The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Author Interview with Lauren Faulkenberry

Lauren Faulkenberry

2K International Writer's Blog Tour

Lauren Faulkenberry

I’m a writer and book artist currently living in North Carolina (US). I published a children’s book in 2002, but currently write novels and shorts stories. Under the imprint of Firebrand Press, I made limited edition handmade books that are letterpress printed. I’ve always loved books and illustration, and have combined my love of writing and image-making in artists books. My books are held in a variety of Special Collections libraries both nationally and internationally. I currently work for the National Park Service and travel to conduct printmaking and book arts workshops.

Lauren FaulkenberryWhat is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

A children’s book called “Lost Dog” when I was in grade school. I wrote and illustrated it, and made book covers from cereal boxes.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

My favorite thing about being a writer is pretending to be someone else, learning about new places, jobs, and people as a mode of research for my imaginings. My least favorite part is the submission process and the marketing side of things–I find self-promotion painfully difficult, but I know I need to do it.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I often feel stuck. It’s a bit like coming to a dead end in a labyrinth and having to problem-solve to make the next move. To beat it, sometimes I take a break and read, or draw, or work on another project for a while. If I find I’ve sat staring at the screen for a half and hour with no progress, I shift gears to something else. But sometimes I sit for a half an hour, thinking of how I can create another obstacle for my character. I think: “What would the Coen brothers do?” That sometimes helps. At the very least, it’s fun, and that loosens me up.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

I’m rewriting a romance novel that I started years ago. The most challenging part of that is working out some plot points that have been irking me. I love my characters and think they have a great humor and chemistry, but I have to work hard to create an escalating plot. I sometimes get so wrapped up in my characters’ personalities that I lose sight of that escalation that I think is necessary.

What supports you in your writing?

Financially? My day jobs. Emotionally? My friends and family who encourage me–I’m very lucky to have them. I write because I love creating stories and creating alternate worlds for me to be a part of. It’s fun, and it’s magical when I’m doing it right, and I can’t imagine not doing it. So that fuels me to keep going when things are particularly hard.

What are you currently reading?

Lydia Millet’s “Mermaids in Paradise,” Neil Gaiman and Teri Pratchett’s “Good Omens,” and “Pride and Prejudice.” I like to spread my reading around, like watching different TV shows each day.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

my blog: http://therightsideof30.blogspot.com/

artist books can be viewed on my site: http://www.firebrandpress.org/?page_id=326

Lauren Faulkenberry Artist Books

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The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Author Interview with Steven Baird

Steven Baird

2K International Writer's Blog Tour

Apologies to Steven! My tour stop was delayed. He will be joined by today’s interviewee shortly.

Steven Baird

I’m a full-time ad designer for a chain of newspapers which publishes in Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, Georgia and several other states. I currently live in S.W. Virginia in a remarkably isolated area with my wife Angela and a horse, dog, cat, and several chickens. I’m a native Canadian so I still miss (after almost 8 years!) my daily Tim Horton’s coffee. I actually dream about it.

Steven BairdI first thought myself a writer when I was 10 years old. I’m 55 now, so it’s been awhile. At my former job, I was an ad designer, a columnist, part-time editor, did pagination, and helped set up the plates for printing. Occasionally I’d insert flyers if there was time. So I’m familiar with the business.

Writing, for me, has always been the best means of expression. Novels have always fascinated me… the pacing, the character development, the plotting, the nuances. I see them as journeys and I’m drawing the map. I look for the poetry in language, the shadings and subtleties. I try to avoid the obvious, and I abhor cliches. Lately, my style tends to be non-linear, exploring subjects from different times in their lives… I think it gives a more three-dimensional aspect of the characters. I like the idea that I can shuffle the chapters in my work and it will still work. When I’m not writing, I’m a very boring person, but my wife likes me. She, too, is a writer, a poet, an artist and an awesome person. We’ve been married for 13 years and still enjoy each others company.

Ordinary Handsome is my favorite work and I’m working hard to promote it and get sales moving. It’s about a dying Oklahoma town – Handsome – and the secrets and hardships of a handful of men who live there. It’s primarily about dying and not knowing it… or avoiding it… or denying it. The horrors of becoming a ghost, literally and figuratively. I’m unabashedly proud of it, but I’m terrible at self-promotion.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

I wrote a short humorous story as a class assignment when I was 10 years old. Being a very shy boy, I was overwhelmed when everyone in the classroom stood up and applauded. The story was something about mixing up toothpaste and Brylcreem. I don’t remember the story, but I remember the reaction.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

I love how real a story can become, and how the characters sometimes do such unexpected things. I don’t like the periods between writing projects… that’s when the self-doubts start to creep in.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I’m not sure I believe in it. I’m always searching for ideas and always challenging myself. Though I may not be physically writing something, I’m always working on ideas. Sometimes painting yourself into a corner is not a bad thing… you either scrap the idea, or patiently wait it out. A single word can be enough to get me thinking. “Handsome” popped into my head one day. A town. Oklahoma. A ghost town. And then it began. A single word, a color, a quote… it’s all there for the taking if you’re paying attention to what drives the imagination. I don’t believe the imagination can ever be blocked.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

A novel titled “Branchwater”. It started out as a series of vignettes and developed into a full-blown novel. The most challenging part is finding the time to write it. I have a short attention span when I’m writing, and if it’s not working, I toss it. If I don’t stay on top of it, I’m going to lose it. So I always try to find the time.

What supports you in your writing?

My wife’s encouragement. My stubbornness. The fact that I have no other talents I wish to pursue.

What are you currently reading?

“The Grapes of Wrath”. I read it in high school, but really, this is the first time.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

www.Ordinaryhandsome.com

Link to one book/publication you may want to promote at this time.

I’m going to be a brat about it: Ordinary Handsome – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P46ZPA0

Ordinary Handsome

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The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Author Interview with Corri van de Stege

Corri van de Stege

2K International Writer's Blog Tour

Across the Pond to meet Corri van de Stege!

Corri van de Stege

I live and write in England, although I’m a Dutch national.  I’ve lived in England for very long stretches of time, studied in London, and worked across the UK. I’ve also lived in The Netherlands where I was brought up, and I lived in Iran during the 1979 revolution. As a consequence of all this moving around the globe I now have a very dispersed family, and this provides wonderful excuses for travelling here, there and everywhere whenever I can!

Corri van de Stege

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I used to keep diaries and write short stories, but never got round to properly editing or submitting these. I guess this was because, as well as moving around countries and bringing up a family, I had demanding professional jobs. As part of the latter I published some non-fiction work, one as a co-author on a book on student exchanges across Europe and also short articles that were published in professional journals.  Nevertheless, I always read (fiction) voraciously and have always wanted to be a fiction writer. At the end of 2013 I decided to hand in my notice and retire from the day job. It was the right decision at it gave me the time to write. I was able to pick up on the various drafts of two books that I had started and almost completed in previous years, one was my memoir of living in Iran during the revolution (based on diaries that I kept at the time) and the other a novel about growing up in The Netherlands within a small and fanatically religious community. The latter had already been through various transformations: over the years I participated in and completed Creative Writing Courses at the OU and at writers’ workshops in Norwich. I submitted chapters and drafts and this helped me to keep the writing candle lit. I was particularly pleased when one of my tutors suggested that my writing was ready for publishing and that I should focus on completing and editing what I had started.

Both my memoir about living in Isfahan during the Iranian revolution in 1979, Half the World, and my first novel, Notes on Anna, were published in 2014. In addition, I published two of my short stories in 2014.

I took a long holiday (well, three weeks) in the autumn of 2014 visiting one of my sons in Singapore. After my return I started my next novel, which is my current project (see below)

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

I remember having lined notebooks in which I wrote stories about characters out of the books that I read. Then from teenage years onwards I also kept many diaries and writing notebooks but most of these have disappeared during my moves from one country to the next.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

I love it when I’m actually writing, when I’m in the middle of something, a chapter or a story and it all just flows and I play around with the sentences.  I enjoy this sense that I am in control of what I do and where my story is going, I can imagine whatever I want to imagine. That’s quite different from writing a report, say, when you have to stick to the task in hand. I wrote a lot of quite lengthy reports during my working life. Writing fiction, or a memoir, is exhilarating in that you can let your imagination flow without a bunch of people telling you what to write and how to write it! I need physical exercise to keep my mind going (and to sleep well at night) and so I don’t like sitting in front of the computer for hours on end. In the summer there is the gardening and in winter I play the clarinet to balance the activities.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I’m not sure about that. I think a way of getting round that sense that you don’t know what to write about, or even that you cannot write at all, is to sit with a piece of paper, or  with your iPad  or laptop and start writing whatever… Another way of getting round it is to do some research, and to write down what you’ve found out. Even if this is unrelated to the story or book that you are writing.  I’m always prodding myself into discovering new things and this year I have signed up for a number of so-called Mooc courses (Massive On-line Open Courses: free short courses provided by universities around the world on topics ranging from literature to science and gardening).  I am currently following a course on Forensic Science and already have ideas on how I can use some of my newly gained insights by having one of my characters married to a forensic scientist. I don’t intend to write a crime thriller though. Previously I followed a course on Theories of Mind – quite interesting when you think about fictional characters and what they are like.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

I am writing a novel about a family that, on the surface of it all, is a reasonably well-functioning entity but when an accident happens the past starts to unravel. I don’t really want to say more about this as it is still very fluid. I’m also working on a couple of short stories and have ideas for a few more.  So far I’ve published two short stories, which are only available as ebooks and I would like to publish a collection of short stories, which would also be available in paperback format.

We spoke about writer’s block earlier on, but I think the main challenge is to keep focused on the writing, rather than not knowing what to write. I have many interests that vie for equal rights, for example, in the summer there is the garden and learning about new plants, names of plants, and then there are the visitors to your garden such as frogs, different birds, etc. I’m also following up on one my very longstanding ambition, which is to learn to play an instrument and to be able to read music. I’ve bought a clarinet and over the last three months have more or less progressed through grade one material. I practice my clarinet up to two hours a day, which sometimes proves to be an excuse for not writing! On the other hand, playing music can be quite stimulating for the imagination.

What supports you in your writing?

Having my own very wonderful room to hide in, enough time because I’ve retired from the day job, and a husband who is also a writer now and who needs very little attention as he’s usually even more distracted than I am.

What are you currently reading?

I am a voracious reader, mainly of literary fiction but I also read psychological thrillers, historical novels and non-fiction books. In the latter category is a book that was a Christmas present ‘The Edge of the World’ by Michael Pye. This is a fascinating account of how the North Sea made us who we are (here in Europe, and in particular the English and the Dutch –interesting for me as I am a Dutch national living in England). I am also reading Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, for the second time. The book group I belong has put it on the list for one of our next meetings and this is quite good timing in view of the marvelous new tv series Wolf Hall which started on BBC2 recently.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

I am quite ubiquitous on line: you can find me at my blog www.corrivandestege.com  (which will direct you to a blog called 51 stories) and in the about page of my blog are links to my books and short stories.

I also have a facebook author page, and perhaps if you visit you could ‘like’ this page (it’s fairly new): http://bit.ly/corrivandestegeauthor

My books are available in paperback format as well as for Kindle, Nook and Kobo. My short stories are available for your e-reader or kindle. The link to the Amazon UK website for my publications is: http://amzn.to/1kEvirM  For Amazon.com the link is: http://amzn.to/1nlbKIL

You can also follow me on twitter: @corrivandestege.

Notes on Anna

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The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Author Interview with Lani V. Cox

Lani V. Cox

2K International Writer's Blog Tour

Aloha Lani!

Lani V. Cox

I was born in a pink hospital on the beautiful Hawaiian Island of O’ahu, a week after my mom landed from Thailand (‘cause she’s crazy). And even though I was lucky to be raised there, we moved to the middle of the Mojave Desert when I was 12 years old and did not return to Hawaii until about 2 years later.

Lani V. Cox

At the time, I felt isolated and cursed because it was the first time I was a minority and had no friends. But now I can see it as a pivotal time in my life because it was when I started to read and write. I fell in love with reading and magically an old-fashioned green typewriter appeared in the kitchen one day – probably right around the time I decided I could write, too.

I’ve lived a rather nomadic life and I want to say this was not by choice, but on some level, it must have been. For my adult life, I’ve lived in Chico and Oceanside California, Durango Colorado, Eugene and Portland Oregon, Huntsville Alabama, Cuenca Ecuador and Chiang Mai Thailand. Currently, I teach English in Chiang Rai and have lived abroad for about 5 years.

And despite all of this wandering, I’m proud to say I just finished publishing my first book, the missing teacher.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

When I was about 13 years old, I remember buying a diary with a lock and key. On the cover it said “Crusin’” and it had a 1950s car, like a Studebaker on it, too. It was pink and silver and I loved the idea that I could lock it from prying parents or siblings.

For my first entry, I wrote about a family road trip we took from Barstow, California to Las Vegas, Nevada. I wrote about the passing desert landscape and my thoughts on the journey. I was writing from the backseat of the car.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

What a question! Can I say my favorite aspect is writing? I suppose not. Hmmm. I like how writing forces me to be clear and creative in my thoughts.  I love how I get lost in the act of writing. I even like the challenges, but what I don’t like is all the other stuff that surrounds writers these days. The self-promotions, research on how to publish, or agents to pitch to, or the endless publications that you can submit your work to. It’s just a lot and I don’t think I’m the only person who wishes it was easier.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

No, I don’t.  I believe in making a writer’s mess though. Regardless, I do think that many problems can be solved by a good night’s sleep, and a willingness to fail, make mistakes and do everything over again. I believe we can learn a lot through the process or act of creating and sometimes it’s not as smooth as we’d like it to be and that’s okay. It’s going to be alright.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

As I mentioned, I just finished self-publishing my first book the missing teacher. It was an incredibly challenging task from start to finish for many reasons. First, I didn’t really know how I wanted to outline or write my memoir. I tried different things and so I have very different versions and directions I tried out. Secondly, I carried this book with me for about 10 years. I lost motivation at times, but I stuck with it because I knew finishing this would be important. And lastly, getting the book ready for print, e-format and audio was a lot of work. I also had no idea creating a book cover would take so much trial and error, or that proofing for Amazon was going to be a test in patience and sanity.

What supports you in your writing?

I believe blogging supports my writing because it is through blogging that I can write what I want and attempt to reach an audience. I’ve also met people for coffee through my blog and it has been an interesting conversation starter at work or when I’m out being social. I’ve been surprised by how many people tell me, “I read your blog.” And for about a year, I did a learning Thai podcast with someone who upon first meeting me, gushed, “I love your blog.”

What are you currently reading?

I read a great deal online these days. But ever since I got my Kindle, I’ve been enjoying the free books available through great sites like Open Culture. So, I’m re-reading classic fairy tales and finally cracking into Jane Austin’s Emma.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

If you are interested in continuing the conversation, I blog at Life, the Universe and Lani and my indie child the missing teacher can be found here. Thank you, Kate and Kate!  

the missing teacher

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The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Author Interview with Amanda Richter

Amanda Richter

2K International Writer's Blog Tour

Happy Hearts Day! Come show some author love to Amanda Richter 

Amanda Richter

Hi, I’m Amanda! I live in Toronto, Canada and I lived in the United Kingdom for nearly three years- which means I spell it colour not color, honour not honor, and favourite not favorite. I’m an educator by day and write to keep my sanity. I read andAmanda Richter write Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Humour, but put any book in my hand and I’m a happy girl. My dream is to write full-time, from home, in my pajamas, because going outside during winter in Ontario is highly overrated.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

The first writing memory I have is ten year old me writing X-Men romantic fan-fiction based on the ninety’s cartoon. I remember using a DOS based word processor with a black and green screen and saving on those really big, thin, floppy disks. I oscillated between being Cyclopes’ girlfriend and Gambit’s girlfriend. This was pre-Hugh Jackman X-Men so Wolverine was not even on my radar yet

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

My favourite aspect of being a writer is the developing stage; daydreaming, world building, being introduced to my characters and falling in love with them. My second favourite aspect is that I have an excuse to sit in coffee shops and look intellectual.

My least favourite aspect is pushing through the lulls. Often, I find it hard to complete a large project because I get sidetracked or my interest level in the novel wanes. I always circle back to it but I often find it hard to keep myself motivated enough to focus on one project at a time and bring it to completion. I’m a procrastinator and I will find anything else to do besides write if I am feeling a lack of creativity.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I suppose that depends on your definition of ‘writer’s block’. I have never experience a moment when I did not have anything to write. There has never been an absence of ideas banging against the front of my skull insistently. I’ve never been ‘blocked’ in that way. I have never sat in front of a computer screen, note book, chalk board, or sand with a stick and not had anything to put to on it. It probably just isn’t what I should be writing.

I have been tired, unmotivated, discouraged, hungry, distracted, downtrodden, and a hostage to my own expectations. I am no stranger to sitting before a blank page, that nasty cursor blinking at me over and over again, double dog daring me to write something utterly fantastic. Sure, I could write. I have ideas, but are they worth the time and effort? Are they worth overcoming the fear of writing something inadequate? Maybe you consider this being ‘blocked’- but I don’t. I don’t believe in using ‘writer’s block’ as a crutch. As I mentioned I am a procrastinator. I know that about myself so I’m not going to blame ‘writer’s block’ for not accomplishing my goals or word count. That’s all on me.

So, what helps? Well, I take a shower. It gives me a few minutes to relax and gives my mind space to wander. Most of the time it’s the refresher I need to sit and hack out another few sentences.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

I am working on editing my untitled NaNoWriMo 2014 manuscript; a post-apocalyptic novel centering on slavers, cannibals, drug addictions, and a disagreeable anti-hero.

I fell out of love with the story halfway through the month- I hated every word, sentence, every paragraph. I completed it for the sake of pride and am revising for the same reason. It’s not completely awful or else I’d just toss it, but the manuscript needs a lot of work which can be very discouraging and daunting. However, the more I revise the less I hate the story.

What supports you in your writing?

Of course I must dutifully proclaim my family as my utmost supporters. Though I will admit to never failing to be shocked and surprised by it. I assume everything my sisters say is sarcastic. My family has been very encouraging- though they do need constant re-linking to my blog (it’s called a bookmark, you know). I have a plethora of friends who support and encourage me- though it often looks like they are making fun of me.

National Novel Writing Month is perhaps the catalyst of the current leg of my writing journey. I look forward to the challenge every year. NaNoWriMo reaffirms that- yes, I can write a novel, I can find the time, and that I am a highly competitive person who must beat everyone else in the world.

What are you currently reading?

Currently I am reading The Broken Land: A People of the Longhouse Novel By Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear. I picked up The Broken Land on a whim because it was on the discount shelf at the local bookstore. I am really enjoying it and plan to go back and read the earlier novels in the series.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

You can read my humour blog at Reading Over People’s Shoulders and check out my sparkly new author website at www.amanda-richter.com.

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The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour: Author Interview with Amrita

2K International Writer's Blog Tour

Friday the 13th got you nervous? Relax, read and get to know Amrita:

Amrita

My name is Amrita. I’m 26 years old. I have an M.A. in English. I’m currently doing my M.Phil. My interests are in literature, Psychology, music, film and comedy. My blog’s called Of Opinions, where I write on Psychology, culture, writing and blogging. Don’t be put off by its name, I promise you it is more interesting than it sounds!

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

Apart from the many overenthusiastic school essays and personal poetry, the first piece I remember being excited about was a short story I wrote when I was thirteen. It was for the school magazine, and it was called Shakespeare in Space. Sadly, it got rejected, and I don’t have a copy of it either. I remember Shakespeare being very excited (and very wordy) to be in space.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

My favorite aspect of being a writer is the complete sense of engagement the act of it brings. Musician Craig Wright has called art a “collateral” experience to life, but writing makes me feel more alive than anything else.

My least favorite is, of course, the loneliness. I cannot create in an environment of chaos and as much as writing makes me feel alive and passionate, I miss the ability to not have anyone around to share that passion. Writing itself isn’t lonely however. I see it as conversations, as excitedly sharing a story with someone who is, genuinely, as excited by it. But, physical loneliness can never be compensated by literary togetherness.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I do believe in writer’s block. In my case, I’ve usually found it to be a life block. The more I write, the more I find that it is better to have all your ideas out, even before you consciously think about them, than to be creatively blocked in waiting for the right idea. Creatively, I see writing as a series of decisions, right from a plot or a character one, to one of narrative flow, to one of syntax or choice of words.

With a life block, it is more specific, and you have to see for yourself how to solve it. With a creative block, to reiterate what I just wrote, just let your doubts rest and let all your clumsy, stupid, silly ideas out. Then, preferably after some time has gone by, go back and see what can be done with them. With my blogging, I find, pieces that I often hate myself or find to be too awkward or silly, somehow, don’t get received in that way. You can never have reins over perfection. You just gotta keep swimming, and believe that someone will notice if they see anything of value.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

My current project is my M.Phil thesis on the representation of women in the music of women rock artists of the 1970s. I’ve also been peripherally working on other ideas and, of course, on my blog as well.

My primary current writing project ( my heart gives a few anxious leaps if I say or write its name! ) has been the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life. The ratio of life block to creative block is 70:30 for this. I love what I write about; it just hasn’t been the right time in my life to write about it. But, the work is more important than I am. Another potential ‘women in rock’ book may not do the world any good but, I will nevertheless try my best to give these artists their critical due which many of their contemporary and extremely sexist critics, did not.

What supports you in your writing?

An immense, deep-set, unshakeable, complete, crystalline love for art. High and low, past and present, fine and applied. Art sustains me, gives me enthusiasm for life, gives me courage to do something to make my life worthwhile, and most of all, makes me feel highly grateful to be alive. Nothing else, but to be in the vicinity of art, makes me want to write. I see writing as an act of love, and that love is motivating enough to support me through thick and thin.

What are you currently reading?

Still soldiering on with The Goldfinch!

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

http://ofopinions.wordpress.com


 

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The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Author Interview with

Brittany Boyce

2K International Writer's Blog Tour

Happy Thursday! Author Brittany Boyce has furbabies!  Read on:

Brittany Boyce

I live in Northern Virginia, just outside D.C., with my husband of almost four years and two beautiful furbabies. I have been writing ever since I was a child, strongly throughout the middle and high school years. In fact I have an entire box of random story ideas from that Brittany Boycetime period, which I assure you are all hilarious in their lovely teenage angst. I’m currently in the editing process of what will be my debut novel, which I hope to self-publish this year.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

I don’t remember the first piece I wrote – but I do remember the first short story I had published. It was in my senior year literary journal, which in my Creative Writing class I also had the privilege of helping to edit and put together. I gobbled up more copies of the journal than I needed, just to show my family and friends that my story had been published. It was a short little love story, something I don’t write as much anymore, but it certainly fed the bug of wanting to one day publish a full novel.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

I absolutely love coming up with characters and new worlds. Fantasy fiction is just so unlimited that it’s almost freeing to take these characters out of my head and plant them in a world I created out of thin air and dreams.

My least favorite – editing. Enough said.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I do believe in writer’s block, how can I not? I suffered it for years. Stress, depression and the general craziness that is life won out over any creative energy, blocking my ability to write anything, even something as miniscule as a short poem. My best tip for beating it is to write anything. Keep a journal, start a blog, write something, anything, keep the habit up because eventually the muse will return and when she does it’s usually with a vengeance.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

As previously stated I am working on finishing my first novel and self-publishing it this year. It’s a new adult fantasy fiction story that came to me in a dream, literally. I worked for nine years on the first 20,000 words (thanks writer’s block) and then thanks to encouragement from my husband I took a writing class as well as participated in my firstNaNoWriMo. So now I have all the scenes and have reached what I lovingly refer to as my Achilles heel…editing.

What supports you in your writing?

My husband, my family and my friends are really the best supporters of my writing. They’re the behind the scenes people that keep me sitting down at my computer and working hard. Also my blog has become a fantastic support – the readers, many of whom are also authors, all working towards the same dream. It’s really encouraging, especially on those days when I’m pretty sure my dream is never going to come true, having my readers encourage me and lift me back up.

What are you currently reading?

Currently I am reading the second book in the Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor called Days of Blood and Starlight. It’s absolute fantastic! Her characters are so vivid that they leap off the page, fiery wings and blue haired. I highly recommend them – and I haven’t even finished it yet. It’s a dark series, but filled with sarcasm and laughter, a tragic love, and a new world so amazing I wish it were real, despite that it’s completely filled with war at the moment.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

https://aliceandeve.wordpress.com/

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The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Author Interview with David Powning

2K International Writer's Blog Tour

Today we meet David! Hopefully, you’re enjoying getting to know all these folks as much as I am.

David Powning

I live in the south of England, not far from London. Last year I published my first novel, The Ground Will Catch You. I’m now working on a second.

Before writing The Ground Will Catch You I completed another novel, which I submitted to agents but got nowhere. Looking back, I think they were right – even I suspected that it wasn’t good enough. This time I sent the manuscript only to ten agents, and even as I pressed the stamps onto the envelopes I knew I was wasting my time. I received plenty of positive feedback, but nothing concrete. No one called me in for a cappuccino, but I genuinely didn’t care. Self-publishing has been so liberating, a truly fantastic thing. There are plenty of people out there (designers, proofreaders etc.) who can help you get your novel into great shape if you’re willing to invest some time and money and are truly committed to doing yourself credit by making your book as good as it can be. And there are also many indie authors who are only too happy to offer their advice, and from whose experience you can benefit if and when you lose your way.

Finally, I’m a writer – I have two cats. That’s a given.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

As a teenager I kept diaries for a long time, which I think I still have in a drawer somewhere, although I haven’t looked at them since. That’s probably for the best. Later on I was always committing ideas to paper, writing down ideas scenes, dabbling in a bit of terrible poetry. I even did some songwriting. Most, if not all, of what I wrote was probably awful, but they don’t call it a learning curve for nothing.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

Like every creative person, I imagine, writing is an outlet for something within. It chooses you, and it’s both a blessing and a curse. I’m sometimes envious of people who can go through life happily without this compulsion. But then, when I hit my stride and write a great scene, or even just a good piece of dialogue, it all feels completely worthwhile. It’s a rush, creating something out of nothing. And getting a novel out into the world was enormously satisfying, precisely because it was such hard work.

On a practical level, it would be so nice to release standalone chapters one at a time, like a musician releasing a couple of songs before an album comes out. But writing a novel isn’t like that, it’s all or nothing, so in those moments when you’re riven with self-doubt, it can be overwhelming. All those months or years spent committing words to the page, in the hope that something good comes of it – that’s tough.

Also, having to work to pay the bills and then writing in my spare time often leads to a lack of time left for reading. Ironic, really.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I’m not convinced that writer’s block exists, although there are plenty of times when the words don’t flow in the way I’d like them to. And that’s the point really: if the drain outside your house were blocked, nothing would get through at all, whereas I think this thing they call writer’s block is different. The words are coming out, they’re just in the wrong order. Or they’re the wrong words.

The key, I think, is to not edit yourself as you write, to rid yourself of that self-critical way of thinking. Just let everything flow. No one’s watching you, no one’s going to judge your work unless you ask them to. There have been many times when I’ve written pages of prose, only to read them back and be embarrassed for myself. But so often when I go back and read them again, weeks or even months later, I spot a phrase or an idea that has something, a little spark. And it’s nearly always something that didn’t occur to me at the time, something I wasn’t aware of at all. So that’s why I’m not sure about writer’s block – nothing stops you from writing, it’s a question of attitude. You’re not digging dirt in an East African diamond mine for 16 hours at a time – you have the luxury of sitting at a keyboard when it suits and putting pretty words together. A sense of perspective is needed.

One more thing: lose the internet. It’s amazing how unplugging that cable for a few hours can send productivity soaring. Who knew?

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

My new novel is going to be a real challenge, because it’s in a genre that I don’t normally read. But I had this idea for a story a while back, and it won’t let me go. I think it might be a dystopian-style novel, in that it’s either going to be set on an island or in a very remote place where an experiment is taking place. However, the rest of the world is carrying on as normal, so I’m not sure whether that’s dystopian or not. Imagine trying to sell that idea to an agent…

However, I’m excited, which is vitally important. And depending on how the book goes, there’s a possibility for a sequel, which I gather is a good thing.

What supports you in your writing?

Fear and belief. Fear because with The Ground Will Catch You I was terrified of making a fool of myself, which is why it had a structural edit, copy-edit, beta readers, a proofread and professionally designed cover. It went through four drafts, and I read the final one over and over trying to find mistakes. I was so paranoid. But the reviews have been excellent, so now I feel a lot happier. I don’t care if I sell a hundred or a hundred thousand – the book is out there, people are reading it and enjoying it. That’s what counts.

And that has led to belief. I’ve done it once, I can do it again. Although no doubt I will still obsess over tiny details in the middle of the night.

What are you currently reading?

I have Stories by TC Boyle next to my bed – big fan – but at the moment I’m mainly reading books that are in a similar area to the novel I’m working on, such as Wool; The Island of Dr Moreau; The Handmaid’s Tale; The Passage. This is not so that I can copy them; in fact, it’s the opposite. I want to avoid plot elements that might have appeared elsewhere.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

I blog at www.inkwrapped.com and people are welcome to email me with any queries or points of view. If I can help, I will. If not, I may know of someone who can. You can also find me on Goodreads.

Amazon would be the place for The Ground Will Catch You in ebook or paperback format. I’ve just unpublished it from Smashwords because I’m thinking of trying Kindle Unlimited to see how that goes. And ten per cent of the profits from the novel in any format will be donated to breast cancer charities.

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The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Interview with Author Elizabeth Hein

Elizabeth Hein

2K International Writer's Blog Tour

Think about all the different types of writers out there. There’s a place for all of us. Maybe you have something in common with Elizabeth, our next stop on the tour.

Elizabeth Hein

Elizabeth Hein writes women’s fiction with a bit of an edge. Her novels explore the role of friendship in the lives of adult women and themes of identity. She has published two novels, How to Climb the Eiffel Tower and Overlook. She is currently working on another novel and a mystery series.

In 2002, Elizabeth was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood. During her extensive treatment, she met dozens of Elizabeth Heinother cancer patients and developed close relationships with several of them. These friendships were the inspiration for her recent novel, How To Climb The Eiffel Tower. A cancer diagnosis is a life changing experience, yet it does not necessarily change a life for the worse.

Elizabeth Hein grew up in Massachusetts within an extended family of storytellers. Her childhood was filled with excellent food and people loudly talking over each other. After earning a degree in psychology and a short stint as a corporate recruiter, she and her husband embarked on the adventure of parenting their two beautiful daughters. Motherhood led Elizabeth to start a small business, home school one of her daughters for several years, and learn more about competitive swimming than she ever knew possible. She and her husband now live in Durham, North Carolina.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

I was fortunate to have excellent English teachers throughout my education. One of my favorites was the inimitable Barbara Donahue who allowed my fifth grade class start a literary magazine. We named it Excelsior and filled its little square pages with poems and short stories. My contribution was a poem about an eagle. It was heartfelt and had a good message. Excelsior continued through high school and published a few of my awful poems of teenaged angst.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

Being a writer is a double-edged sword. I love being independent and having the freedom to write whatever I want. Few pursuits are quite so flexible. On the other hand, writing is a lonely pursuit. We can’t blame anyone but ourselves if the work doesn’t get done or if the end product is not good. Writers need to be brave, as well as dedicated.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I believe that writers get stuck. I’ve certainly come to a screeching halt with different projects. It’s an awful feeling, but you can’t let it define you as a writer. If a project isn’t working, put it aside and work on something else. I am a firm believer in working on multiple projects at one time, so I always have something to work on. I have also come to appreciate the power of “butt glue.” Rather than saying “I have writer’s block” and going off to do something else, I have learned to show up at the keyboard everyday. Some days are unpleasant and unproductive, but eventually I got unstuck and can move forward.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

Right now, I am working on the sequel to my first novel, Overlook, as well as a mystery set in the Galapagos Islands. The biggest challenge to writing the sequel is maintaining the snarky tone of the first book while dealing with some pretty serious social issues. I worry that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but I can always start over if I have to. The story is set in 1976, so I have to be careful to have my characters see issues like domestic abuse and divorce through the lens of that time.

What supports you in your writing?

I tend to write about difficult subjects – cancer, infidelity, betrayal, abuse – so I need a lot of support. The thing that keeps me going is the thought that my books might touch a reader’s life. Quite a few of my readers have contacted me to say that How to Climb the Eiffel Tower made them understand what it’s like to live with a cancer diagnosis and that life can still be funny, even in the face of difficultly. On a day-to-day basis, I also rely on an unhealthy amount of caffeine to keep me going.

What are you currently reading?

I always have several books going at once. Right now, I am reading: The Resurrection of Tess Blessing by Lesley Kagen, an ARC of The Theory of Expanded Love by Caitlin Hicks, and If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin Black.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

My website- ElizabethHein.com

My writing blog – Scribbling In The Storage Room

How to Climb the Eiffel Tower

How to Climb the Eiffel Tower

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The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Author Interview Kylie Betzner

The Quest for the Holy Something or Other

2K International Writer's Blog Tour

Say hello to Kylie, our 5th stop on The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour:

Kylie Betzner

That awkward moment when we’re asked to describe ourselves to strangers . . . For starters, I’m an incurable nerd. I love all things fantasy and even do a little cosplay on the side. I’m a natural-born comedian, self-identified coffee junkie, and now leader of The League of Comedy Fantasists, a group designed to bring comedy to the masses. Did I forget to mention I’m an author? My firsKylie Betznert novel, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other is available in both paperback and e-book formats on Amazon! But seriously, the titles I am most proud of are sister, auntie, and friend.

Growing up in a small town surrounded by cornfields, I had nothing better to do than fantasize about unicorns and elves. As an adult, I still refuse to grow up, and spend most of my time creating stories of comedic fantasy. When I’m not writing, which is hardly ever, I enjoy reading, drinking coffee, and spending time with my family and friends. I also run, although I don’t enjoy it so much.

I currently reside in Indiana with my sister, nephew, horde of cats, and one very silly dog.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

I remember co-authoring a terrible little story with my sister about unicorns and evil leprechauns. We didn’t know how to write then, so we just illustrated the whole story with crayons. I think we were six years old. My writing has come a long way since then . . . I hope;)

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

My favorite thing about being a writer is sharing my story with the world . . . or the ten or so people who have purchased it thus far. Haha. I’m looking forward to continually connecting with new readers and other authors in this great literary community.

My least favorite thing about being a writer is marketing my work. It feels so dirty, even if you do it the “organic way” that experts advise, it still feels dirty. I hate approaching people with an agenda and having to “whore” myself out to sell copies. I wish there was a better way, or someone who could do it for me;)

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I believe in writer’s block no more than I believe in unicorns and winning the lottery. Writer’s block is a fancy term way of saying “lack of inspiration” or “lack of motivation.” When you really have a good story to write that you believe in, you don’t get writer’s block.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

Currently, I’m working on a comedic fantasy series that centers around a misfit named Mongrel and his adventures in a hostile fantasy realm. The most challenging aspect of this project is juggling so many POVs. With The Quest for the Holy Something or Other I didn’t have this problem because I focused on only 2 main characters with 3 or 4 major supporting ones. My current project has quite a few more, and it’s proving difficult to balance.

What supports you in your writing?

Coffee, for one. Haha! What writer can live without a constant caffeine intake? The “what” aside, the “who” who supports me the most in my writing is my twin sister, Toni. She is always there to brainstorm new ideas, squash bad ideas, and lend an open hear when I need to whine. Every writer should have a sister like mine. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

What are you currently reading?

I’m still plugging away at Game of Thrones but I think I’ll be taking a break to read Outlander. Sounds like a guilty pleasure not to pass up.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

Blog: www.litchicblog.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kbbetzner

My debut novel, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other is available now: The Quest for the Holy Something or Other

Kindle

Paperback

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