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Recently, I’ve been very particular with my reading list. I’ve looked out for stories written in a certain perspective, or technique. A tendency to get caught up in a style of writing that takes several books to satisfy. Though I always love a mystery, I’ve fallen into the military Sci-fi genre, please don’t ask me why. I’ve yet to answer that one myself. Romance, of course, if I can’t have the perfect happy ending, someone should. This urge usually comes around Valentine’s Day. Then there is the time traveling, soul-searching comedies, yes, they’re out there. Depending on whether I wanted to be enlightened, amused, educated or distracted, what I select is anyone’s guess on any given day. As a writer, I tend to stick with one style, thank god. I commend any writer who skips between genres, like trying on a new pair of shoes. This is why I can’t walk in heels. Since I can’t write that way, reading different genres and authors are the next best thing. Don’t know if it’s weird that I stick with only one particular genre at a time.
These are the last four books I’ve read and you kind of get the idea of my reading habits.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter
IQ by Joe Ide
The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore
If you see a theme going here, you’re probably right. I normally don’t see it until I’ve stopped. The next bunch I have only my list is pretty clear this time. Books I’ve wanted to read but never got around to them.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The Gunslinger by Stephen King
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke
This list has existed for years and I’ve yet to get to any of these books. It’s 2017 and I hope I can get one off this list. Though I have been itching to read Born A Crime by Trevor Noah and Carrie Fisher Princess Diarist. I see a trend coming on.
by Karen Dikson Have you ever wondered how it would be like to finish 1500 words in less than an hour? I have. As writers, we tend to want to improve our lifestyle little by little, by making progr…
Source: How to Write More in Less Time
First, thank you for this interview. I want to start out with the genre in which you write. Mystery is often the domain of our male counterparts. Though there are some great women mystery writers, from Agatha Christie to Gillian Flynn. Do you think you and other female mystery writes get their due?
I think that being a writer is difficult no matter whether you’re a male or female, or what genre you write. When I write I work to make the story and the characters the best they can be, because that is important for all genres, and try not to spend too much time worrying about who else is writing what. There are so many amazing and talented writers out there, and when I read I try to take something away as inspiration to make my own writing better.
You have a series, the Count to Ten Series. How hard is it to write for a series and how did it evolve?
I love reading series, and I love writing them, I enjoy getting to really delve into the characters and who they are and how they develop over time. I always knew I wanted to write series, and I always know how many books will be in the series and how the series will end before I start writing. I think the toughest parts about writing a series are deciding how much information from previous books is important enough to include in each book, you want a balance of revealing enough to catch up new readers, but not so much that you bore those readers who have already read earlier books. Another tough one can be revealing enough about who the characters are and what motivates them without giving away everything in the first book. For example in my first series, which is completed and includes five books, it is not until book four that you really get the full back story on one of the main characters which explains why she does certain things.
Give us an insight into your main characters. What made you want to bring them to life?
My two main characters from One, the first book in the Count to Ten Series, are Annabelle Englewood and Detective Xavier Montague. Annabelle’s past has led her to believe that no one can love her, Xavier’s previous marriage had him fighting for the woman he loved in spite of what she did, their histories lead to a rift developing between them that almost ends in disaster. My inspiration for my characters usually comes from something that I think would make an interesting back story and then I think about how it would affect a person to have gone through something like that. I also like my two main characters to have personalities and back stories that play off each other.
As a mystery writer, how much research do you do?
I think research is very important. I am often researching things for one of my books, it might be something like approximately how many hours of air would you have if you were trapped in a certain sized airtight room. Or it might be something like which drug would work best if my villain wanted to use it to subdue one of his or her victims. Or even how many average sized photos would it take to wallpaper an entire house. The internet is a super helpful tool that is always at your disposal, but sometimes its good to be able to talk to someone, like approaching a doctor to ask about specific treatments and medications and injuries.
Most writers experience writers block. Have you? If so, how did you overcome it?
Yep! Not so much writers block as in I don’t know what I want to write next, I’m a planner so I always have everything all planned out, for me sometimes I’ll just get stuck on one word, or one sentence, and I can’t make it sound just right so I start getting distracted. Or I just don’t feel like writing and I can’t seem to shake it off and get back to it. Typically when I feel that way I will procrastinate for a while, maybe even a couple of weeks, and then I just make myself get back to writing, I’ll set myself larger and smaller goals, so a goal of when I would like to have my work in progress complete, and a daily goal of how much I want to write each day, that seems to help me get back into the writing groove!
Every author has a different way of writing. How do you write? (For example: outline or just write)
I’m a planner. A big planner! I usually start with a very brief story idea. Next I get to work on my characters figuring out who they are and what their back story is. After that I’ll work out the plan for the series, how many books, how do I want it to end, and what are my story ideas for each book. When I’m ready to work on a specific book I start by writing the story in 50-100 words, this helps me really figure out exactly what the main point of the story is. Then I’ll write a slightly longer outline, approximately 250 words, this helps me flesh out the story a little more. After that I plot out each scene with dot points, this helps me work out the flow of the story, making sure I reveal information throughout the book and don’t do an information dump in any one spot. Any specific notes or ideas I have for a scene will get written beside its dot point so I don’t forget. After that I’m ready to get writing!
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? Which social network worked best for you?
Finding a balance between writing and marketing can be difficult, especially if you’re not so good at the marketing side of things. There are some sides of marketing that involve more of a one off kind of thing, such as building relationships with bloggers, once you’ve laid the ground work then you have people you can go to when you release a new book and are after some reviews, or if you would like some help promoting a sale of giveaway. Other sides of marketing require more a day to day effort, such as social media. I have found Facebook to be particularly helpful, especially in networking with other authors, and for providing opportunities to ask questions from other authors who are more experienced, and for advertising sales and other special events.
Everyone gets criticism about their work. What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author and how did you handle it?
Even though you know not everyone is going to like what you write, it can still be tough when people don’t like your stories because you pour so much time and energy and love into each book. However there is always a flip side to every criticism. One negative review I received for one of my books was from someone who hated one of my characters, so much so that she decided she did not wish to continue reading the series. The way I handled that was by looking for the positive, I thought it was also quite a compliment that I had created a character who was real enough to evoke such strong emotions from a reader. So I think the best way to handle criticism is to remember that its just one person’s opinion and to try and find the positive.
You mix romance with mystery. It follows a growing trend of the blurred lines of genres. Did you do this intentionally or did your stories evolve organically this way?
I really like to include lots of different genres in my writing, mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, I think that each angle brings in something to the story. I think my stories just evolved organically to be a mix of genres. I really enjoying reading and writing anything crime related, but I love character development and a big way I think people develop is through their relationships, so I love to add in that romance side to my stories. I think the two sides play well off each other, as the crime element is developing the characters are growing and learning about themselves through this budding relationship, and both usually come together as the story reaches its crescendo.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you love writing so much that you would write even if no one ever read what you’d written then keep writing and never give up!
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/janeblythe
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
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Source: My Writing Life: Kelly Baugh
Your book, Corridor of the Mind, a collection of poetry that reflects your life, has garnish very good reviews. How did the book come about?
It took twenty years to write. I looked around for a place to self-publish it and found Createspace. It wasn’t what I intended to put out first. But the deal I made with myself was whichever one of my books I finished first I was going to put up for publication. My novel wasn’t ready yet and the poetry book was. I still regret I put it out first instead of my novel because that’s all people think I can do is poetry, which isn’t the case.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 13 years old and wrote my first short story for a middle school English assignment.
You have a long list of planned writing, a second book, plays and several mysteries, how do you manage all of this.
I have no social life that’s how. I also write when my son is at school. I write in the doctor’s office. I stay up late and write because I’m an insomniac and a writing addict. Any spare time I have I write, even if it’s two minutes a day.
Which sometimes it ends up being that. I make sure my son is occupied which isn’t easy to do, when I finally get him settled down, I write in between those times, which is shorter than most, but I use my time wisely. I don’t procrastinate.
But I also take that time/ per day to make sure my work is quality before releasing for public consumption. My mind is always going, it’s been like that since I was a kid. Hmm, maybe that’s where my son gets it from.
What’s my staunch motivation? Poverty. I live in poverty every day. I don’t live on welfare or food stamps, or anything like that (just want to put that out there). The income I do make which is barely enough to feed me and my son so I go without everything so he can have. My computer is mine because I bought it outright when I was recently taking college courses, through financial aid so I’m able to continue what I do best which is writing. With my income I’m able to keep a roof over our head, air/ heat and running water in a rented house. I walk, take the bus, or ride in a cab to get to the store, etc. Mostly walk which is dangerous for a female walking by herself in the big city. I get no child support from his father, my estranged husband. Giving my son the best life is my motivation to keep writing and the fact I’ve been doing it for 25 years. It’s also my inspiration. It’s why I persevere.
Writing poetry is very different from writing novel, how do you make the transition.
Writing a novel isn’t a transition for me. I started out writing novels and short stories first for several years. Poetry was a way of self-therapy. I started writing “Corridors of My Mind” when I was 15 years old. Besides, I’m a jack of all trades. I can write anything and have done so.
Which writers inspire you
Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Shirley Jackson, Langston Hughes, Bret Harte, the list goes on and on.
Was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your work?
Nothing surprises me when I’m creating.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
The sky’s not even the limit. I aim to go beyond into the universe, galaxies, light years.
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
You don’t have to have money to promote your book. I don’t either. I promote it by particular groups on Goodreads that look for author’s to promote their work. I put samples of my work on Wattpad to gain an audience there. I do a lot of interviews with bloggers who some of them also review the book.
What is your advice to Indie Authors? On writing? Marketing?
Building buzz before your books initial release helps also. Networking and building a social connection works and social media is a part of that. But, I suggest you do this network building by sharing common interests with followers on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve found its better and it may eventually get you a sale or two. I have over a 1,700 Twitter followers and over 300 on Facebook. I talk about my book only a few times but, mostly talk about t.v. shows and movies I shared interest with other Facebook people or Twitter followers, which brings more interest to my Facebook and Twitter pages.
I’ve been in this writing/author business both on the traditional and indie side (I prefer the indie side by the way) for 25 years. A lot of it takes patience and perseverance. But, networking making connections with readers, bloggers and other authors on a down to earth level is the key. You can never stop networking it’s the main thing that will keep you afloat in this business. Also if you make a promise to someone keep it.
That is rare in this business and its invaluable, and paramount. It’s how I’ve been able to preserve and survive this business all these years because of my integrity to my readers, bloggers, and followers. I always keep my promises and I don’t make a promise I can’t keep.
Also the word “No” is a good procurer for you as a writer. It can keep you grounded and relevant when there are people demanding more than you feel you can handle. Also there will be haters don’t let them discourage you. A thick skin and an even thicker skin is needed for this business. It’s how I’ve maintained my place in this writing/publishing world. Also be humble and keep your eye on the prize, run your own race.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
That people are so shortsighted when it comes to my non-traditional way of writing. They always misinterpret it because it’s different and new, not what they expect it to be and oh, yes, being automatically critical of me thinking it’s my first time writing a book because I’m indie. I’m sick of people’s misconceptions when it comes to that.
Anything that comes from the authors I’ve listed above.
What book that you have read has most influenced your life?
What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?
Life, the darkest layers of humanity, reality, everything, even a broken window.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
As much time as I need to.
What do you love most about the writing process?
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Just ask or keep an eye on my Goodreads blog or follow my other social media sites. But, mostly ask. That will give you more information.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00O4KZI8Q