Monday, May 21, 2018

Author Spotlight: Karen Carlisle


Karen J Carlisle is an imagineer and writer of steampunk,

Victorian mysteries and fantasy.


She was short-listed in Australian Literature Review’s 2013 Murder/Mystery Short Story Competition and published her first novella, Doctor Jack & Other Tales, in 2015. Her short story, Hunted, featured in the Adelaide Fringe exhibition, ‘A Trail of Tales’.

Karen lives in Adelaide with her family and the ghost of her ancient Devon Rex cat.

She’s always loved dark chocolate and rarely refuses a cup of tea.

Welcome Karen once again to Killing Time Blog. This is your second visit here and I was so happy to have you back again.

How long have you been writing, and how did you become involved in writing?
I used to write Doctor Who stories as a child. I wanted to be part of the adventure.

I won a school poetry prize when I was nine, wrote some angsty teen poetry in the 70s and my first SF/comedy novel in grade 12 (on a typewriter with carbon paper) - because I didn’t like the ending of some of the books I read.

I wrote again in the mid 90s (mainly D&D articles for an Australian roleplaying magazine). I started again in 2012 - as therapy following workplace anxiety (and now diagnosed as PTSD). Finally I had returned to my bliss (except I don’t call it that when elbow-deep in rewrites with a deadline looming).

What are you working on at the moment?

‘Aunt Enid: Protector Extraordinaire’ is the first of ‘The Aunt Enid Mysteries’, set in modern Adelaide. The rest is… spoilers.

Did you have any goals with writing, and if so, how well do you feel you’ve achieved them?
Keep writing. I can’t go back to my old career. It’s not good for my health. I need to get all these stories out of my head and share them with others.

I’m still working on it.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I’m trying to find the balance between my health and writing. That is my current goal - and see if I can pull off two books a year…

How long does it take you to write a book?
Up to a year currently. Aunt Enid will end up about the six month mark.

What are the hardest parts of being an author for you?
Staring at a blank page and the fear of failing.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?
I love using words. I love creating worlds (I’ve been doing world building since DMing Dungeons and Dragons, back in the 70s.) I also love making book trailers (I also wanted to be a director or cinematographer when I was a kid).

Do you have a spot where you like to write?
I have several spots I like to write. I often sit at my ‘sewing table’ in the front sun room, with a view of the garden. I have a standing desk (for back health). Sometimes I pop to the local library, or write in the back garden, or even in the car at school pick up.

Besides writing, what do you love doing?
Photography, video work, playing D&D with friends, drawing, costuming, steampunk, and much more.

What books or authors have had the most influence on you as an author?
Agatha Christie, JRR Tolkein, Arthur Conan Doyle, HG Wells, Gail Carriger, Jim Butcher… shall I go on?

What did you find most useful when you were learning to write and expanding your skills?
I’ve done some local WEA courses on writing. We’re fortunate to have a good local teacher who has worked with publishing houses as an editor, is a writer and a professional teacher.

Jim Butcher and other authors also several talks on youTube, from various conventions he has spoken at.

I also find it valuable being a member of a critiquing writing group, with some lovely (and honest) people.

What are your thoughts about ebooks vs. print books?
Personally, I prefer print. They don’t need power, they are more comfortable for me to hold. I love the smell, the covers, and I find I can concentrate on the story more. I do own some myself.
I have a love/hate/hate relationship with technology. I use it because I have to. It’s great when it works, but…

However, many people love eBooks. I always publish my books in both print and digital formats so people can choose their own preference.

What are your thoughts about self-publishing vs traditional publishing?
I self publish because I can control the end product. I love doing the cover art (I also wanted to be an artist when I left school… and an astronaut… and…) and making booktrailers. I get to do all things! I can also control deadlines, which is important to me; it helps with my anxiety. I don’t have to work to someone else’s deadline. At the moment this is a mental health priority.

I hope to do the ‘hybrid’ publishing thing one day. It would be nice to have someone do some of the marketing and organising for me on occasion.

How often do you write, and how do you find or make time to write?
I had an unscheduled paid work cessation. I had planned to write part-time for at least five years and then transition to full-time writing. Well, that didn’t happen!

So, I now write full-time and am still trying to find a balance. Too many stories. Not enough time.
I try to write almost every day. Currently I take some ‘off days’ then write like mad for weeks on end, up to sixteen plus hours for five to seven days (especially when I have a deadline). Then, I crash and burn for a few weeks. One day I’ll actually do the ‘write five days and have a weekend off’ thing.
I actually work longer hours now than when I was in a paid job.

Do you plan your whole book out in advance, or just let it flow? What does your writing process look like? I used to be a full-on pantser! But I needed more stability. I’m now a plotter-pantser.

An idea will strike (often sparked by a picture, a song, a title, something someone said…) and I’ll scribble down bits. If I think there’s a longer story there, I assign it a box (literally) and put any related inspirations or writing in that box. I may have an instant idea of the main story points and ending or they may wheedle their way into my brain, or the story box, over time. Eventually I have the bones of a story.

I tried planning out every scene once. I stressed out, feeling I couldn’t deviate. I’ve modified the process now. I write specific points on sticky notes, pop them on the cupboard door in the sun room.

I dive into research until the settings, time or character headspace oozes from my pores, then I let it all sink in for a while. (this can take a week or a month. My fantasy work-in-progress has been in the ‘pop it in in the box and let it cogitate’ step for years now. )

I then work on the scenes or chapters related to each note. This gives me the flexibility to move them around (or scrap them) as the story changes and evolves. The most important thing is to know the ending, and ask ‘what would the character do?’/ ‘what are they thinking?’

I also use sticky notes along the way, if I remember an important point three chapters later, or something lurking in the back of my mind pops into the story. If I need to put a ‘gun in the room’, so to speak, then a sticky note goes into the earlier manuscript to remind me in final rewrites.

Every few chapters I do new ‘story line notes’ and more things get added to the bones for the final story (like a snowflake growing).

There’s a family joke: when I’m staring out the window, they say ‘leave mum alone, she’s writing’, which is absolutely true. Stories often mull in my head on the ‘procrastinating’ or ‘time off days’. My brain is always sifting through different story permeations and ‘what ifs’.

What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write?
Wake up. (do my PTSD therapy if I’m able, ten minutes on the stepper for endorphins). Cup of tea (perhaps some chocolate if I’ve had a bad night). I try to start writing or research at 9.30 to 10.00 am. I’m supposed to break for lunch, but often I get distracted until school pick up. I take a break, catch up on my favourite TV show (I’ve just finished re-watching all the Miss Marple in order) or watch a movie (so 60-90 minutes break) and then try to finish up the writing. If I’m having a bad health day, this goes out the window. I usually get a second wind about 11.00 pm and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night to scribble in the notebook by the bed.

In reality, I aim for minimum of four hours writing a day.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block? If so, how do you deal with it?
My writers’ block is more procrastination, usually at the start of a new story or chapter. The blank page is my bane. I often know what I want to write but the fear sets in…

I switch to either a different story or something artistic and concentrate on cover or poster design or scripting the next book trailer and working out stills and shots I will need. (at least it’s constructive procrastination) On bad days, I just chill, let my brain recover and catch up on reading or movies. I even have a divers’ notebook in the shower. Relaxing seems to jog things.

Do you read your own reviews? If so, how do you deal with bad reviews?
Unless someone emails me a review, I stumble over reviews. The worst review I had was someone emailed me about: I didn’t think it was that bad. The (male) reviewer just didn’t seem to understand the motivation of a (female) character and mansplained how she should have reacted in the situation in question and obviously hadn’t followed the character arc to its conclusion. Oh, well.

The way I look at it is, no one can please everyone. I’m just happy to get comparisons to Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes (mentioned a few times) in independent reviews… (and not get trolled). That makes up for most things.

Other than reviews, do you hear from your readers? What kinds of things do they say? I get readers contacting me on FB, twitter and chatting to me at conventions. I get fans emailing me to ask what costumes a character would wear so they can cosplay them (squee!) or ‘when’s the next book coming out?’ and (best of all) dragging their friends (literally) up to my table and saying ‘you have to buy this book!’ (Waves at Tilly- my first con fan!)

What are some ways in which you promote your books? What have you found most or least effective? I do interviews (like this one), guest blog posts, book trailers (on my youtube channel) and webpage. I’ve done talks for local heritage groups, SF and book groups and would love to do talks for schools. I do local steampunk and pop culture conventions. I also have a live chat, via Patreon, and a monthly newsletter for those who want to know more.

I find the most effective is talking and engaging with readers.

Least effective? Facebook ads. I tried it. I get more regular organic reach than when I paid for it.

How easy or hard do you think it is it to make a living as an author? Did you know the average author’s wage in Australia is only $12,500? And yet people still want free stuff.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to be an author? 1. Keep your day job
2. You need to actually write stuff.
3. Beware vanity presses.
4. Never stop learning.
5. Write what you love because you’re going to be in this for the looooong haul.

Tell us a random fact about yourself My father was part native Canadian.
I’ve been a Doctor Who fan since I was 4 (1969) You do the maths. J

Thank you for dropping by Karen, this has been an amazing insight into your writing and your practices. How and where can readers find out more about you and your amazing stories:
  • Website: www.karenjcarlisle.com 
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenJCarlisle/ 
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/kjcarlisle 
  • Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/KarenJCarlisle 
  • Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/KarenJCarlisle

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Author interview - Speculative Fiction author Avril Sabine

Please welcome Avril Sabine to the blog. 

Avril Sabine is an Australian author who lives on acreage in South East Queensland. She writes mostly young adult and children’s speculative fiction, but has been known to dabble in other genres. She has been writing since she was a young child and wanted to be an author the moment she realised someone wrote the books she loved to read.

Can you tell us a bit about you as an author?
I've been writing nearly all my life and wanted to be an author the moment I realised someone wrote the words I loved to read. I wasn't old enough to attend school and didn't know the person who wrote books was called an author, but I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.

What are the hardest parts of being an author?
The most difficult thing for me about being an author is finding the time to write the stories for all the ideas I have. There's no way I can write all of them in one lifetime. This makes it very difficult sometimes when it comes to choosing which idea to write next as I want to write them all.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?
I love finding out what is going to happen in my stories. I don't plot or plan. I'm discovering the story the same way a reader does the first time they read one of my books. As a reader and a writer that is one of the aspects I most love about being an author.

What authors/books have had an influence on your writing?
Fairytales have had the most influence on me as a writer as I was reading a book of fairytales when I realised I wanted to be an author.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you believe there is such a thing?
I never get writer's block. There are times my characters don't want to cooperate and then I realise I'm trying to make them act out of character. I tend to go back to the start of each story when I reach about halfway and read it through, keeping myself immersed in that world and the story I'm telling.

Do you have a particular place that you like to write?
I write anywhere and at any time. I even write while doing housework, using a voice to text program. There have been times when I've been so drawn into a story that I'll miss out on sleep because I need to find out what happens next.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
Time of day or night isn't important to me when it comes to writing. Nor are my surrounding or noise level. If there is a story I need to write, all else is irrelevant.

How do you like to reach your readers? 

I connect with my readers online and at events. I have a mailing list readers can sign up to so they can regularly receive exclusive news about new covers and what is coming out next. I think it's important to share that sort of information with my loyal readers first.

Can you tell us about your latest book? (is it part of a series, genre)
Since my latest book is constantly changing due to putting out a title every month, I'll talk instead about my writing in general. I have several ongoing series that I put out a book a year in. These are stand alone series. When I put out a continuing series I like to release it in a short time frame. Mainly because I hate waiting years to find out what happens so I don't think it's fair to make my readers suffer something I myself dislike.

How long did it take you to write the book?
When it comes to writing, I tend to write the first draft fairly quickly. Two to six weeks on average for a 50-60,000 word novel. It's the editing that takes time. Or research if it's a book I need to do some research for. On average, a book can take me anywhere from six months to three years to write, taking into account research, first draft and edits. I don't work on only one book during that time. I often have thirty or more books on the go at various stages of the process, but I only focus on one book at a time. When I finish a stage, I set it aside and work on something else to gain some perspective before returning to it. Or while I wait for it to return from my editors.

Do you have a favourite character/topic in your work?
In every single book I have characters I love. Quite often several and even at times the ones that aren't in the least bit loveable. There are of course the characters I love to hate as well. A great villain can often be extremely important, depending of course on the type of story being written.

What was your process? Did you plot out the entire book, or just let the storyline flow? Do you write in chronological order?I never plot. Frequently I don't know how the book is going to end. I start with an idea or character and go from there. I also write out of order sometimes. If a scene is extremely vivid in my mind I will write it, even if I haven't reached that scene in the book yet. That tends to make me want to get the scenes before it written quickly as I want to see how the events unfold that led up to that scene.


Do you have plans for further instalments?
I have my series that I've been releasing something in each year. Realms Of The Fae, Demon Hunters, Rosie's Rangers, Fairytales Retold, Myths And Legends Retold and Plea Of The Damned. I plan to continue releasing books in these series as well as a mixture of other books each year.

Do you have a plan for your next book?
I have a document full of ideas and I know I'll never have the chance to write all of them. Even if I wrote twenty books a year and lived to be one hundred and twenty I still wouldn't be able to write every idea. Other than my series, I choose the ideas that won't leave me alone. The ones that wake me at night and insist I write the story. The characters who remain in my thoughts and the stories that are the most vivid to me. Sometimes this is a difficult choice to make, as it can be more than one idea that insists on being written.

Ebooks vs Physical books? Do you have a preference when reading?
I like both ebooks and physical books. Ebooks are great for carrying around with you. How else can you take a library with you everywhere you go and not break your back? My house seems to be full of books, everywhere you look. I've had visitors tell me they feel like they're visiting a library.

Self-publishing vs traditional publishing? What are your thoughts? Do you feel that the industry is changing?There are pros and cons to both and it really depends on what an author is looking for as to which option is best for them. After knocking back several publishing contracts that weren't suitable for me I decided to publish independently. There are so many aspects of it that I enjoy including having final say in covers, editors and my publishing timeline.

And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Aspiring authors should read well-written stories and write regularly. It might seem simple, but it's good to start with the basics. In life it's just as important to learn how to crawl, as it is to learn how to run.

How can readers find out more about you: 

Website: http://www.avrilsabine.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/avril.sabine

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AvrilSabine

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/avrilsabine

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7432722.Avril_Sabine

Thank you so much for dropping by Avril. 

If you'd you like to be interviewed for this blog, please email me at amanda@amandahoward.com.au

Until next time,

Cheers, 

Amanda

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Author Interview Jennifer Burge, author of The Devil Wears Clogs


Happy New year Everyone. I really hope you have had a great time away from the hustle and bustle. Had time to rejuvenate and get started on those new plans for 2017.

I am continuing with the hugely popular interviews of authors across the globe and this week I invited Jennifer Burge for an interview on Killing Time Blog.


Jennifer Burge understands the challenges of life abroad. Having documented the pitfalls of taking her career from the United States to Europe in her first memoir, The Devil Wears Clogs, it’s hard to imagine she would be confounded by the complexity of another foreign culture—yet that is exactly the case. Her understanding of Asian tradition is a mirage appearing and disappearing with each new interaction.

Moving to Singapore when the rigidity of European life began to wear on her seemed to be the perfect solution. A sophisticated modern condo in the heart of a developing nation was the answer to her prayers—or so she thought. The entrance of the Global Financial Crisis compounded the already-challenging international job search to an unprecedented level. Living in her fourth country without her professional status or a peer network leaves Jennifer to question her identity. Solo travel across Asia allows her to create an authentic one.

Can you tell us a bit about you as an author?
I’ve always had an interest in writing, but for years that took second place to my number one addiction which is traveling. In order to finance my aspirations of world travel, I worked as an IT project manager and consultant for nearly 20 years. Assignments during that time took me to ten different countries with me taking up residence in five of them.

In 2012, I made the leap from corporate rat-racer to full-time author because I wanted to write about what it truly means to have an overseas career. It is rarely as glamorous as it sounds and it is NOT for the faint of hearts.

During the past few years, I have become an active member of the Queensland Writer’s Centre and the Australian Society of Authors which helped enormously in understanding an industry in which I was a complete foreigner. The Devil Wears Clogs, about life in Europe, was first published in 2014 and Singapore Salvation, on life in Asia, entered the world in late 2015.

What are the hardest part of being an author?
Sitting down and doing the work! As I mentioned, I am travel-obsessed, which means I have an aversion to sitting still. A quick look at my blog is proof positive. Other than that, I think writing memoir is a very tricky business. You have to be careful writing about the people and events in your life while being honest—sometimes brutally honest—and that is far from easy.

What do you enjoy most about being an author
When I sit down to write about a particular event, the telling of it rarely goes as I expect. The story takes me where it wants me to go and I am honestly just the channel. It might sound odd, but there is a certain sort of magic that shows up when I am in the flow. It is a feeling that cannot be duplicated.

What authors/books have had an influence on your writing?
Joan Didion, Mary Karr, Jeanette Walls, Caitlin Moran—all excellent female memoirists & non-fiction authors.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you believe there is such a thing?Only when writing about something that bores me. If I’m excited by the story, it doesn’t happen to me.

Do you have a particular place that you like to write? My home office in a bushy suburb north of Brisbane is perfect. I watch the birds and my own personal rain forest. It’s the first place I’ve ever had where I can truly sit and think with zero distraction and for me, I require silence. Others can write with music blaring, but I’m not one of those people.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?Afternoons. In the mornings, my mind is simmering on something and by the afternoon, it’s ready to be served.

How do you like to reach your readers?
Social media, author talks, blogs, book tours---you name it, I do it. I think it’s the only way to truly discover what works for you. There is so much “advice” out there that you have to find your method in the madness.

Can you tell us about your latest book? 
Singapore Salvation is the second in a set of three books about work and life abroad. It is the sequel to The Devil Wears Clogs. In 2017, the final installment about life in Australia will be published.

How long did it take you to write the book?Singapore Salvation took two years to write. The Devil Wears Clogs, my first book, took six. On average, I am only ready to write about what has happened about seven years after it happens. That’s how long it takes me to gain enough perspective on these situations to make sense of my part of the equation.

Do you have a favourite character/topic in your work?

I call these books my ‘How NOT to Live Abroad’ guides as I basically share all the mistakes I’ve made in not understanding other cultures. When I left the United States for work in Germany in 2001, we didn’t have all this information about other nations and cultures at our fingertips as we do today. We still had analog internet! When I was looking for any sort of book that would tell me what my life and career would look like in another country, I was unable to find it. That’s why I’m writing these now.

What was your process? Did you plot out the entire book, or just let the storyline flow? Do you write in chronological order?
Luckily, digital cameras DID come into the world not long after I began my global misadventures, so I have an incredible archive of photos. As they are arranged by date, this helps provide the outline for the story as well as the basis for a lot of my setting description.

Once I have outlined, including the story arc, then I fill in the content.

Do you have plans for further instalments? The Python in My Driveway is my working title for the book about Australia that I am currently working on. For an American, a five foot snake in the driveway on a trip to the mailbox is far from a “normal” occurrence!

Do you have a plan for your next book? Too many to count!

Ebooks vs Physical books? Do you have a preference when reading?
I read both. When traveling I tend to read ebooks and at home I often read physical books.

Self-publishing vs traditional publishing? What are your thoughts? Do you feel that the industry is changing?I started with a publisher and switched to self-publishing. I have never worked harder, but I have never had more fun at work. I think you have to truly evaluate how much time you are willing to put into activities that aren’t writing/editing. If you don’t have an entrepreneurial spirit—do not self- publish.

And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Don’t give up. If you love it, stick with it no matter what. If you don’t love it, this game probably isn’t for you.

If you'd like to know more about Jennifer's work, you can find her here:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/worldwiseJen/ (author Page)
               https://www.facebook.com/SingaporeSalvation/ (book page)
               https://www.facebook.com/devilwearsclogs/ (book page)
Twitter: @jenniferburge
Instagram: @jen_burge 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Author interview with Crime Author T.J. Spade

Welcome my lovely visitors, readers and authors, this week I am interviewing fellow crime author, T.J. Spade.

T.J. Spade has two fascinations: Indiana Jones and the macabre. After trying to be Indy for a while and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Archaeological Practice, T.J is now satisfying interest number two by plotting murder … on paper only of course.

Can you tell us a bit about you as an author? Well, I’m actually fairly new to this whole ‘being an author’ schtick. My debut novel, ‘The Everett Files Book 1: Take You Apart’ was published 30 November, 2015. Since then I’ve released Book 2 in the series and began work on Book 3. It’s been an amazing (and very busy) journey, and really, the best I’ve ever embarked upon.

What are the hardest parts of being an author?
Getting noticed and not becoming discouraged. A good friend of mine recently reminded me that it’s a marathon not a sprint – wise words.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?
No question, it’s the people I’ve met! Bloggers (you’re all amazing!), fellow indies, and of course my street team (shout out to Team Spade). I really feel as though I’m a part of something wonderful and the support is just incredible.

What authors/books have had an influence on your writing?
I write crime fiction, and I’d probably trace that influence back to when I was a teenager and frugally saving my babysitting money to buy the latest James Patterson novel. I fell head-over-heels for his fast-paced style and all the action! It was seriously such a thrill when my debut novel released and it got that initial big jump in sales (due to all of my family and friends who were obligated to buy it), and I found my title beside one of Patterson’s on the Amazon charts. I took a screenshot on my phone of posterity!

Do you ever get Writer’s Block? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you believe there is such a thing?I don’t really believe in it (novice claim alert!). Some scenes are certainly easier to write than others but I believe you can always write ‘something’. ($10 says I’ve now jinxed myself!)

Do you have a particular place that you like to write? Either in bed (computer in my lap and cat at my feet), or at the dining table. The table is conveniently situated near the air-conditioner and the heater, so it works well all year round.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write? The earlier the better. If it don’t get the ball rolling in the morning I start to panic.

How do you like to reach your readers? 

Mostly via Facebook but face-to-face is great too. I’ve done a talk at my local library and I’m on the author panel with fellow Indie, Montana Ash and the amazing Frederick Forsyth, for SpyFest (September 2016) – I’m super excited about that. I also have Books by the Bridge and Riveting Reads coming up in 2017.

and here are the links:

              Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TJSpade/

               Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/tjspade

               Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14661559.T_J_Spade

Can you tell us about your latest book? (is it part of a series, genre)
My latest release is ‘The Everett Files Book 2: Take You to Hell’. It picks up directly from where

Book 1 finishes and continues to follow the various cases of psychic police consultant, Caleb Everett. Caleb has worked alongside Homicide Detective Jack Rafferty for many years and he basically helps to hunt murderers and sometimes catch killers even before they strike. There’s a bit of a love interest (of course), and lots of fast-paced adventure.

How long did it take you to write the book? Approximately three months because I also work full-time. The first three Everett Files books will all have been published within a one-year period.

Do you have a favourite character/topic in your work?
I love my lead character, Caleb, but Jack Rafferty is pretty popular – I’m under strict instructions not to kill Jack off! I also thoroughly enjoy writing my villains – they’re pretty fun.

What was your process? Did you plot out the entire book, or just let the storyline flow? Do you write in chronological order?

I definitely work in chronological order and I have a lot mapped out … however, things change. Sometimes the characters will do something unexpected, or the plot will twist in a direction even I didn’t anticipate. I just roll with it.

Do you have plans for further instalments?
Yes. ‘Book 3: Take You Home’ is a work in progress (due out in December 2016). I also have plans for at least two more books in this series – and another series is busily plotting itself out within my grey matter.

Do you have a plan for your next book?
Yep, and my lips are sealed.

Ebooks vs Physical books? Do you have a preference when reading? Give me the hardcopy every time; I want to touch it, smell it, doggie-ear the pages and basically ogle it on my bookshelf.

Self-publishing vs traditional publishing? What are your thoughts? Do you feel that the industry is changing? It’s a tough one. If I was traditionally published I wouldn’t have my Street Team and all the amazing connections that go along with it. The flipside, is that I would have a publicist with connections and more experience than I could ever dream of having. I get the sense that the industry is moving in the direction of self-publishing and I think we see more amazingly talented, self-published authors cropping up every year. Actually, this seems like a good time to give IndieMosh (my publishing partners) a decent plug – Jenny and Ally are amazing, talented, knowledgeable and beyond helpful – if you need assistance getting your book out in the big, bad world I suggest you look them up.

And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
To quote a wise fish named Dory, “Just keep swimming.” If you’re not as successful as J.K. Rowling after your first novel … or your tenth novel … that doesn’t mean you throw in the towel. I see a lot of authors on social media getting upset by sales and reviews (or the lack thereof), and threatening to pull their books because “no-one” is reading them. In my opinion, you only fail when you give up, and the time you spend sulking about your so-called ill-fortune would be better spent on writing or promotion.

Just, “Swim, swim, swim.”

Thank you again for dropping by to chat TJ.



Thanks agian everyone for dropping by. If you'd like to be itnerveiwed for this blog, please drop me a line. 

Until next time, Happy reading!!!!


Cheers

Amanda





Saturday, November 26, 2016

Author Interview: Philip J Bradbury author of 53 Smiles

Welcome once again readers, it is time to interview another fantastic author.  This week, I have Philip J Bradbury here to answer me questions.

 Philip is a recovering accountant, banker, corporate trainer and lecturer who turned to writing. and somehow found himself involved in (or informed about) international intrigues, dishonesty and fraud, involving banks, governments and police forces. He thought it was time to turn them into stories so everyone can experience the "other side" of life.

Having run personal development courses in several countries (and being a student of A Course in Miracles) he couldn't help but bring in the spiritual element to his stories, giving characters (and readers) ways of dealing with stressful situations.

Life is far too interesting to be fluffing about on the sidelines and he (and his characters) are determined to live it to the fullest, even if it means a little danger, stress and uncertainty at times!

Thanks for joining me this week, can you tell us a bit about you as an author?
I write in every genre but there is one theme – to help you find peace, your place in the world and to rediscover the you that you lost. I share your hope that my words will help you unlock the prison you’re in, the current drama you can’t find your way out of. I share your hope and willingness to find your passion, your wings and take on the life you’re born to experience. It's my hope for me as well.

I spent twenty years in the wrong occupation. One year of accounting and I knew we didn’t fit each other. Why did I stay? Years later, I found I’d stayed bored and desperate to please my father and my wife. I couldn't please them. I can only please me.

Once I’d realised I was in a rut – a grave with the ends kicked out – I was stuck. I didn’t know what else to do. Also, the accounting income provided for my family. I had responsibilities and had to go on. I couldn’t let them down. But I let me down.

I’d followed my father's example – sticking in a job that sucked me dry – and became more angry and depressed.

The divorce was traumatic, sad and releasing but, work-wise, I quietly slipped sideways into teaching and writing and then, because of my 20 wasted years, facilitated personal development courses and men’s groups ... and wrote books on that. I quickly realised I was a lousy accountant and slowly realised I was a good teacher and writer. I loved them both and, 20 years later, still do.

If you’re misaligned you can't give (or receive) your best till you get wise about the choices you’re making in your actions, words and thoughts. I hope my words can help bring you back to wisdom, home and to the peace you know is there.

The dream I’ve realised for myself is the dream I have for you. I write for both of us.

What are the hardest part of being an author?

Finding a publisher or writers agent. Writers are good at writing and most of us are terrible at marketing/promotions. We need someone else to do that part but there’s so many more books and writers than publishers and agents. So, in the meantime, we try to do the marketing by self-publishing.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?

Writing! Just being in the space of writing, with the words flowing through. Impossible to describe though nothing should be impossible for an author to describe!

The other real buzz is hearing back from happy readers. Some have told me they were going to commit suicide, found my blog and my words saved them and set their lives on a more positive track. That kind of feedback – and other, less dramatic, reactions – are what give me the juice to carry on.

What authors/books have had an influence on your writing?

Paulo Coelho,

Do you ever get Writer’s Block? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you believe there is such a thing?

I used to get writers block and finally realised I was getting in the way. Actually, the first book I wrote was about me and I didn’t know it. I learned to meditate and, while meditating, I’d get these words in my head. They’d stay there, nagging me for days till I wrote them down. Then more words would turn up. So I’d write the sods down. A few months later, I decided to read the drivel I’d written and discovered it was my own life, beautifully told as a novel.

The lesson I learned from this is that I don’t write – I allow my pen to move to the music that flows through. When I get writers block, it’s when I’m trying to control the process. I’ll get frustrated for a while, trying harder to think of what to write and then realise I’m getting in the way. Then I let go, start writing drivel, anything nonsensical, and, soon, the better words start coming through again.

Do you have a particular place that you like to write?

Cafés. Don’t ask me why but there’s something magical about being surrounded by happily chatting people, the orgasmic aroma of coffee, pen and paper and my muses … the writing always flows in those exquisite places.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I’m often up at 4.00 or 5.00 am with words swirling in my head and I’ve learned that, if I write them down straight away, they fall more beautifully, more naturally, than if I leave them for hours or days. Sadly, cafés aren’t open at those times but I do make a point of going to a café at least twice a week with pen, paper and an empty mind, just to see what turns up. Something always does.

How do you like to reach your readers? (Social media? Book signings? Blogs etc)

Right now, without a publisher, I reach readers via social media, blogs and through the various writing classes that I run. I would, however, love to travel around the globe, doing seminars and book signings.

Can you tell us about your latest book?

From the back cover:

53 SMILES is about life – your life, my life, our lives – and its tiny stories address the big questions of the human condition and tell of our simple greatness, our foibles and how to let go of the need to be something for somebody else. This book, then, has many uses ...
• An exquisitely simple gift,
• A coffee table book,
• A Conversation starter,
• For daily meditations,
• For personal/spiritual development workshops,
• For Life Coaching,
• Teaching children (of any age) life lessons,
• To remind you of who you are each day – simply exquisite!
53 SMILES – 53 Special Moments In Life’s Exquisite Simplicity – is 53 53-word stories, along with illustrations and photos. I hadn’t heard of flash fiction till October 2015 when I stumbled on a flash fiction competition run by a Brisbane book store – the best 100-word (or less) story. I didn’t win but, realising nothing is for nothing and everything counts, decided not to waste my words. Three days later the idea popped in that I could write a book of 53 stories … 53 of them. I just liked the number 53 and the challenge of writing tiny stories – quite different from the 100,000-word books I’d previously written – appealed. I determined to write one a day and so it took 53 days! All were about personal or spiritual development and how to live a bigger life (or how not to live a smaller life) and, as a non-artist, relished the challenge of adding illustrations for the first time.

I’ve since written 97 SMILES, a 97 97-word book and who know what will come out next! 97 SMILES should be published in September.

How long did it take you to write the book?
53 days … and then a little longer to do the illustrations and assemble the photographs I’d taken over many years.

Do you have a favourite character/topic in your work?
My favourite (only?) topic is about being at the cross-roads of life – be that divorce, redundancy, financial struggle, health problems and so on – and about making wise choices when life turns to mush and turning it into fertilizer.

What was your process? Did you plot out the entire book, or just let the storyline flow? Do you write in chronological order?

Whether it’s a novel, non-fiction book or something else, I don’t seem to be able to plan anything – just not how I’m built. I just let it flow the way it wants to. It’s only after it’s finished that I release my logical brain and do the editing, that I start deleting, adding and rearranging words, phrases and chapters.

Do you have plans for further instalments?
I suspect I’ll write a few more flash fiction books but, right now, I’m focussing on the series of short story books.

Do you have a plan for your next book?
My current project is five books of short stories. I recently found 290 stories (fiction and non-fiction) all over the place in my computer and so I’m collating and sorting them to create five books on different topics - 40 Moments With Writing, 42 Moments With Men, 50 Moments With Fables, 55 Moments With God, 65 Moments With Self. That’s the plan, anyway …

Ebooks vs Physical books? Do you have a preference when reading?
I only read paper-back books. I suspect I’ll get an electronic reader someday but, till then, there’s something tactile about a “real” book – the smell, feel, sight …

Self-publishing vs traditional publishing? What are your thoughts? Do you feel that the industry is changing?
There’s no doubt that there’s change but the direction is debatable. Internet sales and self-publishing took over the traditional model but there’s evidence of the regrowth of bricks-and-mortar book stores again with, for example, Amazon’s plans to open 400 new book stores in USA. I self-publish and make a living out of that but would prefer to hand over the marketing to someone else so I’m looking back to the more traditional model … and I have no idea where we’re headed next.

And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Keep writing, listen to everyone and all the rules and then decide for yourself what’s best for you. All the rules are begging for you to break them. The internet is rife with “experts” who’ll guarantee you unlimited success but it’s impossible to know how successful they really are. Listen to it all and then tur to your gut, your intuition, and walk the path that brings your greatest peace … and don’t hesitate to call out for help as the community of authors is one of the most supportive I’ve ever known – we’re all here to help but can’t if you don’t ask! (I totally agree - A)

Thanks so much for dropping by Philip, where can readers find you?

Website: www.philipjbradbury.com
Linked In - Philip J Bradbury … https://au.linkedin.com/in/philip-j-bradbury-16a53127
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPhilipJBradbury/
Wordpress blogs:  https://flashfictionfanatic.wordpress.com/  https://pjbradbury.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhilipJBradbury

Thank you Philip for joining me this week, and again thank you to my readers for dropping by. 

If you'd like to be interviewed for this blog, please drop me a line. 

Until my next blogging moments, 

Cheers!

Amanda