Story of the Writer: K.T. (Kate) Ivanrest

 

 

 

ALL ABOARD!

Everyone please welcome K.T. (Kate) Ivanrest

 

Kate is a Fantasy writer, cosplayer, and Latinist who recently completed her PhD in Classical studies in Michigan. She also enjoys sewing, cosplaying, decaf coffee and bubble tea.
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Here’s Kate at the Michigan Renaissance Festival

 

 

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(photo credit: Caitlyn Faust)

 

Hi Kate! 

*So what interests you in classical languages and studies? (I love Greek, Hebrew, and Latin by the way).

What actually got me into Classics were the languages themselves, particularly Latin grammar. I’ve always leaned heavily philological—my dissertation looked at how Roman authors used descriptions of odors in their texts, and at how those descriptions give us greater insight into Roman sensory culture.

Now that sounds cool. First, Classical studies is utterly fascinating. It’s no secret that people love roman culture. They definitely left their footprint on society. Yammers, I’ve got so many things to pick your brain about!

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*What made you want to pursue this in college?

I needed a language requirement and had a friend who took Latin in high school and loved it. The next year I took “Greek and Roman Civilizations” to fulfill an honors requirement, and the rest, as they say, is (ancient) history.

Oh, Greek and Roman Civilizations sounds great. I’m not sure what it is about these two cultures, but they were powerhouses. 

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*Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes and no. I wrote as a kid—my school had a “Publishing Center” where we could illustrate our stories and have them bound into little books—and when Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring adaptation came out I got really into fantasy writing. I entered college as a writing major but didn’t really know what I would do with it—I naively thought I could study creative writing and magically become a successful fantasy author, so I was never very interested in my professional writing classes. In hindsight, I wish I’d gone that route; I think I would have enjoyed marketing.

Man, your high school had a publishing center? That’s awesome! Wish we had one. So many people have been influenced by the Lord of the Rings its amazing. I’ve seen the movies but haven’t read the books yet. *sinks in shame*

*Are you originally from Michigan?  (I was just in Ann Arbor actually)

Yes; my family lived in Indianapolis for a year when I was about 2, but otherwise we’ve always lived in Michigan.

Cool beans! I like Michigan. 

*Do you despise the Buckeyes?

I had to look up the Buckeyes to make sure they are, in fact, Ohio State, so…that probably tells you how I feel about them. 😛

Lol! Yup, that’s good ol’ fashioned Ohio State.  Just curious. There seems to be a great rivalry between the two. Makes for great entertainment!

*Would you use your background in classical studies to influence your writing?

Subconsciously, I think I do—my Latin classes were where I learned 90% of English grammar, and studying literature has definitely made me think about what I’m conveying with my own writing. I haven’t set any stories in Rome-inspired cities, though, or raided classical mythology for ideas—probably in the future, though!

I bet. It’s a rich source to draw from! 

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

I’ve always been telling stories to myself—I played soccer as a kid and mid-game I’d be standing in the field staring at the clouds imagining what lived up there. I remember taking bike rides and narrating stories out loud as I rode. 😛 Because I was fairly shy, I think writing them down was the natural next step. Interestingly, though, I’m not a natural storyteller—I’ve always been better at the actual writing than at crafting a narrative.

Eh, narrative, can be learned of course. You’ve been telling stories since you were a kid though, that counts. For what it’s worth, I’m not a natural storyteller either, but that’s a skill that can be picked up as we learn the craft.  I have a particular fascination with narrative, point of view and how it affects the story. When you learn something new drop me a line.

Tell us a Story Typewriter

*What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

At the end of the day, I think I’d say it’s to give people hope. I’ve got nothing against sad stories, and while I shy away from killing characters whenever possible, I understand the value of doing so in the right situation. But I want to write stories that, no matter what bad things might happen in them, leave my readers looking forward and thinking about the possibility for good—in people, in the world, in their own lives. I don’t write Christian lit, but I am a Christian, and I hope that underlies everything I write.

Well very good. (Pun unintended)

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

1. Loss of interest. Occasionally I start writing and have no idea where the story’s going, and most of the time I peter out and lose interest before I develop a direction. But that’s not always bad—sometimes I just need to get a scene out of my system, or try something new as an exercise.

2. Writing difficulties. If I’m not sufficiently dedicated to a story, any serious snag (plot holes, character issues, etc.) might cause me to give up rather than push through.

3. Edit-as- you-go syndrome. I get so bogged down in editing that I don’t give the story room to grow and develop. My most popular tweet says “Keep writing, you can edit later,” but it’s advice I’m terrible at following!

These are all valid points. The “edit-as-you-go-syndrome” seems to be a common one. You hack the thing to pieces before its even ready. I planted a gladiolus bulb in the front yard one year. After a few short weeks, I was so frustrated because I didn’t see any growth. So what did I do? Dummy me, had to go dig it up to see if it was growing. It had a beautiful bright green stalk about 3 1/2 inches long judding out of the bulb. Of course it broke in half when I dug it up. *sigh* Plants are both beautiful and frustrating at the same time. To see them grow, develop, bud and blossom is absolutely beautiful.  But sometimes waiting for it to grow can be very frustrating. I suppose beauty requires patience.

Beautiful spring daisy flowers
Beauty on a stem

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

One of my favorite things about writing is just hanging out with my characters. Getting to know them. Watching them interact. Giving them a hard time. If I’m not excited about the people in my story, chances are I’m not enthused about the story itself. So part of my motivation is getting to spend time with cool, albeit totally fictional, people, and part of it is hoping that someday I’ll get to share these characters with readers—who will hopefully grow as attached to them as I am.

This is a good one. I’ve heard many writers say the same thing. Hanging out with characters, or living in imaginary worlds etc. But you’re right Kate, if we’re not excited about our own peeps, it’s hard to imagine anyone else will. 

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

Impostor syndrome—the constant conviction that I’m not good enough, not creative enough, don’t know enough. It might sound stupid for a fantasy writer to say this, but I don’t tend to think of myself as a very creative person. I need to remind myself that cool ideas are only a small part of what it takes to succeed as a writer, regardless of genre.

This just validates that you’re a writer! A normal one. Cool ideas are relatively easy to come up with. But to take an idea and ripen it into a compelling story, is craft. Which can be learned. To me, a writer is essentially a learner. We’re just like the characters we create. We have goals, desires, dreams and what not. Then there’s the dreaded antagonist standing in our way. He often uses the fear tactic to stymie us. Works like a charm every time. As writers we have to learn to work through those internal conflicts to achieve what we want. Then as we overcome the internal conflict, we’re empowered to deal with the external conflict. Next thing you know you’re off to save the day and live happily ever after. But knowing the nature of the conflict and facing our own antagonist is the heart of the battle.

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

Any number of reasons. I was just reading a post by a writer lamenting that her favorite genre has fallen out of favor with agents and publishers—despite the fact that this was what she loved to write, she was considering giving it up because she was worried it wouldn’t sell. Time is another one—either the realization that writing a book takes a great deal more time and effort than expected, reluctance to set aside the necessary time, or an actual lack of time due to life circumstances. In the end, unless you remember what it is you love about something—a hobby, a dream, a job—you can always find a reason to give it up.

Well said. I like how you brought it back to what we love about something that’ll “keep the drive alive”.  Love is most interesting isn’t it? There’s a great deal of investment that goes into writing a book, published or unpublished. Love will keep us afloat amidst treacherous waters. 

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

Think about why you started writing in the first place, and what you love about it. It can be really easy, in the tsunami of social media, to feel you’re not a “real writer” or that you’re “doing it wrong.” It can also be easy to get caught up in what’s popular and believe that in order to be successful, you have to write something similar. Don’t. Stick with the story in your heart. Write for yourself. Write for the fun

of spending time with your characters. Whatever gives you joy in writing, start from there.

I LOVE THIS. You know, by doing these interviews, I’m the first one that get encouraged. Writing is an extremely subjective experience, written by fantastically subjective persons. And the definition of success is also a very twisted subjective concept to most people. We tend to subjectively measure ourselves based on what we see objectively in others. We try to climb the mountain that they built. As they say, Rome wan’t built in a day. But then, it’s hard not to see the mountains around us. James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, JK Rowling, Suzzanne Collins, Victoria Aveyard, George R.R. Martin. They’re gorgeous and breathtakingly majestic. Don’t try to climb their mountain; grow your own wings and take to the sky, see where it takes you. 

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Thanks for joining us Kate! I thoroughly enjoyed it! Please come again. 

 

CONNECT WITH KATE

Blog: K.T. IVANREST

Twitter: @KT_Ivanrest

Eagle in flight about the clouds
Imagination in flight

Grow your own wings. Sky is the limit, but imagination has no boundary…

~ Benjamin Thomas

 

 

 

SOMEONE  

OUT THERE 

NEEDS YOUR STORY

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

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Story of the Writer: Abby Jones

 

Story of the Writer

Interview Series

with Abby Jones

 

 

Howdy all, welcome back  to the Train. Today we have another special guest…They’re all special right? Everybody please welcome Abby Jones! She’s actually a friend of the first interviewee of this series, Bethany A. Jennings. Thanks for joining us today Abby.

 

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Here we go folks, let’s learn a bit more about Abby….

Are you married with children? 

I’m happily married to a man who is Licensed Teacher (Recognized Gifted Brother) in our church, with a desire for the eldership. We haven’t been blessed with any of our own children, but we have 11 nieces and nephews. I often write children’s stories for them, which I hope to publish as picture books someday. You can read some of them on my blog.

That’s awesome you already have an audience! 

 

Where are you located?

I live in the great state of Texas near Fort Worth.

Sweet. I’m in Buckeye country. I love Texas though.

 

Where did you go to school? Major?

After high school, I attended a local junior college where I got an Associate’s Degree and swore off college.

I have an Associate’s as well. Think about going back, but it’s much TOO expensive.

 

You said you switched genres a few times, can you take us through your experiences, journey with these?

Well, the first switches were due to my desire to spend more time writing and less time doing research. My older brother is an amateur historian, and I’m an armchair historian, so even writing Swords and Sorcery type fantasy required lots of research for fear my brother would call me out on an incorrect detail. Moving closer to a time frame I loved—Victorian—didn’t solve the problem. Funny enough, I still needed to do research. Confounded, I switched to Urban Fantasy. At least I’m familiar with what types of clothing we wear. Here I discovered my voice: action flick meets thriller meets fantasy with smatterings of beautiful prose.

For several years I settled down nice and snug in my world of serial killers, saved vampires, and broken hunters. While I was researching how to torture people (researching serial killers didn’t bother me as much as researching corsets or halberds), my husband and I sold our business so we could focus more on our church. I had several books under my belt by then, finished, and in various stages of editing.

My husband started preaching for our church on almost weekly basis. That’s when I realized that if I continued, I’d be going down one path and he’d be going down another. After talking to him and some close friends, praying, and crying a lot, I switched genres to something that lines up better with his plans: Faerie Stories and Children’s Stories.

Before anyone freaks out, my decision wasn’t forced on me, nor do we believe a hopefully-future-pastor’s wife couldn’t write vampire serial killer stories. Not at all. We both believe I had the total freedom to do that. It was me asking myself if those stories were serving my church at all. The answer was no. About three or four people total would even read them. Most people shied away from them. And, I didn’t feel comfortable talking about them with my church family.

Switching that last time to something I could actually share with my church was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I switched blogs, set aside stories I loved, and packed away very dear characters.  But, I didn’t want to go down a path that would lead me away from my husband’s hopes for the future, and I didn’t want to be unable to share the writing side of me with my church. If I’m not using my gift to encourage Christ’s bride, what’s the point of having it? (This is by no means meant to guilt anyone, just me being honest about my choices.)

God is amazing. He’s graciously blessed my work. My church family has been encouraged by my blog. I’ve connected with other churches via my writing that I never would have met otherwise. I’m closer to being published than I’ve ever been before with my children’s books. And, I’ve figured out how to tie my new YA Faerie Stories into my beloved Urban Fantasies minus the violence and language. God has been so gentle and kind to me through this time.

That’s a very touching story, thanks for sharing! I’m sure it wasn’t easy. At least you’re still writing!

Below you’ll find an image that has inspired Abby in her writing endeavors. Check it out, there’s some pretty cool artwork.

 

novel inspiration from Bethany

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

I discovered my love of writing back in 2000. My husband (then boyfriend) had just read Lord of the Rings, and was inspired to try his hand at writing. Wanting to be engaged in his interests, I started piddling around with writing as well. All my life, I’ve been a reader and a lover of stories, but I hate all things grammar-related. My mom even put me through remedial English as a home schooler. I longed for a way to artistically express myself, but couldn’t imagine dealing with commas and spelling and such. Don’t even get me started on homonyms. Everything changed when I finally gave in and put pen to paper. I discovered my form of self-expression. The stories in my head have been escaping ever since. Even with 16 years under my belt, I require editors (friends). I still can’t sort out where commas are supposed to go.

It always begins with reading doesn’t it? I talked to so many people that’ve been inspired by the Lord of the Rings. I’ve seen the movies but haven’t read the books!

 

2. What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

My original goal was to express myself. I’ve always felt the need or the longing to do creative things. I tried music, painting, drawing (which I still dabble in), photography, fashion (still something I love), and crafts. I was never satisfied with what poured out. I could never get anything to match what was in my head. Discovering writing was like discovering magic, though it should have come as no surprise based on the way I devour books.

Once I found my voice, my goal became, and still is, to tell warrior stories that don’t mince on the hardships of life but are flooded with beauty, light, and hope, from a Christian worldview. I love the concept of the man who sacrifices a normal life to hunt things that go bump in the night, and the woman at his side…with magic thrown in. I also love the idea of the Undeserved Rescue. I always have at least one villain being shown grace.

There you go, sounds good. Even the villains need mercy. That’s probably why I like Darth Vader so much. 

 

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

The first thing that has hindered me is just the learning curve. My first few projects fell by the wayside because I wrote myself into a plot corner that I couldn’t see a way out of. I’m also determined to publish a well-written story. I love books with excellent prose, and refuse to add to the slush pile of poorly written literature. This means years spent honing my craft and wordsmithing. I’m also a pantser and can’t publish one part of a series until the whole thing is done because it takes me that long to make sure I don’t need to make changes.

Second, I’ve changed my focus several times. I started out pretty traditional Sword and Sorcery, switched to Victorian Historical Fantasy, then to Urban Fantasy with a strong Criminal Thriller feel where I found my voice, and finally to YA Dark Faerie Stories. Each time I’ve changed focus, I’ve set myself back and created a new learning curve.

Last, writing is not my main focus in life. I love it. I write every day. I hope to be published someday, but all that is secondary to serving my church, my husband, and my family. Those three things are far more important to me than my stories. I’m unwilling to sacrifice them for the sake of my writing. This can be a real struggle. In our culture, we’re pushed to give up everything for the sake of art. I constantly battle the voices that tell me I should abandon everything to be a published writer. The voices lie. The stories are important, but they aren’t everything.

Yeah, I guess changing focus would definitely slow you down. Suppose it’s part of the journey of being a writer.

 

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

I love stories. I love telling stories. I love this story and my Worlds before the Door (my name for them) specifically. Even if I can only write for ten minutes a day, I’ll take it. Even if I couldn’t write, I’d still be making stories up in my head. I’ve been doing that since I was six. It’s part of who I am, and who God made me. Besides…I’m really rough on my characters and even if I’m the only one reading the story, I can’t leave them until they reach the light.

I can relate! I love creating things and being creative. So storytelling is an outlet of that for me. The possibilities are endless! Honing or craft is learning how to take those ideas and shape them into a compelling story. Keep at it!

 

 

Business cartoon showing businessman with smiling face jumping from one cliff to another cliff.  The second cliff has a sign that reads 'Welcome to the Other Side'.

 

 

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

My main antagonist is probably being a pantser. I have to discover the story first, while I’m writing it. Then I have to do major edits and rewrites. It seems to me that outlining is very useful because it cuts down on rewriting entire plot points or just having to yet again change the time of day. But, outlining doesn’t work for me. I am trying to learn how to outline, but thorough outlining drives me away from the story.

I’m a panster, or tweener, kind of. It’s good knowing what doesn’t work for you though. It’s part of the process!

 

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

Learning to write well takes a long time, a lot of focus, and dedication. You can’t just sit down and peck out the next Great American Novel. It can take years to hone your craft. That’s intimidating. It can be a long time before you can share your work. That can be lonely. Every book you read seems to be better than anything you can produce. That can be discouraging. These are the reasons I’ve been tempted to give up.

It’s 100% intimidating, but also liberating and fun! Jerry Jenkins said something simple that lifted alot of weight off my shoulders. “Give yourself time to learn the craft first”. EPIC. Simple yet full of wisdom. So I gave myself permission and time to learn. The fact that it’s a life-long learning with dedication involved is very appealing to me on many fronts. One, being a life long learner! I’m probably a polymath of some sort. A lover of learning. Just take the process as it comes. Day by day. 

 

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

Find your core. What was it that first excited you about writing? Why did you start writing? Getting back to your roots can help you regain some perspective. Also, make sure you’re doing some fun writing, whether it’s fan fiction, word doodles, or poetry, do something playful. Last, write what you want to read.

Anytime I feel like I’ve lost my desire, I return to the concept of the Undeserved Rescue, war movies, and friendship stories. (Think Band of Brothers and Firefly.) These concepts fuel my mind and inspire me. You have to find that thing that keeps you going.

Absolutely, I love it. That’s very inspiring. “Find your core” I adore that statement. Those are some really good ideas, I’m going to have to play with some of those. Thanks for sharing. 

 

BONUS: 

Can you tell us a little about your writing time in homeschooling? (Sounds like fun).

Most of the writing I did while in school was English/Grammar related, like parts of a sentence and such. At one point, my mom did tell me I could write sentences that didn’t include a black stallion.  Good luck with that one. I manage to work a black stallion into just about every major story I’ve ever written.

One time my Mom gave me a ‘free-writing’ type of assignment. I wrote an anthropomorphic story about my cat. My mom loved it and suggested I try my hand at writing beyond the required homework. I ran screaming in terror and didn’t try writing for fun again until several years later.

The great gift home schooling gave me was books. My Mom encouraged me to read, and read with discernment, filling me up with beautiful stories. I’m so thankful for the books she constantly put before me.

Books, books and more books! Wonderful aren’t they?

 

Can you say a little about how you run your writing time in your group?

Due to some health issues, I’ve had to step back from our group for over a year now. But, when I ran it, we would start by going over our goals, then I had a ‘Being Brave’ question which forced all of us to share something about our work. The bulk of the time was spent reading aloud a 1000 word excerpt from a project of your choice. After each reading, we would go in circle and offer remarks. I used a timer (3 minutes per person) and we had a no repeat rule: if it’s been said, either say something new or pass.

I’d like to say we kept things organized, but the group could get very long-winded. I have a love/hate fascination with Writing Groups.

Thanks for sharing your story and joining us on the Train Abby!

 

You can connect with Abby all over social media:

Blog: http://gentleandquiet.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gentleandquiet

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/olivecrow/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/abigailtinuviel/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7303921-abby-jones

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GentleandQuiet

Scribophile: http://www.scribophile.com/authors/abby-jones/

 

 

 

KEEP WRITING 

YOUR STORY

NO ONE ELSE WILL

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

Story of the Writer: Janice M. Whiteaker

STORY OF THE WRITER
INTERVIEW SERIES

With

Janice M. Whiteaker

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen today we have a very special guest and fellow daytonian Janice M. Whiteaker. She’s is a mom and an author. I absolutely LOVE author moms. Being a parent is tough as it is, but then being a mom AND an author, adds a whole new dimension.

Everybody please welcome Janice! 

Welcome to the locomotion. Let’s begin!

 

 

 

 

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Janice Whiteaker

 

Janice writes romances with a bit of suspense. One of her books, RUN is available now, and her new book OUT BAD is due on Amazon July 15th 2016. Here’s a peak at the covers.

 

 

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Her new book Out Bad, is available to pre-order and will be delivered wirelessly via Amazon July 15th. Check it out, I just pre-ordered!

 

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Hi Janice!

It’s so nice to interview someone from my neck of the woods.

It’s great that you are a full-time mom and pursuing your dreams. I find that very inspiring.  Well, here it goes.

Are you originally from Dayton, Oh?

I am!  I was born at Kettering Medical Center and raised in Miamisburg.  Now, I live in Springboro which is where both my grandfather’s grew up.  One grandfather’s great-uncles actually helped found the city.

That’s awesome, I love Springboro. It’s a bustling area right now too. We frequent the urgent care center there. Lol!

 

Tell us a little about when you were a hairstylist.

I did hair for 15 years, most of them as a sole-proprietor.  I very much like to be in control of things (the same reason I self-publish) and it was a great fit for me.  I made my own hours and handled my own books.  The profession requires you to be a self-starter and I have found that to be very helpful experience when it comes to writing.

I admire anyone who can tackle self-publishing head on with its challenges. You also strike me as a go-getter. That’ll definitely work to your advantage.

 

YOU’RE A MOM! AWESOME! I love moms because they’re the hardest workers on the planet. Period. So what’s a typical day like at home?

Essentially, I make food, clean up food, make food, clean up food.  All.  Day.  Long.  Oh, and I try to keep the workplace injuries to a minimum.

I can relate to this all too well. Little eating machines aren’t they? It’s hard to believe human beings can be that messy. I’ve managed to keep that quality in adult life. *sigh* The workplace injuries MUST be kept to a minimum. Safety and fall prevention is part of my day job, I completely understand! Essentially we try to keep them fed, clean, and from killing each other. Fun!

 

 

Overworked and Multitasking
An overworked very busy multitasking author-mom under stress

 

 

Do you have any major hobbies you enjoy?

I actually have quite a few hobbies.  We own an RV, so we do quite a bit of traveling/camping.  I knit and crochet.  I also love gardening, the edible kind, and canning.  I’m pretty handy with power tools and love home renovation.  These hobbies rotate in importance since there’s only so many hours in a day.  Right now, we are in prime camping season so that is the major one.

Traveling is definitely a fun one. Not too outdoorsy, but I’ll go camping. It’s great you can work power tools. I’m jealous, sort of. Kind of mechanically declined. It’s hopeless.

 

What’s your genre? Why?

I write romance.  I love it.  Always have.  I love reading and writing about the complexities of love and relationships.  Plus, I’m a little bit sensitive so a book with a sad or upsetting ending will gnaw at me for a long time.  I like knowing the end of a book is going to be a happy one.  With romance, your odds of leaving the story with a smile on your face are pretty darn high.

It’s great you write what you love, love what you write. Makes a big difference. Youre readers are keen on this. I’m curious as to what you think a bad ending is though. 

 

Tell us about your upcoming book, Out Bad.

Right now I’m neck deep in editing a stand alone titled Out Bad.  It’s about a former motorcycle gang member trying to build a new life, one he hopes will attract a future wife.  He feels his past will make most women avoid him like the plague so he works hard to build a business and a beautiful home, hoping it will be enough to offset his misdeeds.  When he meets the woman he’s been looking for, it turns out the life he actually needs to help rebuild is hers, only in a very different way.

Your premise sounds very intriguing with lots of history. Can’t wait to read it!

 

1. You’re a writer; so what’s your story?What inspired you to take this journey?

Initially, it was simply to see if I could.  It’s probably odd, but I didn’t always write.  I didn’t always want to be a writer.  I have, however, always been a reader.  At a certain point, I was reading books by women just like me and I thought, I wonder if I could do this too?  So, I sat down and started writing.  Very quickly, I realized there was more to it than just writing.  That’s when I found K.M. Weiland’s books on structure and outlining.  I took some time, educated myself and then went back to work.  Right now I have one published book, one book in editing and another completed draft hanging out and I am deeply in love with what I’m doing.

 

Hey, you can’t go wrong with KM Weiland. Your story sounds very much like mine! The only difference was I didn’t read alot growing up (this didnt stop my rampant imagination) I did however fancy words a bit, kept a dictionary in my back pocket. Lots of TV and comics too.

 

2. What’s your GOAL (S) in becoming a writer?

I want each book I write to be better than the last.  I want my books to make people feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.  I want to write stories that stick with the reader long after they’ve finished, in a good way.  I want to keep people up at night, reading one more chapter.

Hmm. I like your focus here. You sound very passionate about what your doing. I love it! The profilic James Patterson said, one thing you can’t teach is passion. Every writer needs it, and you’ve got it. A+. 

 

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

Well, my first issue was lack of knowledge.  I had to learn the basics before I made a big mess so that really slowed down my first book.  Now, my primary struggle is perfection.  I am constantly forcing myself to keep moving forward and not get hung up on one line.

Somehow I think we’re kin.

 

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

I really like to push myself to progress.  I want to be the best I can be at everything I do, and writing is a great challenge in that aspect.  There is always something to learn, a skill to develop.

Very inspiring!  Writing will always teach you something new. Nature of the beast. Something of ourselves, characters, our writing process, the world, life etc. It’s the constant learning  that I love. You’ll find perfection in the process,  it comes included in the journey. 

 

5. What’s your main ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way of you accomplishing your goals?

This is going to totally ruin my chances at winning mother of the year, but as cute as my kids are, they are kind of energy and attention vampires.  Right now, my older son is dancing in his underwear, stabbing the television with a silk flower stem, repeating the dialogue to Pinky and the Brain at the top of his lungs.

You’re already Mom of the Year. Seriously, to your kids, your the BEST ever. That’s all they need. Nice visual.  All too familiar with underwear dancing, especially in front of the mirror before bedtime. Right when my patience is evaporated. They should make it into a sport.

We’ve got two mini-vampires aged 5 and 7. Not sure where their energy comes from, except sucked out of us. Hah! Actually we’ve got one Frankenstein, one Vampire. Adorable little cuties aren’t they?

 

~Every mom is a superhero to their children~

 

 

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Author Momma

 

 

6. Why do writers give up, quit or abandon their dream?

Being a successful writer means different things to different people.  I would guess, most people want their books to be well received and make them some money.  Unfortunately, getting to that point is preceded by years of hard work with very little financial gain while you build a back list, a fan base, and an online presence.  It isn’t just about writing books anymore.  Now you have to build a brand while you write books.  Success involves strategy and business savvy, not only talent and creativity which can be more than a little overwhelming.

I love this answer, it’s so true!

 

7. What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up? Or perhaps to encourage other moms in your position?

I think it’s important to realize writing and publishing is a marathon.  You have to train for it and then keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Nice. Words if wisdom here. Definitely a marathon. Takes training, commitment, determination, pleasure and endurance. Well said.

 

 

 

BONUS: What are your favorite quotes?

“You can’t edit a blank page.” Nora Roberts

“If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.”  Margaret Atwood

You can also list a few of your favorite books, novels, or writing books.

 

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing-Mignon Fogarty

Smarter Faster Better-Charles Duhigg

All the Writer’s Thesauruses by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

 

 

THANKS FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION

Keep writing sister! 

God bless you and your family!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain
http://www.thewritingtrain.com
Thebigcaboose@gmail.com

 

 

Story of the Writer: Kenneth G. Eade

 

 

 

 

 

Story of the Writer

Interview Series:

Kenneth G. Eade 

 

 

Hello everyone, I’m excited to welcome bestselling author Kenneth G. Eade of several political and legal thrillers. Mr. Eade is likened by some to John Grisham in writing style; and also as an experienced  lawyer with 30 years of experience, he’s well positioned for the field.

 

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His newest installment is The Decree of Finality starring lawyer Brent Mark in his popular legal thriller series. He takes on a shady divorce case and gets caught up in a perplexing dilemma.

 

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Here are a few more books in the series.

 

best legal thrillers mystery thriller and suspense police procedurals mystery ebooks courtroom drama books political thrillers and suspense police procedurals and law enforcement crime thrillers and myster

 

 

 

fiction best legal thrillers mystery thriller and suspense police procedurals mystery ebooks courtroom drama books political thrillers and suspense police procedurals and law enforcement crime thrill

 

 

Experience the Beverly Hills Book Awards 2016 winner Killer.com another Brent Marks legal thriller (Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series Book 5). This one is on sale for 0.99 cents on amazon for the next three days! I’ve already got it and it’s looking great for consumption on my TBR list.

 

LET THE GAMES BEGIN! 

 

Where are you originally from? (I saw online you’re currently in France. Never been there)

I’m originally from Los Angeles.  As a kid I lived for a while in Athens, Greece, and I guess I got the travel bug.  So, eventually, I ended up living in France.

I used to live in orange county, interesting place. Athens sounds like a great city to see. Looking forward to visiting France one day. Oui monsieur! 

 

What areas of law have you practiced?

Criminal law, family law, bankruptcy, business law, and civil litigation.  I guess you can say I’ve done it all.

Wowsers, that’s pretty broad experience.  I have to say the complexity of law is mind boggling, especially across different cultures. In my current WIP,  I’m attempting to create differing legal systems that’ll conflict with one another. 

 

Do you have any major hobbies you enjoy?

I enjoy traveling and also like to play golf.

Ah golf, never played a lick in my life. Unless you include the golfing range. It’s not bad if you can actually hit the ball though.

 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, but I never knew I had it in me until just a few years ago.

That’s awesome and I can totally relate. I didn’t start writing until last year myself. Looks like your off to a great start though! 

 

Tell us about your new book, the Decree of Finality.

In “Decree of Finality” lawyer Brent Marks takes on a divorce case against his better judgment, and ends up with quite more than he bargained for, including murder.

It’s amazing how the simplest things can turn sour on a dime. The case is very intriguing by the way. You had me hooked!

 

You’ve already written a few series, which is your favorite? Why?

There are two series, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”.  I can’t say I like one any more than the other.  Both are an adventure in political fiction which highlight contemporary social and political issues in each novel.

Both series have received good reviews. I can’t wait to finish the rest of the Brent Marks legal thrillers. Then I’ll make my way over to the Spy Espionage series. 

 

Who’s your favorite character you’ve crafted?

There are so many.  I probably like “Richard Hannaford” who is a lawyer in the Brent Marks Legal Series because he was the most fun to create.

Hmm. I’ll definitely keep my eye out for him as I’m reading. 

 

Can you briefly describe how you write a thriller?

First, I decide what type of issue I would like to focus on.  Then, I figure out how to wrap a story around that issue and make it exciting and entertaining to read.

Short and sweet, I like it. Somewhere I read you call it “faction”.  Real situations and life problems wrapped around  fictional characters. 

 

What are your favorite travel destinations?

I like to go where I am invited.  It is much better to visit a foreign country as a visitor rather than a tourist.

Love the mindset. It leaves the possibilities open worldwide. 

 

What is it about traveling you enjoy?

I used to look at the planes taking off and wish I could be on one, but after being on so many it’s getting a little difficult.  I like to wake up in a different world, where people are speaking a different language and the culture, architecture, art and history are old, but new to me.  There are thousands of stories to be discovered on unknown shores.

Yes! Totally. There’s something to being enveloped in another culture that gives you an awesome sense of adventure. I hope you discover more stories there. 

 

Do you have a favorite spot to write?

Not really.  I have an office I use in each of the two places I live.  The most unusual location was the one where I wrote the epilogue to my last novel: In a cafe overlooking the Coliseum in Rome.

Oh, I’m so jealous! I’d totally dig drinking coffee overlooking the Roman coliseum, that’d be EPIC.

 

Highlight the best thing in your experience as a lawyer.

I have seen a lot of human misery in my former profession, but the most rewarding part of it was helping someone to right a wrong that had been done to them.

That does sound pretty rewarding, helping someone right a wrong. It also sounds pretty complicated. I can only imagine how perplexing it must be.

 

In all your experience as a lawyer, the good and the bad, what is your view of justice?

Justice is subjective and the scales of justice are held in the hands of fallible humans, each with their own opinions, biases and prejudices.  You are not going to find justice in front of a judge, jury, or with a zealous prosecutor.  Whatever God you believe in may be able to dispense justice, but the legal system will never do so.  You either win or lose.  I have won cases should have been lost and lost cases that should have been won.  I am sorry to say this, but it is the reality.  Last year, in Paris, I saw an exhibition of Taryn Simon called “The Innocents”, which included a video presentation of people who had been locked up in prison most of their lives until they were freed by DNA testing.  It was a heartbreaking essay on the reality of justice.

 

Wow. This statement carries a lot of weight, but I love how you explain it.  Justice is subjectively biased in the hands fallible humans. That’s makes perfect sense to me. That’s why there’s so many grey areas. I suppose it makes for great fiction.

 

1. You’re a writer; so what’s your story?  What inspired you to take this journey?

I started writing articles for a local law journal.  After writing a few articles on the importance (and disappearance) of bees, I culled a few of them together, did more research, and came up with my first book, “Bless the Bees”.  During my research on “Bless the Bees” I discovered a lot of things about genetically engineered foods and that became the focus of my first novel, “An Involuntary Spy”.

That’s a fascinating story indeed. You also have great reviews for this book, can’t wait the read it!

 

2. As a successfully published author what is your current GOAL (S)?

My current goal is to expand readership to the point where my messages get to as many people as the entertainment of James Patterson, Harlan Coben and John Grisham.

That’s a great goal indeed! Well, you’re off to a good start. Patterson and Grisham I know, but haven’t heard of Coben. Will have to check him out. 

 

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

To write, you need to have absolute concentration.  Living in a city (and family) environment, sometimes that is hard to find.  Secondly, you have to discipline yourself, which goes hand in hand with motivation.  Finally, you have to constantly market your books or nobody will ever know about them.

Well said. I’m finding this to be true in writing my current project. Absolute concentration is golden, precious, yet hard to come by. Discipline and motivation must be cultivated at all costs. Marketing our work is another beast altogether. I’ll be interviewing the great Jane Friedman, and will be sure to include a question or two about this subject. 

 

4. What keeps you motivated? (DESIRE)

Comments from readers who say that they enjoy my books, or have learned something useful from them.

That’s great motivation. I enjoyed the research you included in The Decree of Finality. Knowing real life facts brings about an awareness to the subject. 

 

5. What’s your main ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way of you accomplishing your goals?

Nothing gets in the way of accomplishment of a goal if you really want to achieve it.

Nothing to disagree with here. Find what you want to accomplish and go after it headfirst.

 

6. Why do writers give up, quit or abandon their dream?

I don’t know because it has never happened to me.

Great! 

 

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

Why are you giving up?  If you have a talent to express yourself in writing, a passion to do it and a need to express yourself, you should never give up.  Then you will succeed.

I LOVE IT. We all need to hear that from time to time. I say don’t quit, keep writing and let er’ rip. 

 

BONUS: What are your favorite quotes?

 

“if they give you lined paper, write the other way.”

~ Juan Ramon Jimemez

 

 

You can also list a few of your favorite books, novels, or writing books.

“A Covenant with Death” by Stephen Becker

“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

 

Thanks Mr. Eade! Really appreciate your time. Come back and see us again!

 

 

KEEP WRITING

SOMEONE OUT THERE 

NEEDS YOUR STORY

 

 

Every word makes a a difference

~ Benjamin Thomas  (yes, I do quote myself occasionally)

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

Story of the Writer: Linda Yezak

 

STORY OF THE WRITER

INTERVIEW SERIES

LINDA YEZAK

 

Welcome back to the Writing Train folks!

All aboard!

 

Our next guest to kick off the series is none other than the great Linda Yezak. Wahoo! Everybody put your hands together for Linda. *applause* I mainly know Linda as one of the critique partners of bestselling author K.M. Weiland, and a fellow wordplayer in our awesome facebook group. If you would like access to this group click here.  Now if Kate or KM Weiland is likened to Yoda, then Linda is definitely Obi Wan Kenobi. Hands down.

 

 

Linda cropped

 

Here’s a little more about Linda

Linda W. Yezak lives in a forest in Deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She holds a BA in English and a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies. Thirty years after graduation, she’s finally putting her degree in English to good use, combining it with her natural inclination toward story-telling to create fun, unique novels, including the Carol Award Finalist, Give the Lady a Ride, its sequel The Final Ride, and short stories like “Slider,” which won an honorable mention position in Saturday Evening Post’s 2015 Great American Fiction contest.

 

1. Essentials first. What’s your favorite BBQ sauce?

My husband makes one that has me spoiled to all others, and it uses as its base a name-brand sauce that is one of my least favorite. Go figure.

Hmm. Sounds like a man with admirable skills. Tell him he’s hired, and we’ll put it on mail order. 

 

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2. Tell us a little about where you live, ranch etc.

Currently, we’re in a rural residential neighborhood in a forest in Deep East Texas, about a thirty-minute drive from Louisiana. From where I work, I can see our pond with all its lily pads in bloom, the squirrels chasing each other around the hickory trees, and bluejays and cardinals preening in the birdbath. Until we retire and move back closer to home, this is our little slice of heaven. Our farm back home is a bigger slice of heaven.

“in a forest in Deep East Texas” wow, the imagery this evokes is explosive. I used to live on a six acre property and thought that was big. Mowing the lawn was brutal. But your ranch sounds very peaceful and conducive to the writing process.
2. Have you always been a writer?

In one way or another. In college, I had a professor who wanted me to pursue it as a career, but I had other plans. Turns out I should’ve listened to her. If I had, I would’ve been better established before the industry started going wonky.

Wonky, now that’s a word that’s definitely going in my vocabulary.  Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. But I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences, you’re right where you need to be.

 

3. What’s your favorite book?

This is always tough for me to answer. I have several favorites, each for different reasons. To make it to my favorites list, a book must totally submerge me into the story and leave me drained afterward, leave me with a sense of awe. It also must teach me something about the craft of writing. Of all the books I’ve read, only a handful reach this level.

You just left me dangling on the edge of my seat here. We’re gonna have to have you back for an additional interview just to mine the riches of this statement.

 

4. Favorite writing craft books?

These days, I’m more a fan of learning from other authors than from “how-to” books, but if I had to name one, it would be Steering the Craft, by Ursula Le Guin. (Not a K.M. Weiland star, but at least it’s one she recommended to me.) What I love about this one is that it’s aimed at more mature writers who have advanced beyond basics. She does include the basics, but she also goes beyond Writing 101. She has a new one directed at 21st century writing  that I’d love to have.

I have the second book you mentioned: Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story, and I can’t wait to read it! YUM.

 

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

As I said, I’ve always written, but most recently, back in 1997, I got back in to it out of sheer pragmatism. I needed a job I could do from home. When my husband and I moved here, my father had cancer, and my mom was soon a widow who lived 150 miles from me. I needed something to do that would keep me busy, but available to her when she needed me.

I don’t remember what inspired the first novel I wrote. It was a sorry thing, as was the second one. But the story behind my first published novel–my award winner, Give the Lady a Ride–is on my blog right now (here: Give the Lady a Ride) because I’m promoting its sequel.

 

GiveTheLadyARide_2016 Kindle

Give the Lady a Ride is available now.

 

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The Final Ride: The Circle Bar Ranch Series is coming July 2016.

Lovely book covers by the way.
6. What’s your GOAL now in this stage of your career?

Now that I have several novels under my belt, my immediate goal is to learn how to better manage them and make money from them. I learned more about how to write than I did what to do once I’d written, so I’m scrambling to catch up. Since I always pursued traditional publishing, I thought there were some things I didn’t need to learn. Wrong. Now I’m enjoying the control I have over my books, but I realize how little I know about the promotion/marketing end of the business.

Yep, that sounds like marketing. You’ll want to tune in for next Friday’s interview with someone who knows exactly how to help writers make money from their projects. Stay tuned Friday 5/20/16 for something special. 

 

7. What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)
a. I have more projects than I can complete in my lifetime, which is the biggest problem–and should be familiar to anyone who is of a creative nature.

b. I apparently am incapable of saying “no,” so I’m always adding to my workload. Since, as a freelance editor, much of what I do is paid for in advance, I have to push my projects down the list until I finish work for others.

c. Since I don’t live in a vacuum, and I’m not a recluse, life tends to get in the way quite a bit.

On the flip-side, I have finished most of my projects for this year, so I’m not complaining.

Those all sound like pretty legit conflicts to me. Having an idea folder seems to help. But picking an idea and fleshing it out unto full maturity can be challenging when you don’t have the time. 

 

8. What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)
Deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise, and the occasional kind word.

Ah, yes. The blessed deadlines. Those would be helpful. Or dreadful depending upon who you ask.  Motivation and encouragement we all need on a daily basis. Maybe they could  fill IV bags and pump it directly into our veins, that’d be sweet. 

 

9. What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?
Good question. The answer is twofold: my inability to say no–which eats my time–and my lack of time.

Father time, stubborn ol’ geezer isn’t he? As they say, time and tide wait for no man. Matter of fact he’s running with reckless abandon.  Definitely not on our side that’s for sure. I’ve been writing for five minutes a day and building on the momentum. Some of the most effective engines start out slow, but once they get going they’re hard to slow down.  Trucks, locomotives etc. 

 

10. What’s been your experience as an editor?

I’m always honored when people trust me with their manuscripts. They’re paying for my knowledge, expertise, experience, and, yes, opinion. I love it when my work for them is well received, and it breaks my heart when it’s not. But I always give it my best.

You’re right. It’s a very honorable interaction. Like handing your newborn sweetie over to a complete stranger. Well, kind of.  Excuse the analogy. 

 

11. Why do writers give up, quit, or abandon their dream?

I think the answer is as diverse as the writers who have quit, but among the top three are lack of time, lack of discipline, and lack of encouragement.

Aside from that, writing isn’t easy. Even those with a knack for it must learn, and keep learning, the craft if they want to rise above mediocre. When people type “the end” on their manuscripts without a firm understanding that they aren’t finished yet–that they have to edit and rewrite and sweat and spill more blood–they’re destined for disappointment.

You said it, Linda. Time, lack of discipline and encouragement will do anybody in. The writer’s graveyard is expanding as we speak in part to these three monstrosities. These three great assassins target your dreams at the end of their barrel. Without mercy or respect of person. The lack of time is inevitable and varies widely according to the individual. We can schedule, make it up, or let it squander. But let’s be clear, time and tide wait for no man. We have to go after it with whatever is left in the tank. Discipline can, and should be cultivated, learned as a vital productive tool. Otherwise we’re looking at holes in our pockets. Lastly we should seek daily encouragement from a writing community. 

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

Lands, I want to give up every day. This job, like old age, ain’t for sissies. It’ll pulverize your pride and stomp on your heart. It can be a cruel demon one day, and fly you away on gossamer wings the next. You can’t rely on your muse–she’s a drunken hussy who’s never around when you need her. So you’re on your own.

To the writer who has given up, I say bravo! Life is what happens when you’re not bleeding over a keyboard. Go live it!

To the writer who struggles with his decision to give up, I say re-evaluate. Are you–or others– disappointed in your writing skills? Study. Try again. Are you setting unrealistic goals? Give yourself a reality check. Are you suffering from a lack of encouragement from those whom you need it the most? Leave them to God and write.

Analyze why you’ve quit and fix it. Because if you’re really meant to be a writer, that drunken hussy of a muse will never leave you alone. At least not until you need her.

Your first response is comical. Had a nice chuckle! The second response is honest and practical. Re-evaluate things and determine the cause of disappointment. Take a step back and get a bird’s eye view. 
BONUS: What’s it like being a critique partner with KM Weiland?

I’m blessed to have her as a critter. Though we disagree on some things, her input is a vital part of my process. Very few know the craft as well as she does.

I’ll say amen to that, we’re glad to be her little ducklings!

Thanks for joining us Linda! Please come back for a second round on the Writing Train!
Linda W. Yezak

Author/Editor/Speaker
Hopeless Coffeeholic

Triple Edge Critique Service

The Circle-Bar Ranch Series

Give the Lady a Ride

Coming July 2016: The Final Ride

Due in 2017, Ride to the Altar

Facebook Fan Page: http://dld.bz/LWYFacebookPage

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage
Goodreads: http://dld.bz/dSPmg
777 Peppermint Place: http://lindayezak.com
Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda 

 

Just FYI, I’ll be posting interviews every Wednesday and Friday for the Story of the Writer series. Our next guest on Friday the 13th is Kim Vandel! Come back hop on the train and check out her new book, Into the Fire. Don’t change that channel!

Over and out.

 

 

“Sleep is good,” he said. “And books are better.”

-George RR Martin

KEEP WRITING BECAUSE SOMEONE  NEEDS YOUR STORY

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

thebigcaboose@gmail.com

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

 

 

STORY OF THE WRITER Interview Series: Bethany A. Jennings

 

STORY OF THE WRITER INTERVIEW SERIES

Welcome to the Writing Train!

All aboard!

After hearing about so many struggling writers out there; who have either incomplete projects, or thrown in the towel altogether, I felt compelled to do a little research. So I’m conducting interviews and surveys to find out what makes writer’s tick, and more specifically, why they don’t. Why should someone give up on their dreams? My inspiration has led me to consider this matter, and research a possible nonfiction book aimed at the struggling writer. Who doesn’t struggle right? We need a constant influx of encouragement to keep us focused on the path at hand. The journey is a process and the process is a journey. We must discover it, learn its way, and allow it to lead us down a rugged path. A story told. Only a person traveling that road will know its story. Walk it. Tell it.

To kick off our very first series we have Bethany A. Jennings, welcome Bethany! She is a YA sci-fi fantasy author. Christian. Geek. Mom of four tinies. INFJ. Creator of the #WIPjoy on Twitter, and her current WIP is: The Kraesinia Trilogy. You can also find her blogging at: simmeringmind.com

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Here’s a little more about Bethany.
As a homemaker and mother of four, Bethany Jennings wrangles little ones by day and stays up way too late writing speculative fiction at night. While she’s still on the journey to publication with her novels, her short fiction has been published in Havok Magazine and on Splickety Publishing Group’s Lightning Blog.  In addition to writing her stories, she blogs about faith, family, and fiction topics at simmeringmind.com.
AWESOMESAUCE. Welcome Bethany, so glad to have you with us. Since you are the very FIRST to join us on our expedition, you will always hold a special place. And for that I’ve decided to bestow upon you the blessed crown of the Story of the Writer Series. There is none like it. Wear it with honor. You are forever enshrined in these storied halls.
Golden crown - front view
Let us begin shall we?
  1. You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

Inspiration: I’ve been writing since I was very small – I really don’t remember NOT being a writer!  I’m inspired by my own life and the many stories I’ve imbibed over the years, as well as the vivid visuals from my own imagination.  As a child I wrote my stories down on paper, before transitioning to using the family computer.  I’ve pretty much always had “irons in the fire,” and have gone from one story to the next over the years (not always finishing the first one before I move on!).

“irons in the fire” I love that statement. This is always a fascinating thing to see, when a writer is born and the path they take. Splendid. Let’s keep those iron’s fired up!

2. What’s your goal in becoming a writer?

GOAL: I firmly feel that if God gives you stories to tell and the ability to do so, you should tell those stories for His glory, not keep them to yourself.  In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the Parable of the Talents, where a master gives his servants various amounts of money to invest.  Instead of making good use of the money, one servant buries his in the ground.  While the other servants are praised for being good and faithful with how they multiplied the money, that servant is scolded and cast out.  I’ve heard before that our English word “talent” comes from that story.  Of course we can apply the parable at various levels, but to me it’s a good reminder that when God gives us gifts, we should use them.  And having a brain chock full of story ideas is most definitely a gift!  Not everyone has that.  I believe all creativity comes from God and should be used to serve Him.

That’s such a wonderful testimony. I love Matthew 25 as well, very inspiring passage. One thing that writer’s struggle with is getting those ideas developed into full blown stories. I think that’s where the real talent, or craft, comes in to play. I’m finding that out firsthand as I’m working on my own WIP! But it’s so fun.

3. What three things have hindered you from completing your projects? 

CONFLICT: Finding what I truly want to write is a factor, because I think trying and discarding a lot of projects in my youth was an important part of the process of learning to write. Lack of discipline is a factor.  And also, sometimes it’s simply hard to find the time, amidst the busyness of real life.  Over the past ten years I’ve been revising the same main WIP, The Kraesinia Trilogy, and in that time my family moved across country from California to New Hampshire, I met and married my husband, and we’ve had four babies and moved a couple of times!  That’s a lot of LIFE, and especially with young children to care for, it’s often hard to find the time (or the leftover brain!) to write.

Those are all wonderul reasons as life presents itself in full throttle. It’s beautiful really. Your story is really inspiring! Your still on the same journey from when you first started as a young child. I completely understand having “leftover brain” dysfunction. We have two little ones strutting around like stallions on fire. 

4. What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream?

DESIRE: As well as my conviction that I am called to write and the encouragement of friends who love the story, I’m motivated by my vision and my optimism.  Deep down I believe this story is important and needs to be told, and it can and will be epic when I am done with it!

I love your spirit and enthusiasm! We must be related? Separated at birth perhaps? That’s exactly the kind of spirit you need to BE a writer, and more importantly, STAY one. This is most appropriate for a first interview 🙂 

5. What’s your antagonist? What’s in the way?

Antagonistic force

ANTAGONIST: At this point my main antagonist is “The Box.”  I’ve written this story over and over so many times now, and tend to not make sweeping changes as much as I should.  When revising, it is tempting for me to think inside the box and write things the way they’ve always been before – even if those ways are not great, sometimes I can’t see past them because “that’s just how the book is.”  In this draft I’m pushing myself to think outside the box and be creative about how I tell the story, and it’s so freeing!  But once in awhile I realize I’m trapped inside The Box again and I have to fight my way out.

Well, we’ll have to pray for your “unboxing” then. First we must know the box before we seek to escape it’s confinement. I believe this is also part of the glorious journey we must take and endure. But on the other hand, if we don’t know the nature of the antagonist, we won’t reach our story’s goal. Plain and simple. It definitely helps to  be plugged into a writers group of some sort or community. Having a second set of eyes is critical. But keep your eyes on the prize!

6. If you’ve given up your dream, why?

REFLECTION: n/a (skipping because I haven’t)

7. Why do writer’s give up, quit or never complete their projects? 

CLIMAX:  I think there are various reasons for this. Some people are mildly interested in writing but find it harder than they anticipated, and eventually decide the writing life is not for them.  Some are afraid of negative feedback on their work, so they never share it, and therefore never grow, and then are even more unsatisfied with their writing than ever, so they give up entirely.  Some realize that it cannot be a priority in their lives because they are called to focus on other things.  On giving up individual projects, it can be a matter of realizing it wasn’t the right project to begin with, or losing the spark that made you love it to begin with.  Moving on from an unfinished WIP can be the right move sometimes.  In the end, even a WIP you never finish is a learning experience that you can use to make future books better.

Well said! That was epic! Thanks for joining us and kicking off the series, it should be fun. I definitely would like to join the #WIPjoy when it resumes in June. That sounds great. 

This was a really neat format for an interview. I love the goal/conflict/opposition format – it gave me a good think about my own writing and was inspiring to think through.  It was definitely helpful.  Thank you for the interview! 🙂

– Bethany A. Jennings

If you would like to be interviewed please let me know. Or if you know other writers, established or struggling, who might be interested let me know!
If you have questions let me know!
If you have suggestions to improve this series let me know!
KEEP WRITING
SOMEONE NEEDS YOUR STORY
Benjamin Thomas
@thewritingtrain
thebigcaboose@gmail.com

Over and out

Physiology of the Writer: Effect of the Impact Character

 

Welcome to another edition of Physiology of the Writer. In this article we’ll be discussing the effectiveness of impact characters within our stories. We can liken these impact characters to something extremely prevalent and essential within our own bodies. What is it you say? A molecular component that holds to key to life itself.

~Behold, the HUMAN ENZYME~

ATP synthase

As I’m learning the elements of story structure, I can’t help but contrast it with the anatomy and physiology of our own human body. Enzymes are the invisible superheros of human life. I’ll give you an idea just how important these little workhorses are. Without them human life would not be exist! Our bodies would not be able to sustain the slow rate of reactions or even make life possible on the molecular or cellular level. ENZYMES ARE AWESOME LITTLE SPEED DEMONS. They’re capable of catalyzing millions of reactions per minute. They really hit the gas pedal!

speed meter

 

ENZYME QUICK FACTS:

  • Enzymes are special agent 007 biological catalysts.
  • Increase the rate of reactions that make human life possible.
  • Can catalyze millions of reactions per minute effecting the metabolism of cells for optimal function. 
  • There are approximately 75,000 enzymes within the human body.
  • There are three main types of enzymes: Metabolic, Digestive and Food.
  • Your story desperately needs an “enzyme” an impact character to speed up, or cause the change in your protagonist.

Great, we got that down. So what exactly is an impact character anyway? Well, we pretty much know the protagonist desperately wants something. That something faces major opposition otherwise the story would flatline and bored readers would die a painful death. But this opposition represents his outer conflict related to the antagonist or antagonistic forces. We all love a good old fashioned antagonist right? But if our characters are well crafted, they’ll also have an inner conflict that’ll resonate more profoundly with readers on a deeper level. If we balance the ingredients of inner and outer conflict we’ll make any story into a delicious page turner.

When there’s an ardent desire or want + hardy opposition  x (an inner resistance to change) + impact character =  PLOT -> a blockbuster page turner story

Are we always accepting to change with open arms? Definitely not. Neither should our protagonists. People are dead set in their ways fighting change unto the death if need be. Most of us if we’re honest are as stubborn as the hills. Just imagine your character in his or her own situation.

 

I don't want to listen anymore

 

Our own experience tells us that basic human nature is stubborn and utterly resistant to the slightest possible change. As they say, “Old habits die hard”.  This is especially true when writing a positive change arc. We tend to cling to characters in whom we see a gradual but distinct change. In the books we love, we’re taken along an elaborate journey of 300-400 pages in which we witness a fundamental change worthy of our tears, cheers, hope and laughter. But what or who, brings about this change? You guessed it. The enzymes. The impact character. The impact character is there along the story at critical times that help or even oppose the protagonist to change his ways. Something has to happen to him/her that impacts their life in such a way that changes them on a cellular level. This is the function of the impact character in your story. They are the “enzyme” that will cause your protagonist to undergo an inner conflict of what he or she believes to be true, thus shaking up their world for the better. Hopefully.

Speed Boost Words Road Increased Performance Fast Travel

 

 

Give your story a boost by crafting an impact character within your protagonists character arc and see what happens!  For further information on the subject please click the following The Impact Character: Why Every Character Arc Needs One. Without an “enzyme” in your story, there won’t be enough essential ingredients to sustain your novel the vibrant life that it needs.

Until we meet again!

Happy writing!

Benjamin Thomas