Monthly Archives: October 2014

Author Interview: Carol Davis

carol davis

It’s Thursday again already?  Man does the time fly. Today I have Carol Davis, writer of mystery, science fiction, and women’s literature. You can find out more about Carol at her website here:  http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Davis/e/B001HMQK40/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caroldavisauthor

1. What first drew you to writing?

The short answer would be… love.  Thanks to my dad, I’m a TV baby, and I found myself wanting more stories about my favorite TV characters, so I started to write them myself.  This being back in the pre-computer days, I did all my writing in spiral notebooks with a ballpoint pen, and sometimes I churned out so much material that it caused my hand to cramp and burn — all for something that had a readership of one.  (Me.)  Years later I found out that what I was doing was called fanfiction, and that thousands of other people did it too.  What a revelation!  I’d always thought I was the only one.

2.  So you write mystery, science fiction, and women’s lit. What about those genres appeals to you?

For me, all those genres tie in together, because I write about family — both the family you’re born with and the ones you build, through marriage, friendship, “shared experience” bonding, all of that.  It’s always been a way to try to make sense of my own life and the people around me, so when an idea pops into my head, a concept I want to explore, I think: “What’s the best way to approach this?  Which direction is going to be the most fun?”  So my characters could be investigating mysterious deaths in the Adirondacks, or noticing that an alien species is being mistreated, or discovering that a couple of days in a luxury hideaway has more benefits than they imagined — but in the end it’s all about family.

3. Your latest mystery, “Dead in the Water” came out in July. Tell me about the book.

It’s set in a small town in the Adirondacks, an area that has particular appeal to me because my family has vacationed there every year since 1939!  It’s a beautiful area, very historic, and the geographic isolation (and lack of cell coverage) in some of the little towns lends itself nicely to talking about weird things: ghosts, strange critters in the water, people going missing.  I liked the idea of sending a couple of investigative reporters up there, thinking they’re just going to find out what happened to a bunch of people who drowned — and at the same time, they’re finding out some truths about themselves and about their families… while they’re being spied on by the family who runs the inn they’re staying at.  It has a lot to do with loss, and grief, and trying to move forward, and building a bond with the people who stick with you.  I’ve tried to put some strong threads of humor in there as well, because I love random bits of goofiness in the middle of a lot of drama!  If you’re intrigued, you can find the book on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Water-Carol-Davis-ebook/dp/B00LGYQB2K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411819959&sr=8-1&keywords=carol+davis+dead+in+the+water.

4.  I haven’t spoken with any other writer who has written for Kindle Worlds. How was your experience with that?

I have a lot of love for Kindle Worlds!  Being a lifelong writer of fanfiction, Amazon’s “birth announcement” for KW really caught my eye.  I hadn’t done any self-publishing up to that point — other than fanzines — and KW struck me as a really cool way of getting a story out there, and maybe making a little money at the same time.  I became acquainted with a terrific group of people (the League of Original Woolwrights, or LOOW, of which I’m now a member) who’d been self-publishing for a while, and I thought it was worth a try.  I’ve got 9 titles in KW now, all in Hugh Howey’s “Silo Saga.”  Most of them follow the journey of the Brownell family, who are among the people herded into those underground silos when the bombs go off in Atlanta: a young mother and her two children, and her brother, who becomes the silo’s deputy mayor.  KW gets a lot of criticism for being “just fanfiction,” but it’s a great way for writers to take advantage of a built-in audience, and to do what I’ve been doing all my life: creating more stories about my favorite characters (or situations).

5.  Who is your favorite writer and why?

Stephen King.  For 40 years now, Stephen King.  He may not write great literature, but he’s a master of making you turn those pages… even if there are 1200 of them!  He’s got such a way of making you feel like a kid sitting at a campfire, asking over and over, “And THEN what happened??”

6.  What are you working on next?

I’ve got half a dozen things in the pipeline: part 3 of my “Something Simple” romantic trilogy (the journey of a young woman with a head-spinningly crazy life who’s looking for… well, something simple); a couple of romantic standalones; a SF story I originally wrote in college, about an escape that’s not as benign as everyone thinks; the aforementioned SF story about a teenager who begins to notice that her colony’s alien “staff” are being abused and killed; and a collection of short stories about a young girl’s relationship with her dad.  I also have a story in the upcoming superhero anthology being published by the LOOW group.

7.  What has been the most helpful advice to you as a writer?

It came when I was still in high school, from the head writer of my favorite TV show: “WRITE YOUR FACE OFF.”  At the time, I was a painfully shy kid from a small town, and I’d taken a leap of faith by sending him a spec script out of the blue.  To my astonishment, he called me, and his key piece of advice was to keep at it.  Just keep going.  Keep writing.

8.  Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I worked on the U.S.S. Enterprise!  Well, sort of.  Thanks to another spec script I decided to send out into the big scary world of Hollywood, I landed a writing internship at Star Trek: The Next Generation.  For 6 weeks I worked with TNG‘s production team, and got to see the journey a story takes from that original germ of an idea to finished product.  And, I got to have lunch with a bunch of Klingons!  Definitely a one-of-a-kind experience… particularly for an ardent fan.  I’ve blogged about it several times at my website (http://caroldavisauthor.com).

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A haunting free short story for October

crows

Sometimes I am struck by an idea that doesn’t fit the rest of my ideas, isn’t going to sell, but just wants to be written. I’ve published some of those stories as bonuses to my more “likeable” stories. But I have one that I’ve been wondering for some time what to do with. Maybe someday I’ll include it in an anthology. But today, I feel like sharing it. I may take it down in a week, like Kristine Kathryn Rusch likes to do. Or maybe I’ll leave it up.

In the mean time, enjoy a strange and haunting tale about a girl with feathered friends who are anything but friendly.

FEATHERED FRIENDS

Judy Goodwin

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Author Interview: Pablo Solares Acebal

Today for my author interview I have something a little different–a writer from Spain who has begun self publishing in the U.S. and other countries through Amazon. You can find out more about Pablo Solares Acebal on his website here:

pablo

1. What first made you want to write?

I really wanted to writes stories which I haven’t read. I am very selective when it comes to reading… I love it but for some reason I realize that I needed to fill in my blank page.

2.  So you’re from Spain?  Tell me about that.

Indeed. I am Spanish and I am currently living here. I have studied a Degree in English Studies and Translation as well.

3.  I see you have your first book, “The 6th of November” listed as Horror, but the blurb makes it sound more like historical fiction or maybe literary. How would you describe the book?

I think it is a purely horror story set during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). At the same time, it is historical fiction. Writing about the past is a way of showing that time is quite subjective.

4.  What made you want to write about the Spanish Civil War?

There are many stories and experiences which remain untold. Elder people knows a lot because they are still traumatized by the conflict. They were kids at the time and many stories and anecdotes from that time are what I call ‘silenced voices’. Reality became an horror book.

5.  What are you working on now?

I have my second novel, The House of Good Intentions, coming out in November. It is being translated by Barbara R. Cochran, a prestigious translator who has done classical works into English as well, like Dona Perfecta by Benito Perez Galdosl. I am also working as Associate Producer of the movie The 6th of November to be filmed in 2015. Also, I plan to start writing my third novel son, despite I have some ideas in mind.

6.  Who is your favorite writer and why?

I need I wanted to be a writer when I watched Nicole Kidman playing Virginia Woolf in ‘The Hours’. Later on, I started reading her. She was a genius. Unfortunately, she was underrated but well ahead of her time.

7.  I understand you had some acclaim in Spain and South America. How did that come about?

I think it was a bit of luck, since I was not happy with the editing of my book. Now, it is published the way I wanted it to be. I was supported by major literary blogs in Spanish language. It’s funny because well before publication I imagined what could be the reviews like and, months later, they commented the same aspects I considered important.

8.  What advice do you have for other writers, particularly outside the U.S.?

Translation is the key I guess. Sometimes books are tough to sell and it requires an huge time investment but, if you believe in your work, it’s up to you.

Author Interview: Ceinwen Langley

langley

It’s Thursday, and yes, that means it’s time for another in my indie series of author interviews!  Today I have Ceinwen Langley, a former television writer who has embraced the new world of self-publishing. You can find out more about Ceinwen at her website here:  http://ceinwenlangley.com/

1. So what got you into writing in the first place?

I honestly don’t remember! I don’t remember any time of my life when I wasn’t a reader, or when I wasn’t imagining stories and characters. Writing them down just seemed like a natural sort of progression, which I think I started doing when I was nine or ten.

2.  I understand you’ve written for television. What was that like?  How is it different from writing a novel?

Writing for television is definitely an experience! I worked in house on Neighbours for just over a year, which is a daily serial. It airs every evening, most of the year, and has done since 1985, so we had to know our characters inside out, generating fresh story material every day, working to a G-rating (family friendly) and meeting immovable deadlines. If an actor got sick or injured or weather got in the way of vital outdoor scenes, we just had to come up with a solution and make it work within the stories we’d already plotted. It was stressful, but a lot of fun, and it’s amazing the amount of creativity you can tap into when you’re working that close to the wire.

But after that year I moved into freelance scriptwriting, which is still hard work but a little easier on the nerves. Scripts are completely different beasts from novels. Obviously they need to read well, but they also need to be functional — they’re blueprints for the entire production. TV production moves so quickly that every department needs to be able to find what they need very quickly, which means that everything needs to be written as simply and clearly as possible. Novels have much more freedom to get inside characters heads, to describe, to use lovely language.

Writing prose again after writing scripts for so long was a bit scary at first. I felt like I had no rules, no guidelines. Describing anything felt weird, ‘he said, she saids,’ felt completely wrong. But after a few days of hacking away at it, it clicked. Prose still has structure, plotting, pacing, character, it just lets you play a lot more with the delivery. Once I realised that, it all felt much more achievable.

3.  Your debut novel seems to be doing well. Tell me about the book.

I really just wrote a book I wanted to read, and what I wanted to read was a spin on the fantasy of girl-being-rescued. Emma lives in a village with incredibly hard laws for women, and is offered a way out by a mysterious boy in the woods. But it’s more complicated than ‘crappy future’ vs ‘happy future.’ Emma might not have much to look forward to as a girl coming of age, but there are people she cares about too much to leave. Emma has to figure out what’s most important to her, but the longer she stays in the village the stronger the pull of an escape becomes. There’s magic, there’s romance, there’s action and danger. I think it’s a pretty fun read. I definitely had fun writing it.

4.  What about the fantasy genre appeals to you, and why?

I think for me it’s a major hangover from my childhood. I was born in the middle of nowhere, a tiny village attached to a mine in the middle of the Northern Territory, Australia. My parents always kept the house stocked with books, and my mum loves fantasy, fairytales and folklore — especially if it involves dragons – and my dad loved history and poetry, so while the landscape couldn’t have been further away from the green hills of Merlin and forests of Mirkwood, my head was always filled with magic and monsters. So whenever I sit down to work on my own projects, my mind goes straight to the unreal world, whether it’s a version of our own or a completely new one. I like how limitless my options are, how many human stories I can tell in a new way.

5.  What efforts did you make to promote your book?  What did you learn?

The Edge of the Woods is only my first book, so I really haven’t worried about spending too much time or money promoting it. I’m saving some most of my paid efforts for when I have a few more books under my wing. As for the promotions I have done, I’m fairly active on social media — I have a twitter, facebook page, instagram and blog — so I occasional send out news about the book, and I’ve run a few sales and two free days, which did really well for me. I’m also exclusive with Amazon at the moment, which means my book is available to Kindle Unlimited users. What I’ve learned is that it’s really, really hard to get your book out there and seen, how important it is to have a professional cover and engaging blurb, and how you really shouldn’t be disheartened if one attempt to get visibility doesn’t work.

6.  What are you working on next?

I’m working on two projects at the moment, both young adult, and both currently in first draft. The first is a fairytale/fantasy novella about a teenage girl who is coerced into helping a witch, and the second is a sci-fi/dystopian novel about a young woman on a last hope mission to a potentially habitable new planet. I’m very excited about both.

7.  Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I’m really quite scared of frogs. A few live in my garden, though they only come out at night. I’ve had a couple of run ins with them that always starts with me going out to get the washing or pick some herbs to throw in with dinner and end with me screaming and the sound of flappy little frog feet jumping away in the dark.

(Judy’s comment–frogs!  My favorite animal!  Lol, oh dear. You definitely wouldn’t like my house. I collect them!)

8.  Who is your favorite writer, and why?

I think Isobelle Carmody has a really beautiful grasp of language, which she pairs with incredible worlds and stories. She has a way of taking a fresh view of stories we think we already know, and she infuses even the most mundane settings with magic and adventure. I first read Obernewtyn when was eleven or twelve years old, and Elspeth Gordie is still one of my all time favourite heroines.

9.  What advice do you have for writers?

Writing can be scary, but you can’t let the fear keep you from putting your words onto paper and honing them into something great. Put yourself out there, and do it to a standard you’d be proud to stand beside. And then do it again. And again.