The IndieView http://www.theindieview.com For Indie Readers, Reviewers, and Authors Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:54:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 41100324 IndieView with Eva Vernae, author of If Her Walls Could Talk http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/22/indieview-with-eva-vernae-author-of-if-her-walls-could-talk/ http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/22/indieview-with-eva-vernae-author-of-if-her-walls-could-talk/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.theindieview.com/?p=13544 Continue reading ]]>

I am always looking for opportunities to grow and develop entertaining novels for all.

Eva Vernae – 22 June 2017

The Back Flap

Do you remember what it was like to be an innocent child, soaking up the world of information around you like a sponge? What was going through your mind? You may find you can relate fairly well to young Lailah Turner. In If Her Walls Could Talk, Lailah takes a stroll down memory lane, sharing some of her most shameful, life-shaping experiences an average adolescent could imagine. Curiosity gets the best of her as she struggles, makes mistakes and irrevocable decisions; and just when she feels she is getting her life on track, the unexpected happens. What will this rebellious-as-all-hell, promiscuous, and surprisingly sneaky teen do when she arrives at one of the biggest crossroads of her life?

About the book

What is the book about?

If Her Walls Could Talk is a fictitious biography/novel that tells a story about a young girl named Lailah Turner. She takes a stroll down memory lane, sharing some of her most shameful, life-shaping experiences an average adolescent could imagine. Curiosity gets the best of her as she struggles, makes mistakes and irrevocable decisions; and just when she feels she is getting her life on track, the unexpected happens! What will this rebellious-as-all-hell, promiscuous, and surprisingly sneaky teen do when she arrives at one of the biggest crossroads of her life?

When did you start writing the book?

I began writing in March of 2016

How long did it take you to write it?

It took eight months to write

Where did you get the idea from?

 I took some realistic events and wanted to expand those events and turned them into a story. I felt like there were opportunities to make something happen in the book whereas it didn’t happen in real life or vice versa.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Absolutely. Being that this was my first time writing a book, I struggled with ending a chapter appropriately, ensuring that there weren’t any unanswered questions (which I couldn’t catch in its entirety), and making sure everything flowed to the best of my ability.

What came easily?

Character development

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Combination of both

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

No, there are no particular authors that have influenced how I write.

Do you have a target reader?

Not really. I feel this book is appropriate for male or females over the age of 16.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I did not have a process per se in the beginning. Now that I finished my first book and am working on its sequel and one other novel, I have a great process in place. I developed all the characters first and included everything from how they look to their demeanor. Next, I developed the chapter names and “must-haves” for each chapter. Whenever something comes to mind, no matter what chapter it is in, I jot it down and add it accordingly as I write. As I finish each chapter I go back and read it to ensure I answered questions from a reader’s perspective and check for errors.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

For this first novel, I did not outline.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

As I go

Did you hire a professional editor?

Yes, I hired a professional editor

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

It depends on my mood as far as listening to music while I write. When I do listen to music while writing, I tend to play Maroon 5, Jill Scott, and Bruno Mars.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

 No

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher?

The decision to go Indie was because I like to be in control of what I do. I wanted to fully invest in myself and set a high expectation for myself.

Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

Gradual process

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

Professionally done

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I am still looking at better and more ways to properly market my book. Winging it scares me a little bit.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

 My advice would be to take your time versus rushing things. Quality cannot be rushed. Also, be sure of who you are as a writer and let things flow accordingly. Be yourself!

About You

Where did you grow up?

Milwaukee, WI

Where do you live now?

Milwaukee, WI

What would you like readers to know about you?

I am always looking for opportunities to grow and develop entertaining novels for all. I have been writing since I was a young girl and am looking forward to pursuing writing full-time in the very near future.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on If Her Walls Could Talk, Pt 2 as well as one other novel titled, The Counselor: Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

End of Interview

For more from Eva, visit her website or like her Facebook page.

Get your copy of If Her Walls Could Talk from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

 

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IndieView with Rosemary Hayward, author of Margaret Leaving http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/20/indieview-with-rosemary-hayward-author-of-margaret-leaving/ http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/20/indieview-with-rosemary-hayward-author-of-margaret-leaving/#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.theindieview.com/?p=13536 Continue reading ]]>

Characters can never be purely fictitious. They must necessarily be based on the author’s internal experience of her own thoughts and emotions and on her observation of other people. However, none of my characters mirror a person I know. Nobody I know has been “put in my book”.

Rosemary Hayward – 20 June 2017

The Back Flap

The past is never past. A historian should know that.

Margaret walked out of Jenny North’s life on Friday, June 16th 1967. Margaret told nobody where she was going or why. At seventeen years old, Jenny expected to go to college to study history, not to have her life haunted by the mystery of her stepmother’s past. And she didn’t think she would spend fifteen years trying to find out who Margaret really was and why she left.

The search for Margaret takes Jenny from Oxford to Paris and from 1967 back to the Second World War. Along the way Jenny learns who her relatives are, and who her friends are. And she discovers why all is not as it seemed.

Rosemary Hayward leads you into the changing world of late twentieth England, as seen through the eyes of a serious minded and intelligent heroine who doesn’t always behave so very heroically.

About the book

What is the book about?

Margaret Leaving is about Jenny North’s search for answers about her stepmother, Margaret. Margaret leaves the family home when Jenny is seventeen years old. Jenny’s father claims he knows no more about where she has gone, or why than Jenny does. Jenny lives the next fifteen years of her life vacillating between desperately wanting Margaret and desperately wanting to get her out of her life forever. In the meantime, she has a life to lead: a father, friends, lovers and colleagues. The mystery of Margaret’s past that runs Jenny’s life affects all these other lives too. Why did Margaret go?

When did you start writing the book?

In 1995, when I was living in California for a year, without a work permit.

How long did it take you to write it?

After I returned to the UK, and my job as a lecturer in a further education college, the book, which was then called Present Imperfect, was put aside. I revived it after meeting Shelly King (the author of The Moment of Everything) upon my return to California in 2000. She suggested I attend a writing conference with her and I was overwhelmed by the sheer pleasure of having other writers taking my work seriously. From then on I worked on the novel, work-shopped it, and learned how to write.

Where did you get the idea from?

There are many ideas in Margaret Leaving. It is deliberately complex and multi-layered. So I am going to answer that question as “What was the thought that first got words onto the screen?” I had not written fiction since high school but I had half a lifetime of reading it under my belt. I wanted to see if I could create characters and a plot. Could I get from the beginning to the end and fill out the middle?  I started with emotion. What emotion have I felt that I can easily give to a character? What do I know? This is harder than it sounds, because many emotions are too connected to harsh experiences for a beginning fiction writer to tackle. So, I started with a bookish 17 year-old who realizes she could possibly go to the best university in the world, because I was once that girl. And then I made something happen to her that threatened that possibility, because I once knew someone who gave up a place at Oxford because his parents died and he fought social services for custody of his younger brothers and sisters.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Ironically, I struggled most with the very thing I started with, showing the emotions and thoughts of my principal character. It is very important that the writer stays true to the character they have created and Jenny North is a person who was taught, by her parents and by the society she grew up in, to keep her feelings to herself: not to be expressive, not to be “lovey-dovey” and most definitely not to lose her temper. So, what are her internal thoughts and feelings? It took me many rewrites before I got there and I have a character a lot of readers find it hard to get to know and like, but I think I have the real Jenny North.

What came easily?

Inventing new characters. I love writing the first scenes with a new character, giving them faces, gestures and things to say.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Yes and no. Characters can never be purely fictitious. They must necessarily be based on the author’s internal experience of her own thoughts and emotions and on her observation of other people. However, none of my characters mirror a person I know. Nobody I know has been “put in my book”.  When it comes to the intersection with recorded history, I have based some characters on actual historical figures I found in my research, and portrayed real events in which they were involved.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I have never consciously tried to write in the style of another author. However, influence is a more subtle thing than imitation. I read a lot of classical literature: Dickens is wonderful for social indignation and outrageous characters, Austen for irony, Elliot for soul searching, and Tolstoy knows how to conjure up a scene better than any other author I know. I also read a lot of modern female authors: Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Amy Tan, Donna Tartt, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx, and Joan Didion are some of my American favorites, and Zadie Smith,  Monica Ali, Hilary Mantel, A. S. Byatt and Kate Atkinson are some of the Brits. They all write about what matters, deep in the human heart. I’m sure there are others but you don’t really want my entire bookshelf.

It’s noticeable on thinking about this how few male authors I have included. If I think about male authors I come up with Neil Gaiman, Louis de Bernières, Terry Pratchett , Umberto Eco, Douglas Adams, John Fowles and Gabriel García Márquez. It’s magical realism, intense introspection and comedy. I don’t want to write that, but I love to read it. I think I take authorial voice from them. The concept of what authorial voice is, not the way they do it.

I’ve just checked my little bookshelf here in Seville and it includes Chris Cleave, Iain Pears and Sebastain Faulks. Books I bought to read on planes, all historical novels. So, I like the way these particular men write historical fiction, I guess: highly plotted, true to the period, with a message, and no indulgence in sex and violence even when writing about sex and violence. I try to write like that.

Margaret Leaving is a mystery plot. I like mysteries but rarely read them. I mostly watch them on television. A good mystery is one that keeps the reader, or watcher, thinking until the end. They also must have interesting characters and interesting interaction between the characters. Morse is a prime example of the sort of mystery writing that has influenced me directly when it comes to plotting.

Do you have a target reader?

No. Or only myself. I want to write the sort of books I want to read. It’s a matter of integrity, of being true to myself. That might sound pompous. Sorry.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I need to be inspired by a topic.  For example, the women’s suffrage movement in Britain in the first decade of the twentieth century is the inspiration for my next book. Then I invent characters. Next I give them a plot. I think of the plot as a framework to hang everything else on, so to that extent there is an initial outline. Then I write. I dream up a scene in my head, write it down, dream up the next scene, and so on. I can’t start writing the scene until it is visually and audibly present in my head. After the first draft is written I write an outline, in order to keep things straight and coherent.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I think I answered this above.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Both. I write and rewrite as I go along. Then I read and write and rewrite again. Over and over.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Yes, and I took her suggestions to heart, although I didn’t act on all of them. She was essential to getting the novel into the final “ready to greet the world” state and particularly helpful in the matter of getting the chapters organized in a way that grounds the reader in time and space.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

No. I need peace and quiet to write.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

Yes, roughly 75, both American and British.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

Not getting any interest from the traditional market combined with the increased opportunities for self-publishing. I have worked on Margaret Leaving for many years. I wanted to get it into the hands of my friends, if nobody else. And I believe it is a good book, worthy of being read by a wider audience. It has something to say. It doesn’t fit easily into a genre and it doesn’t have a classical “grab you in the first chapter, root for her however unpleasant she is” heroine. And I don’t go easy on the language. I use British words even if my American readers won’t understand them, and I use long words and long sentences. Not that the book is erudite or difficult, but I think you need to read all of it, and be prepared work at it, before you can appreciate it. So, I wanted to give people the chance to do that work, to stretch themselves a bit, because I like books that make me do that.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

The cover design is by Peter O’Connor of Bespoke Book Covers of the UK. The photograph is by Cristina Expósito Escalona, my multi-talented daughter-in-law. I deliberately chose a British designer, since this is a British book, written in British English and set in England.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I have a plan and I think it is a realistic one considering there is only me to activate it. Publish online. Get the word out to my friends and acquaintances. Get the book into local bookstores. Have a website and a Facebook presence. Arrange some publicity events. Get some reviews. But there is not a lot of time and money behind me.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Write first. When you have written, make sure it is the best you can write. Have other people critique your work. You still have to write to the standards of the traditional published market, if not to its tastes. Use a literary editor and an independent proofreader, think very carefully about which self-publishing method suits you and your book and only do your own cover if you are also a cover designer. And remember you are doing it for the sake of art. You are unlikely to make your fortune.

About You

Where did you grow up?

In the Hertfordshire countryside, about halfway between the English towns of Luton and St. Albans.

Where do you live now?

In Santa Cruz, California and Seville, Spain.

What would you like readers to know about you.

I am an accountant and tax preparer, and was once a teacher of accounting and taxation. So, please don’t underestimate your tax preparer. Who knows what they do in their other life.

What are you working on now?

A novel with the working title Crocus Fields that involves the interlocked stories of three women, one in the present day, one in the nineteen-seventies and one in the first decade of the twentieth century. I was inspired, initially, by wanting to get into the head of a militant suffragette. The militant branch of the British suffragette movement is lauded as heroic now but if those women did some of the things they did then now, and with the organization they created, we would call them domestic terrorists. That’s where I started. Now I have three women and a major women’s issue that faces each of them in their own day, an issue that can be looked at from more than one side.

End of Interview:

For more from Rosemary, visit her website or like her page on Facebook.

Get your copy of Margaret Leaving from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

 

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IndieView with Kelleen Silveira, author of Starved http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/17/indieview-with-kelleen-silveira-author-of-starved/ http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/17/indieview-with-kelleen-silveira-author-of-starved/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.theindieview.com/?p=13533 Continue reading ]]>

I impulsively decided to self-publish all the books I had written until then on Amazon. It was shocking when the very next day they were getting purchased! People were reading them, I was getting feedback, people wanted to know what happened next! Having readers was hugely motivating to me and I haven’t looked back.  

Kelleen Silveira – 17 June 2017

The Back Flap

All her life Tate Vasilievich has felt overshadowed by her younger, vivacious sister Katie. Always an outsider in her own family due to her weight, Tate finally feels she’s found her place now that she is in college. When Tate’s mother calls, pleading for her to come home and deal with her sister’s latest rebellion, Tate worries that her future is in jeopardy. A week later she wakes in her own grave, no memory of how she got there.

Now Tate finds herself with an incredible ability to heal and a nearly overwhelming craving for blood, and no answers as to what happened the night she died and her sister disappeared. She has little time to adjust to her new existence when it becomes clear that powerful forces are determined to hunt her down for doing the unspeakable: stealing immortality from a group that does not bestow it lightly. With nowhere else to turn, Tate forms an uneasy alliance with Malek, a doctor who has dedicated his life to the destruction of vampires. As Tate seeks answers about her deeply troubled sister, she must also struggle with a burgeoning eating disorder and her conflicted feelings for Malek. When the truth finally comes to light Tate is faced with horrifying secrets decades in the making and an even more pressing question: how far will she go to save her sister?

About the book

What is the book about?

Starved is the story of a young girl named Tate.  All her life she’s struggled with her weight and felt like an outsider in her own family.  Her younger sister, Katie, is beautiful and vivacious and doted on by their parents.  When their father died, Katie started acting out and getting into trouble.  Tate went off to college but one day she gets a call from her mother asking her to come home and talk some sense into her wayward sister.  The next thing she remembers is waking up in her own grave.

The story follows Tate as she struggles to accept that she is now a vampire.  The night she died her sister also went missing and she has to piece together what happen if she ever hopes to find her.  In the meantime she teams up with a doctor named Malek whose mission in life is to wipe out the vampires.  On top of everything Tate develops an eating disorder which makes her thirst for blood nearly impossible to control.

When did you start writing the book?

I had this idea in my head for several years before I really started working on the book.  I wrote a prologue and the first chapter and then it sort of sat there.  I finally sat down and wrote the entire book two years ago, but didn’t decide to publish independently until last November.

How long did it take you to write it?

Once I get started I’m a pretty quick writer.  Start to finish, editing included, the whole process took me about three months.

Where did you get the idea from?

I really liked the idea of this non-standard heroine waking in her own grave, unsure of what was going on.  In books people always seem to easily accept that they are a vampire.  I think, even with all the evidence glaring me in the face, the last thing I would believe was that I was a vampire.   I also took a bit of a different approach to vampire lore.  I decided my vampires would need to eat food to maintain muscle mass, but food would suddenly be repulsive to them.  I imagined that a lot of women who had struggled with their weight – if suddenly in a situation where food repulsed them – would develop an eating disorder.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

For me I think it was just getting started.  I had this first chapter and kept thinking about the story, but I had a hard time getting going.  Once I finally decided I needed to write the book and made myself sit down and write it the whole thing flowed pretty easily.

What came easily?

Dialogue!  Demora and Malek have such clear, developed personalities in my head that it really drives a lot of the story.  I never had to stop and think “How would they react?”.  The characters just led away and the dialogue between them flowed really easily.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Tate isn’t based on anyone, but I did think about myself and how I’d react if I were in her situation.  In all my writing, I borrow from my own experiences and those of people I know to flesh a character out.  Tate’s interest in Sci-Fi conventions and cosplay comes from my own limited experiences, but her personality is wholly her own.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I’m not sure if I could say there is any particular author I am aspiring to write like, but I know that all the authors I read have had a huge influence on my life.  Growing up I loved a pretty eclectic mix, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, Jude Devereaux.  My parents had a library and I was told that some books were too mature for me and I wasn’t allowed to read them, so of course I stole them constantly and read them all.   I still read a wide range of genres, even though I pretty much stick to writing fantasy. I would also say that manga has had a big influence on my writing.  I love the way it isn’t afraid to be absurd, funny, heart wrenching  and brutal, all in the same chapter.

Do you have a target reader?

People who want to read what I’ve written!  I wouldn’t say I start writing with a certain type of reader in mind, but I know that the majority of my readers are in a similar demographic to me: women between 18 and 34.  Of course, there are plenty of exceptions.  My father-in-law – a scientist in his sixties – is a huge fan of Urban Fantasy, especially stories with strong female leads.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I get up in the morning, before my kids wake up, make some coffee and settle in at the kitchen table with my laptop.  I put my headphones on and play music really loudly to tune out any distractions.  My cat insists on coming and mauling me and I attempt to ignore him while he lays on top of my arms or head butts me in the face repeatedly.  Then I write two thousand words.  I do this every morning with very few exceptions.  (My cat is purring like crazy in my lap as I write this).

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I think if I wrote more detailed outlines I might be a more efficient writer, but I usually just write down the major plot points.  If I’m struggling to get to the next part I might sit down and write more detailed chapter outlines, but a lot of the time I figure out what I’m going to write the next morning while I’m drifting off to sleep the night before.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I sit down, write my two thousand words and don’t look anything over until I’ve gotten to the end.  Then I’ll read over the whole thing for consistency, grammatical errors, typos.  Writing in a series is more difficult because I have to make sure what I’ve written doesn’t contradict past books.

Did you hire a professional editor?

My mother-in-law is my editor! I’m pretty lucky in this regard.  She used to write history textbooks and did line editing.  Then I’ll have my father-in-law go over my books too since he actually reads the genre so he can give me valuable feedback about content.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I always listen to music when I’m writing, I need it to set the mood and drown out any outside distractions. Usually I’ll pick a song that fits the mood and play it on youtube and just let whatever comes up play after that.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

For years, I halfheartedly tried going the standard route.  What a depressing, soul crushing process that is!  Sending out query letters, frequently getting no responses.  I remember one agent asked to see my manuscript for a previous novel I wrote and after waiting anxiously for months for a response she finally got back to me with a short note saying “It just wasn’t as interesting as I’d thought it would be.”

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I had written several novels, because I enjoyed writing far more than trying to market myself, but it was hard to be motivated without anyone reading my work.  I knew someone who had just gotten an agent after spending several years working full time on rewriting the same book over and over, having it professionally edited and doing all the “right” steps.  I looked at her and realized that was never going to be me.  I have kids.  I didn’t have the time, or the desire, to invest everything into just one book.  I just wanted my work to be read, I didn’t really care if I made much money at it.  I impulsively decided to self-publish all the books I had written until then on Amazon.  It was shocking when the very next day they were getting purchased!  People were reading them, I was getting feedback, people wanted to know what happened next!  Having readers was hugely motivating to me and I haven’t looked back.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

The cover of Starved I made myself using a photo my husband took.  It’s seemed to work well for that series, but I am currently redoing the covers to my other novels.  My sister was actually interested in getting into book cover design.  She recently created a new cover for a different book of mine and I’ve seen a big boost in sales.  Together we’re redoing the covers to all my other books, but I’m going to stick with the same one for Starved, and the sequel Maimed, because they seem to be working well.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I feel like I’m learning something new every day.  Up to now I’ve just been winging it, but I’m learning a lot.  I’m the member of several indie author groups and they’ve been invaluable.  I think with each new book I’m gaining more marketing know-how.  My goal for this year is to just write as much as possible.  I’m currently working on three separate series and I want to wrap up two of them this year and get the third well under way.  Once I’ve got a more extensive library of books I want to really start investing in marketing next year.  I’m definitely not looking into this being a quick process.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Do it!  I have no regrets.  The standard publishing route just isn’t for everyone.  Above all else I just want to share my stories and indie publishing has given me that chance.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a small town in northern British Columbia, Canada.  It’s made the news twice in the past year, once for a deer running over a guy and a second time for a moose wandering into Safeway and eating a bunch of produce.  That gives you a pretty action picture of my childhood.

Where do you live now?

I live in the Seattle area.  I love it, can’t imagine living anywhere else.

What would you like readers to know about you?

How much I appreciate them!  Honestly, I get so giddy when people contact me telling me they enjoy my work.  It makes my day every time.  If I could make a fan page of my fans I would.  They are the reason I write!

What are you working on now?

Currently I am working on the sequel to a book I wrote years ago.  I had no clue what I was doing when I published the first one.  It had a horrible cover, I didn’t advertise.  When I recently published my other books I had people go back and read that long ago book and began to get demands for a sequel.  I was more than happy to go revisit those old characters and story, there was so much more of the story I had to tell!  I’m really excited to get to finish the series.

End of Interview:

For more from Kelleen, follow her on Twitter or like her Facebook page.

Get your copy of Starved from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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Reviewer IndieView with Desert Rose of Desert Rose Reviews http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/15/reviewer-indieview-with-desert-rose-of-desert-rose-reviews/ http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/15/reviewer-indieview-with-desert-rose-of-desert-rose-reviews/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.theindieview.com/?p=13530 Continue reading ]]>

That day changed my whole life, I’d say, and I was introduced to the world of not only reading books, but becoming an active member of a community I had no idea existed until that day.

Desert Rose – 15 June 2017

About Reviewing

How did you get started?

I fell out of the hobby of reading after I graduated High School. After a few years, I realized my nearly constant sour mood was from a lack of reading. Books had been a constant companion for me growing up, so going that long without reading anything taught me how much I need books in my life.

Unsure of what books to start with, I found Goodreads, and made a to-be-read list from some groups I joined. I noticed how many people in that group left book reviews, but I hadn’t done that before.

After prompting from a group member, I left a review for a book we’d been discussing. An author saw my review, and thought I’d like his book, and emailed me requesting a read-for-review of his book – the first I’d ever experienced.

That day changed my whole life, I’d say, and I was introduced to the world of not only reading books, but becoming an active member of a community I had no idea existed until that day. Professional reviewers.

I immediately fell in love, and have been reviewing ever since.

How do you review a book? Is it a read first, and then make notes, or do you make notes as you go along?

I have a photographic memory, so I’ve never been one for taking many notes. I am, however, very picky about the books I do read. If I don’t like a book, it’ll stay in my head forever! Not always pleasant, haha.

I generally tend to read a book cover to cover, or as quickly as I can, and write my review immediately, so the feeling I have of the book is fresh.

What are you looking for?

Generally, I’m looking for a book that makes my imagination work. If I can picture it happening, and fall into the story, then I’m basically happy. A good plot will generally equal a good review, and from there it simply depends on whether there are plot holes, if the character development made sense, and if it was edited/formatted well.

If a book has a great plot, great characters, but the grammar is less than perfect, how do you deal with that?

If the grammar is the only issue, that’s generally a four star for me. Still, if the plot is one that really moved me, and hit me hard, and the characters will stick with me, I’ll most likely not care so much about the grammar, and still rate it a five star, with a note that the grammar could be improved.

How long does it take you to get through, say, an eighty thousand-word book?

Good question! While I am a natural speed reader, it really does depend on the story. No matter how long the book is, if the plot doesn’t pull me in, it takes me longer to finish it. I read Moby Dick (200K words) – took me two days. The Hobbit (95K words) took me three weeks, haha.

How did you come up with your rating system, and could you explain more about the rating system?

I based mine off the standards for Goodreads & Amazon, although I use roses (Desert Rose Reviews), instead of stars.

Five roses is basically excellent: plot, characters, & overall experience was amazing, and the story will stick with me for quite a while.

Four roses is good, experience was pleasurable, and the plot/characters were good, it just didn’t blow me away.

Three roses is a not good, not bad. I didn’t want to stop reading, but it isn’t one I’ll end up reading again. Kind of a “meh” feeling.

Two roses is usually for books I wish I could rate three roses, but simply can’t if I’m being honest. I don’t like using two roses, and generally try to figure out if I’m being too harsh, or too nice. A lot of books I rate three roses were probably two roses for most of the book, but I bumped them up to three because I know I can be quite harsh when I dislike something.

One star is bad. Really bad. I can’t find anything about the book to talk me into rating higher, and really, it isn’t difficult to please me. I’m simple. One rose from me means it was a complete waste of time, I wish I wouldn’t have read it, and I only finished it out of my own stubborn inability to not finish something I start. It’s a personal inability I have to leave things unfinished, and it usually leaves me with a horrible irritation at the end, feeling almost forced to finish a book I dislike that much. In five years, very few books have ever gotten that low of a rating from me.

DNF. Did not finish. Oh gosh. If a book over-rides my need to finish things I start, yikes. That’s really bad. Really really bad. I think there have only been a few books in my entire life I couldn’t actually finish, and I still sneer at the thought of them.

What advice could you give to authors looking to get their books reviewed?

As a somewhat newbie author myself, I’m actually struggling with this! Honestly, my best advice really is just to reach out to bloggers and reviewers.

As an author who started out as a reviewer, I understand both sides. Reviewers want to review books, and if you find one that looks like a good match for your story, shoot them an email! Be personal – don’t send mass emails, because that just makes a reviewer feel unappreciated. That’s a huge topic of complaint in reviewer circles, it seems.

It is all about networking, though. Making genuine connections, and working with people. It takes time, but if it’s worth it to you, then the effort will pay off in the end.

Also, edit your book. Don’t talk to any reviewers until your book is edited. Any reviewer who has an opinion worth something, won’t have a good time reading a book filled with mistakes, and really, if you’re putting a book out there, the point should be to give the reader a good time, and entertain them.

Edit, then network.

Do you get readers emailing you and thanking you for a review?

I do, actually. I’ve had many people tell me they either read a book and fell in love with it because of my review, or stayed away from a book because of my review. Both kinds of messages have been wonderful experiences for me. I love knowing I help other people choose good books to read.

My advice to authors on getting a ‘bad’ review (hasten to add that might mean a perfectly honest, well written, fair review – just bad from the author’s point of view) is to take what you can from it and move on. Under no circumstances to ‘argue’ with the reviewer – would you agree with that?

Definitely. A review is an opinion, and everyone is entitled to their own. An author isn’t promised a positive review, and if a reader doesn’t like their book, well, that’s just part of putting anything out in the world. Some people will love it, some people will hate it, but it should all help an author grow.

Unless the reviewer is attacking the author personally or crossing some sort of obvious ethical boundary, I’d say let it go and focus on the positives, because there is always a silver lining. I do that as an author, and I try to keep the author in mind when I review any book, but it’s always difficult to deal with someone not liking your work.

About Reading

We talk a lot about writing here on the blog, and possibly not enough about reading, which is after all why we’re all here. Why do you think people love reading? We’re seeing lots of statistics that say reading as a pastime is dying – do you think that’s the case?

I think people love reading because they love being entertained. We adore entertainment. For a lot of people, it’s also an escape, either from their life, or from the lack of having anything else to spend their time focusing on. Few people enjoy simply sitting and doing nothing, and books are a wonderful way to keep your mind active for a little while.

Unfortunately, I do think reading is becoming a dying pastime, which is a complete shame. It’s such a common thought though, to simply watch the film if it was based on a book, or watch a movie in general. When modern people have spare time to spend on something, it seems most tend to choose movies or television, especially in the last decade. Even school reading lists have fallen in quality and quantity.

About Writing

What are the most common mistakes that you see authors making?

Not editing. With the option of self-publishing so simple and readily available to writers, many people now skip paying for editing, citing lack of funds or time as a valid reason, and it isn’t. An unedited book defeats the purpose of publishing a book – to entertain. You can’t be entertained if you can’t stay in the flow of the story, and spelling/grammar mistakes take the reader out of the story. It’s like tripping, for the mind. You have to smooth that road out, before you ask people to drive on it. Unless, of course, you’re alright with bad reviews and complaints – no one likes paying to be tripped and irritated.

We’re told that the first page, paragraph, chapter, is absolutely key in making or breaking a book. Agents typically request only the first five pages of a novel; what do you think about that? If a book hasn’t grabbed you by the first five pages, do you put it down?

I understand the idea, and why that is such a strict rule for so many publishers and agents. What is a bummer, is the fact there are some great indie books out there, that grab you two or three chapters in. I think there needs to be more options and ways for writers to polish their books, without breaking their banks or simply being rejected completely.

I’d give a book a quarter of the length to grip me, wherever that lands it. I’ve never been gripped by a book after the first quarter – if it’s bad that far in, it’s bad all the way through.

With indie books becoming so prevalent, the standards need to change, and update with the times. Indie authors should be celebrated, not turned away. The publishing industry simply needs an update, so that good books have the chance to become great books.

Is there anything you will not review?

Erotica. I think it’s gross, I don’t wanna read it, and I’m not interested in it. If a book has a sex scene thrown in, my review of the book overall will be worse, because my experience had a wrench thrown in. Personal preference, but that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? I don’t enjoy bedroom stuff in books, and it’s simply not necessary to making a book interesting. A good writer (in my opinion) can entertain me without selling out with sex scenes. For me, it just ruins a perfectly good story. Blech.

About Publishing

What do you think of the oft-quoted comment that the “slush-pile has moved online”?

Okay, insecure moment, but I’ve literally never heard that comment before. Where in the world have I been?

In order to join the topic of conversation, I did a quick Google search.

I can definitely see where that idea is coming from, although I don’t really agree with the negativity associated with it. The internet has offered writers who would have otherwise never been noticed, a wonderful opportunity to connect with people. Writers have the perfect chance to flourish, as long as there are readers out there to entertain. It’s cruel that the modern world is also responsible for turning would-be readers into movie lovers, but I digress.

There are definitely writers out there who need to learn the art of polishing their story, however everyone deserves the chance to grow. As long as the writer is willing to grow, I don’t see a problem.

Do you think attitudes are changing with respect to indie or self-published titles?

I think so, definitely. As more indie authors are becoming known for wonderful stories, the climate is changing. I hope it will continue to grow in popularity over the coming years, because there are some incredible indie authors in the world, who have stories worth noticing.

Do you have any ideas or comments on how the industry can ‘filter’ good from bad, aside from reviews?

Filter? Not really. Too many filters are what kept the climate so stiff in previous centuries. The modern climate simply needs to expand and grow into being a welcome place for writers in general. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ is all relative, and depends on the reader. Really, our culture needs to change, and re-embrace reading as a social norm, so there will be more reviewers out there.

End of Interview:

To read Desert Rose’s reviews, visit her website.

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IndieView with Amber D. Tran, Author of Moon River http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/13/indieview-with-amber-d-tran-author-of-moon-river/ http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/13/indieview-with-amber-d-tran-author-of-moon-river/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.theindieview.com/?p=13512 Continue reading ]]>

I always know the beginning and end of a story before I start writing it. Then I fill in the middle with some conflicts, rising action, falling action, and humor.

Amber D. Tran – 13 June 2017

The Back Flap

In this debut novel from author Amber D. Tran, a tale of adolescence and heartbreak unfolds. Nine-year-old Abigail Kavanagh first meets Ryan Mills during the summer of 1999. A shy and awkward boy, Ryan hides behind his wide-framed glasses while Abigail is determined to learn everything there is to know about him. The next few summers are filled with birthday parties, adventures in and around the West Virginian mountainsides, and late night conversations where they share their most secretive and personal thoughts.

Their friendship starts to crumble when Abigail befriends the attractive and musical Lilly Anderson, a girl who is also interested in uncovering the mysterious nature surrounding Ryan. However, everything comes to an end the summer of 2004, and Abigail must decide if her new journey is worth traveling alone.

A novel that takes place in a small town in northern West Virginia, Moon River is a story that exploits the brutal honesty in growing up fast, loving too young, and losing too soon.

About the book

What is the book about?

Moon River is about two children growing up together in northern West Virginia. The novel is inspired by true events of my life, so it was interesting reliving some of my favorite memories.

When did you start writing the book?

I started writing the book the spring of 2013.

How long did it take you to write it?

From start to finish, from typing the very first word to finalizing my editor’s comments, it took about four years to write Moon River.

Where did you get the idea from?

The idea was inspired by my life growing up in West Virginia after meeting a boy on the bus. Once I talked to some friends and family, they were eager to learn that I was writing a book about him.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Absolutely! The ending of my book was very difficult to write. I won’t give away any spoilers, but it took a lot tears and courage to finish the book on a positive note.

What came easily?

The dialogue of my book came easy. I enjoyed documenting the southern drawl of my friends, my family, and myself. Readers have shared with me that they thought the dialogue to be authentic and to help place the setting of the novel.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Since Moon River is inspired by true events, all of the characters are based on real people in my life. There is one composite character that encompasses up to five different people.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I have been influenced by the likes of Jo Ann Beard, Kelly Braffet, Kerry Cohen, and Jennifer Armintrout. While I was in college, a few of my friends compared the tone of my writing to that of Beard’s, which was one of the best compliments I have ever received.

Do you have a target reader?

I do not really have a target reader. Moon River is a blend of Young Adult/New Adult, so perhaps my target reader is between the age of 12-18.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I always know the beginning and end of a story before I start writing it. Then I fill in the middle with some conflicts, rising action, falling action, and humor.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I only outline the beginning and the end. I have tried using outlines before, but I hated sticking to something so definitive and concrete. I prefer to let the story carry me rather than forcing myself to stick with a program.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I edit as I go, and I also edit at least five times after I have finished a piece of work. Editing is crucial to writing. I also have a friend read my work before I submit it to journals and/or publishers.

Did you hire a professional editor?

My publisher’s editor reviewed Moon River. She was so helpful and insightful. I owe her a lot of credit for the fluidity of my novel.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I love listening to music when I write! Music from my childhood really inspires me to write. Some of my favorite songs are by The Offspring, Ai Maeda, The Veronicas, P.O.D., and System of a Down. (That last one is strange, I know.)

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I submitted my work to over 75 different agents. In the end, I only heard back from three of them, two of which were Declines.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I went with a small publisher because they focused on work by females in the Appalachian area. Since I was born and raised in West Virginia, and since my novel takes place in West Virginia, I fit their mold and they were eager to see my full manuscript.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

Tara Sizemore designed the cover of my book. I gave her a concept and she went right to work! She captured my cover so well that I cried when I first saw it.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I try to stay relevant on social media and at local events. I tweet often, I share pictures on Instagram, I post at least once a week on Facebook, and I attend as many book festivals and book signings as possible. The community has been very supportive of me.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Do not become discouraged if you are declined by a publisher. It happens to everyone. You must remain confident in yourself and your work and proceed with resilience.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the small town of Hundred, West Virginia.

Where do you live now?

I currently live in Madison, Alabama.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I have been writing since I was in the 5th grade. Oh! And I met my husband in a Dragon Ball Z chatroom! Talk about a love story.

End of Interview:

Get your copy of Moon River from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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IndieView with John Jack O’Brien, author of re: the wasps http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/10/indieview-with-john-jack-obrien-author-of-re-the-wasps/ http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/10/indieview-with-john-jack-obrien-author-of-re-the-wasps/#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.theindieview.com/?p=13509 Continue reading ]]>

It was only later when I heard back from an advanced reader with really positive feedback that I went back and looked at it again. I literally took it to a coffee shop and read my own book and thought – hey this is really good and I’m not going to let it not get read. That’s when I decided to self publish on Amazon. 

John Jack O’Brien – 10 June 2017

The Back Flap

Welcome to Obelus Incorporated, a seemingly ordinary office building, home to hard-working insects and parasitic employees. There’s Abbie, who hacked into her coworker’s computer and found something that could be damaging her sanity. Her boss Owen is more or less starting a cult in the basement. Then there’s the mysterious young woman who dreams of someday becoming a photocopier. All this while a swarm of wasps turn the entire office building into one enormous nest. This collection of interconnected short stories about corporate lost souls facing bizarre transformations is a darkly funny fever dream sure to inspire nightmares.

About the book

What is the book about?

re: the wasps is about an otherworldly office building overrun by insects, and the employees who work there and how their tedious jobs are changing them. It’s part satire, part horror, part short story collection. I tell people it’s basically Sideways Stories From Wayside School except it’s scary and not for kids.

When did you start writing the book?

I started writing the book in May of 2015, when it was just a scary short story.

How long did it take you to write it?

From the first short story I wrote to when the book came out was about two years, with lots of starts and stops in between.

Where did you get the idea from?

I got the idea after I went camping with my friend Loren in Sequoia National Park. We were surrounded by wilderness. It was beautiful and I felt really connected to the natural world. A few days later I came back to the city and started a new job, alone in an empty office building. It was the disconnect I felt in that office building, as compared to the woods, that led me to write the book. I realized that the office building was an unnatural place.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Because the book is a series of interconnected short stories with some recurring characters and some one time only characters, it was really difficult once I had them all written to break them up and sort them into an order that would make it a fun experience for the reader. I printed each type of chapter out onto a different colored sheet of paper and then laid them all out on my living room floor. There were over 50 and I had to move my couch.

What came easily?

Even though I have a background as a comedy writer, the easiest parts to write were the frightening, disturbing, or disgusting parts of the book. I’m very in touch with what makes me feel weirded out so that is easy for me to tap into.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

I definitely borrowed from real world people I know. Especially the way certain characters talk. In fact, I had to change their names for the final version because I originally named them after their real world counterparts. People have asked me if I’m in the book, but I don’t think I am.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

In general, David Foster Wallace was a big influence on me. But specifically for re: the wasps, Lydia Davis was a huge influence. She writes these extremely short stories that are just devastating in their simplicity. I really wanted my writing to have that powerful sort of brevity.

Do you have a target reader?

My target reader is someone who appreciates the off-beat, and who finds themselves bored with normal books. I think sometimes the way books are marketed and written robs them of their ability to surprise. My target reader loves the feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen next.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I like to write on paper first, usually a lot at a time, when inspiration strikes. Then I’m scribbling down tons and tons of ideas and sentences and instructions for myself. Then I’ll let it sit for a few days and think about it. When I reopen the notebook to type stuff down, I’ll edit it as I go, and I already know what I want to change.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

No, there were a lot of stories that I started for re: the wasps that I had no idea how they would end. And there were a few that I knew the endings to but I didn’t know how they should start.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I try not to edit too much while I actually write. I will usually wait until I have a big chunk done and then print it out and go through it with a red pen.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I hired two separate copy editors at different stages during writing to check on spelling, grammar, clarity, tone, and consistency.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I love listening to music while I write, but I find it really difficult to write to music with lyrics. Hearing words distracts me from the words in my head. Usually I’ll listen to ambient or classical music stations on Pandora.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I did! I got mildly good feedback, but not enough to keep me going.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I sent it out to a bunch of agents and indie publishers and when I didn’t get the response I wanted, I figured that was the end. It was only later when I heard back from an advanced reader with really positive feedback that I went back and looked at it again. I literally took it to a coffee shop and read my own book and thought – hey this is really good and I’m not going to let it not get read. That’s when I decided to self publish on Amazon.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

It was a combination. I hired a company to do some of the cover. The main title lettering is actually from an old typewriter I have. I scanned it and zoomed way in, which gives the font this blotchy effect that I love.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I had a marketing plan for the initial release that I think worked rather well but now that the book has been out for a month or two I’m just seeing what it does on his own.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Just keep writing! When you get stuck, go to the bookstore. Look at all those dumb books written by nobodies. Each one of those thousands of books was a real pain in the ass to write. Tell yourself that your pain in the ass book deserves to be up there too. Then go home and write some more.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

Where do you live now?

I live in Los Angeles, California now.

What are you working on now?

Since I live and work in Hollywood, I need to catch up on my script writing. I’m probably the only writer who ever moved to LA to write a book and not a screenplay.

End of Interview:

For more from John, follow him on Twitter.

Get your copy of re: the wasps from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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Reviewer IndieView with Amanda Elizabeth Abend of The Wanderer http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/08/reviewer-indieview-with-amanda-elizabeth-abend-of-the-wanderer/ http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/08/reviewer-indieview-with-amanda-elizabeth-abend-of-the-wanderer/#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.theindieview.com/?p=13507 Continue reading ]]>

However, with the creation of e-books we have been exposed to new opportunities for literary mediums. Instead of newspapers, we read social media memes and short-form articles. There are numerous ways people read in their daily lives, and the incorporation of the digital not only makes reading convenient but necessary in a digital age.

Amanda Elizabeth Abend – 8 June 2017

About Reviewing

How did you get started?

The Wanderer started off as a group project for an undergrad Publishing course. Tasked with creating a literary review journal in order to better understand the standards of the publishing industry, I worked with peers Nia Hilton, Hayley Spence, and Iyari Padilla-Hernandez to create the basis for The Wanderer. We decided that the books we would review would be journey-based; that is, if we could wander through the book, it would be considered on-theme for our site. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to a specific genre or style, because we all have a very different approach to our reading and review methods.

The first few posts on the site were graded as assignments for our English coursework, which is why the site still retains a certain academic tone.

How do you review a book? Is it a read first, and then make notes, or do you make notes as you go along?

I like to lightly mark my book as I am reading it, by highlighting lines with beautiful imagery or key plot twists. I write my revelations and opinions on sticky notes as I am reading, which makes it easier to recall points of discussion. I collect my books and am fond of re-reading favorites, sometimes years later, and I have found that leaving my books marked improves any second readings. I am able to remember what affected me the first time I read it and compare it to details I didn’t see before.

What are you looking for?

At The Wanderer, we prefer to “review” books that have been recently released (within the past year). Anything older than a year we consider ‘commentary’. We have also written event reviews and author interviews. Anything literary, we look for.

If a book has a great plot, great characters, but the grammar is less than perfect, how do you deal with that?

I try and remain honest in my reviews, because I would want someone to be honest with me. At the same time, I understand that mistakes foster growth, so I try and stay unbiased and understanding of mistakes. With a book I halfway like, I make sure and identify the positive and negative, in the hopes of better informing potential readers as well as providing useful though gentle critique to the author themselves.

How long does it take you to get through, say, an eighty thousand-word book?

Typically, I am able to read ‘good’ books within a week or less. Research based books (like memoirs or biographies) take a little longer, depending on how well it is written and how dedicated I am to retaining the material.

How did you come up with your rating system, and could you explain more about the rating system?

The Wanderer’s collectively preferred to maintain an element of unbiased ambiguity in our rating system. We prefer to rate books by opinion. Meaning that, by posting a review, we hope that readers will gain a better understanding of what book will be about, without influencing their own opinion of the author’s style. In my own reviews I strive to summarize without spoiling, mimic the tone that readers can expect from the book, and provide readers with self-awareness of what they want to read next.

What advice could you give to authors looking to get their books reviewed?

To just ask! Whether a review is paid or voluntary, it is important to create conversations about books. The more a book is reviewed, the more of an audience it will reach.

Do you get readers emailing you and thanking you for a review?

I have personally had authors thank me for the reviews I have written about their works, which has been exciting and flattering. Readers sometimes comment on our review, if they feel compelled to read the book or agree with our review.

My advice to authors on getting a ‘bad’ review (hasten to add that might mean a perfectly honest, well written, fair review – just bad from the author’s point of view) is to take what you can from it and move on. Under no circumstances to ‘argue’ with the reviewer – would you agree with that?

Yes. I believe that reviews are (generally) not written maliciously. Reviews are intended to help inform readers as well as authors. Authors should take constructive criticism seriously and use it to improve their writing without taking it personally or getting emotional.

About Reading

We talk a lot about writing here on the blog, and possibly not enough about reading, which is after all why we’re all here. Why do you think people love reading? We’re seeing lots of statistics that say reading as a pastime is dying – do you think that’s the case?

I believe that literature evolves. We do not read in the same way today that ancient peoples read. We have evolved from cuneiform tablets to papyrus, from bound books to digital literature. And though we have evolved our reading technologies, we still read, and we still find value in literatures of the past.

About Writing

What are the most common mistakes that you see authors making?

As an author of reviews, I myself have been criticized for run on sentences, the overuse of grammar, or poor word choice. I tend to notice details like that, simply because I am self-conscious of my own weaknesses with them.

Is there anything you will not review?

At The Wanderer, we prefer to “review” books that have been recently released (within the past year). Anything older than a year is consider commentary.

We didn’t want to limit ourselves to a specific genre or style, because we all have a very different approach to our reading and review methods.

About Publishing

What do you think of the oft-quoted comment that the “slush-pile has moved online”?

By “moving the slush-pile online”, as readers we have much greater accessibility to literature. Engaging with a community of readers and writers is essential for growth and discovery. The internet has made it much easier for readers to access books and for writers to gain feedback and publication.

Do you think attitudes are changing with respect to indie or self-published titles?

As literature is made digital, accessibility and exposure to new forms of literature make people think differently about literature in the traditional sense. Many people tend to think of a book as a printed, bound volume. However, with the creation of e-books we have been exposed to new opportunities for literary mediums. Instead of newspapers, we read social media memes and short-form articles. There are numerous ways people read in their daily lives, and the incorporation of the digital not only makes reading convenient but necessary in a digital age. With the advent of self-publishing, we are provided with an overwhelming choice of reading materials, some bad and some good, but the numerous choices people now have for reading make self-publishing an easy and effective way for authors to reach readers.

End of Interview:

To read Amanda’s reviews visit The Wanderer.

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IndieView with Dominic Adler, author of The Saint Jude Rules http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/06/indieview-with-dominic-adler-author-of-the-saint-jude-rules/ http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/06/indieview-with-dominic-adler-author-of-the-saint-jude-rules/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.theindieview.com/?p=13503 Continue reading ]]>

It makes me chuckle when I see a writer who’s been toiling away for years lauded as an ‘overnight success’ when they get a best-seller. I know they’ve spent years of hard work getting to that point, just the same as people in the other creative industries.

Dominic Adler – 6 June 2017

The Back Flap

Cal Winter: Junkie. Murderer. Winner of the Military Cross for Gallantry.

Penniless and desperate, Cal Winter is coerced into working for a band of freelance paramilitaries known as The Firm. After a decade of deniable killing, he plots revenge. Armed with a secret file of The Firm’s dirtiest secrets, Winter returns to London. There he discovers the organisation has evolved into something even worse…

Winter assembles a careworn team of The Firm’s cast-offs and misfits. Their enemy: a ruthless warrior elite, information warfare specialists battle-honed in the West’s ‘Forever Wars’.

From Iceland to the City of London, to the lonely marshes of England’s southern coast, Winter must stop The Firm. Not just to save the country he once scorned, but to fulfil his vow to be a better man.

About the book

What is the book about?

In 2007, Iraq veteran Cal Winter is coerced into working for a secret guild of mercenaries and assassins. Ten years later, he finally gets the chance to take revenge on them, but discovers the organization has morphed into something else – and that something could lead to War.

When did you start writing the book?

Actually, it shares at lot of DNA with the first novel I ever wrote. So, the first draft, technically, went down seven years ago.

How long did it take you to write it?

The rewrite that became The Saint Jude Rules took me about eighteen months.

Where did you get the idea from?

I’m geekily interested in technology and information warfare, and have been since the advent of the Internet. In the late 80s – early 90s I was a reservist in army intelligence, where we were taught to watch for discreet signs of enemy activity (which back then was the USSR) as a precursor to war. Deception plans and political unrest was all part of that – and now it’s turbocharged by the Internet. Those were the ideas caroming around my brain when I thought up the plot.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

The Prologue was tricky, as The Saint Jude Rules is the third part of a trilogy. As I like my books to standalone too, I needed to give enough background without info-dumping. I think I squared that circle, I’m sure my readers will let me know if I didn’t!

What came easily?

Dialogue. I’ve always enjoyed writing it, and I’m pretty familiar with my characters after three books. I particularly enjoy snark, slang, argot and one-liners.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Aha, always a tricky question. I’ve met several combat veterans who’ve aspects of Cal Winter about them, but happily not the killing people for money bit. Marcus, Cal’s sometime MI6 ally, is based on a real person (I’m not saying who) and Cal’s handler, Harry, definitely looks like an old acquaintance of mine (Harry’s ex-SAS, the person he’s based on was in the marine equivalent, the SBS).

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

The first serious thriller I read, aged eleven or twelve, was The Eagle has Landed by Jack Higgins. I still think it’s one of the best action thrillers – an ensemble cast of characters, intriguing plot, plenty of action and genuine edge-of-your-seat thrills. My other inspirations are probably Len Deighton, Michael Moorcock (I’m a big SF / Fantasy fan) and Philip Kerr (among others).

Do you have a target reader?

To begin with, I thought I did – after all writing is a business, and I was looking at the male military-thriller market. Turned out lots of women read my books too, which is cool. I’ve worked on my female characters a lot, in fact my second book had several who were pivotal to the action (one of whom is in my new book too). So no, I don’t think I have a target reader anymore. As long as you like action / mystery stories with dark humor and an espionage theme, then you’ll enjoy my stuff. I recently saw John Wick and thought – ‘that’s the sort of vibe I want to achieve.’

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I reckon all writers go through their own special process-wringer, where you try all the different ways of writing a novel. Planning. Making-it-up-as-you-go-along. A bit of both. Now I have a fair idea where my books are going plot-wise, but am prepared to change it if a better idea develops through the characters. I also make copious notes in long-hand, especially about the characters.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

Beginning, ending and key sequences, yes. Not slavishly, maybe a quick paragraph.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I used to edit as I went (apparently that’s how Kurt Vonnegut did it, he presented one draft to the publisher ready to go). Then I just zoomed through a first draft and started refining later, which I think works better for me.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

What a great question. I’ve got a Spotify writing playlist – right now I’ve got Thirty Seconds to Mars in the background. I’m a big Foo Fighters fan, along with The Stones, Oasis, Florence + The Machine, Bjork, Squeeze, The Pretenders, Johnny Cash… I think I might even have some Kanye hiding in there somewhere on Estelle’s ‘American Boy.’ THERE ARE LITERALLY NO LIMITS to my musical proclivities.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

Yes, I’m represented by David Haviland at the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency. They run their own indie imprint, Thistle publishing. They front all sorts of amazing stuff, it’s a treasure trove of indie fiction and non-fiction.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

As the Big Five publishers get (even) more risk-averse when it comes to new or mid-list writers, it made sense to take up the offer from Thistle. I’d certainly consider a traditional publishing deal, but the industry is so diverse now. I know some extremely successful, traditionally published, authors who have gone hybrid and self-pub the stuff they can’t get released otherwise.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

I’m lucky, Thistle do my covers. And they give me a say, too, which I think is very kind. What I’ve learnt is the importance of a cover as a thumbnail as opposed to a physical book in a store. For eBooks it’s a crucial distinction.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

There’s a plan based on social media and Facebook ads, which to be honest my brilliant wife looks after for me. Thistle also help out. I don’t think the average person in the street realizes how long it takes to establish a reader base and a writer’s platform (I’m not enamored with the whole ‘platform’ folderol, but it’s A Thing and there’s no getting around it). It’s why writing is a labor of love, and all about the long-haul. It makes me chuckle when I see a writer who’s been toiling away for years lauded as an ‘overnight success’ when they get a best-seller. I know they’ve spent years of hard work getting to that point, just the same as people in the other creative industries.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Do it, but have realistic expectations. Get basics like formatting and covers right. You might end up with a hobby that makes you some extra money, or you might end up making a living. The days of lifestyle-supporting advances are more or less dead for genre writers. You’ll only find out what your writing journey will be by trying, but you have to write, read, write, read… (rinse and repeat!).

About You

Where did you grow up?

The UK. I was brought up in the South London badlands, which is like Mordor but with worse public transport. London features in all my books to date. It’s a character in and of itself. I love it and I hate it.

Where do you live now?

West of London, which is like the Shire but with less hairy feet.

What would you like readers to know about you?

That my retirement plan rests in their hands, and they should buy all of my books immediately. I also play too much Grim Dawn and Fallout. If anyone wants to chat or ask questions about my stuff (or play Grim Dawn), I’m on Facebook  and Goodreads.

What are you working on now?

Cal Winter 4 is slowly gestating in my brain, while I’m re-writing a post-Apocalyptic detective thriller (set in Mordor South London). I have another American-based military / espionage story that needs some re-writing love too (I might self-publish that one), and I’d like to write a fantasy book at some point. I definitely want to write cross-genre when I feel like it, which is another great thing about being an indie.

End of Interview:

Get your copy of The Saint Jude Rules from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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IndieView with J.D. Palmer, author of The Meek http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/03/indieview-with-j-d-palmer-author-of-the-meek/ http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/03/indieview-with-j-d-palmer-author-of-the-meek/#respond Sat, 03 Jun 2017 13:00:44 +0000 http://www.theindieview.com/?p=13500 Continue reading ]]>

And then I go and look him up and he wrote those books when he was 28. I think I had held onto this idea, at least in my subconscious, that authors were old. I don’t know why I thought that, but his books gave me the kick in the butt I deserved to finally sit down and get the story out.

J.D. Palmer – 3 June, 2017

The Back Flap

The world didn’t end with a religious war, or a race war, or an economic collapse. It didn’t end with everyone blowing each other up with nuclear warheads and it didn’t end with a natural disaster. It didn’t end because someone got offended in one of the million petty squabbles that were real, or fake, or imagined.
It ended quietly.
Harlan is visiting his friend in Los Angeles when people start dying. His friend, the neighbors, the entire city falls victim to an unknown disease. Except for Harlan.

Or so he thinks.

And he learns quickly that just because there are other survivors, not all are to be trusted. Finding himself in a world filled with broken spirits and hidden motives, he must navigate through a darkening landscape fraught with violence and despair as he desperately tries to get home to the love of his life, Jessica, and the child she is carrying. Morality becomes blurred as Harlan is forced to commit questionable acts to protect himself and those around him.

About the book

What is the book about?

A post-apocalyptic story about a man trying to get home.

When did you start writing the book?

I have been playing with the idea for a couple years. But January of 2016 was when I started writing it in earnest.

How long did it take you to write it?

The bulk of it was written in four or five months. Then the editing began… The whole process was well over a year.

Where did you get the idea from?

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a post-apocalyptic landscape. I enjoy people watching, and I remember there being a day in which I asked myself “how would these people behave if suddenly there was no more power? No lights, no phones, no devices. What would I do?” The story began there.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Keeping it honest. The farther the story went along the more attached to characters you become. Sometimes you want to make them do something more mature, or responsible, or kind. But if that’s not in their nature then you have to go back and change it to fit their psychology.

What came easily?

Easily? I don’t know if anything did. But I will say I enjoyed writing the action scenes the most. When your characters are running for their lives the urgency takes over and the scene gets broken down into its most basic elements.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Physical characteristics and mannerisms are things I can’t help but incorporate into my writing. Some characters are based on people I know, but invariably as the story changes so do the characters. They rarely resemble the people who inspired them at the end.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

So many authors… There are two I’d like to mention. Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles is my most treasured series. Her writing showcased someone truly plumbing the depths of a

person’s soul. I can only aspire to go that deep. And then a couple years ago I read a fantastic book series called Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I was blown away by his storytelling. And then I go and look him up and he wrote those books when he was 28. I think I had held onto this idea, at least in my subconscious, that authors were old. I don’t know why I thought that, but his books gave me the kick in the butt I deserved to finally sit down and get the story out.

Do you have a target reader?

Someone who likes something very, very, grim and gritty.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I’m all over the place. Usually an hour of research before staring at a blank page for two hours followed by fifteen minutes of frantic typing. Then repeat.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I outline in the most open-ended way. I like to break the book down into three

parts and fill them with placeholder chapters.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

It’s really hard not to edit as you go. Especially on days when you can’t seem to produce any writing, it’s easy to go back and edit what you’ve done so far. But an author friend of mine gave me a very good piece of advice: get it all out of your system while it’s fresh. Don’t get bogged down by making sure each sentence is perfect. That’s for later.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I did not. I am fortunate enough to know enough readers and writers who, somehow, agreed to look over my manuscript multiple times. I owe a lot of people beers.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

Once I find a song that exemplifies a character, or setting, or scene, I listen to it non-stop. Usually one or two songs on repeat until I get that section done.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I did not. I think, from day one, I knew I’d self-publish.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I talked to a few publishers and they advised, since this is my first book, to self-publish as it would be hard to get someone to represent me at this juncture. But to be honest, I always planned on going this route. I’ve talked to multiple authors who, although represented, are unhappy with the way their book is handled, either by content manipulation or by marketing. I guess I’ve always loved the idea of having autonomy over my book. Art is subjective and I want to put forth the story that makes me happy.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

My mother is an amazing artist and my wife is a professional graphic designer. So I really, really, lucked out.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I did have a marketing plan… I realized very quickly that it was rubbish. So now I’m winging it.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Getting a good writing program helped me out a lot. Especially when it comes to organizing and compiling. I use Scrivener. I’d also advise patience. What you think is your final draft is most likely not. Find a group of readers that you trust and don’t get frustrated with critiques.

About You

Where did you grow up?

Montana

Where do you live now?

Los Angeles, California

What would you like readers to know about you?

I play chess and read every day. I like vodka and country music and camping.

What are you working on now?

Book 2 of the Unbound Trilogy.

End of Interview:

Get your copy of The Meek from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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IndieView with Sabrina Albis, author of A Night Without Stars http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/01/indieview-with-sabrina-albis-author-of-a-night-without-stars/ http://www.theindieview.com/2017/06/01/indieview-with-sabrina-albis-author-of-a-night-without-stars/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.theindieview.com/?p=13459 Continue reading ]]>

With the main character, Autumn Kingston, I wanted her to be moral, levelheaded and kind. Those are qualities I strive for in myself and I wanted her character to embody those qualities as well.  

Sabrina Albis – 1 June 2017

The Back Flap

Pretty, kind, and bright, seventeen-year-old Autumn Kingston is just like so many other girls her age. But her life changes drastically when she is asked to move away from home to help tutor an old childhood friend.

Autumn is excited to reconnect with Rick Jacobs and help him graduate, but when Rick decides to film a school project out by the notorious haunted caves things go from normal to disturbing in the blink of an eye. As the caves’ dark secrets emerge, people go missing, and those who return aren’t themselves anymore. And when the enigmatic school outcast Eric King asks for their help in ending the horrors of the caves for good, Autumn and Rick can’t resist—no matter how dangerous it might be. The teens recruit Rick’s best friend, Nathaniel Abrams, and Autumn’s new friend Mandy Jensen on the mission to save the town and its inhabitants. The only questions remaining are what is actually in the cave and whether they even have a chance of stopping the evil from spreading and eventually taking over.

In this novel, a group of teenagers sets out to defeat a supernatural horror lurking in the nearby caves and along the way discover truths about the world and themselves.

About the book

What is the book about?

A Night without Stars is about a group of friends that discover the supernatural exists all around them, though they really aren’t expecting it. They live normal lives until they realize their town isn’t as mundane as they believed it to be. Extraordinary things, good and bad, are happening right under their noses.

When did you start writing the book?

I began writing this book in 2012.

How long did it take you to write it?

I would say about five years. That includes the original story, the rewrites and the editing.

Where did you get the idea from?

The idea just came to me. I am an avid reader and I really love The Twilight Saga, the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games and all those type of young adult books. I like that they transcend age barriers. They are targeted at certain age groups but adults still read those books and enjoy them. I really wanted to create a book that could engage all age groups. Also, I wanted to write a book with loveable and relatable characters that experience extraordinary situations. I love writing fantasy books. The supernatural element adds excitement to the pages.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

The editing part was the most difficult. It is very monotonous and tedious but absolutely essential.

What came easily?

The characters and their dialogue came to me very organically. I loved adding in the wisecracks and the banter between characters. I also liked creating their backstories and building their relationships with one another.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

I believe all authors incorporate aspects of real world people in their work, whether they are aware of it or not. So subconsciously I think my characters have some tethers to the real world. With the main character, Autumn Kingston, I wanted her to be moral, levelheaded and kind. Those are qualities I strive for in myself and I wanted her character to embody those qualities as well.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

R.L. Stine. He is one of the reasons I began writing books. When I was young, I would devour three of his Fear Street books in a week. When I write, I often feel the influence of his books in my work. I also really love Stephenie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Jennifer Weiner and Sylvia Plath. I could go on, the list is so long!

Do you have a target reader?

This book is definitely geared towards a young adult audience. However, many adults who have read the book loved it, so I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys adventure, romance and things that go bump in the night!

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I sometimes write stories out of sequence. I write the middle or the last chapter first. I just write what comes to me really. If the last scene in the book is something I am really excited to write that day, I do that. I also really love a good prologue. It can add so much to a story. For A Night without Stars I added the prologue to explain why Autumn was willing to leave her old life behind so willingly and to shed light on what her life was like.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I have attempted to outline but it isn’t my thing. In my head I have a rough idea where things are headed obviously but because I frequently change the direction of my stories, I like to keep things relaxed and spontaneous when I write.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Both. I try and go back and fix things as I go but I often get to the point where I just want to focus on the story itself and its progression and I opt to edit when I am done completely.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I did have a professional editor quickly peruse my work but it wasn’t edited line by line. That was all done by me. Many times.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I love music so much but it can be distracting when I am writing so I don’t often listen to it while working.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I did not. I knew from the get-go that I wanted to self-publish A Night without Stars.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

As much as I respect and admire anyone that goes through with traditional publishing, I knew that wasn’t something I wanted to do. I am very impatient and I knew I wanted this book out there and available on my own terms. I know many writers think self-publishing is difficult but with the tools we have today, social media and whatnot, I think self-publishing and promoting your own book, isn’t what it once was. It is a viable option for many new writers looking to get noticed.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

My book was professionally designed through the amazing artists at iUniverse Publishing. I was involved creatively in the regard that I described what I wanted the cover to look like and they made it happen. The cover of A Night without Stars is a true testament to how talented the artists there are. The cover turned out so stunning and eye-catching. So many people have mentioned how amazing it looks.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

Some of my marketing was planned and some wasn’t. I knew I wanted an author page on Facebook and that I should get a Twitter account. I also knew I wanted to contact my local newspaper about my book and do book signings. So far everything I wanted to achieve I have but I am constantly looking for new ways to spread the word about my book and gain more readers and reviews.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

The best advice I can give is to believe in yourself and your book. You need to be comfortable self-promoting yourself as an author and your book so you need to have confidence. Also, do your research. I was linked to my publisher through Chapters online. You want to make sure you are going with the publisher that best represents you and your needs. There are so many options when self-publishing and you really need to know what choices are available to you.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Whitby, Ontario which is in Canada.

Where do you live now?

I still reside in Whitby. I enjoy traveling to other places but in the end Whitby just feels like home.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I am a huge nerd. I love comic books, manga and anime. I also love buying collectibles and playing video games.

What are you working on now?

When I wrote A Night without Stars, I knew there was going to be at least three books in the series. I have this whole elaborate story unfolding in my mind. When I finished the first book, I immediately started the second book. So the second book in the series, which is presently untitled, has already been written. I am currently editing that manuscript.

End of Interview:

For more from Sabrina visit her blog, follow her on Twitter, or like her Facebook page.

Get your copy of A Night Without Stars from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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