult deep fantasy called Something Special, which is number one of a tetralogy. I’ve been writing a long time but I haven’t been published very long at all. I’m about to hit the five month mark on that.

I’ve always been a writer. I was the little kid at camp that told stories that kept the other kids up all night. I was the little girl with the wild excuses that somehow made sense even if far-fetched. I became the adult that told true stories that actually made people laugh. Often, when someone on social media asks stuff like “How’d you meet your significant other,” my answer is the one that goes on for a couple paragraphs and draws you in anyway. I typically have a dozen likes and comments like, “Damn! That should be a book.” I off and on made a living writing (even though I didn’t fully realize it). I wrote commercials for radio (I even have a crystal award for one), I wrote letters for offices I worked in, and I wrote the content of the web page for the museum I worked at. In my head, I was always the office assistant or copy clerk or web designer and never took into account the sheer volume of writing that I did.

If I could write every interaction, my life would be easier. I write far more clearly than I speak.

Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Ten

Q: What does literary success look like to you?

Tricky question.

I’d like my books to pay for themselves. There’s a lot of little stuff to writing. Honestly, the writing part is the easiest for me. Even editing is a fairly easy process for me. No, I don’t edit my own books, but because I’m an editor I’m less likely to make grammatical or punctuation errors than some writers. I’m a great speller; I even won a spelling bee a gajillion years ago. (Yes, before you say it, gajillion is not a word.) Anyway, those little things add up. More than that, marketing can actually be expensive. There are a bunch of PAs (Promotional Assistants) that I think the world of. I have three officially earning a little off of me. I’d like it to be more. I’d also like the signings and trips to actually be covered. Right now, they aren’t.       I would consider that some success as a writer.

Ultimately, literary success isn’t measured in dollars though. I’d like some stranger to come up to me and say, “Your book helped me. I felt alone – like I didn’t fit in anywhere and you gave me a world where I did. That’s success.

Q: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I research everything. Sometimes I’m looking up weaponry for an era I consider the technological equivalent to my made-up world. Sometimes I’m learning a process for something I don’t actually know how to do. Sometimes I’m actually using google maps to understand an area that will actually appear in my books (I have an urban fantasy underway). I research words sometimes, too. Even the most versed word-smith can’t know everything. I was always amazed at hearing stories of readers who noticed anachronisms in works. I figure if I don’t do it right, someone out there will notice, so research is necessary.

Q: How many hours a day do you write?

I know there are writers that have a set number. I cannot. I have two special needs children. I have a sideline editing job. Sometimes I get a whole ten minutes to myself. I spend it all on research.

Q: What is the first book that made you cry?

I’m not sure. It might have been Deenie by Judy Blume, but I don’t really remember.

Q: What is your writing Kryptonite?

Sex scenes. I can’t write them. I’m never happy with them. I generally avoid them. For books, for movies, sex is often unreal. You don’t have that moment where things get a little awkward or one of you is really sweaty. I don’t find certain industry standard words very appealing either. Body parts as animals doesn’t do it for me. I can’t say if that will change in the future, but right now, that’s my kryptonite. Everything else I can handle.

Q: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Ha! The truth is very little is absolutely original any more. Just yesterday I thought I had a brilliant idea when helping my friend flesh out a few town quirks – not only was the idea already in print, she knew exactly who had written it (someone I’ve never read, by the way).

I suppose I try for originality, but also do try to write something marketable. My readers are always under consideration, but I also try to stay true to myself.

Q: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Prior to that, I didn’t worry about marketing. I tinkered with the books at leisure. Then I was signed briefly by Kingston Publishing but decided I wanted to be even more independent. How the stories develop hasn’t changed. I have a weird mind. I invite people inside it, but I also have messages, things I want to say buried in action and adventure.

Q: Where can readers learn more about you?
My webpage elizaames.com or on my facebook pages: Elizaames7, https://www.facebook.com/groups/406809263135879/ , fb.me/elizaames.somethingspecial, fb.me/ElizaAmesAuthorPage. One of these days I’ll probably do more with mewe (mewe.com/i/eliza.ames), Goodreads, Instagram (eliza.ames), Bookbub (@elizaamesauthor), and Twitter (@elizaamesauthor). Right now, I barely touch them, though I have stuff out there. You can also find bits of me on the pages of my books. I’m all over them.

Author Interview with Sondra Hicks

Q: Introduce yourself! What is your experience with writing?

Well I am a paranormal thriller writer for the most part. I am a mother, daughter, wife and a reader just like everyone else. I grew up with my nose in a book and a stack of them next to me. I wanted to be published ever since I was a kid about 12 or 13.

Q: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Honestly the list is a vast one and they deserve their privacy and I will admit we are all quite busy but there are quite a few who answer questions and give me solid advice that I trust.

Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I have books right now that are connected in the paranormal thrillers but I also have written poetry and humor. I love to write about vampires but I tend to humanize the stories. However, I am creating a new series that I am thinking of being not connecting to the other books.

Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Your writing is who you are and don’t let anyone tell you that it’s a fad. Believe in yourself even when others don’t. Write your heart out and find a real publisher and not a scam artist like 1st books (Author House)

Q: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

My first book was a disaster and I didn’t publisher after that for 10-11 years because 1st Books never gave the services they promise and I lost over $600 dollars and in 2002 a couple with 2 kids that is a lot of money.

Q: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

I have read so many books recently and I have new authors I am just astounded by. I have the pleasure of telling them that but Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine (Fear Street) really changed me.

Q: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Yes, I do I love feedback from my readers its helpful and even the negative ones I read between the lines and find helpful insight.

Q: What was your hardest scene to write?

I had to let one of my characters die in the hospital that was based on my mom but it was recently after I just lost my father and I was ugly crying playing “Say Something” It took a long time to write and every time I read it I cried. I hated having to do it but the story needed it to move forward.

Q: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Finding time to write and also my husband and I a lot of the time come up with ideas together so he is my muse. With him around I am never lost.

Q: Where can readers learn more about you?

Author Interview with Linz Basset

Q: Introduce yourself! What is your experience with writing?

My first books were released in the early 1990’s, in my home language, Afrikaans and only in South Africa. They did very well, in that they were distributed to local libraries as well and were on the shelves for fifteen years. The usual timeframe is 8 years, so I was very pleased. Then life interfered and I became a single parent of two young kids and I didn’t write again until 2015. 

Why do I write? This is the question we always have to think about, isn’t it? For me, it boils down to what Vincent Van Gogh once expressed: “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” That’s why I write. To express the deep well of passion that lives in my soul which is the part of me that I keep secreted away from my day to day existence. It’s a part of me that had been suppressed for a long time primarily due to a very conservative upbringing. It was part of my familial and cultural heritage and what was expected of me. Now, I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m able to liberate myself and share my passion with others. Blossoming out of what once was the genesis of my own confined existence! Passion is what drives my creativity. Passion is what allows me to ‘see’ and express my own sensuality through the medium of the written word; to be able to draw from that deep well to define the beauty of eroticism and all that it encompasses. I want to share what I feel with others.

Isn’t it a universal truth that it’s our singular experiences and passion, for whatever thing or things that it may be, that molds us all into the individuals that we become? Whether it’s hidden in the depths of our soul or exposed for all to see?

I am a South African born animal rights supporter with a poet’s heart, and lucky enough to be called a bestselling fiction writer of suspense filled romance erotica books; who as the latter, refuses to be bound to any one sub-genre. I prefer instead to stretch myself as a storyteller which has resulted in researching and writing historical and even paranormal themed works. My initial offering: Club Alpha Cove, a BDSM club suspense series released back in 2015, reached Amazon’s Bestseller list, and I have been on those lists ever since. Labeling me as prolific is a gross understatement as just a few short years later I have now been published over forty times; a total which fails to take into account the three other published works of my alter ego: Isabel James who co-authors—nor does it include the five additional new works marked for imminent release.

“I write from the inside out. My stories are both inside me and a part of me so it can be either pleasurable to release them or painful to carve them out. I live every moment of every story I write. So, if you’re looking for spicy and suspenseful, I’m your girl… woman… writer… you know what I mean!”

I believes that by telling stories in my own voice, I can better share with my readers the essence of my being: my passionate nature; my motivations; and my wildest fantasies. I feel every touch as I write, every kiss, every harsh word uttered, and this to me is the key to a never-ending love of writing.  

Ultimately, all my books are about passion. To me, passion is the driving force of all emotion; whether it be lust, desire, hate, trust, or love. This is the underlying message contained in her books. My advice: “Believe in the passions driving your desires; live them; enjoy them; and allow them to bring you happiness.”

Q: What does literary success look like to you?

Personally, I think most writers struggle to define literary success because we always have another hill to climb. Isn’t that a “perk” of being a writer? I felt an amazing sense of achievement when I published my first bookespecially as an Indie Author. But I believe it’s the lack of a clear definition of literary success that keeps Indie Authors motivated, thirsty and driven to accomplish more.

The first time I ever experienced a taste of success was not after my first book, His FBI Sub, reached bestseller status on Amazonbecause to be honest, there were quite a lot of negative reviews coming in at the same timeno, it was when I received my first piece of fan mail. The e-mail was kind and generous with compliments. It lifted my spirits and made me realize that there are readers out there who I connected with. That was a great feeling and one that gave me a sense of success. To this day, I still bask in every personal e-mail I receive from one of my fans.

Q: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

I love reading and because I have such a vast imagination myself, there’s nothing out there that has shocked me out of appreciating fiction. On the other hand, I’m not a martyr when it comes to reading and if a book doesn’t grasp me within the first chapter, I chuck it.

Q: What was your hardest scene to write?

Thinking back over all my books, I wouldn’t pinpoint one scene but there was one character that I found the hardest to write.

Ryder Whitmore from His Forever Sub – who by the way, was nominated for The Golden Flogger 2016 award. He was an abused child, so I brought in flashback scenes of that abuse, to develop his personal history which was the force that eventually motivated him to act out. Child Abuse, or any kind of abuse of anyone, for that matter, whether emotional or physical is an abomination and anathema to me. To delve into the mind of an abused; that was the most difficult thing I had to write. The resultant struggles he endured to overcome and the effect it had on him throughout his life was the equivalent of living and experiencing it all while inside his head.

Q: Do you Google yourself?

I used to when I developed my website to see if my search engine definitions worked. I don’t so much anymore. Now and then when I have the time and only to see if there are any pirated copies of my work out there.

Q: What is one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

You mean apart from what I haven’t given up already? I gave up a very lucrative and successful career as a Managing Director of a Training Company two years ago to become a full-time author. At this point, I work 8 – 12-hour days, seven days a week . . . so . . . I don’t think I have more to give!!

Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It depends on the book I’m writing. As a full-time author, I have a rigorous and disciplined work schedule. It’s my job and I set ‘working hours’ for myself. Most novellas or novels between 20K – 60K take approximately 10 days to complete and the full-length novels of 80K and higher can take up to a month.

Q: How do you select the names of your characters?

That’s a tricky question. I like Gaelic names and have a tendency to lean toward them. When I choose a name, I dig deep into the personality of the character. A name has to fit the personwell, at least the one living inside my mind while I’m writing!

Q: Does your family support your career as a writer?

Yes, they do. My mother is my biggest fan and she has read all my books. My fatherwho passed away at the end of 2015was the one who gave me the push to start writing. He said, “You can do it. Go for it.” I still remember those words every time I start a new book.

Q: Where can readers learn more about you?

Well, if you’d like to go and look me up, I need to remind you that I―and my nom de plume, Isabel James―are completely stalkable or as someone said, intensely researchable! Don’t be shy, follow any of these links!

While you’re enjoying some of my articles, interviews and poems on my website, www.linzibassetauthor.com why not subscribe to my Newsletter and be the first to know about new releases and win free books.

Twitter as Author Linz Basset and Isabel James.

Friend on Facebook as Author Linz Basset or Isabel James.

Like my Facebook author page on Linz Basset and Isabel James.

Website: www.linzibassetauthor.com And http://linzibasset.wixsite.com/isabeljames

Follow me on MEWE.

Join my group on MEWE.

Follow me on Amazon as Linz Basset and Isabel James.

Follow me on Goodreads.

All Author-Page for Linz Basset and Isabel James.

Bookbub.

LinkedIn.

Instagram.

Google+.

Like my pages:

Linzi’s Poetry Page.

Club Wicked Cove.

Club Alpha Cove.

Club Devil’s Cove.

 

AND, don’t forget to join Linzi’s Lair Angels for loads of fun!

 

 

Author Interview with Robin Leemann Donovan

1. Introduce yourself! What is your experience with writing?

Starting out as an English teacher, I always wanted to write a book. There was never time. Years later, after owning an ad agency for over a decade and having less time than ever, I found myself in a unique situation. I was blogging about menopause. My blog, Menologues, had been picked up by a couple of public service websites, so there was something of an audience. At the same time, my ad agency signed on a new client – a publishing company. So, with a built-in audience, the ear of a publisher and the fact that I was surrounded by talented designers and promoters, the time would never be more ideal. Thus was born: The Donna Leigh Mysteries.

2. How do you select the names of your characters?

First I decide on the roll they will play. My core characters tend to be well-balanced. They are my most relatable characters and while they are serious, they also have a well-developed sense of humor, never taking trivial things too seriously. I always have someone in mind when I’m building a character, so I try to choose a name that person would like – a name fitting that individual. My French characters typically get French names, and sometimes I even ask the person I’m envisioning what they would like their character to be named. Most of the men choose their own first name and their mother’s maiden name. The women generally give it a bit more imagination.

My more two-dimensional characters, the ones that are ludicrous to the point of being caracatures have equally ludicrous names and physicalities. My favorite character is Clovis Cordoba Seville, and she is the complete opposite of any of my core characters; she takes herself completely seriously which makes her completely laughable. And that kind of sums up my philosophy of life.

3. How many hours a day do you write?

I usually write on weekends, and I typically write for 8 hours a day. I can do 6 hours, but less than that is typically not productive.

4. What was your hardest scene to write?

I had written a scene featuring a rural, native Nebraskan. I was trying to give this individual an accent that was lacking in sophistication. That was hard. My editor sent me a note saying “what happened to this guy? Two sentences in and he’s a Harvard grad.” How did I miss that? Trying to rewrite this scene was incredibly difficult. I almost had to invent an accent and I had to keep adjusting my writing from Harvard to corn field without inserting a southern twang – which for some reason kept trying to push itself into the mix. I’m still not 100% sure I captured this speech pattern – but it’s a whole lot better than when I started.

5. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

I’ve already given up 100% control. Finding a good editor is critical, but you have to give them some control so you’re not shooting down all of their suggestions – and you really want to.

6. What is your favorite childhood book?

Everything Dr. Seuss and Eloise at Christmastime.

7. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Keeping myself from writing the ending immediately after I’ve written the beginning. With murder mysteries, once you set the stage initially you’re always obsessing about the ending. I have had to force myself to break my books into four equal segments. I don’t allow myself to write the ending until I’m writing the fourth quarter.

8. Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe that if I force myself to write when I’m not in the mood – it will not be productive. As long as I’m in the mood nothing can block me.

9. Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Writing is absolutely spiritual. It’s possibly the only thing in my life where I can enthusiastically agree that my work is good and never doubt it. I think that’s because I feel as though it doesn’t really belong to me – I am merely the conduit. I find it very humbling, which is kind of ironic when you consider I just said my writing is good.   

10. Where can readers learn more about you?

Website.

Bozell Website.

Amazon.

Facebook Author Page.

Donna Leigh Mysteries on Facebook.

Author Interview with Jenna Greene

Q: Introduce yourself! What is your experience with writing?

My name is Jenna Greene. I live in Lethbridge, Alberta (Go Canada!) and I teach at D.A. Ferguson Middle School. I primarily write Young Adult.

Q: What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. That novel is brilliant!

Q: What does literary success look like to you?

Having someone read my work and either laugh or cry or gasp.

Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have a few that are in the cue, waiting to be published. I have no half-written books, but I have a lot of ideas that I haven’t got on paper yet.

Q: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I don’t do a lot of research, since I can create a lot of fantastical worlds, creatures, etc in my head. If I do research, it is usually on the spot, checking architecture or a term. When I write a sequel, I do reverse-research, where I double-check all the little details of world-building from the first novel.

Q: Do you Google yourself?

Sometimes. I probably shouldn’t.

Q: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Editing. I love writing and, while I’m quite good at editing, it just isn’t as fun. And I sometimes have trouble cutting scenes, even if they need to be cut.

Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

About 4-6 months, depending on how busy I am. Since I’m a teacher, I have summers off, so I can get a lot of writing down during July and August. I don’t write much in September, December, or June.

Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

That everything I write won’t be gold, but that’s ok. It’s all part of the learning process.

Q: Where can readers learn more about you?

They can check out any/all of these links:

www.jennagreene.ca

www.facebook.com/jennabutrenchukgreene

@jgreenewrites