Hannah Warren

Platform for writerly ideas & confessions ©

Poll: Is your writing style geared to the present-day reader?

Written By: Hannah Warren - Sep• 20•14

lezer

I’ve never made an attempt at disguising I’m a fan of 19th century literature (French, Russian, English). Although I read (past and present tense!) plenty of contemporary novels, I am mostly inspired and influenced by the very start of novel-writing as we know it. Austen, the Bronty Sisters, George Elliot, Stendhal, Flaubert, Dostoyevsky to name but a few, and of course my all-time hero Lev Tolstoy. Time after time I can pick up one of his books just for the pleasure of savouring his sentences. This love for old books goes so deep that I’m currently taking a shot at writing a historical novel myself, Daughter of the Alvar, set in Sweden in the 1890s. No Iphones, sex-talk, SatNav or fast-food but horse-and-carriage, chaperoned walks, poachers and kitchen maids.

However, I’m currently going through a phase in which I wonder whether indulging in the work of dead authors may be making my own writing style a tad old-fashioned. I may be running the risk of writing for my own pleasure, with zero commercial appeal. So, from a sales point of view I was interested in writers’ opinions on the marketability of their books and created a poll on Facebook. Ten people were so kind to answer the 6 questions. Thank you so much.

Here are the results!

strand

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 1: Do you feel you can tap into the interests of today’s readers?

-          That’s a difficult one. I hope so but I don’t obsess about it.

-          Yes

-          Yes – for the segment of the market that I target. (I could not tap into YA, or Hot hot romance – not my area of expertise – age, interest or otherwise.)

-          No.

-          I can tap into a niche market of today’s readers, not into a wide pool.

-          I think I can sell to serious readers.

-          Most of the time. It depends on the genre

-          Yes.

-          Yes, I write fantasy with a strong streak of humour. People like my characters and the situations I get them into.

-          Some of them, I hope.

you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 2: How much does your audience matter to you?

-          I feel my audience is a niche one and they matter very much although it’s often hard to find them.

-          A lot

-          Audience is everything if you are a publishing author. If you write solely for your self – that’s another game altogether

-          A great deal.

-          My audience is very important to me, their comments and feedback keep me inspired to continue writing for those whose tastes veer from the norm

-          I write the stories that I can put my hear and soul into. My audience is ever so important, but I can’t write a genre that I have no interest in.

-          Vital. If you want your book to sell.

-          A lot

-          A lot, but in the end the only judge is me. If I’m not entertaining me then I doubt I am entertaining the audience.

-          Fair bit

bests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 3: Do you think best-seller writers have fine-tuned antennae with which they detect the general taste?

-          I’m sure some do, but others may be best sellers because they’re celebrities and have employed ghost writers. But other variables such as luck and timing are also important.

-          No

-          Yes quite possible- also a shot of luck, and sometimes their books are so good they generate a new taste.

-          Probably.

-          Not really, I think they choose to write in the most popular genre, generally, which gives them the widest pool of potential readers. Then they need to have a compelling plot. Once someone has had one bestseller they have a huge pool of people willing to try their next book, but if it doesn’t live up to the first book they will lose that audience quickly.

-          I think that if an author writes chic-lit, mysteries, and romance (geared for younger readers) they can sell books, if they write reasonably well. I have an antenna but I go with my gut. I put too much into a book to try and write something I don’t really want to. It wouldn’t be any good.

-          I think they pick the trends and look out for what is hot right now. Sometimes, though, they make the trends.

-          No

-          No. I think they write good work and then circumstances turn the readers towards them.

-          Again, some of them.

writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 4: Is it possible to learn to adapt your writing to the taste-of-the-day?

-          That’s interesting , Hannah, because I feel that my writing is very contemporary in style and yet I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘it’s the taste of the day’. For me, the taste of the day – certainly in terms of genre is – for paranormal and also for trilogies, although some writing is perennially popular eg romance. But I think you’re asking more about writing style. I guess you can learn about writing in a contemporary style eg more concise sentences, shorter sections, shorter books etc but if it isn’t something instinctive then that might make it more of a chore, certainly more challenging at any rate.

-          Yes

-          If you want to, yes – but you should only do so if it interests you. For example, I’d never write a zombie book – I’d be terrible at because it is not a topic I like or know about.

-          Yes.

-          I’m sure it IS possible, but it doesn’t interest me.

-          It’s possible for some writers.

-          If you want to sell books I think you have to do this to some degree.

-          Yes

-          It must be possible, but what fun would it be?

-          I am trying

old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 5: Could it be related to age, e.g. not being in touch with what is en vogue when you get older?

-          I think age is a factor but I find it fascinating, for instance, watching the changes in language and colloquialisms. I think it’s important to keep abreast with changes in such things if you want characters to have authenticity and speak in the lingo of the day. Equally, if your novel is set in the past then it’s also important for the language and other details to be authentic. It really irks me, not only in books, but in TV series that are set in the past when they use figures of speech from a much later time.

-          NO

-          There are always a wide range of tastes – older writers can write for the 90 million baby boomers in Nth America – know your audience!

-          Yes.

-          Doubtful, my work is not for the ypung ;)

-          It could be.

-          I think we can all be young at heart. But you need to read what your readers are reading and try to tune in from there.

-          Yes

-          No, people are people. Nothing has changed except a few words and phrases.

-          Yes, I can relate to an internet world, but smartphones & texting are still unknown territory.

thought

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 6: Anything else you’d like to add to this topic?

-          I just want to thank you for the opportunity to partake in this thought-provoking discussion. Thanks Hannah!

-          No

-          I cannot bring myself to write down to my readers: so I don’t.

-          Building an audience is a difficult thing. Consistency has to be a big part of it. People who buy one of your books and like it must get the same experience if they buy another.

-          <3

 

 

On book trailers

Written By: Hannah Warren - Aug• 31•14

plaatje

Some of you may be surprised to learn that writers use book trailers – short (1 to 2-minute videos usually on YouTube) to promote their published work.

Book trailers are a fairly recent phenomenon in the publishing business. They exist no more than a decade and find their origin in the movie trailer. Since the development of video sharing sites such as YouTube, book trailers have really taken off. Their idea is to pique interest in the newly released book so they’re exclusively meant as an extra advertising tool to pitch sales.

Most trailers are produced by publishers but plenty-a self-published author prides himself on producing his own these days. There are various apps and DIY kits to help you create your professional-looking book trailer.

Usually (but freedom is everything!) the trailer starts with the book’s cover and from there develops in a number of shots with text and underlying music. However, they vary greatly in how they are produced. Some look like fully scripted mini-movies, while others are just enhanced PowerPoint presentations. The one thing they share in common is the desire to highlight the book, and convert viewers into buyers. A good trailer is supposed to help with that, to boost the credibility of your book. If you have a video that is shot beautifully and perfectly covers the atmosphere of your book and meets today’s high levels of visual expectation, you may be able to use your trailer as the perfect tool to get noticed.

But above all, it needs to look professional. The way you package and present your video has a direct effect on your potential readers, publishers, reviewers, etc.

booktrailer

 

It’s true, the popularity of book trailers has exploded, and apparently some have gone viral. Still, if I type in ‘book trailers gone viral’ in Google, the harvest is meagre. Just one hit showed up immediately: Kelly Corrigan’s home-made book promotion trailer with millions of viewers.

Who reads these days and who – consequently – watches book trailers? Is that our problem? I guess that in order to attract attention to your trailer, it will have to be extraordinaire, surprising, beautiful, unique and then – perhaps – with a pinch of luck, you might have yourself a winner. Maybe yours can go viral and help you sell more copies of the book than you ever expected.

A girl can dream, no?

Anyway, I’m proud of my own new book trailer for Casablanca, My Heart and don’t want you to miss it. My colleague at Thorstruck Press, the author Paul Rudd (yes author from the UK, not the other one!) created the movie and I assisted with the text. I have no idea if it meets all the above-mentioned requirements but I love it. When I just checked it had had 123 views since 21 August and 8 likes and that made me relatively happy.

Casablanca, My Heart book trailer

So don’t forget to click on the link, and please like my book trailer and subscribe if you want. Let’s go viral!  :D

 

Thorstruck Table Talk with…. Elaina J. Davidson

Written By: Hannah Warren - Aug• 28•14

elaina

Today, I’m sharing my table with Elaina J. Davidson, a fantasy writer from South-Africa. Elaina fires my curiosity. We haven’t really ‘met’ as writers yet, although I’m fully aware of her lush, exquisite prose, her huge lexicon and that Chameleon-like capacity to go from straight-forward messaging to Muse-filled imaginative writing. I’m not surprised to learn in this interview that she is also a poet. She has vibrancy, sensitivity, a soul that sings. Elaina is one of those writers who melts the words on her forge and turns them into impressive images.

Questions about Thorstruck:

When did you join Thorstruck Press and which book(s) of yours have they published so far?

I was invited last year and joined in January 2014, yay! Thorstruck published The Tinsal Deck and Latticework earlier this year, and The Kallanon Scales now in August.

473130933414208434903

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you like about your new publisher?

On the pulse, progressive and an absolute pleasure to work with!

What’s the best thing that has happened to you since you joined TS?

I became part of a wonderful family!

 

 

Personal questions

Which adjective describes you best? One adjective and I (Hannah) will guess why you chose that one.

Quiet.

Oops! There I go, out of the window, my crystal ball thrown after me! What foolhardiness to think I could say something meaningful about a friend’s character trait? Who would call herself ‘quiet’?

Let me think.

Yes! I’ve never ever heard Elaina raise her voice in any of her comments and remarks. She slipped into my life and my heart when I was first suffering the blow of my daughter’s illness – or somewhere before that, I don’t really recall – but I do recall her suddenly being there, always sending love, positivity, supporting me, supporting others, helping everyone, all the while silently going her own creative way, never shouting or arguing or being ‘political’. (Although I managed to let her make a political statement in this interview :-) ) Elaina’s symbol on Facebook is a butterfly. One of nature’s most beautiful creatures that produces no sound and always brings joy.

If you were transformed into an animal right now, which one would it be?

Tiger. The quiet, solitary, watchful, strong and dangerous feline, and gorgeous too!

You are a time-traveller and have just boarded your comfortable flying limo that instantly takes you to 2114. From your distinct point in space you see the current human race struggle for survival. What change would you implement immediately?

I would remove religion from the equation, and thus the need to ever fight for supremacy of belief.

In what other era would you like to have been born?

In the time of legends :-)

What is your worst habit and why can’t you shake it off?

Procrastination. There is always so much to do that I find it difficult sometimes to prioritise, and thus tell myself it’s okay I can do it tomorrow. Thus, sometimes things don’t get done.

Favourites:

-          Colour? Green

-          Country? Ireland

-          Veggie? Tomato (or is that a fruit???)

-          Season? Autumn

-          Thorstruck author? Everyone!

-          Clothing item? Jeans

-          Tree? Oak

-          Beverage? Coffee

-          Time of day? Night

-          Author? Steven Erikson

-          Family member? Unfair!

-          Body part? Zero

Choose one of your favourites and seduce us into agreeing with you.

Have you ever seen green so much that you think you fell into a dream? That is Ireland for you! It isn’t called the Emerald Isle for nothing :-) Ireland is steeped in history, what with ruins and standing stones dotting the landscape, and is pretty with hedges and stone walls and tiny cottages … and glorious in castles, lakes, hills, trees, foxes, rabbits, ravens and crows and magpies, and bridges, pubs, towns, boats … I could go on and on! Ireland is in my soul forever.

Dislikes:

-          Politician? Mugabe

-          Genre? Happily-ever-after

-          Food? Green beans

-          Chore? Ironing!

-          Sport? All-of-it

-          Author? Seriously, I don’t dislike anyone intensely enough for a name to come up

-          Group? As above

-          City? Johannesburg

-          TV-programme? Soaps

-          Fashion style? None

-          Job? Accounts

-          Character trait? Complacency

-          Climate? Wind!!!!!!!

Choose one of your dislikes and in flaming words convince us of its horrors.

Why do I dislike Accounts??? I have nothing against keeping records, but find the drudgery of having to record every cent spent, then having to balance everything, the worst kind of mind-numbing device ever invented by the human race. I took Accountancy at school, thinking it was a subject that would stand me in good stead later in life, and hated it. I worked for a time in the Accounts department of a bank … and despised it. I think you get that ‘dislike’ here is a tame word! Dry figures in columns, bought here, spent there, made a loss here, a slight profit there, all good, yes, required, yes, but not ever again will I do it. There is nothing creative in there, in my opinion. My record keeping is in my fashion, and so what if it doesn’t quite balance? :-)

What was the best lesson you ever learnt?

I have lived in three different countries and learned that life is generally the same no matter where you go. On a basic level- find the local store, the local fuel station and so forth, and you carry on living generally as you did before. Faces change and scenery, culture, expectations, and yet it isn’t so different. If we could really understand that about ourselves, there would be little need for confrontation.

Choose what you like best. You must choose!

-          City or countryside – countryside

-          Car or train – train (although not so much in Africa!)

-          Man or woman – as true friends, nothing beats the sisterhood

-          Night or day – night for writing, day for nature’s sounds

-          Ebook or pocket – pocket

-          Main course or dessert – main course (I don’t have a sweet tooth, although you could bend my arm for cheesecake)

-          Flower or beast – Love flowers, but love having kitty with me to enjoy them :-)

-          Sea or mountains – mountains

-          Sex or talk – talk

-         Mud bath or ice bath – mud bath! Brrrr!

-         Online friends or neighbours – online friends

-         Kids or old folk – kids

-         Thinking or doing – thinking

-         Agreeing or disagreeing – um, depends on the subject!

On writing:

To what extent do dreams play a part in your writing?

Huge. Many of the short stories in Latticework, for instance, are based on dreams. Some of the stranger scenes in my Lore series come directly from visitations in the dark. In The Kallanon Scales Tristamil stands before a wall with runes on it- another dream …

Which word encompasses your writing style best?

Imaginative, I hope!

Describe your writing spot in three colourful sentences.

This is what it will be (have just moved house): An L-shaped desk which will probably always seem untidy, because it’s not about neatness, rather the creative prompts. It will be on a mezzanine with 360 degree view- mountains on the one side, rural directly below, ocean beyond- and I’m wondering how much work I’ll actually get done with a view like this!

Writers tend to observe their fellow humans everywhere they go, always on the hunt for potential new characters. When did you first realize you were shamelessly staring at your own species?

I don’t look so much as listen. I’ve always listened to others speak and that is how I discover human nature.

Who is your all-time favourite character. Your own or someone else’s.

His name is Elianas, and he makes an appearance in every Lore book, in a manner of speaking, but it’s only in Lore of Sanctum (the final four volumes) that he steps from the shadows. Boy oh boy, he is absolutely my favourite character of all time!

If you have other obligations in life next to writing, how many percent of yourself is writer, you reckon?

I’d like to say 100% because writers think about writing even when not doing so, but realistically? Probably around 50% of the time – unless there’s a deadline involved!

You are a successful genre writer but now your publisher has decided to push you out of your comfort zone by ordering you to write a book in a genre which is absolute not your cup of tea. Like an actor, you will have to be able to fit the new role. Which genre would your publisher give you? Share the first paragraph of this novice work with us.

My publisher understands I am most comfortable with fantasy :-) but I am working on a literary novel (very hard for me and it may still morph into the fantastical!). Here’s an excerpt:

The lime green table top stinks of rotten cheese. This wasn’t a conscious thought then; it comes to me now, years later, when life has instilled an abhorrence of anything cheese. My dislike began that day. It was the dining room that stank, not the table, I know that now, but kids’ judge according to what is before them at a given moment. On that day, at that table, I did wonder if anyone had cleaned the surface of the horrid thing before calling us to our meal, and I remember wrinkling my nose in disgust, only to earn a smack against the side of my head.

THANK YOU for joining me at my table, sweet-smiling Elaina!

Elaina’s Bio

Elaina is a galactic and universal traveller and dreamer. When writing she puts into words her travels and dreams, because she believes there is inspiration in even the most outrageous tale.

Elaina was born in South Africa and grew up in the magical city and surrounds of Cape Town. After studying Purchasing Management and working in the formal sector as a buyer, she chose to raise and home-school her children. She started writing novels around 2002, moving from children’s stories, poetry and short stories to concentrate on larger works. She lived with her family for some time in Ireland and subsequently in New Zealand. Returned now to South Africa, she realises the vibrancy of Africa has much to do with the inspirational side of her work. Something happens daily, something to shock, something to uplift … and the colours and diversity of nature itself fires the imagination.

Elaina has published the Lore of Arcana series – The Infinity Mantle, The Kinfire Tree, The Drowned Throne, The Dragon Circle – with Wild Wolf Publishing, and The Tinsal Deck and Latticework with Thorstruck Press, and Thorstruck has just launched the first in the Lore of Reaume series as well – The Kallanon Scales. She has self-pubbed Our Friend Thomas Henson and Lore of Arcana, a companion work for the first series.

Elaina’s Links:

Elaina’s Writing World http://elainajdavidson.blogspot.com/

Bards and Tales http://bardsandtales.blogspot.com/

Multiverse Tales http://multiversetales.blogspot.com/

Facebook Author Page http://www.facebook.com/ElainaJDavidsonAuthor

Lore of Arcana http://www.facebook.com/LoreOfArcana

Lore of Reaume http://www.facebook.com/LoreofReaume

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005WUAIWS

 

 

 

Thorstruck Table Talk with… Bill Kirton

Written By: Hannah Warren - Aug• 21•14

Mugshot2-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Bill Kirton, a man with a huge writing C.V., is somewhat humbling to this modest scribbler from the Dutch Lowlands. In fact, I had the nerves to write him a while ago that I was going through a low point in my writing confidence and he, whom I imagined to bask in a constant warm embrace with the Muse, wrote back:

“I was sorry to read that you’re in a discouraged phase at present. I think we’ve all been there at various times and the ’What’s the point of doing this if no-one’s reading it?’ feeling is fairly common. On the other hand, we do it because we’re writers and not carrying on would deprive us of the pleasure of creating and would, frankly, be sort of unnatural. (…)

I don’t know if it’s any help but I’ve been working on my own WIP for nearly two years now. It’s a sequel to The Figurehead and I’ve been stuck at 30,000 words for months. I’ve no idea whether readers will want it but I want to finish it myself. In a way, I feel I owe it to the characters (which sounds stupid but makes a strange sort of sense to me). And, in the end, we write because we write. It’s who we are and what we do.”

I do hope Bill doesn’t mind my citing parts of our correspondence but I can tell you his words have helped me tremendously to understand the mechanisms behind the Critic-Worm-In-The-Brain-At-Work. All in all, I have a deep respect for this versatile writer, whom I lean against lightly for advice and guidance.

Welcome to my table, dear Scottish Bill, teacher and author!

Questions about Thorstruck:

When did you join Thorstruck Press and which book(s) of yours have they published so far?

June 2014 and, so far, The Sparrow Conundrum and Alternative Dimension have appeared as ebooks.

7949617

 

  1. 7225349

 

 

What do you like about your new publisher?

Speed of response and the way that contacts are between people, not with some nameless entity.

What’s the best thing that has happened to you since you joined TS?

The two books have got covers which reflect much better what’s inside them.

Personal questions

Which adjective describes you best? One adjective and I (Hannah) will guess why you chose that one.

Curious.

That’s a safe adjective for a writer, innit? Without curiosity no creation. But I think there’s more to it where Bill is concerned. If you check out his vast curriculum vitae, you can only imagine with what zest for new ventures he gleefully rubbed his hands together and shouted ‘let’s do it!’ And heh-heh-heh if you see what out-of-his-league genre Bill chose to surprise us with, I must agree Bill is -above all – curious!

If you were transformed into an animal right now, which one would it be?

I’m a Leo so the choice has been made for me.

You are a time-traveller and have just boarded your comfortable flying limo that instantly takes you to 2114. From your distinct point in space you see the current human race struggle for survival. What change would you implement immediately?

This is going to be boring but I’d get rid of the limo and all the other symbols of excess, waste, uncaring power and inequality. We need to refocus our values, put people first, not things. It would need a global indoctrination programme that eliminated artificial social, political and religious hierarchies but indoctrination’s already endemic so by then it would definitely be an option.

 In what other era would you like to have been born?

I think my generation’s been one of the luckiest in all sorts of ways but if you’re forcing me to give it up, I’ll take the 1830s in France.

 What is your worst habit and why can’t you shake it off?

Oh dear, I suppose I sometimes sympathise with Gore Vidal’s quip: ‘It is not enough to succeed, others must fail’. I condemn myself for it and suppress it but if it keeps sneaking up, it must be coming from some psychic area over which I have no control.

Favourites (one word only)

-          Colour? Black.

-          Country? France.

-          Veggie? Asparagus.

-          Season? Spring

-          Thorstruck author? Me.

-          Clothing item? Shirt.

-          Tree? Birch.

-          Beverage? Hot chocolate.

-          Time of day? Night.

-          Author? David Mitchell.

-          Family member? Me.

-          Body part? Thumb.

Choose one of your favourites and seduce us into agreeing with you.
You gaze out over the sea, its dark blue slashes its horizon across the paler blue of the sky – gorgeous. But blue is the colour of conservative politicians. So you shift to red with its roses, poppies and … Labour politicians. So how about yellow? Nope, the Lib Dems have grabbed that one. Green? Well, at least the Green Party’s less toxic but it’s still turned the colour into something political. So, an absence of colour, a darkness, a place where seduction finds no distractions, where everythning’s possible. Yes, black.

Dislikes (one word only)

-          Politician? Most.

-          Genre? None.

-          Food? Shellfish (some).

-          Chore? All.

-          Sport? Shooting.

-          Author? Dan Brown etc.

-          Group? Plutocrats.

-          City? None.

-          TV-programme? ‘Reality’ (All).

-          Fashion style? Most.

-          Job? Sewage disposal.

-          Character trait? Competitiveness.

-          Climate? Benign.

Choose one of your dislikes and in flaming words convince us of its horrors.

I despise those inadequates who insist that being first is all that matters. Stop handing out silver and bronze medals, they say, they’re for losers. Gold, winning, that’s all there is. An athlete trains for years to achieve the desired standard, she makes the final, but if she doesn’t come first, she’s nothing, useless. She’s wasted her time. Teams of all sorts work their way through competitions beating others at every step. Then they lose in the final, so they’re as worthless as the minnows they beat on the way. People who express such sentiments must have something seriously wrong with their psyche, a great gap which swallows up pleasure and allows only one tiny aspect of existence to survive. Being first is the sole satisfaction. How sad to live the life of a winner, surrounded by losers and emptiness, only to discover that there’s one race none of us can ever win, and it’s the only one that matters.

What was the best lesson you ever learnt?

If you want to get lucky, you have to take risks.

 Choose what you like best. You must choose!

-          City or countryside. Countryside.

-           Car or train. Car.

-           Man or woman. Woman.

-           Night or day. Night.

-           Ebook or pocket. Pocket.

-           Main course or dessert. Dessert.

-           Flower or beast. Flower.

-           Sea or mountains. Sea.

-           Sex or talk. Talk.

-           Mud bath or ice bath. Ice.

-           Online friends or neighbours. Online friends.

-           Kids or old folk. Kids.

-           Thinking or doing. Doing.

-           Agreeing or disagreeing. Disagreeing.

On writing:

To what extent do dreams play a part in your writing?

I don’t think they do, unless you mean that daydreaming state when you just relax and let your imagination go wherever it wants. If that counts as dreaming, it’s responsible for some of the best ideas I’ve had. But then developing and communicating the ideas calls for focus and work.

Which word encompasses your writing style best?

Practical

Describe your writing spot in three colourful sentences.

Two desks littered with photos, pens, objects, papers, bits and pieces of the most varied, irrelevant stuff imaginable are set at right angles to each other. Between them, there are boxes, files, a bin, a home-made portable sound studio and, on the wall, an enormous poster for the film Germinal. But, in amongst all the clutter, there’s this monitor, a glowing screen which is all clarity and which channels the galloping, confused thoughts I have into shapes which I can control – a hint of order in the chaos.

Writers tend to observe their fellow humans everywhere they go, always on the hunt for potential new characters. When did you first realize you were shamelessly staring at your own species?

There’s no shame in the staring – it’s what we do with the shapes we see that can be intrusive. We interpret people, turn them into things which they’re not. They give rise to other characters, ones which will never exist in ‘reality’ but which are nonetheless more real than the objects at which we stare. Anyway, I think we stare into rather than at things – and it’s something I’ve always done.

Who is your all-time favourite character. Your own or someone else’s.

I think I fell in love with Emma Bovary when I was about 18. Her choice in men was appalling and I knew I was the one she really wanted and needed. Since then I’ve re-read the book countless times, given lectures on it, realised what a masterpiece it is and how it’s about far more than her. But I still have a big soft spot for her.

If you have other obligations in life next to writing, how many percent of yourself is writer, you reckon?

Writing’s more than putting words on paper or on screen. It’s also how you present yourself to others and to the world through the words you choose and the selves you create. There’s also the fact that many of my ‘other obligations’ also involve writing of some sort, so the writer bit is probably well over 75%.

You are a successful genre writer but now your publisher has decided to push you out of your comfort zone by ordering you to write a book in a genre which is absolutely not your cup of tea. Like an actor, you will have to be able to fit the new role. Which genre would your publisher give you? Share the first paragraph of this novice work with us.

(First, I’d change my publisher.) I suspect they’d ask me to write erotica. In which case:

Dennis was baffled. When Genevieve had asked him to undress, he’d anticipated their usual quick grapple which would be over in minutes and give him plenty of time to tee off with Gerald at four. But then she’d wrapped her fur coat around his waist, made him sit in the chair, taken the laces out of his shoes, bound them tightly around his biceps and told him to go out to the shed and fetch that heavy antique sword which she’d found in Mrs Robinson’s junk shop on Acacia Avenue. It was difficult enough carrying the bloody thing without his shoes slopping loosely as he walked. Back in the kitchen she’d made him stick it hard into the overhead beam then superglued his hands to the hilt. Now, all he could do was stand there and listen to her singing that Country song she liked so much, the one about the blind orphan who’d been savaged by the stepfamily’s wolfhound. Where was the sweet, innocent young girl he’d married? She knew he was supposed to be meeting Gerald, so why was she just calmly chopping carrots on the kitchen table?

“Listen Bubbles, honey,” he said. “I really need to get my clubs organised. I’m supposed to be teeing off at 4.”

She looked up, her eyes cold, strange.

“There’s not going to be any golf,” she said. “I have other plans for the afternoon.”

“But, Gerald… I mean, he’ll be expecting me to…”

“Shut the fuck up,” she said. “If this knife slips and I cut my finger, the next target for it will be your genitals.”

That was scary. She never said ‘genitals’. Whenever she started using posh words he knew he was in trouble. It was that bloody 50 shades book again. When she started reading it, he’d thought it was about cats or knitting patterns for cardigans; that’s the sort of thing she usually read, but from the moment she’d…

His thoughts were interrupted as she approached him, still carrying the knife and two carrots.

“Bubbles, please,” he whined.

“Shut it,” she said. “All these years, all that boring missionary sex… Things are about to change. I want real sex. And it starts here.”

He tried to draw his head back as she pushed the points of the two carrots up his nostrils.

“Now,” she said. “Time for some immaculate fornication.”

(And that, Hannah, is why I don’t write erotica.)

Bill’s Bio:

Bill was born and brought up in Plymouth but has lived most of his life in Aberdeen, Scotland. He’s been a university lecturer, actor, director, television presenter and RLF Writing Fellow. He’s written plays, songs and sketches for radio and stage as well as several novels, two of them satirical, one historical, one for children and a series of five police procedurals. He’s won 4 awards and been long-listed for another. He’s also written five books for students on writing, study skills, and work skills.

Bill’s links:

His author pages are:

Thorstruck Press

Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Website and Blog

Thank you so much for this interview, Bill! It’s been a great pleasure getting to know you better! 

Thorstruck Table Talk with….T.K. Geering

Written By: Hannah Warren - Aug• 13•14

My third interview with one of Thorstruck Press‘s authors is with T.K. Geering aka Tee Gee, a fantasy-writing lady from the garden of England. Tee is currently putting the final touch to a complete new edit of Soulfate. We can’t wait for it to be in print again.

Welcome to my table, funny, precious Tee!

Tee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions about Thorstruck

When did you join Thorstruck Press?

Hello my lovely Hannah, well if it’s fun you want…. I can deliver.

I dithered about joining Thorstruck for a while because I was still awaiting my ‘paperwork’ etc from my previous publisher. However I finally joined them in June 2014 as I couldn’t wait any longer and made a complete fresh start.

What do you like about your new publisher?

(1)   Communication (2) Professionalism.

To me it’s like being out on a bitterly cold day with a thin coat and being caught in a blizzard. You turn the corner and there waiting to welcome you is your new home. Lights glowing, a roaring fire waiting to warm you, a cup of your favourite hot beverage as you toast your toes.

What’s the best thing that has happened to you since you joined TS?

Meeting old friends again, making new ones! A brand new book cover which I can’t stop looking at :-)

Personal questions

Who are you?

I’m the witch that circles over your house nightly. See me reflected in the full silver moon, high up in the skies on my broomstick. Black cloak flapping in the night air. Pointed hat held on with used knicker elastic and a little black cat sitting in front of me.

Which adjective describes you best? One adjective and I (Hannah) guess why you chose that one Just one! …..

Mad!

*clears throat* right, affirm that your friend and colleague calls herself mad is tricky business. Before I know it I will be heading towards a fall-out from friendship :-). Still, I know why Tee considers herself mad as a hatter, which she is – of course – only as a matter of speaking. Let me adorn her with some other adjectives that sound a little friendlier but still have the same connotation: humorous, unconventional, surprising, original. Get the picture?

If you were transformed into an animal right now, which one would it be?

A fly. (OK it’s not an animal but…) Imagine being able to fly around completely ignored listening in on conversations. OR an elephant he/she could remember everything I tend to forget.

You are a time-traveller and have just boarded your comfortable flying limo that instantly takes you to 2114. From your distinct point in space you see the current human race struggle for survival. What change would you implement immediately?

I’d land and knock their silly heads together for not listening to the grandparents and parents about global warming. I would then re-educate them about the parched earth they are trying to scratch a living from before showering them in chocolate bars…. No one’s perfect after all. :-)

In what other era would you like to have been born?

Hm…There are so many eras I have lived through already. Colonial America I think in New England BUT with today’s drugs and medicines.

What is your worst habit and why can’t you shake it off?

Re-arranging furniture in the home and office (as the guy I work with will attest too). Why can’t I shake it off? Because change is good. Otherwise you get stale.

Favourites (one word only)

-          Colour? Yellow

-          Country? England

-          Veggie? Carrot

-          Season? Spring

-          Thorstruck author? Me :-)

-          Clothing item? Knickers

-          Tree? Willow

-          Beverage? Tea

-          Time of day? Evening

-          Author? Austen

-          Family member? Granddaughter Madison Teresa (Mad Tee) :-)

-          Body part? Bum

Choose one of your favourites and seduce us into agreeing with you.

Difficult because I have a couple… OK then knickers. Who can resist the feel of a soft silky pair of knickers next to your skin whatever sex you are. Ha Ha I couldn’t resist that.

Dislikes (one word only)

-          Politician? Where can I start? How about Cameron. Nothing to do with politics. I just think he is arrogant.

-          Genre? Horror

-          Food? Brussels sprouts

-          Chore? Changingtheduvet (one word)

-          Sport? Cricket

-          Author? E L James

-          Group? Def Leppard

-          City? London

-          TV-programme? Big Brother

-          Fashion style? Tights

-          Job? Editing :-)

-          Character trait? Lying

-          Climate? Winter

Choose one of your dislikes and in flaming words convince us of its horrors.

I hate Brussels sprouts. We always had them at Christmas when I was growing up. The stench of them cooking used to invade the whole house. Puts me in mind of cow manure. You put one on the fork and it sits there defying you to put it in your mouth. Ugh! Gross. AND they give you very smelly farts … I wont give them house room for anyone!! Well you did ask, lol

What was the best lesson you ever learnt?

To remember to keep my mouth shut from time to time.

Choose what you like best. You must choose!

-          City or countryside

Countryside

-          Car or train

Car

-          Man or woman

Hm that’s a hard one – Man

- Night or day

Night

- Ebook or pocket

Pocket

- Main course or dessert

Main course

- Flower or beast

Flower

- Sea or mountains

Sea

- Sex or talk

Talk – What’s sex? Am I missing out on something?

- Mud bath or ice bath

Mud bath – Love getting down and dirty lol

- Online friends or neighbours

Online friends

- kids or old folk

Kids – you can’t give old folk back to their parents

- Thinking or doing

Thinking

- Agreeing or disagreeing

       Disagreeing because it can encourage good debate at times.

On writing:

To what extent do dreams play a part in your writing?

To be honest I don’t think they ever do. I rarely remember my dreams.

Which word encompasses your writing style best?

Unique

Describe your writing spot in three colourful sentences.

A bamboo chair filled with cushions. Sitting with a laptop on my knees. Back door open to my garden so that I can watch the wildlife at play as I write.

Writers tend to observe their fellow humans everywhere they go, always on the hunt for potential new characters. When did you first realize you were shamelessly staring at your own species?

I was in the canteen at work and an Inspector came over to join me. He was easy on the eye. 6ft something with soft but penetrating eyes. As we talked I knew instantly that I had found Erasmus. He thought I was totally wrapped up in what he was discussing with me.

Who is your all-time favourite character. Your own or someone else’s.

Nickoli Morozov (Nick to his friends) He’s a Russian ‘sleeper’ working under-cover as a fire fighter. His task is to eliminate a female DCI who deals in anti-terrorism. At the moment it’s a short story but I think it will turn into a full novel at some point.

If you have other obligations in life next to writing, how many percent of yourself is writer, you reckon?

Probably about 70% but having said that, my mind is always buzzing with story ideas.

You are a successful genre writer but now your publisher has decided to push you out of your comfort zone by ordering you to write a book in a genre which is absolute not your cup of tea. Like an actor, you will have to be able to fit the new role. Which genre would your publisher give you? Share the first paragraph of this novice work with us.

This actually happened to me when I went to spend a few days with my previous publisher based in San Francisco. They challenged me to write a true crime on an American tragedy. When I heard what it was my instant reaction was “No way!” After a couple of glasses of wine, I realised I was actually plotting the story and writing it in my head. So I agreed. I wept enough tears to fill the river Shannon and it ripped the guts out of me as I was writing it as a fly on the wall. Watching the scenes unfold in front of me. After a four-month break I finally finished it. When they read the MS their reaction was “awesome” with an adjective preceding it.

Here is a paragraph or so from it…

There are nearly six thousand kilometres and the North Atlantic Ocean between us and yet I can imagine myself in this young man’s inner sanctum. It’s a bedroom shrouded in black encompassing total darkness. As my eyes adjust and I look on, I feel several emotions pass through me…

I’m swirling in some sort of black hole in which this man feels safely cocooned. Am I really feeling a sense of total sensory deprivation or is it my imagination running wild? I comfort myself with the thought that maybe he is trying to emulate the safety of his mother’s womb. Who knows…?Whilst trying to come to terms with my naive thoughts, he begins to stir and finally wakes. As he lays there staring at nothing in particular I find myself drawn to his vacant black eyes. They remind me of black coals, just staring into space. I shudder and wonder what he is thinking. Does the blackness of this room bring him comfort, or a feeling of power and dominance? I don’t know and I don’t want to know. He scares me somehow.

I watch in voyeur’s fashion as he moves from the bedroom to………

Tee’s Bio:

I was born and bred in Hasting Sussex England and now live in Kent more commonly referred to as the garden of England. A variety of wild animals comprising, squirrels, foxes and wild birds constantly come calling in my garden for dinner and a chat.
For the last twenty four years I have worked for the Kent Police Force as a volunteer. If you were to ask any of my colleagues why they love working with me they would say ‘because she’s barking mad and completely off the wall.’
I started to write initially in my teens for amusement, but began to write seriously about five years ago. I didn’t chose to write fantasy it chose me… In the past I have lectured to ‘A’ level and Performing Arts students on creative writing. It became an extremely interesting sideline and gave a natural break from editing, reviewing and writing.
My writing style has been compared to J.K. Rowling and Jean M. Auel, and my books are now sold worldwide.

For more info on T.K. Geering please visit the Thorstruck Press website.

7777388

Thorstruck Table Talk with….Jo Sexton

Written By: Hannah Warren - Aug• 01•14

Jo Sexton, Thorstruck Press‘s Australian asset, is a girl with a golden pen. She was already a bestseller writer with her former publisher Taylor Street Books and also now she proves to be selling book after book in Europe, America and in her home country.

When I asked her what her secret was, she very modestly replied she didn’t know but one of our other Thorstruck authors hit the nail on the head when she said: “Jo writes from the heart.” That at once answers the question and simultaneously shows us what a great mystery the heart is. Some – like Jo – tune in, take it from there and off they go! Wonderful :-)

Welcome at my table today, Jo, let’s talk books, personal stuff & trivia.

Jo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions about Thorstruck Press:

When did you join Thorstruck Press and which book(s) of yours have they published so far?

I joined Thorstruck about a month ago and the experience has been wonderful. I have Rich Girl and An American Girl currently published. I also have four others coming out: Fire Girl, Model Girl, Cop Girl and The Chosen One.

91Wzax7aL9L._SL1500_91xYA8XFjYL._SL1500_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you like about your new publisher?

Awesome new covers. Great people who are like family and the communication. We are always updated on what is happening and when, it is a welcome change.

What’s the best thing that has happened to you since you joined TS?

Beside the great family environment and meeting new friends, An American Girl has been seeing well.

Personal questions

Which adjective describes you best? One adjective and I (Hannah) guess why you chose that one

Jo: Passionate

Hannah: I might already have given the answer in my introduction. The heart is all about passion. From what I know about Jo she’s 100% honest, straightforward, uncompromising and driven. What you see is what you get. And she’s found a way to get her passion on paper. It makes her a blessed human being and we’re glad to feel her radiate her glow all over the world.

If you were transformed into an animal right now, which one would it be?

Probably a cat. I’m sleek, independent and affectionate. :-)

You are a time-traveller and have just boarded your comfortable flying limo that instantly takes you to 2114. From your distinct point in space you see the current human race struggle for survival. What change would you implement immediately?

That people have as many children as possible to build up the population ;)

In what other era would you like to have been born?

Maybe the 50’s or 60’s, life seemed simpler then.

What is your worst habit and why can’t you shake it off?

None I want to talk about here. Things I can… I like things to be just right, I adjust all my ornaments and candles all the time so they line up or are in the place they should be. I can’t shake it, I think because I don’t like things untidy.

Favourites 

-          Colour? Purple

-          Country? Australia

-          Veggie? Brussel sprouts

-          Season? Summer

-          Thorstruck author? Poppet

-          Clothing item? Skirt

-          Tree? Lime

-          Beverage? Champagne

-          Time of day? Evening

-          Author? Paullina Simons

-          Family member? Aunty Cat

-          Body part? Lips

Dislikes 

-          Politician? Any

-          Genre? Children’s

-          Food? Mushrooms

-          Chore? Dishes

-          Sport? Soccer (ducks for cover)

-          Author? The woman who wrote 50 shades

-          Group? None I can think of

-          City? Sydney

-          TV-programme? Neighbours

-          Fashion style? Anything 80’s was hideous

-          Job? Call Centre

-          Character trait? Arrogance

-          Climate? Winter

Choose one of your dislikes and in flaming words convince us of its horrors.

Mushrooms are fungus and why anyone would want to eat fungus is beyond me. They smell, they don’t look appetising and they are just plain gross.

What was the best lesson you ever learnt?

Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

 Choose what you like best. You must choose!

-         City or countryside – City

-          Car or train – Car

-          Man or woman – Both (ha, I will not decide!)

-          Night or day – Night

-          Ebook or pocket – Ebook

-          Main course or dessert – Main course

-          Flower or beast – Flower

-          Sea or mountains – Sea

-          Sex or talk – Sex

-          Mud bath or ice bath – mud bath

-          Online friends or neighbours – online friends

-          Kids or old folk – kids

-          Thinking or doing – doing

-          Agreeing or disagreeing – agreeing

On writing:

 To what extent do dreams play a part in your writing?

Not a huge amount. Only one of my books, The Chosen One came from a dream. My dreams are a little too strange, even for fiction. :-)

Which word encompasses your writing style best?

Passionate

Describe your writing spot in three colourful sentences.

I have a small nook with my desk and laptop sitting near an unused door that has yellow glass which cast a light across the small room. I also do my bookkeeping work there too so it’s not an ‘exciting’ or inspirational place to write. Environment doesn’t matter to me too much when it comes to writing.

Writers tend to observe their fellow humans everywhere they go, always on the hunt for potential new characters. When did you first realize you were shamelessly staring at your own species?

I have been doing it for years, even before I became a writer. People watching is my favourite pasttime. You can learn a lot about human nature by watching people. I think my years of doing it has helped me when it comes to developing characters.

Who is your all-time favourite character. Your own or someone else’s.

Tessa from An American Girl. Alexander from The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

If you have other obligations in life next to writing, how many percent of yourself is writer, you reckon?

100% is a writer but in reality it is about 10-20 % timewise.

 You are a successful genre writer but now your publisher has decided to push you out of your comfort zone by ordering you to write a book in a genre which is absolute not your cup of tea. Like an actor, you will have to be able to fit the new role. Which genre would your publisher give you? Share the first paragraph of this novice work with us.

Childrens. It would be a poor attempt but if I had to give it a go…

Once upon a time in an enchanted forest there lived a fairy queen. Fairies everywhere turned to the queen when they had a problem. Her wisdom was known throughout the lands. Her beauty glowed outwards, warming and comforting every fairy who finds their way to her door…

———————————————————————————————————————————————–

THANK YOU for this interview, lovely Jo from down-under!

Jo’s bio:

Jo Sexton is an Australian romance writer and mother of two. She always dreamed of writing novels and has been an avid reader most of her life. In between being a mum and writing, she runs a small bookkeeping business. Published with Night Publishing in 2011 Jo’s novel Spoilt quickly shot up the Amazon charts, fast becoming a bestselling novel around the world. Jo also recently become a qualified florist.

Jo’s links:

Rich Girl

An American Girl

 

 

 

Thorstruck Table Talk with … Richard Rhys Jones

Written By: Hannah Warren - Jul• 26•14

Thorstruck Press authors are more than just a bunch of writers happy to have landed with a great publishing company. We’re family. We stick up for each other, we tease, flatter and advise each other and celebrate new releases and successes together. This is partly because most of us have known each other for quite a while, usually from the good old Authonomy days, but there’s more. Under the inspiring guidance of Thorstruck’s co-ordinator, the prolific author -and marvelous cover designer – Poppet we’ve grown into a solid team over the past couple of months. And everybody knows a good team can conquer anything.

As a tribute to Thorstruck Press and its wonderfully diverse authors – truly birds of many feathers! – I’m interviewing my partners-in-crime here on my blog but decided to ask some questions that would stretch their writing capacities a little. :-)

I do hope you like the new series of interviews. They’re mostly for fun!

*drum roll*

Here’s is – first and foremost – my revered pal from Wales who resides in Germany: Mr Richard Rhys Jones….

Black_and_White_pic_of_me

Questions about Thorstruck Press:

When did you join Thorstruck Press and which book(s) of yours have they published so far?

I dropped into Thorstruck’s lap about twelve hours after my old publisher, (Taylor Street) made it official that they’d closed shop. They took me onto their books, re-edited and re-released, “The Division of the Damned”, and I’ve signed two more contracts for, “The House in Wales” and, “The Chronicles of Supernatural Warfare”.

5415402

4437239

 

 

8308869

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you like about your new publisher?

Dynamism, communication and their unabashed interest in what everyone’s doing. Thorstruck is small, close and the people in charge are in constant communication with their, “stable”. They also throw ideas out there, and then do their damndest to see these ideas through.

What’s the best thing that has happened to you since you joined TS?

Without a doubt the audio-book format of “Division”. I am so stoked about that.

They also want to investigate the possibility of making it into a graphic novel, which is what I wanted in the first place. If that comes off, I will be one happy teddy.

Personal questions:

Which adjective describes you best? One adjective and I (Hannah) guess why you chose that one.

Reggie: Cheerful

Hannah: Spot on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one picture of you or read one comment by you in which you expressed chagrin. You always look like you’re having a good time, you are always friendly and outgoing, always harmoniously surrounded by family and friends. You truly have a large heart and a happy constitution.

If you were transformed into an animal right now, which one would it be?

A cat. They have such easy lives, sleep, eat and whine. Brilliant!

You are a time-traveller and have just boarded your comfortable flying limo that instantly takes you to 2114. From your distinct point in space you see the current human race struggle for survival. What change would you implement immediately?

Okay, I firstly put down a serious answer about outlawing the industrial military complex, curbing dependence on fossil fuels and making far reaching changes in the workings of the security council in the UN.

Then I thought, hello? Reggie?

So I’ll just say that if I had the power to change the world in one thing, I’d stop all insurance, lawyer and financial service television ads. If that doesn’t make the world a better place, nothing will.

In what other era would you like to have been born?

I have no interest in any other era before the introduction of anaesthetic for dental work. I like the here and now; in fact I’d like to be born in the future please. Not some dystopian, post nuclear holocaust survival scenario though. I was thinking more along the lines of Woody Allen’s film, “Sleeper”.

What is your worst habit and why can’t you shake it off?

My worst habit isn’t a habit, as such. I never go to the doctor when I’m ill. I always try and shrug things off and tell myself that I’ll be alright. I’ve always seen myself as being indestructible, which has recently come around to bite me on the butt.

Whatever, I’ve learnt my lesson and will now look after myself a lot better. Well, that’s the plan anyway.

Favourites (one word only)

-        Colour? Red.

-        Country? Wales.

-        Veggie? Asparagus..

-        Season? Winter.

-        Thorstruck author? Me.

-        Clothing item? Tee-shirt.

-        Tree? Dragon Blood Tree.

-        Beverage? Beer Water.

-        Time of day? Evening.

-        Author? Bernard Cornwall.

-        Family member? Gran, (now passed away).

-        Body part? Butt… I have a great butt.

I can hear your brain ticking from here. Why asparagus of all things, I hear it asking? Asparagus was something I discovered in the army. We never had it in Wales, as my parents didn’t like it, and so when I went to the cookhouse and saw it prepared for the first time, I was curious. I like my asparagus soft and the army cooks, regardless of what anyone ever says about them, prepare asparagus to perfection. Those cream-hued sticks of vegetable goodness slipped down my throat like droplets of renal Ambrosia, expunging my over worked kidneys of all the nasty, alcohol related poisons that had built up over the years. They also made my next trip to the urinal a lesson in free-diving breathing control, but that’s another thing entirely.

Asparagus, a gift from the Gods, and the curse of all toilet attendants.

Dislikes (one word only)

-        Politician? Tony Blair.

-        Genre? Romance.

-        Food? Sushi.

-        Chore? Lawn.

-        Sport? Darts.

-        Author? Jeffrey Archer.

-        Group? Bieber.

-        City? Manchester.

-        TV-programme? Big Brother

-        Fashion style? 90’s Manchester/Oasis look.

-        Job? Parcel delivery service.

-        Character trait? Insecurity.

-        Climate? Death Valley.

Delivering parcels is one of the worst jobs in the world. Yes, shark/crocodile wrestling is moderately more life threatening, Indian Primark textile workers are paid marginally a bit less and junior doctors in African rural hospitals work a couple of hours longer, perhaps. However, the real downer with parcel delivery is the customers. You’ll dash up ten flights of stairs, clutching a parcel that’s as heavy as a dwarf star, only to have some miserable hag give you a stiff talking to because she was expecting it the day before, or some unemployed steroid pumped human pit-bull shouting at you he has no time to sign for it, he has to go to the gym, (both true stories by the way).

However, the real masturbators are the big firms. Their office and store personnel are so bored that their universal favourite pastime is, “muck the delivery man about” A mate of mine was once told by an officious looking desk jockey that he couldn’t accept the matchbox sized parcel my friend had for him there, and that he’d have to drive around to the other doorway in the building. Without complaint, he promptly did so, rang the bell for service, and the same chap walked through a door which led from the office he’d only five minutes before been stood talking to him in.

Bored ink pissers are the tormentors Satan uses in Hell for any parcel delivery driver who may pass into his realm…

What was the best lesson you ever learnt?

Not to take for granted the love of those closest to you.

Choose what you like best. You must choose!

-  City or countryside. Countryside.

-      Car or train. Car.

-       Man or woman. Woman.

-      Night or day. Night.

-      Ebook or pocket. Ebook.

-      Main course or dessert. Main course.

-      Flower or beast. Beast.

-      Sea or mountains. Sea.

-      Sex or talk. Sex. (Hey, I’m a guy, I HAVE to choose that one)

-      Mud bath or ice bath. Mud.

-      Online friends or neighbours. Online friends.

-      Kids or old folk. Kids.

-      Thinking or doing. Doing.

-      Agreeing or disagreeing. Agreeing.

On writing:

To what extent do dreams play a part in your writing?

I have used ideas I dreamt about, but I don’t rely on them. I don’t hit a brick wall and think, “I know, I’ll nosh some Gouda and have a powernap”.

If an idea hits me in my sleep, and I remember it the next day, I might use it. No hard and fast rule.

Which word encompasses your writing style best?

Fantastical

Describe your writing spot in three colourful sentences.

My desk sits next to the patio windows that look out across my lawn to the fields beyond. Tucked neatly into a corner, it’s distinct, paper strewn and wild. Old wood and new technology, it’s one of the cornerstones of who I am, and what I like to do.

Writers tend to observe their fellow humans everywhere they go, always on the hunt for potential new characters. When did you first realize you were shamelessly staring at your own species?

A good question and something I’ve never really thought about. I can’t say I’ve picked up on how people react from real people, truth be told. If I watch an old drama that I know backwards, I’ll note how the actors react to certain stimulus and situations. Of course, that’s not the real world, but it is exaggerated, which helps in my perception of how people will react to a certain situation.

Who is your all-time favourite character? Your own or someone else’s.

Richard Sharpe, from the Sharpe series of books by Bernard Cornwall. That man can write a story, seriously.

If you have other obligations in life next to writing, how many percent of yourself is writer, you reckon?

Writing and music are the only hobbies that I’ve ever been passionate about. Drinking too but that’s not really a hobby, is it?

However, I also work shifts in a steelworks, and I’m a father and husband. So I’d say that musically I’m about 10%, and 10% work orientated. 60% family and the other 20% is me aspiring to be a writer.

You are a successful genre writer but now your publisher has decided to push you out of your comfort zone by ordering you to write a book in a genre which is absolute not your cup of tea. Like an actor, you will have to be able to fit the new role. Which genre would your publisher give you? Share the first paragraph of this novice work with us.

Their eyes converged as he entered the room, and for Julia, time stopped in its tracks. Dark, tall and feverishly handsome, Julia knew he was the one; that here was the man who could dry the tears of her split with Dwayne. Her heart pattered like a baby poodle as he stared directly at her, weighed down by the heavy box he was delivering.

“Where should I put it?” he asked finally, his voice deep and rich, breathless after the ten flights of stairs.

She swallowed heavily and pointed to a space between two filing cabinets. “Over there please,” she stuttered, flicking a loose strand of her auburn locks out of her face before smoothing her skirt. Studying his massive frame as he carried the new printer past her, she focused on his dark wavy hair and thick, muscled neck. Then she took in his wide back under the perfectly ironed shirt. A dark line of sweat ran down his back, and she smiled to herself as his musk filled the room, clean, honest and masculine. Her eyes drifted down to his shorts as all manner of wanton thoughts danced at the back of her psyche.

“Do you want me to unpack it for you?” he asked over his shoulder. Shocked, Julia drew her eyes away from the mesmerising khakis and, realising he meant the package said, “Yes please, that’d be nice.”

—————————————————————————————————-

Thank you so much, you priceless Colwyn Quaffer! I haven’t laughed that much in weeks!

Reggies Bio:

Richard Rhys Jones hails originally from Colwyn Bay, North Wales. The wrong side of forty-five, he now lives in Lower Saxony, Germany with his wife, two kids and two cats. He plays the drums, writes lyrics for the Thrash band, “Gods Will Be Done” and supports Liverpool football club.

Reggie’s FB Author Page

Reggie’s Blog

Reggie’s Thorstruck page: http://www.thorstruckpress.com/richard-rhys-jones.html

 

 

Three more reviews for Casablanca, My Heart?

Written By: Hannah Warren - Jul• 23•14

Casablanca my Heart final cover edition 2 sml.jpgsmall

My current target is to get 20 reviews for my debut novel, the literary romance Casablanca, My Heart 

Also available on iTunes and Barnes & Noble.

THREE More to go! So far the book has been given thirteen 5-star reviews, three 4-stars and one 3-star!  Not bad, huh? So will you help me out? Become a reviewer for my publisher Thorstruck Press and get a copy for free.

5654682Here’s a taster from Chapter 14 A Star is Gone.  (One of the chapters set in Holland)

The day starts as a brilliant, glittering ode to a great soul who died too young. Before climbing over the horizon, the sun arranges her favourite colours on today’s palette. She spreads them across the sky and over the polder landscape with long, lavish strokes of dark green, milky blue and sandy yellow. It is nectar to any painter ever mesmerised by the Dutch light who attempted to rival her momentous panoramas. She frees herself from the horizon and ascends swiftly to oversee her work, supervised by the eye of the Master himself. For a few moments her radiance falters as shreds of a slate grey cloud drift her way, but she vanquishes the veil of obscurity and floats onwards, steady as a massive hot air balloon. She summons all her strength to perform the Missing Man Formation alone, rising higher and higher in a glorious salute to a dead co-creator.
I’m awestricken. Gooseflesh covers my bare arms, bringing me back to the solidity of my body. We’re still here, standing at the kitchen window, Rita and I.
“Staring and dreaming again, Heather?” I ask myself out loud.
Luuk used to snap me out of my daydreams several times a day, but now I have to do that myself. I walk to the tap and pour myself a glass of water.
“Want some, Rita?”
She hasn’t moved, but now nods with the ghost of a smile. It’s unlike her. She hasn’t even opened her mouth since I joined her. I fill a second glass and hand it to her. Not knowing what to say, I lean against the sink, waiting.
Victor and Marcel have taken up their positions at the gate to our driveway, at the end of the row of poplars, where the local road to Bergen passes. Through the leafage glimpses of their upright, vigilant postures can be seen, clad in dark business suits. They’re in full regalia, equipped with sunglasses, earphones and mouthpieces, so there will be no doubt about the role they’re playing in today’s ceremony.
I am still standing with Rita at the kitchen window and find I can breathe more freely. Just a couple more hours and it will be over.
“You were right,” I say. “We did have a peaceful night.”
“Yes, Hon,” Rita replies, with a deep sigh.
At that moment we catch sight of the cortege coming along the road from Bergen, shimmering in the morning light. It moves slowly, very slowly, in our direction. The scenery is a caress, today’s second ode to the world of visual arts. On either side of the straight, narrow road lie green meadows where hundreds of black and white cows enjoy their meal of dewy grass. When the white hearse, followed by two black funeral cars, approaches the grazing cattle, the beasts lift their weary heads to gaze with sorrowful eyes at the unfamiliar visitors moving through their midst. One by one they return to grazing under the sheer blue sky.

Hope you will be my next reviewer! Thank you very much!

zonsopgang

Poll results: series vs stand-alone books

Written By: Hannah Warren - Jul• 21•14

poll results

I’d like to thank everyone for reacting to the poll and giving me their opinions and preferences. What do you like best? Writing series or stand-alone books? One writer commented that the phrasing of my poll was slightly wrong because any book – whether part of a series or in stand-alone version – has to be able ‘to stand on its own’. I understand and underwrite that. Perhaps I should have explained more clearly that I meant with what vision the writer starts his/her project. To write a series or a stand-alone book. But then again some commented that a change from stand-alone to series can take place during the writing process. The choice is obviously not set in stone.

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to promote the poll more and thus get more results but illness in the family has claimed most of my attention in recent weeks. Please feel free to leave your contributions to this discussion in the comment section. It might tip up the current outcome.

Overall preference of this modest-size poll seems to be for writing and reading series. After all, writers tend to write what they like reading themselves but the commercial aspect also seems to play a part. Write what the audience asks for. Makes sense, no?

Although some ground is covered with the answers below, I think we haven’t touched the bottom of this topic. There must be many more pros and cons. My curiosity is not completely satisfied.  So, let us hear from you!seriespic2

The Poll answers:

Kate Jay-r: I prefer to write standalone books because a) I prefer to read them and b) I am ready to move on to another story and a whole lot of new characters by the time I’ve written a book. It takes much longer to conceive and write a book than to read it so I am often fed up with the characters by the time I am ready to inflict them on the public! That said, I have on occasion, come back to write a second book involving same characters but not as part of a series.

Sheri Wilkinson: I am not an Author, I am a reader. I am split on this, as I have read and liked both, stand alone and series.

George Polley: I like them both, have read both all my life, and have written both. To me, it all depends on the character and the story (or the story and the character, to reverse the order).

Greta van der Rol: I write series because people want to know more about the characters. They already know the universe and want to learn more about it. And because of that, there’s an audience for the books.

Robb Grindstaff: I’ve never been a reader of series, and I’ve never had the desire to write a series. Characters show up in my head with a particular conflict, and I write their story to its natural (or unnatural) conclusion. Then I’m done with that story, and I’m done with that character — or rather, the character is done with me. She’s told me her story. I have a line of other characters waiting to tell their stories. I want to write a new story with a new character rather than trying to come up with a pale imitation of an earlier book I’ve written, rehashing the same character. I’m not big on movie sequels either for the same reason. Often they are pale imitations of the original in an effort to cash in and make a quick buck. Of course, in movies and books, there are lots of exceptions, but writing or reading a sequel or series just doesn’t appeal to me personally. I know a lot of people love series, I’m just not one of them.

Bill Kirton: Readers seem to want series books so, from a purely commercial standpoint, it makes sense to satisfy them. On the other hand, it’s too easy to become formulaic. I find characters develop from book to book and there’s a certain comfort in revisiting old friends in a new context. I also find that, if the characters are interesting enough in one book, they arouse my curiosity to the extent that I want to write a sequel to explore them further. All of which suggests that a stand alone isn’t enough – unless you achieve perfection, closure and all those other unreachable goals.

Will Hahn: I have no concept of a completely stand-alone book. All my tales are set in the same fantasy world and just like here in the Alleged Real World, everything that happens is connected.

Mandy Ward: I write a book. If a sequel / prequel suggests itself, I write it. TTATE is a series because I had an idea for an overarching plot that needed a different set of characters to be there for the end… I’ve tried to write a series only to have the first book be the last. You can’t really tell if it will be or not until you’ve finished the first book.

Suzanna Burke: Difficult to decide, I have done a 2 part book (Non-Fiction) and a stand alone Fiction novel. My current work Fiction can stand alone comfortably…however I have allowed for a follow on if readers (If I have any) seem to want more. I doubt that I would be comfortable with more than two or at a stretch three books. I think the story lines could become jaded and if they cease to be a challenge to write I would stop. I do love writing about new and different characters and situations.

Elaine Chase: stand alone but I have a mystery series BUT each book stands alone.

Laurie Will: I prefer to write series because that’s what I read. When I really like a book and fall in love with the characters, I don’t want to stop at one book. They become like my best friends. I suppose the same is true for writing. If I’ve spent that much time creating and loving characters, why would I want to leave them after one book?

John Booth: Series are great fun and it allows me to develop characters further than a single book would permit. However, single books have their place because how else do you start a series?

Sessha Batto: I write both – depends on the characters. Some have too much story for one book – others have a straight forward single book tale to tell.

Philip van Wulven: People seem to like Sherlock Holmes in shortish doses, and so buy my novellas in that mini-genre. The characters, setting, style, and subject matter are fairly rigidly constrained, and where possible, fall within the bounds of what is known as ‘the Canon’. This emulates the original stories written by Doyle for publication as a series in a periodical. My own preference is less relevant than those of readers in deciding.

John Holt: I have just published my fifth novel to feature my private detective Tom Kendall. Although all five novels are linked (this last one is however a prequel) all 5 books are also stand-alone books, and you could easily just read one of them, and not continue with the rest; or you could read them completely out of the order in which they were written.

M.A. McRae: You have the question slightly wrong. It is not series vs stand-alone. If a book that becomes a part of a series cannot stand on its own merits as well, then the author has failed.

I like a series – more meat in the meal. But I get very annoyed if a book ends on a cliff-hanger, and will not buy any more from that author.

Juliet Madison: I’ll NEVER get bored writing about DI Frank Lyle and his team.

Tom Winton: Hannah, from everything I’ve heard, series are the cat’s meow.

Sheila Mary Belshaw: If people want more of the same, they go for a series. If they want variation then it’s ‘stand alone’ for them. More exciting for an author to do something different every time.

Alex Butcher: I guess it depends what you want from a book, some work well enough alone, others don’t

Hannah Warren: I’ve never written a series but I’m tempted to try. I love watching television series. However, I see the danger of fading characters and keeping the story lines going just for the sake of income and reader-satisfaction. That would be detrimental to creativity.

 

seriespic1

 

Series vs Stand-alone books

Written By: Hannah Warren - Jul• 08•14

poll

When considering your next book, you nowadays find yourself confronted with the question: shall it be a series or a stand-alone book? Series are as hot as baked potatoes and all over the place. But series have a number of drawbacks, too.

Today, there are publishers who only accept submissions from series-writing authors. And that’s understandable. They’re a lot more marketable/ profitable than their loner cousins.

We’re hooked on television series, historical, legal, hospital, fantasy, Sci-Fi. We want to love our characters forever and ever. And then, and then, and then… we can hear the four-year old in ourselves ask the question over and over again. We will not be satisfied!

But that’s from a reader’s/consumer’s point of view. What is it like for an author to write series upon series? I can’t answer this question as I have so far only written stand-alones. But my interest was triggered by what one of my reviewers of Casablanca, my Heart wrote:

“I loved every moment and was disappointed when I finally read the last page as this reader wanted more.”

ouweboeken

As a writer, I am educated by 19th century novel writers, that’s where I get my inspiration and learn the craft: the origin of the novel. Although books were often published as serials in newspapers or magazines, they consisted primarily of one book cut in chapters. Series writing developed in the 20th century.

To get a clearer picture in my own head about this topic, I’d like to get your opinion on the matter.

So please fill in the poll on my FB author page and I will publish all your interesting answers – pro and contra – here on my blog. Thank you big time!

 

 

blogpic