Friday, October 5, 2018

#WIPjoy and Playlists

This month is #WIPjoy! Its a Twitter event that happens every season, so four times a year, that brings together authors to share their Work In Progress and encourage one another. I love this event and look forward to it every year. The amazing Bethany A. Jennings @ SimmeringMind and S.D. Grimm @SDGrimmAuthor make WIPjoy both fun and uplifting. 

Veridian Playlist on Spotify
We are currently on Day 5: Tunes for Your WIP.
Whenever I start a new book I also start a playlist. I've always used music to help me not only get in the right mind-set for a give scene, but it really helps me to organize my story in a way that a visual chart doesn't quite touch.

I get a better sense of the pace with music. Too many fast, exciting songs and I realize I need a lull scene to give the reader a moment to catch their breath.  On the flip side, if my song list consists of too many slow pieces, I write in something that picks up the pace.

The playlist for my sci-fi thriller, Veridian, is coming along nicely. Since its a future-noir, I get to have some moody jazz, great old big band pieces, soulful love songs, and awesome space themed soundtracks.

A playlist is never complete until the book is finished, but its certainly fun to see what other authors use for inspiration.

#WIPjoy is such a fun way to connect with authors, see what they're working on, and to get sneak peeks at upcoming books.  I highly recommend checking it out.

These are the last few days of the All Hallows Read Giveaway

"A perfect blend of suspense, intrigue, and creepiness will draw you into this dark world..." ~ Nights and Weekends Review
f you like exploring strange noises in the walls, secret passages, and rumors of ghost. Then join the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Gothic Mystery, Whispers on Shadow Bay. The GIVEAWAY ends on October 7th.

Monday, October 1, 2018

All Hallows Read Giveaway!

I'm so excited to participate in All Hallows Read this year! Its a completely made-up holiday to celebrate reading and books. The idea is to give someone a scary book this month...Thats it!
Reading free books? Yes, please!
The yearly celebration was started by Neil Gaiman and I think the video of him explaining it is so funny because the people in the background are hilariously trying to create mayhem...

Its not only for individuals to gift someone they love with a truly breathtaking tale. Libraries, books stores, book clubs, and coffee shops all get into the tradition.  For more information check out the All Hallows Read website. They have downloadable posters, recommended reads for all ages, and bookmarks!
Some of my favorite reads are Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe.
To give you more ideas Goodreads has an All Hallows Read List
So if you like spooky books and there are people around, you can join in!  Pick up some scary stories to hand out from a library book sale, the thrift shop, or even me!
I am celebrating by giving away 3 Kindle copies of my spooky Gothic mystery, Whispers on Shadow Bay! The GIVEAWAY last from October 1-7th.
All you have to do is enter the giveaway below and the winners will have their books in time to join in on the fun!
Don't forget to check out the #AllHallowsRead hashtag on twitter and Instagram for inspiration on what to read this Halloween.

Enter for a chance to win one of 3 copies  in time for 
All Hallows Read!
Click To Enter GIVEAWAY

Friday, September 21, 2018

Ripping Apart Your Own Work

Two weeks ago I finally finished the first draft of my outline for Veridian. This week I am trying to stitch it back together. This always happens. I finally get the outline done and then I talk it through with my husband who is my sounding board.  He inevitably asks questions that lead to more questions that lead to a meltdown because my plot has holes I didn't see before and now everything is ruined! Or something to that effect.

This time I was going over the technology predictions and political map of my scifi thriller and he pointed out some things I could do better...and some things that I could do without. Needless to say I was both excited to make the changes and frustrated to be back at square-one after finally finishing an outline that was truly a struggle to wrangle into completion in the first place. Blerg!

But a fellow author friend of mine who gives me the best encouragement sent me the graphic above. Its great advice that I promised to keep in mind. What I am doing now is just the beginning. I don't know why I forget this EVERY time I start another book.

Maybe its the dreamer in me that wishes to show you with perfect detail the amazing sights I have in mind. Whatever the reason...I will remind myself that first drafts suck as a rule. I can't very well edit something that isn't there.

So as I head into the weekend I plan on getting a ton done on this outline. We'll see!  Hope you all have a wonderful time recuperating from this busy week!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Giveaway and Skywatch Musings

July and August are my favorite months of the year because the sky has to offer so much to skywatchers like myself. From aphelion to Mars in opposition, its summers should be.

However, as we slide into September, big changes are on their way. Venus sinks deeper towards the horizon and gets brighter. The gas giants will dominate the southern view of the sky. And all of it points towards the autumn equinox on the 22nd.

I find skywatching both relaxing and exciting. If there is a thing. I anticipate the beauty and fun with my family. We often have viewing parties and we blow up an inflatable mattress, haul out the hot coco, and snuggle in soft blankets with our faces towards the heavens. But after the kids have grown fidgety and gone to bed and hubby wanders off to grade papers, I relax and wait for the moon rise or the fleeting streak of a comet.

I am trying to keep this attitude with my current WIP. Right now there is the anticipation that research and daydreaming and plotting brings. The want of what will come. But I am not enjoying the rest and enjoy part of it. I need to change that.

So today I broke out the watercolors and messed around with adding some creativity other than writing to my daily life. I am not good at painting. Terrible really. Which is freeing somehow because I can do it with the goal of having fun as opposed to making it perfect.

I keep trying to remind myself that the first draft is the sand. I'm shoveling it into the sandbox so that I can make castles later. Thank you, Shannon Hale, for that awesome reminder that first drafts are supposed to suck. 

I have some great news to share with all of you! This month until September 20th The Tremblers will be .99!  Its to celebrate this HUGE giveaway and contest going on over at My Book Cave. There's prizes up to $400 and tons of gifts.

So if you'd like to check it out, head on over to My Book Cave's Pelican Book Group Extravaganza! And check out The Tremblers a steampunk thriller for only 99 cents!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Wax Seals and Penny Dreadfuls: A Writer's Tools

One of the things I love most about the writing life is that I allows me to connect with other people. Some from far, far away whom I might never have met otherwise.  So when I send out signed copies for prizes or what not, I always try to include a special letter to my fellow book lovers.
The one I wrote for the Blackburn series is especially dear to me because it talks about how the heroine, Charlotte, helped me to process memories of some difficult times.  I hope her story inspires you like it did me.
Plus...I get to play with fancy quills and wax seals. Also a major writerly perk.
To keep from going mad with all the deadlines and writing goals, I have resolved to work more reading time into my schedule. I'm currently reading a lovely Penny Dreadful compilation I picked up a while ago. It begins with the estimable Mary Shelly. I haven't read Frankenstein in over a decade.  
It even has The Mummy's Curse by Louisa May Alcott. I've not had the pleasure of reading anything of hers other than Little Women so this should be a treat. I hear it is a creepy little tale involving hapless Egyptologists and ancient curses.
I'm currently working on a near future scifi thriller. So I get to do a lot of research on mega structures and neurotechnology. Not to mention wade through the space elevator arguments. There are apparently wildly differing opinions on the feasibility of such a thing.
It is great fun to imagine what might be. And creating the moody atmosphere of Veridian with all its neon and smooth, cold glass is something of a challenge. Its amazing how much I want to juxtaposition lush fabrics and vivid colors to that sterile world. Working on the wardrobe aesthetic of my main gal, Elara. Beauty, brains, and a bad temper.  I think some blood red lips might do. 

Photos by: m-ban, eden acrchives, and art of soulburn.  

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Love Restored + Giveaway!

Today, guest author, Kelly Goshorn is here to talk about her amazing new novel, A love Restored!
To celebrate, she is giving away one of these amazing book charms and an Amazon gift card for your book binging pleasure! We'll choose one random commenter to receive this fun giveaway!

About the book~
She was nothing like the woman he’d envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she’d ever dreamed of—until a promise from his past threatened their future.
With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.
Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earn him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect of other men. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality.
When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?

Purchase on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Barnes & Noble 

Author Chat~
What is the first book that made you cry?
Where the Red Fern Grows. My seventh-grade math teacher read it to us for a few minutes every day after lunch. When Old Dan and Little Ann died I broke down and sobbed.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
The blank page. Ugh. Sometimes it is a real slugfest to fill up that empty page and get the draft written. I much prefer the editing process. Taking those rough words and polishing them until they shine is the part I enjoy the most.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Yes. I wanted to use my maiden name, Kelly Criste. I thought it sounded “writerly.” When I told my husband, the disappointment in his eyes made me think better of the idea. Between you and me, I still think it sounds better than Goshorn.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? Hmmm, that’s tricky. So many things from craft books, to attending conferences and joining critique groups have all played a pivotal role in my growth as a writer. But if I must choose one, then I think the money I spent on entering contests was very beneficial to me. Not only did I get feedback from published authors and industry insiders, but I was blessed to final in four contests. I even managed to win one, The Cott Olympia. When I pitched A Love Restored to agents and editors in 2015, I was able to reference the recognition the story had received. Although I usually mentioned this toward the end of my pitch, one editor told me I should’ve led with that information.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
What a great question! I think I’d have to say a turtle. I think I’m the slowest writer to ever grace the planet earth. But like the turtle, I keep plodding along “slow and steady” until I type “The End.” Team turtle for the win!

About Kelly ~
Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 28 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully, not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.
You can connect with Kelly on:

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Summertime Means Overdrive!

Back to the Grind Coffee House-Riverside, CA

I usually don't write during the daytime from August to June because I am a homeschool mom and my kids take up all day.  But once summer rolls around, all bets are off.

I love summer because it is my most productive time as a writer. We  live in the dessert so going out during the day is not a fun experience anyway. As a result we tend to live like vampires out here in the Inland Empire. Its common to see parks empty until the sun starts to dip below the horizon. It gets over 100 degrees here so we adjust.

So I switch from a night owl to a day worker for three months out of the year. The advantage to this is I tend to have coffee houses to myself as they tend to get busy after people get off of work. I recently discovered one that I really like. It has that old coffee house feel that I so missed from my college days.

My husband I used to go and study at one in Oceanside that was so supportive of local talent that you really felt connected to the community.  Artists, musicians, poets, and yes...even authors were the bulk of the clientele and it was fabulous.

There's a coffee house I visited recently in a nearby city that reminded me of those beloved beginnings. I was running errands at the courthouse and wanted to grab a bite to eat. Problem is that not a lot of places serve vegan fair and so I wasn't hopeful. Still, I found a little place and was pleasantly surprised!

Back to the Grind Coffee House was such a throwback to my old writing days that I just had to share
it. They have a cute loft for open mic nights, a basement where a writing group meets, and tons of original art around. There are vintage typewriters and tons of books...everywhere.  Not to mention a disco ball, which, given the décor, was not out of place at all.

I hope to make it out there to write quite often this summer. The mellow beats, awesome food (its not all plant based), and the creative atmosphere really drew me in.

Where do you find you are most creative? Do you write at the beach? In a tiny hidey hole in your own home? Wherever you can?  I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Feature Friday Futures

Today I am over at Erik Klein's blog for a Feature Friday Futures interview! A technology geek and an author, Erik's questions were so much fun to answer. We explored the interesting treasures research for my steampunk thriller, The Tremblers, unearthed. No pun intended!

Take a peek at the interview where we get into military history and Victorian ingenuity. What was surprising to learn about and what everyday item has a cool twist in my steampunk series, The Blackburn Chronicles.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Dim Zone - How Far Is Too Far?

Today I am featuring a science fiction novel by Chris Turner with a bonus free Booktrack!

The Dim Zone

How far is too far?

Mercenary Yul Vrean is hired by billionaire CEO Mathias of Cybercore to bring back alien samples from a remote planet in the Dim Zone. It’s a region rife with murderous space pirates and slavers, the warlike Zikri and Mentera.

This alien technothriller is full of deadly space battles, extreme action, bio-mechanical fusion, killer aliens, a touch of the bizarre and fantastic… it will certainly intrigue fans of Alien, Predator and The Matrix.

In a race for mechnobot technology, genius Sigmund Hresh has engineered a prototype for what may be the holy grail of AI. The uses of such technology vary from the sinister to the saintly. Yul and his space thugs may be the only link preventing the next galactic war and saving the human colonies from hostile aliens.

The Making of The Dim Zone...

The booktrack audio component was based on many space classics with similar textures to Alien Covenant and Life. I created composite alien effects from mixes of digital samples and animals, using pitch effects and warping. All in all, an eerie backdrop to the alien planet Xeses, and later, the corridors inside the starship Orb of the Zikri hunters.

Enjoy The Dim Zone, the next book in The Timelost series:

Booktrack (free)

Find The Dim Zone on Amazon

Follow the author on Twitter

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Submersibles, Zombie Knights, and Free Reads

Today I am over at Pamela Thibodeaux's Wild Rose blog to talk about the third book in my steampunk thriller series, The Blackburn Chronicles.

Chasm Walkers is the culmination of a series that spans nations, seas, and the sky. Long brewing wars and unexpected betrayals drive Charlotte's story towards an excited finale!

From strange submersible machines to unexplained mechanica controlling the heroin, there are plot twists and harrowing adventures that bring this series to an explosive end. 

I hope you check out Charlottes journey from debutante to dissenter to the most dangerous woman in a war for survival.

The Chasm Walkers will definitely satisfy your fix for thrills.

To celebrate the release of the series, I have three #FreeReads available to download. Have a taste of the strange and chaotic world of The Blackburn Chronicles with these novellas...

Click to Download Free Novellas

Monday, May 21, 2018

Lady Villains Need Love Too

Available Now
Lady villains sometimes get the fuzzy end of the lollipop in terms of motivation. Jealousy over a lost love or anger at being rejected are all fine reasons to go to crazy town, but there are so many other more compelling reasons that are so much more interesting.

Fury at your family's mistreatment for one, is a pretty driving reason and it is one I tried to explore in writing my female characters in the second book of my series. 

In the Wind Reapers, Ajala is an incredibly strong, loving, and therefore shockingly ruthless character. Some might argue that she is the villain of the book, but I disagree. I think that her goals just happen to be diametrically opposed to the protagonists (Charlotte Blackburn's) but that they are not, in their purest form...diabolical or bad.

She is a woman fighting for the survival of her family and extended clan. Those vicious Reapers everyone fears came from somewhere. They weren't born on those massive walking machines that troll the Wasteland. And now, as conditions get worse and her people start dying, she has to act in the only way she knows how.

Ajala is a leader, a mother, a warrior, and a formidable negotiator. She is valiant for her own cause and it is why she was one of the most interesting characters to write...

Now, as I headed to speak with Ajala, the clank and clatter of the Wind Reaper’s legs kept time with the sway of the vast vessel. With the sun going down and hiding our location, we moved using the thermal winds to fill the craft’s massive sails. Most of the debris cleared, the fire scorched deck still showed the scars of our battle. 

Yet as I peered at the patchwork material mounted on the reconstructed masts I couldn’t help but be impressed by the speed with which the people recovered from the sky marauder attack.  Ascending the ladder to the outlook tower, I pushed through the heavy hatch.

Ajala started speaking before I pulled off my gas mask. “Beautiful, this horrible place, is it not?” She leaned, arms crossed, looking out of the cracked windows. The gold discs woven to the ends of her scarf reflected the dimming light. “All angry and red and steaming.”

“It is the stuff of nightmares.” I walked over, leaned on the opposite side. My hand twitched, wanting to scratch at the slice in my neck, but I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction. “But then again…”

“Yes, I know, you aren’t a Reaper.  We find beauty in this wasteland.”

A jagged seam glowed in the dark landscape and then flared with ignited gas that burned a dozen stories high.

Ajala’s eyes narrowed with the flash of brilliant orange and blue fire. “Myself, my people, we all were chambermaids, plantation slaves, and factory workers.”

“Before the quakes.”

She nodded. “Scratching for our piece of freedom before the hand of God smote us all.”

“And so you forged a life out here in damnation.” I let my gaze travel the ink swirls at the corners of her eyes and thought them strangely beautiful. Like the henna designs on the hands of women in India from my books. “Why…why did you leave the Texas-Louisiana Dome?”

“Texiana,” she snorted, a derisive sound that flashed heat into her eyes. “An atrocity for both states. And I did not leave voluntarily, in any case.”

Find out how Ajala's story turns out and what part she plays in the thrilling steampunk series, The Blackburn Chronicles. And don't forget to check out the #FreeReads as well!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Blood Blizzards - Trembler Weather Pt. 4

In book 2 of The Blackburn Chronicles, the Wind Reapers, Charlotte and Sheriff Riley brave the tumultuous Wasteland to secure a cure for the deadly Ashen Croup -- a devastating illness that drowns victims in their own lungs. Caught up in a storm just outside the glowing electric dome that protects the city, they find a way in through the decaying grid...

In the distance, lightning lit up the dark sky illuminating an enormous black cloud. I squinted, adjusted the violet lens of my goggles down over my right eye, and froze. A roiling mass of churning wind and ash, the dark cloud rumbled with flashes of light in its belly. It moved like a massive wave towards us.

Riley motioned and I followed him along a tacky path to an opening just ahead in the dome. The tar never could seem to set into its final hardness where the dome met the street. Lit only by the flickering pulses of the grid’s energy, we stole along the curved base of the protective covering. Behind us, the howling winds raced in from the dark, hot abyss of the wasteland. 

A deep rumble tore across the landscape as the mounting wave of ash and rain built to a colossal storm. It was far off still, but closing in. Already, frigid splatters of the Blood Blizzard flew at us. They hit the cross sections of the grid and hissed as water evaporated and ash burned to shiny hard spots on the ground. The tainted rain left red splashes on my gloves and sleeves and made me appear as if I had survived some terrible, bloody battle.

The strangely violent and unpredictable climate of the Blackburn Chronicles world was so much fun to use as a way to push the characters to the limit.  The Wasteland offered a multitude of dangers to anyone foolhardy or desperate enough to venture into the desolate lands between the domes.

Red ash from the fissure fires mixed with the water of the storm left anyone caught in the torrent dripping wet with crimson. Quite a frightening sight, but an appropriate warning for those thinking they might try the journey.

If you like dystopian thrillers with lots of adventure and strange devices, they check out The Blackburn Chronicles.

For a taste of this fantastic world, try the FREE NOVELLAS here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A World Gone Mad - Super Territories

In my steampunk series, The Blackburn Chronicles, a disaster fractures all of America, sends California into the ocean, and blocks off the north leaving the country in a shambles.
Powerful governors of the remaining states merged under giant electric Tesla Domes to create super territories. As a result, American rose from the quakes as The Peaceful Union, which was anything but peaceful.
Ruthless governors, created a new government. One with no central seat of power to avoid losing the President as they had in the Great Calamity. Each dome is like a separate country unto itself with its own specialty. Giant agri-factories grow what few kinds of vegetation that are left.
Some city-states control the coal factories that fuel the massive steam engines running the domes. Others house cities repaired with metal façades which house the precious remnants of culture, music, and art. The frozen territories of the north keep terrible secrets locked behind icy fortress walls.
All of this was so fun to imagine, but challenging to get across to readers. However, a wonderful artist sent me this map of the Thirteen City-States of the Peaceful Union bringing The Tremblers that much more to life for me.
If you're interested in finding out more, take a look at the free novellas which offer a peek at the dangerous world of The Blackburn Chronicles.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Waves of Fractured Ice - Trembler Weather Pt.3

I recently did an #AuthorAMA (Ask Me Anything) in which people posted some questions for me to answer.  One of the questions was about the strange and unpredictable weather in my steampunk novel series, The Blackburn Chronicles.
In the final book, the Chasm Walkers, the hero and heroine crash land in the northern territory that has been sent into a mini ice age as a result of the calamitous quakes that fracture all of north America.

They are trying to beat an ice storm that is bearing down on them. Slowed by the knee-deep snow and bitter cold, they hear what can only be described as a freight train full of glass crashing underwater.
It is ice stacking and it is barreling towards them at breakneck speed and threatening to cut off their route to the only shelter.
To truly appreciate the noise, watch a video of this amazing phenomenon...

Here is an excerpt from that scene:

Ashton stumbled up ahead and beyond him flashes of gold twinkled in the shifting light. The rumble grew to a roar, shaking the fragmented ground, the sound reverberating up my legs. A shroud of mists lifted revealing a massive wave of ice shards moving along the surface toward us.

Like countless pieces of broken glass, the thin fragments of surface ice shifted over one another, their edges catching the sun as they tumbled on the waves and wind over the ice, the sound like a train rumbling toward us. Ashton skidded to a stop, going down on his heels.

“What is that?” I gasped, flailing to reverse my stride, my boots squealing on the chunk of snow.
“Stacking,” Ashton shouted. “Back…back the other way!”

This was such an exciting scene to write! I had to get up and pace bit to calm down.  This crazy natural occurrence is extremely loud and can move quite fast. 

If you'd like to know more about the steampunk thrillers in my Blackburn Chronicles series or to sample the free novellas that set the whole adventure in motion, you can find them here.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Interview with Author, Christine Lindsay

Today I am so happy to host Author Christine Lindsay to talk about her writing process and what inspired her to write Sofi's Bridge.
Book Blurb:
Seattle Debutant Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them.
But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Neil, the gardener, continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.
About our Featured Author: Irish-born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama.
Christine's books have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award (Twice), the READERS’ CHOICE AWARD, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite and the Selah Award.

Christine, your historical romance Sofi’s Bridge that won the Readers’ Choice Award features an Irish immigrant as the hero. Tell us why?
I was born in Ireland, so I not only love the culture, I know the culture and history inside and out. My hero, an Irishman who is on the run from the English police, is really a doctor but pretends to be a lowly gardener who comes from Belfast, same city I was born in. My hero’s father and
brother were ordinary tradesmen—Riveters—building massive ships in the Belfast shipyard just like my father, my grandfather, and great grandfather. So I loved adding that personal family history into an adventure that actually takes place in beautiful Washington State, also not far from where I live currently.
What is the first book that made you cry?
The Anne Frank Story. I wept bitterly after finishing that tragic story. 
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing energizes me, but the marketing of my books drains the life out of me.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Getting caught up in the details of their writing without getting their story completely down first. Get your story down, make sure you have a good story arc, that your characters are fully developed and learn what they need to learn by the ending, and that your ending has satisfying resolution. Then go back and work on the details.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I always write each of my books to stand on their own. This is true even in my trilogy, or the series I am currently writing, each books stands alone, but the reader can pick up the next book in the series and feel she is with old friends and starting a new adventure. The characters going forward in the series continue to develop as the series progresses.
What does literary success look like to you?
I can’t say I’ve been a commercial success, but my books have received some lovely critical acclaim of which I’m pleased. At least this confirms my writing is nothing to be embarrassed ab out. But the success that means the most is from that individual reader who I meet in person or who writes to me and tells me how much my book or books meant to her. That’s the cream in my coffee.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Tons, good thing I love research. I learned however after writing my first book to not do all my research up front. That really stops you from getting to that blank page. Nowadays I do a little bit of research at the start, and get the main gist of my story down, and research as I go along. Still, because I write historical fiction, I do a lot of research, read loads of non-fiction to get my facts right.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Yep, I try hard to put symbols into my books that not every reader will notice. For example, in my first novel Shadowed in Silk which is set in India, the title and silk saris within the story represent that invisible feeling people have when they are not loved or respected as they should be. This refers to my main character an American woman called Abby who hides who she is by wearing a silk sari. But being shadowed in silk also refers to the whole continent of India and the Indian people who are invisible to the British Colonials who rule them.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
The blank page. It scares me like it does every other writing. That’s when you have to be brave and start plunking words down on the page.