New Interview With the Fantastic Traci Sanders!

I am thrilled to have with us again, the lovely and talented Traci Sanders. Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.

Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.

Today, we’ll be talking about her newest novels which aids the author in the editing process. But! Are also encouraging and helpful to the aspiring author.

Traci, we’re so glad you’re here again. There’s a lot of questions I’d like to ask you, so let’s get started!

1. There is so much to know and learn about editing. How long did it take you to write these novels regarding editing?
This entire book series is based on a year-long blog segment where I offered tips on all aspects of the writing and publishing industry. So, you could say it took me a year to conduct the research and write these books. 😊

2. How important is it for writers to get that editor?
Professional editing is a crucial aspect of producing a high quality book. I would even say it’s more important than formatting or cover design, in some cases. Many readers judge a book by its cover, but some just want what’s inside.

3. What are some mistakes editors make?
It’s important to realize that NO editor is perfect. They all miss things, usually small things like an extra space, or a common word like “quite” being mistaken for “quiet”. That’s one of my faux pas, anyway. As humans, we are fallible and we miss common things that we’re used to hearing all the time. Our brains don’t always register the difference when we’re reading or editing. That’s why it’s crucial that you, as the author, read over your editor’s comments carefully, and be proactive. Try to catch anything he or she misses. You both have the same goal in mind: to produce the best story possible. As long as you learn something, you’re always becoming better at your craft.

4. What awards have you won?
My romance novella Unsevered won Best Second Chance Romance from Bottles and Books Readers’ Favorite Awards and Bronze from eLit Awards. My debut novella When Darkness Breaks won Best Romance Novella from Bottles and Book Readers’ Favorite Awards. They were both nominated for other awards, but didn’t place. I haven’t taken the time to enter any of my other titles in competitions.

5. Tell us if you can, how can an author identify a true writing contest among the false, on the internet?
First, it’s important to know that writing contests and award contests cost money. There is always a fee.
In my opinion, the ones that are quality are those such as Readers’ Favorite and local awards’ programs and contests, especially the ones that offer true feedback on your stories, not just prizes.

6. Okay, since you are an author and an editor, I’ve always wondered, do you edit in your mind while reading a book?
Oh my gosh, yes! And it’s a blessing and a curse. Every book I read, I want to send the author a note to let them know what tiny errors I found in their books, not to insult them or make them feel bad, but because I would want to know about my errors. I want my work to be as close to perfect as possible. Most authors appreciate that I do this. Now that I’ve learned all the editing tricks that I’ve acquired so far, I find it extremely difficult to take off my editor hat and simply enjoy a story. Like I said, a blessing and a curse.

7. Is it a desire to see writers succeed and improve in their craft?
I’ve been a people pleaser, and an advocate for the underdog, for my entire life. So, yes, I’m always willing to help others succeed, even to the detriment of my own success. It’s just the way I was raised. It brings me great joy to help others.

8. In your opinion, what percentage of writers can actually edit their own work?
Most writers can PRE-edit their work, and should, but every author is usually too close to his or her own work to edit objectively. An extra set of “trained” eyes always makes a difference. I even hire professional editors for my books.

9. As an editor, what do you typically notice a writer has problems with? i.e. Spelling, tense, dialogue, sentence structure…
The biggest two issues I see involve tense change and sentence structure. Spelling and grammar issues are easy to fix, and most experienced writers have learned the basic grammar rules. But, things like hanging modifiers and overwriting are not as easy to recognize for some.

10. How many novels do you typically edit within a month?
I just started editing full-time this year, but I’d say I can get at least three edits done per month.

11. Will we be seeing another editing book collection in the future?
Probably not. I covered a plethora of topics in this series, that go above and beyond what most will find on their own, without searching a multitude of sources, which is quite time consuming. Unless the grammar rules change dramatically, this is THE go-to set that every author can use to improve his or her writing dramatically.

12. What education have you had to aid in your editing?
I’m self-taught, but I’ve trained under some extremely talented editors, who’ve shown me the ropes. Plus, I’ve always had a firm grasp on grammar and a love of word play, so this feels like a natural progression in my career.

13. If someone has a desire to edit, what sort of tips can you relay to them?
Read, read, read. Books, blog posts, and tutorial guides. Learn the mechanics of writing, then practice them. Do reworks of your own writing. Pay attention to pauses in writing and structure of dialogue.

14. In your book, “Beyond the Book”, what are a few marketing details readers can expect to learn?
Oh my goodness. There aren’t a few. It’s over 300 pages of out-of-the-box ideas for marketing your books, networking with other authors to build your brand, and tips on producing high quality books. It’s truly a great resource. Even I refer back to my tips!

15. “Before You Publish” is a wonderful tool-since I’ve read about half of it- I see it’s a great aid for those who are aspiring authors. What are a few tips readers may learn in this helpful book?
This is more of a “let me look this up” type of reference book, rather than a “read cover to cover” title. I incorporate a ton of grammar topics – common spelling errors and word-usage errors, and even creative-writing tips. Basically, this book covers all aspects of the writing portion of publishing.

16. In “Living the Write Life”, what are a few tips authors can learn from this book?
Even though this is my shortest book, I’m probably most proud of this one because it’s a guide for life as an author. It includes answers and suggestions for things like: how to be inspired to write, 7 stretches for writers, and how to respond to the dreaded question – “How much do you make with your books?”

17. I love to play a fun game on my blog so readers and fellow authors can learn more about you, and what sorts of things you enjoy and love. So, let’s begin! Writing or editing??
Writing is more fun, for sure. But, editing makes me feel more accomplished.

18. Coffee or espresso?
Coffee

19. Reading in the morning, afternoon or evening?
Evening

20. Playing with your kids, or taking a nap?-no we won’t hold it against you if you pick a nap! HA!
I don’t take naps.

21. Beta reading or editing?
Editing

22. Writing or marketing?
Writing

23. Lake or the ocean?
Ocean

24. Swimming or sun bathing?
Sun bathing

25. Thunderstorms or snow storm?
Thunderstorms

26. Spring or summer?
Spring. I hate sweating.

27. Texting or talking on the phone?
Texting, unless I have a good bit of time to spare. I do love hearing people’s voices.

28. What’s your favorite color?
Purple

29. What is your favorite comfort food?
Strawberry short cake, which isn’t easy to find around here, so if I want it, I have to make it. My mama used to make me one every year on my birthday.

30. Chocolate or white chocolate?
Chocolate

31. How many kids do you have?

Three – 19, 17, and 11

32. Tell your readers one of the funniest things your kids have done?
Wasn’t funny at the time, but, my boys painted my entire house with chocolate syrup while I was working at home one day. They were two and four … and hungry, apparently. This story actually turned into a children’s book for me.

33. I’m excited to hear of your blog tour and we wish you only the best. Give us the details of where you will be heading so readers may join you and snatch one or ALL of these books?
You can always check my blog http://www.awordwithtraci.com. I’ll be announcing each stop there each day.

34. Where can we find a list of all of your novels, including these three “new” releases-which I’m dying to own in paperback?
My Amazon page:
https://www.amazon.com/Traci-M.-Sanders/e/B00BA9VUUY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490804598&sr=8-1

35. Is there anything you’d love to relay to your readers, before we say goodbye?
My ultimate advice would be DON’T SETTLE FOR STATUS QUO. Sure, you can produce a so-so book and maybe get a few 3-4-star reviews, OR, you can take the time learn the rules of grammar and mechanics, and produce an outstanding story that readers won’t be able to forget.

Even though I wrote short romance novellas, and some of the reviews from my readers mentioned that fact, NONE of them really said they felt cheated, because I offered a compelling story. You won’t be remembered for your book’s page count, but you will be remembered for the emotions you brought about for that reader who “needed” that book at that very moment, even if this person didn’t know it.

This has been a fun and one of the most helpful interviews I’ve had. I’m so thankful you stopped by Traci! I and everyone else congratulate you on these new releases and I’m so grateful you’ve written them. I’ll be purchasing all in paperback!

Guys, this has been another AMAZING interview with a wonderful and talented author. Stay tuned for more interviews and give this blog a follow to stay connected.

In the Author’s Spotlight Is the Wonderful Author Iris Chacon!

IMG_0679

Please welcome the wonderful and humorous author Iris Chacon! So pleased you are here for our author’s spotlight. You’re not invisible here so let’s get crackin’!

Q. What made you want to be a writer?
A. I don’t remember deciding to be a writer; I’d wager few of us make a conscious decision to do so. Instead, we write because the ideas our brains generate are clambering to get out, and we can’t rest until we get it down on paper – or screen, as the case may be. It’s like lying awake at night with your brain running 120 miles per hour, repeating your to-do list for tomorrow, until you just get up and write the list down. Writers just happen to have a million to-do lists, some of them a hundred thousand words long!
Q. Tell us your book’s genre?
A. FINDING MIRANDA is definitely romantic and comedic, but there’s also a mystery at its center, and a little bit of action and suspense. “Clean romantic comedy” is the best description — although I’m not sure serious literary types consider that a genre. I hate to label it simply “Romance,” because many readers (perhaps unconsciously) expect naked bodies and heaving bosoms. Until the “Romance” genre is more clearly defined, I hesitate to use that term without modifiers.
Q. Tell us about your book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.)
A. This is the story of a shy librarian who is invisible to virtually everyone — except, strangely, a blind radio host and a pair of hired killers. One of the trailers [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_2gqjyqr4] reveals that the favorite character of most readers is Dave the Dog. I’ll say no more about that, to avoid spoilers.
FINDING MIRANDA is a fast, happy read, often finished in one sitting. You can get it in paperback (from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble [BN.com]) or in any of the popular ebook formats (from Amazon.com, BN.com, Smashwords.com, Kobo.com, and about a dozen other ebook sellers).
Q. How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
A. It is essential to read – and not only books. Read everything that comes your way, including the articles in the old magazines in the dentist’s waiting room. You will always learn something that adds to your skill and likability as a writer.
I doubt if many of us would buy a car that was designed and built by someone who had never ridden in a car. Before that inventor designs and builds my car, I want to know he or she has personal experience with a lot of cars.
Q. How did you decide to write a book about a mousy librarian?
A. I love librarians. I know many of them personally and was one myself for a couple of years. Librarians just don’t get enough heroic roles in modern fiction, don’t you agree? Why wasn’t Clark Kent a librarian, for example? If he’s so “mild-mannered” when disguised, wouldn’t a librarian make more sense than a reporter? How many “mild-mannered” reporters do you know? They’re piranhas! And, believe me, to a reporter, that’s a compliment. No, a librarian would have been perfect in that role, but they just don’t have the PR machine that other potential heroes and heroines have. I figured the librarian’s time had come!
Q. Do you relate in any way to the librarian Miranda?
A. I remember people joking about being “invisible” when they reached a certain age, but I didn’t relate to the syndrome until my own epiphany. I well remember that moment when the realization struck: people stopped seeing me. Teenage boys stopped seeing me when I passed age 30. Single men stopped evaluating me when I got married. When I exceeded a certain body mass, nobody looked at me any more except personal trainers hoping to make a sale. I couldn’t make eye contact with strangers any more because they looked past me, over me, or through me instead of at me. I’m still waiting for Congress to approve billions of tax dollars to study the invisibility phenomenon. But, since Congresspersons tend to be wealthy and famous, they may never experience invisibility.
Q. Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
A. I want readers to experience simple joy, a range of cathartic emotions, and the conscious or unconscious realization that people are not what they appear to be.
We judge everyone the moment we encounter them, based on what we see or hear on the most superficial level. We dislike someone because they have a nose just like Bernie Gumfeld, who bullied us in middle school. We assume someone is ignorant because of their “hillbilly” accent, when they’re actually a Ph.D. in particle physics who happened to grow up in the mountains of Tennessee.
Librarians are sometimes heroic. Blind people are absolutely capable. Rich people are not always generous, and poor people often are. #BreakStereotypes is a popular tag among Wattpad writers, and so is #BreakCliches. I hope to advance that philosophy.
Q. Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
A. Proofreading the 20th draft. No matter how beloved the story initially was, the honeymoon is over after a while.
Q. Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.
A. I once read that if one is a true writer, one can sit down in the middle of a busy street and write. I try to remember that when I’m trying to use noise or commotion as an excuse not to write. In a perfect world, I love a quiet spot and a view of nature. I’ve written in every imaginable atmosphere, however, including on a bus or train commuting to and from work in the city. Right now, for example, my teenager – three feet away from me – is watching Spongebob Squarepants at top volume while burping loudly and playing electronic games on her tablet. When a writer is focused on the work, few things can really hinder them. (Hint to writers: Stop making excuses. Just do it.)
Q. What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?
A. I need something to sip on when I stop to ruminate or think through a problem. It can be tepid coffee, watery formerly-iced tea, water, even diet soda when I can sneak it past my health-conscious husband. I think the cup or glass just gives me something to do with my hands when I stop typing to cogitate.
Q. What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
A. I have read, or heard, that most people experience the “imposter syndrome” at some point in life. That’s the time when you just know, deep in your secret heart, that you’re not who you hope you are, and that you’ll be discovered, exposed, and publicly humiliated as an imposter at any moment. Everyone who has ever written anything – whether a poem, a song, a love note, a story, a movie, or a novel – has at some point thought, “Who am I kidding? I can’t write! And if they read what I’ve just written, everyone will know it!” I have to fall back on the statement a fledgling writer posted on a writers’ bulletin board years ago. Paraphrased, she said, “Whether or not people buy my work, read my work, or like my work, I write. I’m a writer because I write.”
Q. When you need some extra encouragement to whom do you turn?
I get encouragement from my family members and one or two very close friends. I am encouraged by much of what I read, as well. (There’s yet another good reason for writers to read.)
Q. How do you market your book?
I’m no expert on marketing, but I try to be diligent in applying every technique I learn (so long as it doesn’t swamp the budget boat). I read everything I see on how others are marketing, and I attempt as many of their methods as I can. Mark Coker at Smashwords gives many good lessons to indie authors, and I read whatever he writes. I have met some authors on Twitter who gave me pointers to improve my presence on social media. Based on advice I have read or received, I have done many things, including:
published multiple titles and in multiple formats;
book giveaways on Goodreads, and free books on Smashwords;
Countdown sales on Amazon;
presence on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and several online author discussion groups, such as ChristianWriters.org, Goodreads, even Paperback Attack (know that one?).
I’ve given away discount coupons for my books (Smashwords has an easy system for that);
consulted professional cover artists and employed their services in creating marketable covers (I’m even having one cover redesigned at this very moment, following advice from several reviewers);
joined authors’ groups such as Florida Writers Association and Writers4Kids (Lady Lake, FL), which has led to participation in book signing event at a local Barnes & Noble store;
joined the Wattpad writers/readers website (one of Mark Coker’s suggestions), where I have met wonderful writers and readers and been able to give and receive valuable and encouraging feedback.
printed up colorful bookmarks and notecards illustrated by my book covers and containing contact and purchasing information.
Q. Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us what they said.
A. One advantage of Wattpad membership has been that writers and readers are constantly exchanging comments and questions about the writers’ stories. I have also received thank-you notes in connection with book giveaways. Mostly, readers tell me they laughed at something in the book, and that makes me very happy. Several have told me the reading experience was so joyful that they will reread the book in the future when they need to brighten a dark time in their lives.
Q. Whom do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
A. I definitely wouldn’t trust anyone who tends toward brutal honesty! I’m hard enough on myself! I need kindness and encouragement, not criticism. Too many people believe they haven’t given a thorough review of the book if they haven’t found something (no matter how small) to condemn. Nihilism and negativity are the hallmarks of what many people consider to be “serious literature” or “culture.” This is why light comedies don’t win Academy Awards, romance novels don’t win Pulitzers or Nobel Prizes. I don’t write for literary critics, and I don’t listen to them.
Q. Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
A. It was hilarious. The bookstore didn’t really have enough space; some of the writers had to bring in their own folding tables from their cars, and even then there were three or four authors at each table, politely jockeying for space to display their books. Also, it was a three-day holiday weekend, and apparently everyone who might have been shopping had gone to the beach instead. There were a dozen writers for every one potential reader who attended! And, while I remembered my notecards and books, I forgot to bring table decor or food. A good friend scattered hard candies across my table, thank goodness. Also, I didn’t have one of those fantastic easels with the three-foot-high portrait poster advertising the author’s presence. But that wasn’t the worst part. I’m a Christian author, specializing in “clean fun,” and I was wedged into the center of a table of three authors. The one on my left wrote horror novels, and each of the book covers spread across that section of table was more lurid and gruesome than the last. The one on my right had only one book displayed, and only one name for himself — which he said was his “soul’s name.” He specialized in seminars and private sessions wherein he taught people how to “go to the other side” without experiencing actual physical death. He was dressed fit to kill, if you’ll pardon the expression, in a sleek, gray suit without lapels (very Euro-chic), and had brought his own photographer to chronicle the event.
I’m truly looking forward to future book signings, because I’ve been through the crucible now and feel certain any future experiences will shine in comparison.
Q. What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?
A. Music, photography, movies, and hiking.
Q. Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. I know this may seem silly but allow your readers to know more about you.
A. Readers, if you’ve kept reading this far, you deserve every bit of information you can get. Pizza. Sky blue.
Q. Tell us your favorite novel?
A. I hate to answer this because it changes so frequently. I can say that the novel I have loved the longest and re-read the greatest number of times is Jane Eyre. I have to admit it’s not long on comedy, though.
Now a fun game: I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you enjoy.
Q. Library or the movies?
A. I’d like to see more movies about librarians.
Q. Valentine’s day or Easter?
A. Easter for the music, Valentine’s for the chocolate.
Q. Walk on the beach or a walk in the park?
A. Have lived in Florida all my life, but the beach is still nice. Parks are nice, too, except they’re often in cities, and I’m not huge on concrete jungles. The best place to walk is on the slick rock in places like Arches National Park.
Q. Mexican food or Italian food?
A. If I’m cooking, Italian. If I’m eating out, Mexican.
Q. Classical music or Jazz music?
A. Classical if it’s Baroque; jazz if it’s Dixieland.
Q. The smell of leather book bindings or the smell of a new car?
A. True confession: I have virtually no sense of smell. I have to remind myself to incorporate aromas into my sensory descriptions when writing.
Q. Coffee or Espresso?
A. Coffee (with lots of milk, preferable chocolate). No espresso. I’m already a Type A and definitely do not need any additional caffeine!
Q. Chips or crackers?
A. Chips, if there’s dip; crackers, if there’s peanut butter.
Q. Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?
A. Pretty sure I made them all. If anybody knows of a mistake I might not have made, please let me know. But every mistake you find and fix is a good learning experience.
Q. What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors?
A. It doesn’t sound profound, but it is: Do not quit. Even when you’re not writing with your hands, you can be writing in your head. And if you’re going to quit, your head will quit first. Then your heart. And finally, your hands. Don’t let it go past step one. Keep writing even when you don’t feel inspired. Ten percent inspiration, ninety percent perspiration, remember?
Q. When in doubt, whom do you trust to help you out?
A. Christian writers and friends, who’ll remind me that I’m not the one in control of my ultimate success. “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for calamity; to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Q. When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.
A. I hope to finish a new book this year, but long trips have cut into my writing time. I expect it may be February or March of 2017 before my sixth novel is released. It is humorous, of course, with a sally into the paranormal realm. The working title is Raising the Surburban Werewolf. I am also considering a sequel to FINDING MIRANDA, and readers have asked for sequels of other titles as well.
Q. Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?
A. The paperbacks of FINDING MIRANDA and my other four novels are available on my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Iris-Chacon/e/B00U4AYUZ2.
My author website is: http://www.authoririschacon.wordpress.com

miranda pprbk cvr

I’m so glad to have had you stop by Iris. And I don’t know about you guys but my reading list is growing with books such as this!

This has been author’s spotlight. Please follow for next week’s fun interview! Feel free to post questions for Iris. She has lots of wisdom and advice to pass on.

This Week We Have the Wonderful Author/Illustrator Victoria Woten!

Victoria

I’m so blessed this week we have author/illustrator Victoria Woten with us for our author interview!

Victoria, or Aunty as I call her lol, I’m so glad I finally am able to interview you. You have published your first children’s book and I’ve got so many fun and exciting questions for you, so let’s get started!

What made you want to be a writer?

I never thought about it at first. Sometimes I would journal or write little songs or snippets for personal use. I wrote a little piece on housekeeping and baking and another on some Bible verses, all unpublished. Then I decided to give it a try.

What genre’s do you write or delve into?

Currently for children but, possibly adults.

Tell us about your children’s book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.)
Mrs. Wonderland is the main character. She comes down from Heaven to help children, spreading love and happiness, and making dreams come true. She loves children. She’s a bit like a fairy godmother, nanny, angel all rolled in one. I also add my own recipe in every book. The first recipe is Mrs. Wonderland’s Chocolate Fudge Delights.

My book is available at Amazon Kindle and paperback, bookstores, and online retailers.

How important is it to read books when you want to be an author and then become an author?

Reading is so good for you! Of course it’s educational. Reading opens your mind and unlocks the keys to creativity and imagination.

What made you want to write stories for kids?

I enjoyed making up stories to tell my granddaughter when she was young.

What message do you want to send to the children who read your book?

I want to show good character traits. I wish to inspire children to love one another, always have hope, believe in themselves and build confidence, to show kindness, sharing, friendship, and beauty within. I also want to show them God’s love without telling them so that anyone may read it.

How long did it take you to illustrate your book?

6-9 months working daily in my spare time.

Where did the inspiration for Mrs. Wonderland, the actual character, come from?

Through prayer and meditation she came to me one day. Her lovely world opened up in my imagination and from there I could see her in many examples and stories. Later I told a bedtime story to my granddaughter then wrote it down. I kept it and pondered for a long time until I decided to try writing a book. This is the first of the series.

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?

The publishing process is exciting but very stressful, meeting the time table and everything coming together how you would like.

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.

Quiet at home or driving.

Do you need special treats or goodies to help you write?

A cup of tea or coffee is nice

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel?

Fear of rejection. When you write and illustrate, it feels very personal coming from your heart.

When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?

Family, God, friends.

How do you market your book?

Online through Amazon and a Face Book Page, plus word of mouth.

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?

Family and friends

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.

Very small, mostly just family.

What sorts of things do you enjoy when Victoria isn’t writing?

My favorite hobby is porcelain doll making. I enjoy making up characters and stories and design their costumes. I also like baking and spending time with family, friends, and God/Bible study.

Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. I know this may seem silly but allow your readers to know more about you.

Chocolate and I like a rainbow of colors

What was your favorite children’s book growing up?

My favorite book was a fairy tale book my mom use to read to us.

Now a fun game I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you enjoy.

Peanut M & M’s or Plain M & M’s?

Both

Christmas or Thanksgiving?

Christmas

Spring, Summer, or Winter?

Winter and spring

Spaghettios or Raviolis?

Raviolis

Romance movie or Disney movie?

Disney

Zoo or a Theme Park?

Disneyland

Morning, Afternoon or Night?

Morning and night

Kool-aid or Gatoraide?

neither

Coke or Pepsi?

neither

Is there any mistakes you made with your first book?

I made plenty of mistakes. My book was too long and a bit boring especially for younger children. My illustrations were all hand drawn but I should of used digital help to make them more professional looking.

What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors or published authors?

Never give up. Always have hope. Follow your heart and your dreams. If you want to do something then keep persevering even if you don’t think you are good at it. It’s very hard to accomplish good things in life and, you will probably fail a few times but, the end results will be worth the fight to get there and the rewards so great!

When in doubt, who helps you out?

Family

When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.

I am working on a second book in the Mrs. Wonderland series which I hope to finish for Christmas.

Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Woten/e/B016PNCLQ6/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

https://www.facebook.com/victoria.woten.mrswonderland/

Mrs. Wonderland Cover (Updated Drawing-ol)
Thanks so much for joining us this week, Victoria I mean Aunty lol. Everyone, you must grab a copy of Mrs. Wonderland. If you have children that love dolls, you can see the unique drawings of where her inspiration derives. They will positively love this little character. And I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to see the next installment of Mrs. Wonderland in December. But you don’t have to wait for the first one! Grab it now and follow Victoria Woten to get updates on her upcoming children’s books. We wish her blessings.

Everyone, so glad you joined us as well this week. Please follow this blog for next week’s author interview! You never know who will surprise us!

Interview with Elyse Salpeter

I am interviewing a wonderful woman, Elyse Salpeter who is the author of books entitled, “The Hunt For Xanadu, Flying to the Light, Flying to the Fire, The World of Karov, The Ruby Amulet and The Mannequins.”

What inspired you to become a writer?

I have always been pretty imaginative. When I was a little girl, I used to draw these fantastical cars for a family of a hundred. The car would have levels, with one level for a zoo, another for a carnival, an entire area for the kids to sleep. Think movie theaters and cafeterias. And in a teeny front window would be a steering wheel and a chair for the dad to drive everyone around.

When I hit my twenties, I had this idea for a fantasy novel and figured, “Oh, why not” and just started writing. It was not a well written book at all, and needed a lot of edits, but I fell in love with the idea of finally putting all my crazy thoughts down on paper.

Upon reading your work, you are a terrific writer!  In your opinion, what makes a writer a great writer that is set apart from the rest?

Wow, I never thought of myself as a great writer, so I thank you. I do believe my talent is that I have very cool and different ideas that are really entertaining. I tend to explore topics not seen in the field before and I’m always writing about things I don’t know much about, so I have to research a lot. But to be honest, I pay editors to help me “clean myself up” and “make me look good.” They fix my grammar mistakes and assist with plot holes and overall book development issues.

I think the real thing is that you need to put the time into your craft so you can continue to grow and become stronger.

You have an upcoming novel, “The Mannequins.”  What inspired you to write that book?

This book’s idea came from a scary dream I had. When I woke up, I remembered seeing, from the back, an older man with his arm on the shoulder of a young boy. They were on a hill, looking down at this abandoned mansion and I suddenly came up with the idea for the novel. It’s about a group of people who break into an abandoned mansion and get transported to a different reality run by a madman.

I started your novel, “The Hunt For Xanadu”.  The writing is brilliant.  When is it you realize that you’re finished not only writing the book but editing it?  And can you share some helpful tips to the aspiring writer/author?

Oh, I never feel like I finish a novel. If I didn’t one day just let it go, I’d be editing it into the next millennia! But, at some point, you’ve paid for the editors, the proofreaders, you gone over the book with a fine tooth comb so many times and eventually, you just have to let it go into the universe.

How many novel ideas do you have in safe keeping to bring to the world?

Well, I have quite a few. I have my adult thriller series THE HUNT FOR XANADU and I’ve finished the sequel. It will be called THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB and it’s going through the editing process now. I have big plans for this series and it’s ongoing.

I have a YA thriller series called FLYING TO THE LIGHT and FLYING TO THE FIRE about a young deaf boy who knows about the afterlife and now people are after him for the answer. At the moment, I’m planning out book #3.

I also have a dark fantasy series called THE WORLD OF KAROV and THE RUBY AMULET and it’s about a war torn land where gems have powers and wizards can flip worlds. There’s a plan for a third book in that series as well.

What about the afterlife do you believe?

I question the afterlife in so many of my novels. In THE HUNT FOR XANADU the novel has a Buddhist take on the concept and deals with reincarnation. In FLYING TO THE LIGHT I switch it up on its head with a novel idea I haven’t seen before (I can’t tell you what it is, big spoiler if I did!). My dark fantasy tales even have a bit of a take on them as well. Maybe I’m working through my own issues about it, but I personally believe there is something after this existence is over. What is it? I don’t know.

Have you had any paranormal experiences which you can’t explain?

When I was in eighth grade we lived in a house owned by June Havoc, the old time movie actress. Her husband died in the house and my mother and people visiting SWORE it was haunted. We would hear people walking across the upstairs hallway (even though no one was upstairs) and when we checked, we would then hear footsteps running across the third floor.

One evening, late at night, my father and two sisters and I each came out of our bedrooms and simply met each other in the hallway. My father looked at each of us and simply said “go back to bed, girls.” None of us knew why we all woke up – it was very spooky.

When you aren’t writing, I see you enjoy spending time with your family and gardening.  What sort of things do you enjoy planting?

I like to plant veggies and herbs that I can pick and use for dinner in the evenings when I come home from work. This year I planted zucchini, spaghetti squash, tomatoes, corn and a ton of herbs. I tried to grow eggplant and artichokes and nothing came of it. I try something different each year.

Tell us something about yourself that your readers don’t know that would help them get acquainted with you.

My readers might not know how adventurous I am with food. I would love to travel the globe and eat street food. I think you can really learn about a culture by what the people eat. That said, I also love fine dining and to be pampered. I recently have been taking myself out to this decadent French restaurant where, all by myself, I’ll eat a plate of steak tartare, have a glass of wine, and read a book. I can’t do this often, it’s just too expensive, but once in a while I like to pretend I’m a Rockefeller.

With a busy schedule, how do you take time to write?

I squeeze it in whenever I can. I’ve taken to dragging my 15 inch laptop to work with me and writing on the train or at lunch if I don’t have any meetings. My family is pretty good about giving me some time on the weekends as well.

Many people don’t realize that a lot of time and energy is used to write a novel.  A lot of writers also have to have things just right to concentrate.  Do you have to follow a specific routine to be able to get into the zone of writing?

I just need silence. An empty house with just me and my laptop, sitting on my bed, is golden.

Do you have a book you’re working on right now, after the release of your novel The Mannequins?- which I am dying to read!

I do. I’ve finished the sequel to THE HUNT FOR XANADU. This will be Book #2 in the Kelsey Porter series. I’m in the process of proofing it right now and then I will be sending it off to my beta reader. It’s going to be called THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB.

In your opinion, what are some of the benefits of traditional publishing  vs. self-publishing and vice versa?

Well, self-pubbing gives you complete control and immediacy. I was going to try to go the traditional route with the horror novel, THE MANNEQUINS. But honestly, it could be months or years if I get it accepted to a publishing house or find an agent, and then I’d have no say about the cover or any control over the pricing AND I’d have to most likely do all the advertising and self promotion myself (just like I’d be doing if I self pubbed it), so why stress myself and go that route? I won’t lie, I’d love to be with a big six house, but in this day and age, it’s unreasonable to think they’d take on a debut author, even though I have six books under my belt.

At the end of the day, what brings you the most joy?

I could say my children laughing, a really funny television show, the satisfaction of getting a review… It’s all of that above, but honestly, the most joy is when it is quiet and I feel a sense of peace. The world is just so scary and chaotic, that sometimes just having myself to hang out with makes me happy.

I hope this interview put a smile on your face as it did me.
If you would like to follow Elyse Salpeter, she can be reached at Facebook.com/elysesalpeterauthor   Don’t miss her upcoming novel, “The Mannequins”.            Read it…if you dare!