Category Archives: Author Interviews

Author Huddle with D.L. Young

Standard

My interview for today is with D.L. Young, author of Juarez Square and Soledad (due out May 23, 2016), and contributing author in several anthologies.

Juarez Square cover                Soledad Cover

CTC – Welcome, David, and thank you for taking time to answer questions for my readers today.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

DLY – I wrote Speed Racer fan fiction in elementary school.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

DLY – My first novel’s in the finishing stages now. It’ll end up taking eight months start to finish.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

DLY – Monday through Friday I write from 5AM until 7AM. With two grade school-aged kids and a demanding day job, it’s about the only time I have to myself.

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

DLY – Probably that I don’t have quirks. I take a fairly workmanlike approach to writing. Sit down and do it, no excuses. I don’t believe in writer’s block.

CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

DLY – News stories, history, non-fiction books on topics that interest me. There’s no shortage of great ideas for stories if you keep your eyes open and stay curious about the world around you.

CTC – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

DLY – I have a lot of friends in the fashion industry, so I travel to New York as often as I can to hang out with them. I also like to rock climb, skydive, and spend time at my vineyard. Wait, that’s my fantasy life. The reality is pretty domestic. I like to hang out with my wife and kids. Cook. Read. Watch movies and soccer matches. Manchester United forever!

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

DLY – Most of what I write is R-rated (some of it NC-17), so my kids are still too young to read my stuff. My wife reads just about everything I write and she’s a great sounding board, but she’d like me to write happier stories with more upbeat endings. I always answer her by saying things like, “How dramatic would it have been if Hamlet would have lived or if Romeo and Juliet would have ridden off into the sunset together?”

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

DLY – My books are indie-published, so for me the BIG learning curve was around production and marketing. I hate the term ‘self-publishing’ because–if you’re doing it right–independent publishing is anything but a solitary effort. It’s total project management. You have to hire a cover artist, editor, proofreader. You need to recruit beta readers and reach out to potential reviewers. And that’s just the production side. Marketing is another monster altogether. Events, advertising, giveaways, and so on. You’re always juggling several balls at once. Traditionally published authors don’t have most of these headaches, but for me the trade off is worth it. I like having the autonomy to make my own business decisions (what I sell, where I sell it, at what price, etc.) and the freedom to work with the professionals I choose. Indie publishing isn’t for everyone, but it’s a good fit for me.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

DLY – Write, write, write. Sounds ridiculously simple, I know, but writing’s like any other skill. Repetition builds expertise. Also, having a regular writing routine and sticking to it has helped me tremendously. And don’t suffer in silence! Seek out writers in your community, meet with them, share notes, join a critique group.

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

DLY – I keep close contact with readers via social media and, to a lesser extent, email. 99% of their comments are nice and complimentary, though occasionally I do get the ‘I hated that you killed that guy’ kind of feedback. But good feedback or otherwise, I always love hearing from readers. It never fails to make my day.

CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?

DLY – I only create books for adults. My days of Speed Racer fan fiction are far behind me. 🙂

CTC – What do you think makes a good story?

DLY – For me, a great story has an engaging, page-turning plot AND a high degree of literary style. VERY FEW authors ever pull this off. Most competent writers can do one or the other. It’s a lofty goal, but I aspire to both.

CTC – As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

DLY – I wanted to be Charles Schulz. I devoured Peanuts books and made my own comic strips. To this day I can still draw a pretty good Snoopy.

CTC – Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

DLY – [Insert shameless marketing here] Anyone who joins my news and update list gets a free copy of my book Juarez Square and Other Stories, which now includes the first chapter of my forthcoming novel Soledad, a dystopian thriller coming out in May. I’m very excited about Soledad. Early readers have really loved it. You can sign up at http://www.dlyoungfiction.com

CTC – You can also follower David on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/DLYoungWriter

And, on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/DLYoungWriter

You can purchase his books on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, iTunes, and Kobo.

DLYoung photo     In the squalid aftermath of a collapsed nation, rival factions wage vicious battles over territory and precious resources, killer drones fly overhead in search of prey, and everyday life is a desperate scramble for survival.

H

Author Buzz with Lara Fanning

Standard

B

My interview for today is with Lara Fanning, author of Red Fox and Red Fox Silver Fox.

Red Fox Cover          Red Fox Silver Fox Cover

CTC – Thank you, Lara, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for my readers.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

LF – When I was around seven, after reading The Silver Brumby series by Elynne Michelle. It was a story about talking horses that lived wild and free – what more could a feral little girl such as myself want.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

LF – It really depends on the book. I wrote my first novel ‘Red Fox’ in about two weeks! I was very inspired and so wrote thousands of words every day; it was a hurried work that required a lot of editing. However, I have another book in the works that I started when I was about 19 years old. I have rewritten it about four times now and am still not quite happy with it – however I feel like that novel is much more technical and better written than my already published titles.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

LF – Schedule? What is schedule?

I don’t really have a schedule. If I am inspired, I write. If I am not inspired, I don’t write. I write every day – that is for certain – but it doesn’t necessarily mean I dedicate all of my time to one novel. I swap between many novels to keep myself passionate.

I know people say, “writing is work. You have to write 3000 words more for your book EVERY DAY.” I can’t think of anything I disagree with more, honestly. Writing is my passion, my life and my soul, but if I don’t want to do it for one day, i won’t. 

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

LF – I always laugh at jokes I write for my characters. I also gasp at things I write (sometimes I’m surprised by them) and often I will say things like, “they will never see that coming!” or, “if i’m crying, the readers are too.”

Another quirk…. If I have a good story idea on the brink of sleep, or while doing something important (like work or assignments or university tests) I HAVE to write it down. I’ll boot up the computer to write two sentences. Or scribble it down on my exam paper and rip the corner off to take home.

CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

LF – What a fun question. I have dreams that inspire me. I don’t need a big complex dream for ideas. A simple setting in a dream can inspire me, or a strange creature, or even what happens in the dream.

Song lyrics also inspire me. I never use the lyrics in my songs, but a single sentence can give me multiple ideas. A few of my favourite ones are:

“Once upon a hundred-thousands years or so when the sun don’t shine, the moon don’t glow and the grass don’t grow” – Tenacious D.

“My heart, my son, my only king” – Nico and Vinz

“When I listen to your heart I hear the whole world turning” Meat Loaf.

You can sort of see how ideas spawn from these little titbits.

I actually wrote one of my favourite novels after a very stupid experience with my boyfriend at the time. I remember thinking to myself, ‘he smells like Doritos,’ and I began to write a scene about a girl spending time with a boy who smelt like Doritos. Pretty soon, it escalated into a HUGE high fantasy novel (200,000 words) and the bit about a boy smelling like Doritos isn’t even included anymore.

CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

LF – I was seven, and I wrote a ripoff novel called “The Golden Brumby” about a wild chestnut stallion who had adventures in the bush. That was my first ‘full length’ novel, but prior to that there had been many, many little novels about strange things only children can think of.

CTC – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

LF – I love anything involving nature. Hiking, bushwalking, just being outside. I enjoy swimming, but really only in rivers or the ocean. I horse ride quite often (my horse is a character in my next trilogy). I also love drawing and watercolour, playing guitar, writing songs and music. But i’ve just started university, so now also a lot of science study!!

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

LF – They have always been so supportive of my dreams. Mum and dad constantly promote my books, as well as my grandmother. My dad was so proud of Red Fox that he ordered 20 copies to hand out at his workplace. Mum edits novels before they are published and has used far too many sticky notes whilst doing so – thank you! My little sister, Christie, inspired Red Fox – she is actually meant to be the character of Freya.

As for ‘what they think’ of my writing: they know Red Fox is not my best work, but they like it and supper tit all the same. When I write high fantasy, my language, plot, characters and worlds are far, far better and more detailed.

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

LF – Formatting is very hard… I didn’t think it was an important aspect, but it is. My friend, Adam, did that for me – thank you, Adam!

But mostly, after speaking with other authors, I think I was surprised about how much I, personally, get out of writing. A lot of authors seem to write for money, out of boredom, or just for the sake of it. I cannot even imagine a life that didn’t allow me to write – it’s barbaric! It’s truly a part of me.

Oh, I did have an epiphany once when I was writing a stand-alone that was set in the same world as two of my other novels. As I got further into the standalone, characters from the other two novels appeared in it, bringing with them all of this history and depth of character because I knew them so well. And it was SO surprising for me, because I realised that EVERY character needed to be written like they had been in two books prior: they needed more depth, little mysteries about them, a life prior to their debut appearance.

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

LF – Oh, gosh. I have written well over one hundred books, and yet I probably deem only about a dozen worth publication (once they are edited). My favourite is a novel currently titled “Aedile and Ren,” though that won’t be it’s title when published. It is high fantasy and it has been my absolute favourite to write over about 4 years. It should be published in late 2016 or early 2017.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

LF – Everyone says it, but READ! Reading will make you a better writer, inspire you and give you fresh ideas. While it may seem like you’ll pick up on other authors’ styles and traits, you will become original by adapting many different styles. I also say get a lot of life experience. It is very hard to write about events or emotions you haven’t experienced yourself.

Also, always listen to your critics and reviewers. They will help you excel and become better, even if their words are harsh. Always take their advice with a grain of salt though – you must be independent and push the boundaries, after all!

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

LF – Not as much as I would like. I love it when I log on to Facebook and see someone has tagged me and recommended Red Fox to another person. I LOVE reading my amazon and goodreads reviews. If I knew how, i’d respond to everyone who left reviews: be they good or bad. The good give me a huge boost, while the bad reviews allow me to better myself and my writing.

However, most of my readers have been excellent and the few loyal fans I have keep in contact, which is lovely.

CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?

LF – Mmm… I wouldn’t say they are for ‘adults’, but rather they can have adult themes. I think I am still a child at heart, and so I find it hard to write for adults. Young adult novels are what I prefer to write, however I think anyone under thirty could probably enjoy my books.

CTC – What do you think makes a good story?

LF – This is a hard question. I want to say it is all about the plot and the characters, but it isn’t. If your spelling is atrocious and your grammar terrible, then no reader will get passed that!!

But, I think an unpredictable story with twists and turns, that is also realistic, is a good story. You can’t have readers predicting every event at the beginning of the novel. All I really want to say is, break the mould! People say a good main character has to be deep, with lots of levels and blah blah blah, but a simple character can be just as intriguing if you write them well enough.

CTC – As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

LF – I wanted to be an author! All throughout primary and high school, I wanted to write for a living. However, animals are also a big passion of mine. Right now, I am studying a bachelor of zoology at university, but finding time to write in between, too.

CTC – Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

LF – Not particularly. I think I have been overly thorough in my answers. I just encourage EVERYONE to write, even about minuscule things that happen in life. Use writing to vent your emotions, or document ideas about totally unrelated things. I have a friend who has half a dozen AMAZING movie ideas that he keeps forgetting about, and I have to encourage him to write them. I think if everyone wrote, the world would be a better and more relaxed place.

CTC – You can find Lara’s books on Amazon.

And, you can contact her here:

http://smile.amazon.com/Lara-Fanning/e/B00S391NOC/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

https://www.facebook.com/LaraFanningAuthor/?fref=ts

Lara Fanning     In the 1950’s, a Siberian scientist began an experiment with one goal in mind – to breed a domesticated variation of the red fox. After ten generations of breeding the scientist had reduced the adrenalin levels in the animal and created a tame creature named the Silver Fox.

Author L. Bachman

Standard

March 26, 2016

CTC – Welcome! Today I am pleased to present an interview with L. Bachman, author of Painted Mayham, Maxwell Demon, and Human Ouija.

Theyre not clowning around          Maxwell demon cover          Human Ouija Cover

So, let’s get to it! What do you think makes a good story?

LB – Depth. Whether it’s a character’s depth, emotional depth, or a world’s depth. One of the best and biggest responses so far that I’ve gotten from readers and reviewers is the depth in emotion within the stories I’ve written. I take this as a high compliment because that is after all how I can connect to a reader, through the emotions. For me, depth is what makes a good story. I like pulling a reader in, wrapping them in a blanket, and taking them on a journey.

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

LB – Overall, they are supportive. I’m surprised by this to say the least. I’ve had them buy my books, give me their reviews of the things I do, and I appreciate that they don’t just ask for free things, but support in a way that helps support the indie community, a way that’s supportive of the creative arts.

CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

LB – I usually start with asking myself a question, like what if or I wonder, from there I give myself some time to think it out further. If I don’t understand something fully or get curious about a possibility I will do some research to flush out my knowledge and ideas better, this usually helps me understand what I’m doing better. I also try and approach as a reader, since I am one, and while I work I ask myself, ‘Does this make sense?’ If it doesn’t, I will push myself to understand more or work it out until it makes sense to at least me.

CTC – When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

LB – I was reading one of my favorite books and realized that I could probably do ‘it’ too. I didn’t know if I was very good, but I wanted to at least try.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

LB – It really boils down to things happening that may cause delays. Every story/book is different. With Human Ouija, the recent short I released, I came up with the idea for it in 2015, but every time I attempted to write I would run into an invisible wall in my progress and would stop. I decided to put it on my infamous back burner for projects and in January 2016, it was like lightning struck me and I finished it within a week then flushed it out, got it edited. With The Blasphemer Series: Maxwell Demon, I wrote it in a month and before I could release it I became ill and its original spring release date was postponed. At one point, I wasn’t sure if I’d even get it out because of how things had begun to fall, but in August 2015, I got it released. I wrote it’s follow-up Harvest within a month and half, but it’s still in the marathon run that is indie publishing process, it’s being edited and I gave it a rough estimation of what I hope to get it released, August 2015. The short that will appear in Painted Mayhem in March 2016, I wrote it within a couple weeks, the one I have in And the World Will Burn anthology took a few weeks as well, but short stories work out faster if I let the story come to me instead of trying to force a story out.

So, for a clearer answer, it varies.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

LB – Busy. I work best under pressure, which may sound odd, but it works for me. Too much free time or leeway and I’ll become lazy on a project, unless lightening hits me. When I start writing, I will write for hours and hours with minimal breaks. Breaks can be anything from a few minutes to up to two hours before I’ll close a document out for the day. Often times, when I’m writing I cannot stop and work on another writing project. I’ll become too muddled or my writings will start crossing over language or phrasing-wise, and that is not good for what I’m doing so it’s best for me to focus on one thing at a time.

CTC – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

LB – I like reading, sometimes I get stressed out and play games, but mostly spend time with my family and friends to break all that up.

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

LB – As an Indie, it was the entire business side of things that we have to deal with, but beyond that was not to be so hard on myself. I’ve never hidden how I’ve gotten close to finishing a project, within a chapter even, and just throw half of it away and start fresh. I’ve learned that this makes many cringe, but that is me, that is me being too hard on myself, but the end result is something I’m happy with and readers seem to like as well.

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

LB – I’ve written several things, but published to date two, a short story and the first book of my series The Blasphemer Series. I don’t really have a favorite book/story I’ve written, but I do have favorite characters. I absolutely love GoodWitch Sophia, she is in Maxwell Demon and will re-appear in Harvest, the second book in the series. I’ve also fallen hard for my Dire Werewolf, who appears in Harvest, named Ghost. I also really like Billy, but I cannot say much about him because he’s part of a top-secret project I’m doing with Kindra Sowder of Burning Willow Press.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

LB – Write what you love and the readers will find you, I’ve heard a few authors say this, but it was my favorite author Anne Rice that said something similar that really struck me. I felt a weight lift off me hearing her wisdom, I knew then that if I loved something enough a reader would see it, appreciate it, and my quality of the work will shine through.

CTC – You can find L. Bachman’s books here:
http://smile.amazon.com/L.-Bachman/e/B00MMCPCZW/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

And, you can follow her here:

http://lbachman.wix.com/lbachman

https://www.facebook.com/writerbachman/?fref=ts

 

Lynn Bachman photo     Human Ouija is part of a branch out project of The Blasphemer Series. It’s a collection of stories giving voice to characters mentioned in The Blasphemer Series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Vincent Robert Annunziato

Standard

March 19, 2016

CTC – Welcome! Today I am pleased to present an interview with Vincent Robert Annunziato, author of 33 Degrees and Status The Game.

33 Decgrees Cover          Status The Game cover

Thank you so much, Vincent, for taking time to answer some questions for my readers today. So, let’s get started.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

VRA – Definitely after I graduated college. The closest before that was in high school when I published a poem in the school magazine. To be honest it was kind of dark. I studied communications in college with a concentration on television sciences. I really fell in love with the dramatic arts at that time and wanted mainly to direct TV and film. When I stepped out of school (Hofstra U.) I moved to Los Angeles from New York to go for the big time. It was there that I cultivated a love for screenwriting with the impetus of wanting to be a Director. It has been a dream of mine to write a book since I was around 25.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

VRA – On average about 7 months, but lately due to my normal profession it has been taking a little longer.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

VRA – My normal workday is 0630 to 5pm and I have a commute surrounding that. I find time at least two times a week and whatever I have left I dedicate to weekends.

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

VRA – I talk to my characters. Especially if I am stumped, frustrated or surprised. When I wrote my first book, “Status The Game” I walked out of my office shaking my head and mumbling. Of course my wife sees this and asks if everything is okay. I respond, “Dammit! El just made a decision I didn’t expect.” She of course thought I lost my mind. I had spent 4 weeks building to this one scene and the character totally did the opposite of what I expected. Of course it made for good reading. Figure if I am surprised, then the audience is too.

CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

VRA – I don’t know actually. Sometimes they just come to me spontaneously. I keep a list of my ideas and usually put in about 1500 words when I begin. I will keep it there until I decide on a story. I won’t stop until I finish.

CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

VRA – Ugh! I was 48 when I published it and 47 when I started writing.

CTC – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

VRA – I love Bassett Hounds (we have one called Annabelle), spending time with my family, fishing, boating and if I really have time… building terrariums.

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

VRA – They love my stories. Even my wife who does not like the genre I normally write in has been very impressed. My youngest son is the one who is most intrigued. He’s eleven and is enamored with the writing. I write for my kids mainly.

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

VRA – The fact that I enjoyed writing so much and how much I had matured since I wrote in my twenties. I gave up writing to start a family even though I wanted very much to make it in the film industry.

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

VRA – I have written two books and am close to finishing my third. I don’t have a favorite. I love “Status” because it is a very unique concept and I played with things you don’t normally see in books today. I love “33” because of the pace and it is written in first person. I love that you can get so intimate with a character. There are also concepts in there that have not been done before.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

VRA – I believe in developing the craft. Focus on the basics. Good solid characterization that includes arcs and recognizable dialogue. Too many writers don’t take the time to distinguish the voice of a character and it falls flat.

Make sure your plots and subplots are well mapped out. Your pacing will develop once you have the story nicely tied together. I highly recommend white boarding so you can see the whole picture.

And don’t be afraid to take risks. Find something that sets you apart. This one aspect will help you find the art form in writing. One of the problems we have in publishing is that the market is over saturated. The only thing that can possibly separate you from the pack is a well-crafted story with some artistic intent.

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

VRA – I am very new and am still learning the marketing aspects of this business. I would say that I do hear occasionally on Facebook from people who have read my stuff. I love it when somebody decides to reach out. A lot of times I am asked for advice on writing.

CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?

VRA – I will write just about anything and chose the YA books because of my kids. I have some standalone ideas that I want to write for adults in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre.

CTC – What do you think makes a good story?

VRA – Good stories are well crafted stories that have all of the basics accounted for. Stories that are visual, contain some form of conflict really appeal to me. Conflict doesn’t have to be overt, it can be subtle. Lastly, I like depth. Many layers of it. I want my subconscious to be fed as well as my conscious and I like to feel the emotion of my characters.

CTC – As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? 

VRA – President, cowboy, policeman, fireman, doctor, veterinarian. Should I keep going? 🙂

CTC – Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

VRA – I am just very thankful to have been able to be published at this point in my life. It has been a dream of mine for over 25 years. I think my books have a very visual appeal, especially since I spent so much time trying to make it as a screenwriter early in my life. I have tried to develop a hard-hitting style that will make you feel like you are there with the characters. Kind of like you are watching a movie.

Thank you so much! And hope to catch you all reading my books. LOL

CTC – You can find Vincent’s book here:

http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VXACR1Q?keywords=33%20degrees&qid=1458410860&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

http://smile.amazon.com/Status-Game-Vincent-Robert-Annunziato-ebook/dp/B00IP2BK18/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

And, you can follow him here:

http://smile.amazon.com/Vincent-Robert-Annunziato/e/B00IX4RWI8/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

https://www.facebook.com/VincentRAnnunziato

http://www.statusthegame.com/

https://twitter.com/VRAnnunziato

vincentannuziato@statusthegame.com

http://vincent-robert-annunziato.com/

Vincent Annunziato photo     Bob Brooks is down on his luck. He ekes out a living as a substitute teacher and grabs odd jobs to make ends meet. Life goes from bad to worse until Bob reads about a new internet game called Status.

 

 

 

 

Author Courtney Ruggles

Standard

March 12, 2016

CTC – Today I am pleased to interview Courtney Ruggles, author of The Sixth Domicile.

The 6th Domicile Cover

Thank you so much, Courtney, for taking time to answer some questions for my readers today. So, let’s get started.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

CR – I first realized I wanted to be an author when I was very young. I often wrote short stories and then was in a creative writing class in high school. In fact, it was in that class the idea of The Sixth Domicile was born. Truly, I really didn’t think it would come to realization that I would become a published author. When I was eleven, my grandmother requested I never quit writing. I was always writing short stories. I even had a word processor which I stored my short stories on floppy disks. I was obsessed and would lock myself up in my room after school to write. That word processor was probably the best gift I’d ever been given from someone.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?   

CR – I laugh at myself with this question! My first book took me nine years, off and on! Between continuing my education, playing collegiate sports, and then just life in general in the following five years, my writing often sat on the back burner. However, my second novel took me nine weeks! I’ve started the third in the series, so I’ll have to get back to you on how long it takes me.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

CR – I have been very lucky to be able to work mostly from home. But when I’m focused on writing, I often have very long nights as dive into the story. Often times, I don’t want to come out and will stay up almost all night to get it on the page. Writing the sequel in The Domicile Series, I stayed up until three, four, or sometimes five in the morning for weeks writing.

CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

CR – I was eighteen when The Sixth Domicile, then just called The Domicile, birthed as a short story for that awesome creative writing class. I fell in love with the idea of it, a modern Romeo and Juliet I thought at the time. As I kept writing it, especially in the last year, it morphed into this new adult dystopian. I couldn’t let go of the characters or the story and The Sixth Domicile was begging to be fully written. I was twenty-seven when it published.

CTC – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

CR – I am a social butterfly and thrive on being with friends and family!  When I’m not writing, I’m playing with my two year old son, going kayaking, skiing, or spending my time with my husband and family, along with my friends who I consider family. However, my time also gets taken up by my own classes as I’m enrolled in my doctorate program and also teach at a local university. But when I’m not reading for those pesky classes, I’m reading and drinking coffee. I LOVE a good book and a good cup of coffee.

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

CR – My family has adamantly expressed how proud they are of me. Publishing a book has always been a dream of mine which I put on hold to achieve other goals. But now that it’s happened and getting ready to happen again, my family has done nothing but be amazingly supportive. And my husband has pushed me through the entire process (which I can say is a lot different than I imagined going in!!!) with his love and positivity. It’s really amazing to be backed by the people who mean the world to me.

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

CR – How dark I can be!!  I am really a positive, bubbly person but my books can be a little dark and twisty. I even had someone ask me what happened to me to make me write this story! I often chuckle because this dystopian side of me is extremely contradicting of my persona. Or maybe the dystopian is the real me? Mwahahah. No, I’m just kidding. Did I mention I study and teach psychology?

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

CR – I’ve written two full-length novels so far. The Sixth Domicile was my first and was just released in January. The sequel in The Domicile Series is finished and in the hands of my editor!  The second one (I’m keeping the title a secret for just a little bit!) is my favorite out of the two. The growth I’ve accomplished as a writer shows in this sequel and it also shows the risks I’m willing to take in my writing. The series will be at least a trilogy and I already have plans for a couple more afterwards.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

CR – I met this awesome author on my journey so far who has become my author bestie. In fact, I’ve referred to her as my spirit animal.  She told me to write for me. That’s why we start this journey, isn’t it? To tell at least one story, if not tons, because of the desire within ourselves? She helped me better grasp that not everyone is going to receive my stories as well as others, and I have to remember that I have a passion for writing and sharing this crazy Domicile world with everyone! My best advice other than to remember to write for yourself is to get an author bestie like me!

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

CR – I’m overwhelmed by the amount of people who’ve reached out to me about The Sixth Domicile! I never fathomed so many readers would contact me regarding their thoughts and love for the book! It’s humbling.

I’ve received wonderful feedback from my readers. They continually inspire me to keep writing, probably why I finished the sequel in nine weeks! I can’t even form the sentences to tell my appreciation for the support and amazingness my readers have given me.

CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?

CR – Yes, absolutely! The Domicile Series is new adult. I want to create worlds which we all can lose ourselves in. I often did growing up, retreating into a book to be lost in a time warp in fictional worlds of castles, woods with vampires, factions, and districts, and love to do so still as an adult. Sometimes, we as adults need to escape into these amazing worlds for a bit to rejuvenate. I hope I can provide that!

CTC – What do you think makes a good story?

CR – There are so many elements which make a good story! Characters are a major thing for me. If I can get into a character who I can relate to, I’m in. Also, a character which battles themselves between the light and the dark. One that comes out being better than they thought they could be. I love strong, valiant characters. And any story which keeps me guessing, whether with puzzles or plot twists. I’m a huge fan of dystopian because of characters beating the odds, going against the grain, refusing to conform.

CTC – As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

CR – Honestly, I always wanted to become an author! I had a teacher in the tenth grade pass me magazine after magazine of how to publish a book. I wrote a short story when I was in the fifth grade called The Three Unicorns Dancing, completely illustrated by yours truly in my ten year old style, which I still have. Then I wanted to be a journalist, with writing books on the side. As I entered the stage to begin thinking about colleges and what I would be when I grew up, I thought about being a lawyer and entered college with that goal. But after my sophomore year in college, I changed my ambitions and became a licensed social worker. Now, I’m living the best of both worlds! I get to teach one passion to students and write novels! I think it worked out pretty well and I couldn’t be happier!

CTC – You can find Courtney’s book here:
http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B017O08SDO?refRID=0XW0FEHDGJCH54591YTV&ref_=pd_ybh_a_38

And, you can follow her here:
http://www.courtneyruggles.com/
https://twitter.com/AuthorCRuggles
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCourtneyRuggles/
http://smile.amazon.com/Courtney-Ruggles/e/B0189ANC2K/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1457668040&sr=8-1

Courtney Ruggles photo.jpg     In a future ravaged by greed and war, The Domicile has emerged. A new civilization governed by clandestine Elders where citizens are united by white masks and uniform identities.

 

Author David Estes

Standard

March 5, 2016 

CTC – Today I am excited to interview David Estes, author of The Dwellers Saga, The Country Sage, The Slip Trilogy, and many others.

The Moon Dwellers cover          Fire Country Cover          Slip cover 

Thank you so much, David, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for my readers today. So, let’s get started. 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

DE – Thanks very much for having me on your awesome blog for this interview! 

I’m a little slow, so it took me a LONG time to realize that I wanted–no, needed–to be a writer. First it took a big push from my wife, Adele, to convince me to even start writing, when I was 29 years old and working as an accountant in Sydney. After that, it didn’t take me long to realize how much I loved writing, and that I had a talent for coming up with creative stories and using the right words to tell them.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

DE – It’s varied throughout my career, but generally between three and five weeks for the first draft, and another 3-4 weeks for revisions. I write every day and work hard to publish 3-4 books per year, so my readers don’t have to wait long for sequels.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

DE – Well, I’m ALWAYS writing, so my schedule is pretty consistent. I usually write 6 days a week, starting early. I wake up around 6:30am, eat breakfast, grab a coffee, and get going. I’ll typically write for 2-3 hours, until I’ve hit my daily word count goal, which is 3,000 words. Then I’ll grab a morning snack, and start on the business side of things, connecting with readers and bloggers, doing interviews or guest blog posts, hitting my social media, or setting up promotions. That sort of thing. Whenever I finish, generally mid-afternoon, I’ll have lunch and then spend the rest of the afternoon with my wife and newborn son, Beau, either going to the beach or the pool for a swim. I love my schedule and it has  helped me find success in my career!

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

DE – Maybe just that I’m obsessive about my daily word count goal. If I don’t hit it for some reason, I get really stressed out. I rarely miss my goal, which has allowed me to write 28 books in a little over five years.

CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

DE – All different places. Honestly, most of the time they just pop into my head out of nowhere, which is really cool. A good example of this is when I was writing the sequel to The Moon Dwellers, my most popular series which I’d originally planned to be a trilogy. A character with a funny slang accent started talking in my head! Her name came to me immediately–Siena–and she wouldn’t shut up! I started taking a bunch of notes, and that’s when I realized she was in a different place than my other characters, but would eventually connect with them. Instead of a trilogy I discovered I had a sister series and then a 7th book to bring both series together! Siena was the EASIEST character I ever wrote..she practically wrote herself! 

CTC – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

DE – Well, I live in Hawaii, so spending time outdoors is a major part of life here, something I place a very high value on! We usually spend time at the beach or the pool, swimming and reading. I also like playing all sports, as well as watching them. In the evening we like to watch TV or movies. 

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

DE – Ha! Of course they are very supportive, and my mom is always the first to read my new books. But they also worry about my financial future because of how uncertain sales can be from month to month. Sometimes my parents ask me if I’ll go back to being an accountant if my sales ever lag. My answer is a resounding “Never!” For the first time in my life, I don’t want a back up plan. I am going to do whatever it takes to continue in this career path, and I am forever indebted to my incredibly generous and supportive readers for everything they do for me!

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

DE – That I COULD write! Before I started, I knew I had a lot of ideas, but had no clue whether I’d be able to turn them into books I could be proud of. It was only after received thousands of reviews and sold tens of thousands of books that I truly believed I had what it took to be an author!

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

DE – I’ve written 28 books, 24 of which are published and available for purchase on Amazon. My most popular book is The Moon Dwellers, but a fan favorite has been Fire Country, which has a cult following (the book that practically wrote itself). However, my personal favorite is Slip, which is getting the highest ratings from reviewers. My writing really matured during The Slip Trilogy, something I’m extremely proud of. A close second would be my latest book, Strings, which is a SciFi retelling of Pinocchio that is getting incredible early reviews!

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

DE – Two things: 1) Read as much as you can. Observe your favorite authors and the techniques they use to create suspense, convey emotions, build characters, and develop plot lines. Learn from them! 2) Write every day. Even if you don’t feel like it. Even if you only have 15 minutes to spare. Write something. It doesn’t matter what  it is, just that you are constantly practicing your craft. Trust me, it will pay off!

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

DE – All the time! I love that I hear from my readers every single day, sometimes via social media or e-mail, but mostly through my Goodreads YA/Fan Group, David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite! I love my readers, and they often provide inspiration, kind words about my books, or humorous anecdotes that make me smile. They are THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. And I’m not biased.

CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?

DE – Yes! Although my books are pegged as YA simply because many of my characters are young, in reality they are written for anyone who likes fast-paced stories with complex, colorful characters and crazy twists. I write the kinds of books that I like to read, and I’m an adult, so I suspect anyone who’s like me and enjoys SciFi and Fantasy books will appreciate my books, whether adult or young adult!

CTC – Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

DE – Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below, you can win a free book! Also, if you join my mailing list (see link within the giveaway), you can get the David Estes Starter Library (for books) for free! I hope you all enjoy my books and I’d love to hear from you! Thanks again for having my on your blog and for asking such great questions!

David Estes
Get the David Estes Starter Library (FOUR books!) for FREE by joining my mailing list: http://s.privy.com/s8hg9k5g
Author of Strings, The Dwellers Saga, The Country Saga, Salem’s 
Revenge, the Slip Trilogy, and The Evolution Trilogy, and The Adventures of Nikki Powergloves
*For queries regarding the film options or publishing rights for my books, 
please contact my agent, Andrea Hurst at andrea@andreahurst.com 
<andrea@andreahurst.com>.*
http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Estes/130864990343920 
<http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Estes/130852990343920>
https://twitter.com/#!/davidestesbooks
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3167424.David_Estes

David Estes photo     In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms.

 

Author Jaq C. Reed

Standard

February 27, 2016

Today I am pleased to interview Jaq C. Reed, author of The Ungoverned.

The Ungoverned Cover

CTC: Hello, thank you for spending time answering questions for my readers. So, let’s get started.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

JCR: As a child I reveled in telling stories.  After I went to college, I unsuccessfully tried to write screenplays, Then I got a job and settled into a routine. After that I became a mother and life got so busy! I didn’t think of writing very often after that, though I still wove stories for the kids.  After my relationship ended, my life came to a very low point. I had never been so dependent on family and friends and I spiraled into a depression.  I would go through the motions of efficiency but at night I just laid there and felt sorry for myself.  I couldn’t live like that anymore.  Writing became an escape and a distraction and an obsession again.  I met people, I widened my circle of contacts and all of a sudden I felt like I had this piece of life again, that I existed beyond motherhood, the daily grind, and past that failed relationship.  After being immersed in the community of writers I suddenly knew this was where I wanted to live my life. So maybe I always had a inkling I liked to write, I didn’t know with certainty until I was 34.

CTC: How long does it take you to write a book?

JCR: The rough draft of both my novels took me around 4 months.  Editing and rewrites take another 3 or 4 months.  I would like to be getting 2 novels a year out, but at the moment it seems to take a year.

CTC: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

JCR: I have written two, and am into the followup to The Ungoverned currently.  The most recent piece is with my editor and should be out for publication in April.  It’s probably my favorite but also I have no idea how it will be received.  It breaks some rules, and colors outside of the lines a lot more than The Ungoverned did. I’ll be on pins and needles to see how it is received but good or bad it is my baby and I will love her for always.

CTC: What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

JCR: I write when the kids are in school, I sit and try to forget about everything else I need to do.  I sprint with other writers, and sometimes I will just fall into a flow and nothing else exists for that time.  And other times I sit for hours and stare at the screen trying to think of the next course of action for the story. 

CTC: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

JCR: I don’t think I have one!  I get zoned out, and if I am fully immersed in a story, my head can stay in that world for days.  My house gets pretty messy then, and dinners usually aren’t that great.

CTC: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

JCR: I usually borrow the 6pm news headlines. Something I see will irk me, and I will write that into a story.  With The Ungoverned it was the fact that we are losing our right to know what is in our food, and companies reluctance to label things.  I take the things that gnaw at me, and then I try to wind a very human story around the issue, the issue takes a backseat then to my characters, and it is up to the reader to draw the correlations of what has happened in the story, to what is relevant to our lives today.  I am at heart an environmentalist, my writing usually falls into a category of Cli-Fi.  The stories are wrapped around environmental catastrophes.

CTC: When did you write your first book and how old were you?

JCR: I was 34. 

CTC: What does your family think of your writing?

JCR: My teenager loves it, although she tells me she feels more pressure in English class to be creative.  My youngest kids will ask what I’m doing then get upset I’m not writing a story for them.  I’ve promised them a book but I found out writing for children isn’t as easy as I thought it would be!

CTC: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

JCR: Just write.  Keep writing.  Give yourself a daily word count.  Sooner or later those words will add up to a book.  We can fix the words and polish them, but we can’t fix a blank page.  I heard that advice once, and it’s stuck with me.  I can’t remember who said it, so those words aren’t mine, but the advice is what I tell myself.  The other thing that has helped me is, learn to accept criticism, grow a thick skin.  Embrace critiques like a gift, trust your beta readers, they aren’t there to be mean, and they are your audience. I have a never ending amount of gratitude for my betas, they help me see things from the angle of the reader. 

CTC: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

JCR: Sometimes I will get an email, and it always surprises me.  When I hear from readers its usually because I’ve struck a cord with them via the story.  Those emails make everything worth while. To feel like you’ve successfully conveyed something.  The strangest feeling I had as a new author was, I was at a book sale, and someone came up to me and started gushing about my book and was so thrilled to meet me and that she loved the book.  I was new, and my sales weren’t that great so I was blown away, it was a little bit surreal to realize that people out there were reading my work and enjoying it and also a little bit terrifying.

CTC: Do you like to create books for adults?

JCR: The books I create are stories that I first tell myself.  They are what I would like to read.  I’m not a hundred percent positive if I write for older teens or adults.  I get readership from both, but I find it is adult women that enjoy the novel better.

CTC: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

JCR: I wanted to save the world, be a vet, write stories. I wanted to do a lot of things, and in a way I’ve found that now in my thirties, your childhood dreams really do have a way of creeping back up on you. It’s a shame that sometimes we let those dreams die away.  

CTC: Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

JCR: It’s important that both writers and readers in the indie market support each other. I am practicing paying it forward, it’s important to view others not as competition but as comrades, and to build each other up. To readers if you find an indie writer you like, tell others!  We don’t have huge budgets and word of mouth can change the world for a writer. And if you take the time to leave a review, you have no idea how much you are helping us.

CTC: You can find Jaq’s book here:

http://smile.amazon.com/Jaq-C.-Reed/e/B00WZY9J9W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1456540993&sr=8-1

You can follow her here:

http://jaqreed.com/

https://twitter.com/jaqcreed

Jaq C Reed photo     Ara is Code Yellow.

In a world of assignment, there is no choice. Ara lives, works, and breathes under the rule of the Governance. It’s a race against time, as every minute is counted down off her clock of life.