Author Interview Tips for Newbies

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When I published Blood Bonds: Stories from The Lily and Quinn Series early this month, I wasn’t sure what to expect. While I have been published traditionally in anthologies, this was the first time I have gone it alone.

I have been doing my best to get the word out on my social media platforms, and was wondering what else I could do. The answer came to me one morning when I woke up to find a Facebook message from a reporter at the local newspaper. We went to school together and she noticed my posts about being published, and asked if I wanted to do an interview.

I knew I’d say yes but I needed to call my friend and writing buddy Sherry D. Ramsey for advice. Of coarse, she let out a ‘yes!’ when I asked if I should do it. I replied back to Erin, saying I would do the interview. She was excited and said she’d be calling for an interview in a few hours.

Aside from thinking about feeling like an impostor, I kept thinking of the worst. What if I came off like an idiot? What if I was misquoted? What if she asked me something and I didn’t know how to respond? But, in the end, everything went off well. And I am really pleased how it turned out. Here’s what I did before hand:

Deep breaths: Simple, I know, but there are times when we forget to breath. Focusing on those deep breaths also helps as a distraction from negative thoughts.

The story: I went over different things in my head about the book. Why I self published, what I liked about my characters, when I started the series, etc… Having answers in my head made me feel prepared.

The questions every writer gets: Why do you write? Where do you get your ideas? When did you first start writing? These are things many authors get asked and I tried to think of as many as I could. Again, I was trying to prep as much as I could.

Positive thoughts: My husband, Sherry and a couple of other friends I told were happy and excited for me. The exposure would help get the word out. I reminded myself I may get a book or two sold because of this but also: as a writer, especially in a small community, it tends to feel lonely. (Thank goodness for my writers group!) So, I also thought letting the community know  about another writer was a good thing. There are more writers then people realize in Cape Breton. We have lots of talent here, including those who write. Sometimes I feel we are in the shadows. I tried to focus on the positive and remind myself that I got this.

I was very excited this week to read my interview.

It turned out very well and I am very happy with it. So, if you get asked to to an interview for a newspaper or blog, do it! And each time you say yes to an interview, it will get easier each time. Those nerves will go away. Or mostly, at the very least.

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How I am Prepping My Life For Nanowrimo

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There is more to Nano prep then just writing outlines and character sketches. Right now I am doing the most important Nano prep I can do: sorting out life in general. If I can do that, then I will set myself up for a good chance at success.

Cleaning House: There isn’t much time in November to take care of the house like you’d usually do. I know if I sit down on November 1st and my house isn’t sorted out it will be a major distraction. I will want to finish cleaning and organizing which is wasted time. This week I started my fall cleaning: the upstairs bedrooms are freshened up, swept and mopped. Most of the downstairs is sorted. For me, as long as my kitchen and bathroom are clean I’m a happy camper. Having any big cleaning done for November helps prevent junk, dishes and laundry from piling up. Nobody wants to deal with that come December.

My office: Not only will a messy house distract me but so will a messy office. I did that room first. My desk is tidy and I can keep notes, snacks and drinks near me. I have a big comfy blanket on the floor so Foxy, our greyhound, can come in and keep me company while I write. Whatever writing space you are using, make sure it is tidy and organized.

Writing Fuel: With Halloween coming I’ll be picking up some extra goodies, especially if they are on sale. You can’t sit and write a novel without chocolate or another form of fuel. If you vise is coffee, pick up some of your fave flavors before November.

Food prep: This one will be easy for me since hubby is leaving for work. Since I will be only cooking for one, leftovers and easy meals will be my best friend in November. I do plan to make a few bigger meals so I can have leftovers for a few days. The last thing I want to do when I come home after work is spending a lot of time cooking and on clean up. I will want to get to my laptop ASAP.

Warning Friends it’s Nano time: Not that I have a super busy social life, but come November I will be posting on FB that it’s Nano, which means hibernation mode. Partly, at least. Pen pal letters will have to wait until December, some coffee dates will have to wait. People who care about you and support you don’t mind waiting a little while for your time.

So, how do you prep for Nano? What other non-writing ways is there to get ready?

Get Crackin: Preptober

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It dawned on me today that I have yet to even start getting ready for Nanowrimo next month. I had a slight panic attack but seeing as how it’s still early in the month, I relaxed a little.

Everyone has their own way of getting ready. Some are old school like me and write up notes and index cards, while others use programs like Scrivener. (I will get that eventually…she said for the umpteenth time).

Some writers have a full blown manuscript on just their prep alone, with pages of character sketches, maps, plot points, scene break down, etc… While others have little to no idea the day Nano starts. (You people are my heroes…I know people who have had success doing this.  I am not one of those people.)

If you don”t know what your method is, just find what works for you. All writers are different. What works for me might not work for you.

This is what I need to prep this year:

Characters: I am writing in the same universe as my Blood Bonds so I know my charcters well, but there are a couple of new faces. One has introduced himself to me, the other two are being coy and won’t come out of the shadows…yet. Hopefully they will by November 1st.

Setting: Again, same universe so I know the setting well. I will be getting to know it a tad more, but nothing too major.

Plot: Ok, so this is where is gets tricky. Basically I know I want two things in particular to happen…in my head one is a plot and the other is a subplot, but things may go a bit differently. I need to think on my story more. I plan to write some scenes I know I want to happen. I will bring out the index cards and use that method. It’s one of my faves. This will help me figure out plot and give me something to work with come November.

Rewards: Yeah, this is totally on my prep list. I need some sort of treat to fuel me to get a few extra words in. If I hit 25k ahead of schedule, I am having a day off and a Big Mac. I used to use Halloween candy. Like, have a piece after five hundred words or so. But let’s face it, I can’t refrain myself from dippin in the treat bowl. 😉

So, what are you doing to prep for Nano? Do you know what your project is for this year?

 

Camp Nano Prep and Other Shenanigans

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Like I said in my last post, June has been a hectic month. But I am focusing on July. Things should be a lot more settled by then. The new salon location will be up and running for the 2nd! And, the stress of greyhound adoption has been lifted since we found out we have been approved! We go on Saturday for an orientation and odds are we will be bringing home our new furbaby. (So, be prepared for a big greyhound post and pics of our new four legged kid 😉 )

With July coming means another month of Camp Nano! I have already signed up and am in a cabin one of my friends started. So I am looking forward to doing it again. My plan of action is what I did back in April. I am aiming for 30 hours of varied writing projects such as blogging, outlining a novel that has been peculating for awhile,  reading more writing related articles (maybe start re-reading Stephen King’s On Writing) and I am not sure what else.

Once July hits I will be finished the salon move and we will have our dog. So things *should* be a little less crazy. Work will be steady and we have a greyhound to help train and adjust, but that’s all good stuff. ❤

Are you doing camp Nano? What are your goals?

Writing: That Impostor Feeling

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You know that voice you hear when you’re writing something and it says things like “Omg this is total crap”, “You really should go back and edit this before you write another word” or “This is worst thing ever written”. 

That voice is the inner critic. The voice that makes you doubt your idea, your story or that last sentence you just wrote.

I learned to tune that asshole out a few years ago. My first time taking part in Nanowrimo, to be honest. There wasn’t any time to listen to him. I couldn’t stop and edit because I had to get to that 50k word goal.

Well, now I have a different voice in my ear when I write. It’s the inner critic’s big brother. The voice that makes me feel like I’m an impostor. A fraud.

This goes beyond the inner critic. This isn’t a matter of writing a horrible paragraph. This is the voice that says “Why do you even write at all? Your stories are garbage and there are soooo many great authors out there. Why are you even trying?”

This asshole is hard to tune out. But I’ll do it.

The last few days I feel like I snuck into the the cool kids house party, but nobody has realized I’m there. I came in the back door, been hanging out by the snack table when I am not hiding in the darker corners of the house.

And it’s only a matter of time before I am caught and thrown out.

Last night I went for coffee with a friend of mine, who is also a writer. She has a number of novels published, short stories published and she is a fantastic story teller. The night before we got together for coffee, I was thinking about how prolific she is and how I wished I could have her talent. While having coffee, she told me she wished she was more prolific. And I had to laugh, and I admitted that the night before I wished she was as prolific as she was. It just goes to show, every writer is hard on themselves, for one reason or another.

When you have these self doubts, ignore them. It’s hard at first, trust me. The easy way would be to quit doing what you love. But then the bastard in your ear wins. And who wants that?

My friend shared this article last night, How to Keep Writing even when you feel like a fraud. I found it really helpful.

So, if you have this impostor feeling, don’t give up. I know I won’t.

 

 

A Letter to My 18 Year Old Self: On Writing

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Dear Kid, (cuz yeah, that’s what you still are)

You’re a daydreamer. And good news: that doesn’t stop. Bonus points: it pays off someday. In the not to distant future, you’re gonna get published for the first time. How great is that?!

But here is the thing…you gotta KEEP writing. Even when it is shit. ESPECIALLY when it is shit.

Don’t throw out any of your work. That’s a pain in the heart you can’t get back. Every bit of writing should be kept. Just in case. If anything, you can see how you’ve grown. Or have a good laugh.

Backup EVERYTHING. Anything you save on a laptop, save in other places. Hell, email it to yourself. Because when the time comes and you don’t do that, you will hate yourself. Trust me.

Write more. Put writing at the top of your priority list. Fill those note books with ideas, dreams, scene and plot ideas. Write more short stories. Start those novels. Finish them. Even if it is just ten or twenty minutes a day, write something down.

Read more. Not just fiction. You got that pretty covered. Read books on writing. Blogs on writing. There is lots of great (and not so great) info out there.

And when you get the chance, go to that writers group. Don’t be nervous. Trust me, it’s one of the best things you will ever do.

And last but not least, don’t beat yourself up. When writing isn’t going well or you feel like your idea is stupid, don’t get frustrated. Just keep going Kid. Books and story telling have been in your heart since day 1.

Love,

Your future self

My Personal Writing Tunes

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Every writer has their own method to their madness. Some write at the crack of dawn, others do their best work at night. Some need coffee to get their writing mojo going, while others don’t. (I’m not a coffee girl but I love a good iced coffee…especially when I am sitting down to write). And other authors need silence while some need music blasted while they work.

My writing playlist changes. It depends on my mood. It also depends on the type of piece I am writing. Angst/pain ridden scenes are usually when I listen to Seether. Fight scenes I usually listen to AC/DC or Metallica. Again, all depends on what I am feeling at the moment.

Here are some of my fave tunes to play while I write.

  1. The Devil and The Huntsman by Sam Lee and  Daniel Pemberton. (This is from the King Arthur: Legend of the Sword soundtrack. I love the entire thing, but this song especially. Great for when I am working on one of my fantasy stories.)
  2. July Talk- Push + Pull. I have recently discovered this song thanks to my hubby. Most of the time I write to fast songs, and this is at the top of my playlist when I sit down these days.
  3. Love me like you do  by Ellie Goulding. I love her voice and this song is usually playing when I am writing some sort of romance.
  4. Star ships by Nicki Minaj. Again, fast songs are big on my playlist.
  5. Thunderstruck  by AC/DC. Another fast song and one that’s perfect for action scenes.
  6. Turbo Lover by Judas Priest.
  7. Drown  by Theory of a Deadman. These guys are one of my fave bands, and I got to see them in concert two years ago. I always have a few of their songs playing when I write. Drown  is one of my all time fave songs by them.
  8. Anything by Rhianna. I am not listing her songs simply because most of them are on my playlist. I tried to pick a fave for this list but that’s like asking me to pick my favorite book in the world.
  9. For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica.
  10. Crazy Bitch by Buck Cherry.

So, what’s on the top of your writing playlist? I would love to hear them in the comments! Maybe I will find some new faves to add to mine! 🙂