Author Q&A- Tim Heath

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim Heath. He is the amazing author of Cherry Picking, The Last Prophet, and The Tablet, and has more books on the way! Read the interview below.

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I guess I’ve been writing stuff since I was at school (so, erm…. fifteen years plus…) Back then, I didn’t really know where the stories were going. About ten years ago the first real idea dropped into my head – title, characters, premise etc. That’s now how all my ideas come. So about that time I started writing during my lunch hour at work – just over 7 years ago, after moving to Russia, I suddenly found the urge to write regularly, the first draft flowing. I guess the rest is now history!

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I’m not so sure about a muse, but maybe my answer is the same for both of these. It’s my ideas that inspire me. Seeing these mini films in my head (I’m a visual thinker) I really want to do them justice by writing them into novels. Of course, probably making the film directly would be easiest, but maybe one day! So it’s certainly doing the idea justice that pushes me to keep writing.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into your novels? Is there a lot of research involved?

A: Yes, I would say over the years a lot of grunt work has gone into them, not only by myself, either! I have a great team of pros who help me get it from second draft to publication. I do research quite a bit, plus use experts I can ask questions to, usually giving them copies of my latest draft to read and feedback on.

Q: Where is the strangest place you have come up with an idea?

A: As they drop into my head (so my part is really just recognizing when it is an idea!) I have no great control over that. The idea for The Last Prophet came to me as I walked down the hallway of our new rental flat about a month after moving to Tallinn. Sometimes ideas come when I’m in bed – I think it’s those moments between sleep and awake when the mind is quite creative. So one time (for something I’ve not written, yet) I was a little unwell so went to bed to rest – until an idea came, iPad open and notes taken, now fully awake, no chance for the rest I’d needed.

Q: Tell me a little about your books Cherry Picking, The Last Prophet, and The Tablet. What were the original ideas behind them? Which was the hardest to write?

A: How do I not make this a very long answer! Amazon will give you the blurbs, so I don’t need to repeat that here. Cherry Picking, being the first, was the big adventure for me into becoming an author. There was no pressure, though total vulnerability in releasing it. It’s done well, and after a recent tweak in marketing, has been a regular in the top 20 in the US in the conspiracy thriller chart! It also once made #2 in the UK on the mystery chart as well as recently hitting #3 in the US.

The Last Prophet, therefore, had a little pressure – now I had a readership.

The Tablet combined what I felt was the best bits of both previous novels – most are say this is my best one yet, and with it just take 13 days for the first draft, was certainly my quickest one yet!

I can’t really reveal the original ideas behind them as these are what makes the stories readable, not knowing what the idea is until you come across it. I love books and films with depth, so write that way too.

Q: Are you working on any writing projects now? If so, what can you tell me about them?

A: Yes, I’ve always got two projects on the go as one time. Novel 4 (written in first draft form already and my first sequel) is called The Shadow Man, and it builds on events and a character, by the same name, that emerged from The Last Prophet novel. The draft is sitting on my book shelf next to me – it’s good to leave it several weeks/months and move on, so that the editing process can be a little more subjective.

I have today, in fact, started on my latest project. It’ll be a series of three novels coming under the series title of The Hunt, and book one is called The Prey. Picture The Hunger Games in the real world, with Russian oligarchs etc….lots of fun. I actually managed 6,650 words today, so if I keep that up, could rival The Tablet as the quickest one written! I’ve very excited about this series and hope to deliver something special. It’ll be the next three books I write, I think, potentially over the next two years, unless I really do write it in one month, and then maybe it’ll be less time.

So, watch this space!

Q: Which of your characters is most like you? In what ways?

A: I don’t know really, I didn’t (knowingly) write them with me in mind. You’d have to ask my wife, see if she can spot anyone!

Q: If you could have a brainstorming session with any author in the world (alive or dead), who would it be and why?

A: Oh, interesting question. Actually (I know he’s not exclusively a writer) but would love a session with JJ Abrams and see what came out of that!

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career? What have you done to overcome it?

A: I guess just making sure I get on with actually writing. I plan well now (my whole year is planned 12 months in advance, with what I should be doing each day – I’m ahead of schedule at the moment, which is great).

As writing in a long term investment, it can be easy to get discouraged or distracted. I’m far from getting this one totally sorted, but have found extra motivation to really press through this year.

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: Know that God loves you and that he’s helped me to write books that I’m sure you’ll all enjoy! ☺

Find Tim Online:

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Twitter

Novels- UK  US

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Author Q&A- Roger Billings

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Roger Billings; and up and coming historical author. Read all about him in the interview below!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I have been working on my current novel for over five years, and I hope to finish in 2016. Yea!

I am a lawyer in my real life and it is often a struggle to find time to write.

I have been an avid reader all of my life. I thought of writing as something I should do, but never did, until a few years ago I was reading the biography of Bernard Cornwell. He moved with his wife to the United States and he did not have a work visa. Since he was not allowed to work at a traditional job, he started writing instead. From that came his first historical novel, Sharpe’s Eagle. I thought if he could do it when he had to, maybe I can do it because I want to.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I am often inspired by a sense of place. I love to find out-of-the way places that people might not have heard of before but that have a rich history. Then it seems natural to write about what might have happened there back then. One example is the floating islands (hortillonnages in French) in Amiens, France. They are a series of tiny islands that have been cultivated out of marsh land in the Somme River. It is a labyrinth of gardens and water, the history of which extends back to Roman times. I love to write about the kinds of mysteries that might have happened in places like that.

A: On the other hand, I have noticed that I am not “full of ideas” to write about, as some say they are. I feel like my ideas are buried in the subconscious and most of the time I am not aware that they are there, until I start writing. When I write, those buried ideas come to the surface. So I suppose I write to find out what is in my subconscious.

Q: You are a historical novelist. How much research goes into your projects?

A: There is more research than I expected, but I probably do more than I need to. No, I definitely do more than I need to. My idea for my current novel came from general reading in the time period of the French Revolution until several historical facts started to cluster together and I realized I had a book to write. Then the real work began of reading histories, biographies, and letters, and studying maps, lists and court cases, and anything else I could get my hands on. It has been countless hours. How much? I have not keep track, but I enjoy the research, so it has not felt like work.

Q: Why historical novels? Have you always been fascinated by history?

A: I do love history and historical research. In particular, I love literary history. The first thing I think about with respect to a particular time period is who the writers were then. My novel takes place in France and England in 1792, so I think a lot about the writers from that time and immediately prior to that time, such as Rousseau, Dr. Johnson, Fanny Burney, Cowper (I love Cowper!), and of course William Blake, Wordsworth and Coleridge, to name only a few. Both Wordsworth and Burney were in France during the Revolution, and Rousseau made an infamous visit to England some years before, all of which is great food for the imagination.

Q: What is the favorite place you have visited? Why?

A: If you take the time to get to know a place, anywhere is magical.

One example is the ancient walled city of York, in Northern England, that I visited many years ago. Any time there is still a massive wall around a city, going there is like a trip back in time.

CJ Sansom wrote a novel, Sovereign, set in York at the time that Henry VIII and his huge entourage visited the city. When royalty travelled, it was called the Progress, and nobles who hosted royalty on a Progress were sometimes (often?) bankrupted by the expense. I would have liked to have written that book. It is great fun.

In addition, some of my ancestors are from Yorkshire and my great grandfather sang in a choir for boys at the Minster Cathedral in York. I have a drawing of the Cathedral hanging on my wall. So York is special, for sure.

Q: When you travel does your family go with you?

A: Generally I travel with my family, and I enjoy traveling much more when I am with my family. Otherwise, traveling seems much more like just work.

Q: Tell me about your kids. Do they (or do you hope they will) love history as much as you?

A: It is easy for parents to expect their children to be projections of themselves, instead of individuals. My wife and I both love literature and culture. My children have their own unique interests and pursuits. I don’t think any of them are as fanatical about literature as I am, but they know what they are interested in and we encourage them to follow their interests.

Q: You are working on your first novel! What can you tell me about it so far?

A: I am in the middle of my second draft. But the second draft feels like a first draft, because as I wrote the first draft, I learned a huge amount about writing fiction. Now I can see much more clearly what I did wrong or what can be improved. The first draft was an apprenticeship, a great learning experience. Now I just need to finish and then celebrate!

The story goes as follows: a British spy dies while rescuing a young seventeen year old aristocrat from the French Revolution. The aristocrat, ungrateful and mortally offended to owe his life to a commoner, determines to discredit the spy’s reputation. Searching for hidden scandals, the aristocrat inadvertently uncovers a plot to overthrow the British Monarchy, pulling himself into a perilous underworld of treason and crime. Journeying from the jostling streets of London to the lonely mountains of Wales, the young aristocrat can only survive by finding the man within himself, and by finishing the work the detested spy had started.

Q: What challenges have you faced in your writing?

A: Finding the time to write is hard. I have been doing some dictating, which helps to use the time better.

Learning not to edit myself while I am writing and letting the words flow has been difficult. When I am being too critical and I want to write faster instead, I sometimes challenge myself to purposefully write as badly as I can. That gets me started, which is great.

I have also been challenged in finding the historical sources and information I need. For example, I had a scene in which my characters visited the office of the Foreign Secretary in London in 1792. I wanted the location to be authentic, but I wasn’t sure where it was back then. I knew it was somewhere in Whitehall and that the office had been recently created but I didn’t want to be vague and I didn’t want to guess. Then I found a Twitter address for an official historian for the Office of the Foreign Secretary, and they responded that the office was in Downing Street at that time, next to the Office of the First Lord of the Treasury (now Prime Minister) at 10 Downing Street. It was much easier writing the scene knowing I had the location right, and the actual location turned out to be a very significant part of the scene.

Q: If you could go back and meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

A: There are so many I would like to meet. Perhaps the 18th century poet Samuel Johnson. He was known as one of the greatest conversationalists of all time. If you are going to go to all of the trouble of meeting someone from the past, it had better be an interesting conversation! I was also thinking of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. She was also a great conversationalist, but there is a bonus that she was almost always surrounded by many other luminaries: Richard Sheridan, Charles James Fox, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess de Polignac, many others.

Q: What is something you think the world should know about you?

A: I think people should know that I like to look for the good in people. There is much more good out there than can be easily seen, and so looking for it is necessary.

Find Roger Online:

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Author Q&A- Ian Jackson

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing I. D. Jackson, the author of Deadly Determination and Dead Charming. He is currently working on his next novel, so if you haven’t read his books yet, now is the time to catch up!

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Q: When did you start writing?

A: I began writing as a child. Whenever we had people around my parents would wheel me out as the ‘party trick’ and ask their friends to come up with a character and a situation and I would be expected to create a fascinating story on the spot…I was about 6 they tell me! My first books were adventure stories written when I was about 10 and passed among my friends and family – unfortunately none survive, but I can still see and ‘feel’ them in my mind…. yes, I’m strange!

Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?

A: You know what I don’t, but probably should. Psychology and human nature fires my imagination to write.

Q: Tell me about your books Deadly Determination and Dead Charming. What were the original ideas behind them?

A: My interests lie in psychology and I’ve always been fascinated how seemingly normal people can be affected by an event or perhaps another person in their lives which then drives them on to commit heinous crimes. A germ of a story began emerging in my mind that eventually went on to become my first novel, Dead Charming which was greeted with critical acclaim. Deadly Determination is the second book (not a sequel) and carries through these themes. Both novels are crime thrillers with a twist that will take the readers breath away.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ went on behind the scenes of writing your novel?

A: Many hours of research as well as interviews with detectives, coroners and some criminals – fascinating stuff.

Q: You have written articles for magazines such as Concept and Style Guide. How is this process different than that of writing a book?

A: When I wrote for magazines and newspapers it was a job to be completed, whereas now I get to write about things I’m interested in – thrilling crime!

Q: Did your days as a local magazine and sports program publisher help you in your quest to publish your novels?

A: Surprisingly not – the contacts I have through publishing magazines are completely different to novel writing and literary agents – like chalk and cheese really.

Q: What is some advice that you wish you had received when you began writing?

A: Start pitching your book as soon as you’ve written the first three chapters and have a tight synopsis ready for the rest – literary agents and publishers only want to see the first three chapters anyway and will base their decision on your writing style and the synopsis of the book.

Q: How has becoming a published author changed your life? Has it always been your goal?

A: My life hasn’t particularly changed as such. I love the fact that I have two books in print, but it wasn’t one of my ambitions as a young man.

Q: You got married to your wife, Susie, not to long ago. Has she read your books? Does she like them?

A: Yes, she has. She helps me as I go through reading chapters and commenting on characters and plot-lines. I think she enjoys the creative process and she says she likes the books…but then she has to really!

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: Labels are dangerous and anyone can work to improve their psychological imbalances, however severe they are. I believe in redemption for everyone when they are ready and I hope that readers identify with, and even feel sympathy for, some of my darker characters.

Find Ian Online:

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Author Q&A- Ruthanne Reid

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing and inspiring self-published author; Ruthanne Reid. Ruthanne has been writing since she was eight, and her dedication shows. Her book, The Sundered is out now!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I’ve been writing with the intention of storytelling since I was eight, when I crafted my first masterpiece: a My Little Pony story in which all the ponies were murdered by the snake kingdom except for one single princess pony, who was just so pretty and precious they couldn’t kill her, but adopted her as their own instead.
That’s right. It’s a Mary Sue/My Little Pony/Genocide story. I typed the whole thing on my mother’s typewriter with red ink because I thought it was pretty. Take that, child psychologists.
I do have to note, however, that even this demented early tale shows the seeds of what my current universe became: genre-mixing, dramatic tragedy, and overwhelming cuteness. Oh, dear.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I don’t have a specific muse, per se; good storytelling is what gets my engines going every time. The format doesn’t matter, either; animated, written, or simply told, a good story is the fuel that drives mine.
I have had favorite characters over the years who showed up in any stories I imagined (Grimlock, Vegeta, Chang Wufei, Severus Snape, Steve Rogers). Weirdly enough, crafting a world around a known character often helped me to suss out the details of that world and its needs. From there, original characters were easier to build – especially since I’d already analyzed just what I loved so much about other people’s characters.
Q: Tell me about your book The Sundered. What was the original idea behind it?
A: I can answer this one of two ways: with the plot “hook,” and with the themes. How about both?
THE SUNDERED is about a young man who has to make a horrible decision: he can either save the human race, or save the aliens the humans enslaved. What’s “fair” in this situation? There’s certainly no easy answer, and in the midst of a world flooded by water that kills when touched, revisionist history and abusive homes, Harry has a lot of growing to do before he can even begin to answer that question.
I touch on the question of what makes a life worthy of survival; of what makes “right” and “wrong” in situations where no one is innocent; and on the challenge of making a “good” choice when no choice comes without heavy consequences.
(It’s a cheerful little tome, really)
Q: What challenges have you faced in your writing career? What have you done to overcome them?
A: The biggest challenge I faced was during the period of time I tried to get an agent. Over and over, I received personalized rejections from literary agents with essentially the same wording: I love this story, but it’s too weird for me to sell because publishers don’t like to take risks. If you could change the story to make it more normal (add a romance, change the gender of the protagonist, change the entire ending, etc.), then I could take you on and sell this book.
 
My challenge was literally deciding whether to change my story down to the core in order to sell it, or keep it as it was and try to make it on my own.
The last straw for me was an agent who told me he couldn’t possibly represent the book for the same reasons already mentioned, but he really had to know how it ended, and so asked me for the rest of the manuscript AFTER he’d already turned me down.
 
That told me I had a story worth telling. So I chose to self-publish.
That was one of the best and hardest decisions of my career. The more I’ve marched down this path, the more I’ve realized what a good idea it was for me. It’s not for everyone, by any means; but for someone like me, whose mind isn’t quite normal, it was the only way to retain my writing integrity.
I may still get an agent someday, but now I know enough to do this without compromising my stories.
Q: What advice do you want to give to budding writers?
1. Read EVERYTHING. Read fiction and non-fiction, classics and current best-sellers. Read indie; read how-to books.
2. Learn how to write by thinking about what you read. Learn how to write by writing, and writing, and writing.
3. Forgive yourself. Remember this: EVERYBODY sucks starting out. Absolutely everybody. Ira Glass put it really well in this amazing video that you should go and watch right now:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners[:] All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. 
 
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. 
 
And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. 
 
Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
 
That right there may be the most important advice anyone has ever given a writer.
Q: Did you anticipate how well received you and you books would be?
A: Not even a little – and it must be emphasized that they were not always well-received! No matter what you write, some people will love it, and some people will hate it. That’s okay. That’s normal. At first, when I got a bad review,  I’d honestly flip out a little; it took me a long time to see that everyone’s taste is different, and bad reviews are okay.
Now, the good reviews… those are delicious, gold-coated chocolate. Edible gold, that is. I genuinely had no idea starting out that this book would ever appeal to as many people as it has. It’s been a real encouragement to me. I may be weird, but evidently, so are a lot of others. 😉
Q: Which of the characters you have created is most like you? In what way?
A: There’s a little bit of me in every single protagonist I have.
  • Harry has father issues and has had to reevaluate everything he was ever taught.
  • Katie is so done with the drama of the world she grew up in, and she ran away to New Hampshire. That was LITERALLY me.
  • Grey is fearful and doesn’t want to be a hero; when he finds courage in himself, it’s more of a surprise to him than anyone else.
  • Notte has a gift for seeing all sides of a story, which means he doesn’t always assume he’s the good guy. It’s a sobering perspective I’ve had to grow into over the past ten years
Q: What is one thing you wish you knew in high school?
A: That I didn’t have to please other people the way my folks wanted me to. I felt like my whole world was my family and their acquaintances, but that simply wasn’t true. There are SO MANY people out there, and someone WILL “get” you in time. Keep looking; don’t give up because of rejection. Who you are matters, and who you are is who God made you to be, and there will be other people out there who understand. You just have to find them.
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world in any time period, when and where would it be? Why?
A: Does it count if I pick a time that might not have existed? I’m REALLY fascinated by cryptoarcheology. I want to see the really ancient metropolises of the world – the ones that sank and were lost, or were abandoned so long ago in the jungles that we don’t even realize they’re there without satellite imagery, or the ones that lie hidden under desert sands.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: It’s worth pushing through.
There’s so much trouble and pain in this world that sometimes, it might not seem worth it – but it is. It’s worth getting hurt to try again. It’s worth trusting and fighting and forgiving.
It’s worth pushing through. Don’t ever give up.
Find Ruthanne Online:

Author Q&A- Tasha O’Malley

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Tasha O’Malley, an upcoming author. Keep an eye out for her debut novel, Sweet Capture; a romance novel about the business world.

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I first started writing a few years ago but stopped for a couple years due to various reasons, getting married and raising two boys being the most prominent. I started back up again in February 2015 and really started looking into publishing in June of the same year. I think the reason I started writing was because I wanted to turn a hobby into a career that I could love and enjoy and share with others.

 

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: Lots of things inspire me from conversations in coffee shops to things the kids say or do. I’ve been inspired by the weather and long walks in the park. I see all the little things that other people tend to miss and turn it into something that works within my book. I think if I do have a muse it would be my gran. She always had a wisdom to her and some of the things I remember about her are a source of inspiration in themselves.

 

Q: You are currently working on a book called Sweet Capture. What can you tell me about the book? What inspired it?

A: Sweet Capture is a romantic story of a highly respected businessman who is struggling to cope with his current relationship. He’s a man that loves his work and the life that goes with it; however, he feels trapped. His long-term girlfriend is ready to settle down and he isn’t and he can’t see how he can change that until he meets his new personal assistant who changes everything for him.

I have always been impressed with businessmen and how they have the ability to change things for others. They always seem so calm and controlled even in stressful situations. The idea for Sweet Capture came up after watching ‘pretty woman’. I loved how the businessman changed the life of the woman and wanted to see if I could get a story to work where one person’s life was changed by another’s actions.

 

Q: When do you do most of your writing?

A: I’m most often found at a computer between school hours or in the evening when everyone is settled. I find the quiet times really give me time to think and it helps me to concentrate on what I’m trying to get across to readers.

 

Q: What kind of work has gone into your writing at this point? Is there a lot of grunt work involved?

A: Yes, I think there is a lot of grunt work involved in writing but it makes it more interesting. So far I’ve interviewed a CEO for research purposes, I’ve taken courses to improve my writing standards and I’ve written about 20 draft copies. I’m starting yet another to see if I can fit bits in where I couldn’t before. I’ve even posted bits on a website where you can get feedback on it. Using the info I’ve received my book is finally taking shape. I’ve also made a start on thinking how I’d like to publish; whether I would like to go traditional or Indy it’s a tough one to be honest.

Q: When you accomplish something, do you make sure everyone knows or do you keep your success to yourself?

A: If it’s something notable, like passing an exam, then I tend to get over excited and tell everyone I know. If it’s something small like, getting my first bit of feedback I’m more reserved and tend to keep it to myself.

 

Q: What habit do you have that you wish you could break?

A: My husband would say it’s my ‘putting things in a safe place’ habit that I need to break and I would have to agree with him. I have a nasty habit of putting things in this safe place and forgetting where that place is only to find it again a year later.

 

Q: What has been the most exciting moment of your life so far?

A: Oh wow! There have been a few exciting moments getting married and having my children would be top but being told I have a fan was also very exciting.

 

Q: If you could enter the world of any book/movie/TV show, which would it be and why?

A: There is only one answer for this. I would love to enter the world of my favourite book collection, ‘the adventures of Odysseus.’ Glyn Iliffe captured my heart with this collection. The way he combines fact with fiction is completely amazing and I love the way he re-tales the battle of troy. (I’m a big fan of Greek history.)

 

Q: What is one thing you want the world to know?

A: I think one thing I’d like everyone to know is that no matter how hard something looks or how daunting something can be, never give up. Never live a life of what ifs, maybes and buts as you will always be wondering what would have happened had you chose a different path.

Find Tasha Online:

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Changing a Character’s Name

We’ve all met that one person whose name isn’t quite right. You look at them and think “Jason” instead of “Mark”; or “Carmen” instead of “Poppy”. You’ve also probably met that person who’s name you never asked for, so you give them a name instead.

When I was younger, (somewhere between the ages of 8 and 11- I don’t quite remember) I was in an airport and I met a boy while waiting to board the plane. I talked to this boy with my brothers for what felt like hours; but I never asked his name. Since then, I have always referred to him as “Tommy”. He just looked like a Tommy to me.

A name is a very powerful thing. They can change a way we imagine someone. So, picking a name for a character can completely shape the way a reader imagines the character. When I name characters, I imagine what I want them to look like and how I want them to act, then I look through my baby naming book (it’s a long story) and pick the name that makes my character come to life.

So what happens when the name you picked just isn’t cutting it? What happens when you accidentally type a different name instead of the name you chose for your character?

You change your character’s name.

I am the type of person who obsesses for weeks before setting on a list of names for my characters, so changing the name of a character is not something I do often. So, when I found myself questioning the name Zane for my male main character in Candy Wrappers, I was in uncharted waters, so to speak. I found myself wondering if I could change his name- especially after I announced it to pretty much everyone I know.

I decided that yes, I can change his name. This book is my creative outlet, and it should be exactly how I want it to be; no matter how many thing I have to change. That’s just how creativity works: you can’t always get it right on the first try.

So, I have decided that the former Zane Towne will now be called Ren Towne (still iffy on the last name). And yes, I totally got the name ‘Ren’ from Footloose, not the baby naming book. Sometimes inspiration comes from hot actors.

Changing Zane’s name was a lot easier than I expected. The hardest part was getting around to doing it. I’ve been meaning to for almost a week now. I am lucky enough (lazy enough?) that I haven’t gotten to the part in Candy Wrappers where Ren is introduced, so all I had to do was update my notes and synopsis.

Honestly, I am glad I went through with the name change. I don’t find myself accidentally saying ‘Zane’ like some people thought I would. I feel more connected to Ren, and it makes me more excited to sit down and write Candy Wrappers.

Author Q&A- Candra Baguley

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Candra Baguley. Her debut novel, The Grey Ones, is  available now! Read the interview below.

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I loved telling stories and had such an active imagination that writing came natural for me.

 

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I get inspired by movies, books, myths and legends, the news, etc. For instance, Red Dawn and Walking Dead were two big inspirations for The Grey Ones. I don’t have a muse, but I do look up to other authors.

 

Q: Tell me about your book The Grey Ones. What was the original idea behind it?

28177330A: The Grey Ones is about a family searching for others to help them fight back against the monstrous aliens that have killed most of mankind. The original idea was going to be focused on a short story, which is now known as the first and second chapter.

 

Q: How did you decide what your aliens (Grey Ones) would look like? Did you base them off of something?

A: The Grey Ones were actually designed in accordance with the idea of them living inside their planet. I wanted them to be a scary twist to a classic alien.

 

Q: The Grey Ones is a trilogy. Do you know what is going to happen next, or are you figuring it out as you go along?

A: I planned the trilogy before I sat down and began the first book. I know the major details, but the rest I figure out along the way.

 

Q: How much preparation goes into your writing? Is there a lot of ‘grunt work’?

A: There’s a lot of prep before I begin writing. For The Grey Ones I was studying some Latin, researching aliens and myths, researching other books to make sure mine isn’t the same, and I was constantly thinking and writing little notes down about it.

 

Q: What advice do you wish you received when you began writing?

A: Hm.. Probably how to balance reading, writing, and family – along with everything else. I’m a mom so it can be difficult to juggle the daily tasks.

 

Q: If you could be one of your characters, who would you be and why?

A: Isabelle. She’s strong, brave, a great mom, and she’s a feminist. I consider myself those things too, but Isabelle actually gets out there and proves herself in a way I wish I could.

 

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career so far? What have you done to overcome it?

A: My biggest writing challenge is and was my own insecurities of sharing my work. I believe I have overcome that for the most part by self-publishing and being an Indy author. It forced me to believe in my work and myself.

 

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: At least 10% of The Grey Ones royalties will be donated to the pediatric cancer research at Primary Children’s Hospital. This cause is very important to me and my family and that is why I chose it. You don’t know courage until you see the families and warriors fighting cancer every day.

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