Tag interview

Interview with Author Chrys Fey

 

chrysfeyAUTHORPICChrys Fey will be coming out with her debut eBook, Hurricane Crimes, from The Wild Rose Press in 2014. She has published work with Freedom Fiction Journal, The Write Place at the Write time, Inner Sins magazine, and Long Story Short. Her blog, Write With Fey, is dedicated to helping and inspiring writers.

I got to know Chrys through her blog as well and I highly recommend it to any aspiring writer. Just to further prove her awesomeness, Chrys was kind enough to agree to an interview for Fantasy Scroll.

Q: How and when did you get started as a writer?
A: All throughout my childhood I watched my mom write, and I thought it was the most magical thing in the world. I was about six-years-old when I wrote and illustrated my first story, but I seriously started writing six years later after an unusual find:

One day, when I was twelve years old, I sat down on a small grassy hill next to my house after a lone game of basketball. I was playing with the sharp blades of grass when my fingers brushed something stuck deep in the roots. I thought it could’ve been a lucky penny or a key to a secret place.

Curious, I dug it out and looked at my find. Unfortunately, it was not a penny or a key but a screw. The tip was crooked and it was crusted with orange rust. For the strangest reason, while holding that pathetic screw, a story came to me about an extraordinary girl in an alternate world.

I rushed inside my house, grabbed an old notebook and a black pen, and then ran back to that little mound of grass to write the beginning of that story. I wrote fiercely, trying to catch all the words stumbling around in my head.

I’ve been a writer ever since.


Q: How do you usually find your ideas? What do you do when you get stuck?
A: Many of my story ideas are inspired by my dreams, even nightmares. The best ideas tiptoe into my mind after I see a random object, like a rusted screw, or see an interesting person who I want to morph into a character. Recently this happened after two trips to Wal-Mart.

If I struggle with writing I take a break. For a day or two I’ll rest and then I’ll sit back down to write. If I’m still having trouble with the piece I’m working on, even after reading the last couple of chapters, I’ll pick up another WIP and work on that one until my brain runs out of energy. By then I am ready to get back to my other project.


Q: Can you give us your advice on how new writers should handle rejections?
A: My first piece of advice to new writers is not to take rejection as a personal attack toward you, your story, or your abilities as a writer. Rejections are so common that I actually expect a rejection now whenever I open a letter or email. If I get a rejection, I simply brush it off and send my query or story to the next one on my list. So my second piece of advice would be to harden your expectations, and to keep the hope that the place that will publish your story is still out there.

Q: What was the most difficult decision you had to make for your writing and how did that influence your career?
A: The story I started writing when I was twelve turned into a supernatural-thriller series. At seventeen, I decided to rewrite the series all the way at book one, and this past year I finished the fourth and last book. My dream was always to publish my series first, but after years of no success I realized I might have to break into publishing another way.

In 2011, I wrote a romantic-suspense story titled Hurricane Crimes. The first place I sent it to was The Wild Rose Press and it was accepted for publication as an eBook. Deciding to publish another book before my series didn’t just influence my career, it started my career!


Q: Did you ever self-publish? If yes, how was that process for you, if no, why not?
A: I haven’t self-published, but I am definitely keeping that avenue open in the future. You never know where your writing career might take you.

Q: Where do you see the traditional publishing going in today’s world?
A: I think traditional publishing is going to stick around while also adapting to the new advances in publishing.

Q: Do you advise beginning writers to seek an agent or try to do the leg-work themselves?
A: I would definitely advice new writers to seek an agent. Agents can get your book through doors you’d never be able to on your own, and they can help you through whatever questions or problems you may come across. Keep in mind, having an agent doesn’t mean you won’t have to do legwork. Authors have to do a lot to promote their books now-a-days.

Q: How much importance do you put on the online writer’s platform in today’s social media world?
A: I put a great deal of importance on my online writer’s platform. Without my blog, Facebook page, and other media profiles I wouldn’t have my small group of readers, or my writer friends. I value each and every one of them!

Q: You are also a great blogger. Do you find blogging is taking up valuable time from your creative writing?
A: Only when I participate in blog hops since I like to visit everyone who participates. But day-to-day, blogging doesn’t really take up a lot of my writing time because I have a secret . . . I plan out all of my ideas for future posts a whole year in advance. By the time January rolls around I am already halfway done writing my blogs for that year.

Q: What is your final advice for new writers?
A: Never be afraid to rewrite and never EVER give up!

 

chrysfeyAUTHORPICChrys, thank you for answering my questions and for the helpful tips you gave us. Good luck with your next project!

To check Chrys’ works, use the links below:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/chrysfey
Blog: www.writewithfey.blogspot.com

 

Google+: https://plus.google.com/104393486222481948013
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/23533764-chrys-fey

 

read more

Interview with Author Carrie Cuinn

 

Author Carrie CuinnCarrie Cuinn is an author, editor, bibliophile, modernist, and geek. Her work can be found at Daily Science Fiction, Akashic Books, Chaosium, and in her latest short collection, Women and Other Constructs (June 2013). She founded Dagan Books in 2010, which publishes SF/F anthologies and novellas. Her latest project, Lakeside Circus, is a quarterly magazine of very short fiction. She also writes about indie comics for the Hugo award-winning SF Signal.

Her work has a strong foundation in classic science fiction, and blends hard science with myth, magic, and literature. You can find her online at @CarrieCuinn or at http://carriecuinn.com.

I had the opportunity to get to know Carrie during a Microfiction Workshop she organized in August of 2013 and she was kind enough to agree to an interview.

Q: How and when did you get started as a writer?
A: I’ve always been a writer. I wrote my first story when I was four, and have been writing ever since. Over the years I let other people convince me that fiction writing wasn’t a real career, so I did journalism, editing, wrote academic papers, worked in a library, studied Early American books and prints—anything that let me include books and writing as part of whatever job or college degree I was in at the time. Eventually I got back to writing fiction again, and I’ve been much happier since then.

Q: How do you usually find your ideas? What do you do when you get stuck?
A: I find ideas everywhere. Ideas are easy. They’re like rain, dripping from the sky in greater quantities than you could ever use or even catch up with. Every new thing I do brings new story ideas, and I have to pick which ones I want to write on because I don’t have time to write them all. I think one of the most important transitions a writer makes is when they stop relying on the idea to prop up the story and start thinking about how the story reads as well. In fact, most writers don’t get that far, and you can tell that their fiction is all a lead-up to the reveal of the end, or in support of a strong moment that isn’t actually a whole story. My favorite writers can do both, blending a great idea with beautiful sentences.

I hope to be one of those writers. I’m working on it.

When I get stuck on one idea, I put it away and write on something else. When I don’t feel like writing at all, and haven’t for a while, I go back to the basics and start writing microfiction again. A few tiny stories later, I’m ready to stretch out into something bigger. It always feels like a jump start.


Q: Can you give us your advice on how new writers should handle rejections?
A: There are only two ways to react to a rejection, ever:

1) This story didn’t work for that market. Let me figure out why. (Wrong genre, didn’t read guidelines correctly, market is hard to crack and they had better options, doesn’t fit with the editor’s personal taste, etc.)

2) This story isn’t working in general. Let me restructure/rewrite/trunk it for a while.

That’s it. You don’t get mad, you don’t decide you’re a terrible writer, and you don’t tell yourself that the market just doesn’t appreciate your genius. Writing is personal, rejections aren’t. Focus on the story instead of yourself, and you’ll become a better writer over time.


Q: What do you love the most about the genre in which you write?
A: I love that I have the freedom to write anything I want. (Protip: everyone does. Don’t let an arbitrary label like “genre” tell you otherwise.)

Q: Did you ever self-publish?
A: I self-published my first collection, Women and Other Constructs, because I wanted to experiment, and because I had a pile of previously published work which fit thematically with a couple of new stories, and I thought they should be read all together. Because I have experience with all of the pieces that make up putting a book out, I was able to do the work myself. It gives me something to point out when people want to read a chunk of my work all at once, and the exposure that brings is more important than the money it’s made (though that’s nice, too).

Q: Where do you see the traditional publishing going in today’s world?
A: It’s not going anywhere. Publishing is just expanding to include a lot of different options: self-publishing, small presses, online magazines, and much more. Traditional publishing as we usually think of it—a big business of major houses putting out best-sellers—will remain part of our lives. They’ve changed with the times, to include ebooks and online blogs and Twitter, but the institution of mainstream publishing remains.

Q: Do you advise beginning writers to seek an agent or try to do the leg-work themselves?
A: Beginning writers don’t have anything to show an agent. When you’re starting out, you may have a couple of short stories, or a novel… but they’re not finished. That’s the biggest mistake new writers make—thinking that because they typed “The End” the work is done. You need to write, revise, have your work read, make changes, sit on it for months, go over it again and make more changes. Then you can hire an editor to help you make it better. It takes years to write even a decent first novel, and if your novel isn’t at least decent, why would an agent want to represent it?

An agent doesn’t teach you to be a better writer. They come in when the work is done and you need someone to help you with contracts, or brokering a good price when you’ve got multiple houses who want your work. If you’re still at the point where you consider yourself a beginner, focus on improving first.


Q: How many revisions do you usually go through with your work? Do you find it easy to let a manuscript go to the publisher?
A: It depends on how long I let it sit in my head before I write it. Sometimes I know the story before I type it out, and I only do one revision at the end to clean it up. Other times, I’ll edit every line as it falls onto the page, and then edit the whole thing again a few more times when it’s all written.

Q: How much importance do you put on the online writer’s platform in today’s social media world?
A: The Internet makes it possible for you to connect with readers all over the world, so you’re hurting yourself if you don’t make an effort to do that. You shouldn’t spend so much time on social media that you neglect your own writing, but you should have a place for people to find your work, learn more about you, and a way for them to connect with you on a regular basis (Twitter, a blog, etc). Readers like to think they know a writer as a person, and will read work they never heard of because they have something in common with the writer. Talk about what you’re reading, what you care about, and you’ll find fans who care about those things, too.

Q: What is your final advice for new writers?
A: Read everything. Read every day if you can, even if you have to sacrifice writing time to do it. Find the authors who are inspiring the authors you like, find the authors who are winning awards for style instead of sales numbers, find the authors that your one friend is heralding as a great new discovery. Ignore the bestsellers and the books that are made into movies—they’re usually not great writers, and even if they are, every other new writer will be copying them as soon as someone writes an article declaring there’s some secret to how they got published. Read interviews with writers. Read critiques of books you liked, and read the scholars that are critiquing the genres you love.

Take classes and workshops. Get others to read your work and critique it. Edit, revise, sleep on it, revise again. Read some more.


Author Carrie CuinnCarrie, thank you for answering my questions and for the helpful tips you gave us. Good luck with your next project!

 

Carrie Cuinn StoriesTo check Carrie’s works, use the links below:
http://carriecuinn.com/
Carrie Cuinn’s Amazon Page
Carrie Cuinn on Goodreads
Dagan Books

 

read more

Interview With Science Fiction & Fantasy Author Clare Deming

Fantasy Author Clare Deming

Clare L. Deming lives in New Jersey and once applied to be an astronaut. She writes both science fiction and fantasy, and her most recent work can be found online in Perihelion SF and in the Universe Horribilis anthology from Third Flatiron Publishing. Clare is continuing to work on short fiction, as well as two novels: Starblight (space opera) and Badge of the Black Dragon (alternate history/fantasy).

When not busy writing, Clare spends her time fencing. She has been competing in sabre for over fifteen years, traveling across the United States and to Europe. She has been ranked nationally and has lost to Olympians. Clare is also a licensed pilot, and flies a Cessna 172 when the weather cooperates.

Q: How and when did you get started as a writer?
A: I remember writing stories as early as elementary school, followed by some scattered attempts through high school. A couple of years after I finished college, I realized that I had some free time on my hands, so I decided that I wanted to write. I read some “how-to” books and joined a critique group, and I’ve been working at it ever since.

Q: How do you usually find your ideas? What do you do when you get stuck?
A: My early ideas were nebulous things consisting of a single aspect of a story: an interesting character trait or a glimpse of a place. These would come from all kinds of places – a conversation I overheard, a scientific article, a piece of artwork, or the occasional strange dream. These weren’t stories by themselves though. I usually work by taking a promising idea and asking it questions. So for a character that is obsessed with Chinese fortune cookies, I’ll want to know why he collects them. Then I’ll throw obstacles in the way. One way to think of this would be to ask, “What is the worst thing that could happen to this character?” followed by, “How would he react if someone ate his fortune cookie collection?” Make terrible things happen to a character and figure out how this person would react.

When I get stuck on a particular story, I have to think about why this has happened. Sometimes I have written myself into a corner, or I don’t know what should happen next. If I step away and come back to the story later, this will let me look at the plot and characters in a fresh way and the path will become clear. The other approach that I take is to make something explode. Sometimes this is literal, other times it translates to having something shocking and BAD happen to my characters.


Q: Can you give us your advice on how new writers should handle rejections?
A: Assume that you’re going to get them. I try to think about my submitted stories in terms of “when will I get the rejection?” rather than “will the editor publish this one?” I’m a pretty optimistic person, so one other way to think about rejections might be to tell yourself, “Okay, well the story wasn’t right for that editor, but maybe the next one will buy it.” Then send it right back out.

Q: What made you choose the Fantasy as your main genre? Did you attempt any other genres?
A: I grew up reading both fantasy and science fiction, but was drawn to more fantasy writers – Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, and Mercedes Lackey. If I picked up any mainstream teen novels, I was bored. So in my writing, it is a familiar and favorite place to be. I’m also rather obsessed with swords, so of course that lends itself more to the fantasy genre. I don’t mind spaceships, rayguns, or aliens, so I also write science fiction, and I’ve dabbled in horror.

Q: Did you ever self-publish? If yes, how was that process for you, if no, why not?
A: No, I haven’t. I wouldn’t rule out self-publishing as an option, but for now I would rather focus my efforts on writing. Most of my work is short fiction, so I don’t think it’s worth the time for me to learn the ins and outs of this process until I have something more substantial to put out there.

Q: Where do you see the traditional publishing going in today’s world?
A: I’m not sure. It certainly is changing, and I think it will take time to settle out.

Q: How many revisions do you usually go through with your work? Do you find it easy to let a manuscript go to the publisher?
A: This can vary, but usually two. I typically write a first draft and send the story to my critique partners. After receiving feedback, I’ll do one revision that attempts to correct the larger issues like character inconsistencies, logic and plot-holes, and unclear worldbuilding. Sometimes this level of revision only involves rewriting a few paragraphs, but other times, I’ll just start over with a blank page. The second revision is for proof-reading and word choice. In this pass, I look for repetitive words, excess adjective and adverbs, and typos. I’ll also read the story out loud.

Q: Who is your favorite author? Why?
A: Growing up, my favorite author was Anne McCaffrey, and at one point I had read everything that she had written. More recently, I’ve grown in love with Lois McMaster Bujold. Her characters are amazing, and she is such a versatile writer. Her work stretches from space opera to fantasy (with some unique worldbuilding), and the Vorkosigan series is so hilarious at points, that I’ve been in tears. I wish more people knew about her books.

Q: Do you have a special place or ritual for writing?
A: There are a few places that I write, depending on my mood. I usually prefer to write at home, rather than at a coffee shop or library. My only computer is my laptop, so my work area changes. Often I will write at my desk, but in the afternoon, the sun glare bothers me. I’ll also lie on the couch, or sit outside if the weather is nice.

Q: What is your final advice for new writers?
A: Read a lot. Read something similar to what you would like to write and study the language and the way that the author puts the characters and the plot together. Then write a lot. Even if you think that your idea sucks, try writing it out. You never know how it will turn out. Lastly, if you’re trying to get your work published, find a good group of critiquers to give you constructive feedback.

Fantasy Author Clare DemingClare, thank you for answering my questions and for the helpful tips you gave us. Good luck with your next project!

 

To check Clare’s works, use the links below:
Clare’s Blog
Follow Clare on Twitter

 

read more

Interview with Fantasy Author Hank Quense

Fantasy Author Hank Quense

Award-winning author Hank Quense lives in Bergenfield, NJ with his wife Pat. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. He writes humorous fantasy and scifi stories. On occasion, he also writes an article on fiction writing or book marketing but says that writing nonfiction is like work while writing fiction is fun. A member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, he refuses to write serious genre fiction saying there is enough of that on the front page of any daily newspaper and on the evening TV news.

His latest work is a Shakespearean spoof called Falstaff’s Big Gamble. It combines the characters and plots from two of Shakespeare’s greatest plays; Othello and Hamlet. http://strangeworldsonline.com/FBG-main.html

I met Hank through the Writers of the Weird critique group, and I decided to pick his brain about writing in general and self-publishing in particular. He was kind enough to answer my questions, and I am happy to share them with you. After the Q&A, you can find a few links into Hank’s writing world, and I highly recommend that you check his works and advice.

Q: How and when did you get started as a writer?
A: I’ve always been good at writing and on my 50th birthday, I decided I needed a second career because it was only a matter of time until my employer told me to take a hike. I decided on fiction writing as my second career (despite the fact I knew next to nothing about fiction writing. Ignorance is bliss)

Q: How do you usually find your ideas?
A: My story ideas always start with a character. Since I write humor and satire, these characters tend to be bizarre. Actually, a single story idea is pretty useless. A short story needs at least 5 good ideas and a novel requires dozens of good ideas.
After I get an initial idea, I try to figure out where and when it takes place (the setting) and the character’s plot problem. After that, I don’t do anything is until I get a satisfactory ending. If I can’t get one, the story idea goes into cold storage until an ending shows up. Sometimes, several stored ideas merge into a story.

Q: Did you ever get any rejections?
A: Are you kidding me? I stopped counting after my short stories had racked up a few hundred rejections.

Q: How and why did you decide to go the self-publishing route?
A: My first two books were published by a small indie house. That experience turned me off from publishing houses and I decided to do it myself and save myself a pile of agita.

Q: What was your very first published novel and how did that success impact the rest of your career?
A: My first published book, Fool’s Gold, was actually a novella, not a novel. I’d say it was the lack of success that impacted my career and my publishing decisions. The publisher offered no help for marketing or even advice. Periodically, she sent out flaming emails to all her authors, telling us to get off our butts and go sell more books. (She kept almost all the money from book sales)

Q: What are the major challenges that you faced in your writing career, in general?
A: I still face the same major challenge: I am famously unknown.

Q: Can you point the major issues that are faced by the self-published writers, in particular?
A: Self-publishing a book is a complicated process and most people who want to self-publish have no idea about how to start. This makes them susceptable to scam artists. They also often buy services from legitimate businesses that they don’t need. This is due to their lack of expertise.
This situation has prompted me to write a series of Self-publishing guides. These are almost ready.

Q: Being self-published you do not benefit from the sales & marketing machine of a publisher; how do you market your work and what sales channels worked best for you?
A: Apparently, I market my work poorly. If by sales channels you mean where are most of my books sold, that’ll be Kindle and Smashwords. As to marketing, I’ve done the usual stuff on social media such as blog posts, interviews and whatever. I’m trying to come up with alternatives. I’m looking for stuff that actually works rather than wastes my time.

Q: How many revisions do you usually go through with your work? Do you find it easy to let a manuscript go to be published?
A: I revise until I realize that If I edit the story one more time I’ll throw up. By then I hate the characters, I hate the plot, I hate the whole damned book. So no, I find it very easy to send the hated book out.

Q: How much importance do you put on the online writer’s platform in today’s social media world?
A: Not much. I think the social media stuff is vastly over-rated. It also sucks up huge gobs of time that can be better spent in a number of ways. I don’t think that social media is effective unless you’re willing to spend four or more hours a day on the Internet and I’m not willing to do that.

Q: What is your advice for new writers?
A: Know the ending before you start writing the first draft.

Hank, thank you for your candid answers and helpful hints. Good luck with your next project!

 

To check Hank’s works, use the links below:
http://strangeworldsonline.com
Hank Quense’s Amazon page
Hank’s Blog
Fiction Writing Guides

 

read more