Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors!

MEET THE AUTHOR: A.R. Silverberry is in the house!!!

Meet the Author: A.R. SilverberryA.R. Silverberry

I just finished reading one of the most wonderful fantasy novels that I have ever read! Seriously! It’s called Wyndano’s Cloak and it is written by A.R. Silverberry. My raving 5 star review is here.I enjoyed it so much so that I contacted the author and asked if he wouldn’t mind doing an interview. And he agreed. Yippee! Also, it just so happens that he is on a blog tour for the re-release of his novel. So please help me welcome the author of WYNDANO’S CLOAK, A.R. Silverberry!

Hello Mr. Silverberry, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve been a licensed psychologist since 1991. I work mostly with children and teens, but also adults. I love my work, but the job of a psychologist is to help others actualize themselves. This means I have to look elsewhere for a creative outlet. I’ve played piano since I was ten and later played in bands and composed music, including a choral cantata about Paul Robeson, based on a poem by the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. My fingers started feeling the strain of banging the ivories. I had to seek another channel for my creativity, so in 1998 I turned to writing.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I still play piano ten to fifteen minutes, daily if I can squeeze it in. I do a lot of reading. I’ve got a seventy-five minute commute, which I fill with audio books, but I read a lot off my Kindle. I don’t watch TV, other than my favorite show, Iron Chef America, and movies. I love cats, pesto, homemade pasta, marinara sauce (are you seeing an Italian trend here?!), Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jane Eyre, and the Lord of the Rings, not necessarily in that order.

Awesome! When did you finish your first book?

2003. It was the prequel to Wydnano’s Cloak. It’s sitting in my dresser, waiting for revisions. I really would like to get to it, but other stories are demanding to be written first.

Oh my goodness, I can’t wait for that one! So, where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. The more I get away from my desk and out into the world, the more my imagination is stimulated. Julia Cameron, who wrote The Writer’s Way, recommends that writers have artist dates. You go out solo and explore something new and interesting. She compares the wellspring of creativity to a pond where new ideas are the fish. To keep the pond stocked, go out on an artist data. She’s right. Whenever things start to grow stagnant or stop flowing, I get myself pronto into a new environment. It works every time. Even a walk outside will do it.

I’ve always been a big people watcher. I did it all through school, and observing human behavior is my stock-in-trade as a psychologist. But I hone in on different things when I’m watching as a writer. I ask myself, why does that woman wear that color scarf? Why is that child playing with a plastic bat? I keep a notebook in my pocket and I’m constantly recording what I see. I’ve been known to do that when I’m driving, which can be quite hairy!

What a great way to come up with ideas! Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I sent that prequel I mentioned above to five top New York agents. Two asked for the whole manuscript, which is a coup in itself. Both wrote gracious letters back, and one actually provided some concrete feedback, which I paid close attention to. After that, I attended writers’ workshops and classes, and read a number of excellent books on the craft. Armed with a clear idea how to improve my writing, I wrote Wyndano’s Cloak.Wyndano's Cloak Cover

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

A snapshot popped into my head depicting exactly what the heroine would have to do in the story’s climax. The Rose Castle—made from a single piece of translucent stone, where safety or danger can be seen in the flickering and shimmering colors inside it—came straight from my imagination. Most of my settings come from real places that I visited or found photo references for. I love working this way. I get ideas I would never think of. For example, when Jen’s friend, Bit, goes into the Royal Stable, I reference sounds and sites she’s hearing “off camera”:

“The sharp ring of metal roused her from a blanket of melancholy. Outside, Hom the Smith had begun hammering. He had a long shed behind the stable, where, in addition to hot coals and bellows, a flotsam of old wheels, hubs, spokes, discarded wagon cushions, and rusty tools crowded his stall. Fifteen shoes of various sizes were nailed on a beam above his open-air window. A deep, soulful tenor sang from his hammer, and Bit guessed he was beating on number ten, a shoe for a heavy draft horse.”

That level of detail establishes a powerful feeling of place. What’s more, as the scene progressed, the pounding on the shoe, and later, the hissing steam as the red-hot iron is doused in water, mirrors Bit’s growing apprehension at leaving the safety of the Rose Castle and traveling to a strange place with dangers all around her. I never would have gotten that subtext without visiting a stable and carriage house built in the mid-nineteenth century!

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I loved writing Chapter Ten. It poured out pretty much as you see it, with few revisions. It tells the story about the heroine Jen’s life growing up in the Plain World—a gray, dreary, magicless world—before coming to Aerdem and being reunited with her family. What I love about the chapter is how it characterizes Jen, showing she’s an outsider, so different from the children around her. I think it beautifully establishes why Jen doesn’t want to lose her family, now that she’s reunited with them; it establishes why she yearns to rise above her circumstances, yearns to master Wyndano’s Cloak: It may be the only protection she has against the darkness about to descend on their lives.

That was one of my favorite to read as well! How did you come up with the title?

The title was hard to nail down. It refers to a cloak in the story that lends shapeshifting powers to the wearer. It’s vitally important to the plot, the main character, and the book’s theme. It symbolizes the yearning of the human spirit to soar above adversity. Such a symbol can’t be overused, and I didn’t. Think of To Kill a Mockingbird. Said bird is only mentioned a few times in Lee’s classic. Same with For Whom the Bell Tolls. You have to wait for the end to understand what Hemingway is saying. It’s not a book about church bells! So it goes with Wyndano’s Cloak.

What project are you working on now?

I’m working on a dystopian science fiction novel set in the not too distant future. I’m anticipating this one will be a trilogy. In very broad strokes, I know what will happen in books two and three. Book one has been hard to write. Orson Scott Card said that it could take years for a story to ripen. I think that’s what’s happened here. The world building and the backstory are just taking their own sweet time. After three false starts, I decided to skip the set up and started writing the middle. That went well for a few chapters. Then I wasn’t sure which direction to take things so I skipped to the end and wrote that. Now I’m back at the beginning, which is finally going well. I’m still not sure about the middle, but I have faith it will come, even if I have to set the whole thing aside and work on something else! Not to compare myself to them in any way, but I remind myself that Beethoven took nine years to write the overture to Fidelio. Brahms took twenty years for his first symphony, as did Neil Gaiman to complete The Graveyard Book. My philosophy: Give yourself permission to take time; they’re ready when they’re ready.

I’ve also got a completed science fiction fantasy, which will be coming out in the late spring or early summer. I’m not ready to release too much info about it, but will say this: It’s part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey. Set in a unique, highly visual and palpable world, it cuts across several genres and will appeal to teens, adults, and fans of speculative fiction. I’ll keep you posted about it!

Jade, thanks so much for having me today!

It was a pleasure, Mr. Silverberry! Thank you for agreeing to stop here on your tour and good luck with all of your current and future projects!

About Wyndano’s Cloak:

Jen has settled into a peaceful life when a terrifying event awakens old fears—of being homeless and alone, of a danger horrible enough to destroy her family and shatter her world forever.

She is certain that Naryfel, a shadowy figure from her past, has returned and is concentrating the full force of her hate on Jen’s family. But how will she strike? A knife in the dark? An attack from her legions? Or with the dark arts and twisted creatures she commands with sinister cunning.

Wyndano’s Cloak may be Jen’s only hope. If she’s got what it takes to use it . . .

Purchase on Amazon

Purchase on Barnes and Noble

Purchase on iTunes

Purchase limited edition hardback from A. R. Silverberry

About the Author:

A. R. Silverberry has won a dozen awards, including Gold Medal Winner in the 2011 Benjamin Franklin Awards for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction; Gold Medal Winner in the 2010 Readers Favorite Awards for Preteen Fiction; and Silver Medal Winner 2011 in the Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book, Children’s/Young Adult. He lives in California, where the majestic coastline, trees, and mountains inspire his writing. Wyndano’s Cloak is his first novel. Follow him at the links below!

A. R. Silverberry’s Website

Facebook

Twitter

Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Put your hands together for the amazing Author John Carter! Woooo!

I have just finished reading the second book in the Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever series and I am so pleased to announce that the author, John Carter, has agreed to do an interview with me here on my blog. Today. Right here. Right now. Yes! I know, right? Woo hoo! So without further ado, let’s give a warm welcome to Author John Carter!

And the crowd goes wild! *Applause!*

Alright John, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

My name is John Carter … of Earth, not Mars. I can’t tell you how many people come up to me on a daily basis and ask me about that! I’m married with one daughter, Rachael. She inspired the Eli Arnold Books when she was a little girl.

Haha! I’m glad you cleared that up  for me. I was seriously wondering… 🙂 Ok, so what do you do when you are not writing?

And here is John. Practicing law…Oops. I mean playing ultimate Frisbee.

When I’m not writing (or working) I love to play ultimate Frisbee. I also like to explore a lot of the old tunnels that run beneath my little town of Macon, Georgia. And of course, I love to read!

 Do you have a day job as well?

I’m actually a practicing attorney but really can’t stand all the rules and regulations that go along with that job. Poor career choice on my part, I know, but it is what it is and it pays the bills 🙂

A lawyer, huh? You’re right. What a terrible choice of career.  😉 (For a Eli Arnold, maybe!) Haha!  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

My first book, Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever Book One: It’s About Time rattled around in my head for a long time. It started out as a bedtime story for my little girl and sort of took on a life of its own. I actually started putting it down on paper sometime in late 2011. I finished it in March of 2013.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

Like I said, the Eli Arnold series started as a bedtime story for my girl. I’m sort of a big kid anyway so Children’s Fiction was a logical choice.

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. News articles about historical finds, something someone says to me … they really do come from all over. I have a box that a keep interesting articles I find in and go through it when I need some inspiration.

A box of interesting articles…What a great idea for inspiration! Do you ever experience writer’s block?

All the time. In fact, I can’t think of anything else to put here right now, so …

Haha! Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I sort of know where a book is going but I don’t have any kind of written outline. I work it out as I go which requires me to go back and make changes a lot but it works for me.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

When I was a kid, I read a lot of Stephen King books – I particularly liked the Dark Tower Series. I also read a lot of James Rollins and Steve Berry now. Rollins incorporates a lot of science and history into his works – that really appeals to me. Berry was an attorney who quit practicing law to write – that very much appeals to me as well! He also went to the Law school in my hometown and is a really nice guy!

You know Author Steve Berry? No way! How cool! So can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I self-published my first book and didn’t really have a clue about what I was doing. There was a lot of trial and error involved in getting everything just right. I also had a hard time believing that I had actually written a book and that people actually wanted to read it. I sat on it for a few months before I actually pulled the trigger and published it.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

I don’t think so. I learned so much through that first publishing experience that I probably wouldn’t change a thing. That experience certainly helped me down the road.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I use social media a lot and have had a few local events. Free giveaways seem to work well to get prospective readers interested and Facebook has driven a lot of traffic my way.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I’m working on a book geared more toward young adults right now. I might shop that around to the more traditional publishers when it’s finished. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Ooooh, can’t wait! Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Absolutely! Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever Book Three: All Roads continues Eli’s quest to recover the Keys to Forever, find his brother and return home. This installment finds our hero in ancient Rome around the time of Leonardo da Vinci. Eli battles a branch of the Order of Disorder called the Legion in an attempt to locate Vulcan’s Fire and move on to the next time. Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and nothing is as it seems. Eli meets an entire new cast of characters and runs into trouble no matter what way he turns. He’ll also get a little closer to finding out about the ancient race that created the Keys to Forever and started him on his long adventure. And of course there’ll be a twist 🙂

Ancient Rome? Leonardo da Vinci? I’m sold! Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Some of the characters in my books are based on people I know but most everything is from my imagination. I do try to incorporate as much cool science and history into the books as possible – things like Archimedes’ death ray and invisibility devices – cool science and history…not the boring stuff 🙂

You’re right, a death ray is definitely NOT boring!  🙂 What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

In book two, Eli deals with a used car salesman styled Cyclops in the first few chapters. I think so far that was my favorite part to write. It was fun to do and when I went back and read over it, I loved it. I also like the very end of each book where all the seemingly unrelated stuff from the books get tied together and works out exactly like I’d planned all along – yeah right 🙂

How did you come up with the title?

I liked the name Eli Arnold and the full title sounds like a 1950’s serial to me. It just sort of worked so I kept it. Originally, it was Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever – Stones of Never. I liked it better shortened.

Interesting…What project are you working on now?

Book Three is almost finished! Then it’s on to Book Four!

Will the next book in the series be coming out soon?

I’m hopeful Book Three will be out before Christmas – cross your fingers for me please!

*Fingers crossed!* 😀 Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

There are several characters that will make second appearances in the later books. I have them all carefully stashed away for when I need them.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism – I was told that a lot of what I written in the first book was unnecessary and detracted from the flow of the book. I went through a lot of re-writes to get things whipped into shape and the book is better for it.

The best compliment – I got a review comparing my book to the movie the Princess Bride which is one of my favorites. I keep a copy of that review on my desk to keep me motivated!

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Write as much as you can and be open to constructive criticism. The more you write, the better you’ll get!

Great advice! Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you! I love writing and hope that my books are well received. I work really hard to make sure that the product I put out is the best it can be and hope it brings some enjoyment to my readers’ lives. Thanks for taking a chance on me!

I’m sure your new readers will NOT be disappointed!

Well there you have it folks! Author John Carter. And wasn’t he a pleasure! If you (or your kiddos) would like to give the Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever series a try, swing on over to Amazon here and get yourself a copy of the first installment. I’ve also read (LOVED) and reviewed both books. Take a peak at the reviews here.

And until next time, may your dreams become a reality, and your words be never forgotten…

Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Give a warm and bloody welcome to horror author, Mandy White!!!

Image of Mandy WhiteSo glad to have you here today Mandy! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

~ I’m a Canadian horror writer from Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I love the outdoors and prefer the wilderness to the city.

What do you do when you are not writing?

~ When I’m not writing I can usually be found outdoors. I live a block from the beach so I spend a lot of time at the lake, fishing, swimming and boating. I also love to garden and spend most of my summer making my yard beautiful.

Most people would KILL to live near the beach (no pun intended. LOL!) Do you have a day job as well?

~ I quit my day job about eight years ago when a disability made me unable to do that job anymore. I looked for alternative ways to earn money. Six years ago I became a freelance writer and since then, writing has been my only job. I made the transition from content writer to novelist three years ago.

So when did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

~ I have enjoyed writing ever since I was a child, and always dreamed of being an author someday. When I reached the age of 40 I realized that ‘someday’ was never going to arrive unless I made it happen. I finished my first book in 2010. It was ‘The Jealousy Game’ – a short self-help book on dysfunctional relationships. It is my only non-fiction book.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

~ I don’t know if I chose it or it chose me. I’ve always been a fan of the macabre and an avid reader of horror books. It seemed natural that I would want to write the type of books I would be interested in reading.

Where do you get your ideas?

~ Ideas are everywhere. Everything I see on a daily basis is a potential story idea. Where most people might see a pretty flower garden, I’m imagining bodies buried underneath. I also get a lot of ideas from dreams. My novelette ‘The Immigrant’ is based on a dream I had almost twenty years ago. My first novel, ‘Avenging Annabelle’ is also based on an idea from a dream.

I hope those ideas let you get some sleep! 😀 Haha. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

~ Never. I have too many ongoing projects to ever get writer’s block. If I get stuck on one story, I put it aside and switch to another. I think the reason a lot of writers get blocked is they try to force something that isn’t there. It’s like trying to remember something that’s at the tip of your tongue but the harder you try, the more elusive it is. When you stop trying to remember and focus on something else, it pops into your head. For me, writing is just like that. Switch focus and the blocks disappear.

That’s great advice! Do you work with an outline, or just write?

~ I’m primarily a pantser. (write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer) I find that most stories develop as I write, so outlining isn’t something I spend much time on. Sometimes I will write a rough outline if I know what’s going to happen in a story, so I don’t forget important details.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

~ Stephen King is one of my favorites. I also read a lot of Dean Koontz. The thing that I like most about Koontz’s work is the way he makes the implausible seem plausible. I think the book that stands out most in my memory from my childhood is ‘A Wrinkle in Time’.

Oooh I love ‘A Wrinkle in Time!’ Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

~ As an independent author, I had to learn as I went and made a few crucial mistakes in the beginning. The first was being too eager to publish and putting out an unpolished work riddled with typos. The second was not hiring an editor to polish that work and eliminate those typos. I fooled myself by thinking I could effectively edit my own work. The third mistake I made was thinking that a book’s cover didn’t matter. The first edition of The Jealousy Game has a hideous generic template cover. Avenging Annabelle’s first cover was a poorly done cover I made myself.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

~ There is one thing I would definitely change if I could: With my first books I focused entirely on publishing the print version rather than the ebook. I didn’t understand the value or importance of ebooks. Like many new authors, I thought that only ‘real’ books counted. As a result, I was very disappointed with my sales. (what sales?) The fact is, ebooks outsell paper books by a huge margin. It is also easy to make corrections in a digital version. Sure, you can correct a paperback edition just as quickly but once those typo-riddled paperbacks are out there, you can never take them back. Now, I always release the ebook first and follow with the paperback only after I am satisfied all the bugs have been worked out.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

~ I don’t devote a lot of time to marketing. I’d rather be writing. I rely mostly on readers finding my books linked together on Amazon. The best marketing tool for a book is another book by the same author. I do a lot of networking through social media, particularly Facebook. I have met a lot of great people on Facebook and I’m incredibly grateful for all they have taught me. That, to me is far more valuable than any sales pitch I could come up with.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

~ I am an indie author and also an independent publisher so this has never been an issue. I have full control over every aspect of my publishing.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

~ My latest book, The Feeder, is a gruesome and bloody novel that straddles the line between thriller and horror. It is about an individual obsessed with avenging a murdered twin sister. It is not for the squeamish, as several readers have observed. There is a monumental twist right in the middle of the story that I guarantee you won’t see coming.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

~ I interweave little details from my own life into almost all of my stories. It’s fun combining reality with imagination to create a realistic tale.

That is definitely a fun way to write! What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

~ I think the chapter I had the most fun writing was ‘Bluie Louie’, the chapter in which my killer’s very first murder takes place. It begins innocently enough, with a visit to a sleazy ex-boyfriend to ask a few questions and ends with Louie dead in a pool of blood with his eyeballs carved out.

Oooooh, definitely gruesome! How did you come up with the title?

~ ‘The Feeder’ is the nickname of the serial killer in the book, named so because of the killer’s habit of feeding victims parts of themselves while they are still alive.

What project are you working on now?

~ Right now I am working on a series of charity anthologies for MS with WPaD, a group I have called Writers, Poets and Deviants. WPaD Publications is also my publishing label. Our next release will be a fantasy collection to be published July 1, 2013.

How fantastic! Will you have a new book coming out soon?

~ Aside from the three charity anthologies WPaD has planned for this year, (fantasy, post-apocalyptic and holiday, in that order) I also intend to resume work on ‘Phobia’, the novel I wrote in rough copy during last November’s NaNoWriMo. Phobia is about a reclusive woman who is afraid to leave her home due to agoraphobia and a host of other fears. When things start to get weird in her home she has to decide which is more frightening, the inside or the outside.

I’m intrigued! Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

~ I would like to do more work with Sammie, the main character of The Feeder. That’s something that will probably happen. I already have an idea for a sequel.

Can’t wait! What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

~ The toughest criticism is the stuff that’s true. I learned about ‘show, don’t tell’ the hard way. The best compliment is when readers say they couldn’t put the book down.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Do I ever!

~ If writing is what you want to do, then do it. Just do it. No excuses.

~ Throw away any previous assumptions you might have had about publishing. The rules have changed. If you want to succeed in today’s publishing industry, then you need to learn the new rules.

~ Seek out people who are doing what you want to do, then watch what they are doing and LISTEN to the advice they offer.

~ Be smart. Don’t stumble blindly into publishing. RESEARCH! Failure to do the right research makes you easy prey for the many vulturous vanity presses that pose as ‘publishers’. If someone offers to publish your book, then asks for money, you are being scammed. If you are offered a publishing contract, seek professional advice before signing because not all contracts are alike. Find out what you are signing before you get stars in your eyes.

~ There is nothing wrong with striving for success, but be realistic with your expectations. Understand that royalty checks aren’t just going to start pouring in. Writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme – it is a slow, gradual process. It is quite possible to make a nice living from it but patience is key. The best way to sell a book is to write the next one. And the next.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

~ I guess I’d just like to say thank you for reading. I am grateful to each and every one of you. If you find any of my stories offensive and disturbing, I hope it’s in a good way.

Thanks so much for being here today Mandy, and sharing with us your life as an author!

Go here to Mandy’s Amazon author page to check out all of her books!

And follow Mandy of facebook here.

And Mandy’s twitter handle is @MandyWrite

Readers! Don’t leave quite yet! I’ve just finished reading Mandy White’s new horror/thriller novel, The Feeder and I wrote an amazing 5 star review here. Check it out!

Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Through the Paper Wall by Heidi Nicole Bird

I just finished reading Through the Paper Wall by Heidi Nicole Bird and what a refreshing story it was! It took me to a magical place in my mind; one of mystery, imagination, and wonder, yet had the touching side of real-life struggles that a lot of people have to deal with. Even though the main character is quite young, I found myself identifying with his frustration, pain, love, and realization. I love how he grows as a person as the book progresses and is taken to a whole new world that puts things into perspective in his own life.

This story is a young adult fantasy but is perfect for all ages and it has definitely not been done before! It was so well-rounded and interesting that it kept me reading long into the hours of the night. I would describe Ms. Bird’s style as whimsical and fresh, yet she gets down and dirty in the depths of the human soul and puts in some hard-core real life lessons. Bird’s style can almost be related to that of M. Night Shyamalan, in that it is mysteriously engaging and so true to heart in its mesh between fantasy and reality. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, as it will not disappoint!

Out of 1-5 stars, I give Through the Paper Wall a whopping 5 star!

And there’s more! I’ve had the pleasure of having Heidi Nicole here to answer some question’s. Take a minute to meet the author in her amazing interview here!

Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Presenting…(drum roll please)…Author Heidi Nicole Bird!!!

Hello friends! Today I am happy be interviewing Author Heidi Nicole Bird, author of THROUGH THE PAPER WALL and soon to be released ONTARIO. I just read THROUGH THE PAPER WALL and loved it!Product Details See my review here.

Welcome Heidi Nicole! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am 23 years old and I live in West Jordan, Utah. I have been writing for as long as I can remember and I am a NaNoWriMo addict! Besides writing I love to read, sing, play guitar, piano, and violin, and have a good time. I really like to dance, though I pretty much look really bad while doing it. I am very religious and I always write family friendly content, no matter the age group I am writing for.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Honestly, surf the web. I have a problem with YouTube. We spend way too much time together. I also hang out with friends fairly often.

LOL! YouTube can be very addicting! Do you have a day job as well?

Nope, right now the only thing I do is write, though I am trying to get a job at one of my local libraries.

Good luck with that! When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

The first story I remember actually writing down was called “Jenny’s Horse” and I was probably ten years old or younger. I finished my first book the beginning of 2010, thanks to NaNoWriMo 2009.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I am most comfortable writing fantasy, probably because that is my favorite thing to read. I also write general fiction, which has been fun as well, but fantasy allows for more imagination, and I love that.

Where do you get your ideas?

They usually just come to me out of nowhere, quite often in the middle of the night when I want to sleep instead.

Haha! Those story ideas can be pests sometimes! Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Sure do, though not a ton. I usually have some sort of idea where the story is going to go next, but I like to let the characters tell the story, not me.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

Just write. I’ve never made an outline before. Well, that’s not true. I made one, but it was really just a timeline so I could make sure things worked together, and I made that after I had finished 90% of the story.

 

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I was very influenced by the writings of Bruce Coville while growing up. He is, to this day, one of my very favorite writers, and I respect him so much! I strive for his type of excellence.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

It was definitely interesting. For a while I tried sending one book or another to publishers, and I was even offered a contract for one of them, but I finally realized that what I wanted to do was indie publish. I wanted the control. That sounds lame, but honestly I had a very definite set of goals for my books and I could only meet them by doing it all myself. It was challenging to get things going, but overall I think it went well. I designed my own cover, and the hardest part was getting permission for the image I wanted. Editing was a pain too, and formatting! Those two are definitely not my favorite things to do, but I’m glad I did it in the end. Marketing has been interesting as well, but I have a great group of authors that I work with daily and we all help each other get the word out.

It’s so nice that you have support of fellow authors. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

I would definitely like to have another set of eyes do a final proofread. Though I had three people besides myself edit and proofread, a few typos still made their way into the final book, so it would have been nice to maybe have someone professional do the final read through.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I start off with a blog tour and launch party. Then I utilize my blog, facebook, and twitter to get the word out. Networking with other authors has been very important as well.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

Oh yes. I have a trilogy, the first three books I ever wrote, and I adore them. I was naïve enough to try and get the first one published, but now that I am a much more seasoned writer I realize how far gone the book is. Once I am done publishing my current project I plan on doing a major overhaul of my trilogy, then work on publishing them again.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My second book, Ontario, will be released April 29th. It is a young adult romance, telling the story of a girl in her senior year who has been abandoned by her mother and left with her older brother as her guardian. Throughout the story Ontario, the main character, has to learn how to love and trust again, and she does that through her new friends and co-workers at the local 50s diner.

That sounds amazing! It’s definitely going on my to-read list! Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Events-wise, no, nothing is based on real events, but the character Ontario is actually me in many ways. Some of that was intentional, some not.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Probably the prom scene, because I never got to go to a school dance with a boy, so I got to create my perfect prom through that scene.

How did you come up with the title?

It literally just popped into my head. I think I was lying on my bed thinking about Canada for some reason, haha!

That’s how some of the best ideas happen. What project are you working on now?

I am mostly working on publishing Ontario, but I am also finishing up another YA fantasy entitled Lorn, which I am particularly fond of. That is the next story I hope to have published.

Will you have a new book coming out soon?

Yep, Ontario will be released April 29th!

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I have long since missed my characters and world that make up my trilogy. I’ve always thought it would be fun to publish some novellas based off the three books, after the originals are published.

 

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I’ve been lucky enough to not have received anything that bad, but I definitely hate hearing there are loose plot threads. So, when I hear that I am even more motivated. I always try to tie up every loose end.

 

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

The best thing I can tell you is to start writing, or to keep writing if you have already started. It really is as simple as that. It took me four years to get to this point. It’s not something that happens overnight, and I still have a long way to go. Never give up on yourself! You can do it, just keep telling yourself that, because it is true.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

As always, I am so grateful for my readers and fans. None of what I do would be possible without them. Thank you all so much for supporting me! For those who aren’t fans yet, I hope you will check out my books!

Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us today Heidi!

Check out more from Heidi below! She will also be holding a contest through April 17th for her book launch party of Ontario! Go here for more info on how to win!

Heidi Nicole Bird’s twitter handle is  @HeidiNicoleBird

and you can follow her on Facebook here http://www.facebook.com/HeidiNicoleBird?fref=ts

and check out Heidi Nicole’s blog here! http://heidinicolebird.blogspot.com

Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet the Author! James A. Eggebeen in the houuuuse!

Meet the author of the FOUNDLING WIZARD and the APPRENTICE TO MASTER series, James A. Eggebeen!

I just finished reading Wizard Foundling, the first book in the Apprentice to Master series and loved it. You can check out my review here. But now I’d like to take some time to introduce you to the author, James A. Eggebeen.

Thank you so much for being here today James! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a high tech executive, or at least I was for most of my life. I have been a full time writer since last fall when the company I was working was restructured after raising money. I found myself unemployed and decided that this was the perfect opportunity to take on more writing while I looked for a job. So far I have done a lot more writing than I expected and want to try to make the full time writing work out by supplementing it with part time consulting (software).

Great way to pursue your dreams! What do you do when you are not writing?

I go to writer’s groups, I take care of the house, and I read. My kids are grown and my wife works, so I get to spend quiet days writing and doing the laundry, the dishes and housework. Oh, and I cook, I love to cook. And if Doctor Who is on. I’m there.

Ah, a fellow Whovian! LOL! So when did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing in college many years ago. I needed an English credit to graduate, and I hated English. I signed up for “Chief Modern Poets of Britain and America” and when the textbooks came, I ran for the Dean’s office begging for something else, anything else. She said there was an opening in Creative Writing and I could take that. I am (and always have been) an avid reader, so writing sounded like a reasonable alternative to all the poetry. I took the class and fell in love with writing.

I participated in an on-line writing group at the dawn on the internet and enjoyed it immensely. I sat down to write my first novel in 2011 when my wife went to the Philippines for two months and left me home alone. I needed something to do, so I took one of my short stories and turned it into a novel. I found a good editor and worked with her to get it ready for publication, and got my son to design me a cover in his graphics class and published the Foundling Wizard in august of 2012.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I was a big science fiction fan, but fell in love with Fantasy a number of years ago. I decided to write Fantasy because that is the genre I know the best. I have dozens (probably hundreds) of Fantasy novels all over the house and in my personal library. I love the idea of creating these rich fantasy worlds, and can’t think of anything more fun than writing scenes where Wizards battle with magic.

Where do you get your ideas?

At first it was hard. I couldn’t come up with problems and situations for my characters, but the more I write in my fantasy world, the more it comes easily. Lately, I seem to come up with ideas faster than I can write them down. People always ask me where I get the ideas. All I can think to say is they just come to me when I sit and think about them, although I’ll have to admit, sometimes I sit back in my writing chair to visualize a scene and fall asleep, so maybe I dream them up while I’m sleeping.

Dreaming up ideas 😀 I like that concept. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

When I’m not sure how things will work out; I struggle to write much. When that happens, I take out my outline and start looking over what I had planned. I usually find a problem that doesn’t fit with what I already wrote. When I fix that, the words start to flow again.

So you work with an outline? Tell us more about how you do it.

Oh, I am a heavy outliner. I use the Story Engineering model (surprising isn’t it coming from a software engineer) to build my rough outline. Then I use the snowflake method to go back in and increase the level of detail until I have a good model for the whole story. I usually have each chapter outlined up to the mid-point of the story and then I start writing. When I get close to the middle, I finish the outline so I have a map that will take me all the way to the end. I would be totally lost without my outline.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Arthur C Clark, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein as a kid. As an adult, more Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell. I read a lot of Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan. The Hitchhiker’s Guide and Terry Pratchet of course are a must.

Oooh, Robert Jordan is one of my faves too! Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I think the hardest part was learning how to work with an editor. I found someone who was willing to work with me. I send her my “polished” manuscript. She read through it and told me that there was something terribly wrong, but she was not sure what it was. We spent several days discussing what she felt and finally came to understand what I had missed. I put together a plan to fix everything she noticed, and then did a fairly significant revision. It was a great experience, and a lot of work, but I’m glad we did it. I learned so much from that experience.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

Not really. I was pretty happy with the whole process. I have a great relationship with my editor, and was able to stop in and visit with her in person while my wife and I were in the UK for our anniversary. We’re from California and getting to meet my editor in England was a real treat. It definitely helps build that relationship for future work.

What a treat! How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

You aren’t going to like my answer here. I don’t market my work beyond putting it on Amazon and doing a Goodreads giveaway. I tried a few things in the beginning but nothing seemed to work. I am a big fan of Dean Wesley Smith. He says write more books. That is the way to get visibility. I have found that each new release drives sales for my whole catalog of books, so I mainly focus on writing more in the series and not so much on marketing.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I have a science fiction book I wrote about one of my favorite characters. I tested it with a couple of Beta readers, and they didn’t like the character. I really want to get that character out there, but I have to figure out why they didn’t like her as much as I do. Until I get positive reader feedback, she stays on my hard drive. I have really been focusing on getting the fantasy series complete before I take on the science fiction one.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Master Wizard is the third in the series (not counting the prequel) that wraps up Lorit and Chihon’s journey. It’s the culmination of their growth and maturity and the end of their trials. I am starting revisions soon with a target to have it ready for publication by June. It’s aggressive, but I think I can make it.

Good luck with your goal! Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I think the relationship between the characters draws on real life. I am a rather even keeled type of guy. I’ve been married for twenty-five years, and depend on my wife for a lot. We discuss everything of importance, and I rely on her for more than I let on. I think this shows in my characters. The female characters in my books are all strong and intelligent, sometimes more so than the males. My editor says I write the women better than I write the men.

You’ll have to admit, women are quite fun to write about! Haha! So what was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I love to write very descriptive battles and magical scenes. In my upcoming novel, I used a vision to show the main character as a dragon, and let the reader experience firsthand what it would be like to be a dragon. I drew heavily on my experience as a private pilot to illustrate the freedom and peacefulness of flight. I loved that scene and it shows.

Oooo Dragons! I can’t wait to read it! How did you come up with the title?

The Foundling Wizard title was just sort of obvious. I sat down and decided that I needed a title, and that was the first thing that came to mind. I shared it with a few people and they thought it was cool, so it stuck. The other titles are all based on “Wizard” something, so they’re not as imaginative as they could be, but it helps tie all the books together in the series.

What project are you working on now?

I’m revising Master Wizard, the completion of the Apprentice to Master series.

Will you have a new book coming out soon?

Master Wizard is set for a June release.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I used Lorit and Chihon in the main series. I decided to take a closer look at the genesis of the old wizards, so I write Wizard Pair to delve deeper into their beginnings. I have a new character introduced in Master Wizard who is going to get at least one book of his own. One thing that L.E. Modesitt did that I loved, was to write two books that covered the same story. In each one, the protagonist was the antagonist from the other book. It was great in that it showed that both of the characters were acting in what they thought of as the best interest of society and their own order. I loved it, and would like to do that one day. Take one of the evil Priests and show his story and motivation. Maybe when the main series is done.

What a cool writing style! What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Right after I published Foundling Wizard, I got a scathing review on Amazon from someone who hated the book. It really hurt, but I learned that not everyone likes what you write. I try to take criticism as a means of helping me improve, so I don’t take it too much to heart.

The best criticism is a review that said the reader loved the book and was going to buy the next one right away. That pretty much sums it all up. I don’t really get much feedback from readers. I think fantasy readers are pretty subdued. Some authors have huge readership with lots of feedback from their readers. The only think I know about my readers is that they buy from Amazon.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Read a lot and write a lot. Get feedback on as much of your work as you can. I do a lot with local writer’s groups and have found them to be a great learning environment. Make friends with other writers and trade ideas and learning. But, most of all, keep writing. The more you write, the better you will get at it.

Great advice James! Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I’m so excited to see that people enjoy my work. I had no idea what to expect when I published my first novel, but I am encouraged by how many people are reading it. I particularly love to hear folks talk about my characters as if they were real people. That says I am portraying them well enough that they seem real to someone else besides me.

Thank you so much James for sharing about yourself and your work! Loved having you!

And to my readers and fellow fantasy fans, take a minute to check out Foundling Wizard and the rest of the books from the Apprentice to Master series here. Already read one of James A. Eggebeen’s books and loved em like I do? Leave a review here.

Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

jjphoenix

Amazon Best Selling Author

Evil Squirrel's Nest

Where all the cool squirrels hang out!

draliman on life

Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think

louisesor

Stories

Writer's Treasure Chest

A blog for authors, about authors, written by an author

lmdavid54

Blogs, Author Interviews and one cool place for vampyres to hang out

Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

David Gaughran

Let's Get Digital

GiGi Marie

Contemporary Romance Author

Matthew R. Stitt

My Home online

Mandy White

Canadian author of twisted fiction.

Reading Renee

No matter your mood, there’s a great book to suit it.

Daily (w)rite

A DAILY RITUAL OF WRITING

Author Jolea M. Harrison

A writing adventure

Vampire Maman

Musings of a Modern Vampire Mom

TheNovelReviewer

Bringing You The Best In Book Reviews, Literary News, Short Stories & More!