I’ve had to make a temporary cover for my WIP and came up with this one. I first had ‘Leaving was never an option’ as the tagline, then came up with this one. Now I’m thinking ‘He’s not what he says he is,’ but showing a woman on the cover then doesn’t make sense. Should I go for the handsome male on the cover? What do you think?
I did it! I finished the first draft of The Stranger, previously called The Extra (although the second is by no means now final). As you can see in the graph below, I began writing seriously on the 5th of November for NaNoWriMo, and it took me exactly one month and a day (excluding the first 3K words I wrote earlier in the year). The final word count stood at 63.861. This number will be going up as I will go through the next few edits, and I’m hoping to reach the 70K again.
So, how did I do it? Let me tell you.
Did I start writing the story from scratch? No, I didn’t. I finished Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy in March 2018, and just after that, I wrote the first few chapters of this book. I didn’t know it was going to be another trilogy, but the more I thought about it, the more ideas I had. I didn’t have time to continue writing, however, as I decided to do major cover edits on the Sucker Trilogy books. This took me a couple of months (next time I’ll let someone else do it!). I then needed to work on promoting the trilogy in October. In between the scenes, so to speak, I jotted down notes on my cell phone. I used the Samsung Notes app every time an idea for the book popped into my head. I have two pages of them (the Note app has a limit on how much you can put on each page). Some notes I have used, some I haven’t, but you never know when they’re coming in handy, so I’m not deleting them. I still have two books to write :).
My book plays in Alaska. Why? Because I needed a place where paranormal creatures could live in relative obscurity. Werewolves need to be able to run unseen. Vampires need to be able to drink blood without being caught. And Alaska is a pretty remote place. One day, I Googled the map for Alaska and found this lake called Deadman Lake. I had found the perfect spot for my story!
The Real Research
Now I knew where my novel was going to take place, I tried to read up and watch documentaries on everything Alaska. What were the daylight hours? How cold did it get in winter? What animals live there? What is it like for humans to live there? A mistake I make when writing my first Suckers Trilogy book was that that I assumed what country towns in Maine looked like. I had no clue. I actually made a similar mistake in The Stranger. A typical house in the UK has an upstairs, and I assumed this to be the case in Alaska as well (like in Maine). Only halfway did I realize this was so wrong, and I had to rewrite certain passages.
One of the ‘in-depth’ researches I did was when I contacted another writer who had lived in the area. We had an online, live conversation, and she could give me a lot of answers to questions I had. I also bought Nora Roberts’s book Northern Lights, a story which also plays in Alaska. I haven’t finished it, but it very much regurgitated all the things I had learned so far about living in Alaska. I was on the right track!
The Actual Writing
As mentioned earlier, I only began writing on the fifth day of November, and by the time it was the fifteenth of the month, I only had written for six days and hadn’t even passed the 20K word mark. I was running behind big time and needed to up my game. Competitive as I am, I set all other things aside and began treating my writing as a full-time job. This did it the world of good. I limited my time on social media. I even turned off the notifications on my phone. Sorry, I lie. This was actually a remnant from my filming session with Aberdeenshire Film Productions late October, and I simply forgot to turn it back on again. I don’t think I will, to be honest, as I don’t want to be a slave to Facebook and Twitter anymore.
Writing At Last
What was it like to actually write after half a year? Awesome! Even though I had been thinking about this story for months, I refused myself to think up an ending already, literally going LALALALALA in my head when my mind even hinted going into certain directions. I didn’t want to make the same mistake I made with Book 3 in the Suckers Trilogy and spoil the fun. I sort of had an idea of what the moral of the story was (oh yes, it has one), but I kept an open mind on how to put it in there. I preferred to let my characters take me on their journey, leaving all directions open (north, east, south, and west). And during all of my writing, I have faced many, many directions. Sometimes I turned into directions that I immediately backtracked and erased. Most times, however, I just took some time looking around at the crossroads and chose the option that was the most interesting.
This story is different in that it definitely complies to being a romance. The Suckers Trilogy is rather dark whereas I kept this story reasonably light. I’m not sure yet if the next two stories are going to stay this light, but romance lovers are certainly not going to be disappointed with this one. There’s (only) one semi-descriptive love scene in it, and I had to change the age of the main character from 17 to 18 to keep everybody happy. No, this doesn’t make it erotica. I had to look up what the difference was to make sure for you, but this story still holds if you take out the loving, so no erotica.
At one point, something happened that I didn’t anticipate at all. All of a sudden, this character appeared, out of the blue, knocking me off my feet, throwing a spanner in the works, so to say. But it made it so much more fun, giving the story so much more depth. It’s going to be one of the red lines that run through all three of the stories. I just love it when things like this happen!
Having an Editor
The first draft is done, and I’ve actually already finished the first edit. I love this story so much that I couldn’t stop working on it! 😀 I’m trying to make this production the most professional one I’ve done so far, so it’s going to be interesting how much time it will take. Being more professional also means I have an editor booked in January (which is pretty organized for me). I have the next two weeks to polish the story and get it ready for the editor. She already told me I’ve got a habit of head-hopping (a remnant trait from my first-person point of view writing of the Suckers Trilogy) before I started writing this book, but I’ve caught myself still doing it. So quite a few scenes need to be re-written.
I’m hoping I can find some alpha/beta-readers in my email list (but if you’re not, I’ll still welcome you!). I already have one person who has put his hand up for being a beta-reader (yay!). As I write ‘on the fly’ or ‘pantsing’ as they say, my story has no pre-checked structure. I go with the flow and hence some sections may be too slow, too fast, or perhaps not necessary at all. I need someone to tell me this to make the story better.
My editor will do a light edit. She already told me my writing isn’t bad at all (You have a firm handle on voice, style, grammar, and punctuation), so it will mostly be a vocabulary and possibly a little grammar improvement here and there, plus help with my POV and chapter changes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed she won’t find any plot holes. As I’ve changed directions so many times in the story, I hope I can correct any wrong assumptions I had at the beginning of the story. Once I’ve gone through her notes and made my changes in February, she’ll proofread the work, and it can go to beta-readers to be read in March-April. So, if you have some time in your schedule and would like a free book, put your hand up! (and email me: firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the meantime, I need to organize a cover. At first, I was thinking about a cartoon-style cover, but now I’ve written the story, I don’t think that’s the way to go. It’s not that funny. I still don’t have any idea for a cover, so I’m open to any suggestions (cover or cover designer). Let me know if you know of a great designer.
All-in-all, I can’t wait to get this story on the market and to my readers. I just know they’re going to love it as much as I do!
Sandra Bass Joines is a sweet lady I met through One Stop Fiction. Sandra has written a book on spine surgery recovery and a romantic suspense novel called Tears of Sand. Earlier this year, she has published her second romantic suspense novel called Shoe in the Road. It’s a story about a woman finding a shoe in the road. Oh, and about finding true love after leaving a cheating husband and a suspenseful road trip. Let’s talk to Sandra to find out more about this strangely titled novel!
Sandra Bass Joines
Thank you so much for affording me the opportunity to share a little about my latest novel SHOE IN THE ROAD and how it came about.
It’s a strange title. Can you tell us how you got it?
Titles come to my mind before stories do. The title for this last novel, for instance, popped into my mind one day when I saw a shoe in the middle of the road. I thought that would be an interesting name for a book – shoe in the road. I had no idea what it would be about or anything regarding characters. I sat at my computer one day and typed Shoe in the Road on the first page. I then closed my eyes and listened (I try to listen, not think). At this point, the idea presented itself to have a shoe influence the lives of the heroine and hero.
So, after you had the title, how did you come up with the story?
The story pretty much wrote itself. Well, I have to give some credit to the heroine’s conversations with her deceased grandmother’s ashes (don’t worry, they were in an urn) and an ornery cat who invited himself into the story. I’m a southern girl who can spin quite a yarn. Therefore, it seemed logical that a girl running from a controlling, cheating husband would certainly be more interesting escaping in a 1960 Coupe de Ville convertible named Gussie than in a traditional vehicle.
Why did you use this setting for your novel?
A showdown between Boston Calbreth, the heroine, and her husband made sense to happen in a place I have heard scary stories about all my life. Tales of people going into Tate’s Hell Swamp and never coming out have been passed down from one generation to the next.
How long did you take to write the story?
It took six weeks to write the novel and a year for revising and editing. I have more stories in my head than I have time to write. I plan to put as many as possible on paper.
How did you experience the launch of your book?
I did a launch using a four-day free promotion and a four-day ninety-nine cent promotion before raising the book to full price. So far, everything has been running smoothly. Each time I make a scheduled change, I am afraid of doing it incorrectly or concerned that Amazon or one of the promotion companies will not come through. I am enjoying the ride, and am grateful to all the wonderful people who are supporting me.
Sorry everybody, as Sandra’s book was launched in February 2018, the discounts no longer apply. I’m sure Sandra will bring the price down now and again, though 🙂 .
Sandra Bass Joines’s books are available on Amazon.
You can follow her via the following social media:
This week’s author is another Dark Sider (from The Darker Side of Fiction book signing in Peterborough last October). I only had a little time to chat with Rudi, but I immediately thought he was far too modest. His book intrigued me; the cover is simple yet compelling, the blurb even more so. Let’s find out more about this lovely author.
Rudi Michael Jennings spent the majority of his childhood growing up in the Norfolk, UK, countryside of fields and trees, really living amongst nature and possibly giving the basis of description in his book. Through travel, various professions ranging from pest controller to close protection officer, and a keen interest in psychology and fantasy writings, he developed a style of his very own and is keen to share it with the fantasy adventure world. This plans to be the first installment and adventure of many to come.
What do you love most about the writing process?
The total emersion into a world you have created, a world you can invent as you go along and I guess most of all, the amazing feedback I’ve been receiving. Not just the 5-star reviews, but people really taking time to explain what they like and all the questions. It really makes you feel like someone has lost themselves in your world.
Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
One method I have been trying to get across to all the schools and colleges I’ve visited is my method. When I was at school we had to read authors’ works but had no instruction into their process of writing. So I always keep and pen and paper by the bed, as the first three chapters of my book was a dream I had. Also, I tell students I don’t pay attention to typical fantasy word counts; I just write scenes. Then I will place these scenes in some sort of order, then consider writing more scenes to join them up. Then again set them out in order and write more scenes to fill in the gaps. When you step back and look at your story, you’ve nearly got your word count without even knowing it.
Do consider yourself to be a successful writer? What do you think would make you successful?
On the scale of success this is a tricky one, what do you class as successful? I think money and fame tend to come and go, people are famous these days for just being on a reality show. Several different students have told me I have inspired them, I think that is the true height of success, inspiration. If you can get someone else to try writing, then really that’s about as successful as you can be.
Could you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
So I am currently writing the second book to my Myon series. I plan to write one more, then a prequel, however not strictly in that order. It is just such an epic experience, people are always asking ‘how’s the next book coming?’ and ‘what happens to such and such?’ I love just having ideas pop into my head and the rush in excitement at getting them down on paper, I think the people that enjoyed my first book will love the second… Well, I hope.
What genre do you consider your book? Have you considered writing in another genre?
My book is Fantasy Adventure with a dark twist, it’s really just the sort of thing I’d love to read, so it was a bonus so many others felt the same. I have had ideas on a post-apocalyptic style novel, but I’m just concentrating all my mind on The Last Myon series for now, but who knows what the future will hold when I’m done here.
Does your book have a lesson, a moral?
I think it was an unintentional moral that has crept in from something my parents always taught my brother and me; never give up, never quit. I, like many people, have had to overcome some shocking huge obstacles, it’s only after these things we can really appreciate the goodness. That did bleed over into my main character and I tried to give this positive outlook for others to take away with them.
Can you give us an interesting fun fact about your book?
It was a dream, it sounds such a cliché, I know, but the first three chapters were a dream I had, I wasn’t even in the dream, just watching the event unfold. When I woke up I had to jot it all down, not with any real intention of writing a book. But a few weeks later I glanced at the notes, my mind went swimming back to that moment and I did wonder if I could actually write a book. After weeks of pros and cons, I thought what the hell, it’s for my own pleasure and I won’t even bother getting it published. Wow did that change.
What is your favorite part of the book?
It would have to be the few Chapters beginning with ‘The Pit’. So I had nearly finished the whole book, but I couldn’t for the life of me join two scenes together, I wracked my brains for weeks and suddenly when walking around in the supermarket one evening it came to me like a lightning strike to the head! I had to stand to one side of the aisle and text myself the plan, I really did enjoy writing that section and I’ve had some amazing feedback from readers.
What did you edit out of this book?
Very little, I have notebooks of other characters which didn’t make an appearance (this time), also this was one of my most feared moments. Sending it off to be edited was torture, I kept expecting to get it back cut to ribbons, turns out I had nothing to worry about, and the editor didn’t want to change anything, just a few grammatical errors so it really is how it was meant to be.
What has been the best compliment?
I did a signing at a library and a lady that worked there approached me. She said she had brought my book, not because she liked Fantasy, but because I was coming along and it would be a good thing to get me to sign it. Well, she said after reading my work, she felt she had totally missed out on a genre and will definitely be reading more fantasy works. That blew me away to think I had turned someone on to that whole genre.
Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Firstly, to my mum; I think now your one of my biggest fans. Thank you so much for reading to me as a little boy. I am confident this is what got me wanting to be an author. My dad; thank you for your unwavering support of every crazy idea and scheme I’ve come up with (which is a hell of a lot). Finally, to my readers, friends and fans; your words and ratings have blown me away, it still feels like a dream and with all your wanting to find out more, it helps me to focus and keep on going to fulfill my lifelong dream of being an accomplished writer. Thank you all.
Thank you, Rudi, for sharing your journey into authorship with us. I, too, had my first story come to me in a dream and never dreamt I’d be an author. I agree it’s a fantastic feeling to bring joy to others. I’m sure you’ll bring lots of joy in the years to come!
You can follow Rudi Jennings via the following social media:
Rudi Jennings’s book The Last Myon is available in Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, eBay, and many good bookstores and online retailers as well as from Olympia Publishers.
We’ve just passed the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo, and I’m still under 20K words! Here’s my graph:
If you look at it closely, you can see I’ve only been writing six days in total. Considering I started with 3K words on paper already, it means I did over 2.5K words per day on average. Not bad, if I may say so myself!
The problem is to find the time to sit down and write. Well, sitting down isn’t actually the problem. It’s finding the time to write on my novel. I have so many other things I want to do! I’ve been watching a lot of videos/webinars on how to up the sales of my books. October, the promo month for vampire novels, is over, but I still want my sales to continue. For this, I need to advertise. And this costs time to get into and set up.
Folla Fiction Publishing
Another time-eater has been my step into the publishing world. I’ve set up Folla Fiction Publishing, offering formatting, copyediting/proofreading, and publishing services to authors. Check out the website! The setting up of the website and the pricing of the services took quite some research, hence my limited time writing for NaNoWriMo. I’m hoping the services provided will help indie authors getting their foot into the market, and I’m hoping to use the revenue earned with it for advancing my own writing. A win-win situation, really 🙂 .
JD Book Magazine with a Bite
As you may have noticed, I’ve put my magazine on hold. I so wanted to send out at least one this month, but it doesn’t look I will have the time for this. Every magazine takes me two days to put together, and this is time I currently just don’t have. Sorry, guys. I hope to make it up to you in December.
What to Watch?
My ‘What to Watch’ feature has also been suffering. No, I didn’t stop watching TV. I still have a husband who likes to spend time with me on the couch after dinner. We’ve been watching Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan TV series, something my husband picked, but I can’t say I’m such a fan of it. I feel that John Krasinski, playing Jack Ryan, looks too comical for the role, for one. Anyway, I hope to pick up this feature again in December with some more fantasy movies to review.
You also may have noticed I’m not posting any short stories anymore. Yes, I’ve still been writing them, but I just don’t have the time to post them! I’m hoping to put all my stories of this year into a bundle again, so watch this space!
I better switch off my social media and get writing. Just in case you’re wondering what I’m writing, it’s a fantasy story with vampires (of course), werewolves, witches, sirens, and zombies. It’s about Ashley Locklear, a seventeen-year-old girl living in Deadman Town, Alaska, who, after she dies and is revived, doesn’t recognize one man living in her town. She has to find out who he really is and why he’s there before they ship her off to a mental institute. All of this while she finds out her town is no ordinary town…
If you think this is an intriguing story, why not sign up for my newsletter on my homepage? You’ll receive an invitation to be a beta-reader for the book as soon it’s written, getting the first version of the book for free!
Till next time,
‘But… didn’t you interview Joanna already?’ I hear you think. Yes, you are absolutely correct; I did! And last week I promised you that I would interview Dark Side of Fiction authors. Writers are very, very busy people, though, and don’t always check their emails. If they’re like me, they get too many a day to check them all out. Not to worry, I’m going to get to them, one way or another :).
In the meantime, let’s find out a bit more about the creative process of this funny, mysterious, and mischievous Mistress…
Mistress Joanna Noor
Hi, I’m Joanna Noor, and when I’m not penning naughty epic fantasy stories, I am also an illustrator, cartoonist, graphic designer, and editor. Unfortunately I can’t divulge my real identity, because I have a successful alternate career as a YA author and children’s picture book artist. However, everything you need to know about me personally can be summed up in one description: I am a cat. Sweet, friendly, mischievous, sometimes scratchy and fierce, a little bit lazy, but very patient and determined when I need to be! I also enjoy having my back scratched.
How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?
We moved around a lot as a child, so I changed schools often and learned to be very self-sufficient emotionally. I created my own portable worlds, stocked with countless imaginary friends who comforted, amused, and incensed me. My mother is a professional artist and writer, so she was totally cool with that.
If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?
Joanna, please focus more on story and characters than style. Style will come as you develop and gain confidence, but no one will want to read your work if you can’t spin a good yarn.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Spiritual and mental. It’s how I organize my thoughts, it’s how I connect with strangers on an intimate level, and it’s how I make sense of the beautiful mystery and cosmic joke that is life. It’s also how I get to be naughty and subversive.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was old enough to pick up a crayon. Literally.
Pen or typewriter or computer?
Pen for jotting down ideas and sketches, computer for outlining, drafting, and writing my manuscripts.
Do you write alone or in public?
Both. I like to mix it up, working from my office at home, at a library, or sometimes at my favorite coffee shop with a latte close by.
Music or silence?
Music when I’m brainstorming, silence when I’m writing. When I’m writing, I’m actually just dictating a narrating voice in my head (and it usually sounds like Christopher Lee or Ian McKellan). If I can’t hear the voice clearly, I can’t write.
Goals of certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes?
I try to write 2000-5000 words a day, five days per week, when I’m completing a novel. If I do less, it makes me grumpy.
Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
I must have coffee.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I am a full-time author/artist, and doing it full-time for most of my adult life has allowed me to develop into the enthusiastic writer I am.
What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, could you please share an example?
As an artist, I have a very visual way of looking at things, and this informs my writing. Readers often remark that my fantasy worlds are very vivid and well-drawn, and that makes me happy. They are very vivid and well-drawn in my imagination, so conveying that is a triumph.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing energizes me like nothing else, leaving me buzzing for hours after a successful session. It’s almost post-coital in the way it leaves me feeling warm and happy.
Is your ‘being an author’ a goal achieved or an accident?
Definitely achieved. I work very hard at what I do, from the writing to the packaging, to the presentation and the promotion. It is my passion.
What is your writing style?
I always hated reading first-person narration, but I have completely embraced it with my new books and it works very well. My style is muscular, poetic, playful, and polished.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I’m a history buff and, as mentioned, I have a magpie mind which is very good at hoarding useless facts. I draw upon my extensive wealth of arcane knowledge, and supplement it with Wikipedia articles when required.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Anywhere from two months to two years. Mostly about two to three months now.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Remaining in my chair and not getting up to play with my cats.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Sometimes they hijack it, but then I hijack them in the editing phase. My guns are bigger.
How do you select the names of your characters? Are your characters based on real people?
If it makes me laugh or smile, then I know it’s a winner and it goes in. I have a bawdy, totally absurd, and ridiculous sense of humor. Aspects of my characters’ personalities may be based on real people, but their names certainly are not.
When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
Definitely a mix of both!
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Yes. If you can decipher the clues in my texts, it will lead you to a church in France where you will discover that Christ had a child and . . . oh wait, that’s already been done! Let me think of something else.
What do your plans for future projects include?
Many, many more Khymeera novels/stories, and many stories in my new, top secret series.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I have streamlined all my systems and the whole book creation experience is now a well-oiled machine.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. Without readers, there would be no completion of the artistic circle, no home for the characters in my stories. I, the author, plant the seed of a tale. You, the reader, give it life and nourish it into a garden. Thank you 🙂
Thank you, Joanna, for letting us know about your writing process. I think many of us are a slave to ‘the coffee’ when writing. And I think your explanation of what fans are to a reader is beautiful!
Next time (yes, there will be a next time!), we will concentrate a bit more on the contents of Mistress Joanna’s books.
Don’t forget her second novel, Sukkubus of Khameera, the sequel to Kock Rider of Khameera, is now available!
You can contact Mistress Joanna Noor via the following Social Media:
Remember I attended The Darker Side of Fiction book signing? Well, I met a lot of lovely people there, and a bunch of great authors, of course! All fantasy writers, all trying to find fans. You’ve already met one of the writers, Martin Tracey, and in the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring more of these Darker authors, hoping that they may find some new fans amongst you. First up is Helen Claire Gould, writer of science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been chatting with her since we became friends on Facebook. She’s very active as a writer in her community but broke her hip and arm in an unfortunate fall recently. She is recovering well from her hip replacement and should be up and about soon!
Helen Claire Gould
Helen took English Language and Literature, A level (prior to going to university as a mature student of Geology in 1997) and came 5th in the country out of 16,000 candidates. She worked as a proof-reader for the first 5 years of her working life, firstly in publishing and then in insurance, where accuracy is even more important as an insurance proposal is a legal document. She edits and proofreads her own work, and she’s proud to mention Floodtide has an approximate 0.005% error rate.
Karma has not been easy on Helen. She has dyscalculia (the maths version of dyslexia), dyspraxia (the co-ordination version), and some features of dyslexia (luckily not spelling, grammar or punctuation, which seem to have gone in the opposite direction)–i.e. left/right confusion, so if she ever gives you any directions to get anywhere, take no notice of what comes out of her mouth, just follow the hand signals!
Who is/are your favorite author(s)? How much is your work influenced by his or her works?
Andre Norton. I write about similar subject matter, though not in her style. I’m not an imitator. I write what comes, but try to adhere to professional writing standards that are (supposedly) the same for traditionally published authors. She wrote science fiction, and science fantasy; I also bring in elements of horror.
What made you want to become a writer?
I read my first science fiction at the age of nine, and wrote some when I was fourteen. I’ve written ever since. I was top of the school for English from nine on, and bottom of the school for maths. I wanted to be a scientist, but didn’t think my maths would be good enough. I was interested in geology and palaeontology as a child, and when I researched the geology for Floodtide, I realised there was a science I could do. At 43 I went to uni, and discovered one tutor who was interested in planetary science, so I did all his modules–perfect for a science fiction writer!
Do you outline or just write?
Sometimes I’ll write a chapter or two to see where it’s going before I outline the story. When I wrote The Stallion I got up in the night to write down the dream I’d just had. My husband came into the study a couple of hours later, having realised I wasn’t in bed, and said, “Oh, so this is where you’ve got to!”
What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, could you please share an example?
I worked as a proof-reader and in retailing, where I became a professional trainer, learned to write courses, and taught evening classes in geology and creative writing. After publishing Floodtide, I spent 18 months writing workshops on writing and self-publishing, delivered through local libraries. They include eureka moments, research and examples; I use my scientific knowledge to design diagrams and animate them in PowerPoint. Everything’s on handouts, with practical assignments, even in the self-publishing workshops.
Can you give us an interesting, fun fact about your book?
When I submitted the print version of Floodtide, the printers sent me an e-mail saying there was a problem with the dialogue from page 42 on. I checked the page and the telepathic conversations, bracketed with < > instead of “ ”, began there. I emailed back and explained about the telepathic conversations–and that because the alien concepts I used didn’t exist in English I’d invented a language, so if they came across what appeared to be nonsense words, these were in Naxadan!
Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Most of my writing is set in an imaginary universe, based on ours. I’ve set up part of my website as a companion to it, with a timeline, views of the solar systems in each book, notes on the Naxadan language, relevant scientific material, links to book trailers and readings on my YouTube channel, and a star map of that universe. Some stories contain cross-references between the series.
Are you working on another book? What are your current projects? Can you give us a small teaser?
Having put out two short books this year, I’m currently working on The Zarduth Imperative: Discovery, about the crew of Zarduthi clanship, the Bekel. The Zarduthi are space mercenaries who trade their services for food, clothing, and weapons. The ship drifts into the solar system and 33 unaccompanied children are discovered inside, revived, debriefed, fostered in different countries, and forbidden to communicate with each other. Raised communally on the Bekel, they’re desperate to take back their ship and find their parents. Oh, and a dead Voth, a bacterium-like species terrorising our corner of the galaxy was onboard–and Earth is next in line…
From the opening scene:
“Kaylar, raise shields. Nam–switch orbit now! And keep us hidden from the Voth fleet.” Although the Bekel would be vulnerable to detection during this manoeuvre, for this planetary configuration it was the best defence Rilla Dekkutz knew.
“Defence shields raised, Rilla,” Kaylar said.
“New orbit laid in,” Nam reported from the nav column.
Rilla stared into the simtank cube mounted between and below the forward sightports. A white hologrammatic dot marked the Bekel’s position between the twin moons, Bacar and Ammax, as they swung about their common centre of gravity. They’d exchanged positions again. Bacar was now nearest the planet below. Rilla saw the white dot marking their geostationary orbit change from Bacar to Ammax.
What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?
Postal writing workshops contain five members, each allowed to keep the parcel for up to two weeks. The administrator puts their work in a parcel and sends it to the next person on the list, who writes feedback, puts in their work, then sends it on. When the parcel comes back, the administrator has four pieces to write feedback on and four pieces of feedback on their work. I learned to critique work and received helpful criticism and suggestions.
The least helpful thing was feedback from a publishing house talent scout. She didn’t read my manuscript properly, and with hindsight I realised she wasn’t even as good at giving feedback as my fellow orbiters.
What has been the best compliment?
My friend Fyzz, who runs the Fyzz Wallis Band, had read that books you love, near the end, feel like ‘that break-up feeling’, and said Floodtide was like that! Her bassist Zoe apparently reads lots of self-published books, and said they often contain many typos, but Floodtide read like a traditionally published book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When ill-health set in, Mike said I should stay at home and work on my novels, but he probably didn’t expect me to publish anything. In 2014 I published the ebook of Floodtide, and in 2015 brought out the print version. A day’s free self-publishing course at the printers’ gave me the confidence to go into print.
Social Media Details
Here’s where you can find Helen Gould online:
Website (where the first three chapters of Floodtide are available to read!)
As mentioned before, Helen is very active as a writer in her area, East Anglia, and has her books available in the following stores:
- Waterstones, Bridge St., Peterborough;
- Peterborough Visitor Information Centre, Bridge St., Peterborough;
- Bookmark Spalding, 20, the Crescent, Spalding;
- Beccles Books, 1, Exchange Ho., Exchange Sq., Beccles, NR34 9HH;
- Oundle Bookshop,13 Market Place, Oundle PE8 4BA.
Her books are also available from the following local libraries: Peterborough Central Library, Bretton Library, Orton Library, Stamford Library, The Deepings Library, Spalding Library, Oundle Library, Long Sutton Library, Boston Library, Huntingdon Library.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Helen. I wish you a speedy recovery and have my fingers crossed you get some reviews for your short story and horror bundle!
I’m sad that the Blog Tour is almost over, but I have one nice stop for you at the funny Amanda’s Go Book Yourself, a bookish blog. I have a guest post there about the history of vampires on the silver screen. Go check it out and tell me who your favorite vampire is.
A BIG THANK YOU to the amazing Kelly Lacey from LOVE BOOKS GROUP who was so kind to help me out last minute organizing my Blog Tour. I couldn’t have done it without her! Big hug, girl. You are one amazing woman! xx
If you’ve missed any of my Blog Tour stops, here they are again:
Day 1 – Joyful Antidotes
Day 2 – B for Bookreview
Day 3 – The Midnight Review
Day 4 – Over the Rainbow Book Blog
Day 6 – Chat About Books
Day 7 – Go Book Yourself
Thank you so much, lovely ladies, for participating in my Blog Tour! A special thanks to Kirsty and Cassandra for taking the time to read my book (so appreciated!), and to Kerry, for interviewing me. You have made my first Blog Tour extra special!
Well, that’s it, folks. One more day that my books are available for 99c/99p, so grab your copies while you can!
I have an interesting author interview for you today. The questions are asked by the lovely Kerry Parson on her Chat About Books blog. Check it out if you want to know which author I’d like to meet, which fictional character I’d like to meet, and where I’d like to take them for a coffee.
Please excuse the writing mistakes in the interview answers. I was extremely tired and in a hurry when I wrote them. Not a good combination! I’m mixing up UK and US English and found at least one punctuation mistake XD.
Thank you, Kerry, for taking an interest in me. It was fun to answer your questions. And of course for being part of my Blog Tour. You rock!
Guess what? Today I have three bloggers posting about Living Like A Vampire! Each will have a little bit more information about the book or about me.
Let me start with Kim from Nemesis Book Blog. Kim has posted a little excerpt from the book when Kate and Charlie try to escape the suckers in a car. It doesn’t seem like much, but it has dire consequences! Go check it out on Kim’s site.
The second stop is on Laura Nelson’s Facebook site: Tangents and Tissues Book Blog. Laura wanted to know more about me, so I wrote a bit about a question I often get when I wear my fangs; “Are you a real vampire?” Check out my answers, and I’ll let you decide!
The third stop is on the blog of Cassandra’s MADEUP-Group. I’m so thrilled she liked the story! This is what she has to say about it:
“For somebody who enjoys Vampire type stories, I tend to have quite high expectations from them, and this didn’t let me down. (…) If you enjoy Vampire/Apocalyptic/Romantic stories with a bit of a twist on the norm, this is the story for you! I can’t wait to see what comes from the next book!”
Obviously, she has more nice things to say about Living Like A Vampire, so head over there to check it out!
Thank you, Kim, Laura, and Cassandra, for participating in my Blog Tour! You are wonderful people!