Friday, October 6, 2017

Aspiring Author Aksha Lee visits the blog

Hi Everyone,

Today I have aspiring author, Aksha Lee dropping by to answer a few of my questions about her routines and loves as she continues on her journey of publishing her first book. I am hoping she can look back on these answers in a few years and perhaps extemporise a little further.

Remember that publicity is important and valuing your readers and connecting with them is vital to success as an author.

Can you tell us a bit about you as an author?

I am currently unpublished. I am wondering what folk are interested in apart from cricketers' biographies, Harry Potter, Twilight and 50 shades.

What are the hardest part of being an author? The hardest part are (sic): the lack of interest by Australian publishers for Australian authors writing on Australian subjects and the rudeness of publishers who simply never respond; publishers and agents who impose ludicrous arcane rules for submissions; people who are interested more in an author's life than the bloody books they write.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?
Writing. Not much more to say about that. An idea forms, I sit down and start pouring it onto the page then watch as the story takes shape and moulds itself around the setting and characters that live in the tale. It would make my enjoyment all the greater to get published and make a few bob.

What authors/books have had an influence on your writing?
William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, John O’Brien, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, O Henry, Fyodor Dostoyevski, Jonathon Swift, Leo Tolstoy, Franz Kafka, Leonard Clark, William Lines, R. M. & C. H. Berndt, Isaac D’Israeli, Mark Twain, Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson, Patrick White, D’Arcy Niland, Ern Malley, Helen Demidenko, Lee Falk, Barbara Cartland, Wilber Smith, C. S. Lewis, Spike Milligan, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Keneally, Henry Handel Richardson, Colleen McCulloch, Tim Winton, Neville Shute, Alexander Irvine, Frank McCourt, Frank Hardy, Thomas Hardy, Sol Encel, Elizabeth Jolley, Barry Humphries, Jane Eyre, Kathy Lette, Zoltan Kovacs, Robert G. Barrett, Sally Morgan, Albert Facey, W. E. Johns, Jules Verne, Xavier Herbert, Robin Boyd, H. Rider Haggard and quite a few others.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you believe there is such a thing?
No; plough on; no, let it flow.

Do you have a particular place that you like to write? On my lap-top. It doesn't matter where as long as I am comfortable, warm and dry. I treat it like a job, sit down, get to work, take a coffee break occasionally and if my brain stops or I trip over a problem in the story I go out and chop some wood or something equally physical. While I'm doing that my brain gets to work again and next time I sit down the story flows again.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write? When I'm awake. I find it rather difficult to write while asleep. I write while the ideas flow otherwise I find something else to do.

How do you like to reach your readers? 
Not a clue. More than 50 submissions to publishers that never respond. I have recently resorted to social media, to no effect thus far; nothing published that I could sign; no result from blog on wordpress.com or twitter or facebook.

I've read that JK Rowling tried 56 times before she found someone who thought her work had value. I've tried every Australian publisher at least twice for each of my texts and numerous agents as well. Several English and US publishers have also ignored me. One sent a standard reply that recommended various UK-based methods for success.

I have received replies from the Fremantle Press and they all say the same: "not what we are looking for at this time".

Some family have read my work and a mob called Grey Gecko in the US have two of my manuscripts on their "very short" list which may be reviewed next year. I was for a time one of their "slush pile" readers, which gave me an insight into the sort of crap that publishers receive every day but it also convinced me that my writing is worth publishing.
The big problem seems to be not so much as being a good writer as having a broad list of friends in appropriate places with good marketing skills.

As an aspergic person I don't understand "networking" and have very few acquaintences or "contacts" that could assist in the promotion of my work. But aside from that no one is interested in folk like me who don't have a wide stock of friends and work colleagues to rely on.

Can you tell us about your latest work in progress?
"Jane Doughty, a decade of my childhood". It's about a girl growing up from 8 to 18 and dealing with life and society's attitude to sex.

How long did it take you to write it?
About a month.

Do you have a favourite character/topic in your work?
No, just the story. I've written about life in Antarctica in 2000 years' time, a series of murders in outback WA, an adventure/romance set in Antarctica in 1986, and Jane's story.

What was your process? Did you plot out the entire book, or just let the storyline flow? Do you write in chronological order?
An idea forms in my head, I start writing and follow the plot as it crawls down the page. Each story just fell out of my head.

Do you have plans for further instalments?
Depends on the response to the first.

Do you have a plan for your next book?
No, after completing four manuscripts, I'm fed up with not getting any response, so I'm in hiatus until something happens. I'm not going to waste time and energy constructing something that's never going to see the light of day. I already have heaps of poetry, short stories and mangled musical lyrics just waiting for a publisher.

Ebooks vs Physical books? Do you have a preference when reading?
I've never read an ebook, the prospect doesn't thrill me.

Self-publishing vs traditional publishing? What are your thoughts? Do you feel that the industry is changing?
I would self-publish if I wasn't on the dole (government allowance), and to hell with the "industry".

And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read lots and keep writing. Then, most importantly of all, PROOF-READ; fill any gaps in the plot, and correct any errors of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Nothing worse that a text riddled with basic errors, despite some young folks' absolute ignorance of the "rules" of English useage.

How can readers find you?
             Wordpress: https://akshalee.wordpress.com         https://evelynkant.wordpress.com

I can see by Aksha's responses that she feels extremely disillusioned by the whole publishing industry. It is certainly a tough world to compete in, but it's about perseverance and to keep going when the rest all quit. As someone who has been writing for most of my life, and seriously publishing for the past 12 years, the best advice I can give to someone who is in this frame of mind, is to keep going. 

Opportunities do present themselves. Sometimes it's about taking the road less travelled, rather than the same journey as everyone else.  I work full-time and long hours to 'fund' my writing career, I am also completing my Masters of Arts (Writing) and looking towards another Masters degree when that one is finished. 

Twelve years after my first book, I am finally seeing the results of 20 hour days and a gross lack of sleep. People ask why I do it, why do I work so hard, especially without massive financial reward, my answer is always, I don't write for money, I write because it fills my soul.  I also say that I will make it. I have dreams and goals, and I work hard to see them come to fruition. Writing is a long tough rough, it is solitary and it is frustrating and confronting, it can be soul destroying but it can be highly rewarding. 

I hope Aksha, that you don't give up on your dream, and that you keep going strong. You can do it!

If you'd like to be interviewed for the blog, or have an interesting story to tell, please drop me a line. 

Until next time, happy reading!

Cheers, 

Amanda Howard


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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Author Interview: A Hell of a Ride with author Emma James

Welcome again readers, 

I love an interview that starts with a warning: 

Emma's writing contains adult situations which may offend and graphic violence, but it is one hell of a fictional ride. Strap yourself in. For mature aged readers 18 +. 

Now that we've got your attention, let me introduce Emma to you all,

Writing has been a part of Emma James' life for many years until she decided to take a leap into the self publishing world and see where that journey takes her.

Writing words on paper is as important as the air she breathes. There's nothing more satisfying to her than writing all day to bring to life amazing characters who will stay in your heart.

Emma writes in both adult contemporary romance with her Men Of Ocean Beach series and dark suspense romance ( with MC influence ) , with her Hell's Bastard series. She is very passionate about writing and enjoys the discipline needed to line all those ducks up in a row to get a book over the finish line and published.

Life is about finding that one thing that you know you can do well and living it.

It's never too late to find it.

Thanks Emma for dropping in this week, can you tell us a bit about you as an author?

Writing has been a part of my life for many years until I decided to take a leap into the self publishing world and play for real and see where that journey took me. In my early twenties I started typing away on a spanky new electronic typewriter, ( as I said many years) and thought up beachside romance stories. Nothing I would release now. All was very raw and probably naive. I do have a paranormal series I have plotted out into a seven book series and actually stole one of the characters names. I’ll tell you it was Text. I’ve been wanting to be brave for a very long time.

Writing words is as important as the air I breathe. There's nothing more satisfying to me than bringing a story to life and letting the characters work their way into the reader’s heart.

What are the hardest part of being an author?

Back in 2014 when I was self publishing my very first book, A Little Faith, there was a steep learning curve with anything to do with the whole process. It was like climbing a writer’s equivalent to Mt Everest. Being a housewife and mum to three kids at the time and all of a sudden having to learn the ins and outs of releasing a book was pretty intimidating. I am still learning and fine tuning parts of the writing and marketing process as we all are.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?

Putting words on paper and then rereading those words and reworking them until eventually I have something I am proud to release into the book world. I enjoy bringing characters to life and letting them talk to me. There’s something very satisfying about being able to tell a story that readers love as much as you do. I love it when they fall heavily for certain characters. That means I’ve done a good job. I particularly enjoy seeing who they cast in their mind for the main characters and sub characters.

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

I try to write as original a story as I can. I try to make my own mark. Every author I have ever read has given me a little push to break through my invisible barriers I had constructed and to give it a go for real. I am inspired by Colleen Hoover and J.K Rowling every day and in particular the many talented Australian authors who have blossomed and gone onto publishing contracts as well as holding their own ground in the self publishing world. These authors are smart. They learn to work the system to their benefit. They are in control of their books by setting up deals that will work for them. They aren’t letting the publishing world control them as much as it used to.

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

I certainly believe there is such a thing as writer’s block. Touchwood I currently have so many ideas for stories filling my notebooks that I have the beats down to get me started. Nothing is easy about writing. Words don’t always flow naturally, but when I am having trouble expressing myself, I will go lay down on my bed, shut my eyes and just think. Let my thoughts get calmed and I play about inside my head with some scenarios and see where that takes me. It’s not writer’s block, it’s more getting my head around a scene that I need to get right. Then I grab for the notebook and get my thoughts noted down. Then I hit the keyboard again. For me personally, I need down time. I can’t write for ten hours straight. What works for me is about five hours at the keyboard, Monday to Friday. I give myself a weekend off to do other things related to releasing a book and that helps me.

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

I wouldn’t say I like to write here, but it is my only choice at the moment. I don’t have a laptop, I have a desktop and it is in my middle man child’s room. I write while he is at school. I have been promising him for 5 books now that I will make it out of his room. He is very patient, most of the time.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

10.00am to 3.00pm mostly. Sometimes I may start earlier and finish earlier. It gives me time to get the housework done before I start.

How do you like to reach your readers?


Book signings are fabulous and they have really worked for me. Social media I chat on and answer PMs at all hours of the day/night.

Can you tell us about your latest book? (is it part of a series, genre)  
Warped is part of the Hell’s Bastard series and book # 2. It will be a five book series, at this stage. Wrenched, book # 1, put me on the reader map and I am ever grateful I took a chance on the dark romance genre. I really enjoy delving into this side of my writing. It really is a wonderful challenge walking that fine line between going too dark and giving the reader a ride they want another ticket for. I get the most excited PMs about my characters in this series. I like to bring some light among the dark and I do that with Miss Catherine. She is Cajun and she has her own way of talking. I find it such fun to write and gave her a much bigger role in Warped.

Warped is as the title says, very warped. The hunt is on for Whisper and Edge isn’t letting anything or anybody stand in his way. He has his own hurdles to get over and he does. He teams up with Miss Catherine and together they make the most unlikely duo, but it works. It gave me a chance to show another side to Edge and to really cement in the readers mind how awesome Miss Catherine is. Whisper has her own problems and she is such a strong female lead. I adore writing her. I put her through a lot and she just rolls with the punches. She’s a survivor. Contorted is the book I am most excited to write in this series as I know what is gonna happen and it is going to be very contorted and action filled with a healthy side order of alpha men. HB series is very intense and I love the reviews coming in where the reader writes down all their emotions whilst reading the books. I want readers to feel and take a ride with me.

I also write in adult contemporary romance with the, Men Of Ocean Beach series. Both series are very different to each other. Men Of Ocean Beach has the ‘feels’ and the laughs. My reader audience has thankfully taken to both series. The ladies in my closed group who hadn’t yet delved into dark romance, gave Wrenched a shot and found they really do like this side to my writing and since branched out into the dark romance genre.

How long did it take you to write the book?

Warped had a bit of a delay as my eldest son passed away unexpectedly, he was nearly nineteen. I stopped writing for three months. It should have taken around 4 months to write and be released.

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

I adore all the men of Ocean Beach. I simply can’t choose a fave. Miss Catherine from the HB series is so much fun to write. Edge is complicated and alpha and Whisper is smart and strong. Simply too hard to choose a fave character. I will tell you, Keanu from Men Of Ocean Beach series ( MOOB ) has a great deal of me in him.

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

I am a PLOTTER. Man, do I plot. I plot six months in advance for a book I have scheduled to release in the near future. I can be plotting in notebooks three or more books at a time. I choose music early and have spotify playlists. HB series has a deep plot over the course of the series. I have to plan it out or I could potentially box myself in. I need to know what is roughly going to happen in all the books. I choose titles in advance for all books in a series. I am a little OCD with my writing process. Only with my writing. Put me down for a heavy plotter. I am flexible as I am writing if I think the story is starting to talk to me in a different way and I will go with that, but the outline is definitely in place for a whole series, if not more. I do write in chronological order.

Do you have plans for further instalments?

I have so many plans. I have spin offs, of course already outlined. I have stand alones for certain characters. Some novellas planned.

Do you have a plan for your next book?


Contorted, Hell’s Bastard # 3 had to be planned so I knew to drop what seeds in Warped. Suspense romance I simply can’t wing it. It has to be planned out so I get everything right for the finale.

Ebooks vs Physical books? Do you have a preference when reading?

I have a house full of paperbacks and I have a Kindle full to the brim of Ebooks. I mix it up on a weekly basis. I prefer a paperback as the battery doesn’t run out, but my shelf space in my house is no longer available. I am waiting for my dream of my own office space and three walls of floor to ceiling shelves where everything can be neat and orderly. I love paperbacks for their smell. Yes, I am a new book sniffer and I am proud of it. My daughter taught me to appreciate a cover. I run my hand over it, feeling the work that has gone into it. Can’t do that with an Ebook. They both have good things going for them especially for a self published author who can’t get a book in a bookstore but we can get it onto an ereader in the tap of a finger.

Self-publishing vs traditional publishing? What are your thoughts? Do you feel that the industry is changing?

The industry has been changing for a long time. Many self published authors are really shaking up the system by selling beyond their wildest dreams and making it onto the bestseller lists. I think there is a happy medium in there somewhere. More and more self published authors are getting traditional publishing deals and also still writing and releasing self published books under the rules of their contract. We all want to be able to say we are traditionally published as it takes a lot of the work away, but it can take a certain amount of control to. I would love to be traditionally published and also have the freedom to self publish. I like to be in control of my work and release dates. Some authors get to have the best of both worlds. Self published is all hard work and learning how to market and promote yourself. Everything about self published is all on you the author and making all your hard work float in the ocean of new releases and hopefully sell. You might get a traditional publishing contract, doesn’t mean your book will have great sales. You hope it will but it doesn’t guarantee anything.

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


Be your own worst critic. Use beta readers. Don’t take short cuts with plot. Give your characters a real voice. Make your work something you are proud of. This author gig is hard work. Plain and simple. You want to be able to make back all your professional costs and the rest is icing. You may not be able to support yourself for a couple years as a self published author, you might be an overnight success and you might unfortunately have trouble finding your feet, either way we are all working towards that goal, that dream of having our work read. We work for months maybe years for nothing, until we release that book. Don’t give up, but learn to listen to constructive criticism. Learn to be a better writer. Soak up any advice authors are putting up on their web sites. I read J.A. Huss’s author postings all the time and I listen to what she has to say. Be professional on social media. Stay away from drama. Don’t be a drama-lama. The way you present yourself is the way people will perceive you. You sometimes have to earn the right to get onto readers author lists because there is only so much time in their reading day. So much money each month allotted to purchasing books for their enjoyment. Make yours count and be one they want to throw onto their monthly purchases. You may want to follow the ever changing reading trends. Be observant and stay current with what is going on around you. Be brave and be different. There is so much advice authors can give aspiring authors but it all comes down to hard work and determination to succeed. You have to have passion. Don’t be writing to make a buck, write because you are passionate about your story and then work hard to be heard.


The Hunt Is On.

WHISPER

I was never meant to be free.
Evil has taken from me again.
I’ve lost the two people I’ve grown to love because another of Hell’s bastards has staked his claim on me and stolen me away.
What gives another human being the right to take another’s innocence and try to destroy their soul?

EDGE

We were never meant to meet.
Our lives collided and spun out in different directions.
Now it’s a race against time.
Time she doesn’t have.
This is on my head.
I f*cked up.

What happens when a Soulless Bastards MC enforcer is on the hunt for the f*ckers involved in taking the sweet and wild girl?

No Mercy happens.


You can connect with Emma here:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/emmajamesauthor?ref=hl

TWITTER: @emmajamesbooks

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8415027.Emma_James

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Emma-James/e/B00NH7AVGG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION (FREE) : http://facebook.us11.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=bdbd5d58f4f50eecc6a604947&id=e88c9e2a77

CLOSED GROUP – EMMA JAMES’ SISTERHOOD : https://www.facebook.com/groups/763744350386831/

and you can find her books here:


Ok, time to take a breath! A great interview again this week and I thank you all for strapping in and coming for the ride 

If you'd like to be interviewed for this blog, or have a great story to tell, please drop me a line. 

Until next week guys!

Cheers

Amanda