Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Valerie Evans

Today we are talking with Valerie Evans about her creative process. Valerie Evans is the author of the Anberlin Chronicles.

About Author

Valerie Evans has been writing since she was in middle school and started the first book of the Anberlin Chronicles back in 2012. All three parts were published earlier this year in a staggered timeline. She has always loved fantasy and bringing stories to life so she’s excited to share more stories from Anberlin as well as a new project involving werewolves.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

Kindred Spirit focuses on Aria Tate who is a witch that sees ghosts and lives in a very supernatural town. Vampires, werewolves, witches, an occasional demon, and the many unaware and aware humans call Anberlin home. The trouble starts when she saves an injured man’s life only to learn that he’s a hunter of people like her then worsens when her childhood imaginary friend, Faith, returns in adult form. Suddenly, the pranks of her childhood and Faith’s current behavior seem malicious and alienating which leads her to wonder if maybe it was more than just an overactive imagination and what Faith wants from her.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

Funnily enough, a movie called Imaginary Friend starring Lacey Chabert started me on this path. It dealt with an imaginary friend coming back as an adult and her questioning her sanity. However, I was disappointed to learn it wasn’t supernatural so I began crafting a story of my own where it’s definitely supernatural but the what isn’t so obvious. Who better to draw things dark and malicious than a witch with some strange hobbies?

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

Aria Tate comes from a long line of witches but also has an unfortunate side effect of seeing ghosts. She runs a junk shop with her brother’s girlfriend and tries to be as normal as possible. While I didn’t have any particular real life person, her appearance as red hair and green eyes was inspired by my Irish ancestry. I translated my love of thrift stores and all things strange into creating her store.

Jeremy Hayes came from far too much Supernatural. The idea of hunting supernatural creatures intrigued me, but I also wanted to play with the idea of can people change when given all the facts? He grew up with a limited view of the supernatural then gets dumped into the middle of it by crossing paths with Aria. He’s forced to face supernatural creatures are more than he realized and begins to question if he can continue to kill them so indiscriminately.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

In a lot of ways, Anberlin is like the town where I grew up. It’s small and everyone knows everyone. Strangers are rare and the businesses are locally owned. It’s a lot more interesting with its supernatural citizens, though!

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

It was originally intended to be a stand-alone novel except new questions arose. Hints were dropped, and I found myself learning more about where Aria’s magic came from. An event took an unexpected turn and gave me a chance to explore “magic comes at a price”. It wasn’t intended to have such a romance angle, but Jeremy and Aria’a chemistry popped up almost immediately so I had to explore it deeper.

What is your writing process like?

I’m an outline person, but I normally do it in chunks of 5-7 chapters with basics ideas or hints then write the meat of it freehand. I try not to edit as I go unless I left off unsure of a scene. I’ll sometimes write scenes out of order then have to find where they fit into the rest of the story.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

I love the writing phase because I finally get to see all these choppy notes become a cohesive story. It always takes me fun, unexpected directions, too, so it’s like an adventure where you don’t have to leave the house.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

The most difficult part was the confidence part because I’m overly critical. I’d had people praise my work in school assignments or writing fanfiction but making an entire world and characters of my own was new. I actually overcame it through conversation and a supportive network in my real life so I took the step to finish and publish.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I’ve read so many great authors but Holly Black started my fantasy obsession; however, I’ve shifted away from fairies to more mainstream fantasy species. A close friend and my sister inspired me, too, because both had early access to the first draft of Kindred Spirit and encouraged me to make that push toward self-publishing and getting my stories out. And the rest is history!

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Write the story you want and be true to your own vision. Don’t be afraid to write something new and strange!

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Valerie Evans, check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Cynthia Vespia

Today we are talking with Cynthia Vespia about her creative process. Cynthia Vespia is the author of Karma, Kobra, and more!

About Author

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

It’s a superhero series called Silke’s Strike Force. Book 1 is Karma. 2 is Kobra. 3 is Kaged and 4 is Khaos. I did the spelling that way with the “K” on purpose just to have a theme.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

When I started, superheroes on the big screen and TV were all the rage. I’ve always loved superheroes and comics so I decided to make up my own.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

My main character is Silke (silky) Butters. I got the name when I was working at The Wynn in Las Vegas. Someone checked in using it. We get a lot of aliases in Vegas hotels! I wrote Silke to have a good heart and pure intentions so I could challenge her. She starts out a little naïve and as her powers grow she does as well. I also made her American Indian to change things up from the norm.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

The story takes place across New York and Los Angeles. Isn’t that where all superhero stories are based? Heh heh

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

Silke’s Strike Force started out way different! Originally it was a story about female investigators. Silke was a Caucasian blonde. It evolved into this massive superhero story with military and sci-fi undertones. Crazy stuff happens when you’re a writer.

What is your writing process like?

I used to be a panster but I realized it was hurting my story. Because Silke’s Strike Force is my first big series I needed to plot it out more to have a throughline between all 4 books that links them up. But I don’t over plot either. It stifles creativity. I just put down the nuts and bolts then let the characters surprise me.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

Character creation is my favorite for sure! I’m also partial to developing villains. I guess because you have more freedom. For instance, my villains The Sin Squad are full of a bunch of powered people named after the Seven Deadly Sins. In writing them I got to explore each of their unique stories and what brought them all together.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

I wrote part 1 Karma in 2017. Then life kicked my ass. So the hardest part was trying to get back in the mindset to finish the rest of the series. Part 2, Kobra was so hard to write. But I got through it and I’m very pleased with the outcome.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

Dean Koontz. I read a book of his called Intensity when I was in school and wanted to create stories like that. I met him a few years later!

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Learn the rules of writing and then break them! Don’t be afraid to take a risk with your writing. It’s your story, have fun!

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Cynthia Vespia, check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with S.W. Raine

Today we are talking with S.W. Raine about her creative process. S.W. Raine is the author of The Techno Mage.

About Author

Raine is Canadian, born and raised, and constantly moved in between Ontario and Quebec with her military family. She moved to Michigan, USA, in 2004, where she currently still resides with her husband and son.

She has always had a vivid imagination and loved reading and writing from a very young age. She took courses in Children’s Literature through ICL in Illinois, and released her debut New Adult Steampunk adventure in 2020. She has participated in NaNoWriMo for over a decade and is currently a Municipal Liaison for the Detroit region.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

The Techno Mage is about a trio of friends, a mythical man, and a mission to destroy the mythical airship Faugregir.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

I’m a total Pantser, and the only inspiration I had was an image of an airship that appeared as a floating island instead.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

I had originally created the trio (Ikarim, Arteus, and Magaliana) for a Steampunk Role Play that never really took off. The only inspiration I had was a random image of a blond man as my avatar for Ikarim, and a woman with long blonde dreadlocks wearing tan overalls that I had seen long ago.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

When I created the trio for the RP, all three were mechanics. And since Arteus was the son of Doktor Gesselmeyer–a wealthier scientist–it just made sense to have them be in Germany, working as a side-gig for the old man.

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

I deleted a few scenes, but I also ended up deleting an entire character, as well! It broke my heart, but he’ll make his reappearance proper in the spin-off. 😉

What is your writing process like?

As stated earlier, I’m a total Pantser. I cannot outline to save my life. I like to think of myself as simply following the characters around and chronicling their journeys.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

The actual writing. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) is my favorite part because I can just let the ideas flow.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Revision and Editing were the most difficult parts. I had originally written The Techno Mage back in 2012 for NaNoWriMo, and every time I’d try to edit, I’d end up giving up after chapter 3 or 4. It’s because I didn’t truly understand how to properly edit, nor did I know that editing and revision were two separate things. It took years of trying and giving up off and on before I found myself up until 3AM learning about revision, macro edits, and micro edits via Pinterest.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I have always loved reading and telling stories. I’ve had a wild imagination since I can remember, and creative writing was always a favorite at school. I’d have to bargain with the teachers to let me write over the max word limit! I’ve had many different favorite authors as I grew up, and even took courses with ICL in Chicago, but I can say that even though I didn’t know the awesomeness of Neil Gaiman until the early 2000s, he is definitely my biggest inspiration. His storytelling is amazing, and the fact that he writes for all different ages was a definite win in my books.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in S.W. Raine, check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with S. Courtney

Today we are talking with S. Courtney about her creative process. S. Courtney is the author of Bound to You, Bound by Destiny, and Unapologetically Nessa.

About Author

S Courtney is new to the published writing community but has been a lifelong writer and began creatively writing in junior high. She is the author of the paranormal romance, Bound to You, a fast paced read full of action that will make you both smile and sigh. The dynamic between Kayden and his wolf Phoenix is awesome, while the relationship between him and Kamari is sweet enough to melt a heart. Trouble is coming and it may be more than Kayden can handle. But not if Kamari can help.

This is book one in the series, Bound by Destiny, the second book of the Bound Series is available now and Unapologetically Nessa will be released in November of 2020.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

Bound to You is a paranormal romance about a local artist who has an obsession with drawing a particular wolf she always dreams about and an Alpha leader who also enjoys painting a woman whose face he never sees but he knows, she’s the one. During a turn of events he comes into town for supplies and catches her drawing this wolf, but wait…that wolf…is him! It is a tale of two people “drawn together” by fate.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

After extensive reading on Wattpad, I noticed a pattern that I wanted to break. I wanted the heroine to be strong and fearless, not timid and weak and I wanted the hero to be strong but soft hearted, not smug and arrogant.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

Kamari Lee is a representation of myself, she’s independent but also a big sweetheart who can be a bit naive, she is supported by her best friend who constantly reassures her that her true love is coming even after her most recent heartache.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

Lovenshire was made up in my imagination, I never say exactly where the town is located but I always think Wyoming or Montana. It is a small town at the base of the mountains and lots of forestry.

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

It constantly changed, especially while editing you have to make sure everything connects and that the story flows smoothly. The plot twist in the middle of the story came out of nowhere and it seems to be everyone’s favorite part.

What is your writing process like?

I don’t plan or outline, I literally begin writing and then I go back and read. I may make notes in my phone but I like free writing, it works for me. I write any chance I get unless my characters are quiet then I don’t force it. It is their story I’m just writing it down.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

Intertwining the stories from the other books whether it be a line, a scene, or more. I enjoy people realizing that this is another POV to a particular moment in the story.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Trying to explain a new creature not known outside the book and their power and characteristics. I took some time to think about how I wanted them to look when in power and once complete I was very proud.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I’ve always loved writing but a lot of friends and family encouraged me to publish.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

To be yourself and be open to talking with others about their experiences. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because they are the very same questions we asked and finally, be confident in your writing! It may have been done a million times but none of those are from you, tell us how you would write it!

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in S. Courtney, check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Tanya Ross

Today we are talking with Tanya Ross about her creative process. Tanya Ross is the author of Rising Up.

About Author

Tanya Ross was born and raised in San Diego County, her “happy place.” Although Southern California is a particular kind of paradise, she desires a world where everyone is kind, compassionate, and upbeat, which became one of the themes of her new novel, Rising Up. For thirty-two years she was an educator of English, history, AVID, and student leadership.  She loves teaching and kids, her students a daily inspiration. Her exit from the educational arena allowed her to indulge her hopes, dreams, and goals in what she taught for so many years–writing. This first novel begins her lifelong dream of writing meaningful novels for young adults. When she’s not creating new worlds, you can find her reading, spending time with her husband and two kids, or walking her golden retriever, Honey.  

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

My novel is the first in a series. It’s about a girl (Ember) who is an Empath. She lives in a domed city called Tranquility. Everyone who lives there wears a device to monitor their emotions. Those who are happy and can stay positive earn points to rise up in society. Those who resist are banished. When Ember’s mother dies, and she is not allowed to grieve, she uncovers secrets about the city that set her on a path to revolution. With the help of Will, a city hero, and Xander, an exiled resistor, she pursues a quest to answer the questions that no one wants to ask. And the answers no one wants to believe.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

I once wore a data-collecting device from Arbitron, a company that determined the ratings for radio and tv. I wondered what would happen if it could measure other things, like emotions.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

My main character, Ember, is an extension of my 16 year old self. She is shy, does not believe she has the courage to make changes, and is very emotional and vulnerable. She looks to others for her strength. My second character, Will, 18, is based on a former student from my student leadership class when I was a teacher. He is gorgeous, friendly, ambitious, humble, and heroic. He wants to rise up in society, but when he meets Ember, he has to re-examine his priorities. My 3rd character is Xander. He is the ultimate rebel. He hates the city and all he’s expected to embrace as a citizen. He resists so much, he’s branded as a criminal and expelled from the city. He’s not based on anyone per se, but I had Adam Lambert in mind when I came up with his physical look. Both boys fall in love with Ember.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

I wanted a protected environment where people had no choice but to agree to the requirements because the alternative (living outside the city) made it almost impossible to survive. The city is perfect. It’s a place where any of us would hope to live—no crime, no negativity, no dissension. Who doesn’t yearn for that?

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

I never imagined my MC would have supernatural powers beyond her ability to feel other people’s emotions. When she had the ability to rewind time, it was a surprise.

What is your writing process like?

I only use mind maps. I run ideas in front of my family. I like to go where the characters take me, so it’s a definite seat of your pants approach.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

When I get into the flow and I am completely in other place with people I know intimately!

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Self doubt. I didn’t think I could finish it because I was always worried about whether it was any good.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I have always wanted to write a book from the time I was in high school. I don’t even know why…I know I’ve always been good with words. Also, my students inspired me. I wanted to write YA books for them.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Don’t give up. You can do this.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Tanya Ross, check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Avalon Roselin

Today we are talking with Avalon Roselin about her creative process. Avalon Roselin is the author of Stellar Eclipse, Like Falling Stars, and ALiCE.

About Author

As an independent author, Avalon Roselin’s goal is to explore as many different genres as she can. Her focus right now is on an urban fantasy/thriller-mystery series, and her plans for future books include a magical school story, an animal fiction drama, and a sci-fi romance with robot characters. She hopes to have a wide range of stories under my belt eventually!

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

My most recent release is the second book in the Stellar Eclipse series, Dark Lightning! This sequel builds on the relationships founded in the first, and introduces more elements of fantasy-adventure as they journey into new environments that expand on the lore and world of the Stellar Eclipse series.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

I’ve always loved camping! As a child, my family would take me camping at least once a year, and I’ve been in love with the outdoors ever since. In fact, the very first rough draft of Dark Lightning was completed on a camping trip! The first book in the Stellar Eclipse series, Cloudless Rain, takes place almost exclusively in an urban setting, so I wanted to explore beyond the city limits and introduce the readers to more of the natural world that the series is set in.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

All of my characters carry some of myself within them. For example, Eureka’s fear of heights–that’s all me. I can’t even climb up a ladder at a playground without freezing up, so it was cathartic to express that fear through him having to climb trees that are multiple stories tall!

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

Despite my aforementioned fear of heights, I’ve always been fascinated by giant trees and the idea of living in them. I took many trips to the redwood forests during my childhood, and I think it was here that my desire to write a story where a society of people live in such massive trees began!

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

Dark Lightning is actually an older story despite being a sequel, so it had to change a lot as its predecessor did. One of the biggest changes was shifting the setting–originally, the main characters passed through the forest on the way to the mountains, where the second and third acts took place. In the final version, they stay in the forest, which allows the story to move forward with the plot much faster and gives more time to develop characters that will return in future installments!

What is your writing process like?

I start with outlining and planning, then draft and redraft as many times as I feel is necessary, until I think I’m ready to show my work to people. After that the unfinished manuscript is shown to beta readers to get feedback on the story, and I make adjustments and general improvements as needed. Next it goes to my content editor, who goes into more depth of which specific details or plot points should be altered to tell the story I really want to tell. I revise again, then go over the semi-final draft with my line editor. Once everything’s set, I send it off to my proofreader, and then it’s ready for publication! Dark Lightning finished this process in the shortest amount of time (just under two years), but I anticipate the next book will take 2-3 years.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

I actually love the editing process. Seeing my story become its best self is a beautiful and wonderful thing, and even if it’s hard, it’s always rewarding and I learn something new about how to write better.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Committing to major changes is always difficult. There’s always a sense of doubt, and I tend to question my judgment quite a bit, but thankfully my critique partners and editors are usually available to talk it through and, usually, they’re good changes.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I always loved writing as a hobby when I was a kid, but it was a particularly spirited discussion on The Giver in middle school that inspired me to take it seriously!

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Never let the fear of writing something that’s not “good” stop you! All writing has worth as practice, and you never know what ideas you might reuse later.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in [author], check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Effy J. Roan

Today we are talking with Effy J. Roan about her creative process. Effy J. Roan is the author of the World of Dadreon.

About Author

Effy J. Roan has been building the World of Dadreon on and off for over 20 years. Jadeflare went through several drafts over that time until it finally became a true finished draft of over 120k words in 2019, and she’s currently on book 3 of the the four book series, Eve of the Desecrators. Her plan is to draft all four books before she buckles down and edit, so that she can catch any inconsistencies. She loves dragons, and most of my stories include them. They’re an integral part of the world of Dadreon. She would like to see this series published eventually, but for now she’s happy pursuing amy lifelong dream.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

Jadeflare is the first in a series of four books, Eve of the Desecrators. It’s about a young druid who discovers a powerful magic called Jadeflare. Now she must figure out how to use it and why it is making her the target of a dark creature who will stop at nothing to kill her and anyone who dares to help her, including a talking hawk, a telepathic wolf, and a man with a strange dragon obsession.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

Lakeerae is partially me and partially the many main characters in nearly every fantasy I’ve read since I began reading.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

The world of Dadreon is a vast, complex world that started out as a simple setting for elves and dragons and humans and expanded from there. Dadreon was created by the gods from the ashes of Earth with groups of protectors and desecrators, order versus chaos, who eternally fight for control.

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

Lakeerae’s story and the world around her have grown from a girl fighting for her life in her tiny realm called The Bracklin Reach to her leaving that tiny corner of this vast world and meeting different peoples and discovering different places while completing an epic quest.

What is your writing process like?

I’m still learning what works best for me, but I’ve realized I’m less plotter and more pantser than I originally thought. I tend to write out the main plot points then dive in, because so much changes in my drafting process. In my current series, each book is split into three parts (three is such a magic number). I love writing my draft by hand. Then I type it up about once a week, which helps with my need to do some editing while writing. At the end of each part, I do a readthrough, then I give that section to my alpha reader, who is my mom.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the writing part and the discovery of how things will fit together.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

The hardest part of my book was writing the first book to completion and coming in over 100k. The first time through, book one was only 45k words. So I replotted and rewrote it from start to finish. The next time around, it was over 120k. The second book hit 120k much easier, and I’m on track to hit 120k with book three.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I read a lot of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books when I was in school. My first fantasy story (which will probably be my next series) actually started out as a D&D adventure, but I realized that I’m a bit of a control freak and I was happier just telling the story myself.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Don’t let anyone dictate what you decide to do. If you want to write, write. If you want to draw, draw. Do it for yourself. Then share it only when and if you’re ready.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Effy J. Roan, check out the links below!

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E.S. Barrison

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A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Penny Hooper

Today we are talking with Penny Hooper about her creative process. Penny Hooper is the author of I Fell In Love with a Psychopath and It’s My Mistake.

About Author

Penny Hooper is an award-winning multi-genre author and activist.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

My book ‘I Fell in Love with a Psychopath’ is about a woman who moves to Chicago to chase her dream to work in a museum, but it doesn’t quite go to plan. She meets the funny, outgoing Liam working in a boring office, having a small crush on him, but never quite getting his attention, until one day he finally asks her out. She also meets Xander in a bar one night, he’s tall, ruggedly handsome and mysterious. However, one of them is a psychopath…

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

I can’t remember exactly where I got the idea from, but I think I had a dream one day about a man, I can’t remember the details of the dream, but I do remember having this weird infatuation with it afterwards, like I was still living it. I decided then, that I couldn’t quite part with that feeling, so I had to use it to inspire a story. I also remember thinking about all the thrillers on psychopaths out there, and they always end up the same; someone gets killed or at least nearly killed. But, the truth is, there are many people with psychopathy that are living normal lives, not everyone turns out to be killers. So, I wanted to kind of promote the better side of psychopaths, but of course, add in a few twists and turns along the way!

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

Well, I can’t say too much about the two male characters in my book, as it might give the story away! But, the main character; Jo, like most of my main characters, a lot of her personality is based either around who I used to be, or who I am now, or who I want to be. Jo, in this case, is mostly based around who I used to be; shy, lacking confidence, and naive, but she does grow a little as the story develops, into more of the person I am today; a little more confident and strong.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

Ah, the Windy City; Chicago. Ironically, I haven’t yet had the chance of visiting, even though my book is set there (I am planning on visiting in the next year or so, as I’m planning a charity tour down Route 66 with a friend!). In my book ‘I Fell in Love with a Psychopath’, I wanted to set the book somewhere new, rather than keeping it to the UK all the time, where I’m from. Chicago is the one city in the USA that I have always loved (aside from LA and New York), it looks clean, bright and beautiful, so I set myself the challenge. I did have to do a lot of research, however!

What is your writing process like?

Haphazard. Haha. And this largely depends on the genre I am writing. My two published novels are both romantic suspense, so I initially start with an idea, brainstorm how I want to story to develop and set upon writing it, chapter by chapter. I know what’s going to happen at the start, in the middle, and how it’s going to end. However, one of my books I’m still currently working on; Rose Garden Sanatorium is a little different as it’s written very differently. Firstly, it has multiple points of views, and although I have an idea of how it ends and roughly what will happen in the middle – as well as the whole story which will span a series – I have been a lot more open to change – if I decide that it doesn’t seem to flow right, or I decide a character wouldn’t actually do or say something in particular, I would change it. Which is probably why it’s taking me nearly three years so far to write. I also had another idea of a story, which was slightly inspired by the writing style in Paula Hawkins’ book ‘The Girl on the Train’, as the timeline changes a lot, cutting back to an earlier timeline so your understanding of what’s going on develops just like a detective’s would.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

Getting the initial story down as a first draft is always my favourite, just seeing the idea in my head forming into something tangible. But, one thing that I think sets me out differently to other authors, is that I like detail. I also said this in a recent podcast with Megha Upadhyaya… there is one chapter in particular in my book Rose Garden Sanatorium that originally was one of my less-liked chapters, it’s of a character that is a secondary character, initially I wrote it as a filler, so you build up an idea of what’s going on slowly. But I decided to go back to it, after putting a lot of time and effort into the chapters that I loved, I decided I should give the lesser-liked chapters a bit more attention. The chapter itself is about this agent who is put on her first mission, and the scene only really goes from the building to the van, but I go into detail about what she’s wearing, how it was designed, the equipment and so on. It seems like a lot, and I can imagine my future editor saying it’s unnecessary, but there are a few little ‘easter eggs’ in there, which if you read it properly, you will see and build up a picture of what is actually going on.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

In ‘I Fell in Love with a Psychopath’, the most difficult bit was actually the beginning. I started off with a chapter that I enjoyed writing, and it formed the starting point of the rest of the story, the story and characters developed along the way. But when I went back to it after getting half-way through, I realised that start wasn’t captivating enough. It took me a while to figure out what to do. But in the end, I actually created a prologue for the story, which actually started half-way in to the story, so you read this pivotal moment in the story first, then you go back to how it began. You read the first half of the story learning what happened leading up to that moment. Then, the rest of the book is what happens after that moment.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Yes; just write. I’ve said this before in other interviews. The only way you are going to learn, grow as a writer, and actually finish writing that book (I can’t talk too much, as I’m STILL writing Rose Garden Sanatorium!) is to write. Don’t worry if you don’t think it’s amazing, you’re not going to learn if you don’t practice. And, another piece of advice; work out if you want to go down the traditional publishing route or self-published, and be prepared that the book you are writing, even if it’s the most interesting and well-edited book in the world, if a traditional publisher isn’t interested in the genre, they will not be interested in your book. Both options are difficult and lots of hard work, but for different reasons.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Penny Hooper, check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

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A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Britt Laux

Today we are talking with Britt Laux about their creative process. Britt Laux is the author of Summer at Enid’s and The Forest Witch.

About Author

Britt is an Ohio-based author and editor who lives in their own small forest. You can often find them daydreaming new stories while wandering among the trees. They grew up writing stories, starting will fully illustrated books about vampires. Now they focus on realistic characters and life experiences with LGBTQ+ representation.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

The Forest Witch (coming 2021) is a sapphic fantasy about a warrior and a witch who are thrown together by fate. They have to figure out how to save the world of Unara before war rips it apart. It verges on dark fantasy in places, but has a bit of romance and heat. It’s also the first book of a trilogy.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

My original inspiration came from playing with my six year old in the woods. We were going under arched trees – we call them faerie arches – and pretending to be transported to new worlds. That was the spark, and portals are still a huge part of the story, but it’s changed a lot as it’s been developed.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

My main characters are Lanira and Siobhan. Lanira is an Unaran warrior, and what we would consider a princess. She’s very strong and a bit stubborn. Many strong women have inspired Lanira. Siobhan is a human, with a witchy background. She can be a bit sassy, but is very sweet.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

Forests are often a part of my work. I live in the woods and find a lot of inspiration there… So, I knew it would be set in a forest, and I built the rest of the world as I went.

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

Oh wow… It’s changed a lot! From the original idea of faerie arches in a forest, to changing the main character from male to female… I’m a “pantser” and it took several false starts to find the right path for this one. It’s also gotten darker from the light hearted idea I started with.

What is your writing process like?

I fly by the seat of my pants! I get an idea and will usually draft a few chapters to get a feel for it, then develop characters and setting notes. Then I just have at it! I’m terrible at plotting, and never follow an outline when I make one.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

The first draft, for sure. That’s the magic of discovering a new story.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

The most difficult point for me was finding the right voice. I started with a male MC (who actually stayed on as a side character), and it just wasn’t working. Once I realized I needed a female voice, it all fell into place.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I’m not sure! I’ve been writing stories since I was eight! I can’t remember not wanting to be a writer. But I am inspired by other authors, especially in the indie community. It’s such a great family of storytellers to be a part of.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

I would say, don’t worry about what the “experts” say – or at least, take it with a grain of salt. You have to write your story the way it needs to be written.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Britt Laux, check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Logan Young

Today we are talking with Logan Young about his creative process. [Author] is the author of The Vanquisher of Water.

About Author

Logan Young is a Colorado-based young adult author. As a child, his overactive mind never seemed to shut off, filling his head with all kinds of stories and worlds. Now as an adult, he’s decided to put those stories on paper. When not writing, Logan enjoys getting out and exploring in nature whenever he can.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

My debut novel, The Vanquisher of Water, tells the story of Kym Collins. Kym is a young teenage girl who’s life has been negatively impacted by magic. Then, when she discovers that she herself has magic, she must learn to accept her place in a world she never wanted to be a part of.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

The idea for this world and Kym’s story really came out of nowhere. I was sitting in my parent’s house when I was 17 years old one night in December, and suddenly, the idea of Princirum, the setting of Kym’s story, plopped into my head. I knew there were gods and rulers and demons and people who could do magic, but there also weren’t that many of them. I started writing the mythology of the world, most of which only makes brief appearances in the actual story. Then, once I felt like I had a semi firm grasp on the world of Princirum, I started looking at Kym’s story.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

The main character of The Vanquisher of Water is 16 year old Kymbralyn Collins. With Kym, I really wanted a hero who wasn’t, for lack of a better phrase, “special because they are the hero”. I wanted a hero who struggled with their place in the world, and who also struggled with the magic itself. Of course, there is always a little of every author in all of their characters, and that is very true for myself and Kym. Growing up as a competitive swimmer, I was not good when I was young. I had to work really, really hard to improve while other around me with more natural talent didn’t need to work as hard. And that struggle bled into Kym, to whom magic does not come naturally and who has to work extremely hard just to keep up with her magical training.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

For a story like the one I wanted to tell, I needed a little more control over it. So, I invented a whole world, complete with it’s own religion, gods, and customs. I thought it would be fun to have a technologically advanced society living alongside a magical world that seemed so stuck in the past they were almost out of place. Then, since this was a magical world, that let me get away with having some very different locations on what is in actuality a relatively small island.

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

The biggest changes came near the beginning. In the very first draft, I did the rookie author mistake of trying to info dump all of the information I thought the reader would need, resulting in what is now the first chapter starting out as the third. I also spent many, many years writing this book. So, even if the story itself didn’t really change, everything got a little deeper and darker is I grew out of my angsty teen years and into my early twenties.

What is your writing process like?

I’m a big planner. I like to know what I’m going to do and where a story is going to go. However, I alway allow myself the room to let the story deviate from the plan and go where it needs to. With any part of my writing process, I really only have one rule: finish what you’re doing BEFORE you move on to the next part. This really comes in handy during drafting, where I always have ideas about how I could change and “fix” what I did a week ago. So, I jot down the idea so I don’t forget it, and then I keep pushing forward with the draft and save all changes until the draft is done.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy drafting the most. It’s where I feel the most free, and where literally anything can happen in the story, since there really is no story until I write it down.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

The most difficult part of writing the book came about halfway through the process. I’d been writing the book for about 3 years at that point, and when I sat down to do another read through of the draft, I realized I couldn’t read it. The writing was just too hard to read. I couldn’t get through the first 5 pages of my own story. That was a huge blow. Even to me, the one who loves this story the most, the book was unreadable. So, I ended up rewriting the entire novel, from start to finish. And even though it took months to do, I’m happy I did it in the end, since the book wouldn’t be what it is without that step.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I grew up in the Harry Potter era, and it would be ridiculous of me to say that wasn’t a big inspiration, because it was. That series was the series that made me enjoy reading, and want to explore worlds of my own. I was also inspired my the TV series Avatar the Last Airbender, which had so many diverse characters and personalities that made a really fun group dynamic.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

If you have a story to tell, tell it. Don’t let anyone stop you from telling a story you are excited about. Also, the only person you should be trying to please with your story is yourself. Write the story that excites you, not the one you think other will like.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in Logan Young, check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison