The Story of Writer Lorelei Logsdon

 

Lorelei Logsdon

 

Lorelei Logsdon worked as a communication specialist and technical writer for 20 years before turning her hand to fiction. She has published ten books in various genres under several pseudonyms, and is working on her next psychological thriller called THE OCEAN BETWEEN.

 

 

WELCOME LORELEI!!!

 

 

 

 

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Name some inspirations that led you to become a writer. 

I’ve been writing stories since I was very little, and my grandmother was always encouraging me. I’d like to think she would be very proud to know I’ve published a few books.

That’s great your grandmother encouraged you to keep going. Inspiration goes a long way. 




Road Leading Into A Sunset




Describe your experience from technical writing to fiction writing.

I’ve been a communications specialist for over 20 years, and I’ve been a freelance editor for the past four years. I’ve worked with hundreds of authors and have edited over 400 books in that time. The trick to all types of writing is to know your audience and write to their needs.

Cool! That’s a lot of writing experience. Would love to pick your brain sometime. Not literally, of course. 




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What do you enjoy about writing psychological thrillers?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed an unhealthy interest in horror and dark fiction. I love the mystery, adding a twist here and there, and trying to fool the reader. I like taking readers for a ride.

I like psychological thrillers too. I would imagine these are a bit harder to write though.




What’s your goal now as a writer?

For now, my goal is simply to enjoy the process. The act of writing is enjoyable, and I want to keep it that way. Writing is a pastime, a hobby, a way to unwind. I never want it to become a chore.

YES. I love this. 




“For now, my goal is simply to enjoy the process. The act of writing is enjoyable, and I want to keep it that way.”–Lorelei Logsdon





In Comorbid, who is Jame’s Davis?

James Davis is a child trapped in a grownup’s body, his development truncated at a moment in his childhood when overwhelming trauma took complete control over him. He has found a way to function, or at least he thinks he has, but in reality he’s at the mercy of his troubled, damaged mind.

Wow. This definitely sounds intriguing. 




What can you tell us about those whom he cares about?

Consciously, James cares about his mother and her memory. She was the most important person in his life. Subconsciously, James cares about children who are suffering, having a deep desire to help them like he wishes someone would have helped him. By helping others, he’s helping his own inner child. At its heart, though, COMORBID is about James’s mother, even though her POV is given only sparingly in the book.

I love seeing the inner motivation of characters and what drives them to do things. It makes the story stick in my mind for some reason. 




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What was your response to all the positive reviews on COMORBID?

I love reviews, regardless if they’re positive or negative. Of course it’s great to see a positive review, but just knowing someone read the book and was affected strongly enough to review it makes me happy.

Great attitude. I hope it rubs off on me. 




Name three things that have hindered you in completing your work. 

There’s never enough time in the day. Most of COMORBID was written over the course of six months between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. It was an extremely tiring process, though worth it! The only other challenge in writing it was letting other opinions affect your work. If you ask opinions of 100 people, you’ll likely get 100 different opinions. While it’s nice to get feedback, don’t let other people’s ideas interfere too much with your vision.

Ouch. That sounds like a grueling schedule to write anything. It’s incredible you were even able to pull it off!




“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”




What keeps you motivated?

At the time, the story wouldn’t leave me alone. It wasn’t a choice to write it. I had to write it in order to get it out of my head and finally be able to find some peace again. Story ideas would wake me up at night and if I didn’t get up and go write them down, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Once a story gets stuck in your head, it’s impossible to focus on much else.

Many of us can relate to this. Mine has been bouncing around the head for a while now. 




Share your story




What’s your antagonist? Or what prevents you to achieving your dream?

Time is the #1 enemy.

Very true. Isn’t there a pause button somewhere?




Pause button




Why do writers quit?

I think writers quit for lots of varied reasons. Some may have an unrealistic definition of success, and when they inevitably don’t reach it, they throw in the towel. Some writers are perfectionists, always needing the perfect office setup, the perfect title, the perfect cover, and the perfect sentence. That’s a lot of pressure! If you put too much pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly, you can lose the joy in the process. For the most part, I think we often make things much more difficult than they really are. First and foremost, write for yourself.

This is a good viewpoint to have. Much appreciated. 




~First and foremost, write for yourself~





What would you say to a writer who has given up?

There’s nothing wrong with giving up. No one should feel pressured into something they no longer love or no longer are interested in. If you’ve given it everything you have and you’re ready to move on, then do that. Just know that you can always come back. It may be 10 years, 25 years, or 50 years, but you can always come back.

There’s a sense of hope here in your statement. Love it. 




Can you give us a sneak peek of The Ocean Between?

The Ocean Between is currently just an idea floating in my brain. It’s a story I published several years ago in another genre, forced to fit a mold it is uncomfortable in. The true story will be The Ocean Between, and it will be unrecognizable to the first published for those characters. You’ve heard it said that sometimes characters refuse to do the things writers want them to do, but in this case they did them but weren’t happy about it. I owe it to them to tell their true story.

Well, I hope the idea goes from floating to bouncing and a full blown story!




Do you have a tentative release date?

As I write for the joy of it rather than to someone’s arbitrary deadlines, I have no date in mind for release. When the story is ready to come out, I will let it. Until then, I won’t bother to try to force it.

We’ll be waiting…




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Benjaminin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

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The Story of Writer Pam Lazos

 

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So who is Pam Lazos?

 

Let’s find out!

 

 

 

 

 

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Pam Lazos is an environmental lawyer and the author of the eco thriller, “Oil and Water”, about oil spills and green technology, and of a collection of novellas, “Six Sisters”, about family, dysfunction and the ties that bind us; creator of the literary and eco blog http://www.greenlifebluewater.wordpress.com; a blogger for the Global Water Alliance (GWA) in Philadelphia; on the Board of Advisors for the wH2O Journal, the Journal of Gender and Water (University of Pennsylvania); a former correspondent for her local newspaper (Lancaster Intelligencer Journal); a literary magazine contributor (Rapportage); an editor and ghostwriter; the author of a children’s book (“Into the Land of the Loud”); and, because it’s cool, a beekeeper’s apprentice. She practices laughter daily.

 

Pam is also one of our wonderful authors in this year’s Mystery Thriller Week celebration beginning Feb. 12-22nd. Don’t miss out on all the fun!

 

 

 

 

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You’re a writer so what’s your story? Or what inspired you?

I think it’s less about inspiration for me and more about need.  I need to write. It’s either that or spend copious amounts of money on therapy!  I actually went to my first writing class because a friend dragged me along.  I went and never looked back. That was 20 years ago.  One of my first classes was a screenwriting class.  I think visually and it carries over into my writing so that class was a perfect fit for me.

The need to write is a great thing to have. Sometimes I sense an urge to write, but oftentimes not. But if I keep writing the need to write increases. Yay!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

I think we’re all writers at heart. We all have stories we want to tell.  Some of us are better orators than writers, but we’re all storytellers.  Beyond that, though, I have this burning desire to educate people about the need to care for the environment and I often use my writing to get some of these environmental issues out there across a greater spectrum.  I do my best not to be preachy which is why I like thrillers because I can hide the information I’m hoping to convey inside the action.

It’s good that you have a specific passion to write about. That’s wonderful. A great topic too!

 

 

 

 

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What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Oh, a full time job, my volunteer work, and, of course, familial obligations.  I have to either stay up really late or get up really early to get anything done.  I’ve been trying to dedicate blocks of time on the weekends, but we have a busy household so it’s not easy.

I salute you for writing books with so many responsibilities! It can be done!





responsibility




What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

That’s a good question and I don’t really know the answer.  I don’t think it’s simply the desire to be a rich and famous best-selling author.  I think it’s more visceral than that. Writing helps me sort out the messiness of my life. It’s almost as if I need to write to make sense of things.

YES. I LOVE THAT. I think deep down I feel the same way. Visceral. 





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What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

It used to be me.  I got in the way, either because of my inexperience, my lack of confidence, my lack of faith in myself and my ability.  But I’ve been working at this writing thing for almost 20 years now and I feel as though I’ve really hit the tipping point. I’ve put the hours in and I feel as though I could write anything anyone asks of me.

Wow. I love hearing your experience on this. It’s very inspiring for us newbies.





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Why do writer’s give up, quit, or never complete their work?

Hmmm, not sure.  You definitely need a tough exterior, have to listen to “no” about a thousand times, and yet still keep at it. Tenacity is key.  A lot of people want instant gratification, but unless you’re incredibly lucky, the business of writing is a long game.

That’s right! It’s definitely not a sprint but a marathon. 





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What would you say to a struggling writer who has given up?

You’ve got to write for yourself first and if you’re not doing that, then it’s probably a good idea to give up.  If you’re already writing for yourself, it’s likely that you’re still in this thing and that you’ll be in it for the long haul.

Well put. 





yes-i-can





BONUS: What else do you have coming down the pike?

I’m currently working on a psychological thriller about the pharmaceutical industry and a vaccine gone bad.

OH! I love that. Please keep me in the loop for that one. A possible ARC? Would love to help.



Thanks Pam!!




Connect with Pam Lazos

Amazon | Goodreads | Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth.-Chief Seattle







Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

The Story of an Author on a Mission: Sarah Key

 

 

What is your story Concept

 

 

 

 

“Every life lived is a story worth telling”-Benjamin Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

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Life is a story, what does yours say? -Unknown

 

 

 

 

Today we have with us an excellent writer from South Africa, Sarah Key. She’s the author of Tangled Weeds and the Sister of Light series; The Dandelion Clock and The Butterfly Wind. Sarah is also one of our authors participating in this year’s Mystery Thriller Week event. Please check out the site for more details. It begins Feb.12-22nd, don’t miss it!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

Becoming a writer was a natural progression of my professional life. I have a liberal arts degree majoring in English and Psychology before training as a high school English and Guidance teacher. After that I moved into Adult Education in which I hold a Master’s Degree.

I worked at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa) teaching academic writing before embarking on a project in the arena of HIV and AIDS, a devastating pandemic affecting many people in Southern Africa.

After a three year period of travelling the country, the UICEF and Department of Social Development initiative ran its course and I was at a crossroads. I was processing experiences of working in semi-rural environments with people who had very different social practices and cultures. I decided these, with a bit of flair and a stretch of the imagination, would make good stories.

I really appreciate your kindness in helping others. Education at necessary at every stage in life. Very unique. 

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

I began to write to make sense of aspects of life that affected or concerned me. I had been a social activist and was worried about many issues such as the instability of southern Africa and how this feeds into the exploitation of women and children (sex trafficking). I had witnessed the downward spiral that accompanies drug addiction, and I wanted to write novels that exposed the harsh realities of life to sensitise people towards these conditions and to increase tolerance and understanding. Wrapping them in the guise of fiction in a gripping psychological thriller was one way I thought would make them more palatable.

Writing, for me, is therapeutic and is a way I can release my creativity. It is something my soul demands I do. It gives me tremendous pleasure and, at times, a fair bit of pain too!

Wow. That’s a great way to release your creativity, Sarah. These are harsh realities the world has to deal with, but ‘m glad your muse has found an outlet to tackle them! I have tons of books to read but I’d like to make room for yours as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

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What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

I have completed all of my projects so far. My debut novel, Tangled Weeds is a stand-alone book and currently I have almost finished The Starlight Tide, the final book in my Sisters of Light trilogy, This follows The Dandelion Clock and The Butterfly Wind.

I have been writing since 2011 and, although I could have written faster, I have not put myself under creative pressure. Life gets in the way of art at times and I have been involved in raising our two daughters and have family responsibilities. At stages I have had a mini crisis of faith but I am doggedly determined and once a book is begun am driven to complete it.

Life does certainly get in the way at times. Much too often in my opinion, but I admire your determination! Once we start something it must be finished. That’s the way it ought to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict builds character. Crisis Defines it.-Steven V. Thulon

 

 

 

 

 

What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

Writing is my life’s purpose at the moment and that passion goes a long way to keeping me motivated. There is nothing better than seeing your book published with your name on the cover.

I have a highly active imagination and a plethora of ideas. Once a setting and a cast of characters invade my mind I am under siege! My characters develop through my stories; they evolve or devolve as the case may be. The moral dilemmas they face are of particular interest to me. I believe that good must triumph over evil and there is always a chance of redemption. I think that this message of hope must be offered to readers in these challenging times.

YES,  I love it! Purpose and passion are two big motivators for anyone. I love the imagination of authors! It keeps me turning the pages coming back for more. Can’t wait to read your books. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fuel

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

One can always find excuses that delay or sabotage dreams.

This game can be overwhelming and doubt destructive. I am fortunate that I have a husband who supports me and my work, which is a huge factor. I have also learnt that it is more important to live modestly and do what makes you truly happy.

Your statements rings so true. Excuses, doubt, and lack of support all are formidable opponents. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

There are so many answers to that question. Writers often feel lonely and have no support. They cannot pay the rent by writing. Insecurity about the quality of their work shuts down their imagination and they run out of ideas and cannot finish their stories. They read other people’s books and feel inferior and are rejected too many times by publishers and/or their confidence is eroded by unfavourable reviews. They are overwhelmed by the fact that writing is the easy part of the job and the rest is too great a mountain to even attempt to summit.

This is a great list. An accurate one too! This is one of my favorite responses to this question. 

 

 

 

 

 

never-be-afraid-to-fly

 

 

 

 

 

What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Write for yourself. Write for personal satisfaction and mental gymnastics for your brain. Appreciate that writing is not easy. Some days you strike the keyboard with smug satisfaction and other days you sit tormented and tearful. Try to get into a routine of writing every day – even if it’s just for twenty minutes, The more you practice the better you’ll get.

Like everything in life, you have to deeply desire the final product and realise that it takes a lot of effort, sweat and tears. Finish what you start. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment. Writing teaches you discipline and courage and these attributes will stand you in great stead throughout your life.

Find a writing group or a mentor. Use social media to link to like-minded readers and writers – there are a gazillion out there. Writers are kind; they form communities and nurture and support each other.

Excellent! Medicine for the weary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

do-not-give-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

What else do you have coming down the pike?

Once I have completed my trilogy, I plan to write a novel highlighting the plight of rural girls in South Africa.

From the coastal city of Durban, to rural hills outside Ixopo, to smoky Alexandra Township and the posh suburbs of Johannesburg, Veils of Smoke will follow Nonhlanhla Biyela on a dangerous undertaking to try to locate her missing cousin, Sinazo.

Wonderful. Keep us posted on the third installment and the next novel. Would love to see how it pans out. 

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much Sarah! You’re words have not been wasted. You’ll be a truly effective writer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wings-bird-overcome

 

 

 

 

 

“Never be afraid to fly”

 

 

 

 

“Don’t climb the mountain others have built. It’s better to grow wings.”-Benjamin Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

The Story of Entrepreneur & Author Gavin Mills

 

Welcome to another edition of…

The Story of the Writer Series

with Author Gavin Mills

 

 

 

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Gavin Mills is the author of Dup Departs: A Time to Go and Seed of Reason. He’s an entrepreneur of two companies, a former world dancer, and all around awesome dude. Gavin is also one of our participating authors of this years inaugural Mystery Thriller Week Event taking place this February 12-22. Don’t miss it!!

 

 

 

So, who is Gavin Mills? And what is his story?

 

 

 

 

 

story matters

 

 

 

 

 

*Where are you originally from?

I am South African born and bred, hailing from Springs, a small mining town on the apron of Johannesburg, the city of Gold.

Awesome!! I know a few peeps in S. Africa. In Cape Town and Johannesburg.

 

 

 

 

africa

 

 

 

*What kind of band were you in?

LOL! I was never in a band. I was a dancer. I started in engineering then computers and then did a flip flop and became a dancer. I must have been pretty good at it – I did my first professional show before taking a class! I went on to perform as principal dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Paris – a show with the hottest women on Earth. What a life!

Wow! I’m trying to picture you dancing in my head. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Introduce us to your main character.

Arnold Dup Preez makes movies – and everyone calls him Dup. He was a dancer when he was younger (funny that), and followed a natural progression into movie production. He has an ex beauty queen wife and two young kids, but his life is a shambles. His business is going to the dogs and he is less than impressed with life in the new South Africa. He is not overly ambitious and his business is floundering. He has reached a cross-roads in his life. He knows the journey ahead will not have a happy ending the way things are going, but does not know how to change. He is pretty desperate and open to suggestions – that could have bad outcomes. But deep down he has character and strength even he never knew he had. And being forced into corners will reveal his true mettle.

Nice. Our true colors shine when we’re under pressure. Way to go Dup!

 

 

 

 

“Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success.”-John Hays Hammond

 

 

 

 

 

 

*You’re a writer; so whats your story, or what inspired you?

Frustration in a world going bonkers? My first book was Seed of Reason – a fantasy. It is about a New Order that was going to right all wrongs – which then goes pear-shaped when the darker attributes of puppet-masters reveal themselves. It is a book that takes a look at people and society and questions a lot of things about life. It took me 7 years to complete and I am very proud of it. After that I decided to have some fun, and Dup was written with a very different intent –basically to press buttons and get pulses racing.

Interesting. At least your persistence paid off after 7 years. At this rate, my first book will be done after 7 years. 

 

 

 

 

 

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*What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

I s’pose to be read – and hope some people like my stuff. Writing is a very frightening prospect at times. It is human nature to want people to like you when you are bearing your soul and placing your talents up for scrutiny. But the Goal? Hey: Fame and fortune! Lol!

Hahahhaha!! That’s great. I understand and agree about bearing your soul to the page wondering how it’ll turn out. I”m there right now. I love the simplicity of wanting to be read. That says it all. 

 

 

 

 

 

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*What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Three things that hinder? Me, me and me. We can all do what we set our minds to, but sometimes life gets in the way …Or that’s what we tell ourselves. I believe I can write, but sometimes when writing, question this conviction. But always, we have it within us to do. But that doing is sometimes really difficult.

I totally relate to this. Why is it so hard get past our fears? It’s a very subtle feeling. 

 

 

 

 

“Conflict cannot survive without your participation.”-Wayne Dyer

 

 

 

 

*What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

Ask that to the worker bee. It is in my nature. I chizel away in my little playground and believe that one day, some of the things I do will be great.

That’s right! If we believe it, it will happen. Plain and simple.

 

 

 

 

 

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*What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

Family and professional obligations. I once heard that if a guy hasn’t made it by forty, he never will. I don’t think it’s as much an age thing as a family thing. When still single, I could do with my time what I wanted. Now my first responsibility is my family – and that’s not only financial. It’s love, my company, my time. This is a blessing, but with regard to dedication to creation, certainly a challenge – But one well appreciated!

Those are all wonderful things! I’m in the same boat. 

 

 

 

 

 

Belief Button with Glowing Blue Lights.

 

 

 

 

*If you have given up your dream, why?

I believe dreams change. What I dreamt for in my twenties are not the same things I dream about now. And it is this fact that brings the dynamics which forge our characters. When you get stuck in a dream, you miss out on the world of opportunities that pass you every day.

I like the spin on this. Very true. 

 

 

 

 

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*Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

I don’t think it’s only writers that give up. People give up in all careers and situations – the same as there are success stories everywhere in life. Giving up is not a milestone, it is a state of mind. We can achieve whatever we want so long as we believe it can be done, we believe we personally can do it; we start and then keep going, and resolve never to give up until it’s done. This is the mindset of success.

I love that statement!! Lovely. The mindset means a lot. Our state of mind throughout the process has a lot to do with it. Thanks for sharing. 

 

 

 

 

Change your mindset!

 

 

 

 

 

*What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Don’t be so dumb. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and looking to blame someone or something. And stop being so precious about whether it is a success or not. Set a date, stick to the date and get down to it. Keep going ‘til the end, and whether it is a best seller or spaghetti, pat yourself on the back for writing a book – because not everyone can do that…

Amen to that brother! I love the bluntness to this one. In other words, get ‘er done! Totally needed to hear that one. 

 

 

 

 

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BONUS: What else do you have coming down the pike? 

I’ve got three other stories swimming around in my head. I have started on two of them. One is a prequel to Dup. A somewhat darkly humorous love story. Should be interesting…Beside that, life, life and more life – warm in the love of my family.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Gavin!

 

 

 

ME – GAVIN MILLS

 

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Gavin Mills started out studying Chemical Engineering before two year’s military service, becoming a 2nd lieutenant and serving as transport officer for 52 Battalion out of Ogongo in Namibia in the late ‘70s. Then into computers before giving up corporate life to become a professional dancer, performing first in South Africa and later in London, Paris, Spain and Portugal -some of the highlights being principal dancer in Moulin Rouge Paris France, Scala in Spain and Canary Islands, and Estoril Casino in Lisbon, Portugal. On returning to South Africa, he got into choreography, stage production and industrial theatre playing a significant role in voter education leading up to the historic SA 1994 elections. Then back to the corporate world focusing on event marketing and production. Today apart from his passion for storytelling, he also runs two successful

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can readers find out more about you and your work? Anyone wishing to find out more about me and my books can find me on Goodreads, my FB author’s page and Pinterest:

Goodreads | Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be a stranger!

 

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

The Story of Author Anna Patrick

 

 

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WELCOME ANNA!

 

 

Here we are with another story to tell.

So who is Anna Patrick? Well, let’s find out.

 

 

 

 

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So her story begins…

 

 

 

 

*Are you originally from Northern Virginia?

Yes, born in raised in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, outside of DC.

Ive never been to northern Virginia before. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*What do you do currently in your occupation?

I’m a Communications Associate for The Kennedy Forum, a mental health advocacy non-profit founded by Patrick Kennedy – his book, A Common Struggle, is a great read if you haven’t checked it out yet!

 Nice. Thanks for the book recommendation!

 

 

 

 

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”

 

 

 

 

 

*Did you have a childhood fascination with fairy tales? Tell us about it and your all time favorites.

I don’t think it’s so much fairy tales, but just darker stories in general. I loved Alice In Wonderland, of course, and poetry by Edgar Allan Poe. Not your average childhood reads, but I think I had such an idyllic childhood that the dark and edgy stories captured my interest.

 That makes sense. I’ve read some of Poe’s work, but now enough.

 

 

 

 

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*What genre do you write?

Fiction. Leaning toward the magical surrealist side. I think the creative possibilities there are endless, and that intrigues me.

 Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

 

 

 

 

 

“Imagination is the reality of the dreamer.” -Scott Ringenback

 

 

 

 

 

*Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I read a quote recently that said something like look to your childhood passions to see where your life calling lies. I’ve always written, and I think when I reached an age where you start to question what you want to do, becoming an author seemed like a natural goal for me.

 I love that quote! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Where did you go to school? Major?

I went to Boston College and majored in Communications. I wrote Meditations In Wonderland there my last semester.

 Wow. That sounds like a major feat. Penning a novel in your last semester of college is remarkable. 

 

 

 

 

 

*What led you to write Meditations in Wonderland? Your premise looks pretty intriguing.

Thank you! I grew up loving Alice In Wonderland, and I was inspired by the dark tones it took on over the years as my generation grew with the story. From that landscape my story manifested itself in my mind over a few years, primarily starting when I studied abroad in London, saw Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript and visited Oxford, through to my senior year of college when I finally wrote it. It’s been called Pretty Little Liars meets Alice In Wonderland.”

 

Never been to Oxford, but Cambridge is beautiful. 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Would it be classified as a psychological thriller?

I can definitely see an argument for that. As a dark Alice In Wonderland retelling I think no one would dispute that. It definitely has a lot of thriller-esque scenes and notes of magical surrealism. And, of course, a little nonsense.

 It’s amazing to see what different authors are able to craft with their imagination. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imagination-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Tell us a little about the main character.

Elizabeth is 24, and she lives in Brooklyn and works as an interior designer in the city. I think many people can relate to the themes she’s struggling with – confronting and acknowledging the darker sides of herself, struggling with mental static and getting lost in the noise. In a sense she has to reclaim herself after giving in to a pattern of self-destructive behavior. She meditates, falls down the rabbit hole, and the rest is history.

 

Wow. Makes me want to know more about her.

 

 

 

 

 

meditations-in-wonderland

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re a writer; so whats your story, or what inspired you?

I don’t think I can pinpoint a single moment when I decided that I would be a writer – I’ve always just written, and then I couldn’t separate myself from the act of writing, it always felt a part of me. I used to carry around a composition notebook in elementary school that housed my first “novel,” scribbled in mechanical pencil between classes and after school, and eventually I graduated to my MacBook in college on which I wrote the manuscript for Meditations In Wonderland my last semester at Boston College. In terms of inspiration, I just follow that internal whisper that compels me to return to the blank page time and time again.

 

Keep following that internal whisper. And when you don’t hear it, write anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

“In terms of inspiration, I just follow that internal whisper that compels me to return to the blank page time and time again.”-Anna Patrick

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

Having my writing published has always been the “ultimate” goal for me, and I think many writers can relate to that, however I think a more realistic goal is just to keep writing, to keep the process alive. The hardest part about writing, in truth, is the act of sitting down to write in the first place. If I can cultivate and keep my writing practice going, that’s a goal in itself that I think leads to the more penultimate dream of having your work published.

YES. I love this. The more realistic goal is to keep writing. I struggle with having consistent writing time so I completely understand this. The ‘butt in chair’ is the only way. 

 

 

 

 

 

butt-in-chair

 

 

 

 

 

What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Timing, spaces, and disconnect. As for the first, why is it when you’re about to shut your eyes and fall asleep, warm under the covers, does your muse begin to speak? I think mine might be a sadist in that way. So the first conflict for me is the timing of writing, capturing what I need to capture often against difficult circumstances for doing so, like commuting, unplugging for a night’s sleep, or while on a run. As for the second, my writing practice benefits from having a clean, creative space to work in with minimal distractions from my “to do” list, which is probably why I wrote my first novel out of my home in a local Barnes & Noble. Last, disconnect is often a gatekeeper I grapple with. Either feeling disconnected from the story, from myself, from my creative process, or just from the voice that compels me to pick up where I left off. Some days you’re just not “feeling it,” so to speak, and I think writers can all commiserate there. The goal is to at least try to make sure two out of the three are at bay on any given day to try to make writing happen, and keep it cohesive!

The writing process is so mysterious to me. Not sure if you’ve read Anne Janzer’s book , The Writing Process, but I was greatly helped by it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

struggle

 

 

 

 

 

What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

If the story needs to be told, I’ll continue to tell it. When I don’t feel that ache in my bones to keep writing, I’ll stop, but I still have that voice that refuses to stop whispering.

Stories are great and equally mysterious. 

 

 

 

What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

Aren’t all of the best antagonists just reflections of ourselves, or our greatest fears? The fear that any next novel wouldn’t live up to the first, or that those new daring stylistic choices won’t engage the reader the way we hoped they would – we all have our dragon at that gate. For me, it’s scales are green, shiny, and coated with that existential “if I finish this, I have to turn it over to the business side of things” doubts. Writing is the fun part, but I think it’s important to embrace every part of the process, even the parts that we might rather procrastinate in facing.

Well spoken. It’s always a constant battle. Let’s keep at it, shall we?

 

 

 

 

 

 

dont-give-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

I think leaving a project is a very personal choice, so the reasons could be many. The best reason is probably because the project no longer feels authentic, which I think is a noble reason to step away, and faced with the same reality I hope I have the courage to do the same if it frees me up for the better project waiting in the shadows!

Seeing the next project is always tempting!

 

 

 

What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Take your time away, if you need it, and return to it when you feel compelled, nagged, and eaten away to resume. Because then you’ll really enjoy it, and your reader will feel that, too.

For me, it’s a gut feeling. If I stop, then it returns begging to be written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BONUS: What else do you have coming down the pike? 

I’ve been playing around with a sequel to my next novel, loosely based off of Through The Looking Glass, as Meditations In Wonderland was loosely based of Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

 

Keep us posted on the release date! 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Anna!

 

 

 

 

 

 

meditations-in-wonderland

 

 

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for ridin’ the train!!

 

 

 

 

 

freight train

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be a stranger….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a reading challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

Story of the Writer Series with Author Kelley Kaye

 

 

 

 

kelley-bowles

 

 

 

Welcome back to the Story of the Writer Series!

 

 

This is the story of Kelley Kaye…

 

!

Meet Cozy mystery, YA Paranormal and Memoir writer Kelley Kaye!

 

 

 

 

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Are you originally from Southern California? 

I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah (and in answer to your next question, no, I am not), but raised in a Western Colorado town called Grand Junction. Because I have MS and my body responds poorly to extremes in temperature (GJ gets really hot AND really cold), we moved to San Diego, the finest city in America and very temperate, in 2011.

I’ve been there once and had a very pleasant experience. 

 

 

 

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How long did you teach English?

My first teaching job was in South Lake Tahoe, California from 1992-1994. Then I had that awful MS diagnosis in 1994, so I moved back home. I then taught English and Drama at my old high school (!) from 1994 until we moved to California in 2011. So…nineteen years? The Chalkboard Outlines® cozy mystery series was written in a fictional Colorado mountain town called Pinewood, which is a combination of both schools and towns in which I’ve taught.

Nice. I’m still trying to learn English! You could teach me a thing or two. 

 

 

 

Why did you decide to write a memoir?

Haha. I didn’t plan it, at all—I’m usually a fiction lover because I can make up anything I want in my fictional worlds. Real life is hard, and depressing sometimes, and therefore I don’t want to write nonfiction. Then I got in this ridiculous fight with my husband, on the phone in the middle of an Office Depot parking lot, and my solution to this fight was this epiphany on how I wanted to live my life. Since I’ve lived 22 years with a Chronic Illness, and I was infertile for like 12 years before I was able to have kids, I applied this solution to these elements, included my outlook on family and wellness in light of these, and tried to put my own goofy and positive spin on the whole shebang. The result is a sort of hybridized self-helpy medical memoir with weirdness built in. I’m trying to find an agent for this book because I’d like to be able to expose it to some of those publishers that absolutely won’t look at you if you’re unsolicited and knocking at the door without an invite. I think there are a lot of people dealing with Chronic Illness or Infertility, and I know even more who appreciate some nuttiness in their day.

Thanks for sharing this, Kelley. Certainly this isn’t easy to deal with. I see it on a daily basis working in therapy. I often have to console people. 

 

 

 

 

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Tell us about your book, Death by Diploma.

I am obsessed with mysteries—have been since Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and Encyclopedia Brown. I also love Shakespeare, because, you know—English teacher. That man knows more about human beings and what makes them tick than a Sigmund Freud/Charles Darwin/Jon Stewart mashup. So, mysteries are Thing One, Shakespeare is Thing Two, and then there is this amazing and fertile idea field called High School. For years I just spent too much time observing and eavesdropping on this crazy place, but when I started really writing I wanted to tap in to that. Death by Diploma is a cozy mystery that takes place in a high school, and the sleuths/suspects are this wicked fun amalgamation of me and all my colleagues and friends. The Chalkboard Outlines® series is going to be an amazing place to put all those three things together! I think the two main characters, Emma and Leslie, are as much a part of what makes the book fun as solving the mystery is.

Wonderful!

 

 

 

 

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is he basis of man’s desire to understand.” -Neil Armstrong

 

 

 

 

 

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

People always talk to me like this was some sort of a choice. I’ve always loved stories, have read obsessively since I was three, and because of this there are always stories in my head. The stories have to come out, somehow. It’s crucial to my mental health. So I let the stories out, and then there’s much less likelihood of a meltdown. Meltdowns bad, stories good.

No, seriously, when I read good writing it makes me want to make my own stories better. Other writers inspire me to write.

OH! I was just thinking of this today. I would love to talk to you regarding your reading obsession and experience with books.  I know the need to get the stories out of my head! 

 

 

 

 

 

ape

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your goal in becoming a writer?

I would love it if lots of other people wanted to read my stories, and I’m always working to make them better. But like I said before, writing isn’t so much a choice for me as it is a compulsion, and I’d probably keep doing it even if no one else was reading. But I hope you are!

I’ll definitely be reading (or listening) to your stories. I’m drawing a connection here. So your obsession is reading, and your compulsion is writing. Not bad actually. 

 

 

 

 

“If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.” -Francois Mauriac 

 

 

 

What three things have hindered you from completing your writing? (Conflict)

Ugh. There are so many things that hinder us. My teaching job was a big one—doing that job well takes an INORDINATE amount of time and energy, so before I had babies (with the exception of when I was getting my Master’s) I did my writing during the summers. Having children definitely makes it harder to write, although I feel so ungrateful for saying that—it took me a long time to be able to have babies! They’re so great. But also, complete energy suckers.

And the other thing for me has to do with the MS. I can only write for short periods of time, because I get really tired and because my stupid fingers stop working. Literally. They curl up into little balls of refusal, or sometimes they arch up in rigid protest. It’s ridiculous. Then I have to rest or sleep or zombify for like an hour at a time before they will start working again, and I tell ya—it really puts a cramp in my style. That’s three, right?

We have two boys–and they both are professional energy-sucking vampires. By the time 8:30 pm rolls around, I’m burnt toast. BUT I’m impressed  given all of your life experiences, you were still able to pull of writing a novel. That’s impeccable!!

 

 

 

 

 

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What keeps you motivated?

I am motivated by the fact that my husband is supporting a family of four in one of the most expensive cities in the world on a teacher’s salary, just to allow me to pursue this dream called “Writer.”

Oh wow. That’s very touching. It’s so important to find support in this wacky world of writing. It’s like learning to surf in the storm. 

 

 

 

surfing

 

 

 

What’s your antagonist? What’s in the way of achieving your dream?

Really, I think my biggest antagonist is time. I feel like I need hundreds of years and 53 hours in every day to be able to tackle the millions of ideas in my head, so time or a lack thereof is my biggest antagonist. And it’s further exacerbated by the fact the hours I DO have are further limited by my own body, when the MS hits me with fatigue or appendages that don’t do what I ask them to do.

Ugh. I completely understand this one. When it’s time to write, I’m too pooped to party. Or I don’t end up writing when I do have time. Ugh!

 

 

 

Have you ever wanted to give up?

Nope.

I love your nope.

 

 

 

Why do writers quit?

I don’t know. I think sometimes they don’t realize, when they start, how much work it is. And a lot of them—well, this is true for all of us, really—don’t like criticism. But people take it differently, ya know? Like if you can’t take criticism as either a) a need for improvement or b) a need to surround yourself with someone else or as c) par for the course, then maybe you’d be tempted to give up. But I  think you should work on making it one of those three, or maybe you do need to find a new occupation. Because really, it’s not supposed to be easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

This is so true. Writing is a lot of work. There’s so many elements to tie together you need to be a seamstress. 

 

 

 

 

sewing

 

 

 

 

What would you say to those who have given up?

I would tell them to look inside their heart for the reasons they want to write. If their motivation comes from that source (your heart), think again about not quitting, and then don’t! If they are looking for a way to get famous or make a lot of money, weeeeellllll…maybe in that case they should look elsewhere. (Unless they are okay with fame in their own mind—always a fun place to be!)

Yes. I love it. This is great. 

 

 

 

Favorite quotes?

Every day above ground is a good day. I don’t know who said that originally, but I say it every day. This second one I can give proper credit to: it’s Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” Isn’t that a great quote?

Mm—I just love it!

AWESOME. Love both of them.

 

 

 

“Every day above ground is a good day.” -Pitbull

 

 

 

 

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

 

 

 

 

death-by-diploma

 

 

Death by Diploma

Book Trailer

Audiobook Sample

Get the Audiobook on AudioBoom! Death by Diploma is narratred by the terrific voice of Angie Hickman which is on sale for $1.99.

 

Connect with Kelley:


Kelley Kaye on Facebook

Kelley Kaye’s Cozy Mystery

Kelley’s Website

 

 

 

 

Thanks Kelley!!

Thanks for riding the train folks….

 

 

 

 

train

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

The Epic Simplicity of Faye Kirwin

 

 

The Story of the Writer Series

Featuring writer Faye Kirwin

 

Stories are inevitably part of our lives. They have been for centuries. We live, breath, roam about in our own story world. We face the same obstacles, hurdles and disappointments as the heroes we read about. But they inspire us in ways hard to put into words.

What is our life?  You. Me. We are the composition of a great story. Every day is page in the life of a hero in the making. Of overcoming obstacles and insurmountable odds. We are the story; and I love reading them.

 

 

Let’s say hi to Faye Kirwin.

 

 

 

 

faye-irwin

 

 

 

Welcome Faye!

 

Where are you from?

 

You wish to know the secret location of my Write Cave? That would be Yorkshire, England. (Oh, maybe it’s not so secret anymore…)

Next time I come to England we should have a nice tea time.

 

 

 

 

yorkshire and england

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us about your blog.

 

Writerology is my little corner of the internet, where I blog about my two greatest loves: stories and psychology. When you get down to it, writing is about understanding people—whether that’s the people you’re writing about, the people you’re writing for, or you yourself, the person behind the words. My mission at Writerology is to blend psychological knowledge with storytelling technique to help you craft a truly unforgettable tale.

I love your mission and how you blend the psychological aspects with storytelling techniques. Fascinating indeed. If you haven’t seen Faye’s blog yet, please do! I highly recommend it. 

 

 

 

 

 

To write a good story, you need to understand people, get inside their heads, know what makes them tick. And that’s where Writerology comes in.- Faye Kirwin

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite tea and snacks during writing?

 

English breakfast tea, black, served in my TARDIS teapot (naturally), plus a bowl of fruit on the side. Yum!

Sounds good. My favorite teas are peppermint and my good friend Earl Grey. We get along just fine.

 

 

 

 

 

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YOUR FICTION

 

Tell us about your fiction, genre or current work in progress.

 

Fantasy is my genre of choice, and most of the stories I’ve written fall under this category, from high fantasy to urban fantasy and all things in between. With my most recent work-in-progress, Her Clockwork Heart, however, I’ve ventured into new territory by adding a steampunk twist. Clockwork follows the life of Pippa Adeney as she crafts an automaton like none before, but when her mechanical masterpiece turns into a stalking nightmare, she is forced to confront both reality and the dark secrets plaguing her dreams.

Cool, steampunk!  I would love to read it someday. Very interesting premise. Yes, steampunk is definitely a genre I’d like to read more about. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Recommended reading for writers.

 

The Writer’s Guide to Psychology by Carolyn Kaufman and The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have got to be my all-time favourite writing resources. They’re the two books I always have by my side whenever I’m writing!

I absolutely adore the Emotion Thesaurus by Angela and Becca. Carolyn Kaufman’s book is on my wishlist!

 

 

 

 

 

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Include any pertinent links and your weekly hashtags!

 

Links:

My website, Writerology: http://www.writerology.net

My Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/writerology

 

I also host the weekly #storycrafter Twitter chat, which takes place every Sunday at 3 p.m. ET (that’s 12 noon PT), and love seeing new faces there! Pop over to this page for more information.

Viewing the website is a must. If you haven’t already, participate in the weekly chat #storycrafter. It’s a fun group. 

 

 

 

 

Ready? Get set….

 

 

 

 

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You’re a writer so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

 

I don’t know exactly when it was that I first started telling stories; I remember making up fairy tales for my sister each night before bed and coming up with the most complex of backstories for my toys when I was a child. Being able to capture the imaginations of others was simply magical. I loved to read and wanted to be an author when I grew up, but it wasn’t until I was 15 that I started putting all the stories in my head onto the page. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. The words just poured out and carried me away, as they’re still doing all these years later.

I love it. That’s awesome, Faye. Making backstories for toys just sounds exciting, and I bet you had loads of fun with it. Stories are great aren’t they?

 

 

 

 

 

toy-blocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

 

Simply: to share my words. I’m a soft-spoken INFJ who wants to make a difference in the lives of others, and since I often get tongue-tied, words are the way I do it best. It’s my greatest wish that my stories resonate with others, inspire them, change their worlds in some small way. Even if it’s just one person, I’ll have achieved my goal.

I love the epic simplicity of your response! Sweet. I don’t think I could’ve put it any better than that. 

 

 

 

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.-J.P. Morgan

 

 

 

 

next-step

 

 

 

 

 

 

What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

 

Hinderance 1: Self-doubt

It’s that niggling voice at the back of my head: What if I can’t do this? What if I’m not meant to do it? What if someone else can do it better?

There are times when I just want to throw down my metaphorical pen and give up. Recognising that it’s self-doubt talking and not something I truly want is difficult, and several projects have died out because I didn’t realise that quick enough. I’m better at it now, but it’s definitely something I need to work on.

I think we hear the same voice speaking in our heads! Just the thought that someone can do it better is just bogus. In fact, no one can do it better than you. It’s our story. Our words. Let’s let em’ fly.

 

 

Hinderance 2: Distraction

With books and Twitter and Netflix and friends all vying for my attention, it can be hard making time to sit down and make headway on a project. That’s why I’m a proponent of writing a little every day. If I can fit 10 minutes of writing into my day, that’s 10 more minutes than I might otherwise have done. It may not sound like a lot, but it really does add up over the months and years.

I’m a big fan of writing in small amounts, especially if you don’t write full time and have other responsibilities. 100 words a day is my ultimate baseline. It’s not much but it’s been extremely helpful.

 

 

Hinderance 3: Plot bunnies

I’ll get halfway through a first draft, then an adorable little plot idea hops into my head and demands that I write it. If I can fend off that idea and stick with my current project, I’m assailed by more plot bunnies once I’ve finished that first draft, then once I’ve completed the edits, and then again when I’m supposed to be revising. Saying no to those shiny new ideas and sticking to one project at once is something I always struggle with, and many a time I’ll find myself pulled away from my first project and tumbling down the rabbit hole.

Oh no, Zombie plot bunnies! Run for it! I know this all too well. Makes it hard to concentrate and complete your initial project. Way too familiar with this one.

 

 

 

 

 

Rabbit woman attack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

 

I remember that I have a story to tell and that there are people who want to hear it. Knowing that I have the full support of my friends and family inspires me to no end and gives me that extra boost when I’m struck by the Three Hindrances of Self-Doubt, Distraction and Plot Bunnies. (And if all else fails, said friends and family will badger me to write until I do. They’re nice/evil like that.)

That’s great! You have a wonderful support system. Love it.

 

 

 

 

 

I remember that I have a story to tell and that there are people who want to hear it.-Faye Kirwin

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

 

My own mind is my greatest foe. I have the time and space to write, I have the stories I want to tell, but getting over my own mental hurdles is the real challenge. Determination, motivation, inspiration, self-doubt and self-discipline all stem from my mindset, so when my head isn’t in the game, I’m not making any progress. It’s infuriating, but it also means the power to change is in my hands.

Ah, the foe of mind. He’s a worthy adversary, but it only makes the story better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are what we think

 

 

 

 

 

 

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. -Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

 

It’s so much easier to give in than to struggle on in the face of fear or uncertainty or criticism. That’s what makes the temptation to quit so strong. If we don’t finish that project, no one can judge us, our words can’t be criticised, and we don’t have to agonise over whether readers like our stories or not. It’s safer to give up—but it’s braver to carry on.

This is spot on. You hit the nail on the head with this statement. 

 

 

 

 

It’s safer to give up—but it’s braver to carry on.-Faye Kirwin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man about to walk over precipice on SUCCESS word bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

 

It’s not too late. It’s never too late. Be brave. Remember why you started writing in the first place: What drew you to the words? Why that story? What do you love about writing? Which characters are your favourites? What would you love to write about more than anything else? Write your answers down, let them fill your whole being and remember that feeling. Whenever you feel the temptation to give up, bring out those reasons to write and reach for that feeling again. Forget why you want to quit and remember why you started in the first place.

This is so encouraging. I should print this out and frame it. 

 

 

 

 

THANKS FAYE! THIS WAS REALLY FUN.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for ridin’ the train folks!

 

 

 

 

toy-train

 

 

 

 

And, don’t be a stranger.

 

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

The Story of Writer April Jones

 

 

WELCOME BACK TO THE STORY OF THE WRITER SERIES!

 

 

 

Everyone has a goal, desire, or dream to fulfill. The motivations may be different, but we’re all seeking some kind of fulfillment in life. In other words, we each have a story. Stories are all about triumph over obstacle, forces of evil, darkness, and seemingly insurmountable odds. So who’s writing your story? It all depends on how you live it.

 

 

 

I love hearing the stories of writers. So let’s introduce one…

 

APRIL JONES

 

 

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HI APRIL!

 

April is a mom, writer, editor, blogger, contributor at culturess.com AND a fellow Wordplayer from our awesome Facebook group.

 

 

 

 

WELCOME ABOARD APRIL!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Everyone please welcome April, aka Wonder Woman…

 

 

 

 

 

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*What genre do you write?

Literary fiction.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what that one is…

 

 

 

 

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*What’s your current work in progress about?

My WIP is about a family trying to repair their relationships after 3 decades of trauma tore them apart. And I’m a single mother and a grandmother currently living back in the South after spending 25+ years in the Midwest. I’ve been blogging off and on since 2003 and I’m in the process of setting up my blog again at aprilpalooza.com

It’s not too late to move back to the Midwest! Hah! Just kiddin. A family trying to repair itself after three decades of trauma would take a lot of work. But it’s definitely worth the save. 

 

 

 

 

 

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*What inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember–stories, angsty teenage poetry, articles. Being an avid reader as a kid probably inspired me the most.

Alright, April. Can you show us some of your poetry? Pluu-leeeze?? Writing is such a release isn’t it? 

 

 

 

 

 

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“You only learn to be a better writer by actually writing.”-Doris Lessing

 

 

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*What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

At this point, I’d like to just get one draft completed and hopefully published.

That’s a good first goal. You can do it, April. I’ll be one of your personal cheerleaders!!!

 

 

 

 

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*What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Feeling like my writing and my ideas just aren’t good enough to be published, being mentally blocked to where I can’t translate ideas from my brain to my computer, fear of failure.

This sounds all too familiar. I can relate to every one of these. I’m realizing we need to believe in ourselves to release our true potential and be what we desire to be. 

 

 

 

 

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*What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

Seeing other success stories, daydreams about success including financial rewards (example: visions of walking into a bookstore and seeing my book on the shelf), wanting my family to be proud of me

This is going to sound cheesy, but….I’M PROUD OF YOU! Seriously, you’re a single mom chasing her dream. What is else is better than that? (I’m the product of a single mom.)  Being a parent in today’s world is not a small matter; and anyone who wants to be a writer is a special person in my mind. So hats off and high fives to you sis’.

 

 

 

 

 

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*What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

I feel like there’s some sort of natural talent that other writers have and I just don’t, which gets me to thinking that maybe I was silly to think I could do this.

It’s hard not to compare ourselves with others in different areas.  But one thing we need to remember-no one is you. You’re special, and there’s no one else like you. A diamond can be breathtakingly brilliant in all its beauty; captivating, even. But if you look closely, it’s composed of many, many, many small facets. Each facet shares and participates in the beauty displayed by the diamond. We’re all part of it. We just don’t see it. You may not see your own preciousness, but others do. 

 

 

 

 

 

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*If you have given up your dream, tell us why?

I’ll answer this because I have given up before, but not completely. Sometimes I just think that I’m kidding myself by believing that I could actually do this. I’ve watched others accomplish so much with their own writing and here I am still working on the first draft of a book I started almost 2 years ago! There’s that little voice in the back of my head that says “Bahahahaha! You’re not a WRITER!”

Writers are resilient creatures aren’t they? Believe it sister! We can do this. I had the same thoughts as you last year. Then another author told me “make a plan and do the work”. Then I realized the *only* difference between me and successful authors was exactly that. A plan and elbow grease. Don’t listen to that pesky voice in your head. I hate it when he shows up. Tell em’ to put a sock in it and watch me go to work. Keep your game face on sister, your not alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

I think we’re just convinced that people are going to hate it so why bother? We have all this self-doubt that we’re not a GOOD writer (and why would we want to be any other kind?) and that putting our work out there puts us at risk of having others find out that we’re not good writers which then confirms our fears. Nobody likes being vulnerable and being rejected.

 

We spend so much time fearing not being *good* instead of just telling our story. Writing is so subjective and so is this matter of being good, or better. No one wants to be a bad writer of course. It’s a process. But I read somewhere that we should focus more on telling our story. What a relief!

 

 

 

 

 

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If a story is in you, it has to come out. -William Faulkner

 

 

 

 

 

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“You can make anything by writing.”-C.S. Lewis

 

 

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“To survive you must tell stories” -Umberto Eco

 

 

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“Pour your heart to the page, she always listens.”-Benjamin Thomas

 

 

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Benjamin  Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

The Story of Writer & Filmaker Usvaldo De Leon

 

 

 

WELCOME BACK TO THE STORY OF THE WRITER SERIES

 

 

EVERYBODY HAS A ONE. WHAT’S YOUR’S?

 

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Everyone please welcome writer and filmaker USVALDO!!

 

 

 

Tuscon Screenwriting Group

@Usvaldo de Leon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where are you from?

I don’t know that I am ‘from’ anywhere. I was born on an army base, Fort Belvoir, in Northern Virginia, then grew up as a young child in my mother’s hometown of Hickory, North Carolina. Then it was back to Northern Virginia, living near the Bull Run battlefield in Manassas. 150 years ago, men from all over the country came here – twice – to duke it out. Now,.people come there from all over the country so they can commute to their government or technology centered jobs, which my dad had.

Since then, the army took me across the country and to South Korea, and as a civilian I have lived in Kansas, North Carolina (again), El Paso, TX and now Tucson, Arizona. What does it mean to be from a place? I am amalgamated from all of those places and many more besides: the Corleone compounds in New York and Lake Tahoe; Discovery One, on it’s ill fated journey to Jupiter; even Desi and Lucy’s Manhattan apartment.

I come from a tribe of wanderers.

Wow! You are literally a man of many places. 

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Do you write screenplays and novels?

I am a screenwriter, but I did begin work on a novel in 2014 that I completely pantsed. It is a zombie dystopia (of course) told in the first person from several perspectives; my favorite was the young woman in her late teens from Pacific Palisades, California, a wealthy beachside community of Los Angeles. The good and evil groups meet up in Las Vegas, in an homage to Stephen King’s The Stand.

That’s really cool that you’re a screenwriter. 

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Which do you like more?

Screenplays. They are a novel distilled to it’s essence. Put a novel in the dryer on too high heat: a screenplay results.

I love the visual! 

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How is writing screenplays different from fiction?

The biggest differences are texture and subplots. A novel, which could be a thousand pages, could have endless subplots. A screenplay can have two or three if it is long enough, but all the narrative drive has to be supplied by the main plot; there is barely space for anything else.

Texture is the novel’s greatest strength over the screenplay. Take It, for example. King spends an enormous amount of time detailing several horrifying events in the past of the town. Gradually it becomes clear to the reader that the town has been inculcated in the evil of It. If you watch the mini series, however, that is nowhere to be found, as there is not enough time.

Texture in a film is all a result of the scene and the decorative elements thereof. Take the opening of The Godfather. It is not by accident that it begins at Connie’s wedding, nor that it is seen through the eyes of Kay, the outsider. It allows Coppola to import texture so that we get a feel for what it means to be Italian American in the 40s, before we commence with the story proper, as it were. The fact that Don Vito is feared by so many, but gently cradles his cat: that is the distillation process in full effect.

Wow. This is amazing to see the difference between the two. I’m beginning to notice the nuances between the two mediums. Funny you mentioned the Godfather because I  just got the audiobook. 

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What’s the hardest thing about being a filmmaker?

The hardest thing about filmmaking is not filmmaking at all: it is financing. When people give you money, they tend to want it back, plus a profit. There are now just two entry points into ‘the system’. The first is make a cheap horror film. Horror does not require ‘names’, nor does it require lots of money. It does not even require a great script. All it needs is a great hook. Don’t Breathe, which came out recently, has a fantastic hook: a group of punks rob a soldier who is blind but has the keenest hearing and really objects to people breaking in. Or It Follows, from last year, which takes the horror formulation of sex = death to its logical conclusion.

The other way is to write a great screenplay for a name, which can then secure the financing. An example would be Brick, Rian Johnson’s amazing debut, which sets a film noir in a high school. This came to the attention of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was looking for a project to allow him to be taken seriously. It worked out great for both (you may have heard of Johnson’s latest project: Star Wars VIII?).

Wonderful!  I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a great actor and chock full of talent. Then for Rian Johnson to have a ‘project’ such as Star Wars VIII is nothing short of amazing.

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What are your Top 5 favorite movies and what makes them great?

Very tough. I will go with The Godfather, Part II,directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The rare, perhaps only sequel to better it’s predecessor, G2 is the tale of father and son and the huge differences between them. The two key scenes are the old woman being kicked out of her apartment because the rent will be $30 and the landlord hates her dog. Vito first asks the landlord for a favor: tell the woman the rent is 25 and come see him for the rest. Plus, please let her keep the dog. The landlord refuses. Vito kindly asks him to change his mind. The man refuses. Vito Corleone, the most powerful man in Little Italy, debases himself to come to a mutual solution. Only once the man realizes what he has done – and to whom – does Vito apply the screws, but even then, he praises the man for being so generous. Why make an enemy needlessly?

Compare to the son, who upon hearing the demands of the Nevada senator for a gaming license, arrogantly tells the senator will give him the license and get nothing in return,  because Michael knows he can set the senator up and make him grateful for Michael’s help. Why spend money needlessly?

If the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, G2 makes clear that Michael’s apple landed on the slope of a hill and managed to roll far away.

Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick succinctly and hilariously shows how war begins. It is banal, tragic, petty and most of all absurd. What I love most is the cognitive dissonance Kubrick initiates: we root for the War Room to shoot down the last B-52, but we also root for the intrepid, brave flight crew, which is determined to carry out their duty, culminating in the famous ride of Slim Pickens, riding the bomb like a bucking bronco to the extinction of the human race.

Wild Strawberries, directed by Ingmar Bergman. Ostensibly a road movie of a man getting a ride from his daughter-in-law to get a lifetime achievement award, it is actually about the man’s life, it’s mistakes and tragedies and his feeble attempts to keep his son from making the same mistakes. The way Bergman literally intertwines the past and the present is shot through with emotionality.

Stray Dog, directed by Akira Kurosawa. A cop in Tokyo loses his gun; the man responsible for taking it goes on a rampage. Though made in 1949, it has modern narrative sensibilities. Seven, for example, feels very much like it in atmosphere and in the hot headedness of its protagonist (Toshiro Mifune). It is set in August in Tokyo and everything is sweating, seemingly. The heat is very much on Mifune to get his gun back and stop a murderer.

Monsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair. This film does what only the magic of story can. It takes a very specific situation (an extended Punjabi family preparing for a wedding) and lets us see the universality of it. Once we recognize what we have in common with them,which is much, we can appreciate the ways we are different – and accept them. Starting with this point of empathy, we can celebrate the ways this Indian family are different from us. The story is very common (there are only a handful of story forms), but it is the specifics – the jumble of Mumbai, the idiosyncratic romance of the wedding planner and the family servant, how cell reception is awful in India – it is a joyous riot.

Nice starting five. I’ve only seen the Godfather, but that was many years ago.

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Your favorite sports?

My favorite sports are NHL hockey (go Washington Caps!), major league baseball (go Washington Nats!) and NFL football (go Washington Skins!).

Who’s going to win the Superbowl?

The Patriots are undefeated despite starting nobodies at quarterback. When Brady comes back, how are they going to be stopped? They have to be the favorite right now.

Your least favorite team?

My least favorite team across all sports is the Dallas Cowboys, followed by the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals. May they all have a bad end.

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Name a few movies you’re dying to see.

Birth of a Nation; Manchester by the Sea; Doctor Strange (Marvel plus  Benedict Cumberbatch should equal can’t miss); Passengers; La La Land wasn’t one I was anticipating,  but it won the top prize at the Toronto Film Festival – as have the last four Best Picture winners, so I want to see what the fuss is about; and finally, always: the next under the radar horror movie.

Definitely looking forward to seeing Marvel’s Dr. Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch. Passengers looks like a winner, and of course, Star Wars VIII!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or
what inspired you?

 

I got started writing at 7 when I wrote a story about a leprechaun. I think (either a leprechaun or an elf). My teacher said it was a good story. Then, as now, I take some things completely literally. If my teacher thought I had a good story, then I needed to sell that story. My friend suggested we get copies made, which involved some parental logistics but soon I had my copies and went door to door, selling my story for a quarter. Not a single person bought, which is mystifying and heartless (when an eight year old comes to your door selling an elf story for a quarter, you give the kid a quarter). I did not take any rejection from this – my teacher said it was a good story.

I started writing my first screenplay at 15, but didn’t finish. 12 years later, I started another script and finished – 4 years later. The third time I stole the structure from Richard III, so it only took about a year and the time has dropped since for a first draft.

I always find it rather amazing how some people begin writing so young. 

What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

My goal is first, to just make something a quality. After that, it is to be produced. Further, to produce my own scripts. Finally, to dethrone Gone With The Wind as the all time domestic box office champ. All I need is a movie capable of making $1.7 billion…

That’s a pretty lofty goal, yikes! 

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A goal is a dream with a deadline. -Napoleon Hill

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What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

I have been stymied by: low budgets. The Richard III script was produced for nothing and it became a boring movie. I began shooting for better funded producers, but I needed much higher quality scripts. So I have worked over the past several years to become a higher quality writer. Finding these producers amenable to my script genre also has been stymying.

Sounds like a tough business, even harder than publishing novels.

What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

I have no choice but to tell stories, even if only to read to Jehovah’s Witnesses who have stopped by for coffee.

Sounds like you’re very determined!

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What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

Some of my antagonists: Laziness. I can slide form my writing for the day for various reasons. Work is a big one as well: I generally work 28 or 29 days a month, for around 10-14 hours. It doesn’t leave much time to write, particularly if the lazy grabs me.

I know this all too well. Once the tank is tapped, that’s it. A couple of days ago I saw a bumper sticker that read: MAKE USE OF YOUR ENERGY 

I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

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Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

Discouragement. Rejection. Discovering they aren’t very good. My dad did a lot of writing, for maybe 10 years, then he just stopped and did other things. I never asked him why; I think I was afraid of the answer. I didn’t think he was very good, and I worry I led him to stop.

These are all too familiar. 

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What would you say to a struggling writer?

(I think) What, exactly, does it mean to struggle? There is no end to ‘the struggle’. The Buddha tells us that life is struggle and pain. I would direct this writer to Stephen King, who was nearly killed; is that not struggle? Brad Pitt had everything until September, 2016, when his wife abruptly left; is that not pain? After Michael Jackson made the biggest album of all time, the only question was: how are you going to top it?

This writer, they think they struggle now. Their struggles will be unceasing. Their nature may change. Stephen King’s struggle is gathering the cash to buy the Boston Red Sox or whatever. Oh my God, the Rolls Royce needs a new engine!

There will always be struggle. Many, perhaps most, writers, successful or not, stare at the blank page or a story problem, and wonder the same thing: is this it? Will I ever write again? This is the one where they discover I’m a fraud.

The only cure for your struggles is to keep writing. At which point your struggle will change: how do I market this book? How do I find an honest financial advisor? Should I buy or rent a private jet? How do I increase tourism to my private island?  #TheStruggleContinues

That’s great! 

 

 

 

 

 

The only cure for your struggles is to keep writing- Usvaldo De Leon

 

 

 

 

 

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The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow-Uknown

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THIS IS YOU

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I love the struggle, after all we’re going  to need something to talk about at the top. -Picturequotes.com

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Thanks Usvaldo!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

The Story of Dave Johnston Family man and Author

 

 

MEET DAVE JOHNSTON 

AUTHOR OF THE ATOMIC NUMBER SIXTY

And the Sixty Minute Read Series

 

 

 

 

DaveJohnson

 

 

 

WELCOME DAVE!

 

 

 

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Atomic Number Sixty (Sixty Minute Reads Book 1) 

 

 

 

*Where are you from?
Sheffield, UK

I’m not going to lie. I had to look this one up on the map. I’ve definitely heard of it, but couldn’t place it in my head. Think I need a memory upgrade. 

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*What exactly is the 60 minute read series?

When I was considering starting my quest to write a book, I first thought about the books that I like reading: sharp, punchy, to the point. No fluff. No fuss. No long, dreary, padded paragraphs. Since my kids arrived, time is also a premium, so short bursts of reading is usually the norm. And thus, amongst all my pooled ideas, the Sixty Minute Reads series was born. Roughly 300 words per chapter, each with its own cliffhanger drawing the reader on, all anchoring in real time around an event or location, with flashbacks and revelations converging to that final, sixtieth minute.

I love the concept of this. Very fascinating and innovative. You certainly deserve a high five.

Fans: Men High Five Each Other

*Do you write full time?

I don’t write full time. I’m not even sure I write part time! I just write as and when the mood takes me. I’m very much a flitter in life.

Hah! I can totally relate to this one.

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*Tell us about the protagonist in your new book.

Holly Holloway is hard to understand. She’s strong, she’s sassy, yet in certain situations she acts weak, vulnerable, and well, human. Perhaps she is difficult to like, seems a bit of a bitch, but maybe all things become clear in the end.

Vulnerability is always a keeper in crafting a protagonist. Readers tend to relate to that more than anything.

*Is this a stand alone book or beginning of a new series?

It is very much a series. I love my concept, there’s so much scope.

That’s awesome. Sounds like it definitely has potential. 

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*What genre do you mainly write in? 

Young Adult: this is to be a series of Thrillers, but I have also written a YA Adventure novel (yet to be published)

YA definitely has a lot of market appeal. I love to read in this genre too!

What inspired you to become a writer?

I used to read books a lot as a child. I was really encouraged by my family, and would consume book after book, even walking to the bus stop banging into lampposts. Writing seemed to come naturally later in life.

That’s awesome. I cracked up at this. Picturing you banging into a lamppost while reading was hilarious.

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What’s your GOAL  in becoming a writer?

I think I have already reached my goal: to become a published author. Perhaps my new goal is to become a multiple published author.

Goal achieved. Multiple publications sounds very desirable. 

What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Time, desire, imagination.

Time: I work full time, have a young family that I love spending all my free time with, and climb as a hobby when I can.

Desire: I find it hard to WANT to edit my books. The thought of endlessly correcting my work seems to eternally stretch before me, so I put it off and off.

Imagination: My own imagination runs away with itself, such that when Draft 1 is complete, I am already off and thinking about the next book or books or series of books.

Ah, yes. These are the three heavyweights. Time, desire and imagination. 

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What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

To get that first book in paperback. To see it on our bookshelf at home. To think that one day my children will pick it up and read it and know that their Daddy created it. That it might inspire and spark their own imagination and dreams and loves. Motivation, got it in spades mate.

I guess that would be pretty surreal seeing your own book on the shelf.

What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

Only my self. The wandering, writers mind. If only I could type as fast as my brain can think.

This wandering mind can be quite a problem sometimes. 

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Have you ever wanted to give up your dream? If so, why?

I’ve given up plenty of times. When the rejection letters came through from an industry that is only interested in the “painting by numbers” writing approach. When I had 10 chapters left to write and I couldn’t be bothered. When my laptop ran out of battery. Any excuse really.

Well, I glad to see your book online!

Why do writers give up, quit, or never complete their projects?

From a personal point, I would say that human modesty plays a large part. Imagine writing down all your thoughts and ideas, and then letting somebody else read them. Or worse, your friends, family, the guy next to you at work. It’s weird, right? But you get over it. You get supported. You realise you’re being silly and life is like that sometimes.

I suppose we have to develop very thick skin to survive. 

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What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Why give up? With self publishing such an easy, free, accessible ride these days, you can publish to the world, and then learn from your mistakes. No need to tell anybody you know, maybe even write under a pen name, but put it out there. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste. Lots of people won’t like it, but if you’re proud of it, then there will be people out there who will be too. Don’t write for everybody, write for yourself.

I tried to beat my reading addiction……Worst two minutes of my life. -Unknown

If a book is well written, I always find it too short. -Jane Austen

Whatever you do keep writing…..

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com