An interview with KC Cowan

Welcome to an indie author, a place where you can find self-published (indie) authors and authors-to-be. We host interviews and conversations threads, providing a place where you can learn from, be inspired by, and make friends with fellow writers going down the ‘indie’ route.

Today’s interview is with KC Cowan.

Some key highlights:
🌏 Portland (OR) and Tucson (AZ), USA
🐾 Wrote a story called The Duck Who Wanted to Read in 1st grade
📖 Writes with a co-author
🖊 Fantasy; 3 young women drive each story
🎨 Enjoys walks, swimming and oil painting

So, let’s dive right in…


Hi there! Firstly, what do you like to be called?

I’ve always gone by my nickname - KC. It’s my initials. And I use my maiden name professionally. So -- KC Cowan

It’s nice to meet you, KC. Where in the world do you currently reside?

I am currently splitting my time between Portland, Oregon and Tucson, Arizona. My husband can’t abide the rain in Oregon anymore (it rains a lot, but worse, you get months of gray skies…) so we winter in Tucson. It’s a University town so there’s lots of culture and we love the sunshine!

Oh, how lovely that you get to flit between the two. I’ve been to Portland - I loved it there. Which subjects were your favourite ones as a child/teenager? Did you enjoy writing back then?

I always enjoyed English class, because writing came easily to me. And teachers always picked me to do “creative” stuff, like write a school play, so I was encouraged to be creative. I also loved choir and drama -- I was in every play and musical all during high school.

When did you first realise that you really enjoyed writing stories?

I wrote so much when I was a child and even into college, but creative writing took a back seat when I became a news reporter. After writing all day for the news, my energy was rather tapped out, so I stopped. It was when I was no longer a reporter and my co-author, Sara, asked me if I still had the “novel” we wrote in college and I dug it out and we began collaborating on fantasy stories that it hit me how much I LOVE living in my head and putting it down on paper.

What was the earliest thing you wrote which felt meaningful, or has otherwise been memorable for you? Can you tell us a little about it?

I remember writing a story called, The Duck who wanted to Read in first grade. It was about a duck who wanted to learn to read, so she went to a bookstore, bought a book and took it home and sat down and read it. Despite the lack of a good story arc, my story was one of a couple chosen from my class to go and read to a 3rd grade classroom. Now, that was a BIG DEAL!

Why did you choose to go down the self-published (‘indie’) route?

I had a small publisher for our first book as well as the sequel, but the company folded and I bought back the rights. After trying to go the traditional route with no luck, I decided to just go Indie and it has worked out pretty well.

That’s interesting, I’m glad it’s worked out well in the end. What was the first book you wrote?

I was hired to write a book about my hometown, Portland, Oregon. It was called, The Riches of a City, which is part of a quote on an 1800’s fountain in the city that reads: Good Citizens are the Riches of a City.  I was terrified at the thought of writing 20,000 words, so I broke it down to 2,000 words each for the ten chapters, and told myself, “Well, that’s just equal to five news stories” and that made it manageable in my mind. I also wrote: 20,000 Brilliant Words on a slip of paper and put it on my computer where I could see it every day.

I like the title a lot. What was the inspiration behind it?

That book came out of the blue - a phone call with a job offer. I think because I was a known TV personality and reporter, they figured people would answer my calls for interviews and they were right!

Can you talk to us about your experience writing this first book? What was your rough process from start-to-finish?

At the time I wrote “Riches” I was working in radio as a morning news anchor. I would get up at 3:00 AM, then do my shift, but I was done at 9 AM. Then I would go home and write, or go do interviews, or make calls to set up interviews. By 2 PM, I was tired so I would just do something easy, like edit. When I had a finished chapter (each chapter had a different topic, like history, education, the arts) I’d send it to my editor and start the next one. 

Do you tend to be more of a ‘planner’ or a ‘pantser’?

Writing with another person puts a whole different spin on it. Sara and I get together and talk about the possible characters in the next book we do. Who are they? What do they want? What are their challenges? Then we figure out what the main story arc will be and how it will end. But since we each still write a complete chapter and send it to each other, we have been known to come up with an idea we didn’t talk about before that might take the book in a different direction! 

Do you have a preference for writing for any particular genres(s), or about any particular topics or themes (however broad or narrow)? 

I like fantasy a lot -- But at the heart of all our books, are the three young women who are driving the story. And I find I like to READ stories with strong capable women, so I guess that’s why I like to write about them, too. 

When/where do you tend to get your best writing done?

I like writing in the morning when I still feel fresh. However, if an idea strikes, I will run to the computer any time of day and dive right in. I LOVE getting lost in my writing and looking up and seeing 3 hours have flown by!

And how do you balance your writing with other life commitments?

I’m semi-retired now so it’s easy. Plus, while I’m waiting for Sara to finish her chapter, I’m under no pressure, and have the time to “day-dream” ideas for what I’ll do when the story comes back to me.

So I’m glad you mention Sara. How did your relationship come about? And when/how did you decide you would write together? I’d love to know more about how this works in practice.

Sara and I met in high school in Portland, Oregon. We were both in choir and involved in theater along with our other friend, Nancy. All three of us went to different colleges, but kept in touch. Sara is the one who started the whole thing by deciding to write her own fantasy novel. She made herself a character: Irene, Princess of Cabbage. She turned Nancy Danner into Nan the Dancer and I became Kay of the Crystal Seas. She is really the reason it began and we still do it as we did originally -- alternating chapters (Nancy dropped out kinda early). 

So, after I write as far as I want on a particular chapter, I send it to Sara and she advances the various storylines she wants to work on. When I get it back, I get inspired by what Sara wrote and it really makes me excited to dive in and move it along. Throughout the book, we meet often to discuss how it’s going, kick around some ideas and figure out problems. 

Once the book is “done” I get the job of editing and moving things around. For example, Sara may have advanced one plot point just a little bit -- a few paragraphs, and in my next chapter, I might also write just a bit. When I edit, I often decide to combine those two bits into one chapter. 

What is your ‘day job’ / how do you support yourself financially alongside your writing?

I still do voice work. I have a client for whom I narrate educational/training videos for, plus I enjoy narrating other authors audiobooks. (check me out on ACX.com!) 

Oh, I’ll have a look on there! And how do you market your books?

I have tried a LOT of different things. I got several TV, Radio, and Print stories about our first book, because I was a former TV reporter and well known. Didn’t seem to boost sales, though. I’ve done some FB ads, joined local writers groups, etc. but I think connecting with other writers on Twitter has been the most helpful. I learn a lot from others that way.

Well that’s very interesting. Do you have any sense of why TV/Radio/Print didn’t seem to work? Did FB Ads work better?

I guess the reason TV and Radio didn’t work is that my “target” audience ( teens, mostly although many older woman like our books) doesn’t read newspapers and watch TV news! I think I did a little better with FB.

In what ways has connecting with other writers been so helpful, marketing-wise?

I get some ideas from other writers about marketing. Other authors are so willing to help others! But also, the writing community on Twitter is always trying to boost other authors and I’ve had a couple of book bloggers reach out to me about our series, which is great!

Have you ever used a publisher? What was your experience like working with them?

I enjoyed working with my small publisher. In fact, I still use her to do my covers!

What one thing has led to most of your book sales thus far?

Book signings at local book stores. We sold 49 of the first book!

Have you ever used a publisher? Which one, and how did the relationship come about?

I just submitted to Ravenswood and she accepted me.

Can you share more with us about this publisher? What sorts of books do they publish? Who are the team behind it? What’s the experience of working with them been like?

She’s now become a vanity press, sadly. 

Oh, that’s a shame. So am I right in saying that, since then, you’ve been publishing by yourself (i.e. without a publisher)?

Yes, I reformatted the books while recovering from ankle surgery (lots of time on the sofa!) and put them back out on Amazon. One thing I did to help market is print postcards for each of the books. One side is the cover, the other is info about the story and how to buy it. I ALWAYS keep them in my purse, so when talking to someone, if books come up, I ask if they like fantasy and if the answer is yes, I give them the cards. Guerrilla Marketing at its best!

What stories do you like to read yourself? Do you have any favourite genres?

I tend to gravitate towards female-centric books, novels or nonfiction. I’m an omnivore!

How about favourite books and authors? (especially self-published authors/indies, but traditional is perfectly fine, too!)

I love Amy Tan, Elizabeth Gilbert, Isabelle Allende, Nicole Mones to name a few. One book I keep recommending to people is Mistress of the Vatican. It’s a true story about a woman who maneuvered her brother in law from parish priest to Pope! And she was the “gatekeeper” everyone had to pay off to see him. She was a scandalous woman and the story reads like a novel. 

Are there any books that you’re currently working on, or planning for the future? (writing-wise)

Sara and I are working on book four, but she’s had some health issues and hasn’t written for a while. So, to keep busy, I’ve been writing the prequel to our first book, Journey to Wizards’ Keep.  

Aside from your writing, how do you like to spend your time?

Love to take walks in the desert when we’re in AZ, and go swimming. I adore antiquing even though I certainly don’t need anything else in our home. And I also am a hobbyist oil painter!

Where can we find you online (website & social media), & where can we purchase your books?

Our books are available on Amazon.com.  You can learn more about our books and read “extras” that didn’t make it into final books at our website: www.irenenankay.com (names for our three heroines!)

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you go?

After a full career working in television, it’s really a joy to find a “second” career with writing. I hope to keep on making new adventures with our heroines for some time!

I’m so pleased you’ve found such a joyful “second” career, and may you continue to keep making adventures - and going on ones of your own! Thanks so much for taking part, this has been really fun.


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An interview with Blair Denholm

An indie author from Brisbane, Australia.

Welcome to an indie author, a place where you can find self-published (indie) authors and authors-to-be. We host interviews and conversations threads, providing a place where you can learn from, be inspired by, and make friends with fellow writers going down the ‘indie’ route.

Today’s interview is with Blair Denholm.

Some key highlights:
🌏 based in Brisbane, Australia
🐾 well-travelled
💼 works as a Russian language translator
📖 has written crime, & also for children
🖊 pantser
📺 enjoys The Office (US), Black Books & Father Ted

So, let’s dive right in…


Hi Blair! Thank you for taking part in this. So, can we kick things off by finding out which part of the world you grew up in?

Hi, Jas. I was born and grew up in the beautiful subtropics of Brisbane, Australia.

It looks like your work has taken you to lots of interesting places. Where have your travels taken you?

I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of travelling over the years. My first trip abroad was a cruise around the Pacific Ocean with a group from university. Not long after that, I went to St Petersburg and Moscow for a month, and then I spent an entire year in Russia studying the language. I made several trips to Russian after that, most recently in 2015. My partner and I try to visit Europe once a year, and the list of countries is too extensive to name them all. Favourites are Holland and Croatia. I’ve also lived and worked in New York and Dubai.

I don’t often don’t delve so much into this next question, but your work really does look fascinating. Can you give us a glimpse into some of the translation and political work you have been involved in? And your current firm looks interesting; what do they do?

I work for an organization with a long name - the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The shorter and easier version is CCAMLR (pronounced “kamel-ar”). The Commission was set up under the UN to look after animal life in the Antarctic. In particular, it regulates fishing and monitors research activities on seabirds, seals and other fauna. I work as a Russian language translator. Most of the documents we translate are scientific papers and reports, correspondence and legalistic texts. To be honest, it sounds much more exciting than it actually is. Fiction writing is my passion.

At what point was it you realised that you enjoyed writing? 

I’ve enjoyed the process of writing since I was very young. But it’s only been in the last ten years or so that I decided to do something about it in a serious way.

That’s interesting, what was it that made you finally take action in a ‘serious way’?

There a couple of reasons. Firstly, I realized writing is what I’m probably best at (apart from snacking and watching TV on the couch). Secondly, I thought perhaps if I put my heart and soul into it there’s a chance I could get some financial rewards for the effort I put it. So far those rewards have been modest, but in 2020 I’m hoping to see a big uptick in that area.

Do you recall the moment when you felt brave enough to call yourself a ‘writer’?

I’d say it was when an actual publisher - albeit a small one - accepted the draft of my noir novel SOLD that I decided “the moment” had arrived. It was that “confirmation” that many writers crave.

Can you recall the first piece of writing you did that is particularly memorable, or otherwise feels significant?

I remember once at primary school we were given a bunch of essay topics in English class. I struggled to choose, but then I noticed one had a typo in it. It was something like “What I like to do in my lunch hour”. I went on a rant about below-par educational standards and what we should do with teachers who can’t spell. I think I got an A!

Before we dive more into your writing, your website bio mentions that ‘He voted in a foreign election despite having no eligibility to do so, was almost lost at sea on a Russian fishing boat, and was detained by military forces in the Middle East. I don’t know where to start here… can you give us some more context with regards to one of these stories? :)

Let’s start in order. Back in the day I happened to be in Russia when there was an election on. Someone close to me, an old babushka, was too frail to make it to the polling station. She gave me her passport and asked me to vote on her behalf. I waved the document at the guy on the door, mumbled a few words in Russian, and he let me inside where I cast the vote according to babushka’s wishes. Quite a nerve-wracking experience!

The second adventure happened when I asked if I could tag along with some fishermen on a Russian fishing boat. It was sailing from Hobart, Tasmania, to New Zealand to have its hull repainted. A day out and a huge storm struck, almost capsizing the vessel which had lost steering capabilities at the peak of the tempest. The only thing stopping the ship from tipping over was the huge amount of sand in the fish-hold that was being transported to NZ to sand-blast the hull. Another couple of degrees of list and she would have sunk, no doubt.

The last episode relates to a job I had in the middle east (I won’t name the country). I was with some colleagues, driving around the desert, when one of our team decided to snap photos of a piece of infrastructure guarded by soldiers. Before we knew what was happening, we were all arrested and detained on an army base. We were held there for more than seven hours, given nothing to eat and the occasional sip of water. Our passports were confiscated and we collected them a week or so later after signing a paper in Arabic and promising not to be naughty like that again. 

Your novel Sold looks fascinating. Before this, though, I understand that you wrote a children’s(?) book called Escape from Passing Winds. I love the title! How did writing this come about?

About fifteen years ago I took a correspondence writing course and ended up with a kids’ book, Trouble Brewin’. Two years ago, I rebranded it as Escape from Passing Winds (a kind of double entendre based on the name of an old folks’ home), stuck a decent cover on it and put it up on Amazon.  It’s sold a few copies, so I’m happy with that.

I love the name of that kids’ book. With regards to Sold, what made you choose the Crime genre?

I’ve always loved detective stories. The first books for grown-ups I read were the Agatha Christie novels. I must have read them all by the time I was fifteen. In my own writing, I like being able to throw up all kinds of clues, put in twists. Crime seemed to offer the best medium for me to do that.

Those
Agatha Christie’s are classics.

What was it like to write your 1st novel? Can you go back in time a little for us and paint a picture of it was like, and how it felt? Did you follow a particular ‘process’?

Writing SOLD was a labour of love. I got the idea and even the title for the book from my partner, a real estate agent. As most writers with day jobs can attest, finding the time to write can be the biggest challenge of all. Therefore, my process was kind of haphazard. I would grab an hour here, two hours there, and shut myself in a room and just write.

I think a lot of writers will be able to relate to those sentiments. So how long did it take to finish your 1st book, from start to finish? 

It took way too long for my liking. Two and a half years or so. The sequel, called Sold to the Devil (out very soon, make sure you get a copy!), took a little less time - two years. But I’ve recently learned how to write faster and I’m planning on smashing out several works in 2020. Writing “The End” is always a joy!

And it looks like you have published with a small, independent publisher -
Clan Destine Press. How did this relationship come about?

Good question. I attended a local book launch here in Hobart and had a chat with the author at the end of the event. He put me onto Clan Destine and they were amazing. Even though it was officially out of their stated submission time-frame, they had a look at my manuscript and liked it enough to take me under their wing.

That’s great. How long did it take them to get back to you, and how did they contact you to give you the good news?

There was some toing and froing via email between us over a few months. At one point I wasn’t sure whether they’d take a chance on me. It was maybe the 10th email where the publisher finally said congratulations, we’ve decided to offer you a deal. It was a hugely exciting moment for me!

Did you consciously choose to publish through a small publisher, rather than look for a traditional publishing house or else self-publish alone?

To be honest, I was lucky enough for the first publisher I approached to accept the work. So I didn’t go looking at the big publishing houses. Self-publishing is something I’ve done and am going to do more of in the near future.

What is it like to have the ‘backing’ of a small, independent publishing house? Are you expected to do your own marketing? What do you feel are the advantages? Are there any disadvantages?

My publisher is very approachable and helpful. That’s a huge advantage. You’re given that extra personal attention. Especially when it comes to editing drafts. And yes, I am expected to do my own marketing. Even the Big 5 demand that of their authors these days. Unless you are Stephen King of JK Rowling.

So, let’s dig into your writing process. Do you keep to a writing schedule? What does this look like, if so?

My writing process is evolving. From totally chaotic to only mildly so. My aim is to allocate a set amount of time each day, but it never works out like that. When it comes to my method, I’m definitely a pantser rather than a plotter. I’ve recently read a fantastic book called Writing into the Dark, all about writing your story with no outline. Exactly how I do it!

That book sounds right up my alley, I’ll have to check that one out.

It appears that some of your interesting, international experiences through your professional work have inspired some of your fiction writing. Could you talk more about this?

Whether consciously or not, there seem to be Russian characters in most of my stories. Goodies and baddies. I’ve also drawn a little on my experience of living in New York for my book of comical sketches featuring NYPD cops Officer Boyd & the Sarge. These two guys were born of a Twitter word-prompt hashtag (#vss365) and have drawn a bunch of fans from around the world. 

How is it you balance your writing with your work and other commitments?

This is very hard to do. Work and other boring stuff gets in the way of lots of valuable writing time. I also like to run and lift weights when I get the chance, which helps keep my mind alert. Kind of.

I think carving out that time is one of the most challenging things for any writer.

Did you always plan a follow-up to
Sold? Please talk to us about the follow-up novel.

The publisher wants three books in this “franchise”. The second one is nearly completed and will be out in the world early next year. It has the same detestable anti-hero Gary Braswell, as well as a bunch of new compelling characters, including a talking Tasmanian devil.

And do you have any others works planned?

I sure do. The first is my new series of indie thrillers, Revolution Day, starring Investigator Viktor Voloshin. It’s based on real events centering around the covered-up murder of an African student in Moscow. There will be three in this series, more if it takes off. Fingers crossed it will. But before that, I hope to have Boyd & the Sarge out before Christmas 2019.

Are you going to continue to publish through Clan Destine Press?

If they will have me, sure. I’ve at least got the third Gary Braswell book to do for them. After that, who knows?

I’m sure it’ll work out well for you, whichever way you go!

Aside from your fiction novels, do you have any other writing to tell us about?

Earlier this year I did a short spell as a feature writer for a start-up magazine, The Gold Coast Chronicle. Some of my short stories have been included in anthologies.

Do you have any favourite books/authors?

My unchanging answer to this is: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and The World According to Garp by John Irving. I’ve got two indie writer friends everyone should check out: Chris Johnson (Dead Cell) and Aza Clave (You Don’t Know Me).

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year (2019), or have you in the past?

Yes. I started late this year (5th November), so getting to the goal may prove difficult. But taking part is the main thing.

What advice do you have for your younger (writer) self?

Don’t be afraid of writing a terrible first draft. Start earlier, like, as a teenager!

That sounds like solid advice!

Outside of your writing, what does your life look like? What do you spend your time doing, and what else is important in your life aside from your writing?

Reading, reading and more reading. I love traveling around the world, meeting new people and enjoying different cultures. I can watch most types of football for hours on TV.  I used to play a lot of golf, but haven’t for years.

Oh, I enjoy my sports too. I also notice that you’re a fan of television … any favourite shows that you’d offer to share?

Indeed. US version of The Office, Get Smart, Father Ted, Black Books. I’m enjoying an amazing Australian political miniseries at the moment called Total Control.

The US Office is one of my all-time favourites, and I love Father Ted. They show it every year in the UK around Christmas-time, and I always try to watch an episode or two.

Where can we find you online (website & social media), & where can we purchase your books?

You can get all my books here: https://www.amazon.com/Blair-Denholm/e/B0719RW45X

I’m getting a website makeover right now, but the domain name will be the same: www.blairdenholm.com
Also Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blairdenholm/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blairdenholm
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/blairdenholm/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16940478.Blair_Denholm ]

Well, this has been great fun. Do you have anything else to share with us before we wrap things up?

Only “watch this space”. I intend to write lots of quality books in 2020, and also interact with more authors from all over the world.

We’ll certainly be doing that! Thanks so much for taking part, Blair, this has been great. :)

It’s been a pleasure!


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An interview with Patricia Correll

Indie interview #9

Welcome to an indie author, where you can find interviews with self-published “indie” authors - a growing community.

These interviews are curated by Jasraj (hi!); you can find him on Twitter @Jasraj0 - he’d love to connect with you!

Whether you’re a writer, reader, or both, I hope you enjoy this week’s interview with Patricia Correll.

- - - - -


Hi Patricia! Thank you for taking part in this. So, can we kick off by finding out which part of the world you grew up in? And, where do you live currently?

I am from the U.S.! I grew up in Kentucky and lived most of my life there, but two years ago my family moved to Western Alabama. We went from the south to the South, with a capital S. 

At what point do you realise that you enjoyed writing? Do you remember ‘a moment’ that this happened, or is it a passion which has evolved over time?

I don’t recall any specific moment. I was always a storyteller, and started writing stories down as soon as I knew how. I was in college before I realized it was a potential career and not just a hobby, though.

Speaking of which, can you recall the first piece of writing you did that is particularly memorable, or otherwise feels significant?

I remember my parents coming in my room and being annoyed because I was supposed to be asleep, but I was sitting at my little kiddie table ‘writing’ instead. I say ‘writing’ because at that point I was 3 or 4 and couldn’t actually spell, though I could write my letters. So my ‘story’ was just a jumble of random letters. But I had a plot and characters and everything in my head!

When do you get your best writing done? Are there any ‘ingredients’ which are conducive to you having a ‘good writing session’?

I write best with some background noise, usually a murder or occult podcast (don’t judge me!). I usually have to get out of my house to write, because if it’s not my family bugging me, it’s the pile of unfolded laundry in my peripheral vision.

Do you have a writing schedule? What does this look like, if so? Do you set planned time aside for your creative writing?

For the moment I’m lucky; I’m a stay-at-home mom with one kid in school full-day and one in preschool half-day. So I get around 2 hours to write in the morning while they’re both occupied. Next year when the younger one is in full-day kindergarten, I plan to find a job outside the house, which will cut into my writing time (but I look forward to interacting with adults again!).

Aside from your stories, do you do any other writing?

Just answers to interview questions and the occasional blog post or short article, when I’m invited!

Did you start writing novellas before novels? Please tell us about the first novella you wrote - how the idea came about, and what writing it was like.

I originally began with short stories, then novels. It’s only recently (in the past three years) that I started writing novellas. My first novella was “The Corpse-Eater”, which is based on a Japanese folktale. I just twisted it a bit; instead of a male samurai, I have a teen girl samurai and I set it during the Meiji Restoration, a time period I find fascinating.

When did you start writing your novel The Unseen World? How long did it take to write it, from start to finish? Please describe the process for us.

I am a slow writer. It took me around four years to complete it, from draft to editing (and more editing, and more editing) to shopping it around, to more editing, and finally choosing to self-publish.

Please share with us the names of the stories you have written, and whether they are short stories, novellas or novel :)

Currently available on Amazon are my Lovecraftian short story, “Beneath Black Ridge”, my novellas “The Corpse-Eater” and “Peony Lanterns”, my novel The Unseen World and a novella collection, Late Summer, Early Spring. You can also find a couple of my shorts online for free, “Inheritance” (on the Lovecraft Ezine site) and “Faithful” on the Luna Station Quarterly site. I’ve published so many shorts over the years, I couldn’t begin to list all the titles!

How have you balanced your career/day-job/other life commitments with your writing?

I’m sure most writers can tell you it’s not easy. I had to give up the idea that writing requires at least two hours of total solitude and silence so the muse can flow or whatever. These days I write during my kids’ swim lessons!

How have you found the Amazon publishing process? Was there anyone/any resource(s) that helped you with the self-publishing process, or was it more a case of figuring it out as you go?

Hugh Howey’s blog (author of The Martian) was a huge help. He laid out a lot of useful information, like formatting, marketing, etc. His posts on cover design were the best. A lot of it was learning as I went. Mistakes were made, but I finally feel like I have a pretty good handle on it.

How do you do your marketing? Which social media do you use; which do you enjoy most, and which has been the most effective for your book promotion?

I’m still working on learning the marketing aspect. I’m naturally shy and don’t like being noticed, so I really have to push myself to attend events, talk up my new releases, etc. I have an author page on Facebook (I’m old), one on Goodreads and a Twitter account. My sales actually went up after I started engaging people on Twitter; there’s a large community of authors who all support each other. 

Are there any specific tips you would share for writers who are hoping to get better at the whole ‘marketing thing’?

Engage with people, befriend other writers! Look for writing groups and events in your area. I fell in with some local authors who have lots of connections and it’s been fantastic. Don’t be afraid to approach local bookstores, newspapers, book bloggers or reviewers. The worst they can do is say ‘no’.

What advice do you have for your younger (writer) self?

Quite a lot of writing is not actually writing at all. You’ll never use that anthropology course, go take a marketing and business class instead!

Outside of your writing, what does your life look like? What do you spend your time doing, and what else is important in your life aside from your writing?

I have a husband, two kids and a cat, and as the stay-at-home parent I’m 99% responsible for cooking, cleaning, appointment-making, event-planning, school runs, extracurriculars, etc. When I’m not running around, I read, watch TV (it takes me four days on average to watch an entire movie; thank you, Netflix), run a family-friendly board-gaming group, and make silly little keychains and bookmarks out of Perler beads. 

Are there any other authors/stories (especially indies!) you enjoy who you’d like to give a shout-out to?

I’ve made a real effort to read more indie and small press books this year, and I’ve come across a couple gems. I really enjoyed Drew Melbourne’s Percival Gynt and the Conspiracy of Days. It’s a seamless blend of SF and fantasy, and is alternately funny and dark. I’ve also enjoyed books by E.H. Night, R.J. Sorrento, and Jerry Gerold. My big name discovery this year was Robert McCammon. I’m obsessed with him right now.

Where can we find you online (website & social media), & where can we purchase your books?

I’m on Twitter at @Author_PCorrell

My Goodreads page is https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6727899.Patricia_Correll

And you can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorpatriciacorrell/

You can look me up easily on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Correll/e/B07BCQQ3KB?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1571166851&sr=8-1

Late Summer, Early Spring is also available on the DSPP store: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/late-summer-early-spring-by-patricia-correll-144-b

Thanks so much for taking part, Patricia, it’s been great to interview you :)


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An interview with Victoria Jayne

Indie interview #8

Welcome to an indie author, where you can find interviews with self-published “indie” authors - a growing community.

These interviews are curated by Jasraj (hi!); you can find him on Twitter @Jasraj0 - he’d love to connect with you!

Whether you’re a writer, reader, or both, I hope you enjoy this week’s interview with Victoria Jayne.

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Hi Victoria! Where did you grow up, and what were your childhood years like?

Hello, I grew up on the Jersey Shore, and no. it’s not like the show. Well, I mean kinda. So, yes, those people do exist on the shore in the summer, but the people from the shore, no. They do not act like that. I spent my youth normally, I mean nothing super remarkable happened. Pretty standard. I have parents, two brothers. Grew up with a dog. Nothing of note really happening.

Oh, cool. I’ve been to the US a few times, but you’re the first person I’ve ever ‘met’ from Jersey Shore...  What has it been like to grow up and live in New Jersey?

I’ve really only lived in New Jersey, so I really can’t compare it to anywhere else. I can say that New Jersey, though small, is sort of divided. The northern part of New Jersey, the shore, and the rest of New Jersey (affectionately referred to as “southern Jersey) have completely different cultures. I grew up on the shore where going to the boardwalk for no reason, sitting on the beach talking about the latest highschool drama, sitting at the dinner all night talking, and midnight swims in the ocean were how you spent your summer. Even in the winter, with the boardwalk closed, we would bundle up and just walk up and down the wooden planks. I went to college in northern Jersey and was introduced to the culture shock of not having the ocean in your backyard. When I met my husband, I went to south Jersey and really learned about how rural New Jersey can be. It’s an amazing place that gets a bad rap. Yes, our taxes are astronomical, but there is no other place like it in the world. Plus, we gave the world Porkroll, and if you don’t know what that is, I suggest taking a trip to find out about the salty goodness.

Above: GoogleMaps shows us where New Jersey is on a map of the USA.

Your website bio says you started writing in your teens. What made you get started writing creatively?

I LOVED reading. I enjoyed getting lost in worlds about ghosts and love. RL Stine lit up my life, I had so many of his Fear Street series. I also like Lurlene McDaniel. I remember that a substitute teacher asked us to write a story (to keep us quiet for the period), and it just took off from there. 

I loved RL Stine’s Goosebumps series! I devoured those books as a kid. When it comes to your writing, what was the first piece of creative writing you can recall, that you were proud of?

I wrote a short story in English about skipping school with my friends. Sort of my take on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Unfortunately, mine ended with one of my friends getting shot. I really thought it was cool, and was proud that I was able to take a story from beginning to end, even if it was short.

That short story sounds cool. Interestingly, I started writing a Toy Story 3 movie when I was a kid, at the time when only Toy Story 1 and Toy Story 2 had been made.

I’ve actually never watched
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but I know that it’s become somewhat of a cult classic. So, I’ve noticed you’re into the Romance genre. How was it you got started on reading Romance, and what were some of the first Romance books you read?

The first romance I read was Lurlene McDaniel’s Don't Die My Love. I cried. Ugly cried. I was thirteen. What did I know of love? I don’t remember reading much romance after that. I remember reading Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae, but I wouldn’t call that Romance. I read Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. That might be a bit closer. Then I read the Sleepy Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice, and that, that got my motor running. But I didn’t consume romance then the way I do now. I roleplay in Second Life a lot, and someone made a recommendation for Suzanne Wright’s Phoenix Pack series. I was hooked. Then I read Fifty Shades of Grey, and was underwhelmed and read Cherise Sinclair’s Masters of the Shadowlands. They took my breath away. When I had worked my way through those, and all the Paranormal Romances I could find. I decided to try my hand at a Paranormal Romance, and started writing.

This is all really interesting. I also didn’t realise that Second Life was still a thing. For those readers who may not know what ‘paranormal romance’ is, could you tell us about that genre?

Paranormal Romance is a subgenre, or category of Romance. So, on top of there being an epic love story, there are also paranormal elements. Some popular Paranormal Romances are The Twilight Saga, or True Blood. They feature paranormal creatures (vampires, werewolves, faeries, etc).

Talk to us about your The Prophecy series of books. How long were you thinking about them, before you got started?

I probably should tell you about how I lamented about my first series for years. I should speak about how I slaved over it night after night, and it took half my life to make it. I won’t. Because, that’s not how it happened. I’d written one and a half paranormal romance manuscripts a few years before that, but didn’t get any traction. I’d been enamoured with the idea of being published, and read everything I could find. I had tried to be published in my late teens and failed with short stories. I had another 2 manuscripts I wrote when I was still in high school, but my writing was not at the level it needed to be. I also never did more than a first draft (ackkk, oooohh, hiss. I know. I was young, dumb and didn’t know better). So in November of 2017, I participated in my first NaNoWriMo. I wrote the first draft of The Witch of the Prophecy in 30 days. This one just felt different, and I committed to it. So, I did several revisions of my own. Then I figured at draft 3 or 4, I could shop it around. I got one request for a partial which was later denied due to the substantial edits needed.

Source: CreativeLive


So, I found an editor on Twitter, who was recommended and she got me in a good spot. I reapproached the original publisher who had expressed interest and she graciously accepted to give it another look. I sent it to other publishers. And I got 2 contract offers. Meanwhile, I had written half of The Wolf of the Prophecy. When The Witch of the Prophecy was published in December 2018, I was riding high. I finished the Wolf of the Prophecy a few months later. It was released in July 2019. The first draft of the Vampire of the Prophecy is done, I am working on edits. I have also started writing another series for which I am almost done with the first draft of the second book.

I didn’t start writing (again) until well into my twenties, so your teen self was way ahead of me knowledge-wise with this stuff! You mentioned a 3rd / 4th draft… how many drafts do you tend to do for your novels? Approximately how much time do you spend working on them?

The 8th draft of The Witch of the Prophecy and The Wolf of the Prophecy are the published versions. The Witch of the Prophecy took me less than a year from conception to publication. The same for The Wolf of the Prophecy. The third, and final, book in the trilogy is written, The Vampire of the Prophecy, but I am halfway through the first set of revisions.

Your Prophecy books look fascinating. Can you share with us what are they about?

Ultimately, the Prophecy Trilogy is about a prophecy and how it impacts three individuals. The prophecy has to do with who will rule over vampires when the vampire emperor dies. It outlines how the next ruler will be picked, and what will happen if the wrong vampire is chosen. The first book introduces us to the prophecy, and the linchpin of the prophecy: the witch. She gives the future emperor of the vampires his heartbeat back by being his true love. However, she is not meant for him. She is the mate of a wolf shifter. It is the vampire who lets her be with the wolf that is said to be fit to rule the vampires. However, if the vampire whose heartbeat is returned by the witch and he keeps her, supernatural kind will be outed to humans and the consequences are dire. The three books offer us insight as to who is the witch, the wolf, and the vampire of the prophecy and how we find out who they are.

Wow, really cool. What was it that inspired these books? Would you say you’re more of a ‘planner’ or a ‘pantser’, to use NaNoWriMo lingo…?

All of the books I’ve read, and some of the television shows I watched inspired me. There are pieces that could be considered “oh, that reminds me of True Blood,” or “That sounds like something I read in the Phoenix Pack series.” And it’s probably true, because they greatly influenced me.

For The Witch of the Prophecy I completely pants’ed it. Since then, all the books I’ve written have been planned. I don’t really do an outline so much as I list plot points I’d like to hit, and then cross them off as I go. 

Tell us about how you found writing the 1st book, The Witch of the Prophecy?

It was exciting. I had no outline. I just had these characters in my head, so I went on the same journey my readers did. The only difference was, I had a deadline. 

What was the self-publishing process like?

Expensive. That is really the biggest thing for me, because The Witch of the Prophecy was originally picked up by a publisher, and after 6 weeks of being published, she dropped it and gave me my rights back. What I didn’t like about being with a publisher, is that I had no idea what my sales were. I had no way of measuring if anything I did helped or hindered sales. When I self-published, I got that. I know when I sell and what I don’t. That helps with knowing what advertisements work and which don’t.

Having originally gone down the ‘traditional’ publishing route, what made you then turn to self-publishing?

Being dropped made me go the self-publishing route because I really felt that my being dropped had nothing to do with my writing or the quality of my story. It had to do with my inability to market. So, I didn’t want to take my book out of circulation. Plus, I had already finished book 2, and plotted out book 3. I felt I owed it to the readers who wanted to continue the journey.

And you describe the self-publishing process as being expensive; where was it you were allocating your resources, money-wise?

I wanted to keep everything the same. I wanted the same cover. I wanted the same editors. I wanted to do the same exact thing. I went to the same cover artist, who is an absolute sweetheart. I went to the same editing company, and they were pricey. The only thing I couldn’t do the same was the proofreader. That is where I skimped. So, I probably didn’t allocate my resources well at all, and am suffering for that now. 

How did writing your 2nd book, The Wolf of the Prophecy, compare to your experience with writing the 1st book?

The Wolf of the Prophecy I did differently. I had an outline and I knew where I wanted to go. I knew the overall journey we were going on. It also took longer because I was wrapped up in publishing The Witch of the Prophecy.

Are there any lessons you’ve learned from the writing or publishing process so far?

The Writing Community on Twitter is amazing. They will be your champions when you think you’ve lost control. They are an excellent resource for not just moral support but any other support you need. If you need an editor, they will have suggestions, if you are looking for marketing advice, they can steer you in the right direction. They cheer you up when you are down, and they celebrate your victories. If you aren’t a part of it, they will welcome you with open arms. 

I hear you, completely. Twitter is such an awesome platform for writers, I feel, and that’s a lot to do with the fact that there’s such a strong community of writers on there… and especially around this time of year, the season of #NaNoWriMo. What other books do you have planned?

After devouring Joanna Wylde’s, Madeline Sheehan’s, and Kim Jones’s motorcycle club romances, you bet your sweet bippy I am trying that out. I can’t help that I am a sucker for alpha males. I have written the first draft of the first of a new series, and am on the cusp of finishing the second book. 

How exciting! Best of luck with those. Now, away from writing, do you enjoy any blogs or podcasts? (writing-related or otherwise)

I’m not big on blogs because I really don't have a lot of time to sit down and read. I listen though, so podcasts are my jam (when I’m not listening to a book). So, the podcasts I love are:

A Way with Words, Grammar Girl, Novel Marketing Podcast, Pub Crawl, SPA Girls, and The Manuscript Academy.

Thank you! And I also hear you enjoy a Netflix binge… anything you’ve been enjoying recently?!

We are super late to the party, I know, but my husband and I just finished binging on Schitt’s Creek, and started Shameless. We are 4 seasons into Shameless. On my own, I’m watching The Society (I used to work with one of the actor’s mother which is cool), Working Moms, and I’m re-watching Spartacus (Blood and Sand)

Oh, I was also pretty late to the Netflix (and Amazon Prime) party but I love them both - there’s so much to choose from!

So we’re getting to the end of our interview now. Writing aside, do you have any other outlet for your creativity or self-expression?

Yes. I am an active roleplayer in Second Life.

What advice do you have for your younger (writer) self?

Don’t be afraid to edit. It’s not scary. Don’t be afraid of editors, they will help you, not mock you.

That sounds like great advice. With regards to editors, you mentioned you found one on Twitter previously who had been recommended to you. Do you have any advice for writers who want to find an editor who provides a high-quality service and is a good match for them?

Twitter is a great resource for writers. I know it sounds weird, but the #writingcommunity wants nothing more than to build you up. When looking for an editor, talk to them. See what they like, see what they’ve done, who they have worked with. If you see someone who tackles mostly Sci-Fi or Young Adult, they might not be the right choice for your Romance novel. Don’t rush anything. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Where can we find you online, & where can we purchase your books?

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | GoodReads | Bookbub

My books are on Amazon:
The Witch of the Prophecy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MMFMJJD
The Wolf of the Prophecy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RN18TBF

Awesome, thanks so much, Victoria. This was really fun, it was great to interview you.

by,

Jasraj

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An interview with Noelle Brighton

Indie interview #7

Welcome to an indie author, where I publish interviews with self-published “indie” authors.

Find out more about the whyover here.

You can connect with the interviewer (me!), Jas Hothi, on Twitter.

Whether you’re a writer, avid reader, or both, I hope you enjoy this week’s interview with Noelle Brighton.


Hey Noelle! Where did you grow up, and what were your childhood years like?

Hi Jas! I grew up in the great state of Montana. My childhood was spent reading, writing, and creating “pretend” games with my friends. You know those games…”Pretend we are…” :)

You talk fondly about the act of writing on your website. What was it that got you into writing in the first place?

I started reading when I was five and discovered how wonderful it is to live in so many worlds! I wanted to create worlds of my own, so I started getting those worlds down in notebooks as soon as I could write, starting with the “pretend” games and progressing from there. The stories in my head can be very demanding and won’t be ignored until they are written! 

What was the first piece of creative writing you can recall, that you were proud of?

I was seven years old, created a story about an imaginary world in the woods where I lived. It was my first piece of writing in cursive! :) I still have it - yes, I am that kind of nerd, ha!

Ah, that sounds awesome! When was it that you decided you wanted to write a book?

I participated in Nanowrimo for the first time in 2010 and that hooked me on writing books. Up until then, it was short stories, creative nonfiction, essays, and poetry.

So, you have written a novel called The Raven’s Wrath. What’s it all about?

The Raven’s Wrath is the book I wrote during Nanowrimo 2010. Yes, It took me that long to get back to it and start editing! It’s a NA story about a young woman named Samantha, from Wyoming, who has an opportunity to study overseas. She arrives and struggles a bit with the culture shock, but meets another young woman that she almost instantly bonds with. Her friend disappears one night and Sam finds herself in the middle of a mystery as she sets about finding her friend. I don’t want to ruin the story for readers, but let’s just say that a group of very frightening people with a Satanic background is involved with her friend’s disappearance. These people are definitely not nice! 

Thank you for sharing that. How did the idea for the book come about?

I had an idea for the story and had been kicking it around right before Nano and it started a life of its own after I started writing.

Talk to us about the writing process?

The writing process - such a broad subject! It’s very diverse; I believe everyone has their own process and no matter how many books or articles you read to learn more about it, you simply must find your own way. I think the fundamentals are crucial, though. Getting that first draft down is all-important - even if it’s complete garbage, you have to get it down. That’s when the real work begins! :) Editing, editing, editing. Get other eyes on it and edit some more. Get feedback and edit some more! I still look at my first novel and think of how I can change it, make it better. I also learned a great deal from that first novel that I am putting to use in my current work-in-progress.

And what made you choose self-publishing? How did you find this process?

I have researched both independent publishing (self-publishing) and traditional publishing for years, even wrote a paper on the pros and cons of each in college. I decided I wanted to write and share my stories and have complete control of them, from beginning to end, the entire process. It’s challenging because I think there’s a stigma regarding self-publishing; that it’s not a legitimate form of publication. I think the evolution of publication has legitimized this, however, and I like that my projects are mine and mine alone.

Are there any lessons you’ve learned from the writing or self-publishing process so far?

Yes, quite a few! The most important one is the importance of self-marketing! For introverts, that is SO difficult. I still fumble a bit when someone asks me what my books are about; I sort of hem-haw about, trying to figure out what to say! :) Marketing is crucial, though, and starting early is very important. I’m learning that is okay to talk about your work, both in-person and on social media. 

How have you been marketing yourself & your book, thus far?

Honestly, my first novel has been more of a learning tool for me, learning the ins and outs of self-publishing, what marketing is and how to do it, so up until now I have presented it on social media and am keeping extensive notes about how best to move forward with my new book, which I plan on publishing in 2020. 

Do you enjoy any blogs or podcasts? (writing-related or not)

There are several blogs I follow that I enjoy! The Creative Penn is a great one. Joanna is a wealth of knowledge and is wonderful about sharing what she has learned. I also enjoy following the blogs of several incredible writers on Twitter - Ryen Lesli, WB Welch, DK Marie, Rowena Tisdale, and yours, Jas! I especially enjoy the INF blog!

Are you enjoying anything on TV/Netflix (etc) right now?

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I do enjoy binge-watching from time to time. Lately, I have been watching Hannibal and Downton Abbey. I am pretty eclectic in my viewing, listening, and reading pursuits. :)

Fiction and blogging aside, do you do any other form of writing, or have another creative outlet?

I still enjoy essay-writing and submit essays and creative nonfiction to online publications. I also spend a lot of time on my sportbike. Riding is a big part of my writing - for some reason, my motorcycle is both an adrenaline rush and a form of therapy.

What advice do you have for your younger (writer) self?

Don’t be so afraid to write your stories! Don’t let yourself be overcome with doubt and fear that you won’t be good enough or that your work will suck. You’re good enough and your work doesn’t suck!

Where can we find you online, & where can we purchase your books?

You can find me at noellebrighton.com as well as several social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest. You can also find me on Amazon, where my books will be sold. I’m planning on expanding that soon, though, as Draft2Digital has caught my eye, so you will also find me there in the near future!

Who do you think would enjoy your books?

I think anyone who likes mystery and character-driven stories will enjoy my books. The Raven’s Wrath is a mystery suited for young and old, but my current work in progress is definitely for mature readers. I plan on sharing more about this work in the near future!

Do you have any other books planned?

I do! My current work in progress is a series of four books centered around a very difficult premise. This is the first time I am sharing any info about it! The storyline is pretty heavy - human trafficking, the definition of family and family dynamics, and the struggle to know oneself, to begin again.

And finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I want to thank you for asking to interview me, Jas! This is the first time I have done this and you have been so kind! 

Thank you, this has been great, Noelle, and it’s been a real pleasure :)


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