Author Interview – E M Holloway

Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

I’m 35 and I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. The first thing I solidly remember writing was a story about a cruise ship crash that I wrote in fifth grade. I think I must have been a pretty morbid ten year old. I live in Arizona although I wish I didn’t, and I’m going to be married this December to my girlfriend/zucchini of ten years. I have three cats and one dog, all rescues. I once named a pencil Mr. Universe.

The Way Out is Through coverNow share a little bit about your books.

I have so many of them! Modern fantasy, or fantasy that takes place in a mostly real world setting with a few twists, is my favorite jam. I write some soft sci-fi, although I’ve never been good at hard sci-fi because of how technical it can get. I’ve also written some classic fantasy (with dragons!) and even some real world drama. I love a good mystery. Almost all my books have some element of mystery to them, because it’s my favorite kind of plot. Creating characters is my favorite part of writing, which is probably why I wind up with so many in each story!

Some of your books started out as fanfics. How do you go about converting a fanfic to an original book?

When I see a fanfic and think “that could actually stand pretty well on its own”, the first thing I do is try to change everything I can. The story’s location, characters’ gender or race or career, any major plot point that doesn’t need to be specific. Can that car accident become a drive-by shooting? Can that woman who died of an illness have fallen down her stairs instead? Since my fanfics tend to have a loose approach to canon in any case, that’s often enough change to make it an original, although the real alternate universe fics are the ones that are easiest to convert.

What’s the biggest difference between writing fanfic and writing original fiction?

Having the characters already set up is by far the biggest. I mean, I love creating characters, but it’s always nice to just sit down with them all created for you, and you can just throw them into fun situations to see what happens. Fanfic is less demanding, and I don’t just mean because it doesn’t have to pass a publisher’s muster – you’re building off accepted characters and tropes, so there’s just less to explain. You can slap ‘soulmate AU’ or ‘dystopian setting’ on the label and know that your readers are going to come in with knowledge about what you’re writing, so you don’t need to include five thousand words of exposition about what a soulmate AU is or how it works. Sometimes when I’m converting I have to stop and really look at what I’m writing and ask ‘is a non-fandom person going to know what the hell I’m talking about?’

Do you have a favourite character in your books?

Puck, from The Sum of its Parts, will probably be one of my favorite characters forever. I absolutely love writing “that normal guy in amongst a bunch of supernatural scary creatures” – it’s one of my favorite tropes. Especially when that normal guy is by far more dangerous than the supernatural creatures.

How about a favourite moment?

Hands down, when Connor comforts Puck in the hospital after his father is hurt. Favorite moment in that whole series. I just love the two of them and their relationship so much in that moment.

Is there anything that’s surprised you since getting published?

Not really? I’m sorry, that’s sort of a lame answer. But I’ll probably have a different one if I ever get picked up by a major publishing house. 🙂

Are there any authors who particularly inspire you?The One You Feed cover

So many! So, so, so many! But I’ll try to limit it. Madeleine L’Engle, Susan Cooper, Jim Butcher, Bruce Coville, Neil Gaiman, Isaac Azimov… et c

If you could sit down for a chat with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I’m gonna say Roald Dahl. His books are so amazing, such a great combination of childish whimsy and true horror. I’d love to get a peek at his thought processes. Plus I’ve heard he was kind of a jerk in real life, which means he and I would probably get along really well. =D

What are you working on at the moment?

Right now I’m working on converting The Boy in Red, which is the fourth installment of The Sum of its Parts. Plus I’ve been trying to get one of my other works, The More Things Change, published by an actual publisher instead of by me, heh. I’ve also been writing a lot of fanfiction lately for the Malec fandom! I can’t get enough of those cuties.

You can find E M Holloway’s books on Amazon.

Author Interview: Helen Comerford

Afterlife coverPlease start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! My name’s Helen and I have an afro. I’m not sure whether I’m growing it or it’s growing me… I live in London and spend most of my time trying to figure out how I could have a dog.

Now please share a little bit about your books.

The first instalment of my young adult ‘Afterlife’ trilogy is now available. It’s a fast paced, action packed story based in a future Britain ruled by a fascist Christian government. A minibus of teenagers are scattered across the Afterlife. They wake up in paradise and what reviewers have called ‘inventively nasty’ hell sectors. It’s fast, funny and free (on my website) so you can make your own mind up…

Do you have a favourite character in your books?

So many favourites! I adore my main character Eve, I’ve put a lot of my little sister into her. I’m loving writing Hannah, the first main character of the second book, she’s turning into a master manipulator. Actually- my favourite favourite is Grace Gupta, who is just angry all the time. She’s great. If I’ve had a hard day there nothing like writing a bit of Grace as a way to vent.

How about a favourite moment?

Hard to answer without spoilers… It’s probably when Mare and Joel kiss for the first time just before the tidal wave… Although all of part two of my book is a contender for that honour- I actually got addicted to writing it!

What made you decide to go down the e-book publishing route?

I am not the most patient person (see Grace) and I quite quickly decided that I’d rather publish as an ebook, and start building up my fan base and my brand, than send letter after letter to literary agents. Once I’m making enough noise they might come to me- if not, never mind, my book is out there for the world to enjoy.

Is there anything that’s surprised you since getting published?

Maybe how difficult it is to get yourself out there. I do events, social media, blogging… marketing a book is harder than writing a book.

Are there any authors who particularly inspire you?

Malorie Blackman, who wrote my favourite book growing up ‘Thief’. She also campaigns for greater diversity in books which is so important. I am of mixed race heritage and Eve, my main character, is too. My character Hannah is gay, Grace has Indian heritage, Peter is Scottish… I feel like Malorie would approve.

Do you have a special place for writing?

Would you believe that I do my best work on the London Underground? There was one job where I had a particularly long commute and I wrote most of my first book travelling to and from work. I have a twitter site called #creativecommute, so if you do writing on your journeys tag us and we’ll share.

What advice would you give to someone who’s just getting started writing books?

Set yourself an unrealistic deadline and then try and meet it. I decided I wanted to write a book before I turned 29. This was 3 months before my birthday, but I actually did it- my first draft was ready for April (17th if you want to send a card) and I released the novel digitally on my 30th. There’s a lot to be said for challenging deadlines.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on book 2 of my trilogy! I’m just finishing Hannah and about to return to Eve. It’s going well! A lot of questions asked in book one are answered in book two, which is very satisfying as a writer. Getting time to write is a proper treat. I don’t like to blow my own trumpet, but it’s basically going to be the best thing you’ve ever read :-p

If you want to find out more about Helen’s books, check out Afterlife on Amazon or go to her website at http://afterlifethenovel.com.

Author Interview: Garrett Robinson

I interviewed Garrett Robinson about his fantasy novels. Unfortunately, I had some technical issues with the call recording so what I’m sharing here is only the first few minutes of the interview. I apologise that I’m not able to share the entire interview.

If you want to know more about Garrett’s books, you can check out his website at http://garrettrobinson.com or find his books on Amazon.

Author Interview: Mina Kelly

tease coverPlease start by telling us a little bit about yourself. 

Start with the hardest question, why don’t you! I’m a writer, a reader, a knitter (I’ve made actual clothes now, so I feel I can say this even if I still don’t bother with tension squares!), an adoptive Northerner, a geek and a little overwhelmed by life 🙂
Now tell us a little about your writing. 

Most of my published work is romance, erotic romance, or erotica. A lot of readers who don’t read any of the genres might assume there was a large overlap between the genres, but they are more distinct that outsiders realise. It’s not just about how much sex there is, it’s about what drives the plot and where it ends. I’m happy writing most pairings – my work ranges from f/f to m/m/m and does include the occasional m/f for variety! – though I usually come back to m/m in the end.

You have just had a new short story published. What’s this one about?never before touched by cupid
So Never Before Touched by Cupid isn’t new, exactly, but was published a few years ago by Forbidden Fiction as a standalone short, and is now being republished by them in a classical themed anthology: Timeless Lust. It’s an approach they take with a lot of their works, allowing them to offer a subscription model for readers that want it while also making stories available to purchase. Never Before is a little piece of real person fanfic, essentially, but with real people that most readers only know as vague and distant names: Horace, Virgil and Propertius. I’m a latin geek, and started shipping Virgil and Horace some years ago. I was inspired to include Propertius thanks to the introduction to a volume of his poetry that waxed lyrical about how attractive and manly he was and how the other poets would have been filled with a mix of jealous admiration and fatherly pride when he entered the scene. I was… skeptical. So I wrote out my scepticism.

How did you pick your nom de plume? 

My online handle since my teens was been Minerva Solo – Solo for Han Solo, and Minerva from a time a friend assigned our group goddesses. I didn’t want to use it for my original fiction, but I took Mina from Minerva, and Kelly from Grace Kelly, because I’d recently watched Rear Window.
inescapable

Do you have a favourite character in your stories? 
Probably Jared from Inescapable. He’s a risk taker with a strong survival instinct, someone who loves easily and lets go even more so. He’s currently a smuggler who specialises in biological material, but he’s turned his hand to a lot of things over the years, and has trouble admitting to himself that maybe he actually wants something a bit more stable, and legal, as he gets older.

How about a favourite moment? 
I don’t know that I can pick one. Jared’s escape from prison in Escapable. Toby chasing a car on foot in Flirt. Barnabas finding a naked man on the beach in Tease. Moments that change the direction of their stories or push their plots towards the conclusions.

Is there anything that’s surprised you since you got published? 
I think the speed with which the small ePress bubble burst caught me out, and not just me. Amazon took self-epublishing from a labour-intensive niche to the push of a button almost overnight, and it did strange things to the market in all directions. Competition splintered into millions of individual authors, instead of a handful of publishers, and once price stopped being dictated by retailers readers diversified in terms of what price they were willing to pay for what quality. I’ve loved working with small presses, but even the most established ones are closing down or collapsing under the weight of the competition, and I think it’s going to take some new and impressive tactics to stay ahead of the new market.

Are there any authors who particularly inspire you? 
I’m really into Courtney Milan’s historicals right now. She writes such a great, diverse range of heroes and heroines and uses them to explore pieces of history that often get overlooked in the genre. She makes me want to write one, but I’m still looking for the right plot (one which mostly plays to the historical knowledge I already have, so I don’t disappear down the research rabbit hole and forget to actually write the thing!)

What advice would you give to someone just getting started writing books?never before touched by cupid
Think about the career you want to have with them: where you want them to be available, what kind of control you want over them, how long you’re willing to keep going if no one reads them. It’s like snog, marry, avoid, except it’s art, career or hobby. You can do all three, write different books for different reasons, but remember to wear the right hat for the right book.

What are you working on at the moment?
Mostly knitting! I have various nieces and nephews on the way, so that’s taken precedence recently. My ‘to finish’ manuscripts folder at the moment includes an m/m football romance, an m/f holiday romance, and a third selkie book.

If you want to know more about Mina Kelly’s books, you can find them on her Amazon page. She also has a website at http://solelyfictional.org

Author Interview: C B Lee

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello there! I’m C.B., a bisexual woman who grew up on the California coast. I work with inner-city youth at a environmental education nonprofit, and teach by day and write by night (although the hours aren’t very specific at that.)  I’m a first generation Chinese-Vietnamese American and value my mixed cultural heritage, especially the little immigrant neighborhood I grew up in. I love writing and reading stories of all kinds and hope to contribute many to come, especially about characters whose backgrounds are like my own, characters who I never got to read about when I was a teenager.

Now tell us a bit about Seven Tears at High Tide.

Seven Tears at High Tide front coverSeven Tears at High Tide is my first novel, set in a sleepy seaside town in central California, all about falling in love and having to overcome difficult choices foisted upon you by others. There’s a lot of inspiration for the setting from my travels and places I’ve lived, and I hoped to really transport the reader into a magical, dreamy setting. And I also love and adore all pinnipeds, especially seals, so it was so much fun getting to write about them.

It’s also my take on selkie lore, particularly on subverting the trope that follows a lot of the mythology, where a selkie comes ashore and their pelt— and subsequently their freedom— is taken away from them when a human steals it or discovers it. I wanted to write a story where the selkie— and the human both are presented with difficult choices in their relationship, and how they deal with these questions of agency.

What’s your favourite part of the book?

Oh, I have many favorites, but I am an absolute sucker for Magical Reveals, there’s just so much bundled into this trope that involves trust and building relationships and a character’s whole worldview changes. One of my favorite scenes is this twilight scene where Morgan takes Kevin to the beach and I’m rather partial to this bit:

The sky, caught in that nebulous time after sunset, still glows with the energy of the day, and the heavy velvet of night has yet to fall upon them. A few stars gleam through the purple twilight, as if they were too impatient to wait until dark to shine.

There’s a really pivotal moment that I’m laying out the scene for here, and I’m quite happy with the imagery and the transitioning themes and the anticipation for what is a huge turning point in the novel.

How did you get into writing?

I write because I love stories. It’s when I feel most alive, crafting something out of just emotion and idle thoughts and turning it into something another person can experience— it’s a kind of magic, I think.  The whole process of telling stories is a such vital part of the human experience, just part of our culture that makes us who we are. How we perceive our lives, what happens to us, our emotions— it’s all tied up in stories. The stories we tell each other, about our hopes and dreams, allowing people from all walks of life to see different perspective and to experience so many things. I love writing for many of the same reasons I love reading— not just for the escape factor.

I started very young— I remember writing stories was always my favorite part of school, and definitely remember crayon-scratching too many pages of the adventures of the people in the drawing when it was supposed to be a “brief” description of who they were. In middle school I carried around a notebook that had two ongoing high-fantasy-esque stories, one that started in the front of the book, and one in the back. If I got stuck on one I’d flip to the back and start writing for the other one. I never made it to the middle because I kept adding things and crossing things out; the whole thing was written in pencil. I still have that book, it’s all smudged with graphite and nearly illegible but I like to flip through it every now and then and try to make my twelve-year-old self proud. 

What’s your writing process?

I’m kind of all over the place. I both love outlining and hate it; I’ll start with a basic plot structure and idea and then pretty much fly by the seat of my pants for the rest of it, filling out the details as I go. I tend to write scene by scene, occasionally bouncing ahead if I have a particular scene I want to get to, but mostly I write in chronological order and let the story unfold as I write. 

A huge challenge for me is keeping in task when I’m motivated; it varies so much, I’ve gone from utterly wrapped in a scene and writing eight thousand words in a day, to struggling with eight words on an entirely different day. I try my best to stay focused by taking short breaks, timing myself for short bouts of productivity, and moving around to get perspective.

Something I enjoy is writing by hand in places that inspire me. For Seven Tears, I took a journal to the beach and jotted down ideas when I was in San Simeon, where the novel is placed. I live on the California coast, so a lot of beaches and coastside trails factored into my wandering-and-writing habit. 

Are there any authors who have particularly inspired you?

Diane Duane, Terry Pratchett, J.K. Rowling, and Neil Gaiman most definitely, for their intricate worlds of magic and worldbuilding and just storytelling in general. Lawrence Yep and Amy Tan were also a huge influence on me for being one of the few voices in literature when I was a child to create amazing characters and stories I could identify with.

Has anything surprised you since getting published?

I think I was pleasantly surprised by how closely knit my publishing house was; it’s a small independent publisher, so all the authors and editors and artists and everyone involved was very open about how things worked and introducing authors to each other, and people were very open about helping others who were new to the experience. I’m still very happy about this, how amazing all the support has been from start to finish. I think this isn’t exclusive to my publishing house; I’ve met so many authors from indie houses and the vibe is just so friendly and welcoming. It’s been great getting to know other people and other authors and the community of just wanting your peers to succeed is wonderful.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write novels?

Don’t give up. I think it’s a very difficult endeavor, and so much of it is a cycle of working incredibly hard on a manuscript and hoping that someone out there will like it. You’ll face rejections, plenty of them, and it’s definitely hard on your confidence as a writer and a person, but I have such a high value on stories. Write them, write the stories you want to read, ones you want to share. 

There’s a quote from Erin Bow that is about writing, but I think it applies to life, so, so much.

“No writing is wasted. Did you know that sourdough from San Francisco is leavened partly by a bacteria called lactobacillus sanfrancisensis? It is native to the soil there, and does not do well elsewhere. But any kitchen can become an ecosystem. If you bake a lot, your kitchen will become a happy home to wild yeasts, and all your bread will taste better. Even a failed loaf is not wasted. Likewise, cheese makers wash the dairy floor with whey. Tomato gardeners compost with rotten tomatoes. No writing is wasted: the words you can’t put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better.”

I think this quote is so reassuring, about how no efforts are wasted, and in writing there’s often a lot of work that goes unseen, unrecognized, drafts that are torn apart and put back together, chapters thrown out, paragraphs rewritten. It’s so easy to get disheartened when you write, but everything you do, it’s part of the learning process and just adds to your overall skill and ability as a writer.

I love the quote and think on it a lot as not just for writing, but for life efforts, in the experiences that you have and it’s easy to look back and think that something might have been a waste of time, but it contributed to who you are and where you are now, and that’s important. 

For anyone who wants to write a novel— don’t give up. Write it in pieces between your work shifts and half-remembered dreams, write it when you can, between your commitments to that job that pays the bills and your family. It’s a hard road, but it’s worth it. 

If you could sit down for a chat with any author, living or dead, who would it be?

I very deeply admire the late Terry Pratchett, and would love to talk with him and really learn more about his amazing worldbuilding and extensive magic systems. I love his sense of humor and how well crafted all of his novels are; he was such a huge influence on me and I think it would be amazing to get the opportunity to get to know him.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on a young adult scifi adventure series in a post-dystopia world. Not Your Sidekick is the first novel in that series and follows Jess, a high school girl who comes from a family of superheroes— except she’s nonpowered, and really just wants to prove herself. She ends up getting an internship, working with her crush, Abby at a mysterious corporation which turns out to be run by the town’s supervillain, and these two girls uncover this huge plot that’s more than just heroes versus villains. And they also fall in love. Not Your Sidekick will be out September 8 of this year, and I’m really excited about it. I’m working on the second and third of the series at the moment.

If you want to know more about C B Lee and her writing, check out her website, or take a look at her book on Amazon.

Author Interview: Paul Stephenson

Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

Hi Jess, thanks for having me over. I’m Paul, I’m a writer of horror, sci-fi and music related books and internet things. I’m in my thirties, and I live in Yorkshire with my wife, two children and slightly batty puppy. Oh, and my Spotify account, which I kind of feel as strongly about as I do my children.

Now please share a little bit about your new book.

Blood on the Motorway front coverBlood on the Motorway is an apocalyptic horror set in the north of England. It’s set after a series of mysterious storms decimate the population, and its about how the survivors try to deal with things like running out of bread and serial killers. It’s a bit of a dark comedy, but there’s also a crime novel lurking in there somewhere, as well as some dollops of sci-fi. That probably makes it sound like a bit of a mess but it isn’t. I heard someone describe it as ‘a mystery wrapped in an apocalypse’ which I liked.

You’ve got another couple of books coming up later this year. Are they related to Blood on the Motorway?

Blood on the Motorway is a trilogy, and books two and three should be available this year, all going well. There’s also Welcome to Discovery Park, which is a non-fiction story about my attempts to listen to all 500 albums on the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums of All Time list, which is hopefully both a cutting look at music journalism in general, but also quite funny.

You describe yourself as a punk publisher. Where did this term come from?

Music and writing have always been twin passions. I’ve always been involved in the music world, either as a musician, an event organiser or as a writer, and when I found out about self-publishing it just really clicked with the punk ethos that I’ve always held dear. The idea of doing it yourself, building your own fanbase, and not letting other people compromise the art that you want to put out in the world was very appealing to me. As I got deeper into the ‘indie author’ community I found that there’s a weird identity crisis at the heart of it, which I think stems from a slight sense of inferiority that comes from the way it began, that this publishing revolution is entirely beholden to a corporate behemoth, and the fact that trad publishing can be very dismissive of it. I thought by reclaiming it as Punk Publishing we could get over that stigma a little.

What was the most challenging thing about publishing Blood on the Motorway?

Going back to the DIY ethos, if you’re doing everything yourself then you have to make sure it’s the best representation of what you can do. When it’s your first book, doubly so, because it has to be a statement you can be proud to stand by to all the people who have inevitably doubted you can do it over the years. So I think that process of revision, beta reading, editing, revision, it’s a hard thing to do, but ultimately I hope it was worth it.

Do you have a favourite moment in your books?

I’m a terrible one for getting really invested in my characters and then doing terrible things to them. In Blood on the Motorway there are a couple of moments that I really hope will make the reader put the book down and have to walk around the room a few times before they pick it back up again. Those are my favourite moments.

Are there any authors who particularly inspire you?

I wouldn’t be the writer I am if I hadn’t read five authors: Stephen King, Hunter S Thomson, Douglas Coupland, Nick Hornby and J.K Rowling. All completely different writers, but those are the five whose books I go back to again and again.

If you could sit down for a chat with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Probably Hunter, because he was just so out there in everything he did. Stylistically he was so influential to me, as a person he seemed kind of terrible, but if the worst came to it we could talk about music.

What advice would you give to someone just getting started writing books?

I would say that whatever you do, go write a first draft. All the way through. Don’t get caught in the trap I did for a long time of endlessly rewriting three or four chapters to make them perfect. They can’t be, because you don’t really know what the book is until you’ve written the story from start to finish. And try to read a wide range of authors, genres and styles, then steal from the people you like, with impunity.

What are you working on at the moment?

The main task at the moment is to finish the second draft of the third Blood on the Motorway novel, then work on Welcome to Discovery Park. After that I’ve got a sci-fi that’s been bouncing around my head for nearly three years, begging to get out, which I can’t wait to get to. I’m teaming up with a nuclear astrophysicist and a biologist to research it, so that’s going to be a lot of fun. And I’ll be continuing my Musical Waffle on my blog.

To find out more about Paul Stephenson, check out his website at http://paulstephensonbooks.com

Author Interview: Corinne Duyvis

Please share a little bit about your books.

On the Edge of Gone coverRight now, I have two books out. My first book, Otherbound, came out in 2014. It’s a young adult fantasy novel which is about a boy from our world who witnesses the life of a mute servant girl from another world every single time he blinks. She has no idea—until they learn to communicate, and they have to work together to discover what binds them together.

My second book, On the Edge of Gone, came out in March 2016. It’s a young adult sci-fi novel about an apocalypse-in-progress: a guarded, autistic girl tries to keep her family together in the immediate aftermath of a devastating comet impact.

Do you have a favourite character in your books?

Ohh, choosing favorites! That’s always hard. I think I’d have to choose Cilla from Otherbound, as I found her an unusual and intriguing character to write—that balance between sweet and haughty, well-intentioned but clueless, made her very appealing to me.

From On the Edge of Gone, it’s Denise herself. I just related to her a lot—which probably isn’t surprising, since a large part of the reason I wrote her was because there were so few autistic characters for me to relate to!

Could you explain a little bit about the Disability in Kidlit program?

Disability in Kidlit is a website I co-founded alongside author Kody Keplinger in 2013; it was originally intended as a sort of temporary blog fest but turned into an actual resource. We post reviews of the portrayal of disability in MG/YA novels, write articles about tropes and stereotypes, and discuss representation from various angles. All of our contributors identify as disabled themselves. I’m so very proud of what we’ve accomplished over the years. A lot of people have expressed gratitude and stated how helpful the website is to them, which means the world to me.

Your books are great examples of diverse fiction. Could you tell us why you feel so strongly about diversity in fiction?

Once I started seeing (a) the extreme imbalances in both the real world and inOtherbound cover fiction and (b) the results in society, I found it impossible not to care strongly about this topic. After all, these imbalances didn’t appear out of nothing. They’re a result of an unjust system, which doesn’t go away by simply waiting, hoping, or asking. I don’t want to support that system.

My thinking is: If I’m a writer, I have to make a choice—whether conscious or unconscious—about who it is I write about, and how I do so. Will I perpetuate the problems and imbalances, or will I try to do my part in combating them?

That doesn’t mean I should arrogantly try to “fix” everything myself and tell stories that aren’t mine. It means is that I try to be aware of my choices, and make those choices conscious ones. Sometimes, the best choice is to step away from a certain character and story, as I’m not the right person to write it.

Instead, I should listen to those who are the right person to write these stories, and do what I can to help their voices be heard.

What has surprised you most since getting published?

I think the ups and downs and backs and forths. It’s not like you’re just taking a step forward. Instead, one part of your life shifts, and the rest doesn’t necessarily shift with it.

So on one hand, your life is completely different: you’re put into different situations, you worry about different issues, and you have different concerns to keep in mind. Being published is such an entirely new set of experiences.

At the same time, nothing much has really changed. You’re still thinking up stories, you still have to do groceries and scoop out the litterbox, you still geek out with friends and eagerly anticipate the next book in someone else’s series.

Sometimes, you’ll pause during the cool parts of being published and realize, wow, when did this start feeling so normal? Or you pause during the regular everyday things and think, wow, I’m actually balancing this average life with signings and book deals and interviews?

It’s a constant seesaw. After several years, I’m still figuring out how to incorporate and balance it all.

What advice would you give to someone just getting started writing books?

As corny as it sounds: just keep going.

I must’ve written over ten books by now, and I still find myself constantly procrastinating, constantly doubting myself, constantly comparing myself, constantly getting distracted. Life throws so much your way that can distract you from writing, whether it’s obligations or brain chemistry or rejections from literary agents or more.

But if you just keep going, you can’t go wrong. You’re always learning and developing as an author, and the more you write, the more material you have to work with. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t use preparation as a means of procrastinating. Don’t linger on the rejections. Don’t spend years on the same project if you aren’t making actual progress on that project.

Just keep going.

If you want to find out more about Corinne Duyvis and her books, check out her website at http://www.corinneduyvis.net or you can connect with her on Twitter or Tumblr. You can find her books on Amazon and I have reviewed On the Edge of Gone here.

Author Interview: Danielle L Jensen

Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

I live with my family in Calgary, Canada, and I spend most of my time chasing after my toddler and writing about fantastical things.

Now please share a little bit about your books.

Stolen Songbird front coverThe trilogy is about a young soprano named Cécile who is about to depart her family farm to join her mother on the opera stage in the big city. But before she can leave, trolls kidnap her and bond her to their crown prince, Tristan, in order to break the curse that has bound them to their underground kingdom for five centuries.

Except it doesn’t work.

Cécile is initially focused on escape, but she finds herself embroiled in the burgeoning revolution of the oppressed lower class of half-bloods who desire to overthrow their tyrannical king. A revolution that is lead by Prince Tristan himself. As she becomes more sympathetic to the trolls, and falls in love with Tristan, she has to decide whether freeing her friends is worth the risk of unleashing the trolls’ magic on the world. And she must live with the consequences of whatever path she chooses.

You were a finalist for the Best Debut Author with Stolen Songbird on Goodreads Choice. What was that like?

Incredible! Unlike most other awards, the Goodreads Choice nominations are based on reader response and reviews, and to have so many people love STOLEN SONGBIRD enough to vote it into the finals was not something I’d dreamed possible.

Do you have a favourite character in your books?

This surprises people, but my favourite character in the series is King Thibault. I’ve always known that he’s a troll with enormous depth, but much of that isn’t revealed until WARRIOR WITCH, which was one aspects of writing that novel that I enjoyed the most. He’s a hidden and guarded character, but his actions drive so much of the plot.

Music is obviously important for the character Cecile. Is music an important part of your life?

Not at all! I can’t sing, play an instrument, or even read music. I very rarely draw upon aspects of my own personality or life when I create my characters, and Cecile, in particular, is nothing like me.

What has surprised you most since getting published?

Probably the amount of time I’d spend on things that aren’t writing. Interviews, guest posts, read-alongs, events, social media, and giveaways take up a large portion of my workday, which wasn’t something I expected prior to publication.

Are there any authors who particularly inspire you?

I am blown away by Maggie Stiefvater’s prose – her writing is beautiful, and I aspire to be half that good some day. I admire the way Sarah J Maas creates such exceptional worlds that absolutely captivate her readers. I am continually in awe of Susan Dennard’s ability to find creative ways to engage with her readers, as well as the incredible amount of effort she puts towards helping aspiring writers with all the information on her website. My close friend Elise Kova, besides being an amazing writer, is a master of the business side of publishing, and she has inspired me to take more active control of certain aspects of my career.

If you could sit down for a chat with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?

J.K. Rowling. Not so much because of Harry Potter, although I’m a huge fan, but because she’s created such an enormous and successful empire. I would love to pick her brain.

What advice would you give to someone just getting started writing books?Warrior Witch by Danielle L Jensen

Seek out criticism of your work and learn to embrace it. The big turning point in my writing career was when I stopped letting my pride get in the way of accepting and working with critiques. And check out Susan Dennard’s website – it has far better advice than I will ever give.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have other fantasy projects in the works, but they are not quite at the stage where I can talk about them, other than to say they exist 🙂

If you want to find out more about Danielle L Jensen and her books, check out her website at http://danielleljensen.com, or you can connect with her on Twitter or Facebook. Her latest book, Warrior Witch, is now available on Amazon.