Literary Engineer
Because reading and writing are my only obsessions

Posts Tagged ‘The Big Reveal’

The Big Reveal

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Welcome to the Big Reveal
 

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.
 

This is my last posting of The Big Reveal for a while. I’m participating
in the A to Z Challenge, and I don’t want the posts to get lost among all the others.
 
Since this is the last post from this group, it was an easy break
to make. I’ll be back in May with a new set of writers, but I haven’t made
up my list of whom to ask. If you’re a writer and are interested in being a part
of my posts, let me know at literaryengineer (@) yahoo (dot) com.
 

So thank you to all the writers for participating. It was fun to get to know you all better.
 

Are you a big reader?

 

 

Kyra Lennon
I only read about 30 books last year, which was a massive disappointment. I got so busy with work, time to read fell by the wayside. I’m not doing brilliantly this year so far, either. I’ve read two books that weren’t work related. I need to pick up speed again!

 

Manda Pepper
One to two books a month, so about 24 a year. I used to read closer to 60-100 but had to cut back when I began writing full time.

 

Medeia Sharif
I try to read every day and I tend to read three books on average a week.

 

Rachel Schieffelbein
It depends on what I’m reading. I love middle grade books, especially MG fantasy, and of course I can get through a lot more of them in a month than if I’m reading YA or adult books. On average I’d say three books a month, though.

 

Ilima Todd
It’s sporadic, and usually only between projects or writing goals, but I average about 50 books a year, almost one a week. A lot of those are critiques for other writers and books for my book club that I’d probably otherwise never read.

 

Janeal Falor
Not nearly as much as I’d like. I try and read a book a week when I’m writing/editing heavily, which has been all the time lately. When I’m not as busy with writing, I can read about 4-6 books a week. My speed reading allows me to devour books when I have the time. It’s a skill I wish I could share with everyone. Reading is the best!

 

Julie Sondra Decker
My reading has been dreadful lately due to increasing responsibilities on my own work and all the stuff I’m having to do surrounding publication. But I did make a New Year’s resolution to read more in 2014! I read less than a book a month last year. This year I have no set number but want to try to make time for reading at least an hour nearly every day.

How often do you read?
 

The Big Reveal

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Welcome to the Big Reveal
 

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.
 

Are you artistic in other ways in addition to writing?

 

Julie Sondra Decker
Yes. I enjoy drawing (though I’m not professional level at it), and I draw two webcomics—one is a silly manga-style color strip comic about being a writer (updates monthly), and the other is a long-form story comic drawn in pencil (updates weekly–it has been going on for nearly nine years). I also enjoy singing, and majored in music with voice as my instrument. I like making up and performing harmony parts to others’ songs, and I do a lot of karaoke, though I also enjoy singing classical art songs. My website building, home decorating, and baking may also count as creative activities, but I do them to a lesser extent.

 

Kyra Lennon
A little, I guess. I used to love making jewelry until I ran out of time to do it. But I was pretty decent at it!

 

Manda Pepper
I paint a little. When words won’t come, I find painting is another good way to get my emotions out. I also love to take photographs, though I’m not even an amateur—that is, I don’t have a bunch of fancy equipment, just my iPhone. I used to sing and act, too, but now I sing only for myself and acting isn’t something I get the chance to do much.

 

Medeia Sharif
I sometimes paint and sketch. I also enjoy graphic design.

 

Rachel Schieffelbein
I wish I was more artistic. I do enjoy photography, mostly photographing people. I love the challenge of trying to capture their personality on film. But that’s it. I can’t draw or paint or anything like that. My nine-year-old is seriously more artistic than I am.

 

Ilima Todd
I’d say yes but I should really say I used to be, only because I don’t spend time on other creative things besides writing now. I used to enjoy decorating and sewing quite a bit, and maybe I’ll break out the sewing machine for Halloween costumes and Easter dresses, but that’s about it these days.

 

Janeal Falor
While I like tinker on the piano some and doodle (poorly), I’m not very artistic outside of writing. I do like to work on computer graphics, using the skills I’ve learned to make covers and fun things to go with my books, but those skills are limited.

 

Are you artistic or creative in other ways?
 

The Big Reveal

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Welcome to the Big Reveal
 

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.
 
After reading the answers to my question, scroll down to see the cover for one of our writers, Kyra Lennon, and her newest release.
 

Do you any story ideas that are just sitting in your mind or notebooks until you have the time to write them?

 

Julie Sondra Decker
I prefer to work on one story at a time. Since I write hard and fast, there’s not much time for anything else when I’m writing an idea. I do have a few thoughts floating around for the future, though. They’re mostly just vague plans for “a book about X” with a sketchy idea of the protagonist.

 

Kyra Lennon
I have a few stories jotted down, but for the most part, I like to work one at a time.

 

Manda Pepper
At any given time I have 3-5 ideas written down in a notebook, stuff I can come back to if I get stuck on whatever I’m working on, or if I’m looking for a new project. I do worry I’ll never get around to some of them, though.

 

Medeia Sharif
I always have a few ideas waiting for me. Outside of those ideas, I usually juggle 2-3 manuscripts.

 

Rachel Schieffelbein
I have a document saved on my computer with a big list of ideas. It can be very hard to decide what to work on next, and there have been times when I’ve worked on more than one thing at a time. But I try to focus in on the characters who are the loudest, and I realize that not every idea on that list will see the light of day. (Or the glow of my computer screen.)

 

Ilima Todd
There was a time (about a year ago) when I had NO ideas and was drawing from an empty well. It about drove me crazy. Right now I have way too many ideas than I have time for and it’s really hard to not want to jump ahead to the next shiny thing. But at this point, after the terrible lull I’ve experienced, it’s a problem I’m grateful for.

 

Janeal Falor
I definitely have more ideas than time to write them. Last I counted there were 15 ideas I for sure wanted to write. I work on only one story at a time, but when that book is out getting feedback, I’ll pick something else up so I’m constantly working on something to try and get through as many of those ideas as I can.

 

Do you have lots of ideas waiting to be written?
 
 
 
Kyra Lennon, my friend from across the sea—that’d be England, will soon be releasing the third story in her Game On series. And I’ve got the cover reveal here today. So here it is…
 

Sidelined (Game On Book 3) a NA contemporary romance
by Kyra Lennon
Release Date: March 31st 2014
 
At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.
 
Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.
 
While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.
 
About Kyra:
 
Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she’s not reading, you’ll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall. And occasionally hanging out with rock stars, because that’s how she rolls!
 

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go in November.
 
You can find Kyra at the following places:
 
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

The Big Reveal

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Welcome to the Big Reveal

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.

Do you put a lot of thought into picking the jobs of your main characters?

 

Janeal Falor
Tons of thought into main character’s job because it affects who they are so much. Other characters aren’t as important, but I still try and put something thought into it. Their jobs are tend to be pretty typical of what you’d find in fantasy, unless they there’s something outside of that my characters need to accomplish.

Julie Sondra Decker
I don’t write a lot of characters with traditional jobs. Those who do have jobs usually have them more or less incidentally. My first two books were about students. Their parents’ jobs weren’t mentioned and the only adults whose jobs were mentioned were teachers and a bookstore owner. A series I wrote in college involved a teenage protagonist who lived outside of society and didn’t have a job, though some of her roommates in the weird commune-type house she lives in had careers (a secretary, a restaurant manager, a nursery school instructor, a writer, an inventor, a nanny, a musician who used to be a magician, and a skating rink employee, I think). And in recent years, my protagonists have included a cameraman for a news station, a college student who eventually wants to major in medical research, and a fantasy character who’s a child in fairy school (and everyone she knows is in some kind of magical career, except her dad who’s a smith).

 

Kyra Lennon
Hee hee, I loathe trying to pick jobs for my characters! I don’t like to pick something I know nothing about, because it’s quite hard to research what a particular job entails. I’m a back to basics girl!

 

Manda Pepper
My stories center around jobs—a K-Pro (made up job), a British spy—so I don’t know if I’d say I put a lot of thought into it so much as it’s key to the plot. Secondary characters have jobs that relate to the primary: other spies, assistants, film crew people, etc.

 

Medeia Sharif
I like to give characters basic jobs, but thinking about it, I’d like to go deeper and give them more interesting professions.

 

Rachel Schieffelbein
My main characters haven’t really had jobs! Lazy teenagers! Lol. But I do try to think beyond the first thing that comes to mind for my characters who are working.

 

Ilima Todd
I feel like EVERYTHING I put into my novel must have a purpose. This goes for small details like jobs. What’s the point of mentioning a job if it doesn’t go toward building the story or character? So yeah, the jobs of my main characters (and minor ones) are usually significant somehow to the story or theme. And now that I think about it, the jobs my characters choose are integral to almost all of my books.

 

 

How do you pick the jobs of your characters?

The Big Reveal

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Welcome to the Big Reveal
 

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.
 

Do you have betas or critique partners to read your work?

 
Ilima Todd
I would die without critique partners. Okay not really, but my books would, for real. I have a small circle of devoted CPs that read everything I write, and others that I ask to critique based on the book or schedules or whatever. Best thing I ever did for my writing is find a critique group. Period.

 

Janeal Falor
I utilize both Critique Partners and Beta Readers. I’m very particular about who reads my books, mostly because I’m looking for someone who is both honest and helpful. It’s a slowly growing circle so at this point it probably falls more in the medium size range. Best group of people ever!

 
Julie Sondra Decker
I like to have my books read by many people—partly because inevitably some people don’t have time to do what they promised. I have several friends—nearly all of whom happen to also be writers—who volunteer every time I write a book, and some of them are people I’d consider critique partners. And then there are always some new people who want to be in the test audience. I think my test reader groups are relatively large. For the book currently on submission, I had 42 volunteers. Only 10 of them read the whole thing and gave feedback. Another 20 gave feedback on some of the book. And the rest of them volunteered and never said a thing. For my nonfiction, the audience has been considerably larger than that. I had over 90 volunteers for the first read and over 120 for a follow-up.

 

Kyra Lennon
I have a pretty wide circle of critique partners and beta readers. I have three or four people I will always send my work to, and a few others I ask depending on how busy they are at the time I need them.

 

Manda Pepper
I have friends who read my stuff in stages and others who look at the whole thing when it’s finished. Kind of depends on who has the time, but I have a pool of people. Should probably look into getting some fresh eyes, though.

 

Medeia Sharif
I have a critique group of 10+ people who read individual chapters and then I have 3 beta readers who’ll read an entire manuscript.

 

Rachel Schieffelbein
I have a wonderful group of cps. It took me a long time to find critique partners and once I finally did (online, in case you’re wondering) my writing improved so much. I love them and am so thankful they let me into their group!

 

Do you have betas and critique partners?
 

The Big Reveal

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Welcome to the Big Reveal
 

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.
 

Have you ever written any novels that required a lot of research?

 
Ilima Todd
The only novels I’ve written that seem like it’d take a lot of research was about topics I already knew a lot about, because I don’t like doing research. This is probably why I like writing futuristic stories…I can make things up. Of course every book still needs research, and I do some before, during, and after drafting, but I don’t like it. :)

 

Kyra Lennon
I tend to veer away from anything that needs major research as I’m not a fan of spending hours on the internet or in the library searching for information lol.

 

Manda Pepper
The Peter Stoller books are set in the 60s, so I’m constantly having to check that I’m not using anything anachronistically. (And I apologize now for any mistakes.) And then a book like “The K-Pro” involved some refresher courses on Classical mythology. That’s always fun. When I write Sherlock Holmes stories, my computer history is filled with stuff about dead bodies, etc. I find it interesting, but not everyone would, I suppose.

 

Medeia Sharif
No. Some required a moderate amount of research. Most of it I did before writing and some of it I did while writing. I find research fascinating and can get lost in it.

 

Rachel Schieffelbein
So far I haven’t had to do a ton of research for the books I’ve written, but my next project will require more.

 
>

Janeal Falor
Though I write fiction, fantasy at that, I’m always doing a lot of research. Typically, it comes as I write when I realize I don’t know something. I feel like I’m always discovering interesting things, but my brain can’t seem to keep them once I utilize them in my books. Plagued with bad memory. Thank goodness for note taking!

 

Julie Sondra Decker
Yes. Normally my research is done as I write. I don’t tend to do a ton of world-building or extremely complicated settings, and most of my books are about character growth as opposed to plot-heavy action, so most of my research is on how to accurately portray a character’s perspective. I have occasionally done things like researching mountain-climbing because of a character needing to go rock climbing or researching which wild animals exist in the rural areas of a certain state so that I would know what predators might stalk my characters, but the more personal and character-oriented research I’ve done involved subjects like child development, genetics, psychology, religion, fairy tales, name trends, illnesses, and languages/dialects. I’ve stumbled over a ton of information over the years that wasn’t relevant to the project I was researching but very interesting anyway.

 

Do you do a lot of research for your stories?
 

The Big Reveal

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Welcome to the Big Reveal
 

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.
 

How long does it take you to write a novel?

 
Ilima Todd
My first drafts are usually fast. Like 2-3 weeks. I have one book with a difficult voice that I can only handle in waves so that one’s taking longer to draft (in between projects). My last book took over a month to draft which feels super long for me, but I think it’s because it was a sequel and I was more tied down with the characters and story than usual. But I usually have to get the story out of me as fast as possible and fix it in revisions.

 

Kyra Lennon
Depends on the book. I’d say six weeks on average, but the last book I completed took eight months!!

 

Manda Pepper
My first draft takes forever. But then my editing process is much quicker. So yeah, 70k words might take me 6 months to a year. Ish. But then again, some stories just come faster and easier than others, too. I’d say, on average, I can write one full-length book a year.

 

Medeia Sharif
I can draft a novel in 2-3 months.

 

Rachel Schieffelbein

I think I’m a bit of a slow writer. It takes me months to finish a first draft.

 

Janeal Falor
Usually, I write a book in 1-3 months. It just depends on how much of the story is already in my head and how motivated I’m feeling about getting it out. It’s the editing/rewriting that really kills me on time.

 

Julie Sondra Decker
I’m a very quick first-drafter. The fastest I’ve written a novel is 155,000 words in 2 weeks. One of my other novels was 255,000 words in 5 weeks. I prefer a borderline obsessive, full immersion writing style punctuated by long breaks between novels. I’m not an everyday novel writer. When I’m writing, I usually range from 7,000 to 12,000 words a day. So if I were writing a 70,000-word novel, it’d take me about 10 days if I wrote at the slow end of my usual. This is why I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo.

 

Is writing a long process for you?
 

The Big Reveal

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Welcome to the Big Reveal
 

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.
 

Do you read or write book reviews?

 

Kyra Lennon
I don’t usually worry about reading book reviews unless I’m on the fence about whether to buy a particular book. If there are more terrible reviews than good reviews, then I won’t read it. I write book reviews very occasionally – I’m not very good at it though!

 

Manda Pepper
I write reviews on my spooklights site and occasionally on Amazon. And when I’m looking for something to read, I might glance at the reviews and/or star rating. But when choosing a book, for me it’s usually more about whether the story sounds interesting, and then I glance at a couple pages to see what the writing is like. That makes me decide more than reviews. Of course, sometimes I read books because I’ve been asked to review them.

 

Rachel Schieffelbein
I don’t read reviews before I read a book, but I sometimes will afterward. And I do write reviews, but only of books I enjoyed. Otherwise I just keep my mouth shut. (Online anyway.) ;)

 

Ilima Todd
I’ve resisted writing reviews until just recently because as a writer, I didn’t want them to come back and bite me, but I know how much reviews help writers so I finally caved. Though I admit, I’ll only write nice reviews or none at all. I don’t let reviews stop me from reading a book, but it may affect where that book falls in my TBR pile. For example, it may be awhile before I get to Allegiant. ;)

 

Janeal Falor
I read book reviews and they most definitely help me decide whether or not to read a book. Bad or good review doesn’t matter. Either way helps me know if the content is going to be to my taste or not. I rarely write them though cause I’m a slacker like that.

 

Julie Sondra Decker
I definitely read and write book reviews! (I’m working on getting all of mine onto Goodreads.) Reviewing a book helps me understand more about writing; if I can explain what I like and don’t like, I can learn about how to be more effective in my own work. I also enjoy reading what other people think of certain books, both to understand their taste and to figure out whether I would like a book. Sometimes a book blurb will get me excited and then I’ll see many people I trust giving it lukewarm reviews, so I’ll pass, and sometimes when a book doesn’t appeal to me but my friends are very excited about it, I’ll try it out (and I’m usually glad I did!).

 
Medeia Sharif
I read and write book reviews. Only on some occasions have I not read a book because of poor reviews. Otherwise, I dive right in.

Do you read or write reviews?
 

The Big Reveal

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Welcome to the Big Reveal
 

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.
 

Do you over or under-write?

 

Julie Sondra Decker
I have never, ever under-written ANYTHING. I am an over-writer. To a ridiculous degree. I have learned some HARD lessons on being more concise over the years, but it’s not natural to me.

I think my most stunning cut story goes like this: After writing a 255,000-word novel, I got rejected by the first agent who requested its full manuscript, and I was told the only way that was getting on the market was if I self published (which I didn’t want to do). Some time later I rewrote it as a trilogy, but the first draft of JUST THE FIRST BOOK was 171,000 words! Knowing I’d encounter the same problem if I tried for agency representation again, I rallied my troops and asked my beta readers to be ruthless, and with their help and some perseverance, I got it down to 146,000 words. Imagine my dismay when an agent I queried was in love with the query and five pages but didn’t want to read it unless I could get it between 85,000 and 115,000 words! So I took the challenge, took about a week and a half to chop it to death, and finished at EXACTLY 115,000 words. I submitted it to the agent and she signed me. So there you go. It pays off.

 
Kyra Lennon
I don’t really have one thing I always do. Sometimes I under-write, sometimes I over-write. The most I’ve ever cut from novel is about 60K lol. That was from Game On, because when I first wrote it, it was repetitive in places and needed a MAJOR edit to make it publishable!

 

Medeia Sharif
I used to over-write, but now I under-write. The most I’ve cut is 1/3 of a manuscript.

 

Manda Pepper
I under-write. Then I go back and fill in all the description that, in my haste, I forgot the first time. I’m great with dialogue, but have to remember to go paint a picture of the people and places so the reader can see them as I do in my head.

 

Rachel Schieffelbein
Under-write. I’m always having to beef up my word count. I guess I just like to get to the point right away. Details, who needs details? Lol.

 

Ilima Todd
I majorly under-write and have to flesh out the story quite a bit at revision time. I add even more when editing with my agent, and then again with my editor.

 

Janeal Falor
Under-write and it drives me bonkers. I’m constantly trying to add to manuscripts until the final stages where I’ll end up cutting 5-10k. Those words are super hard to cut after working so hard to add to them, even though they really need cut. *le sigh* I’ll figure it out someday ;)

 

Do you over or under-write?
 

The Big Reveal

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Welcome to the Big Reveal
 

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.
 

Do you re-read books?

 

Janeal Falor
Unfortunately no. I wish I did, but I find that I get bored when I already know what happens. The books I do reread are usually popular ones. I read them the first time to enjoy them. Anything after that is because I’m trying to learn from them and understand what makes it good, what I need to be doing better and what I like about what I’m doing.

 

Julie Sondra Decker
I don’t re-read books and that’s pretty much ever. I’m sure the last time I re-read a book was more than a decade ago unless it was for a project. I have re-read a couple of my favorite books but that was when I had more time; with a to-read list containing over 400 items, I have trouble justifying taking the time to re-read.

 
Kyra Lennon
I love re-reading! If I’ve really enjoyed a book, I have no problem reading it over and over.Some of my favourites are the Harry Potter series, My Heart For Yours by Jolene Perry, That Sadie Thing by Annalisa Crawford and erm, I re-read my own books an embarrassing amount of times lol!

 

Medeia Sharif
There are only a few books I’ll re-read. One that stands out is THE THIEF OF ALWAYS by Clive Barker. It’s magical and fresh every single time I read it.

 

Manda Pepper
There are so many books out there I want to read, so a book has to be really special for me to re-read it. But I do sometimes. I’ve read “Interview with the Vampire” three or four times, and I re-read the original Sherlock Holmes stories about once a decade. Right now I’m reading all the Harry Potter books aloud to my eight year old, so that’s like re-reading them too.

 

Rachel Schieffelbein
I have quite a few books I’ve read multiple times. I haven’t reread a book in a while though, just because I have so many on my TBR shelf. But I do enjoy rereading, spending more time with characters I love.

 

Ilima Todd
With so many books on my TBR pile, it’s rare I reread a book. But there are some I return to over and over again, including KETURAH AND LORD DEATH by Martine Leavitt, SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD by Orson Scott Card, IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin, and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen to name a few.

 

Do you ever re-read books?