Author Interview: Dianne Duvall

AuthorPic

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I love all things creative.  Writing is my favorite, of course.  And romance is my favorite genre.  It’s the only genre that contains all of the other fiction genres within it as sub-genres.  Contemporary, historical, comedy, drama, paranormal, sci-fi, horror, mystery, suspense.  The possibilities are endless.  And I just can’t get enough of those happily ever after endings.   😉  So when I decided I wanted to pursue writing as a career, I knew I had to write romance.  It’s as entertaining to me as reading.

When I’m not writing, I work in the local independent film industry, which provides me with yet another creative outlet.  More often than not, I work behind the scenes, providing special effects or special effects makeup, serving as script supervisor, editing the films and making trailers.  But I have, on rare occasions been talked into appearing onscreen, and once even crawled out of a moonlit grave in a horror film.

Why do you write?

Writing is something I simply love to do.  I have always had a very active and vivid imagination, and realized early on that writing provided me with a very entertaining outlet for it.  I wrote my first romance (a teen historical romance that has never been published) when I was thirteen years old.  And the stories have been coming to me ever since.  When I entered college, I originally chose journalism as a major, but soon found it too restricting.  Fiction allowed me far freer reign, so I changed my major to English with a focus on creative writing and, soon after, began penning my first adult romance novel.

What is your latest book about? Why should readers buy it?

A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN, the first book in my new series The Gifted Ones, was just released on June 2nd.  It’s a historical romance, with paranormal elements, that features a hero and heroine who I think will appeal to many romance readers.  Lord Dillon is a very powerful earl whose ferocity on the battlefield spawns rumors that precedes him into every room, stilling tongues and sparking fear in all. Weary of battle, he wishes only to find a bride who will grant him the tenderness that has been absent from his life for so long. Yet every woman trembles at his approach.  Every woman, that is, save the mysterious wisewoman who has counseled him for seven years.  She alone sees through his formidable facade to the quiet man beneath.  She alone argues with him, brings laughter into his life, and comforts him on his darkest days.  Born with extraordinary gifts that label her a sorceress, Alyssa is forced to conceal her youth and the love she harbors for Dillon beneath umbral robes that lead him and his people to believe she is the same aged wisewoman who served his father.  But all is revealed and passion soon flares when an enemy threatens Dillon’s life and Alyssa sacrifices everything to save him.

How do you market your books?

In a wide variety of ways.  The internets has made it so much easier for authors to connect with readers.  Blog tours like this one are always fun and allow me to “meet” new readers, as well as “see” some familiar faces.  I enjoy interacting with other readers and writers on Facebook and other social media sites.  I also do so on my blog, offering readers sneak peeks into new releases and works in progress, along with the latest news on my series.  I post trailers on Youtube, my blog, and my website.  Both the internet and the publishing industry are changing so swiftly that new methods of marketing books are always emerging and engaging both writers and readers.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I hope you will enjoy Dillon and Alyssa’s story.  It was such a pleasure to write. A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN is actually the book that inspired me to create my Immortal Guardians series.  Alyssa is the first gifted one (someone born with extremely advanced DNA that lends him or her special abilities or gifts) I created.  And she, along with Marcus, Seth, and Roland—all of whom appear in A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN—sparked the many what ifs that compelled me to pen my Immortal Guardians books.

If you’ve read my Immortal Guardians books, I hope you will enjoy seeing Marcus in both A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN and RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY (the second book, which will follow next year) as a mortal teenaged squire.  You’ll see Seth in both books as well.  Even antisocial Roland makes an appearance in A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN.  And don’t forget to look for SHADOWS STRIKE, Immortal Guardians Book 6, in August.  I hope you’ll enjoy it as well. J

Badge_OFFICIAL

Interview: Author Lisagh Winters

Would you please tell us about yourself and your work?

My name is Lisagh Winters, and I’m a Canadian that was raised in Vancouver, B.C.. I live out on the Atlantic coast now. I’m a huge music fan, particularly the 70’s and 80’s styles, and I play guitar. My work is different from most, but always centers on a love story. I love Dramedies, adventure/love stories, romantic comedies, etc. I don’t write erotica, but do include at least one naughty love scene per book. 🙂

As a young girl, I read a LOT of dog related stories like Call of the Wild, Old Yeller, The Incredible Journey, Big Red, Wilderness Champion, Lassie, and Where the Red Fern Grows. I was an enthusiast when it came to canines. Of course my tastes changed as I got older, preferring reads that focussed on a love story.

At what point did you realize this was something you wanted to do?

I knew I wanted to write and publish my own stories since I was about eight years old. I would habitually disappear into the coat room and write in my scribblers, novel after novel, with illustrations. I still have a few of these to this day. 🙂

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer later in life. I had a family, worked other jobs, you know, like everyone else. I still hold a separate job outside my writing now.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

The book was Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. I still have my original copy, a ninth printing of the novel, 1976. I read it from time to time as a reminder of how much emotion this book pulled out of me, and how much emotion I must strive to pull out of the readers with my own work.

What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

My typical working day will either consist of going to my day job, or writing. If I’m writing, I never set goals. That imparts stress and I am useless when I’m stressed out. I prefer to write by the seat of my pants, come what may. That is what editing is for. 😉 I write in the loft of my home, where I have built myself a nest with everything I need to facilitate my creative juices. I have it decorated in burgundy and gold, and there are lots of candles, incense, and of course a photo of my Mom. It’s out of the way of distractions and noise, and when it’s nice outside I open the window and listen to the Jays in the trees.

How do you deal with writer’s block? What is your advice?

Liquor. Okay, no, seriously now, lol, I walk away from the work and give myself a break. I’ll go for a coffee, maybe take a walk, I’ll call a friend to chat, or watch one of my favorite old TV shows on DVD. Those shows usually offer a great looking hero, and a love story threaded between the lines. My faves are Crossing, Jordan, Sliders, My Name Is Earl, and Firefly. 🙂 Try it. That, or I watch wrestling for the bodies, lol.

You wrote a book titled Soul Scavengers. What is this book about?

Soul Scavengers is about a team of ghost hunters (paranormal investigators) that tackle unusual cases that you might not see anywhere else. The team includes our hero Sullivan Wilde, the lead investigator, and heroine Olivia Emerson, a psychic medium. They meet on a closed investigation (one not being edited for TV) and lock horns right away. Sullivan is rude, condescending, and makes no bones about his disbelief in Olivia’s talents. Olivia is out to prove him wrong. She’s no fraud. Both Olivia and Sullivan soon discover butting heads isn’t getting them anywhere. The fact that there’s an entity out to get them forces them to work together just to make it to the other side of night. Their attraction to one another is evident from the get go, but neither one of them is willing to admit it until it may be too late.

How did you come up with the title?

I originally wanted to call it Soul Searchers, but that name was taken, so I settled on Scavengers, because it fit well. A friend of mine and I threw ideas back and forth until she came up with Scavengers. So I can’t take credit for the title.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

There are many, but I’ll choose one. My favorite part of the book was when Olivia accidentally reveals her painful past, and we get a peek into what makes her the way she is. We also get to see a snippet of Sullivan’s ability to be kind and offer comfort. He has a heart, and he demonstrates that. I love this part because it shows that even someone as hard as Sullivan appears to have the ability to feel and offer solace. No one is ever beyond hope. We are all human.

Did you work with an outline, or just write?

I did not work with an outline, just an idea. I just wrote.

Why do you think your readers are going to enjoy your book?

I think they’ll enjoy this book because it isn’t just a straight romance. It’s a little suspense, some comedy, a hint of adventure, and a romance all wrapped up into one story. I like stories like that myself. 🙂

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I watched a lot of reality TV paranormal shows, and I Googled lots of stuff, LOL.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting this book completed and published?

One of the biggest challenges I had was being a foreigner working with an American publishing company. Canada and the US have a trade treaty concerning earnings, and in order to take advantage of that I have to jump through like, a bazillion hoops and red tape with the IRS just to get paid. LOL. I can’t tell you how confusing the forms are that I had to fill out for taxation purposes.

Another challenge was over-coming my paranoia that I wasn’t good enough. That was the biggest challenge of them all. Self-doubt will creep in and bite you in the rear end at any moment. Don’t let him win. You are good enough, and let no voices in your head tell you any different.

What advice would you give to writers who are contemplating writing their first novel?

My advice is to write what you love and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Please see the last part of answer 13. Just sit down and start typing. Your imagination is only limited by your belief in yourself. If *I* can do this, YOU can too!

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I have a Facebook and Twitter account where I post things, and I used an ebook tour service. Everything Marie.com. The ebook tours are marvelous and showcase your work to hundreds, if not thousands of people. It’s well worth the money. Romance is a fickle lady, and you want every advantage you can lay your hands on. I find word of mouth, customer reviews, and good reviews from the romance book bloggers some of the best exposure you can get.

What has influenced your development as a writer?

Hmmm. I would have to say the thing that influences me the most as a writer, is watching or reading a good love story. Nothing gives me more motivation than seeing two characters discover that they are in love. Something else that helps with development is the encouragement of friends and family. Without that, it would be a little hollow for me.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

For a reader to tell me they were bored reading my story. That is the most crippling. There is no other worse thing you can tell me than to say that you were bored. It means I didn’t do my job and failed to capture your imagination.

The best compliment some readers have given me is that they ‘got’ my characters, and understood what made them tick. Along with that, I’ve been told the work is humorous and entertaining. I want to know you were thoroughly engaged for the whole book, and telling me that makes me smile. This was one of the best compliments I got:

“I found Soul ScavengersWilde and the Witch a highly entertaining paranormal romance with enough spice to heat up the pages and a malevolent haunting that will make you want to leave the light on. Perfectly balancing humor, horror and matters of the heart, I look forward to reading more of Lisagh J. Winter’s storytelling.”

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

The hardest part of writing for me is to mind the word counts. I usually pay no attention until it’s down to the nitty-gritty and it’s being edited for the umpteenth time. That, and love scene after-glow stuff, lol.

What’s the best thing about being an author?

The best part about being an author is the joy of knowing that a reader had a great time reading my book. I entertained them and they were left satisfied, and that in turn, leaves me feeling satisfied.

Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

When I was a teenager, V.C. Andrews and the Flowers in the Attic Saga. I loved those books. Also, of course, Dr. Suess.

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

Scatter – because, wine.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I enjoy going for drives in the country, drawing, gardening, and flying.

Are there any non-creative avenues you would like to explore?

I’d like to get back into the cockpit. It’s been a long time since I flew.

What motto, quote, or saying do you live by? Why?

“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.”

– Yoda (‘The Empire Strikes Back’)

I love this movie quote because it says it all. We all have dreams, the only obstacle to those dreams is ourselves.

Do you have any upcoming projects, tours, events, or announcements that you would like to share with our readers?

YES! I have book two of Soul Scavengers coming out in about a month. 🙂 Watch my twitter and Facebook for updates!

I am also working on another romance, tentatively called, Only Hope. I am hoping, lol, to have this one out very soon. 😀 There will be a synopsis of this story up on my Goodreads and Facebook pages soon.

Can you tell us where people can find you? Website, social media, blog, etc.

https://twitter.com/MissLisaghW

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8029386.Lisagh_J_Winters

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisagh-J-Winters/211713765691794?ref=hl

My blog is in the Goodreads site. 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. What final thought and/or message would you like to leave with our readers?

You’re welcome. This was my pleasure. 🙂

I suppose my final message would be to say that no matter what it is you want to accomplish, you can. I am living proof of that. I published a book. I shut my eyes and clicked the publish button and there it was! If you are afraid, I can help you with that. Let’s put it this way… I saw the movie The Wolf of Wall Street. If actor Leonardo Di Caprio can lie naked with a lit candle sticking out of his ass crack while hog tied, (the man has my respect) and do it knowing that millions of people are going to see this film, YOU can write and publish your own book. That, or whatever else your heart desires. It can be yours, all you have to do is get over your fear and believe in YOU.

 

 

Interview: The Prolific Penman

Prolific1-9

Would you please tell us about yourself and your work?

My name is Adrian Pearson however, I am known as The Prolific Penman, which means fruitful writer. My style of poetry is love and inspiration.

At what point did you realize this was something you wanted to do?

I realized that I was a poet as I was coming out of a bad battle with depression over the loss of my youngest child at 5½ months. I knew that this was something I wanted to do because it was the only thing that I didn’t have to struggle to do. It seemed like second nature to take my pain and spin it into happiness.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer the moment I believed and spoke it. I am not trying to be spiritual but it is the truth. Had I not believed in the gift that was given to me and spoke to it as if it were a part of my very soul then poetry would be like so many other things I tried and either let go of or gave up on.

When and where do you write? Do you set writing goals?

I write anywhere for the fact that poetry is a living part of me and almost anything or anyone can inspire me to write. Yes, I set goals for myself when it comes to producing a book or creating a cover but never do I set goals when it comes to writing poetry.

How do you deal with writer’s block? What is your advice on how to overcome it?

If I should feel writers block coming on I always return to the place where I first began writing and that is outdoors where I honed my skills while riding a bike or walking the streets. The only suggestion that I would make is that a person return to the thing that inspired them to write or take a small break and channel their energy into another project until the writer’s block passes.

What is your first book of poetry called? When and where was it published? What is it about?

My first book is called Real Expression of Words Never Heard; The Poet, The Man, The Idea. I had this book pulled and since then it has become two completely separate books: Real Expression of Words Never Heard, which is published with Author House and The Poet, The Man, The Idea is being released as a chapbook before being majorly published.

How did you come up with the title?

Countless things inspire the titles to my books. Many of the titles have come to me while walking or riding my bike or in a dream while I was a sleep.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of this book that you would change? Why?

I did have to go back and change the first book because it wasn’t ready plus it was a test by God to see if I was willing to be obedient to the holy spirit. The reason why was so that He could show me the areas that needed to be improved upon. Looking over my first book showed me that I could become someone great if I kept applying myself to learning and perfecting my skills.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting this book completed and published?

Writing the first book wasn’t hard but the cover design was a daunting task. Finding a publisher was tricky at first, but had I not paid paved the way for myself by giving the publishers a way to view just what type of poetry I write then I am sure that too would have been quite hard.

What advice would you give to writers who are contemplating writing their first book of poetry?

My advice: simply do not contemplate on doing something. Learn to trust the inner voice that cries out. You can win. Please remember that for every step you take, God has already taken two in front of you. Once you are in line with God’s word and start to operate within your gift all things and people will fall into place.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Nothing is hard about writing for me. It seems to flow like water but the only challenges I face are knowing which poems to publish online and which ones to hold onto for a book.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

The best thing about being a writer is the freedom of self-expression and the ability to create a completely new world from words alone.

Please tell us about your latest book of poetry. What is it called? What is it about?

I have a book that is published with DIP Publishing and it’s tilted: An Outward Expression of My Inward Love. This book is about the love I felt for someone but didn’t quite know how to show it or express it with actions that would make sense, so I jotted down my emotions and every unspoken word in the hopes that she would read and then understand why I told her that I love her.

Can you describe one of your favorite poems that you wrote? Why does this poem stand out more so than the others?

One of the poems that stands out to me is a poem titled “Poetry Is My Mistress”. This poem was inspired by a disagreement I had with the mother of my children. She stated that I spent more time writing, publishing and pushing poetry than I did with her.

Why do you think your readers are going to enjoy your book?

I think people are going to enjoy the life that each poem takes on as well as the fact that everything I write is derived from truthful situations that happened in my life.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I started off simply posting online and developed a name for myself there first. Once I was established online I moved on to performing, attending networking events and proceeding to tell any stranger that I would meet who I was, what I did, and even showed them how to find me.

What has influenced your development as a writer?

There are plenty of people who have played a role in the helping me develop as writer but the one person who helped give the words I write with such passion, such life, would have to be my son’s mother Stephane Leo. Everything I endured with her gave me the courage to turn all of my mishaps in life into a love story for others to read. Not only did she shape the way I now write poetry but she has also changed my outlook on life.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as a writer? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism came from someone I knew. They stated that I would give up and never see anything I did through. To be truthful anyone who has read my poems before I was known has always had great things to say and have encouraged me to keep going and to seek out others as well as to read other authors who wrote poetry so I could develop my gift. The greatest compliment would have to be receiving an award from The International Who’s Who In Poetry as well as one from the World Poetry Movement.

Do you have any favorite poets or favorite books?

My favorite poet would have to be Maya Angelou and my two favorite books are The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

I had to write a book about my life the title would be The Power of One Choice.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I am not writing I enjoy doing freelance photography.

Are there any noncreative avenues you would like to explore?

I have tried to become so many things before becoming a poet that I would have to say no there aren’t any other noncreative avenues that I would like to explore at this time.

What motto, quote, or saying do you live by? Why?

The quote I live by is: “I did nothing to become good at what I do except honor God in everything I did.” This means that no matter if I am up or down, wrong or right that I will keep my eyes focused on God. I pray and constantly ask Him to show me His plans for my life because I have no clue as to what my purpose is.

Do you have any upcoming projects, tours, events, or announcements that you would like to share with our readers?

I have book called: An outward Express of My Inward Love that I am now promoting and would like to request for your readers to kindly pick up a copy. As well as a chapbook called The Poet, The Man, The Idea is coming soon.

Book Cover

Can you tell us where people can find you? Website, social media, blog, etc.

http://theprolificpenman.wix.com/prolificpenman

http://theprolificpenman.poetrycraze.com

http://theprolificpenman.wordpress.com

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+THEPROLIFICPENMAN

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/6003477.The_Prolific_Penman

Interview: Nova Sparks

I’m excited to share with you an interview with Nova Sparks, author of the Dome.

http://www.facebook.com/novasparksauthor

http://novasparks.blogspot.com

http://twitter.com/NovaSparksbooks

Would you please tell us about yourself and your work?

My name is NOVA sparks and I am from the Bronx of New York City (born and raised). As far as my work, that is unimportant. My PASSION is my books! (see what I did there? Lol) My first series that will be available in FULL is called the DOME trilogy and book 1 of the series is now available for purchase on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. The series is about an all American family that is part of the thousands of humans rescued from a destroyed Earth by aliens. They are whisked away on a spaceship made to live on a distant planet in a Dome that simulates life on Earth.

What has been your biggest motivation? Where does your inspiration come from?

My biggest motivation, at this point in my life, is myself. My biggest fear is dying without ever accomplishing the things I’ve set out to accomplish. I’ve dreamed of creating movies and TV shows and writing books my entire life. Not doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing sounds like insanity. My inspiration definitely comes from romantic comedies and Greek mythology. Crazy, I know, because I don’t write in either of those genres. But there needs to be romance in everything I write, and romantic comedies help me get into the mood for that. Greek mythology feeds my sci-fi obsession. Heroes, monsters, magical powers, spirits…I just love it!

What is your creative regimen? How often do you write?

I don’t write as often as some may think. I can’t see myself sitting down with a word count goal. I tried that once. I told myself that I was going to write 5,000 words a day. At the end of the week, I realized I had 25,000 words of garbage. My heart wasn’t in it because I was following a schedule I created just to “get it done”. That’s not what creates a great body of work for me. It may work for other people but I tried it and it did NOT work out so well. When I made it a job that is when I stopped delivering. So I stopped making it a job. I didn’t think about writing. I just did it when I felt like it. At one point I didn’t write anything for months. I started the third book in the DOME trilogy one day and didn’t start with the second chapter until the next year. I just wasn’t feeling it and I refused to just write something just to put it out there. I rather my readers get upset with me for waiting so long than for me to put out something just to get something in their hands. They will wind up even more disappointed, and I’d probably lose them for good. When I do write, I only write when I’m feeling the “mojo” (creative juices). I like there to be a lot of noise and commotion going on in the background. A busy environment keeps me busy. I zone everything out and just go crazy. 🙂

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t consider myself a writer. I mean…I do actually write, but I’m not a writer. Sometimes I call myself a writer but it still sort of makes me cringe. When I hear the word “writer” I think of journalists and the people that create textbooks and academic books. I’m not a writer. I’m a storyteller. That’s what I do. I don’t follow many conventional writing rules. I’m just a woman from the Bronx that has stories to tell. That’s all.

How do you deal with writer’s block? What is your advice on how to overcome it?

I get writer’s block all the time, but what I do to overcome it is…NOTHING! I just let it pass. When I’m actually trying to write, I come up with trash. When it comes naturally, I think it’s great! The engine won’t always run perfectly and sometimes it will stall. But eventually, it’ll be up and running better than ever. That’s the way I see it. So my advice to other authors out there is to let it pass. Don’t force it because trust me, your readers will ALWAYS be able to tell when you forced it.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I watch a lot of movies. I love film. I look at it as research. I like to look at other techniques so that I can know where I stand. I love watching the same movies over and over again. I see something different every time. I guess that’s what I do when I’m not writing. Oh…and I LOVE playing video games! ßI really need to stop, though!

What inspired you to write your first book?

Inspiration, to me, is when an idea gets in your head and fuels you to your success. the DOME trilogy was always something that was in my head and it definitely created a burning desire within me. You ever had an idea that you thought about all the time, like an invention of some sort, but you never did anything with it? And then BOOM! Just like that, you see a commercial about that exact thing on TV! I had plenty of moments like that. I never thought that I could actually put my stories out there in the world. I just thought things up and that’s all. One day I was just tired. I woke up and I realized that I was wasting my life. So I took my hunger to succeed and I wrote my idea down and tried to get it on HBO as a TV show. That didn’t work out so I published it as a series. I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. See…when you’re tired, really tired, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it. If your dream is bigger than your obstacles, the facts don’t matter. When I decided to go forward with this book, I had nothing but a broken laptop that was held together by its exposed wiring. Not enough duct tape in the world could get it to sit up right. But I didn’t have any money to buy a new one. I didn’t have a good paying job. I was working 3 hours a day! I could’ve waited until I saved up to buy a new one, but the way I see it…I don’t have a lot of time. I didn’t let something as silly as a broken laptop stop me from becoming NOVA sparks! So I held the laptop screen up with one hand and typed my books with the other. Every book and screenplay/teleplay I have was written with one hand.

You wrote a book titled the Dome. What is it about?

the DOME is the first installment in the DOME trilogy and follows a man named Sam in his early thirties and his teenaged daughter, Emma, as they try to cope with life on a new planet in a Dome that simulates life on Earth. There is a whole lot of mystery, love, and betrayal in this story. Basic human morality is tested at every moment and the story really makes you wonder what you would do if your whole world was ripped from you in an instant. In the case of the DOME, their whole PLANET is ripped from them.

What was your favorite chapter to write and why?

My favorite chapter was definitely the chapter when Emma has to explain to an alien boy about human emotions. The aliens on planet Syri (the planet the humans are living on now) are more technologically advanced than humans, but their social skills and emotions are very primitive. Friendships and families are foreign concepts and they do everything out of individual necessity and to ensure the survival of their race. Above that, they are incapable of articulating their feelings and have no idea what love is. The reason why this chapter was my favorite to write is because it is the most revealing moment in the book for human nature. If we had to explain basic human emotions, could we? The Syrions have no understanding of love, but do we? They have no idea what tears are or why we cry, but do we know? This chapter really shows how different the humans and Syrions are but also how much alike they are as well.

How did you come up with the title?

The title was originally “the DOME project” but that just sounded like a dead giveaway, so I got rid of that immediately. The book is set on another planet and the majority of the human’s time is spent inside this Dome that is more mysterious than the alien planet itself. The Dome actually becomes a central character. It was only right to name the series after it.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?

I don’t know exactly. I guess I was just yearning for something different. I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books that have these great stories about human life in an apocalyptic or dystopian world. I wanted to write my own take on it, what I feel a real “end of the world as we know it” story would be like, and how the humans in my story will live and make their decisions. I love making things uncomfortable for my characters and my readers. I guess in the end, I really wanted to tell a story about survival, and not just physical survival, but spiritual, mental, and emotional survival. When everything is taken away from you, how do you decide what is worth it to hold on to? You really learn who you truly are once you have nothing. Vulnerability is definitely one of the main themes of this book. How often are humans vulnerable to things no of themselves? It’s really fascinating, actually.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book(s)?

The next book that will be made available on the 30th of November is called, the DOMErevelation. It is the second book in the DOME trilogy and picks up exactly where book one left off. Book one ends at chapter 19 and book two begins at chapter 20. This series is one continuous story. Book two answers a lot of questions that were left unanswered in the first installment of the series. Sam is completely transformed into a different person, a different man. Emma has been changed forever by a very traumatic experience that occurred at the end of the first book. Sam’s wife and Emma’s mother, Kris, has a bigger role and steps up as a leader. It is really fun to see how these main characters make their decisions based on their new level of maturity and the newfound information gathered about the truth of the DOME and why they were rescued from a destroyed Earth.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it all based on pure imagination?

I will definitely say that although this book is sci-fi, a lot of the character traits and character development is based on real life experiences; mine and others. I think the reason why many people had a problem with my book when it was first released as an ARC in the past was because most people couldn’t understand Emma as a character. She is seventeen and on Earth she was a drug dealer. She literally made and sold her own drugs. I’ve gotten some really interesting emails from people saying that Emma’s character was too disturbing for them to finish the book. The way I see it is Emma represents all teens. Teenagers have sex, they experiment with drugs (some even sell), use profanity, disobey their parents, cut school, runaway from home, underage drink, and choose horrible friends. But they are also very smart, crave guidance, learn from their mistakes rather quickly, yearn to love and be loved, constantly search for role models, and want so badly to just experience life. My job as a writer isn’t to paint false pictures of us. It’s to turn a mirror on us. We’re not perfect. And we weren’t perfect when we were teens. Emma relates to every teen. Everyone will be able to see a small piece of them in her. In the book, she makes a lot of stupid decisions. Her parents both try to drill it in her head that she’s going down the wrong path. But nothing they say gets through to her. With Emma, I wanted to show parents that even though they want so badly to make sure their kids make the right choices; it is still not in their power. Their children have to decide on their own and most of the time, they learn by doing. That is exactly how Emma matures throughout the book.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Well, this series is a trilogy, meaning there are 3 books that tell this story. I am actually adding on a prequel that will accompany the series. It will be a novella and will be told from the point of the view of the Syrions (the alien race that rescues the humans from Earth). A lot of things happen in the trilogy but there are two sides to every story. The aliens are so cool that I just had to show my readers their world from their eyes. Fear and vulnerability are going to stay alive. I LOVE those themes!

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting this book completed and published?

Oh Boy! Writing the story was a piece of cake. It was the editing that pissed me off. I suck at editing my own writing. I can do it for other people, but I’m biased when it comes to me. New eyes have to edit writing no matter how good you think you are. And I’m not good. I’ve gone through a number of editors that have done poor jobs; money and time that I did not have the luxury of wasting. But before even the editing, the book cover was a pain in the ass. I’ve been through a few book cover artists that you would swear were 4yr olds with crayons and a scanner. But I finally found my AWESOME cover artist…in Brazil! But hey…there’s no limit when you’re searching for greatness!

What made you want to self-publish this book?

This series was initially a treatment for a TV show that I was trying to get picked up on HBO. That failed, but I was advised to put it out there another way to see if the masses would be receptive to the idea. I thought of publishing it as a book but I didn’t want it to get traditionally published because the process of getting it picked up seemed way too similar to getting it on TV. I didn’t want the hassle, so I published it on my own. I really liked the idea of having complete control over everything. But complete control also means COMPLETE CONTROL. Creative control is great, but you also have to do everything else on your own, marketing, editing, book cover, copyrights, ISBN, territorial/worldwide rights, etc. You really have to be your own team. But I love the whole “learn by doing” approach to things so I’m definitely enjoying this learning experience.

How do you market your book(s)? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

In the past, I’ve marketed by books mostly through social networking sites (facebook and twitter) and on my own blog http://novasparks.blogspot.com. I also did a lot of blog tours where I guess blogged and did interviews on different blogs around the web. Now I’m trying something new. That is the beauty of self-publishing; you can do what you want. I’m setting up a lot of radio interviews and giveaways/contests. You have to switch it up to reach a wider audience. One thing I can say though is it is better to sell yourself over your book. No one wants to feel as though they are being sold something. I hardly ever talk about my book when networking online. I make friends and connections with people and just am me. People support you when you are genuine. It is important to not become a robot salesman or else no one would buy your book.

What do you think makes a good story?

I really believe that every good story needs a bit of romance. I’m a sucker for romance. But I don’t mean random falling in love when it makes no sense. It can be a failing romance, a potential romance, an artificial romance. Just as long as there is romance. Other than that, stories are good when there is great character development. No one should look the same or make the same decisions after the climax.

What project are you working on now?

As of now, I’m working vigorously on my production company, NOVA sparks productions. Through that company I’m producing screenplays, teleplays, and novels. The DOME trilogy is being released under that. When that’s done, I’ll be focusing on getting my other work picked up by networks. We need more sci-fi on TV…and sex! More sex, please!

Will you have a new book coming out soon?

OF COURSE! The next book in the DOME trilogy is called the DOMErevelation and will be out the end of this month on the 30th!

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Its okay to care but timing is everything. The moment you stop caring about what others think is the moment you’ll put out your best work. Care after, not before. You want people to love your work…YOUR work. Not the stuff you’re making up just to please people. That is the recipe to a long and profitable career. Figure out who you are as a person and as a writer. Write it down nice and big and put it on a wall somewhere you’ll be able to see it at all times. When things seem difficult, look at it until you remember who you are. Then…decide where you want to be. Do you want to be the unknown writer forever? No! Make a decision and be specific. It’s the same thing like setting up a GPS with a destination. Once you know where you’re going, it’ll be easier to choose what path you’ll take to get there.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

THANK YOU! You guys have been reading my work and posting about it and I LOVE you guys for it! I read all your messages and emails and they really mean a lot to me. You will never be fans to me! You’ll forever be family!

Interview: Author Reggie Stacks

Thank you for joining us. I’m excited to bring you my first blog interview. Today our interview is with novelist Reggie Stacks. Reggie is currently living in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the author of Ghetto Heaven and host of the TV show Kick Back with Stacks.

If this Q&A interview with Reggie grabs your interest and you would like to learn more about him, please visit his website.

Reggie IMG_5876 copy 2

Alice: Would you please tell us about yourself and your work?

Reggie: Hey everybody I’m Reggie Stacks, just your typical laid back type of guy, nothing fancy. I was born in North Carolina but I lived in Atlanta for 20 years. I’m a father of 3 who enjoys writing great books.

Alice: At what point did you realize this was something you wanted to do?

Reggie: I realized that once I had completed the rough draft of Ghetto Heaven and everyone was excited and liked it, I knew I was going to pursue this.

Alice: What has been your biggest motivation? Where does your inspiration come from?

Reggie: I have to say my biggest motivation comes from the need to succeed in all I do. Sharing my talents and gifts with others and giving readers a story they can relate to is motivating to me. Life is my inspiration.

Alice: What is your creative regimen? How often do you write?

Reggie: I tend to write the most and at my best on days when I can just zone out and have the TV turned on in the next room, not really watching it but just to have some noise or gangsta rap playing in the background.

Alice: How do you deal with writer’s block? What is your advice on how to overcome it?

Reggie: Writers block: just step away give your brain a rest then come back to it later. I remember writing Ghetto Heaven and it necessarily wouldn’t be writers block but I’d get stumped on how best to relay the next part. The advice to me was don’t force it and it’s true I read Ghetto Heaven all the time and I see parts where I feel like it was forced, not flowing naturally. Hey I guess it works – no one notices but me and fans love it so I guess just taking a break will help.

Alice: What do you do when you are not writing?

Reggie: Concentrate on my TV show and spend time with kids. Chase women and make money…just joking!

Alice: Do you have a day job as well?

Reggie: Not really unless someone wants to offer me a high paying less work job.

Alice: You wrote a book titled Ghetto Heaven. What is this book about?

Reggie GHGirl 2

Reggie: Ghetto Heaven is loosely about me. Seriously it’s a roller coaster ride of Curtis and his women. He has it all until an ex from the past threatens to destroy his newfound happiness.

Alice: How did you come up with the title?

Reggie: It’s catchy and it’s from a song very few people I’ve ran into remember.

Alice: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Reggie: I can’t really say I have a favorite chapter. I enjoyed writing it all. I’m like a fan that loves the whole book. I read one chapter, liked it then read the next chapter and liked that as well. It’s hard to pinpoint just one section.

Alice: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Reggie: I would say its 50/50 real life experience mixed with a vivid imagination that makes for a great read.

Alice: Did you work with an outline, or just write?

Reggie: There was no formal training at all for this book to turn out the way it did. And for it to get accepted by readers I think I did a good job. I didn’t really do an outline, I just as I created or introduced characters along the way, although I had to keep notes on each one.

Alice: If given the chance, would you change anything about this book?

Reggie: Funny I ask myself that a lot. Before it was published I think I may have rewritten and changed the story about 10 times before I selected the story it is now. Can it be better? Sure but at some point you just have to choose and be happy with one edition

Alice: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting this book completed and published?

Reggie: The biggest challenge for me I have to say was deciding what to finally go with as far as all the rewrites, deleted chapters, and changes.

Alice: What advice would you give to writers who are contemplating writing their first novel?

Reggie: I speak with a lot of authors and I tell them all the same thing. Writing and completing it are the 1st steps – just do it.

Alice: How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

Reggie: I self-published my book and I wear all the hats. If you can afford marketing campaigns that’s great in addition to reviews, press releases, book signing and of course yourself. You are your biggest fan and know you best!

Alice: What has influenced your development as a writer?

Reggie: Honestly, giving my readers and fans my best force me to hone my writing skills. Plus reading other works I feel I can do much better.

Alice: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Reggie: Believe it or not I haven’t had much criticism and I’ve been welcoming it. I feel like it’s the only way I can become a better writer. I guess the best compliments are when I’m repeatedly asked when is part 2 coming out.

Alice: Can you please share with us more about your show Kick Back with Stacks?

Reggie: Kick back with Stacks is my TV show. It’s a relaxed atmosphere where me and the guest kick back and chop it up about a variety of topics.

Alice: Can you please tell us about your upcoming book?

Reggie: Twisted…I’m so excited. It’s a collection of short stories that all have a twisted ending or tale. On this project I just want to connect with my readers and show them that my first novel wasn’t a one book wonder…lol. I write in different styles in Twisted from first person to third person and back to traditional bringing some good stories to life.

Alice: Are there any other genres or creative avenues you would like to explore (i.e. music, singing, painting, etc)?

Reggie: I think this is as creative as I get with writing…lol.

Alice: Are there any noncreative avenues you would like to explore?

Reggie: Yes I would love to take my TV show to the next level, maybe national or on cable channels across the US.

Alice: Can you share with us some of your goals for this year?

Reggie: Have Twisted out in stores before the spring and well as completing the trailer for Ghetto Heaven. I also want to be more mainstream, have viewers rushing to tune in to Kick Back with Stacks every Thursday.

Alice: Do you have any upcoming projects, tours, events, or announcements that you would like to share with our readers?

Reggie: Book signing at Nubian Bookstore on April 6th and April 12th-13th.

Alice: Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. What final thought and/or message would you like to leave with our readers?

Reggie: Thanks for having me, it was my pleasure to be on. I’m grateful for your interest in my campaign. I would like to thank all of those that checked out this blog for taking the time get to know Reggie Stacks. If you haven’t gotten Ghetto Heaven or want to know more check out http://www.ghettoheaven.net. Also, follow us on Twitter: @zopublishing. And please like us on Facebook: Zo Publishing Presents and Kick Back with Stacks. Think you have what it takes to have your work featured in Twisted, email me at reggiestacks@ghettoheaven.net.

* * * *