Author Spotlight Collier Hageman

Author Spotlight

Collier Hageman


Author Interview Questions


 

1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!

A: I have had a pretty interesting life.  Have lived in the Midwest and both coasts AND overseas.  USMC veteran.  Managed a gym, personal trainer, caver, biker, bicycle racer, bodybuilder, martial artist, father.  Those are some of the highlights.

2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!

A: I can’t remember ever “deciding” to become an author – its something I’ve always wanted to do.  The best part is simply engaging and entertaining people, maybe making them think.

3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?

A: I’ve published two works of fiction – “Heroes of Legend” and “Hole In the Soul” that garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews.  Everyone feels that they are very interesting and highly entertaining.  “Heroes — ” is a traditional ( I hesitate to call my own work classic) high fantasy, but “Hole — ” is almost unclassifiable.   Someone called it a “contemporary urban fantasy,” and while that’s not completely accurate, it comes closer than any other label.  My non-fiction, “The Power Cycle” outlines the training methodology I have used successfully for years working as a personal trainer and strength athlete.  It received high praise from none other than Dr. Fred Hatfield – aka “Dr. Squat” – executive editor of Muscle & Fitness magazine for  eight years, world-record weight-lifter, and legendary trainer.

4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?

A: I like and read lots of genres, but began writing fantasy because it is an excellent outlet for my over-active imagination.

5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?

A: Definitely being rejected.  Its very de-motivating and can actually be depressing.  You have to be EXTREMELY patient to be an author, and that’s not easy.  Also, receiving negative reviews.  That can be absolutely soul-crushing.  You have to develop a very thick skin.

6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?

A: Best part: Creating worlds and characters, telling a story.  Easiest:  Reading daily and calling it “research!”

7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?

A:  People are generally very interested and intrigued when they find out I’m an author.  They are almost always very positive and many reveal to me that they also like to wrote and want to be authors too.  This makes me realize that nearly everyone has a book in them, but most people never sit down and try to write it.  My daily life includes writing, and often in public places like the library or a coffee house, so people see me writing, and when they see me frequently some become intrigued enough to ask about what I’m doing.  I’ve made wonderful friends and acquaintances this way.

8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?

A: I am extremely fortunate to be able to spend as much time as I do writing.  I never take for granted the fact that most people can’t dedicate the amount of time it requires.  I keep this “attitude of gratitude” foremost in my mind.  Being a natural storyteller helps.  Telling a story through writing is not merely something I decided at some point I wanted to do.  I basically have to do it.  A fish has to swim, a bird has to fly, a writer has to write.

9: What do you love about the genre/s you write and what others appeal to you?

A: Fantasy is so wide-open.  You are bound only by the fact that it has to have some sort of continuity and make a sort of sense within the world that you create.  Other than that – you can do anything.  That’s not to say that it will necessarily appeal to everyone, or even anyone, but you develop that sense as you mature as a writer.  I also love sci-fi and am collaborating with another author on a grand space-opera that may see print before 2018.  A good thriller and/or horror story is something I want to tackle one day also.

10: Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.

A: “Heroes of Legend” was always planned as the first of three fantasy novels, and I’m finally nearing the end of the second one – “The Queen of Thieves.”  It took on a life of its own and will be nearly three times the length of “Heroes — ”.  The third will be “The Shattered Lands.”  Then there is the sci-fi novel I am working on with another author.  Title as yet undecided, but the universe we’ve created therein is fertile ground for more stories.  Then there are plenty of people who clamor for another story about Blake and Nora, the main characters in “Hole In the Soul,” and there is more I have to say through that storyline.  Its much more introspective than the other two, more about me.

11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?

A: I won’t even make predictions along these lines, because everything in the traditional publishing world has been turned upside-down by self-publishing and indie presses.  I will just say that I think that, while it has been very upsetting to a lot of authors and publishers, it has turned out to be a very good thing.  Its true that there is a lot of crap out there now that would never have been published by a brick and mortar publisher, but the market will take care of those, and the good stuff will be proven.  It’s the way of things now, and those who try to resist it may as well try to resist the tide, because that is how futile it is.  Roll with it and take advantage of the opportunities that it presents.

12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!
A: Wow – too many to list all of them, but a few of my favorites are Jules Verne, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Kenneth Robeson, Jack Kerouac, Louis Lamour, J.G. Ballard, Larry Niven, Ian Fleming, Michael Herr, John Varley, Mike Resnick, Hunter S. Thompson, Neal Stevenson – who I grew up with and know personally, Ray Bradbury, Stanley G. Weinbaum, R.R Verdi – I could go on for an hour.

As to what I’m reading now – I just finished a non-fiction book that tells the inside story of the world’s most feared soldiers – “The Gurkhas. Better To Die Than Be a Coward” by John Parker.  I just started “The Drought” by one of my favorite sci-fi authors J.G. Ballard.  Like all his stuff it is weird and wonderful and very believable.  His sci-fi is always about stuff that could actually happen in the very near future, which makes it extremely compelling.  I can hardly recommend his books enough.  If you ever saw the incredible Spielberg movie  “The Last Emperor”, that is a J.G. Ballard book.  Historical fiction rather than sci-fi.  He was incredible versatile.

13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?

A:  Ha!  Are you kidding?  I’m a wordsmith and I love words!  Its just impossible to choose one.  In writing sci-fi I use the word “pharg” as an expletive – a cuss word.   I’ve always liked the way the word arugula rolls off the tongue.  And Walla walla Washington is a lot of fun to say, especially quickly.  Syphilis is a word that is intriguing because it is a beautiful word and means something repulsive.

14: Tell us about your latest release. Or, when can we expect your next one? What are we in store for?!

A:It’s a toss-up between this sci-fi collaboration and the re-release of “Heroes of Legend” that will be concurrent with “The Queen of Thieves.”   The sci-fi novella will be a space-opera along the lines of “Firefly” and “Serenity” with a dash of  Mike Resnick’s “Santiago.”  “The Queen of Thieves” is a very swashbuckling tale with fantastic creatures, magic, and battles on a grand scale.  It is hugely fun!

15: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!

A: All my books can be found on Amazon, though I use my first name Collier as an author.  Collier Hageman.  I can be contacted on FaceBook – on which I am very active, where I do use the name I’m actually known personally by – Todd Hageman.  I am the only Todd Hageman currently residing in Ames, Iowa.  If you send me a polite private message introducing yourself along with a friend request I’ll probably accept it.

Author Spotlight Kyleen Valleaux

Author Spotlight Kyleen Valleaux

Author Spotlight

Kyleen Valleaux


Author Interview Questions


 

1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!

A: I am a 50-year-old magical girl masquerading as a functioning adult. I am single. Have one adult child and three German Shepherds. We have one cat. My paying job is a telecom mercenary. I find places to hang antenna for wireless companies. I have worked for Sprint, Clearwire, Cricket, Verizon, and am now working “turf” projects on behalf of AT&T. That is upgrading existing cell sites to new technology. I do leasing, zoning, and permitting.  I don’t watch much television; I revel in silence, and feel like there is nothing better than a good snuggle from a creature who loves you.

2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!

A: That’s sort of a tricky question, because I don’t think I ever “decided.” I started writing stories when I was around twelve. I was an avid reader and comic book collector. My first job was in a used book and comic store. I grew up on animation and science fiction. I have a lot of those early stories still buried up in my storage trunk. In high school I knew I wanted to be a writer, and I hoped to be a comic book writer. But real life got in the way, I graduated from college, got married, started a graphic design business, had a child… but I was still writing. For many, many years I wrote with my “elf ladies” who I met on the Internet when it was young and before the World Wide Web. We did round robin type writing together and forged worlds and honed our skills.

And that brings me to the “best part” – the people I meet and bring into my life. I have wonderful, talented, diverse friends— because I write.

3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?

A: I write character driven stories where bad things happen to good people, or even good things that happen to bad people. The story is in the conflict; but I believe you have to have a connection to the characters to make it worthwhile. Because I’ve been writing so long, I have a huge back log of things that need shining up for publication.

My flagship series is The Chronicles of the Garlon T’zen. It’s a space opera fantasy that I started writing around 1990ish. It’s a story that is heavily influenced on my love of Japanese anime and manga. My original idea was this to be a comic book. But, because I can’t draw, I wrote it. It follows the story of Kiku, the high princess of the empire, and her two love interests, Leader Dessalen and General Lysis. The empire has been cursed by a race of beings known as “the Celestials” for a misdeed of Dessalen’s mother, the former High Queen. The key to breaking the curse is the earth and people themselves. It’s very rich with layers of stories and multiple characters who all have their own agenda. I have probably close to 15 novels that are written. The first book, Manor Town, is out now and I’m hoping to have the second book out by April of this year.

My next series is more fantasy, with a shifter vibe. There are two realms of existence, the Thaumaturgic Realm, and the Geotic. One is where we live in modern times, and the others where magical creatures, fairies, unicorns, elves and dragons hail from. A young dragon falls in love with young human, and it triggers a war that has been brewing for hundreds of years in the Thaumaturgic Realm. The story itself takes place in both realms with enemies in both and the very survival of the dragon race is at stake. The first book in this series is in the final stages of editing and my projected publication date is the end of January. The series name is “Dragons of the Thaumaturgic Realm” and the first novel is called “Revolt.”

4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?

A: I am terrible at genres. I write all over the place and then try to figure out where it should fit. I really don’t write for the market, but rather, for what I want to write. I’ve even got a smutty romantic comedy that I’m going to be publishing this year as well. It’s the story about a male writer who is over a year behind on his deadline. His editor gets her revenge by hiring a nanny for him. It’s a happily ever after story, with a lot of steamy scenes as well as ones that make you laugh out loud. That one is called “Nanny Business” and I just ordered the cover art for it a few weeks ago.

5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?

A: Real life. And it’s not just my paying job that gets in the way. Lately it had been one crisis after another. There are so many stories and projects I need to be working on, but things that need my urgent attention pop up. Important things, like a sick parent. Things you can’t say “my writing is more important” for. But the takeaway is this. You don’t give up on writing, but rather, push the deadlines out and know you’ll get to them. Pausing and delaying, is not failure. It’s part of life.

6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?

A: Coming up with stories! I can plot all day! Simple things will trigger a story idea. I try to jot them down and then let them cook in my head for a bit. Sometimes things will end up as elements in something or their own stand alone work.

7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?

A: People who find out I’m a writer are often disappointed in what I write. They seem to expect something more literary from me. When I explain it’s for fun with no real socially redeeming value, they are surprised.
8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?

A: I don’t see a lot of lows with it. Because I am fortunate enough to have a “day job” I don’t rely on my writing to be my only income. I know that building your audience is slow going and I know I need to be patient. I pretty much believe in a “five year” plan. But even then, if I’m not making enough money to live on, I’ll be sharing my stories. That’s really what I’m in it for, to be honest. I have stories. Let me tell them to you.

9: What do you love about the genre you write and what others appeal to you?

A: I think I’ve written something in nearly every genre. I keep being drawn back to fantasy stories though. I believe in real magic. I do. And I think that we can grasp and see that magic through the words of a story.

10: What can we expect from you next? Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.

A: Dragons of the Thaumatrugic Realm is a great story. So far, there are two novels, and two associated novels, written in that world. The first two books are really part of one over reaching arc, about Maug and his human mate Bobby. They are going to be published in the first half of 2017. I have a plan for a hardcover omnibus of the two novels planned for Awesome Con in June. It will be very limited and won’t be available via normal retail outlets. You’ll either have to come to the con to buy it, or preorder from me direct.

And, of course, we have a lot more adventures of Kiku and the Garlon T’zen empire ready, but needing some shine and editing work. I would like to try for two novels a year for that series.

11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?

A: I don’t honestly believe that the average reader cares where their book comes from. I don’t think they look at “publisher” when deciding to buy a book or not. An engaging cover, and blurb, is the hook. Given that, if you put out a good product, people will buy it. Traditional publishers are even asking writers to do most of their own marketing.

Traditional publishers are getting lazy. They really aren’t interested in a good story, but what is going to make them money. I think the future is going to be publishers looking at Indies and approaching them, rather then the other way around. They expect you to come with an audience, and if you don’t, they aren’t going to publish your work.

We are in the midst of upheaval in the industry. My best advise, put the best possible work out there, publish for yourself, and if you want a book deal, they’ll come courting you.

12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!
A: Growing up, I was a Robert Heinlein girl. I LOVED his books. Anne McCraffery was also a favorite; the Dragonrider books have been a strong influence. But then, I love classical literature. (I have a B.S. in English – long story, but I’ve read a LOT of really good shit). My favorite poet is a toss up between Robert Frost and Walt Whitman. And I come by all of this honestly- my mom is heavy into genealogy and I’ve got a pretty straight line back to Geoffrey Chaucer.

What am I reading now? Well, I’ve got your book Grave Measures open and reading when I get a moment. I have a whole stack of other Indies waiting too. I do review and folks can follow that on my Goodreads profile.

13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?

A: I know this one! I do! Because my editor is beating me up about it. I way over use “eyes” and the various descriptors of them. And here’s the thing. The first thing I notice about people is their eyes. I meet your eyes, I watch your eyes, and I try to look into your soul. Eyes are the most attractive thing about other people to me. So, I over use them in my writing.

14: You’re going to have a release this month. Tell us about it!

A: That is the first dragon book! Let me tell you about this one. The first draft of this novel was written in 2006. It was terrible. I thought I was going to have a nice YA story about a ghost boy. I introduce a dragon, and he took it over. Three rewrites later, I have a really good story.

Maug is a red dragon. He is also the Lord of the West. He is, in fact, the youngest dragon ever to claim his title and hold it. He happens to meet a young human woman and completely falls for her. Bobby Parks is the granddaughter of the Advocate of Spoons Forge and has a good deal of magical talent herself. When she meets Maug, she didn’t have any idea that this dragon would become the one that she would want to spend the rest of her life with, it just worked out that way.

What wasn’t expected was the interference of the Fairy King and Queen, and that their love for one another would trigger a full Revolt of the dragons against the Crown.

Dragons of the Thaumaturgic Realm: Revolt  will be available  on January 30, 2017.

15: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!

A: Website: http://garlontzcomen

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kyleen66

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15340060.Kyleen_Valleaux

Livejournal: http://kyleen66.livejournal.com


Kyleen Valleaux


Bio: Kyleen Valleaux writes because it’s cheaper than therapy. She works as a telecom mercenary and takes the stress out on fictional characters. Never one to back down from a writing challenge, she will go without food or sleep to get the stories written. Her family and friends have adjusted to her complete withdrawal from the human race each year during the month of November. She resides in Michigan with three big German Shepherd Dogs, and a millennial.

Author Spotlight John Murray McKay

Author Spotlight John Murray McKay

Author Spotlight

John Murray McKay


Author Interview Questions


 

1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!

A: I am a 30 something teacher out of Pretoria, South Africa. Mad about cricket and pineapple on pizza (come at me you cretins!). A marvel fan boy and collector of African face masks as well.

2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!

A: I always knew there was a story inside me and I had to find something to do while I was an assistant teacher, so I started with a long running web series and then worked my way slowly up to novels.  And yeah, here I am 8 books later. Still feels unreal. Best part? Touching the emotional core of a reader, seeing how my book affected their lives for the better. It’s an amazing feeling.

3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?

A: Because I specialize in the unusual and the unexpected. You won’t have a chance to catch your breath for even a moment. That and the unique feature of coordinates so you can follow the story on Google maps. I can honestly say you have never read a book quite like this.

4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?

A: I loved the wide creative scope that fantasy offered me and it fit in nicely with my story idea, so I went with it. Not a difficult choice at all, it came very natural to me.

5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?

A: Editing. Dear God the editing.

6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?

A: Getting the initial story idea and watching fans embrace the nuttiness with you.  It’s a total ride which I simply adore!

7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?

A: I have met the most amazing, diverse and interesting people you can ever imagine. They made the long and lonely journey fun actually. I will be forever grateful to them. Yes, some people stare at me when I try to explain the concept of my book (Don’t break eye contact, back away slowly, ready the pepper spray) but I still love them long time.

8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?

A: The fans. They have carried me through the lowest of lows. Dragged me back when I wanted to quit, shave my head and move to a monastery. That and the kickass fellow authors I met along the way, best people ever!

9: What do you love about the genre you write and what others appeal to you?

A: The opportunity to go as mad as I want to. No restrictions or limits. The only thing stopping me is my imagination. But I am already branching out into other genres with my next series. But not romance! For the love of Dr Phil no, just no.

10: What can we expect from you next? Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.

 

A: I’m going Historical fiction next and heading to 1980’s New York! Violence, kickass leading lady, drama and all the good stuff is waiting there. Get ready for one hell of a ride, I am not going to be gentle with you.

11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?

A: There’s room for both and it’s great that the small presses are giving the big boys a run for their money. An industry dominated by the traditional publishers can never be a good thing. I see the market as being very responsive and favorable to both sides of the coin.

12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!
A: I just finished “Nasty Bits” by Anthony Bourdain and it is amazing as usual. He is my favorite author but I must say I am really getting into Mario Battali’s books as well. Cook book junkie to the end here.

13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?

A: Although and softly. I’m trying to cut down on the them although (he) it’s not always so easy. My favorite words to say? No worries. I just like to keep things calm and cool, that’s just me.  As for my favorite curse word? Dude, I’m Afrikaans- we have swear words that will make you go grey instantly!

14: You’ve just had a recent release this month. Tell us about it!

A: It’s called “The N Days” And I decided to throw the traditional alien invasion story on its head. Here’s the blurb:  In a world gone terribly wrong. Where the monsters of our deepest nightmares have come alive. One girl is on a journey to find Sanctuary in America. These are the N Days. Welcome to the story of Samantha Worthington Day. On the run from a demon horde that tore through the dreamscape and destroyed everything she ever loved. She is looking for Sanctuary in America, a place of safety and hope where humanity can start rebuilding their shattered world. Follow her journey across the United States with real life GPS coordinates and experience true life locations with her. She has a long way to go and her amazing destiny is yet to be revealed.

15: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!

A:  Pop in and say hi @ https://www.facebook.com/NDaysSeries/?ref=bookmarks and you can find my book @ https://www.amazon.com/dp/1520228759. I also do a free book over on Wattpad

https://www.wattpad.com/story/44004639-the-venom-protocols



Grab the book by clicking on the image!

 

 

 

 

 


 

Author Spotlight Amanda Fasciano

Author Spotlight

Amanda Fasciano


Author Interview Questions


1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!

A: My name is Amanda Fasciano and I am a happily married mother of 2, and we are a house of geeks and gamers. Currently I’m working full time for the local school district here, and I am in college full time as well as I am finally getting back to pursuing a Creative Writing Degree.

2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!

A: I have wanted to be an author since I was about 14 or so. Although I have at times despaired that it was a pipe dream, that I would never get there, never be good enough, I kept at it (sometimes under pressure of my husband, who believed in me and didn’t want me to quit). Finally this year I published my first book. The best part is simply getting to put the stories down on “paper” and seeing people actually enjoy them. The highlight so far was when a friend drove me home from work and I found out he had read the book because he was using the drive home to pump me for information about things from the book, whether his hunches on what was coming in the series were right or not, etc.

3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?

A:I m telling a ghost story from a very unique perspective. Not only am I telling it from the view of the ghost, it is a ghost whose job it is to keep other ghosts in line and keep them from giving too much away to ghost hunters. There is also an over-arching plot throughout that threatens both the living and spirit world alike. I have done my best to make my characters as real as possible, and keep the reader guessing as to some characters true motivations.

4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?

A: This was a rather simple choice for me. I could have gone fantasy and I might at some future point. My love for horror and the supernatural has been a strong defining characteristic in me since I was a child (5 or so) when I lived in a haunted house. So I decided I should start writing the kind of ghost stories that interested me, the kind that I would like to read.

5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?

A: The hardest part for me has been self-promotion. While I will talk up the projects my friends are working on and be loud and loyal advocates for them, I truly do lack in the skill of being able to talk up my own works.

6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?

A: The easiest part is writing. Probably not the most shocking answer, I know, but it is the truth. I love giving voice and color and form to the characters and situations that roll around in my head.

7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?

A: So far people have been very supportive. Family, friends, and co-workers, even college professors, have been very supportive and encouraging. Some people are very impressed when they find out. That’s been a ton of fun.

8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?

A: In pursuing my Creative Writing degree I have been able to take a great many courses to work on and improve my craft. Otherwise my family and friends keep me going. They believe in me, even when I think they may be crazy to, and they don’t let me give up on myself.

9: What do you love about the genre you write and what others appeal to you?

A:As I said before, I have had a really strong interest in the paranormal for a very long time. So I obviously love that, and that I get to mix it with horror and urban fantasy in creating my own “After Life” world. Straight fantasy has also always appealed to me, as I have loved reading that since my teen years, and I do still toy with stories in that genre as well.

10: What can we expect from you next? Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.

 

A: The first draft of book 2 in my “Life After” series is done and going through edits/rewrites before I submit it to my editor for polishing. The draft of book 3 is in the works as well, and a couple of short stories have been written through my Creative Writing class this past semester that have promise.

11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?

A: I think Indie and self publishing is opening up the doors for a lot of people who might otherwise have been passed over or taken much much longer to be discovered by the traditional publishing industry. Now granted, some of those people give indie published folks a bad name because they do not polish the book, go through a professional editor, etc. I don’t think the trad publishers will die out by any means. I think eventually an equilibrium will be found between the two, just as has happened in film. As an author who is self published, I would like to see the stigma of “self-published” go away. As a reader, I would love to see self published authors go to the trouble of being edited by a professional before going to press. Yes it costs money, but so does everything else associated with self publishing, and you need to know that going in.

12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!
A: I love Jim Butcher, Stephen King, Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Kat Richardson, Barbara Hambly, Guy Gavriel Kay, and of course, R.R. Virdi.

13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?

A: I think my favorite word is seriously. I tend to use it all the time. That may be a side effect of having teenagers though. It’s a statement, a question, an exclamation, it’s just so versatile! F*** tends to be my most used cuss word. I also use fuzznuggets when around my nieces, who are under 5.

14: Tell about your latest release!?

A: Detective Cadence Riley never believed in ghosts, until she became one. Killed in the line of duty, she finds herself recruited into a group that monitors haunted sites, making sure that the spirits don’t give too much away to the living. All seems to be going well until a group of cultists unleash a chaos demon in a haunted asylum. Now Cadence and her new partner find themselves in a race against time. They have to find a way to stop the demon before it devours both the spirits and the living, and they may just have to break a few rules to do it.

15: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!

A: On Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AmandaFascianoAuthor/ . Working on a website.

 

Author Spotlight Shanan Winters

Author Spotlight Shanan Winters

Author Spotlight

Shanan Winters


Author Interview Questions


 

1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!

A: Well, there’s a question. I’m just your typical Wife-Mother-Author-Computer-Scientist-Turned-Copywriter.

And in the back of my mind, I hear a friend of mine from long ago saying, “That’s what you do… tell me *who you are*” My website for a good number of years was titled, “The Irish Gypsy.” It fit… I played Irish music and I roved the land with a wild spirit and a free heart. Now I call myself “The Interpreter of Inspiration.” At this point in my life, I’m a (somewhat neurotic) mish-mash of myself and a bunch of voices vying for air time.

2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!

A: I didn’t choose the write life. The write life chose me.

When I was in the first grade, my school hosted a writing contest. I wrote and illustrated a guide to all of the horses I’d ever met. It won “best nonfiction, first through third grades” division. In the first grade, I was reading at a junior high level. In fact, I don’t remember a time in my life when I couldn’t read. I know I learned at some point, but I really don’t remember the process. So, from very early on, I loved, loved, loved all-things-written.  You would think I would have dedicated my life to writing… yeah, no.

I had a lot of influences in my life pushing me to “the career that makes the monies.” I studied math and science, and ended up going into software engineering. My rebellious half (Aka, the half of me with a solid clue) made sure I got a minor in English writing. Over my 20-year software career, I wrote short stories, longer stories and halves-of-novels-never-to-be-finished. I also wrote web content, took copywriting gigs, helped people (mostly musicians) build websites, and taught myself all-things-content-marketing. And yes, my IT career did what it was supposed to do. It made me the monies. It was also largely unfulfilling and deeply frustrating. It never felt right.

Somewhere around 2012, I said, “Enough, dammit!” and I buckled down and started taking my writing seriously. Okay, maybe it wasn’t THAT immediate… but with a lot of family support and determination, I published a novel and eventually jumped ship from the safety of a 20-year-long IT career to become a full-time copywriter for a marketing agency.

The best part is that I now get paid to make shit up and write it down. It doesn’t feel like work, and yet they pay me. That’s kind of cool. At 43 years old, I can dye my hair purple and wear bling-out cat-ear headbands to work and they’re like, “Oh yeah, that’s just the writer.” That’s amazing.

As for my fictional life, there’s that moment when you meet people and they’re like, “You wrote a novel? Like a whole novel?” And I’m like, “Why yes… yes I did.” It definitely gives one a deep sense of pride and accomplishment!

3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?

A: I’ve been told by a good many readers that Rising keeps the reader reading until the last page, and then makes you want more… but in a good way… not in the “that’s it?” kind of way. One of my reviewers said, and I quote, “It grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go.” I’ve also been told I have great command of setting without being over-explain-y, and that there are many laugh-out-loud moments. I’ve also been told I “write like a dude”… I don’t know what that means, but I kind of loved hearing it. So if you like fast-paced, action-filled, twisting-turning plots with deliciously flawed yet lovable characters set in a world that looks like ours, but isn’t… then pick up Rising: Book One of the Adept Cycle and enjoy!

4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?

A: I once said, “If I were to write a children’s story, there would be some magical element and someone would be fearing for his life.” The urban fantasy/action/adventure story is just in me. I can’t help it. I can write other genres. I force myself to write outside my little box occasionally. But when it comes to novel-length works, I’ve not been able to keep up the steam to push through to conclusion with any other genre.

5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?

A: Finishing the sequel. In all honesty, the year I wrote my book was the year before my kids became hyper-involved in their own lives. I now have two extremely dedicated and driven pre-teens, one who plays hockey (with absolutely achievable NHL aspirations) and one who is quickly becoming a fiercely competitive figure skater. If I could just convince myself that I really *can* write at the ice den, I could totally get through book 2. I just have a hard time writing when I’m surrounded by 100 strangers. I super need to get over that.

Also difficult: writing to a chorus of, “Mom. Mom. Mommy. Momma. Mom. MOM!” When my husband alpha-read my book, he told me he could tell where I was kid-interrupted. He started highlighting the disjointed parts. I told him I was surprised I didn’t actually write, “SERIOUSLY, WHAT?!” in there at some point.

And then there’s the crippling self-doubt. *ahem* Yeah… pretty sure I don’t need to explain that one. I’ve yet to meet a writer who doesn’t experience this.

6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?

A: The best part is holding that finished proof in your hands. It’s a total high… and not just because of sniffing the print.

Right behind the finished-proof-high are those “ah-ha” moments, where the plot, the characters, the twists and the threads all come together and the entire story lights itself ablaze… and you just run headlong into the fire and let it consume you.

7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?

A: It’s pretty much entirely consumed by feelings of guilt. I’m writing too little. I’m writing too much. I’m neglecting the laundry (no seriously… you should see it… It’s reaching “national monument” status). I haven’t talked to certain characters for so long that they’re pouting in a corner. I haven’t talked to real-life friends for even longer. My kids need to be fed… again! Seriously, they want to eat several times per day. I’m literally answering these questions while cooking sausage and pancakes…

And yet, somehow, it’s all worth it and it always comes together in the end. Now if I could just remember that when I’m mid-emotional-crisis, that would be great.

As far as meeting people… I typically don’t lead with, “So I wrote this book….” If it comes up, it comes up. (Unless I’m at a conference or some other bookish event, then it’s totally on.) However, when it comes to being introduced by friends to their friends, it’s usually goes like: “Hey! This is my friend Shanan. She’s an author. She writes novels.” And the warm glow of the follow spot comes down on me and the room goes silent, and I start searching for exit signs.

8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?

A: It helps that writing is my day job. When I was a software engineer, I felt like I had to beg, borrow and steal my writing moments. As a copywriter, even though it’s B2B marketing, it’s still writing, so I’m honing the craft daily. I also receive daily editing by my amazing and talented boss, and critique by our equally amazing and talented product managers and company owners. Every day at work makes me a stronger, better and more polished writer.

9: What do you love about the genre you write and what others appeal to you?

A: When writing urban fantasy, the rules are entirely up to me. And if I don’t like one of the rules I’ve created, I can break it… as long as I have a compelling explanation 😉

Also, I get to set my books in my home state of Washington. Rising is one of the few books that takes place in my home city of Gig Harbor, and potentially the only book where the majority of the action happens on the Key Peninsula. For a girl who feels completely displaced, even after nearly 20 years in the Phoenix metro area, writing urban fantasy (as opposed to traditional fantasy) gives me the opportunity to go home, even if just in my own mind, for hours at a time. When I’m writing, I can smell the salt in the air and the wet pine needles as they crunch beneath my feet. I feel the dampness on my skin, and I taste the delicate foam on top of the expertly crafted latte from a family-owned café. And then I can go kick a demon’s ass. It’s comforting and exciting all at the same time.

As far as other genres – I would love to write some middle-grade or YA action/adventure. Maybe fantasy. Probably urban fantasy. I know me… it’ll be YA or middle-grade UF.

10: What can we expect from you next? Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.

A: Release: Book Two of the Adept Cycle… I promise, Seattle will never be the same once I’m done with it.

11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?

A: I’m indie published, and that works for me, at least for now. Doing the daily “family plus day job plus author” tap dance makes it hard to make any firm commitments. I make them to myself, but to make them to others… like, you know, an agent or publishing house… that just wouldn’t work well in anyone’s favor. I’d end up even more of an anxiety case than I already am and I’d severely disappoint my would-be agent. If I can figure out a way to set (and keep) a fiction writing schedule, I’ll reconsider the agented-author life.

As far as the future of the industry goes… and pardon me for going all marketing-speak on you for a moment… I think we’ll see a rise in the literary PR world. I think agents will have to double as public relations and inbound marketing consultants in order to secure great talent. Outbound marketing doesn’t yield like it used to, and the traditional literary world hinged itself on that concept. As writers, we need to widen our own reach through inbound and influencer marketing. If anyone reading this is wondering what the hell I just said, check out this video I made:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xSL8WuW48o

12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!

A: Favorite authors… so, so many. The greats: Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Dan Brown, Terry Pratchett, Piers Anthony… so many more. The classics: Louisa May Alcott, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Thoreau (I went on a major transcendentalist thought binge in the 90s). The contemporaries: Jim Butcher, Chuck Wendig, Kevin Hearne. And then my favorite lesser-knowns: Guy Gavriel Kay (Tigana changed the way I look at characterization), Glen Cook (Black Company Series in particular, for its cohesive story-telling over SO MANY BOOKS). As a scholar, I studied way too much medieval British fiction, particularly Arthurian legend. One of my favorite stories of all time is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I mean seriously… how much of our modern fantasy is deeply rooted in that one 14th century epic poem? Like… most of it?

As for what I’m reading now… it’s a fantastic epic urban fantasy novel by this up-and-coming great author. It’s called Dangerous Ways, by R.R. Virdi. Get it. Read it. DoItNow.

13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?

A: I have to go through and take out “okay” about a gazillion times. It’s embarrassing. Also, I use “fuck” like a comma at times in real life, therefore my characters definitely cuss. I had some great advice imparted upon me in college… my dear friend and mentor Jimmy Chesire told me: “If your characters are going to swear, let them fucking swear.” (This was in response to me using a “soft” swear word in an extremely tense moment in a story)

14: Tell us about your latest release.

A: LOL My book released this time last year. However, I *do* have a story coming out in the Mad Scientist Journal Spring 2017 print quarterly. It’s called Prism. It’s a steampunk horror piece that’s deliciously creeptastic. Definitely check it out.

15: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!

A: My web presence is a bit of a mess right now. I’m going to be consolidating on http://shananwinters.com in the near future.

You can find my (very neglected) blog at http://interpreterofinspiration.com.

I’m @ShananWinters on Twitter, and I’m ShananWintersWriter on Facebook. I Facebook way more than I Tweet.

Also, I have an in-the-works project at http://OptimizedAuthor.com that talks more about PR for authors. If you’re looking for my books, you can order them from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or basically anywhere online that sells books. They’re available in paperback and all the favorite digital platforms. I’m on GoodReads, too! I’m the only “Shanan” Winters out there on the great wide Interwebs… I know, it’s a weird spelling. I’m weird. It works. It also makes me easy to find… as long as people remember the spelling.


 

 

 

 

 


Shanan Winters is a freelance writer, editor, and novelist. She has avid interests in geek topics and fandoms, parenting, and technology. She loves archery, cats, aviation, and board games, and has performed in a variety of Irish folk bands over the years playing flute and hammered dulcimer. She also plays fiddle—poorly. She lives with her husband, girl-child, boy-child and two cats in the Phoenix metropolitan sea-of-beige.

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