Being ourselves through others
This month I have been working away at several new stories. Simultaneously. While I was sipping on my coffee, I was asked what story I was working on and I had to ask "which one?". The asker of the question was surprised and queried if I was working on more than one. "Of course," I replied. "My head is full of characters waiting to get out. Not all of them are as patient as others."
It was then that I realized something. Part of being an author is allowing the transmission of the thoughts and desires of others through our own pen. And some of those characters are forceful and demanding, others lurk in the shadows and come out only when prompted or required. And this is in itself a bit like everyone's personality. There are parts of ourselves that are hidden and quiet, and others that are loud and proud. It is the meeting in the middle of these segments of our being that makes us who we are. Both as writers, and the conveyors of stories.
So this month I was keen to find out how other authors find themselves in their writing.
This month's authors:
Julie is both street smart, and book smart. Not to mention a whole heap of hilarity. So I was keen to see how she got into writing and what happened next.
What started your journey into romantic comedy?
I've always enjoyed a good love story. I'm the kind of person that watches tv shows only for the romance arcs and then flocks online to read the fanfiction. And while I've always dabbled in writing, it was never in the romance genre. Admittedly, all my plots always devolved into essentially some over-dramatized love story. I just never connected the dots that maybe that's the genre I should actually be writing until about a year ago and I had an absolute blast! I remember thinking, "oh, THIS is where I'm supposed to be!" As for comedy, I've always enjoyed writing in a more comedic style. I think inherently we're all funny people, and writing in the first person really lends itself to comedic inner dialogue. Sure, we could see how nervous the main character is by how they sweat or shuffle their feet, or we could hear all the ridiculous ways they're scheming to exit the situation. Make up an excuse? Jump out a window? Paint a hole on the wall and walk through Looney Toons style? People think funny things! I like my love stories with humans being humans in all their beautiful flaws and silly ideas.
I know you love a Hogwarts reference, why are you a Slytherin?
Hah! Funny story: I believed I was a Hufflepuff for the majority of my life, but about five years ago, every sorting hat quiz I took put me in Slytherin. Consistently. No variation! Around that time, Cursed Child was released too and I went to a midnight release where they sorted everyone with colored jelly beans, and of course, I got the green ones putting me in Slytherin! Then I had one of my closest friends ask me, "oh wait, you're not a Slytherin? I always thought you were!" Long story short and one existential crisis later, I'm finally in the Slytherin camp. We're a proud and ambitious bunch. Makes sense I'd be in denial for so long.
How important is social media as an author and why?
I think it depends on your genre. I'm a romance reader just as much as I'm a romance writer, so I know what works on me and I have bought so many books from authors I've never read before just by browsing through Instagram. But that's just for romance. It's hard to say if other genres work the same way. Maybe sci-fi isn't as prominent on Instagram but instead bigger on Twitter or Reddit or some other untapped source (heck if I know). I'm just now dipping my toe into the more business side of self-publishing, so for the past year, my only marketing efforts have consisted of hanging out on Instagram making friends with the cool book bloggers. They're my audience and I know I wouldn't be where I'm at today without them. Social media is definitely key for me.
How do you find your Arts degree helps with your writing?
My Arts degree fell under the Journalism school, so I got a decent amount of exposure to writing classes. The best writing class I took was in screenwriting. I really enjoy dialogue and I'm willing to bet it directly stemmed from that class. It's easy to focus on the words when the novelization isn't floating all around it. So, sure, my degree helped. Absolutely. But, do you need a degree to write? Nah.
Julie loves to catch up with her readers via her verious social media accounts at:
She is most active on Instagram but you can find her just about anywhere!
I hope you can take a moment to offer support for her by checking out her books and chatting with her, and I extend my thanks for being interviewed!
Willa J Brand
Willa has been a lover of books her whole life, so it was a natural step for her to become an author. Here is what she told me about her journey.
What started your writing career?
I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My mother was a librarian and I spent a large portion of my childhood engrossed in books. She made sure that I was exposed to some incredible literature and some of my favorites are Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Austen, and Bronte of course. But as I got older and went off to university, I found I had less time for recreational reading, and less able to focus on longer more involved plots. It was then that lighter reading such as Nora Roberts began to appeal to me. It was like a vacation for my brain. Later as a mother, I had even less time, and I began to have a hard time finding reading that I enjoyed. Ultimately this led me to try my hand at writing. My husband encouraged me to make time for it when I found how much I loved it - and the rest is history. I’ve got a file full of storylines, two completed novels, and a third in the making. This is definitely going to be something I will enjoy doing for the rest of my life, and I hope I will gain some faithful readers along the way.
Your stories focus a lot on resilience, what appeals to you about this concept?
I think it is central to life. I want my characters to be realistic. That requires both flaws and strengths on their part. While I want them to be relatable, I also want to create admirable personas - characters that I hope my readers grow to love and care about as much as I do. I feel that is key to the reading experience and I hope that enthusiasm on my part is conveyed to the readers.
How do you balance your busy life on the farm with writing?
It is certainly a challenge, but my husband is a huge help when it comes to carving out time for my writing. I’m a night owl at the best of times so when things quiet down in the evenings, I often steal away to my office and work until late. With four little kids and all the work that comes along with farming and ranching, it can be hard, especially in busy seasons. But I have such a passion for writing that I can't imagine not doing it at this point. It keeps me sane some days!
Of all the reviews you have received, what has been your favorite, and why?
So far, my first “organic” review has got to be my favorite. I can't even explain how excited I was to see that review pop up on Amazon when my Refuge went live. I loved that feeling that someone unknown to me had chosen my book to read, and loved it. As a reader, I love discovering a new book or author, and I am so excited to have created that experience for others.
Willa likes to engage with her readers via Twitter, Facebook, her blog, and her website. S
You can find links to all her social media via her website: https://www.willajbrand.com/
I hope you can take a moment to offer support for her by checking it out, and I extend my thanks for being interviewed!
I wish to thank you for taking the time to read and engage with me! Happy reading everyone! VK Tritschler
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