Mercedes Fox ~ Author

My Writing Blog

Tag: harry potter fan (Page 1 of 4)

Meet Author M.K. Williams

Hello, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author M.K. Williams

M.K. Williams is an Indiana-born, Philadelphia-raised, Florida-transplant working and living beneath the sunny, and often rainy, skies of Tampa. Williams’ writing influences include a lifetime of watching suspenseful mysteries and action movies and reading Stephen King, Ian McEwan and J.K. Rowling. Williams has penned two books: Nailbiters, a sci-fi thriller, and The Games You Cannot Win, a contemporary collection of short stories.

Book sample: My latest book is The Games You Cannot Win. It is a collection of four short stories.

Roll the dice, pick a card, tell a lie, hide the truth. Whatever the move, it’s all just part of the game. Follow the lives of four very different characters who are all trapped in an insidious game. Each story delves into the intricate web of misaligned motives and obscured half-truths.

In This Business
A career hangs in the balance between a wicked deal with a publishing company and a daughter’s loyalty to her mother. As she works furiously to meet her deadline, she debates the impending betrayal: her ambition, or her beloved mother.

The Joker
In the middle of his quarter-life crisis, Randolf, a young reporter, stumbles upon a political scandal so dark and treacherous that it threatens the very fabric of our democracy. Will he reveal the truth before it is too late, or will the innate powers of human nature ruin his story before it is even printed?

Dolly
Katherine Hertzfeld-Doll has just begun her term as a Supreme Court Justice. Before she can even get her bearings, she is thrown into a scandal that threatens to compromise her life’s work and end her career. Will she cave under the pressure or will she use her political power to hide the truth?

Escaping Avila Chase
Agent Trevor Hobbertson is about to crack the most important case of his career with the FBI. As he pursues the criminal he is also taunted by vivid memories of his ex-girlfriend. Is that nagging feeling that he is being taunted founded, or is there an evil mastermind lurking behind the scenes and planning his demise?

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? My current books each took about three years from the first idea to the final product. I would say that I was really concentrated on each work for a solid year though. So far, I have been averaging one book a year. I am still on track to finish my next book in that time frame so keep an eye out for another release from me this fall.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I am always trying to scrutinize my writing to see where it can improve and to try and incorporate the tactics that my favorite authors use. I don’t try to change everything all at once though, I try to iterate. In Nailbiters, I was focused on building a world with my words and really improving on my descriptions. In The Games You Cannot Win, particularly the final story, Escaping Avila Chase, I wanted to practice writing from a male point-of-view. I think each project gives me the opportunity to try something new and add a new skill to my repertoire.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? I almost always listen to music when I am writing. I usually create a playlist of songs that put me in the head-space of my characters. I have those playlists available on Spotify for readers to listen to as well.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? I haven’t found any one technique that has resulted in immediate sales. I am working at promoting my books every day and over time I do start to see the results, but I know it is the result of months and months of work and hustling to promote my books.       

Which writers inspire you? My earliest inspirations were J.K. Rowling and Stephen King. In recent years, I have fallen in love with the work of Margaret Atwood, I think each of her novels and collections of stories are absolutely amazing!

What is the current book you are promoting? I’m promoting my most recent work, a collection of short stories titled: The Games You Cannot Win. I had the most fun writing these stories and I hope that audiences will have just as much fun reading them.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? Yes, my next book will be a contemporary suspense novel that follows that final months of a couple who is destined to die in a tragic accident. The story will give audiences an insight into the many people who had motives to injure them and what caused their horrible demise.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? I’ve learned that I have to still enjoy writing in order for my work to be any good. If I’m blocked or just not enjoying a given story I move away from it so that I can focus my energies on stories that I can enjoy writing.

What book are you currently reading or just finished? I’m currently reading The Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin

What do your readers mean to you? I am always so humbled when someone takes the time to buy and read one of my books. Even though they are only $0.99 that is money they could have put elsewhere. The time they spend reading my books is time that they could have spent doing something else. I am so grateful to each person who has taken the time to join my characters on their journey. Thank you thank you thank you!

How can readers discover more about you and you work? They can follow me on Facebook or Goodreads, although I tend to post more updates on Facebook.

Many thanks M.K. for visiting! For more about M.K., her work, and to get your own copy, follow the links below:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / Smashwords / Instagram

Meet Author Taneisha LaGrant

Hola lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Taneisha LaGrant

Taneisha is an emerging writer releasing her first poetry book in over five years. She is a graduate of the American Military University and currently resides in Washington with her husband and two children.

Enjoy this sample:  Life & Love Volume I: Poetry: Love is a journey. Step 1. Fall in love. Step 2. Experience conflict. Step 3. Move on and heal or heal together. Is love really like this formula though? It all seems so simple.

This volume of poetry is broken up into similar sections where Taneisha LaGrant takes you on the journey of falling in love, fighting to stay in love and learning the most important discovery of it all. The key to what’s missing can’t be found in everyone else but it can be found in this volume of poetry. Stay tuned until the end and you may discover the most important aspect of love there ever was to be discovered.

Why do you write?  For me, writing releases me. It gives me a way to express myself when verbal words fail me. It also allows me to create other alternatives to decisions I’ve made or I just use it for creativity and let my imagination run wild.

When did you decide to become a writer? I decided this very early in life. I was in elementary school when I knew I wanted to write. MF: Me too. I think most of us know early on, whether we admit it or not.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  My goal is usually to write anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour on my novel three to five times a week. I try to carve out time before work, during my lunch and after work based on my school assignments. When I get off work, I spend a few hours with my family. They always get the first few hours and after bedtime for our girls, I spend some time with my husband and then I write. I can usually write more on the weekends and have no time limits or set times.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I think I’ve learned a lot over the last few years which is why it’s taken so long to release another book. I also write longer poems than I used to.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write?  Television can be a distraction for me, so I’ll jot down notes if I have ideas for a particular scene. I always listen to music when I write. I feel like it helps to form the characters thoughts based on the characters mood.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? When I first started novel writing a few years ago, I never plotted and then would come up short. Recently I’ve taken a few writing classes to see what I was missing from my plots. I learned how important outlining is.  I have a whiteboard that hangs over my desk now to outline anything I write.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  For my latest book cover I used http://www.selfpubbookcovers.com/ A designer named Mystic did my cover.

Any advice for aspiring authors? Always make time to write. Study your craft. Research and read.

Where do your ideas come from?  My ideas are pretty random. I get inspired from conversations, watching people interact or from things my husband and I talk about.

What is the current book you are promoting? Life & Love Volume I.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? From the 6th Month Vow: Today was the day. Matthew hadn’t called much during his trip or texted for that matter. Hopefully he’d text or call soon, she thought as she shopped for the last items that she needed from the store. She just wanted tonight to go perfect after a long day of talking to college admissions representatives and financial aid to prepare for the next term. Talking about her decision would be best in person over dinner and then he could have her for dessert if he liked. The new lingerie had come in just in time for tonight. Shatoya had been so distracted looking at her phone for the perfect champagne that she hadn’t saw the guy standing next to her.

“I’m so sorry. Let me help you with that,” she said nervously attempting to help him pick up the groceries he’d been carrying in his hand. “Please forgive me. I’m usually not this distracted.”

“It’s okay. I’d recommend the white wine over champagne. They pair well with strawberries. I’m Blake.”

Did he always give out his name to strangers? Coming up beside him was a petite model type. It must’ve been his girlfriend or something by the way she questionably stared at Shatoya.

“There you are,” she said before planting a kiss on him. “Hello.” She turned to acknowledge Shatoya.

“Sorry for bumping into you and thanks for the recommendation.” She turned to walk away. It was awkward and slightly uncomfortable but she felt as if they had met before. Now wasn’t the time to worry about that though. Matthew would be home any moment and there were a few things left to finish up. She couldn’t believe that she had forgotten the desert and the champagne or in this case the wine. There were a few selections to choose from. Hopefully Matthew would appreciate all the work she had put into tonight and try not to judge her too harshly.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school? Yes, I am currently in school for my Masters in English with a concentration in Creative Writing.

Do you have any “how to write” type books/instructional you’d like to recommend? Currently I’m alternating between How to Write Short Stories and Use Them to Further Your Writing Career by James Scott Bell, Understanding Show, Don’t Tell by Janice Hardy and a few others. They have been really helpful so far. Of course Stephen King’s On Writing is essential to every writer. I own that one also and a ton more.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? I’ve learned quite a few things but I think the most important at this moment in life is that while I can be my own worst critic, if I’m always editing a novel and never moving the story forward, then the story will never be published. It’s okay to review our work but maybe finish the first draft before pondering on just the opening chapter.

Do have a favorite car or truck model? I’ve always wanted a Ford Mustang and a pick up. No idea why. MF: I had a truck, a big silver 2500 diesel 4 door beast. I miss it.

What are some of your favorite books and why? There are so many to choose from, so I’ll narrow it down to my favorite series. The complete Harry Potter series has always been a favorite. It just brings back so many memories from the time that my fifth grade teacher read it the class and used to make us chocolate chip pancakes to sneaking to read it senior year after bedtime. Some of my favorite novels I’ve read as an adult include Brenda Jackson’s The Westmoreland Series because it introduced me into another style of writing. I had never been into romance novels but knew that’s what I wanted to write. It inspired me to begin the research to correcting my books. Since then I’ve read a ton of romance novels and each one is different.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  I haven’t been published long enough to really pay attention to any negative stigmas on being a self-published author. I have realized the differences in the marketing venues and book review revenues. A lot of places don’t accept self-published authors but I know authors who have done both forms of publishing.

What book are you currently reading or just finished? I finished reading Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur last week. I am currently reading Sheryl Lister’s Made to Love You and I’ll be done with that tonight before starting on a book by J.D Mason.

What do your readers mean to you? Without their support my books would definitely be collecting dust somewhere, so I appreciate them taking the time out to read, share or ask questions. It mean s a lot to me that they are interested in my work.

How can readers discover more about you and you work? Readers can learn more by heading over to my website. I have a schedule and like to feature other writers too. It’s also where they’ll be able to see what’s going on or just chat with me. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook.

There ya have it folks! For more about Taneisha and her work, follow the links below:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / Instagram

Meet Author Carrie D. Miller

Halo lovelies! Welcome back to Interview FoxSeat featuring author Carrie D. Miller

Carrie D. Miller was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on October 31, 1970. She credits her vivid imagination, as well as her sugar addiction, to being a Halloween baby. Carrie had always dreamed of being a published author and gave it a few attempts over the decades. But too much of life interfered each time so it wasn’t until her mid-forties did she take the high-dive plunge. Carrie quit her executive job to become a full-time writer.

Enjoy this sample:  Finally, after nearly a thousand years, Aven Dovenelle is truly happy. In her thirteenth life, she’s settled into the now witchcraft-friendly Salem, Massachusetts, where she has opened her own shop and made great friends—there’s even a possibility of love blooming.

Despite her contentment in this new life, the truth of Aven’s existence haunts her. She is cursed to live life after life, with all the memories of her horrific past. For all her powers, she’s never discovered why she was cursed nor how to break it. Hope may come in the form of a mysterious white raven, who has followed Aven through each of her lives. Although they have a connection that neither understands, it just might be her salvation.

But an evil force from Aven’s past isn’t finished with her. Driven by vengeance and hate, he emerges to torment her anew and threatens all she’s built. He strikes without warning—her loved ones are caught in the wake of his attack and may not survive the encounter.

The cost of her happiness and freedom could prove too high as Aven uncovers the truth about her curse and that dark magick lingers.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  It took me less than 3 months to write The White Raven. It was originally 115K words. I did NaNoWriMo last year and had the 50K words done in 22 days. Once I get on a roll, I can really crank out the words.

What have you written?  I have one complete novel, The White Raven, that will be released on April 1st. First as an ebook, then the paperback will follow about a month after. I will more than likely do an audiobook, but not sure when.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  I am a planner! I make the outline as detailed as I can. My outline for TWR was 18 pages. But it’s a guideline only. If the story veers off into another direction while I’m typing, I go with it to see where it will lead. I scraped many pages of my TWR outline and so glad I did.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  I knew I wanted a white raven for my cover so I started googling images for ideas. I came across a crow drawn by artist Helen Lloyd. I checked out her work on her website – she specializes in animal portraits. After seeing the rest of her work, I knew she could create the white raven for me.

Helen Lloyd (http://helenlloyd.com/)

Any advice for aspiring authors?  When self-doubt starts whispering in your ear, throat punch that bitch. But seriously, Do. Not. Listen. I let my self-doubt cripple me for so very long. Identify what your doubts are and set about fixing them. If you need to read more books, then do that; if you need to take a class, take it; if you need to hire a professional to critique your work, hire her. Just don’t give up.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?  My main character, Aven Dovenelle, is a very powerful witch. Before you roll your eyes and say “Not another witch story…” let me tell you how Aven is different. She’s not the typical whiny heroine that’s in many popular novels these days–unsure of her powers, afraid or unwilling to use them, or scared of the consequences. If something needs to be handled, Aven will handle it (but sometimes maybe not in the best way). The only thing she’s really afraid of is continuing with her curse; everything else, she can deal with. I think this will be Aven’s appeal to readers.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?  I love Mandy. She’s the antithesis of Aven. She’s so deliciously mean and nasty, jealous and petty. I loved writing her. She reminds me of rich white trash in a way, and it was great fun developing her character.

Who is your least favorite character and why?  I honestly don’t have one! I like them all. Sure, there are many I would vote off the island but each one is so rich in my head, I can’t seem to pick a least favorite.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school?  No. I always loved to write, it just seems natural to me. But I have read a great many books on the mechanics of writing. In my professional career, I wrote a ton of software documentation, but that’s not very creative.

Do you have any “how to write” type books/instructional you’d like to recommend?  For newbie, self-publishing authors, I recommend you visit Joanna Penn’s website, The Creative Penn (http://www.thecreativepenn.com). She is a guru in all things self-publishing and she gave me the confidence to pursue this journey on my own.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?  Eva Greene, whom I have a girl crush on, would be an excellent Aven Dovenelle. Also, Kate Beckinsale would be amazing. When I first created Aven’s love interested, Cal, I have Viggo Mortensen in my mind.

What is your next project?  My next project will be the beginning of a series starring twin red-headed sisters who stumble into a world of magick and demons, and are entirely clueless. Their grandmother’s spirit, who lives in a cracked crystal ball, will help them along.  They will have to stop the bad guy from doing bad things with his own spell book they can’t read. It will mostly be set in modern-day Prague and Chicago but will venture back into the 1930s.

What one person from history would you like to meet and why?  Cleopatra without a doubt. She was such a powerful woman, in a country that was not her own, and there is so much mystery around her life and death. I would love to know the truth of it all. MF: Interesting! This is the first time she’s ever been mentioned. I’d love to meet her too.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about? I have no human children. My kids are furry, and both rescues. (Adopt. Don’t shop!) One goofy, uncoordinated German Shepherd and one tabby cat who is certain I am her slave, and she’s right. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I really want another Corgi, but just can’t right now.

Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite?  My favorite author changes all the time, but for the last while it’s been Paula Brackston. My friend introduced me to her with The Silver Witch, and that book is by far by favorite. I just love the way she writes.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Do I even need to explain why??

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?  That is much, much more than just about writing. Self-publishing is a much more involved journey than I ever knew. But I have no regrets about taking this route.

Do have a favorite car or truck model?  Porsche Panamera

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes?  It was really awkward writing my first sex scene. I ended up googling how to do it! How much detail do I give? How far do I go? What euphemisms do I use without being corny? It was a struggle for sure. The next couple of scenes went much smoother.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?  I am all for traditional publishing. With that said, I’m taking the self-publishing route for a number of reasons. 1) I am an control freak. I love the idea of being responsible for all of it, having the say over all of it; going on my time frame, not someone else’s. 2) I had no interest waiting months or years to be picked up by an agent, and then hope and pray to be published. 3) Bigger royalties!

I am fully aware that if this fails, I have no one to blame but myself. And I’m okay with that. I will learn from this first experience and the next one will be much better for it.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  There absolutely is and I was very surprised by it. I discovered that not many book reviewers and bloggers will read a self-published novel. (If you hunt, you can find them.) And even from my friends and peers when I told them the route I was taking. Some gave me an “Oh” and an expression of slight disappointment. It really burned me up. I have put my manuscript through a great deal of professional editing and proofing; probably as much as a trad publisher would. And it’s cost me a lot of money, so don’t give me your “Oh”! MF: Right! I’ve said the same thing.

But I will say that I do see now why there is a stigma. I have come across many self-published novels that are shameful. I mean, seriously, did you even run Word’s spellchecker? There are unfortunately many self-published novels with unprofessional homemade covers and unpolished text. It keeps those of us who put a great deal of time and effort into producing the best product in the same light. All you can do as an author is continue to put out the best work you possibly can, and hope that time will change the majority’s opinion.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others?  If you love beautifully written stories about magick, please try Paula Brackston’s The Silver Witch. And if you love quirky magick stories, try City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte. This book was so funny and so original, I just loved it.

Tell us something unique about you.  I may look like a corporate muggle on the outside, but inside, I’m all witch.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?  Just visit my website and sign up for my mailing list. I’ll only email you book updates.

There ya have it folks! For more about Carrie and her work, follow the links below:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin / Goodreads / Pinterest / Amazon / Instagram

Meet Author Andrea Rand

Howdy me lovelies! Welcome back to Interview FoxSeat with author Andrea Rand

Andrea Rand started writing stories in the first grade and never stopped. After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in business, she built a career in sales before leaving the workforce to raise a family. She currently resides in Texas with her husband, two children, two neurotic dogs, two adorable rats and one very shifty cat. The Chronicles of Kibblestan: Revolution is her debut novel.  Coming October of 2016: The Chronicles of Kibblestan: Canines.

Book grabber: A fantastical adventure with a patriotic twist, The Chronicles of Kibblestan: Revolution is the first installment of a middle-grade fantasy series that incorporates some of America’s founding principles into an exciting adventure about a land’s struggle to be free. When eleven-year old Ellis gets lost in the creepy forest behind his house, a mysteriousrevolutioncovermedium light draws his attention, beckoning him to come closer. He steps into the light, bringing his anxiety-prone dachshund and followed by one very hyper mouse. Together, they find themselves trapped in the dark, ominous world of Kibblestan, a land full of bizarre canines, over-sized rats and small creatures called Petikins. It is also a land that is under attack, by grisly Snotlins who destroy everything in their path. All Ellis wants is to find a way back home, but when he meets a young Petikin who’s lost his family, his offer to help sends him on a harrowing journey that will uncover many truths—truths about the Snotlins, truths about the missing family and truths that will ultimately lead Kibblestan to a revolution and leave Ellis facing the most painful decision of his life.

When did you decide to become a writer? I have loved creative writing since the first grade and always intended to pursue it as a career but found it very easy to find excuses to put that dream on the back burner of life. After my kids were to an age where I felt like I could return to a career, it finally dawned on me that not everyone feels compelled to write stories in their free time and that of all the dreams I had as a kid, the dream of becoming a writer is the one that had never left me. I took it as a sign that I should probably start chasing that dream, since I’d put it on hold for so long and I wasn’t getting any younger.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I think I would be more efficient if I could write to an outline but I tend to be more of a fossil digger (if you’ve read Stephen King’s On Writing, you’ll know what I mean). King explains that for him, writing a novel is much like uncovering a fossil bit by bit. I always start with a premise and know how it will end, but getting from point A to point B is somewhat of an unknown adventure for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching a movie in my head and describing what I see.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? My cover artist is illustrator Tim Jessell and I could not be happier with his work. http://www.timjessell.com

What is the hardest thing about writing? Sticking with it. I have written stories all my life, but the majority of them I never finished until I decided to get serious about pursuing a writing career a few years ago. Back to digging up fossils, since I don’t outline sometimes I can p1020510_1024write myself into a corner and it can be like solving a puzzle to get myself out. I enjoy the challenge, but it can be mentally taxing.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? One of my favorite movies is Jaws and I realized recently why I like it so much (besides admiring the groovy hairstyles and clothes that were a hallmark of the 1970’s). The movie is so good because of the characters. You’ve got three guys with very different backgrounds and memorable personalities and their interactions while they try to figure out how to deal with a man-eating shark are what make this movie so fantastic. I strongly believe that whatever the story (or in movies, add special effects) without authentic, memorable characters the book or movie will fall flat, for it is the characters that make an audience feel.

Which writers inspire you? I grew up reading Stephen King and I greatly admire his talent as well as his life story (if you haven’t read his book On Writing, I highly recommend it, even if you’re not a writer. Half of the book is autobiographical and King’s story is an inspiring tale of hard work and perseverance). Of course, as a writer of middle-grade fantasy I would be remiss if I didn’t mention J.K. Rowling. Her imagination is astounding and she somewhat revolutionized the children’s book industry, writing books that appealed to adults and kids alike and showing publishers that a children’s book can make a lot of money and become a blockbuster. And no other author has had a theme park built around their series! Now, if only there could be a Kibblestan theme park some day …

What is the current book you are promoting? I am releasing the second book in my series, The Chronicles of Kibblestan: Canines, at the end of October. It follows the adventures of a young girl whose father is deployed and I’ve dedicated the story to the members of the United States military and their families. Kids are loving my Kibblestan series as it features characters like an anxiety-prone dachshund who pees way too easily, monsters called Snotlins who do gross things and a wise, gray unicorn with a majorcaninespostercmyk drooling problem. But I call the series a fantastical adventure with a patriotic twist because beneath the thrilling antics of the quirky characters, there are themes of liberty vs. tyranny and the series continues to ponder the question of what does it take for a country to remain free? I include discussion questions at the end of each book that I hope that parents or teachers can use as a tool to open up conversations and get children thinking about the principles of liberty.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about? I have five fur babies to keep me company while I write. I have a rat terrier and a border collie mix who lounge in my office while I write. If they are not around then my cat will jump on me and likes to stick her face in my face, which makes writing difficult as she gets in the way of my laptop. And sometimes I clear my office of thespeckles-kibblestan dogs and cat and bring in my son’s two pet rats and let them run around in a homemade “ratnasium” that I built myself and keep in my office. It’s amazing how much I’ve grown attached to the rodents after I grew accustomed to seeing their long, bald tails. This picture is of my very nervous rat terrier whose personality was the inspiration for my dachshund character, Philecia.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing? I know there are some writers who will swear by one route to publication over the other, but it’s really a personal decision depending on the writer’s goals and situation. For me, I chose to start my own press because I wanted control over if and when my book would get published as well as the content of the book itself. It can take years to get an agent and even then there’s no guarantee that your book will get picked up and I didn’t want to leave it up to chance. That being said, there’s certainly a learning curve to navigate with indie publishing, as well as an investment of time and money that you would not have to spend if you are published traditionally. I think if you have your heart set on selling through bookstores and not just on-line, then you’re going to have a much easier path if you traditionally publish. But if you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit and like the idea having a bit more control, then indie publishing is very rewarding.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published? I don’t think there’s much of a stigma as far as the general public goes. I think the public just wants a good story. I think the stigma can exist in certain author circles, kind of like the so-called “mommy wars” between stay-at-home moms vs. working moms, but I personally have not come across too much of this. I will admit that writing children’s books does have its own set of challenges if you indie publish, as many schools and libraries have historically made their purchasing decisions from looking at reviews from publications that only feature traditionally published books, and many purchase through distributors. But fortunately even that is changing, as more people are recognizing the shift in the industry and some of these publications and sales channels are opening up to indie authors.

How can readers discover more about you and you work? Out of all of the links below, I am most active on Facebook, so you can Like my Facebook Page and get updates from me. I also try to blog at least once a month and have a newsletter you can subscribe to on my website.

Many thanks Andrea for sharing! For more about Andrea and her work, follow the links below:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / CreateSpace / Instagram / Google

Meet Author Allyson

Howdy lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with author Allyson

Allyson is a college student in her hometown in Indiana. As such, she is frazzled with the load of schoolwork, aunt responsibilities, and reading time she shoves in after trying to write some more.

Book grabber: “Casting My Heart”

Genre: Fantasy

When Cassandra finds out that her mother is really alive, she leaves her dad with the help of her life-long friend and police officer, Bill. What she doesn’t know is that this trip is going to bring changes that are larger than the distance between Florida and Washington.

When she arrives and starts living with her mother, Cassie expects things to be different, but she never thought things would turn out to be fantastical. Then something happens at her new school that changes everything, she finds herself surrounded by people and creatures most people do not believe exist.

She just hopes that she will be able to figure everything out before that world-ending prophecy comes true…

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it? I once thought about a pen name, but I decided that if I was going to actually publish, I’d want to own the story totally. Not that I won’t use one someday…

Why do you write?  The short answer: I write to keep myself sane. My confession: I have many imaginary friends and they just won’t keep quiet. So, I write for them.

When did you decide to become a writer? I decided to start writing in fourth grade. That does not, however, mean that I was any good. But we all have to start sometime.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? From the beginning, I wanted to write a novel. In grade school, I actually had my best friend edit my “books”. We took our jobs very seriously. We finished one novel by the time we got out of eighth grade—it was terrible. Before it was even finished, I decided to start “Casting My Heart”, mostly because I wanted something to work on once my first “book” was finished. Thank goodness.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I’ve read that I should have a special time to write, but that is just unrealistic while I’m taking college classes.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? I usually have all my songs on iTunes on shuffle while I write.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I outline certain scenes, especially if I can’t get to my computer. Usually, when I get a story idea, I outline the beginning and ending. From there, it’s a surprise. So, I guess I do both.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  Because I self-published, I made my own cover with my cousin and nephew’s help. I contacted several artists beforehand, but they either didn’t reply or they said no. It would be really nice to get an artist for the next books, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m just a poor college student trying to live the dream. I’m not going to cry if I have to keep making my own covers.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special? Even though I write in four perspectives in this first book, I would say that Cassie is my main character. Cassie is all about self-discovery. She thinks that her perspective on events and people are set in stone. When she finds out that her mother is alive, she decides to leave her dad. As things happen at her new school, she realizes that she doesn’t even know herself. The book is centered around Cassie’s self-discovery and discovery about her parents and the people…and supernatural creatures…around her. Without Cassie, I wouldn’t have been able to write the book.

Where do your ideas come from? Dreams and previous experiences. When I use a previous experience, however, I usually put in elements that make it less like reality.

What is the hardest thing about writing? The hardest thing for me is finding time. Being a college student drains most of it away, so I find myself trying to push myself to write if I am not on vacation.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Because it took so long to write, editing was the hardest part. You see, I officially started “Casting My Heart” during seventh grade spring break. I finished the first draft as I graduated high school. Two years later, I was ready to publish. I’m hoping my next books will not have the same issue.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? I really like M*A*S*H and the first two seasons of Once Upon a Time…but none of the other seasons. My favorite movie usually changes every day.

Which writers inspire you? JK Rowling, Andrew Clements, Julie Lessman, Elizabeth Camden, and Edgar Allan Poe…to name a few. There are countless others.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? I can’t really tease my current book since it’s the sequel to the first. Sorry; it’d give too much away.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why? That is a really hard question. I think I could only pick out my favorite male character: Thomas. Thomas is really funny and a hoot to write. If I ever need a character cheered up, Thomas usually speaks up and has all the others laughing. My favorite female character? I have no idea. I am partial to Diana and Elsie, but I’m not sure I could pick between the two. Ramona is also awesome. But then again, Cassie is who started the whole story. Let’s just say…I don’t know.

Who is your least favorite character and why? The funny thing about that question is how I view characters. I like characters who are bad if they have good reasons. My least favorite character to write is the king; Dillon’s father. As a person, my least favorite character would have to be Wren. She and I would not get along in real life.

What is your next project? I’ve actually already started the second book for my trilogy: “Brewing Our Trouble”. I promised myself that I would finish the three books that feature Cassie, Dillon, Diana, and Thomas.

Who inspires your writing? I’m not sure that any one person inspires my writing. My cousin, Allyssa, however, inspires me to keep writing when I have blocks and dead ends. “Casting My Heart” is dedicated to her for being my personal cheerleader.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like? I am actually reading my own book right now as if it was written by someone else. I just can’t stop laughing at certain points in the plot. I am so glad that I the story can still make me so happy when I’m feeling down during a hard day at school.

is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? I think the best lesson I’ve learned so far is that my books are not perfect and that’s okay. It’s fine that I have a spelling error on such and such a page. I have learned to not be so hard on myself: I am human.

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love scenes? It’s not so much as writing them as rereading them with another person while editing. Peer editing those scenes are particularly awkward.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published? I feel like I’m a bit biased, seeing as I self-published. So, no: I don’t think there is a stigma. I feel that there was at one point in history, but the world is so internet based now that I feel that good talent can be found in any type of publishing.

What book are you currently reading or just finished? Aside from the books I have to read for school, I’m reading “A Worthy Heart” by Susan Anne Mason. I was reading “Shadowed by Grace” by Cara Putman, but my mother stole it from me before I could finish it. I’m also reading my own novel on and off between classes.

What do your fans mean to you? I’m not sure I have fans at this point. My book has only been out for a month. When I do get them, I believe that they will have a key role in getting me to finish the trilogy. Meaning: they will mean more to me than they can imagine!

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others? I don’t like recommending books to people I don’t know very well. I believe that everyone can be a lover of books if only they know what genre they like. If I don’t know the genre you like, I don’t want to recommend something. Other people have recommended me books that are from genres I despise, so I’m not a big fan of doing that to other people. My recommendation: search for your genre!

Tell us something unique about you.  When I get really tired, I start spouting out book and movie quotes and song lyrics. It’s like my brain speeds up instead of slowing down. Hence, the time of day when I write the most and (usually) really important scenes are late at night, when I tell myself to stop acting silly and think of the characters instead.

How can readers discover more about you and you work? I recently made a blog for my writing. Right now, obviously, it features only “Casting My Heart”. You can also find me Goodreads. “Casting My Heart” is available on Amazon as a paperback or kindle book. I also am working on a Facebook page, but it is a work in progress. I hope to have it presentable in the next week.

Many thanks Allyson for coming by! For more about Allyson and her work, follow the links below:

Blog / Amazon / Facebook / Goodreads

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