Author Interview: Mat Blackwell

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?
  • I always wanted to be a writer - I was reading stupidly early, like at 18 months or something ridiculous like that (which my daughter also ended up doing, so maybe it's genetic) - so I knew at about 5 that all I wanted to do was write stories. And so I did. All though school I was writing these short stories and handing them to my English teachers for feedback. In fact, the only time in my life when I didn't write anything was when I was studying Creative Writing at University. I'm not sure what it was, but something about that killed writing for me for several years. Only once I'd shifted my degree from Creative Writing to Philosophy did I start writing again (this time working on novels instead of short stories). But these novels I only shared with my friends and family, I never really sent them out or anything - for me the joy was the writing itself, not the idea of being published. After a while, a friend wanted to write screenplays, and knew I could write, and so roped me into writing screenplays with him, which led to work writing for comedy TV shows. That's been the last decade or so. Writing screenplays and jokes and so on is fun, but really, my greatest love is plain old ink on paper (or, I guess, pixels on screens) - novels and short stories.
Not designed by LV Book Design.

Not designed by LV Book Design.

  • What have you written?
  • I've written jokes for TV shows like Good News Week, The Glass House, Room 101 and so on. I've written jokes for live Comedy Debates, for people like Waleed Aly, Paul McDermott, and Barry Humphries. I've co-written a new black comedy series called 'Bruce' (which aired in November). And I've just published a novel called 'Beef', available from Amazon in ebook format or from Lulu in paperback. It's a satirical future romance about infidelity and artificial meat. Eep.

  • Are you currently working on anything?
  • I'm currently writing a bunch of short stories exploring depression, anxiety, bad decisions, and toxic masculinity. Although I'm primarily known for my gag-smithery and joke-crunching, these short stories are all turning out really unfunny and painful and dark. Some of them are a bit funny, I guess. Um. I guess it's a sign of the times or something, huh - the collective consciousness is pretty down right now, and everything we thought we could kinda lean back on is being interrogated and deconstructed, so maybe I'm just reflecting that? Hard to say. There will be some funny stuff in there too, but so far it's turning out to be painful funny or awkward funny or very very dark funny. 
    After that, I'll be writing another novel set in the same futuristic world that 'Beef' is set in, focusing on some of the the minor characters in that world and dealing with issues of gender, genderlessness, postgender philosophy, and motherhood. It's tentatively called 'The Postcultural Pregnancy of Sydenham Jones'. Coming soon! 
    Not really. 
    Coming eventually!
     
  • How much research do you do for your writing?
  • It depends. For the character stuff, I tend to just use my own observations/guesses about people, and my own internal multi-level processing strategies for dealing with the immense complexity of living. Second-guessing and self-analysis, y'know, the fractal iterations of imagined self clashing with the real-time processes of actual functioning. I find living very heavy and confusing, and have been told many times that I think too much / overanalyze stuff, so a lot of characterization comes from the way the game of life is "played" by people in different ways. Um. But yeah, like for the artificial/synthesized meat stuff in 'Beef' I did heaps of research, because I wanted it to be set in the future, which meant that certain things had already happened, and I needed to know what those things were: like, what the current state of synthesized meat is, who's done what already, how they do it, where we're at with real vs fake vs simulacra. And with 'The Post-Cultural Pregnancy of Sydenham Jones', I've been reading pretty heavily about gender and gender politics and post-gender philosophies for a couple of years now, because the character Syd has pretty much got to be across all of this stuff, and I don't want to look like a lightweight. Plus, to be honest, I'm deeply interested in all this sort of gender stuff already, being a very atypical specimen of manhood in almost every way - so I guess, in a sense, the research often pre-dates the fictionalization, or at least, it's a pretty circular situation, where I'm interested in something so I'll read a lot about it, which will lead to a story, which leads to more research etc. Um.
    So yes. Some. I do whatever research I think is needed to make it a more honest and believable story. 

  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?
  • I hunker. I tend to write best with heavy immersion. I have a studio/nest/room downstairs that I lock myself in and just try to get lost in the world I'm creating. I can write in other places, of course, but the Stooge (short for "Studio") is my little dank burrow where I can hunker down and lose myself.
    Apparently I look different after a day of solid fiction-writing. Apparently I buzz.

  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?
  • I'm a very reluctant editor. I am the kind of person who edits and re-edits every sentence a dozen times before I move on to the next (I do find it slightly weird that, as a society that tends to generally work in base ten, us metric-system-using peeps still use the 'dozen' as a concept. Old habits die hard, I guess). So when it comes to a massive proper full-blown revision edit, I'm always a little 'meh'. That said, having worked on screenplays and so on for so long now, I am also pretty robust when it comes to losing huge chunks of things I absolutely love, so as well as being initially reluctant, I'm also pretty harsh with myself when I actually get into it. The first draft of 'Beef' was all written in a particular past participle way ("and so he'd gone to the shops and had bought a packet of" etc) which I found wasn't working, so I had to go through the whole thing and change every single sentence to the right tense. Arrgh! There were also several sections which were just lists of terrible band names, which actually survived until the last draft, when I decided that all the terribleness was actually increasing the bad-to-good ratio of the book, so I killed 'em. So it can take me a while, but in the end I'm okay with killing things I love if it makes it a better book. (Then of course I get into the relativist quagmire of knowing, on a very conscious level, that 'better' is a culturally-created concept that doesn't actually mean anything, and that some people's 'better' is my 'worse' and vice versa, and that some people actually really love things because they break the mould of 'better' or sidestep 'quality' altogether, and then I start second-guessing myself and then just have to give up and hope that someone likes what I've done because that's it I'm never touching that damn thing again ever.) 

  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?
  • Probably. But to me they're perfectly normal behavior, so go unnoticed. 
    As far as I'm concerned, I'm a very normal person. It's just everyone else that's quirky and undecipherable and irrational and were told the rules of the game and when to start playing. Eep.
 
 
  • Tell us about your work space.
  • It's like a dungeon, only instead of restraint and torment, it's all about joy and creativity. 
    It's dark. Really dark. There's a small circular window. I sit in a cushy reclining chair that was found on the side of the road. I write on an old second hand computer that was well outdated by the time I got my hands on it, which was several decades ago. 
    The walls are pale green and white and moss-coloured drips overlayed in splashy patterns (I went full Pollock with the paint job, was heaps of fun); the ceiling is a dank drain-coloured brown. The whole vibe is like mossy-cave-meets-industrial-sewage-outlet. I'm surrounded by instruments and artworks and CDs and junk. It's cosy and alienating all at once. I don't have the internet down there. It's perfect.
    I was actually interviewed about The Stooge for a podcast, it's listenable here:
    http://therightspaceshow.com/#/mat-blackwell/

  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?
  • Um. Word, mostly.

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?
  • I find that I get a lot of excellent ideas/strategies when I wash dishes, or when I lie down to go to sleep. So either of those things can help. Having a shower can help. I guess the thing these activities have in common is being in a non-stimulating place where I'm immobile but kinda staring off into space; where I'm not trying to think, but am just allowed to drift off into that Place where Good Ideas live. When I was a kid, I'd always get amazing ideas while walking the dog - I guess that's a similar kinda thing. No trying, just being. Interesting. Hmm.

  • Tell us about your publishing process.
  • I started off trying the traditional publishing route, but I was getting more and more frustrated with it: it'd constantly be this case of being told you can only send it to one publisher at a time, and then having to wait for several months, for them to finally come back with a "Mat, we love your work, but it's not suitable for us at this time". It wasn't like the rejections were soul-crushing or anything, they were actually really personal and positive and made me feel good (because I was kinda expecting sterile automated rejections, rather than these actually quite human responses) - it was that I could only really get two or three done a year because of the several-months-waiting thing combined with the you-can-only-send-it-to-one-publisher-at-a-time thing. I realised that if I was expecting 50 rejections or whatever before someone picked it up, that'd be a decade or something of just waiting, and I just couldn't take it anymore. Especially because 'Beef' is ostensibly set in the future, and it felt like, as I was waiting patiently for the next (very kind and supportive) rejection letter, that the future was coming faster and faster. Every day I'd read some new article about synthesised meat, and I'd be like really scared that the real world was catching up to the world I'd imagined, with me being left behind. So I really just wanted to "get it out there", so it would still be "futuristic".
    Plus I'd been reading all this dire stuff about how "the traditional printing industry is dead" etc, and how "self-publishing is the future" etc. It just seemed like the way to go, at least for 'Beef'. 
    Plus plus I was also reading all this stuff about how publishing houses nowadays want you to promote yourself anyway - in my mind, that's what I needed a publisher for, to push me into people's faces, instead of me having to do all that self-promotion stuff: if I was going to have to do all that stuff anyway, well, I might as well self-publish.
    (Plus plus plus I'm a mad rampant megalomaniac, and wanted to do my own artwork and control everything and not have other people editing my work and etc.)
    So yeah. Self-publishing has been awesome. Not selling heaps, but honestly more than I thought I would. And I've been getting the best reviews ever, people are saying the nicest things - one reader recently told me that 'Beef' has "one of the most enjoyable writing styles I've probably ever experienced in a novel because of the real life way you write" - how nice is that? I'm actually really really stoked. And I love that, instead of my book being stuck in limbo waiting for experts to bestow their approval on it (or, more likely, their kindly-expressed rejection), my book is in people's hands, being read. That's the best bit of all.

  • Where can people find you and your work?
  • BEEF:
    futuristic ebook version:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G3M9MWA

    paperback:
    http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/mat-blackwell/beef/paperback/product-22812158.html

    facehook:
    https://www.facebook.com/beefthenovel/

    MY BLOG:
    http://matblackwell.blogspot.com.au/

 

Author Interview: Gippy Adams Henry

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?
  • When I was grade school and high school ages, I was concentrating on fine art painting. I only began writing in my early 30s, around the time I had my children. I wrote poetry and short stories, but only read non-fiction books at that time. As an adult, I fell in love with fiction--reading and writing.

Not a design by LV Book Design.

  • What have you written?
  • I've written numerous children's stories and some mystery suspense short stories. I'm also a poet, having published in a few places over the years. My most recent work is my first mystery suspense thriller/psychological, Web of Destruction. It takes place in Philadelphia, PA, Cape May in South Jersey, Bar Harbor, Maine, and Mt. Pocono, PA. I am presently working on the sequel at the request of many of my readers anxious to know what happens to the characters after book one.

  • Are you currently working on anything?
  • Yes, as I stated above, I'm working on the Sequel to Web of Destruction on Amazon, and my blogs for the month of August are based on the sequel with a few hints as to how some of the characters from book one have changed outwardly. I'm having fun working on it. I am also back in college for a BS in Criminal Justice and only a year or so from graduating. This degree is to aid me in the criminal aspect of my books.
     
  • How much research do you do for your writing?
  • Even though I write fiction, which is more research in my brain, I do a lot of research for the criminal parts, the medical issues, and locations. I try to write locations in which I am already familiar, but if I am not, I will travel to that location if possible. All of these subjects, even in fiction, must be accurate. I also try to use real businesses, shops, and anything else possible to make the setting more familiar to readers. Only if something bad happens in a restaurant or shop, etc., I will make up a name. I love doing research and just personally have researched so many subjects in my life, and now I definitely do a lot of research in school as well. 

  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?
  • I'm mostly a plot person right up front. I have so many plots in my head, I have to write them on little papers and keep them in a box. The one I work on stays in my head for months until I have the beginning of the story, the ending and some of the characters in my head. I then create a huge board I can use chalk on and place all the names of the characters, locations, crimes, and as much detail as possible visually, connecting them according to the storyline so far. Then I try to find either photos I've taken or pictures from magazines of people who I feel my characters may look like and I stick them on my board near their name. It's fun and since I am more visual than anything else, it helps me to study the board and eventually the characters become more real in my mind. Only then do I begin typing the storyline. And it does take twists and turns to which anyone who reads my book can attest.

  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?
  • Oh, wow! This was my first book and boy, did I learn a lot. It was a nightmare. The story went well. I went back and edited it at least 25 times, making changes, adding more detail here and there, etc. Then I had beta readers, as they are called, take over. They loved it from the start, but I told them to be honest and give me feedback, so they did. By the time I made some of those changes--the ones I agreed with, I was mentally exhausted and just wanted to get it out my head. So I finally hired a real editor. I knew with school and writing, I wouldn't have the time to publish it totally myself, so I hired Writer's Relief, who did most of the heavy work and I did the rest. I'm still the publisher, but they were a tremendous help. I couldn't have done it alone. 

  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?
  • This is going to sound crazy, but it seems like water affects my brain. Every time I take a shower (and yes, it is more than once a week, haha), I get a great idea to move the plot along. The same goes for doing dishes. I don't believe in dishwashers. I think they are more work setting them up , rinsing the dishes, drying them, and such. I like to stand at the sink and daydream while I wash them. Walah! I end up with another great idea. I know--it's crazy. But it works and I hope we don't run out of water any time soon.

  • Tell us about your work space.
  • Right after I started my first book, we had the attic refinished in our house. The plan was that I would have one side for sleeping and the other side (since it's very long) for my writing and artwork. I love it so much! I put the fan on up there and go to work. It's so quiet, which is how I have to write. It's my getaway for sure.

  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?
  • There weren't, but I just purchased Scrivener recently and listened to a webinar of the process since it is quite complicated I hear. I do have a relative that is a computer-whiz so I should be okay. I'm excited about being able to finally have my work in one place all the time. It can get confusing otherwise when sometimes I may write a scene way ahead of time and somehow it gets lost in the shuffle of scenes. On Scrivener that should not happen. I can't wait to begin.

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?
  • Not to sound 'different', which I'm sure I'm not, but I rarely lose focus. Once I'm into the book, that is all I think about. Yes, I spend time with my fun-loving, big family and some friends and I do enjoy them, but at times my mind goes off to a character that I might be trying to change or complicate or something. I love writing fiction and creating plots and characters so much that for me it's almost like falling in love. Creative people do sometimes fall in love with their work--painters too. But look out if it's not going well. 

  • Tell us about your publishing process.
  • As I was saying earlier, I went to a business called Writer's Relief. You may have heard of it. I knew about them because I won a box worth $300 of literary works for some little contest blurb they had going a few years back. I couldn't believe how great the publications were (and still are). So I kept up with what they were up to and when I was writing my book, I checked out every single indie publisher out there. It was all so confusing and time-consuming. But I finally settled with Writer's Relief. I felt I had the best in them and that was my choice, and I didn't go wrong. I will go with them again for the sequel. 

  • Where can people find you and your work?
  • http://www.amazon.com/author/gippy-adams-henry
    http://askdavid.com/reviews/book/suspense/13263
    http://www.omne.ws/29hNQBM

Author Interview: Ulff Lehmann

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 

 

  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • Being the stereotypical underachiever, and with no one to challenge my intellect, I was an outsider for most of my life. Only I didn't realize that until decades later.
    English is a second language for me, what with being German and all, and for the most of my time at school I was slightly above failing grade. Then again, I was that for most classes. That changed, however, when I went to the US for a year as an exchange student. After that I kind of excelled at English.
    There should have been several Aha moments in my life, and maybe there were, but I was too confined in my own misery to actually recognize them. The final, all deciding moment came during therapy, when I realized I would never be truly happy, if I did not write. So write I did!

  • What have you written?

  • My first novel, Shattered Dreams, has been out on Kindle and via CreateSpace for 2 months now.
  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • The sequel to Shattered Dreams, Shattered Hopes, is currently in beta-read, and I am working on the first draft of Shattered Bonds, the trilogy's finale.
    More for the kick of it than anything else, I have submitted a short story for an anthology. I suck at short stories, too confined for my taste, we'll see how that goes.
  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • That depends. I've always been interested in history, so my knowledge there has helped me wing many things in the past, but nowadays I do a tad more research to supplement already existing insight into various topics.

  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I've developed a sort of ritual on the days that I write: get up at around 8-8:30, watch one episode of a TV drama and 2 episodes of a sitcom while having my breakfast. During that time I select the music I will listen to while showering. Shower with music loud enough to piss of my neighbors and incidentally reach me in the bathroom. Once dressed (I listen to The Blood of Cu Chulainn whilst getting into my clothes) I grab the novel I am currently reading, and head out to my favorite café. There I clear my mind by having a large cappuccino and reading and chatting with the staff. Then home, fire up my writing computer, put in my writing soundtrack, and go. (The first two novels, Shattered Dreams and Shattered Hopes(in beta-read) were written this way)

  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • I leave the manuscript alone for a month or so. Then I print it out with two pages beside each other so as to simulate the typical book-reading experience. Armed with that pile of papers, I head to my café and stay there for 5-8 hours a day, reading, making notes etc, for as long as it takes to get through the novel. Then I return to the computer and put in the changes.
    I repeat this process two more times, each with a specific goal: 1) plot and 2) deleting useless, superfluous words.
 
 
  • Tell us about your work space.

  • An old dining room table, situated in front of a window overlooking the roofs of my hometown. Next to the monitor are several dictionaries and thesauri on one side, and a pile of papers with various notes and such relevant to specific minutiae.

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • Let go of the problem, let the subconscious deal with it, when it's done, I know and will write down whatever insight I've gained.

  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I self publish. I tried to find an agent, but with the current fluctuations in the market, finding someone bold enough to not only sign a German author who writes in English, but also one whose sample chapters are meant to be disturbing is kind of tough.
    The process is fairly easy, kdp and CreateSpace offer enough instructions. Since the manuscript has been lying about fully edited for several years now, it was primarily a matter of fitting pages and adjusting the layout.

  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1534803254
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1534803254
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ralchanh/

Author Interview: Chelcie Cotton

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • In school, I was the ultimate wallflower! I've always been creative, though, and I am grateful for this, as writing was exactly the outlet I needed. I never said much out loud to anyone, but there was always plenty going on in my head! Being creative, of course, English and Art were my 'passion subjects' and I didn't care that I failed miserably at everything else! Creativity was the one thing that fueled those teenage-angst years and kept me sane.
    When I look back, I can't really say that there was ever a 'jolt' moment where I thought, 'I need to be a writer!' I think this is because writing has always just been such a natural part of me that whenever I do sit down to write, it just feels like it's something that I was born to do! Cliche, I know, but that's the hopeless romance I have for writing, I'm afraid!

  • What have you written?

  • As I love to read a variety of genres, I don't really limit myself to one genre when it comes to writing. I wrote and published my debut novel, Baby Blue, back in June 2016 and I would class it as Contemporary Fiction. However, this wasn't the first novel I ever started writing. I started writing my first novel when I was nineteen and unemployed! It is a Historical Adventure targeted primarily towards Young Adults and I am still editing and re-writing to this day! I am actually in between projects at the moment and it can be hard sometimes to put one story to rest while working on another! It's all part of why I love writing, though! I love the challenge of it.
  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • Yes, I am currently working on a series of novels for Young Adults entitled The Good Pirate. It is a Historical Adventure based in the 18th century and so I am currently immersed in trying to get all the little details just right. Researching is one of my favorite parts of the writing process! The first in the series is scheduled to release on March 1st!

  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • This is definitely one of my favorite parts of the writing process! For my current project, there is a lot of research I am having to do as it is a historical novel. I spend time on researching different clothing of that particular era, what the village where they lived would have looked like back then, how they would have spoken, their accent or dialect, etc. Details that would make the story more believable for the reader and more authentic. 
    As an independent author, I only have so many pennies in the bank, so it's not that feasible to go out into the world and visit these places, as much as I would like to!
    So, of course, libraries and Google are my most reliable sources at the moment for research!

  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I'd love to say I'm more of an outline-planning type of girl, but I'm really not! And to be totally honest, as much as I've tried to outline in the past - as in plan the story beginning-to-end, page-by-page - that technique really doesn't work for me!
    Those sudden bolts of inspiration that catch me unawares is what makes writing so exciting for me. I'll be in the middle of writing the opening scene, and then all of a sudden, my character will catapult forwards to the end and I'll have to write the last few chapters without even knowing what's going to happen in the middle! That's what's amazing about writing - you just never know what's around the corner! It's like the characters are controlling YOU, not the other way around! I love that feeling. It's what inspires me and keeps me invested in my characters and the stories I have to tell.
  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • Fortunately, my brain is a little bit more organized once I have finished my first draft. 
    I'll go back to the beginning of the novel and then I will read it as if for the first time. This way, I can pick out any mistakes I was sure to have made when I started writing. I've also given several of my first drafts to family and friends who were willing to critique it objectively for me. 
    What I found really helped me in the editing process, though, was to take a step back from my work. 
    I would leave my writing locked away on my laptop for a few weeks, maybe months, and I would come back to it after not thinking about the story, or the characters for a long time. Sometimes, errors and plot holes would jump out at me in such a way that I would think, 'how on earth did I not see that before?!'
    And then after I've re-read my entire story, I'll go back over it and check for grammar, spelling and formatting issues. 
    When you're a self-published author doing everything off your own back, it's a long and arduous task, but, again, I love the challenge! 

  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • Movie soundtracks. 
    I don't know why but I love the backdrop it gives me when I'm writing. If I'm struggling with a particular scene, and I play the movie soundtrack from Gladiator, it can fuel me on to finish the scene or it can even give me the emotion I need to give my character a little more depth. 

  • Tell us about your work space.

  • My workspace is pretty much any solid surface on which I can place my laptop and my cup of tea!
 
 

 

  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • I use Microsoft Word as it pretty much has everything built in that I need. Formatting, spell-check, the lot. 
    If I need to make some quick notes or I'm suddenly struck with an idea for a scene, I tend to jot down ideas in Pages, a built-in app I have on my iPad. 

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • If I lose focus on a project, then I HAVE to step back and take a break. Even if I don't get my writing mojo back until a week later, maybe more. 
    Once I step away and do something completely different - whether it's watching a bit of TV or taking a walk - I can come back to my writing with a fresh approach and renewed motivation for the stories I'm telling.

  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I self-published my debut novel, Baby Blue, through Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace (for the paperback edition).
    I didn't know anything about the publishing process when I finished Baby Blue. As a writer, obviously, all I wanted was to get my book out there! So, of course I had to do a bit of research. I considered contacting publishers/agents, but I knew how expensive they could be and I had heard that it can take several months to a year for a manuscript to be fully accepted!
    Well, I knew I was too impatient for that and so I decided to try the self-publish route. 
    I definitely still have a long way to go when it comes to marketing my books and I can fully understand why this field alone is a full time job!
    But, since self-publishing Baby Blue, I've learnt a lot and have been able to connect with like-minded indie authors who know my struggle all too well!

  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • www.facebook.com/chelciecottonauthor
    www.goodreads.com/author/show/15499816.Chelcie_Cotton
    www.twitter.com/chelciecotton
    www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-Blue-Chelcie-Cotton-ebook/dp/B01HDWXRSO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470337023&sr=8-1&keywords=Baby+blue+Chelcie+cotton

Author Interview: Dr. Thomai Dion

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 

 

 

  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • Of course! I am excited to answer this question as I actually have this exact background available on both my GoodReads and Amazon author pages. I have copied it below for easier reading. With that said, this is a story that easily rolls off the tongue regardless of whether it has already been typed up or not. I do what I do for my toddler and their thirst to explore, discover, and learn. Anything above and beyond is an added bonus!
    I am pharmacist and mother to a very inquisitive, energetic, and hands-on analytical thinker. I obtained my doctorate from the University of Rhode Island and believe it is never too early to start learning.
    Inspired by being a mother, leveraging my clinical background, and being driven to both teach and learn at every opportunity, I have created my own educational children's books that focus on various scientific topics, the first of which I have engagingly tackled being biology. These books cover seemingly complicated scientific concepts that are typically thought of as being taught to "older kids" in school; however, they are purposefully geared towards babies, toddlers, and young children. The idea to finally put pen to paper all started with my own child, a drive to educate, and some imagination.
    Playfully pretending with my toddler on our living room floor, surrounded by colorful wooden blocks and various makes and models of miniature cars, I began brainstorming what the next topic should be that my little guy and I would discover. Thinking back to my own experiences in labs testing and recording while obtaining my doctorate, I had an "Ah ha!" moment: I would research where to find a microscope appropriate for my child's age. Before pursuing a new subject of learning though, my rule of thumb is always to read and talk about the topic first. So I began to look for books on cells that were geared for very young readers. And I looked. And looked. The only search result I was able to come to was the decision to create my own. It was then that my first book, "Think-A-Lot-Tots: The Animal Cell", was written, illustrated, edited, and self-published by the both artistic, science-loving, right-brain and left-brain mom (AKA, me!).

  • What have you written?

  • I have a total of four books available currently on Amazon. All of these books are part of the “Think-A-Lot-Tots” educational science series for babies and children (The Cell; The Neuron; My Science Lab Notebook; How Many Microorganisms?). Over the past several months I have also donated nearly 100 copies to Little Free Libraries across the United States and Canada to promote STEM learning, to which I’ve received excellent and very inspiring feedback.

 

  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • Yes! I have 2 more educational science books in the works that should be available within the next week or 2. One is similar to my currently available books in that it explores a subtopic of science, namely biology. The 2nd though is something different entirely. Still within the same vein of teaching our youngest budding scientists, but a bit more hands-on!
  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • I suppose the short answer to this is: "Something every day." I draw on my medical background while simultaneously finding inspiration on what my child is interested in learning today, in the now. Do they like colors? Are they fascinated with rainbows? Why do things always fall to the ground when I drop them, anyway? Let's figure it out through science!


  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • Write, draw, review. Write, draw, review. Review, revise. Write and draw some more.
    I am both author and illustrator (and editor if we want to count that too), so the process is admittedly a fine line between what I can happily produce and what I am overly self-critical about. I take my work very seriously as I want it to be both educational and engaging. My work also focuses on fairly abstract concepts (e.g. a cell in your body), and teaching that to a toddler or other young child can add another layer of challenge (and opportunity!). 


  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • It is pretty similar to the above in that you could say I am constantly editing as I go. I also make sure to go through my work on separate occasions to focus on different aspects (Does the story flow well? Is everything grammatically OK? Do the illustrations appear as intended?).

  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • The container of dark chocolate chips on my desk beneath my monitor is an enticing motivator to keep me focused on the computer monitor and therefore my writing, although I would say the bigger and major drive for me doing what I do is my son. Will he learn from this? Will he enjoy it? If both answers to that are yes, then it is a simple decision -- I forge ahead.

  • Tell us about your work space.

  • I work at a desk tucked along one of the corners in my living room. It is a modest size, nothing too fancy, but it has a dark wood finish. So it looks nice and "grown up" amidst the trail of colorful wooden blocks, various makes and models of toy cars, and assortment of partially broken crayons scattered about (but they crayons are still perfectly OK to use! You just have more now! Look at all of these tiny crayons to color with!). My shih tzu is also snoring in the corner and behind me is a sketch pad surrounded by an army of colored pencils ready to pounce down onto the white paper once I decided to switch from writer to illustrator. So I'd say there are a lot of hats hanging around my workspace and dark wood desk, but I'm incredibly happy and grateful to be able to wear each and every one.
 
unnamed-4.jpg
 
  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • Good old Microsoft Word and a scanner / printer combo that was gifted to me many more years ago than I'd like to admit.

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • Just sleep on it. (And with raising a young child, sleep is a precious and prized commodity if one can obtain it). There is no race, no urgency, no deadline to get any of this done. So if it needs to wait until tomorrow when I have more coffee flowing through me and a few more hours of sleep under my belt, then so be it.


  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I have self-published my books, so the process starts and ends with me I guess you could say. I am a pharmacist by trade; my professional experience lies not only within the clinical arena though but also nearly half a decade in business corporate strategy. I was not intimidated by the possibility of having to come up with an idea, write it out, draw it out, edit it, review it, and ultimately tie it up in a bow to present to the world. If anything, it has been very fun!

  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • A full list of available books can be found on my Amazon author page:
    http://www.amazon.com/author/thomaidion

  •  

Setting goals for your writing and the new year

 
 

As we begin a new year, a lot of people find this to be a time to set goals for themselves. For creatives, this might be the time we set goals for the works we want to produce over the next twelve months (or at least begin).  Here at LV Book Design, the goals for the upcoming year are these:

  • Help more authors obtain the covers and layouts they love.
  • Expand the "Upgrades" (which are also available for booking on their own) that I offer to my clients.
  • Develop new products to help writers achieve their goals.

On that last note, one thing I can offer writers right now is the extensive workbook I built, filled with worksheets, timelines, charts, etc. all designed to help you flush out your ideas and keep track of your story as you write. Did "write a novel" make it onto your list of goals? If so, you might be struggling with how to even get started with your writing. Taking on big projects, especially ones that are as personal and as vulnerable as writing a book, can be daunting. Sometimes, we just need help getting the ball rolling. Inside this workbook, you'll find sheets to help you build your characters, develop your plot, scene creation help and much more. Sign up to receive your free copy TODAY!

And remember, you'll never finish if you never begin.

Best wishes and happy writing!

Happy Holidays!

This is an illustration I was hired to create for the New Orleans alt-weekly paper, Gambit. It was originally for the cover of one of their issues (you can see it here), but they liked it so much, they created this graphic to share online! So, I thought I'd use it and share my holiday wishes with you all!

See you in 2017!

Author Interview: Ginny Clyde

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • I was put into the habit of reading by my mother since I was young. English was my favorite subject until I got introduced to Science. I have pursued a career in Science but have always stayed in touch with the side that loved to read and fantasize.
         I did not get into writing until I watched the movie Hellboy 2: The Golden Army where I just fell in love with the antagonist, Prince Nuada. His end was tragic and something I was unable to accept. So, I started writing fanfiction where he was the main character. My story has been read by thousands and received over a 100 reviews.
         This experience gave me the confidence that I could write.
     
  • What have you written?

  • Graveyard Rose- A Gothic Fantasy Romance
 
 
  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • Yes, the second book in "The Rose Chronicles".

  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • I do background research for the history and culture of the places where the story is set. 

  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I try to write at least a 100 words each day. Sometimes, I would write over 3000. I try not to force myself because it will make it seem like a chore. I like to enjoy myself when I am writing.

  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • It is easier to be in the editing process. I am much more efficient at this stage and also get very excited as I polish each chapter.

  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • I love listening to music in the background. Also, tea helps!

  • Tell us about your work space.

  • I use a rather large table, almost the size of a dining table. I like my laptop, my journal, my cup of tea and everything else within reach. The big space also makes it appear less cluttered. 
 
 
  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • No. Good old MS Word is what I use.

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • I try not to force it. If I am stuck in a plot, I would just relax and watch a movie or read a book. Worrying and obsessing never helps me. Sometimes, a chat with a friend helps clear my mind. 
     
  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I self-published through Amazon. I did all the formatting myself and quite proud of how well it turned out.
     
  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • My book is available for free on Kindle Unlimited. For purchasing, go to the Amazon Kindle Store. 

Author Interview: L.M. Nelson

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • I have been writing for as long as I can remember. As a child, I loved creating stories and making up characters. During my youth, I received several awards for creative writing and research papers I wrote, and a love affair with poetry ignited. I began writing poetry around the age of ten and had several poems published in my high school’s literary magazine. I earned a college scholarship for a poem I published and it appeared in a national publication that same year. It was also during this time that I began playing around with writing novels. I started off just creating stories in a notebook, most of which I don’t even have anymore. After graduating from high school, I continued to write stories, that’s where the Scrubs series began. In graduate school, I took a few classes about Gifted and Talented Education. During that time, I co-wrote an article that was published in a statewide educational journal. I’ve been writing poetry and fiction ever since.
         When not writing, I teach full time. I love gardening, photography, nature walks, and listening to music from various genres. I currently reside in South Central Texas, but have lived in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California. I’m a Pacific Northwest girl and consider Seattle my home.

  • What have you written?

  • I have written several poems, one of which was published in World Treasury of Great Poems, Vol. II. I co-wrote an article, ‘Gifted and Talented Education at the Close of the Decade of the Brain’, which was published in the educational journal Perspectives: Idaho Association of School Administrators, Vol. XVI, No. 1. My first novel, Scrubs, was released in May 2015, and my second novel, Sand & Sutures, was released May 2016. The other two books in the series have already been written but are in the revising/ editing stage.
 
 
  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • Currently, I'm revising and editing the third and fourth books in my Scrubs series. I also have two other works in progress, a Young Adult fantasy book and an adult crime novel.
     
  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • The amount of research I do depends on what I'm writing. For my Scrubs series, I had to do quite a bit of research. The series is medical-themed, so I spent a lot of time researching the inner workings of the medical field. I also read through medical school forums and articles by resident doctors.

  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I'm a fly by the seat of your pants type of writer. I don't outline. I always start with characters and build my story around them. I have a general idea of where my story is heading, but as I write, my characters take over. They tell their story, they communicate with one another, I merely hold the pen. Once the story is written, I spend quite a bit of time polishing it up. 

  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • Revising and editing is the stage I spend the most time with. I'm very thorough. The entire process is actually a set of multiple stages I go through. I re-read my book several times. The first time, I add more details, change scenes, or delete unnecessary items/ chapters/ scenes. The second re-read, I check for flow. Does the story proceed forward without awkward pauses or long, drawn out descriptions? Is the pacing good? Once that's done, I check for word choice and alternative phrases. Then I examine my dialogue and either add what is needed to develop the characters more, combine dialogue to shorten the conversation, or delete dialogue if it doesn't fit. 
         Editing is the last thing I do, and I always take a break for a few weeks after I've done revisions before I start editing. Here, I check for consistency, grammatical issues, sentence structure, basically looking for anything and everything grammar and spelling related. I slowly read through my novel several times (I even read it backwards) and triple check everything before I have a second set of eyes look at it. Even with that, I still don't catch everything. Once you've looked at a manuscript a hundred times, you start to see double after a while.

  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • Not really. I just sit down and write. I work 50+ hours a week, so when I come home, writing is my stress relief. It's something I do everyday, and it relaxes me.

  • Tell us about your work space.

  • I write on my couch with a laptop, and usually a cat, sitting on my lap. I'm surrounded by writing reference materials, alternative word cheat sheets, phrase books, and notebooks full of ideas I jotted down. I have sticky notes and notepad sheets all over the place, each labeled with story title and put in some sort of chronological order so when I start writing, the ideas are right in front of me. My chaotic methods would drive a highly organized person crazy, but it works for me.
 
 
  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • I use Microsoft Word. That's it. I do have a PDF converter and editor so I can adjust and make changes to the actual print copy of my book as needed. But I don't use any other software or apps. My daughter designed my first book cover. I need to invest in Photoshop so she can create more covers.

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • I don't lose focus often, but when I do, I walk. I get out into nature, take photographs, and listen to music. I am inspired by music a lot. Certain songs I hear generate story ideas. I jot these ideas down for later use. Reading books gets the creative juices flowing. I read from all genres, and sitting down to enjoy a good story often helps me refocus. I have also been known to take a break and work on another project, like editing another piece or returning to a previous one. That is also a good time to work on my blog or do some social media marketing. 

  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I am an independent author. I chose this route because I want control of my work and don't want to have to worry about meeting deadlines. I prefer to work at my own pace and publish when I'm ready. I create and write my own work, which I own complete rights to. I have an editor I trust, although I do the majority of the editing myself. I have a general idea of what I want my cover to look like and have a professional graphic artist (or my daughter who's good at that sort of thing) design it for me. I'm published through a local small press publishing company. They do all of the e-book conversion, professional cover design, formatting, Amazon and Barnes and Nobel distribution, and paperback printing for me. Marketing, however, is up to me. Since I own all rights to my books, I have the option of uploading electronic copies to various sites, like Smashwords, and can schedule book signings, attend book fests, and set up giveaways whenever I want. I like that freedom. On the downside, self-promotion is extremely difficult, especially when I'm not well trained in marketing tactics and tend to be an introvert. It's been hard for me to throw myself out there and get noticed. 

  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • Purchase information:
    Amazon: (Paperback and Kindle) https://www.amazon.com/L.-M.-Nelson/e/B00ZO1ZZ6Y
    Smashwords: (E-book only) https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lmnelson
    Texas Authors: (Paperback only) http://books.txauthors.com/category-s/2208.htm
    Barnes & Nobel: (Paperback and Nook) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sand-sutures-l-m-nelson/1123757871?ean=9780986128585
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/scrubs-l-m-nelson/1121919243?ean=9780986128509
    Social Media:
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlmnelson
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorlmnelson (@authorlmnelson)
    Website/ Blog: https://lmnelsonscorner.wordpress.com/
    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lnelson71/
    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14100489.L_M_Nelson
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/l-m-nelson-610839a4
 
 

Author Interview: Jacob Peyton

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • I was good at English but I was a slacker when it came to it. Because I knew that I could finish my assignments last minute. There really wasn't one "aha" moment for me, it was more like a lot of little moments over time that said this is what I should be doing.

  • What have you written?

  • I've written two short story collections The Cat Outside the Window & Other Tales of Terror and Haunted. I also wrote MINE-198, which is the first book in The Salvager's War series.

  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • I'm currently finishing my novel FLOAT, which, in a nutshell, is Moby Dick meets Jaws. 
 
 

 

  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • It varies on what I'm writing. For FLOAT I did a lot, but most of it was visual. One of the things I did was watch documentaries on sharks so I could describe who they swim and attack. I also watched movies like Jaws, which gave me a better understanding of how to make a shark attack scene scary. For everything else, I went back to books and maps to keep it as realistic as possible.

  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I plot first, I didn't always do this and because of that, I spent many hours staring at a blank page. My actual writing process contains more procrastination than I would like, intermingled with manic spurts of inspiration where I write a chapter or three. 

  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • I self-edit so for me I read the whole manuscript once, then fix anything I saw. Next, I run it through Grammarly and Hemingway editor. And once it's gone through all that I send it to beta readers just in case anything's been missed.

  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • I found that most things I write before my first cup of coffee tend to be terrible. Music also really helps the process as long as it fits the theme of the story I'm working on.

  • Tell us about your work space.

  • I have a writing desk in my office that is surrounded by my bookshelves, so whenever I hit a snag or get writers block I'll grab a book off the shelf and start reading to get that inspiration back.
 
 
  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • I use Scrivener for writing and formatting, I honestly don't know what I did without it. For editing, I use Hemingway editor and the free version of Grammarly. And I use Jotterpad on my phone for writing down any ideas I have throughout the day.

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • I read, usually a book within the genre I'm writing. I find this helps me to get my mind back on the project. I've also found researching helps I tend to find more stuff that I think would be interesting for the project and that rekindles the passion I had for it.

  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I self-publish so the process is pretty straightforward. Right now, I'm just doing Amazon, but I plan on going wide in the future.

  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • They can find it here on my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jacob-Peyton/e/B01GP1NV3U/
    Or at my website: www.jacobpeyton.com
    I'm also on Twitter @jkylepeyton

Challenge yourself to write this November with NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo-2015

You've been thinking about a book idea for a while now but just haven't sat down to write it; or maybe you are just suffering from a lack of structure/accountability and that is holding you back from getting your words onto the page. Whatever has been holding you back from writing, November is the month to get the stories out of your mind and onto the page because next month is when writers from around the world have the chance to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

NaNoWriMo has been going on, every November, since 1999. Anyone can join the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel between Nov. 1 thru Nov. 30. Last year, over 300,000 writers of all ages and walks of life joined the challenge and over 50,000 of them met their word count by then end of the month. Some works created from this project have gone on to be traditionally published, such as Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder (check out the full list of NaNoWriMo's published authors here).

Each year, you can find authors mentoring the writers taking part in the challenge through "pep talks". This year's mentors include Daniel José Older, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Alexander Chee, Jenny Han and Maggie Steifvater.

If you are looking for that push, the accountability of a world-wide community, a writing challenge, and the chance to be rewarded for your hard work through out the program then you should definitely 1) check out NaNoWriMo; 2) sign-up and join the 2016 challenge; and 3) write your novel!


Remember, when you are done with your NaNoWriMo novel and want help getting into the hands and minds of the world, come back to LV Book Design and I will work with you to create a beautiful finished product that you will love. I'll give a discount to anyone who completes the NaNoWriMo 2016 challenge and wants to take their novels to the next level.

Best wishes and happy writing!

Author Interview: Ceri Clark

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • I've always wanted to be a writer. I wrote a full length book which was really an Enid Blyton knockoff at about 8 or 9 years old. It wasn't until I became a school librarian though that I had the time to write a novel. I had a ready supply of children to see if the book would appeal and it was really useful to see what they liked (or didn't like). 
  • What have you written?

  • Coming out in the next few months: Space Puzzles: Minkie Monster and The Birthday Surprise, Under the Sea Puzzles: Minkie Monster and the Lost Treasure. Already published: Children of the Elementi, A Simpler Guide to Gmail, A Simpler Guide to Google Drive, A Simpler Guide to Calibre, A Simpler Guide to Finding Free eBooks, Email Management using Gmail A Simpler Guide to Online Security and four disguised password books. 
 
 
  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • 3 Minkie Monster books aimed at 3-5 year olds (2 are finished), Accidental Immortal, a sci-fi/fantasy novel and A Simpler Guide to Google Sheets
  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • For my Simpler Guides I test the software, watch YouTube tutorials and look at other books. For my fantasy, I sometimes have to ask people or do my research on the Internet. For my puzzle books, I test them on my son and cousins. I am "forced" to watch a lot of children's tv and read a lot of children's books. :) 
     
  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I am most definitely a sprinter. I love NaNoWriMo. This is where I write the majority of my novels and then I spend years editing. Just going over and over the book before I put it away for a couple of months and then go over it again! 
     
  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • I dislike editing but when I get into it, I do strangely enjoy it. I have friends who use spreadsheets but I just keep notes and plod through it, a paragraph at a time. 
     
  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • The only thing I can think of regarding quirks is that I do NaNoWriMo every year. I use my phone a lot of the time during that month so I can write while waiting to pick my son up from school or when I'm at the bus stop. It helps me get my 50,000 words done! 
     
  • Tell us about your work space.

  • Very cramped! I'm actually partially sighted so I have a 27" screen for design work and I have to have my type really large on screens. I'm sandwiched between the sofa and toy boxes in the living room. 
 
 
  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • I love Microsoft Word. This is because I can use web view and have the text at 330% which is perfect for me. 
     
  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • When I lose focus, I put the project down and start something else. This year I published four password books while I was prevaricating. I have nearly finished Accidental Immortal which I went back to after they were done. 
     
  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I am self-published but I am part of Myrddin Publishing which is an author cooperative. We give each other support and advice when it is needed. 
     
  • Where can people find you and your work?
  • http://minkiemonster.com 
    http://cericlark.com 

Author Interview: Christopher Lee

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Although my main area of study was in filmmaking, I had always had a mind to tell my own stories. That for me meant writing them and building them from the ground up. After a few years outside of the creative sphere, I decided it was time to get back to it! So here I am attempting to publish my first novel. 

  • What have you written?

  • I am currently unpublished and working on publishing my first novel through the crowd publishing company Inkshares.com 
  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • My current work in progress is called Man's Damnation. It is part of a series that I have in mind which attempt to explain man's condition through a series of whimsical alternative histories. 
  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • A boatload! I can't research enough. As a history buff it is honestly the most enjoyable part of the process for me. I often find myself lost in the research and forget that I need to actually start writing the darn novel!
     
  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • It is a bubbling cauldron of chaos to say the least. Overall the process could be best described as alchemy. I'm trying to create gold out of nothing, but really I am just tossing a million things into a mixture and hoping it comes out bronze. 
     
  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • I try not to beat myself up too much. I use the Hemingway App to give myself a smoother style since I can be a little wordy. 
     
  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • Coffee, Coffee, oh and more Coffee. Café's are great, and I absolutely have to have instrumental music playing.
  • Tell us about your work space.

  • Usually a few open books in the research mode, and about a zillion tabs open on the netbook. Don't forget the iPad and the Cell Phone just in case I have to move. Mobility is what keeps me sane, I hate leaving a good idea behind. 
     
  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • I primarily use Google Docs as my writing platform, but Hemingway App and Thesaurus.com are my best friends.
     
  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • I take a walk to clear my head!
     
  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I am currently funding the novel through Inkshares.com. They give you a three month window to receive a certain number of pre-orders and then they publish your work. So far it has been an interesting journey. 
     
  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • https://www.inkshares.com/books/man-s-damnation-lore-of-the-aos-s-
 
 

Author Interview: Tahani Nelson

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • I grew up as the only Gothic girl within 100 miles in rural Montana. I've always known that I was different--and that it was okay. 
        I also always loved reading fantasy, but had trouble finding females that were more than damsels in distress in the books I read. It didn't take me long to try and rectify that-- I've been writing fantasy novels with strong heroines since Junior High. 
        Today, I've switched out the black lipstick for a red pen and English degree, and use them to try to instill that love of being different into my high school students.
     
  • What have you written?

  • For published works, "Dreams and Ballet Slippers" and "Mortal Asphalt" in Soliloquy Magazine. Besides that, I'm currently marketing my first Fantasy novel.
     
  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • I've recently finished my first dark fantasy novel, The Last Faoii. It took 4 years to write and edit it, and I'm still diving into the vast, complicated world of representation and publishing.
       My current WIP's include Faoii's sequel and a dystopian 1984-meets-Sabriel fantasy called Chained Mage.
     
 
 
  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • Everyone I talk to seems so amazed that I wrote a book. I don't think they realize that writing it is the easy part. The Last Faoii WANTED to be written-- every day it was the first thing I thought about upon waking and the last thing I worked on before bed. Since I have two jobs, a lot of my writing is done on napkins and scratch paper when I find a free moment, and the nights are crazy, sleepless things that have me pounding away at a keyboard until my next shift starts. But it's so exciting and energetic--I don't feel like I need to sleep while I'm creating an entire world and the people therein. 
        Usually I have a vague outline of events and my process starts with me writing everything that's in my head as it comes to me. I write a scene that needs to be shown, finish it, and then write whatever the next scene in my head is until I have all of them in a confused, jumbled Word document. It's not until after all of those are out of my head and on the computer that I go back and edit-- smooth them, fill in the holes, and make them fit together. If I try to polish anything before I get the majority on paper, I end up getting sidetracked as I slap down another scene.
     
  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • Once the story is down, my first step is to make sure the events are in order. Since I just write entire paragraphs or chapters as they come to me, the first draft is usually a jumbled mess. So I copy/paste entire sections of the book to where they're supposed to be. 
        Once that's done I start over on page one and read the entire thing again-- this time making sure that the transitions between scenes are clean and make sense. This is also my best chance to make sure I'm not repeating things over and over, and that pacing is smooth. 
        The next step is to send it out to someone that I trust (usually my dad). He tells me if the story makes sense and whether or not I should pursue it. If he tells me it's not my best work it stops there and I write something new. If I get his approval, I look over the changes he suggests and start searching for beta readers. After I send it out to 3-4 betas, I wait until I hear their changes, decide which ones make it into the final product and which ones don't, and put them in. 
        Finally, I read through it one more time. If I'm happy with the end result, I start looking for agents or publication. I don't know what happens after that, but I'll let you know when I get there.
     
  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • I have three or four songs that help me concentrate. Depending on what type of scene I'm writing I put one of them on and repeat it over and over until the scene is complete. It drives my husband crazy, so he was nice and bought me a good set of headphones to use.
     
  • Tell us about your work space.

  • My computer sits on our kitchen table. To my right is a wall with character sketches, maps, and doodles. To my left is usually a pile of scratch paper and napkins with ideas written on them, a cup of tea that has probably gone cold, and a cat (who refuses to move no matter how many times I push him off). I almost always have one of three wordless songs playing on repeat. A lot people say they wouldn't be able to work in that environment-- I think it's the perfect storm.
     
  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • Not really. I just write on Microsoft Word. I guess the most helpful thing I do there is make each chapter a new heading so that I can easily navigate the scenes, and Word's comment feature makes it easy for my beta's to point things out, but that's really all I do.
     
  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • The music thing really helps me out. I know a lot of people can't stand to listen to the same thing over and over and over again, but I've trained my brain to the point that if it hears one of those three songs--it's time to write. 
       It's also hard to lose focus when you jump-write like I do. The minute I'm not inspired to write a particular scene anymore, I jump to a different one. I can always come back and polish the first one up at a different time, but if I'm inspired to write something, I'm going to write it--continuity be damned.
     
  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I'm currently trying to publish through Inkshares-- a crowdsourced publisher. I really like it, because I get to offer a signed copy to everyone who pre-orders and word spreads that way. It is kind of hard, though-- you have to get a minimum of 250 pre-orders just to qualify for select publishing, but if you don't reach that goal everyone gets their money back, so it's not like anyone is out anything.
       I haven't succeeded in publishing The Last Faoii yet, but I'll keep working on it. It'll happen.
     
  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • inkshares.com/books/the-last-faoii
    twitter.com/tahaninelson
    facebook.com/thelastfaoii
    tahaninelson.wordpress.com

If you would like to be part of the Author Interview series, click here.

Author Interview: Dr. Don C. Kean

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • I was a solid student but very impatient and easily distracted. I was okay at English but I always hated it. I cannot say I had any real aha moments.

  • What have you written?

  • An Historical Fiction entitled I Didn't Sign Up For This

 

  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • Right now I am only in the very early research stages for two different projects.
  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • Quite a bit. I like to stay reasonably accurate on the real history contained in the story. I also like to keep the cultural aspects and geography in reasonable order.
  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I just let it play out. If I do not feel very creative I just lie it down for the day. I have found the writing aspect quite easy and natural for the most part. It is difficult for me to write a lot each day since I still hold a full time job.
  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • Read, Reread, and reread. That is the only way I know to do it. That is the point in the process where things start to get less fun .
  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • I use Dragon for dictation although I sometimes still spend a great deal of time editing what is dictated.
  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • Just lie it down for a day or so.
  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I submitted my work to several smaller publishers. I was finally able to get one to take a chance. I am forever grateful.
  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • See photo album J.D.'s Trail.
  • On Amazon
 
 

If you would like to be part of the Author Interview series, click here.

Thank You, to all you authors out there!

 
 

Last month, a new series on the blog started, Author Interviews. I put out a call for participants to all the Indie/Self-Publishing/Traditionally Published authors out there and the response has been amazing!

I just wanted to say thank you, to all the authors who have answered my questions and sent in photos for their posts, and a HUGE thanks for being understanding with scheduling everyone well into 2017 due to the overwhelming response! 

I hope you find inspiration in these authors' words of wisdom and shared journeys as they go up, two (to three) times a month!

Again, A HUGE THANK YOU! to all the authors who have participated in this series, thus far!

This month, you'll be reading interviews from Dr. Don C. Kean, author of I Didn't Sign Up For This, and Tahani Nelson, author of The Last Faoii.

Author Interview: Missy Wilkinson

 
 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • Growing up, I read for hours every day. I secretly longed to be a child prodigy like Mozart, but that wasn't happening. So I took some pleasure in reading well beyond my grade level. It made me feel precocious and smart, and oftentimes adult books included sex scenes. When I was a college sophomore, my English professor David Madden told me, "You are a writer. There is nothing else for you." Something of a dire prediction, but he was right. 

  • What have you written?

  • I have written five novels and published one as of last year. I am a journalist with hundreds of published features in newspapers and magazines worldwide. I blog, write branded content for companies, publish short stories in anthologies and have kept a diary off-and-on for 28 of my 36 years.

  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • Yes. I'm writing a sequel to my novel DESTROYING ANGEL, which was published in 2015 by Torquere Press.
 
                         PRESS RELEASE DESIGNED BY LV BOOK DESIGN

                         PRESS RELEASE DESIGNED BY LV BOOK DESIGN

 
  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • It depends. One of my unpublished novels centered around the 1878 yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans, and for that I spent hours in library archives scrolling through newspaper microfiche. I read tons of books about yellow fever and visited the French Quarter's pharmacy museum, too. Another unpublished manuscript drew heavily from Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE. I got pretty obsessed with Masonic conspiracy theories for that one. However, I think that research was a way of spinning my wheels in many ways. It's significant that neither of those manuscripts ever saw the light of day. My published novel draws much more heavily from my own life. With journalism, I do some research, enough to be able to ask my sources informed questions.
  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I write a very quick first draft--no re-reading, no editing. Just burn through until the end. It's usually short, maybe 50,000 or 60,000 words. I don't generally outline before writing, though I have a sense of the characters, what's driving them, the conflict and the stakes. I let that draft sit for a few weeks or a month, then reread. There are always parts that make me want to vomit. I delete those parts, then build out what's left by creating a scene chart. I use the framework from a book called ROCK YOUR REVISIONS. I might add subplots at this point. When I have pushed the manuscript as far as I can on my own, I hand it off to a developmental editor, Diane Glazman, who is fabulous and not terribly expensive. Then I incorporate her suggestions, do a final line-edit and submit to agents and small presses, in that order. 
  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • Ah, I kind of touched on that already. A developmental editor helps me immensely during the more general editing phase. One thing that's really useful to me when I'm at the line edit phase is to print out a hard copy and approach the book like a regular reader would. Often this means I'm reading/editing it/making notes after dinner and a few glasses of wine or tokes of weed. Being in a different head space helps for this stage of the editing process, though I only write when I'm sober.
  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • I do most of my writing at my 9-6 job at an alt-weekly paper, usually in the very late afternoon/early evening/after 5 p.m., when things are settling down at the office. When I am generating a draft, I try to write every weekday, even if that only means I write a single sentence and have the document open for five minutes. Visiting the manuscript every day keeps the lines open, so to speak, so I don't forget what I was working on or what the story is about and have to go back and reread. I write in Google Docs, and just keeping that tab open in my browser helps me write more.
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  • Tell us about your work space.

  • It's a dark, windowless space lined with bulletin boards and the covers of newspaper issues past. I had a string of fish-shaped Christmas lights, but they all died. On my desk, there's an open Passion Planner, a cup of green tea, a small LED lamp and a box of thank-you notes within arms' reach.
  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • No, just Google Docs. I wish I was better at Scrivener--I bought it but never learned to use it.
  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • If I've already accomplished some writing, I don't worry about regaining focus. Some days, I write one good sentence and that's enough. Other days, I stare at the manuscript in frustration for half an hour, and that's all I can do. It's useful to remember that a frustrating, fruitless day is often followed by a day when the words flow like milk and honey. Physical exercise helps me stay focused, too. I like running and biking. Haruki Murakami runs a marathon every year, which is more than I do, but I have trained for two half-marathons and completed one (the other one got rained out).
  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • My novel was published by a small LGBT press called Torquere. I submitted the manuscript to them directly. Prior to that, I cold-queried about 50 literary agents, but was rejected by every one of them. Had the manuscript not been picked up by a press, I probably would have self-published. I plan to repeat the process again for my next manuscript, but with different agents.
  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Destroying-Angel-Missy-Wilkinson-ebook/dp/B010ZFRUS4
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/missy_wilkinson
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/missy.wilkinson
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nowlistenmissy/

If you would like to be part of the Author Interview series, click here.

Author Interview: Natacha Guyot

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • I have loved telling stories and creating imaginary worlds since I was a child, whether when I played with my toys or when I was old enough to write and put words on paper.
    I took a literary path even in high school, with a love of literature and foreign languages (French is my native one, and I learned English, Latin, German and Italian between middle and high school). 
    I wrote my first original fiction in my teen years, but took a break from it for about ten years, focusing on academic work (in Film, Media Studies and Humanities). 
    While struggling to find a paid job for several years, I focused on my writing, both fiction and nonfiction, and realized that it was my calling. Returning to it has been a worthy experience and I can't imagine myself not writing!

  • What have you written?

  • I have published articles, essays, short stories and novellas in the past years. Besides academic publishing, whether as author or editor, I have taken the self-publishing road for about four years now. My nonfiction focuses on Media Studies, Gender Studies, Fan Communities and Science Fiction. As for my original fiction, I always write Fantasy or Science Fiction. Last year I published the first volume in an ongoing series 'Clairvoyance Chronicles', made of a series of connected short stories with human, Fae, Were characters (but no vampire!)
  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • I always am. Keeping the muses in line and juggle between different projects can be challenging, but I prefer having too many ideas than none at all.
    I have several upcoming titles at different stages of revision and formatting, but the main project I am working on right now is the translation (from French to English) of the first novel I wrote when I was a teenager. It requires a lot of rewriting, but makes for an interesting experience. I have only written in English in the past years. It is more comfortable to me and makes it easier when it comes to reaching audiences.
  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • When it comes to academic/nonfiction writing, I have an extended collection of books on the various topics I commonly work on. With my love to dissect movies and TV shows, I own several versions of some titles for better research too, and can play a video game multiple times to explore choices and storylines, if I write a paper about it.
    For fiction work, I love world building, but research mostly focuses on writing craft, whether genre oriented or not. I do specific research when I need to set a scene in a given city or country if I write in a "real world" setting, and not a completely created one.
  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I can't write more than one book at the same time. I am comfortable doing revision/formatting/marketing on other titles at the same time, but I can't do more than one book when I am doing the main "chunk" of writing.
    I normally type my stories or essays right away and like having a large monitor to have a better view (I use Word over software such as Scrivener, only using the latter for formatting). I am a rather slow writer. Doing 1,000 or 2,000 word a day is how I usually do things. 
    I have notes stored both on the computer and on notebooks, because I always get ideas when I'm not at the computer. 
    If my inspiration runs off after some writing, I commonly go write some roleplaying posts on a Star Wars forum where I have multiple characters. The shorter length of writing and not having to think about world building helps a lot to restart my original muse, whether fiction or nonfiction. 
  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • Besides cringing at the stupid mistakes and bad wording, I always feel grateful to my editor to help point out things I can improve. 
    I am a slow writer and have a hard time doing my own editing, so I prefer taking my time and fidgeting with writing rather than revisit multiple times on my own.
    It took me a while to find the right editor, but she has been of tremendous help. Since she uses a lot of color codes, I normally do an overview of what she did, to have an idea of which parts will need the most work. Then, I tackle things in order, and take care of the easier items to fix, leaving the heavy rewriting/rewording for last.
  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • I need a lot of Earl Grey tea. That's my fuel! 
    While I have no problem taking notes regardless of where I am or what time of the day it is, I prefer writing quietly at my desk, with or without music. 
    Some projects work much better when I listen to music (mostly instrumental, whether classical, soundtracks or celtic, and symphonic metal music); and some I prefer writing in silence.
Workspace January 2015.jpg
  • Tell us about your work space.

  • I love my desk to pieces. I have had this old and massive Swedish desk since I was nine years old. I am now in my thirties and still work on it. There is a lot of room for computer, monitor, notebooks, pile of research books, teapot and mug, and also cats.
    My beloved desk and a good monitor are really the core of my workspace. During summer 2016, I am moving overseas (from France to Texas), and my desk is definitely part of the few pieces of furniture I'm taking with me.

  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • Give me Microsoft Word and Firefox and I am happy. Even when it comes to listening to music while writing, I'm often lazy and just search a good playlist on Youtube. 

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • Most of the time, just writing a few Star Wars roleplaying posts will be enough to get my focus back, but if I really feel too frustrated with my writing, I will either work out a bit (pilates and some yoga can do wonders) or go kill things in a video games (I like Fantasy and Science Fiction RPG games such as Mass Effect, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Diablo III).
    Every once in a while, I'll hit a mean writer's block time or earn myself a burn out. It took me several years to realize it was okay and could happen to me. In that case, I'll allow myself to walk away from the project I'm writing and focus on what I can revise, what I can take notes for, what I can market better, but take distance from the "writing" of writing. One week often fixes it.

  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I have published in some academic volumes, but have chosen the self-publishing road for my other work. I have never regretted it. I am far from being able to live thanks to my writing, but I love the creative control over what I do.
    I publish on Kindle through Amazon and print (if the volume is long enough) via Createspace/Amazon. The few free eBooks I have available are available on any e-formats on Smashwords.
    It is a lot of work to take care of everything on my own, or build the network that helps (I am very grateful to the amazing and talented people who help me whether for editing, cover design or marketing) but it is extremely rewarding. 
    I normally publish three titles a year, and since 2016, I start on International Women's Day with a free eBook collecting all interviews from the previous year of my monthly blog feature "Sci-Fi Women Interviews" and follow with a summer and a winter release.
    I offer pre-order on Amazon, start looking for marketing/advertising opportunities a few months prior to the release, and if I can organize a book blog tour. While I do 3 releases per year, I try to have a "main one" that benefits from more advertising.
    After I've released a title, I try to go back to it via blogging, tie it to a guest post elsewhere, do free or discount days on Amazon to keep spreading the word.

  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • Website: http://natachaguyot.org
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/natachaguyot
    Linkedin: http://fr.linkedin.com/in/natachaguyot/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/natachaguyot
    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7944812.Natacha_Guyot
    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/guyotnatacha/
    Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+NatachaGuyot/
    Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Natacha-Guyot/e/B00JAZS2CY/
    Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Natacha-Guyot/e/B00JAZS2CY/
    Amazon France: http://www.amazon.fr/Natacha-Guyot/e/B00JAZS2CY/
    Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/aruna7
 
 

If you would like to be part of the Author Interview series, click here.

Writing Prompt /// Coffee Break /// August 2016

 
 

Each month, I post a writing prompt that you take 10 minutes to write. Just 10 minutes to give yourself a break from what you are working on now but keep you in the flow of working. It may be a topic to write about, or it may be a way of writing that you don't normally use. I am going to try to mix things up so your brain doesn't get bored.

For August, the writing prompt is:

Headline News.

This writing prompt has two directions you could take it. The first option is to look at today's paper (or whatever you get your news from) and read just the headline; then, write a story, not an editorial piece, about what you that is related to that headline. The other option is to write a short piece about what type of headline you'd like to read instead of what the paper actually has printed.


If you post your "Coffee Break" responses anywhere online, I'd love to read them! Share your link in the comments!