An interview with C.D. Tavenor

Indie interview #5

Hey CD! So, where did you grow up, and what were your childhood and teenage years like?

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where I still live today with my wife, Kim, and our wonderfully adorable cat, Ophelia. Childhood was spent playing sports: baseball, football, basketball, soccer before middle school; cross country and track in high school. But through it all, I was endlessly fascinated by science fiction and fantasy, whether through books, movies, or video games. To illustrate how much it impacted my view on storytelling, I can still remember the day in high school when my brother and I booted up Mass Effect for the first time, and I fell into its world. The best way to describe Mass Effect is that it’s like if you mashed Star Trek and Star Wars into one universe, and it’s glorious.

Can you remember when you first discovered you enjoyed writing?

I can’t remember the exact age--I want to say nine or ten--but on a car trip, I borrowed my dad’s laptop and started writing a scifi novel. It was terrible--quite derivative of Star Wars, Star Trek, and other archetypical franchises, but I’ve not ever stopped writing since that day.

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

I wrote an 80,000 word Pokemon fanfiction a long time ago. People might laugh at fanfiction, but recently, I went back and looked at it, expecting it to cringe. Instead, I found a document which essentially illustrates my growth as a writer. From its beginning to the last page, the story demonstrates serious growth in my ability to tell a story. 

This sounds awesome! Are you able to share some information around the story & the Pokemon characters involved?

I started with essentially a “self-insertion” fan-fic where a character loosely based on myself ran through the Hoenn Pokemon gyms with a Bagon, but by the end, I’d created a narrative with complex political narratives, reflections on violence, and interpersonal relationships spanning multiple character arcs. 

When was it that you decided you wanted to write a book?

I first seriously started writing a novel when I was seventeen or eighteen, and that path eventually led me to First of Their Kind

Tell us about your first (short?) story, Legion of Mono? Did you intentionally write and publish a short story, before a novel?

Yes; this was intentional from a marketing perspective. I released Legion of Mono on Amazon as a permanently free story to act as a Book Magnet. Readers can read Legion of Mono for free, and if they enjoy my writing style, then the hope is they’ll go ahead and grab First of Their Kind!

Oh great, that makes sense. We’ll be getting onto the subject of book-marketing a little later on but, seeing as you’ve briefly talked about it already, is there anything you’ve read / anyone you’ve followed or taken inspiration from re: your marketing efforts?

No one particular author, but I highly recommend every indie author seek out the 20Booksto50k Facebook group. It provides plenty of awesome marketing advice in a safe space for indie authors. 

And now for your 1st novel & the first book in your Chronicles of Theren series, First of Their Kind… the story sounds intriguing, tell us about it?

At its core, First of Their Kind, Their Greatest Game, and the overarching series, the Chronicles of Theren, explore personhood. The first two books follow Theren’s story through their eyes as the first synthetic intelligence, exploring, through narrative, what it’s like for Theren to be the, well, first of their kind. The narrative explores their perspective in interacting with humanity, and as the series expands in scope, I’ll be exploring additional perspectives readers probably won’t predict. 

Both First of Their Kind and Their Greatest Game offer something for everyone. They’re AI technothrillers at their core, but there’s also a bit of space opera in their veins, some cyberpunk, and even--depending on your point of view--romance.

They both sound intriguing, thanks for helping capture their essence. Did you read science fiction growing up? If so, what sort of authors & titles?

Absolutely! I grew up reading Herbert’s Dune series, plenty of Michael Crichton novels, and while they’re not technically SciFi (I classify them as science fantasy), I devoured almost every Star Wars novel. 

Oh cool! So, what is it about science fiction that particularly appeals to you?

Science fiction gives writers and readers the opportunity to explore novel questions regarding the future and the present through narratives most likely impossible . . . but end up reflecting a theme which has real consequences in our world. Especially when exploring the intersection of technology and humanity, science fiction cannot predict when it’s actually being prescient about our actual future.

Wow, I’ve never heard science-fiction articulated in that way before but I feel like you’ve summed it up perfectly. Talk to us about the planning & writing process(es) for your 1st novel?

Oh boy. 

I started First of Their Kind during my final year of undergraduate. I finished a second draft during my first year of law school and sent it to an editor . . . and it was torn to shreds. Good thing, too, because it deserved it! I started from the beginning. The only words that survive from that first attempt are in the epilogue of Their Greatest Game. Everything else was written from scratch. The final novel (which I split into two parts to form both novels) went through six or seven final drafts before I hit the greenlight on publishing it.

Gosh, that editor’s feedback must have been a humbling experience. Did any part of you ‘reject’ the feedback you received? What was it made you trust this particular editor & take their feedback on board?

Honestly, the moment I received the feedback, I recognized how correct they were because they articulated their reasoning so effectively. A good editor doesn’t just point out mistakes; they help you understand why what you’ve written could be formulated in a much more coherent and entertaining form. In my case, the entire book needed restarted, and she proved to me exactly why through her edits.

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

I chose the independent publishing process for the Chronicles of Theren because its narrative and point-of-view naturally lend toward story-telling that doesn’t usually fit with traditional publishing. In addition, I wanted complete control over the story and marketing for this series. I fully intend to pursue both traditional and independent publishing for my works; it’ll be a case-by-case basis for each story. 

Tell us about your 2nd book, and part 2 of The Chronicles of Theren series, Their Greatest Game. Was there any difference in the experience of writing them?

First of Their Kind is incredibly focused in the scale of its tale; it focuses on the earliest years of Theren’s life and humanity’s initial reaction to their creation. Their Greatest Game expands the scope considerably and explores more deeply the relationship between Theren and the second SI they created, Jill. I’m playing with a lot of fun narrative and metaphorical devices in Their Greatest Game, and I’m excited for readers to notice them.

I wrote Their Greatest Game and First of Their Kind simultaneously; that is, they were originally one book! So there really isn’t a difference in how I approached writing them.

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

Do not underestimate the amount of lead time you need before launching a book. I would recommend having your book ready to publish at least a month prior to the actual release date. This gives you plenty of time to have a pre-order window and do initial marketing (and contact Advance Reviewers). More importantly, it gives you time to ensure there aren’t any glaring mistakes with the book files!

That sounds like sensible advice! Do you have a particular launch process / ideal time-frame that you follow?

My future releases will include at least three months of lead time. That is, I plan on having the book up for pre-order 90 days in advance with its book cover, and the entire book will be finished prior to the beginning of that 90 day window. Then, during those 90 days, I can send out ARCs, do some pre-marketing, and build up a pretty decent pre-order tally.

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

I’ve been using a combination of StoryOrigin promotions, email lists (like FreeBooksy, BargainBooksy, BookBarbarian, and The Fussy Librarian), and I’m slowly starting to lock-in a few successful Amazon ads. 

What sort of reader do you think would enjoy reading your work?

Anyone who loves books like Neuromancer, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, or The Expanse series of novels will enjoy the Chronicles of Theren.

Do you enjoy any blogs or podcasts? (writing-related or otherwise!)

Yes! Though I’m a bit biased, check out the Tipsy Nerds Book Club. I had the opportunity to join them for the episode on Neuromancer, and if you want fun conversation about the greatest science fiction novels, listen to their wonderful banter! 

Alternate link:

20. Are you enjoying anything on Netflix/Amazon Prime (etc) right now?

Almost done with season 3 or Stranger Things! I’m looking forward to Netflix’s upcoming series based on the Witcher and Avatar: The Last Airbender, as well as Amazon’s Wheel of Time and Middle Earth inspired tales. I’m also excited for Disney +, where we’ll get plenty of great Star Wars tv series!

Trailer:

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

I design board games! Well, attempting to design board games. I’ve made a prototype of one board game, but the financial investment necessary to create a fully-functioning game means that’s a project for further down the line.

Wow, this sounds so cool! Can you share are info about the board-game / how it works?

Imagine if you combined Risk Legacy, Civilization, and Dungeons and Dragons into one game. That’s my board game.

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

Lead with character, rather than concept. 

Tell us about The Two Doctors Media Collaborative… How did it start, and what do you do?

I founded Two Doctors Media Collaborative with a good friend of mine, Brian Timm, and we receive a whole lot of support from my wife, Kim Tavenor. The name “Two Doctors” comes from my Juris Doctorate (I’m an attorney), and Brian’s about to receive his PhD! 

We have two goals in the long-term. Publish books (both my books and the books of others), and publish board games (designed the two of us together!). In addition, I use Two Doctors Media Collaborative as the name under which i freelance edit. 

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

Learn all about everything I do at https://www.twodoctorsmedia.com or find my books specifically on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/C-D-Tavenor/e/B07MZJM7CC/. Or, follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tavenorcd and stay in touch through our Two Doctors Media mailing list: https://mailchi.mp/a6b48c582759/welcome-to-two-doctors-media-collaborative

25. Is there anything else that you’re working on currently, or have planned for the future?

Too many projects. Legacy of Light releases December 3 (you can receive a pre-release copy through NetGalley); I’m on the second draft of a secret climate fantasy novel; and I’m in the process of outlining Books 3 and 4 in the Chronicles of Theren. And those are just the projects I’m actively working on!

I’ve got concepts that will keep me writing for years to come. 

26. How very exciting! I can’t wait to see the future stories that you realise out into the world. Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Two Doctors Media Collaborative publishes the novels of Tyler Hanson: his series The Faction. I’m really proud to be working with Tyler as his editor and publisher; his writing style is incredibly original and he’s telling an ambitious story unlike anything I’ve ever read. Seriously, dive into his stories Personnel, Alligator Season, and Conscription!



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An interview with Marvin Koyo

Indie interview #4

This week's interview is with Marvin Koyo. Marvin originally hails from Cote d’Ivoire, now resides in Texas, and he’s written some really interesting stuff.

Over to Marvin and this week's interview :)


Hey Marvin! Thanks so much for taking part in this interview. So to kick things off… where did you grow up, and what were your childhood years like?

I grew up in Abidjan, the economic capital of Cote d’Ivoire. During my childhood years, I played sports, games and read some books. 

Looking at your blog, it looks like you’ve done all sorts of writing! Before we go into that, though, what’s the earliest piece of writing you did, that you can recall? Please tell us about it :)

What I can recall as earliest, was a philosophical thought I wrote on my personal facebook when I was eighteen years old. My post focused on individual freedom in a prideful society. During that period, most of my writings were in French. 

So you’ve written short stories, novels & poetry it looks like. How has your writing journey evolved? What did you initially start writing?

I started writing poetry at a very young age. I grew up playing soccer and tennis, but most of the time, I was reading and writing stories from a story.

When did you first start writing your poetry, and what inspired this?

I was five years old when I wrote my first poetry. It was for Mother’s Day. I truly enjoyed writing it and I kept working on poems while growing up.

How about your short stories?

My short story journey started when I was in eighth grade. During biology class, I was constantly writing in the back of my notebook some tales about animals in my area.

Tell us about Bantu Art & Culture, and My Fair Share For Christmas… they both sound really interesting in their own right.

Bantu Art and Culture is my first book where I talk about one of the biggest families of Africa including a huge diversity of cultures and languages throughout the African continent. 

Within the series of Edged Up, My Fair Share for Christmas begins with the Christmas holiday of Eddie and Felicia Bracho going back to New York. Eddie went to fix his shares in the family business while Felicia found herself in the middle of an argument between her little sisters.

Which did you write first? How did the idea come about?

The first book I wrote is Bantu Art and Culture. What inspired me to work on that was finding out my origins. 

How long did it take to finish your novel/novella, from start to finish? Please describe the process for us.

It took me two months to finish My Fair Share for Christmas. Yet, the New York Sour (my recent publication-- my debut novel-- was done in eight months in which four months for the writings and the rest for editing. I rewrote probably five times the first chapter though I had more than forty five drafts before sending it to the editorial services.

Earlier your mentioned your series, Edged Up… can you tell us a little more about that?

The concept behind Edged Up is a dystopian subject where social issues are more revealed to the society in which everyone lives in. The idea came up when I had a conversation about space with a former co-worker. I thought about how space and independence are correlated in the microlevel and macrolevel of society and thought a book about it. 

How have you balanced your professional work with your writing?

I think I have a good time management when it comes to writing and my professional job. I manage to write at least a chapter per day, though the writer's block can be a pain in the neck for a few hours and make me write a paragraph per day.

Do you make any money from your writing? Would you like to make (more) money from your writing in the future?

From now on, not really. If by chance, there comes a day when I get a lot of sales, I will be glad to have it. Yet, what matters the most is to love what I am doing before thinking about sales. 

Tell us a little about BookFunnel, & your experience with it so far.

I use book funnel to publish my short stories. Throughout times, I see it is an excellent tool for any writer working on short stories. I highly recommend this author online service to any new authors in the industry of writing.

How do you do your marketing for your writing?
I use social media, and fiverr to market my writing, but I am still learning how to efficiently market my books. 

As a writer, do you feel your short stories and poetry have informed your fiction writing in any way, or vice versa?

Yes, I do. In my short stories and fiction books, I, somehow, implement my poetry in my writings. It often occurs when I describe characters or build a world in which my characters live.

What piece of writing are you most proud of?

That’s a tough question lol It’s like asking a parent about his favorite child among all his children. I love all my creations, so there’s no preferences among them. 

Do you have any other writing, planned in the future?

Of course, I do have a lot of writings coming in the future. I plan to make a second edition of Bantu Art and Culture after finishing up with the Edged Up Series, and write a couple of self development books. 

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

If you think about writing just to make money, you shouldn’t be writing but invest in the stock market. Keep writing and learning about marketing. A good book doesn’t sell itself but a good marketing strategy does.

Do you have any bucket-list items / dreams when it comes to your writing? 

Yes I do have some. However, there’s an odd saying: “Show, don’t tell.” :)

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

All my books are on Amazon. Furthermore, Bantu Art and Culture and The New York Sour, the following story after My Fair Share for Christmas, are on all online retail stores.

What do you enjoy doing away from the world of books and writing? :)

I love cooking, hanging out with friends, and watching some TV shows. My favorite one is The Office.

This has been fun! Is there anything else in particular that you wanted to share with us?

Well, I started writing about food when I realize that combining my career as an employee in catering and a writer could be the best combination for my happiness. One of my foodie articles has been selected in the North Texas Daily and it was about the King Ranch Chicken Casserole. Other than that, I would like to say that everyone does not acknowledge that we, humans, are inherently writers of our story whether we like it or not. 

Marvin, this has been really interesting. Thanks so much for your time, generosity and openness in sharing all of this with us.

📖
You can find out more about Marvin over on his blog, and find all of his books on Amazon.


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An interview with Victoria Ray

Indie interview #3

This week's interview is with Moscow-born and Sweden-residing Victoria, also known as Ray. You can find her online over at https://raynotbradbury.com/, and get to know her and her story better through this week's interview.

Over to Victoria and this week's interview :)

Victoria, aka 'Ray'

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

I was born in Moscow, but grew up in one of the oldest towns of Belarus (mentioned in XXI century), called Orsha. Back then, it was very easy to move around, because Belarus was part of the USSR. I believe I had a very happy childhood: good neighbours (even if they were alcoholics…but you get used to it after a while and know how to deal with them), good kids (even if they were complete liars and stole my favourite dolls), good air (don’t forget Chernobyl) and good food (this is true!).

Thanks for painting such a vivid picture! :) What was the first piece of creative writing you can recall, that you were proud of?

I was 22-23 years old. I won a national poetry contest. The poem was written in Byelorussian language…and I never learned it properly. My dad asked the school to free me from lessons in Byelorussian language and they did. Why? It is still a mystery. But yay! When all the kids had Byelorussian language (or literature) lessons – 5 times a week – I had free time.

Oh wow. How great that you used this free time to just follow your curiosity… I guess that’s what we do as children, I feel like we should do this more as adults!

Tell us how your RayNotBradbury blog started and how it has evolved.

It started as a poetry blog on December 6, almost 3 years ago. Winter is a very boring time of the year in Sweden, so I decided to create a blog. I had a dog called Ray, and I thought it would be fun to call the blog – “Ray…+ some-thing.” One day, I was at the library, and I saw the collections of Ray Bradbury’s stories. I got an idea: “Ray, but NOT Bradbury. Hmm, cool name!”

With time, the blog evolved, but I dropped it in 2017 for 8 months. I hadn’t posted anything. When I got back, I started to write a lot about health, Ayurveda and short stories. After a while, I decided to collect all my stories and publish a book.

Your book, Dulcinea and the Death Code, charts the story of a 14-year old girl who was born under mysterious circumstances and possesses certain gifts. How did the idea for Dulcinea first come about?

I stood outside. I closed my eyes, and I got the feeling that I was enormous, huge…hanging somewhere in the darkness. Look, the world is so small, like a golf ball under my feet. Amazing feeling! I went inside and wrote the first draft in a week, and, to tell you honestly, I didn’t change much in my second or third drafts.

How fascinating. Does Dulcinea’s life and personality relate to yours in any way? How?

Dulcinea’s life is absolutely different from my childhood. But her personality is a mix of my childhood friend, Oksana, and me.

Thank you for sharing that. Do you have anyone in particular who you are hoping reads Dulcinea?

Hopefully, girls/women from 13 - 24 (although they do not read much nowadays). This summer I left the book in the hotel I stayed (during vacation/travel) and I got a couple of emails from people who found the book and enjoyed Dulcinea’s story. Very positive and warm!

Oh, how lovely. I feel that having someone make a comment or compliment after consuming your art is the highest form of praise. You also have a book called So AbsurdTell us a little bit about that.

So Absurd It Must Be True is my debut book – a collection of short stories from my blog. They are absolutely unique (18+): satire, sci-fi and fun erotica, squeezed in one text. I prefer to write short stories – it allows me to pack a lot of action in 2-3 pages.

How have you balanced your professional work with your writing?

I’m working from home: mostly helping my husband with digital marketing. And I am a full-time writer now. My life is damn balanced. I guess that’s why I am so lazy – ha ha!

Under what conditions do you do your best writing (e.g. what time of day, how often, from where do you write)?

I’m usually writing before lunch or after 8 pm. Also, if I’m very excited about the story or idea, I can write for almost the whole week – non-stop. Afterwards, I can take a break for a month or longer.

How long did it take to finish your first book, from start to finish? Please describe the process for us.

My debut book – 3 or 4 months, because I simply picked the best stories from my blog and edited them. Dulcinea and The Death Code – 9 months, because after first draft, I took a break for almost 3 months.

The process is simple:

  1. desire to write

  2. writing ‘hat’ – usually 15-20k. ‘Hat’ is non-stop writing, kvetching style, everything that comes to my mind about the theme or an idea of the book. ‘Kvetching’ is a freestyle writing, similar to stream of consciousness.

  3. I’m typing my first draft on laptop

  4. lazy for a couple of months

  5. writing draft 2

  6. editing.

Do you make any money from your writing? Would you like to make (more) money from your writing in the future?

To make ‘big’ money – you have to write commercial fiction. Plus, you need an agent. An agent means you have deadlines. I can’t work like that, unfortunately. I’m living in the NOW. NOW doesn’t have deadlines…people make them. So, whatever will be, will be.

I’m happy to have an opportunity to publish my writing, books on Amazon.

It sounds like you’re going with the flow and focusing on expressing yourself with your writing, whilst worrying about anything else :) Were there any books or blogs you read in order to help you on your self-publishing journey?

I read a lot of books and blogs (I follow over 1500 blogs). I think time, experience and a lot of mistakes are the answer… I learn as I publish, ha ha.

I have favourite blogs (maybe 30-40), and I’m trying to follow what is happening with the authors of those blogs as often as I can (mostly in the autumn-winter tho). Summer is more relaxing time for me, hopefully, for them too :)

You are currently publishing The Pearl Territory, chapter-by-chapter, on your blog. Tell us about this and why you decided to publish it this way.

I don’t know. I had a dream. I woke up and scribbled a page (I always keep a pen and a notebook in my bedroom). The dream became a chapter, and I decided to develop it and post it on my blog: written without any plot. I don’t even know my heroes. I just simply reread all chapters before writing the next.

I can also forget the name… If I forget – I’m simply writing ‘C’, because I have no time to stop and think - who it is lol I know, sounds crazy! Sometimes I send text to proofreading first, and then fix all names afterwards – before posting on the blog.

Here’s the link to the pitch –> https://raynotbradbury.com/the-pearl-territory/

My plan is to finish on chapter 22 (this September). Then in the beginning of the next year (2020), I’ll write 15 more chapters. After that, I’ll edit it and, hopefully, publish a book.

This is awesome. Do you send each chapter to your mailing list? Is any of this at all a marketing experiment/exercise for the final, finished book?

I’m planning to send some chapters to my mailing list, and, of course, the book ...if it will be published. I think the strategy to post on the blog ‘chapter by chapter’ (or once a week) works well for me, because by the end of the year I’ll get a great first draft to work with. Plus, in the same time, I can find time for other projects. I am blogging and ‘writing’ - 2 in 1.

Ah, I see. So, speaking of marketing, do you have a particular marketing strategy / process that you follow? Are there any authors / bloggers that you take inspiration from, marketing-wise?

After publishing: Usually 3-4 weeks ‘hard’ promotion on different social media and blogs (interviews), then I’m taking a break (month or so), then I’m repeating the process again.

I am also IBPA member and there’re a lot of advices on website and in the newsletters.

I love how spontaneous it feels like your creative writing emerges. It sounds like keeping a pen/notepad close is a great idea - I know that’s something many writers/creatives do. In which languages are your books currently available? At this point, do you have more English or Swedish speaking readers?

My books are published only on Amazon and only in English. I have more English speaking readers and my main shop for sales – amazon.com. My buyers are mostly from the USA, Canada, Australia, Spain, Germany, Japan and the UK.

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

“I don’t know, girl; seems like you did everything right!” ☺

Oh I love that. Is there anything else that you’re working on currently, or have planned for the future?

I’m currently working with a plot for a humorous crime/mystery book. No title so far. Only idea and heroes. Main hero – Posighdun Papadakis, Greek, widower, age 58, scientist, who is studying mollusks, such as snails (Malacology), living and running a book club in a small town called Trosa (Sweden).

Also, I’m writing the thriller - about Italian girl Sabina, her transformation from the soft potato to Miss Tough Killer.

Aside that, I’m working with the book 2 in Dulcinea’s trilogy – The Secrets of A-Ria and So Absurd It Must Be True, book 2.

My poetry book Legs: A Global Perspective on Society will be published October 2019.

Wow, it looks like you have lots happening! You seem to write diversely - genres, characters, topics. Do you hold a real-life interest in the topics/places that appear in your books? e.g. Malacology, Trosa?

Crime books are very difficult to write - research is necessary, and yes, I’m interested in malacology, at least this summer, because I’ve got a lot of slugs in my yard…ha ha. Trosa is the perfect place for a murder - similar to Whitley Bay area (UK), but very tiny. And I’m writing humorous fiction, so it’s fun to come up with ridiculous or funny professions, hobbies or ideas. I want my hero to ‘stand out’ from the crowd.

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

Ask ‘Alexa’ lol!

RayNotBradbury’s blog –> https://raynotbradbury.com

Instagram –> https://www.instagram.com/raynotbradbury/

I recently deleted my personal FB, but I still have page for RayNB –> https://www.facebook.com/raynotbradbury/

Amazon –> https://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Ray/e/B07MYKGTXS/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Thanks so much, Victoria, this interview was really fun, insightful and entertaining :)


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1 interview with an independent author, every week.

Welcome to an indie author by me, Jas Hothi.

I’m a writer, currently editing/re-writing my 1st novel, a suspense.

Here on an indie author, I publish interviews with independent (self-published) authors, weekly.

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An interview with Taylaur Robertson

Indie interview #2

I'm delighted to bring you Indie Interview number #2, and introduce you to Taylaur Robertson.

Taylaur was really fun to interview, and incredibly honest with her answers.

I hope you enjoy hearing about her writing journey so far - from what she's written, what her process looks like, the lessons she's learned from self-publishing… and what she'd tell her younger self :)

Over to Taylaur!

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

Hello, Jas! Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity!

I was born in Arizona, and though I moved out of state for a couple years, a vast majority of my childhood was spent in Mesa, Arizona.
Much of my childhood was a bit rough.

I struggled with bullying for many years and learned to cope through art and writing, creating random adventures out of the question of ‘What if…?’ it was through this medium that I gained a sense of empowerment and felt in control of something, if only for a short period of time.

You have an interesting first name! Would you sharing its origins?

Thank you! My mother wanted something different for her maiden side of the family. So she created this spelling and explained to me that it meant this, ‘She who weaves souls together.’

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

I believe when I was about 4 or 5 years old, I can recall writing a very short story for my grandmother about a little bat demon going on these grand adventures with their friends.

The impact this little character had on me was so deep that it later developed into another, kind of growing up and changing along with me.

When was it that you decided you wanted to write a book?

I’ve always written short stories, and once wrote a book unintentionally back in high school. A 150 page story in my composition notebook. But to intentionally and consciously write a novel came about in my early twenties, probably about twenty one or twenty two.

A really close friend and I were always sharing stories during that time, whether it be fan-fiction or our own created characters and worlds, and she really adored one character of mine. After sharing the idea with her about putting that character into a book, she immediately jumped on board. I hope to someday finish that novel just for her.

Her confidence and support for my seemingly impossible goal is what pushed me to be where I am now.

Tell us about your book, A Song of Memories. How did the idea come about?

When I came up with the idea, I happened to be watching a horror movie at the time. A simple and generic haunted house story.
Then it hit me, I wanted to write a scary story about a haunted house and a detective.

But I didn’t want it to be as simple as the movie I just saw, with a plot you would see several hundred times before. I wanted to create a monster that scared me.

I wanted this book to touch upon horror, and of the psychological phenomenon behind looking into one’s self in times of crisis, of the potential self-reflection and what outcome can arise from it.

Creating this idea was honestly faster than how most would probably plan out their stories. I took a ‘Stephen King’ approach to this story. Just write and go with the flow of that one simple idea.

The first day I sat down and outlined the story, I ended up creating my psychological horror-mystery in a matter of hours, and finishing the project in about three months.

With only one minor change because of some technical issues. (Which ended up being the best change for this story and series.)

Talk to us about the writing process?

My process is a little bit of both plotting and pantsing. While I do outline my stories (Using this formula: The opening, character things, the motivator, some middle stuff, the all time low, the climax, and epilogue) ... most of the time, they usually deviate from the path I laid out. It’s almost as if the characters write themselves out and I’m along for the ride.

Normally, I start out with the character creation process, and then dump them into the story I want to write, I form their voice, what journey they wish to undergo (for personal gain or for the sake of adventure) and where they fit in the expanding world before them. Their ambitions and character growth develop from there.

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

At first, I wanted to traditionally publish. After going through submitting and querying for a few months, I felt that I was getting nowhere, and honestly, felt a little defeated. It made me question if I was the one doing something wrong.
While I had a friend reading my story and giving her suggestions, I took a break from writing, letting myself bask in the fact that I did what I had set out to do, and that, of course, was finish writing a novel.

The term self-publishing came up while I was looking into different publishing houses, after glancing over it I set some links about the topic aside and pressed on.

After seeing that some of the authors I follow and admire on twitter were self-publishers, I started asking myself, ‘what is it exactly?’

It took a couple months for my friend to finish reading my book, and during that time, I used this opportunity to study up on it and slowly warmed to the idea that this would be a perfect opportunity for me to grow!

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

I’ve learned so much! When I first started writing, I wrote to tell stories for myself and my friends, some details weren’t needed, or using the vast collective of the rules of writing wasn’t necessary. (I was also intimidated by learning what I might’ve been doing wrong!)

Since following fellow writers and studying up online, it turns out what I thought was going to be a frightening and complicated process, wasn’t that at all.

It took work to refine what I knew, took a lot to set aside time to practice, but I’m glad for it in the end. With learning how self-publishing works, I am still learning!

But so far, the biggest thing has to be: have patience and be realistic. A lot of books are being published (through traditional means and by fellow self-publishers), don’t make it hard on yourself by working yourself to death or setting yourself up for disappointment.

Take your time and have fun with your work!

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

Mostly by using Facebook and Twitter. Most of my family use Facebook and they’ve been a great help promoting within the family and their friends and I operate on twitter, occasionally sending out tweets. I’ve also bought temporary ads to assist me. Marketing can be quite difficult.

Do you enjoy any blogs or podcasts? (writing-related or otherwise!)

I watch quite a few channels on Youtube! A.G Writes’s youtube channel, another called Bard Owl Writing, Hello Future Me, Uniweb Productions, the list can go on!

Are you enjoying on Netflix/Amazon Prime (etc) right now?

While I don’t own have a streaming service of my own, a really good and close friend of mine showed me a show called, ‘Shadow Hunters’. Another of my friends recently introduced me to the show ‘Lucifer’!

I mostly use Youtube or Crunchyroll to watch shows or videos.

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

I sometimes (shamelessly) write fanfiction, more so for my own self to enjoy. Aside from that, I am also an artist, both traditionally and digitally. I paint, I craft, anything that can keep my hands and thoughts busy!

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

This question has been brought up quite a bit as of late! While I usually would say, ‘I would never want to meet my younger past self,’ or tell them to do anything otherwise, mostly because if I did that, everything I have learned and have experienced would go to waste…

I would actually be happy to say to my writer self, ‘Don’t stop writing, don’t put that pencil down, keep tapping at those keys. Forget the negativity you are experiencing now, because you will find a group so supportive it’ll make your head spin. You’ll find many who feel the same as you do, filled with a creative outlet and fueled by passion to tell a story, who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge, to test their limits and go beyond their own self.

So don’t stop doing what you love, don’t silence the voice calling to you to put their story down. Be brave, push on.’

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

As of right now, I can be found on Twitter (@taylaur_rose), Facebook (Taylaur Robertson), I just made an Instagram account (authortrrobertson) and I am currently working on a website.

You can find my book, “A Song of Memories: A Detective Milo Reid Novel", (and my future novels) on Amazon.


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