For the past nearly two years, I have been the gatekeeper for a group of enthusiastic local youth writers. They are already surpassing me in efforts, having already published their own book ("The Fragmental Seven") and having submitted for several short story competitions. This year they are collaborating on a script for a short film. Every week I sit in on their gatherings, absorb their enthusiasm, and reflect on how important it is for people to find others of their ilk. There is something in the freedom of speech and abandon to the pleasure of writing that I find entrancing. To watch and see how the next generation of authors is growing and developing ideas, forming bonds and creating what I hope will be writing skills and friendships that will last a lifetime. It gives me energy and focuses on my own writing, and the encouragement to keep going. I hope that you all can spend a little time this year meeting with, and enjoying the company of, fellow writers.
This month's authors:
Ernie is a Canadian author with a range of books already under his belt, from the humorous to the gripping variety. He was kind enough to reply to my questions on how he managed his craft.
As a prolific author, how long does it take you to write a book?
I've now written five novels and one novella and my track record indicates I tend to produce one new book per year. It normally takes me about three months to produce the first draft of the book and then I start the editing and re-writing stages. I like to use beta readers to help me determine what parts of the book need work. For the first draft, I'm looking for feedback on the story. What parts of the book did you like? What parts did you hate? What parts did you find confusing? Or worst of all, what parts of the book did you find boring? There can be huge differences between the first and second drafts. Whole chapters and characters may be added or removed from the book. Then I send out the second draft to different beta readers. Since most of my books are mysteries, I think it's important that the beta readers not know how things turn out in the book because I want the various twists and turns in the plot to catch them by surprise, but also make perfect sense to them. For some reason, I tend to go you through six complete drafts before I'm satisfied with the result and ready to release it to the public.
When you started your three-book series, did you know from the beginning that you wanted a series or did it become one after you finished the first book?
When I wrote my first book "Goliath", I thought it might be the only book I ever wrote. The story had been kicking around in my head for about seven years before I decided to write it. I had no idea whether anyone would be interested in reading it. However, the feedback I received from readers was quite encouraging. Several readers congratulated me on how clever I was in leaving a few loose ends at the end and wanted to know when the sequel would be coming out. A few readers even suggested plot lines for the second book.
In reality, I'm not really that clever as I hadn't planned on writing a sequel. I was a little surprised at how invested the readers became in some of the characters, but it led to me writing "The Second Shooter". When I finished writing the second book, I knew there would be a third book but I didn't know how many more there would be after that. It was only as I was finishing the first draft of "The Third Option" that I realized that it would be the last book in the series.
Who is your favorite hero/heroine from the characters you have created, and why?
That's difficult to answer because it's like being asked to pick your favorite child. You love them all. However, there were a couple of "minor" characters in my books who grew into major characters, much to my surprise. In "The Second Shooter", I introduced a new character named "Bronx" who I thought would be a temporary love interest for one of the main characters. I was expecting her to be written out of the story within a few chapters. However, I found Bronx to be such an interesting character that she grew on me as I wrote more and more. To my surprise, she became one of the main characters in that book and also in "The Third Option".The other person who surprised me and grew into a major character was "Maria", from my book "The Legacy". As an author, it is quite exciting when fictional characters take on personalities and become real people in your mind.
What part of the writing process do you find the easiest, and what is the hardest?
For me, the easiest and most interesting part of the writing process is creating the actual story. I typically know how the story starts and how it ends, but the journey to get there is like exploring tunnels and seeing where they take you. As you've probably guessed by now, I don't outline or story-board the entire book before I start. Sometimes things happen in the books that surprise even me, and I'm the author. The hardest part for me is marketing my books. Whenever I try to run sales or promotions, they usually result in negligible sales. When I'm not running any events at all, I'll suddenly get sales and I have no idea why. My best selling book is "The Back Nine" and I do practically no marketing for it at all.
Ernie's s favorite way of engaging with his readers is via his author profile and links to his books on
Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/E.A.Briginshaw/e/B00HSROFWM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1Readers can also follow him on
Facebook at: www.facebook.com/eabriginshaw
I hope you can take a moment to support him by taking a look at his work, and I extend my thanks to Ernie for being interviewed!
Shari is another prolific author, but her genre and preference are paranormal, horror, science fiction, and fantasy. With a vivid imagination, she brings her characters and stories to life, and I was honored to have her reply to my questions:
Given that you write in several genres, how hard (or easy) do you find it to swap between them when you start a new project?
I find it quite easy really. I usually have several projects on the go at once and I swap between them to give myself some variety and it also helps if I get writer’s block as I can just switch to the other until it passes.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Probably the edits I have to make. I sometimes struggle with the sentimentality of keeping parts in that really don’t need to be. For example, on my WIP I have included a lot of background/flashback scenes that will have to come out as I ended up with so much material, but I’m going to be sad when I actually have to edit it.
Which location from your stories is your favorite and why?
It would definitely be Kōfu, Japan. Due to my love of music and culture, Japan is a country I feel emotionally close too and I love including Japanese characters, themes, and settings in my works where I can. Who helps you in your writing process?
I tend to go through most of my ideas with my sister. She’s been helping (and patiently listening!) for nearly fifteen years now! It always helps me to run through an outline of my novels with someone and she’s the person I feel most comfortable with hearing my outlines when they are in the draft stages.
Shari prefers to contact her readers via Twitter and the link is here:https://twitter.com/ShariSakurai She also has provided links for her two latest books for you to check out at:Never Change: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KV1HH5R Perfect World: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LXPO5WA
I hope you can take a moment to support her by joining her email list, and I extend my thanks to her for being interviewed!
This months book challenge - To win yourself a $10 Amazon gift card, this month I would like you to send in a review of a book you have read recently that you enjoyed. Each month our winner will have their review published in my next months blog and get the gift card information emailed to them. So send me your review - any book, any genre, let's see what you love to read! I wish to thank you for taking the time to read and engage with me! Happy reading everyone! VK Tritschler