Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Writer's Tribe - with Author, Joe DeRouen

Today we're talking with Author, Joe DeRouen. Before we get started, let me just tell you if you're looking for a good spooky story, he's your guy! I absolutely loved his book series, Small Things. It's a smores-by-the-campfire treat, sprinked with what-was-that-noise? kind of read. Best of all, the third installment is in the works!

When did you first realize that you were a writer?

I think when I was maybe 12. Before that, I wanted to be a comic book artist. I was pretty good at drawing, but finally realized that wasn’t where my talent was. I need to create stories, to get the words out of my head and down on paper. I wrote my first novel when I was 20, and it was pretty awful, but I’d like to think I’ve improved just a bit over the years!

What inspired you to write your latest novel?

I just turned in LEAP YEAR to my editor, and it should be published later this year. I’ve always had a fascination with the thought that someone born on leap year, if all the stars aligned just right in the universe, might only age one year for every four years that pass. I took that notion and ran with it.

Who is your favorite author?

The late, great Ken Grimwood. His most successful novel was REPLAY, about a man who dies in his 40s and keeps reliving his life over and over again. It’s an amazing novel, one I’ve read at least a dozen times since I first discovered it in 1988. His writing has definitely inspired my own.

Have you ever written a “real life” person into one of your books?

Yes, often. My grandmother is in my debut novel. SMALL THINGS. She had just passed away at the time I was writing the novel, and that was my way of honoring her memory.

Who is the one character you are most proud of/favorite writing and why?

Claire, from MEMORIES OF A GHOST. I think she is, by far, the most complicated character I’ve ever written, and definitely my favorite. If I were to say more, it might spoil the story.

Describe the worst criticism you ever received as a writer, and how you overcame it.

The overuse of certain words. It’s just something you have to watch for, and a good editor will definitely help with that.

How do you stay motivated to write?

By reading. I’m a voracious reader, and that pumps the well of imagination, helping me to get my own ideas out on paper. Also, don’t be afraid to take breaks. If the words aren’t coming, go play a video game or take a walk and come back to your story later.

What are you currently working on?

The third and final book in the SMALL THINGS trilogy. It’s been a long time coming and is about 75% finished.

Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m just a vert. For most of my life, I thought I was an introvert, but as it turned out, I’m just shy. I do gain energy from being around and interacting with people, so I definitely have some extrovert in me, but I also value my alone time. So I am both, or neither, whichever way you want to go with that!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Write what YOU want to write. Don’t follow trends. If you write what you’re passionate about, you will improve as a writer and you will gain readers. If you don’t believe in what you’re writing, no one else will. Don’t try to be the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling; just be you.

Where can readers connect with you?

Website: JoeDeRouen.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/jderouenwriter

Twitter: @jderouen

Email: joe@joederouen.com

Thank you so much for talking with us, Joe! Please keep us posted on the release of your third installment for Small Things!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Writer's Tribe - with Author Lynette Creswell

Today, I am pleased to share an interview from across the pond with Author, Lynette Creswell. She is the author of six novels, and the newly released short story collection, Cat Thief. If the recent state of the world has your attention span bouncing off the walls, this is sure to keep you entertained! Read on to learn more about Lynette, and how to grab a copy of her fabulous work.

Tell us something about yourself.

I’ve been married to my husband, Andy for twenty-seven years and we have five sons and eleven grandchildren.

Where do you live?

I live in a small town called Immingham, near Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire in the UK. It is close to the coast and not too far from Scarborough and Whitby. Two of my favourite places to visit.

When did you first realize that you were a writer?

At junior school. I wrote a story about a penny that travelled the world. The teacher was so impressed she read the story to the entire class. When I saw my friends listening to every word, I realised I wanted to write more.

What inspired you to write your latest novel?

I’ve written six novels so far and fancied writing something different. Last year I entered a short story competition and won first prize. Naturally, I was elated, but this gave me the confidence to write more. Before I knew it I had a further two stories published in magazines and a third shortlisted for the Floella Benjamin Trophy Cup. I enjoy writing short stories and within eight months I had enough for a collection.

Who is your favorite author?

Oh, I have many. Charles Dickens will always be in my top five alongside the Bronte sisters and Jane Austin. Their books are beautiful, using captivating, figurative language. Victorian literature had an impact on society and subtly affected the world.

In the twenty-first century I enjoy Jojo Moyes (Me Before You), Barbara Erskine (Lady of Hay) and Margaret Atwood (Handmaiden’s Tale).

Have you ever written a “real life” person into one of your books?

Oh, yes, hasn’t every writer? Of course I changed their name otherwise I would get sued, especially if I turn them into a cold-blooded killer.

Tell us more about the collection.

My new collection is diverse, dark-humoured, and deliciously bite-sized. A compelling collection of 7 thought-provoking and humorous short stories to keep the reader reading long into the night. You’ll find some of the stories have been previously published in magazines and anthologies. The collection is engaging, the characters linger in your mind and are the perfect companion for any fiction lover.

Cat Thief and other Short Stories:
  1. Cat Thief: A Witch’s Tale: When a love potion goes wrong, Evie doesn’t want to put it right.  But why? (First published in Scribble Magazine - 2020).
  2. Forty Years Too Late: We all keep secrets from loved ones but sometimes skeletons don't lay hidden forever.
  3. Seventeen Pound and Thirty-Four Pence: An act of kindness from the last person you expected.
  4. Lonely-Hearts: Love hits you when you least expect it.
  5. Glimpse into the Future: A young Romany gypsy has foresight. After dreaming the murder of a young woman, can Rosa decipher the clues in time to save her life? (First published with Hammond House Publishing – 2019).
  6. Close Call: A duty firefighter is called to a house to coax a jumper down off a roof.
  7. Orange Truffle Surprise: Revenge is a dish best served cold. Especially when your husband is caught having an affair. 
Who is the one character you are most proud of/favorite writing and why?

In this collection it has to be Evie. She’s the witch in the story Cat Thief. Her love potion goes haywire and things don’t go to plan but she doesn’t get ruffled under pressure. I admire her for that. Most of us would suffer a meltdown.

Describe the worst criticism you ever received as a writer, and how you overcame it.

In the early days when I wrote my first book I couldn’t afford an editor. Like most writers, I was just starting out and honing my craft. Once the book was published, I received a couple of negative comments stating that the editing could have been better. I wasn’t ruffled because I was aware of my limitations. I still received glowing reviews from readers and that’s all that matters to me. I find readers are more forgiving than those who work in the publishing industry. Readers simply devour the story whilst those with a critical eye enjoy pulling grammar, punctuation and storylines apart. Nevertheless, you’ll always find typos in books, even bestsellers.

Remember to be kind to authors. All they want is to share their story with you.

How do you stay motivated to write?

Writing is in my blood. I can’t stay away from the computer for too long. My mind likes to create new characters which readers can connect with. That alone is motivation enough.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on four children’s stories about hedgehogs. The first story is called Hoglets Christmas Magic and should be published by the end of the year.

What is the most interesting part of being a writer?

I think the best part is meeting so many amazing people. Ever since I published my first novel back in 2012 doors have opened which allowed me to meet many people from all walks of life. Since becoming a novelist I hold creative writing workshops in schools and I’m the team leader of a local writing group.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Believe in yourself and your ability to write because if you don’t nobody else will.

Where can readers connect with you?

Website: www.lynetteecreswell.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Creswelllyn

Facebook: Lynette Creswell Author

How can we grab a copy of your new short story collection? 

The ebook is available from Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle you can still download a copy by using the Kindle app on either your phone, tablet or computer. Just go to your app store on your phone and look for the boy sitting under a tree reading a book.

You can find Lynette Creswell's complete collection on Amazon here.

Thank you for joining us, Lynette! Wishing you all the best on your new release, Cat Thief.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Writer's Tribe - with Bryan Miller

As an author, I'm astonished at how the solitary craft of writing ultimately leads to invaluable relationships. We live in our imaginary worlds, clacking away on our keyboards as we carefully cobble out our stories. Some of us talk to ourselves (okay, maybe that's just me). Yet the cast of any successful book takes far more than just the writer and the characters.  I am forever thankful to the professionals I partner with, and the friends and colleagues I've made over the years. In a new series here on my blog, I've decided that sharing their stories, processes, and services is a wonderful way to share my appreciation for each of them. To that end, I would like to introduce the first interview in my Writer's Tribe series.

Bryan Miller and I have been colleagues and friends for over seven years. He is the editor behind Simple and Real, and is an accomplished author himself. He's also a very talented artist and software developer. I consider him one of the strongest warriors in my Writer's Tribe. He was also kind enough to be my first guest in this series.

Please meet Bryan Miller.

Q:How long have you offered editorial services?

A: Since 2013

Q: What is the best advice you would give to an aspiring author?

A: Write about either what you know, or what stimulates your imagination.

Q: What is your process for reviewing the work of a writer?

A: I usually do line editing with comments in the Word margin. For higher rates I also rewrite and ghostwrite. I tend to work at 2500-5000 words daily and charge a premium for faster turnaround.

Q: Why is it important to have someone review your work?

A: We are blind to our own misspellings and omissions. Also, a second reader can often catch vagaries, conflicting facts, etc, and can say ‘this passage isn’t clear’.

Q: How can a writer connect with you?

A: Reach me directly at kyrathasoft@gmail.com

Thank you for joining me in this series, Bryan. Ali (inside joke), will always bust through ceilings to work with you!