Apr 30, 2013

Gina West's Not-so-Hostile Takeover (Part 1)




Hello everyone! Regina West here. How are you all doing? Today, I’ve donned my leather boots and my favorite corset and whipped the Spartan into submission so that I could take over his blog! He's currently whimpering in the corner. (There, there, Gareth. Yes, you may kiss my boot. Such a good little Spartan.)

Kidding, kidding. Mostly.

I met Gareth on Twitter where our first conversation was about music and playing guitar. I made the mistake of bragging that I knew how to play a Scottish folk song, and he promptly challenged me to record myself playing it. Although my strumming fingers went numb at the mere mention, I, nevertheless, recorded the song (about 50 times until I got it right) and sent it along with apologies for my clumsy playing. True to form, Gareth was gracious and supportive and forcibly overlooked all my missed notes, a kindness I very much appreciated.

Since then, we’ve talked about everything from writing (obviously) to olives (he hates them; I love them) to socialized medicine (we’re both for it), and he quickly became one of my favorite people in the universe.

One afternoon, after perusing the latest in Gareth’s Bright Lights series, I suggested that someone should turn the tables and interview him. He decided I should do it, so here I am, wondering how these helpful suggestions of mine always end up creating work for me. Ahem. But I digress. I stole a few questions from his interviews, gathered others from author interviews I found on the web, and chose the rest to satisfy my own nosiness.
Before we move on, I invite each of you to follow me on Twitter (@GinaWestAuthor) and to check out my own humble attempt at blogging at www.reginawest.com.

Now, let's see what my favorite Scotsman had to say:


1. In your book Monsters, why did you give Doyle his particular disability?

This particular disability, Proteus Syndrome, was something I’d researched at length. I gave it to him because the criteria I had set involved him growing up as a healthy kid and then developing the condition later. So, the Doyle on the inside hadn’t been brought up defined by his disability but had to learn to deal with it later in life.

2. Do you have a favorite character in the book?  Who was the most fun to write? Who was the most difficult?

My favorite character is Doyle. The most fun to write was probably Harald and the most difficult was Emmy. Harald is just an interesting personality whereas Emmy is a broken woman and not just broken by the fact her daughter has gone missing. She is a woman who never realized her dreams and has seen all her hopes vanish. Scarlett is the only thing that matters to her now, and losing her will break her completely.

3. What is it about Doyle that resonates with you?

Despite all his difficulties, Doyle has remained a decent human being. He’s trying to make the best of a bad situation, and it’s wearing on him but he’s still kind to those around him and his friends can still count on him.

4. What came first – plot, character, setting, a particular scene?

The idea of Red Riding Hood being snatched came to me first. As I started expanding on that thought, the idea of one the main character being a suspect also appealed to me. Making Doyle appear to be like the bogeyman would make that situation all the more complicated. After that, I picked the setting and started figuring out the plot.

5. Why the Pacific Northwest?

I’ve been to Vancouver and thought it was beautiful. I figured the PNW would be very similar, and, after researching and a little Google Earth fun, I picked the locations. A feature of the PNW is the weather, and rain offers a lot of mood to the piece. I also wanted there to be a city nearby and maybe one that’s known to be more on the modern side. Seattle/Tacoma fit that bill.

6. What question do you wish that someone would ask about Monsters, but nobody has? Write it out here; then answer it.

Q: Can I buy two copies?
A: Yes. Yes, you can.

7. Is there a message in Monsters that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t particularly care to shove a message down anyone’s throat but the title is Monsters and not Monster. The story isn’t as much about Doyle being a monster as it is about everyone having dark secrets or behavior that might make them be considered bad or wrong or a monster. On the positive side, Doyle’s relationship with his father is meant to show how that positive influence early in his life was enough to power him through adulthood. Doyle’s friendship with Harald and Petra shows that we’re not meant to get through life alone. We all have our wee group of folk we belong to. Sometimes they take some finding but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying to look.

8. Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

Yes. I learned that writing a book is really hard. I mean not just writing it but writing it well and editing it and formatting it. Making a book is hard.

9. If you had it to do over again, what would you change?

I’d maybe be more patient and try to query it to an agent. In my haste to hold a copy in my hand for myself, I perhaps missed a good opportunity to make a mark.

10. What do you love about your book?

I love that people have responded very positively towards Doyle. That has made me smile often. I also love that I finished it.

11. How did you pick the names and why?  What were you trying to convey with them?

The names were all well-thought-out and given purpose. I’ll leave the more obvious references alone but Emmy, for example, is a shortened version of Emerald. The Spanish version of Emerald is Esmeralda, who was in the story the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Doyle of course representing the Hunchback in this thought process. Doyle’s second name Godwin basically means Good One. Kind of a no-brainer and a subtle little clue to the reader that it’s ok to like him! Lol There’s more throughout the story. I’ll leave readers to figure them out. 

12. What is your writing process?  Outline and write?  Write and then impose structure?  See the end and work toward it?  Write chronologically or in scenes?

This depends on the story, but I’d say a little of all of those. Generally, it’s write and then impose structure. Due to the fact I have a real job to pay the bills, I like to write scenes, so that I’ll have building blocks to aim for. So, even when I’m not one hundred percent sure how to get from A to B to C, I know where I’m going to end up. If I have a free weekend, I’ll write chronologically - just start at the beginning and move forward. After getting about three quarters through, I need to know what the ending is going to be so that I can work towards it. So, yes, all of the above.

13. Do you need absolute silence to write?  Music?  White noise?

I can write in silence, as I am now, but I prefer a little music. Often it’s movie soundtracks, chosen to help keep me in the right frame of mind. I can’t write well when people are chattering, so seclusion is important.

14. Short fiction or long?

I have written both. Right now though, I’m concentrating on longer work. I think it’s important for writers to work different sets of muscles from time to time, and when you’re writing a shorter story, you learn to get to the point faster.

15. What do you think are your particular strengths as a writer? Dialog, action, description – what are you most comfortable with?

I love dialog. The rhythm of dialog fascinates me. There’s nothing more jarring to me than stilted speech. I like my characters to talk like real people. When I was younger, my friends told me I had a good imagination and good sense for action scenes. I’m not sure how much of that I still have, but the dialog is my favorite.

16. Where and/or when do you get most of your ideas?

They come from anywhere at any time. It’s not unknown for me to scratch an idea down on paper, punch it into my iPhone or even email it to myself to read later. They’re not all winners, but they come from everywhere.

17. What time of day is best for you to write?

Night.  From 8pm to about 4am. That’s my best time.

18. I know you love comics.  How have they influenced your writing?

Can I come out of the corner yet?

    No!

to be continued...

Apr 20, 2013

Carey Heywood's Evil Twin (not really) Interview



Where there are Jedi, there are Sith; for every Gryffindor, a Slytherin and in a world where there is chocolate there are also creepy, multi-legged, speedy, crawly things, which run up pant legs and bite you on your ghoulies. (special thanks to ten year old me for the word ghoulies).

And, for the purposes of this blogpost, where there is a writer, there must also be an EVIL TWIN! ...MWAHAHAHA...


*cough*


Okay, maybe not EVIL per se, but, writers do talk to themselves a lot. (Some of them are only capable of holding conversations with their characters!)

So, with another book to be released in a matter of moments...and likely wrapping up another by the end of this interview...I welcome back to my corner of space - CAREY HEYWOOD - the wonderfully sweet, and sweet-toothed author of STAGES OF GRACE.


Gorgeous cover!!

Only this time she's not getting the questions...

...this time I'm going to talk to her EVIL TWIN and ask all the weird crap I deleted from the last interview...


:P


1 Have you ever been arrested?

No!

2 Leather or lace?

Hmmm, both! Lol!

3 If you could erase or redo one moment from your past, what would it be?

I wouldn't have turned around. I would have kept walking right up the stairs.

4 What's the wildest thing you've ever done...with your clothes on (or mostly on)?

Rocky Point Mexico...the whole trip. That's all I'm admitting to.

5 If you could swap places with someone for a day...who? and why them?

An astronaut, the idea of seeing earth, from space. Whoa...

6 What's your favorite curse word?

Hahaha! SHITCRICKETS!

7 What word do you end up using instead (when there are kids around, for example)?

MotherTrucker

8 Who would you like to play you in a movie version of your life?

Someone funny like Zooey Deschanel.

9 Who do you think the producers would actually cast?

Hmmm, someone unknown because my life isn't that interesting...or is it?

10 A sudden world Swedish Fish shortage means you have to resort to your #2 candy of choice...what do you nibble on now?

Cadbury Creme Eggs...or Twix, or KitKats, or Sour Patch Kids, or Jelly Beans, or non candy snacks like ice cream or Oreos. I'm crazy healthy.

11 If you weren't able to write novels, how would your creativity manifest itself?

I knit, I make jewelry, I've tried DIY stuff...not so good at that.

12 Reveal a physical talent you have or secret super power you haven't previously revealed to your writer friends.

I'm double jointed and have hitchhiker thumbs...Karen (Karen Y Bynum) might know that. I can hula hoop for an absurdly long time.

13 If you could change one physical thing on your body what would it be?

I would love to not be blind. I'm not actually blind but, I do have really sucky eyes. Someday I'll get LASIK. (Greetings fellow moleperson!)

14 Have you ever lied to get out of something so that you could write instead?

Yep.

15 You're stranded in the forest with a crazy killer...rig traps and take him out or grab the map off the wall and hightail it out of there?

I'm sorry I didn't hear you...I'm too busy running the EF away...

16 What's your biggest phobia?

Unseen sea type critters in large bodies of water. (Yes. This. *gulp*)

17 Aside from your family, what do you love the most in life?

Books

18 Would you rather face your answer to 16 or lose your answer to 17?

Holy crap...um, crap...I'm really friggin scared of sea monsters...I don't know. If I faced a sea monster I believe death would be probable. I can't see living without books though. Crap. Um. You. Suck. (tee hee)

19 Something cheesy about you that we can all make fun of...(hobby or guilty movie pleasure)?

I LOVE Avatar the Last Airbender. I am a purist and am only speaking of the original cartoon not, the travesty of a live action movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Why the hell couldn't he pronounce Aang's name right. UGH!

20 If you won $100 million on the lottery tomorrow would you still write?

Yep, but I'd do a whole lotta other crap too!

Thank you so so so so so (you get the idea!) much!

:)

Thank you Carey's Evil Twin! Carey can be found feasting on the remains of her vanquished foes...wait, sorry, that's a whole other thing. Scratch that.

Carey would like you to know that her new book is called STAGES OF GRACE and it's awesome. Don't believe her? Then ask me...


YOU: Hey, Gareth, what's up?

ME: Holla!

YOU: Stages of Grace sounds like it might be awesome, what did you think?

ME: It IS awesome. Check out my review here: Goodreads review!

YOU: Sweet! Hey, what's up with your Gumby hair in your profile pic?

ME: SHUT UP IMAGINARY YOU!!!


So, there you go. Can't argue with that. Right? *thousand yard stare*

Carey has two novels available HERE RIGHT NOW for only 99c! 

Carey can be found here - TWITTER, here - GOODREADS and here - FB AUTHOR PAGE. She also writes here - CAREY'S BLOG

Stages of Grace will be available Monday







Apr 15, 2013

Bright Lights #11 - Danielle Fine


Editing. 

Wait! Don't run away, I've brought some help today so, there's nothing to be scared of.

Writers discover quickly that writing is basically made up like this:

Planning, scheming, ruminating, procrastinating - 10%
Actual writing of story - 10%
Editing, rewriting, editing again and again and again - 2356%

Ok. Maybe my math isn't very good but, the point is, writers spend more time rewriting than writing. Editing is a huge component of the process and it's a horrible drain on your time and your will to live. Luckily, there are peculiar people out there who actually enjoy the process. They live in caves and forests and can be lured from their hiding places with the promise of a good story. These people are called EDITORS.

I've been fortunate enough to lure an EDITOR onto my blog. Her name is Danielle Fine, and she might be able to help you produce the story you've always wanted to tell...


Danielle Fine


Q - Congratulations on your ONE YEAR anniversary!! What motivated you to start your own company?

Thank you! Um, to be honest, one of my authors did. I had just resigned from my in house editing job and was persuaded into editing another of her books. After that, she kept telling her other writer friends that I was freelancing and bam! Before I knew it, it’s one year later and I’m a freelance editor.

Q - Which came first...the editing or the design work? Or are they both skills you wanted to bring to the table in equal measure?

The editing definitely came first. I had no intention of doing design work, but fell into that as well. And, yes, that same author was to blame. Hm. Maybe I should send her a bunch of flowers?

Q - I'm not a big fan of editing. (I'm not against the profession you understand, just the time suck of going over things again and again. lol) What motivates you as an editor? What excites you?

I hear you. Sometimes—usually on the fifth or sixth round—I’m not such a fan of editing either. :P Honestly, I adore my job. I love taking a story that excites me and coaxing (bludgeoning?) it into its full potential. I love being part of the whole book birthing process. And, best of all, I love final read throughs that just sing.

Q - What kind of editorial work do you offer? Are you a big picture editor - plot, character, direction or, more detail oriented and look at grammar and language?

I’m an everything editor. No words left unturned. I like to be involved in things both big and small, and get very twitchy when told I can only line edit.

Q - Tell me a little about your cover design process. How much input do you like to have from the writers and how much do you prefer to be left alone to create?

I like to have a lot of input from writers, but I do reserve the right to go my own way at times. If I get a picture in my head, I’ll usually run with that—but the client always has veto rights. It tends to be a collaborative effort.

Q - You have strong ties to the Indie Book world, do you have aspirations of making your company bigger or perhaps working for some bigger publishers?

Honestly, I’m not really interested in working for another publisher. I don’t seem to play well with authority types. I do want to expand and…well, watch this space. ;)

Q - How important is it to strike a relationship with the writer you're working with?

For me, it’s very important. I can do the job without the relationship, but the spark is missing and I think the work suffers because the communication isn’t there. It helps both sides if there’s trust and honesty between editor and writer—and it’s always a bonus when my writers get my sense of humor. Then the process can be enjoyable. Put down that skeptical eyebrow, Gareth. :P

Q - Businesses like yours are invaluable to writers hoping to stand out from the crowd. Social media seems to be a focal point of this. Has twitter or Facebook helped you develop your company?

Definitely! I get a lot of work through twitter contacts—mostly through writers who recommend me in their feeds. I also find it incredibly useful for promoting both myself and my authors. Oh, and, guess who bullied me into joining the twitter cult? I definitely owe her some flowers. Maybe a mid-sized car.

Q - Do you still find time to write your own stuff?

I do. But, oh lord, am I crawling through my WIP. Sigh. My characters have started leaving me rude voicemail.

Q - Do you have a fixed workplace like an office or do you vary your environment?

I have no office. Unless you count a lap desk. Semi-nomadic, that’s me.

Q - Do you like music to feed your creativity or quiet so you can concentrate?

Music, for sure. As long as it’s at ear-bleeding level.

Q - What kind of story interests you? What do you like to read for fun?

I like all things dark and twisty, but I read most things—except war stories and westerns. I love stories that push boundaries. I love stories that abduct me. I love stories that make me feel—fear, awe, wonder, sorrow… I love stories that make me long to slip into their pages and nest there. I love stories.

Q - Do you have any current favorite authors/books?

Ooph. Okay, you asked for it. :P Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Stephen King, Laini Taylor, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Poppy Z Brite, Alice Hoffman, Isaac Marion, Salman Rushdie, Robert McCammon, M. John Harrison, Iain M. Banks, John Scalzi, Nancy Kress… I could go on. But I won’t. :P

Q - Were you nervous when you started out and if so, do you still get nervous or do you feel like you got a handle on everything now?

Nervous. Nervous all around. I am horribly neurotic though, so there’s no surprise there. Still, I’m high-functioning and, really, what more can you ask for?

Q - What's the most common mistake you see writers make?

Ooh, an invitation to get on my soapbox. That almost never happens. *Rubs hands together gleefully* I firmly believe it’s the writer’s job to burrow a path into the character’s brain, unraveling a ball of yarn so the reader can follow behind. With this in mind, I don’t think I’ve edited one manuscript that hasn’t included the comment, "Go deeper." This includes things like the dreaded telling-vs.-showing; using filtering words (like heard, saw, thought, felt) instead of showing the reader what the character hears, sees etc., and not grounding scenes in setting and action.

Q - Have you ever had to refuse a job because the writing was...terrible? (Come on, you can tell us!)

I’ve never refused a job. Doesn’t mean I’ve never wanted to.;)

Q - What's your favorite word?

Pantoffel. :D It means slipper in Afrikaans, so nothing mind-blowing there, but it’s my absolute favorite word to say.. :D It means slipper in Afrikaans, so nothing mind-blowing there, but it’s my absolute favorite word to say.

Q - How important is it for a writer to also be a reader? Is it important for an editor to be a reader? I mean for fun? Do you have to keep your skills sharp?

I couldn’t overstate the importance. For so many reasons, but mostly, how can you hope to write something other people will want to read if you don’t enjoy reading? For an editor, it’s important to see what’s out there in the market, what’s being done—and overdone—at the moment and, yes, you always hone your skills by reading.

Q - Library or Bookstore?

Bookstore. I’m very acquisitive, especially when it comes to books, and they don’t make me give them back!

Q - Do you have any advice for newbie writers? Those who are yet to start on their journey?

Writing is not for the faint of heart. Don’t come into it thinking you know everything. Or anything, really. Join a critique group. Stay open. Be curious. Write with integrity. Write what you love, what moves you. Write for yourself. Write with courage. Write every day. Write. Be nice to your editor. :P

And finally - You're going to be stranded on a desert island (for a wee while) but I'm going to allow you to take 1 book, 1 piece of music, 1 movie, a bowl of your favorite dessert and 1 person you'd like to share the island with for a while (alive, dead, fictional or real...it matters not) What are your choices...and if you want to elaborate...tell me WHY? 

Gah. These questions give me anxiety attacks. One book! Really? Okay, deep breaths.

Book: I’d take Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, because I’m rereading him currently, and his writing is more nourishing than food.

Music: Smokey Taboo by CocoRosie because it’s the piece that’s speaking to me at the moment.

Movie: Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro because it still gives me shivers of horror and delight whenever I watch it.

Dessert: Crème Brulee. Because…crème brulee.

Person: Clive Barker. Because, really, how often do you get your hero as a captive audience?


Thank you Dani for dropping by and best of luck for the future. 

If you're looking for some editorial help, or just interested in seeing what Dani's company offers, hop along to her website here:



And if you're on twitter, why not follow her:




Apr 8, 2013

Bright Lights #10 - Laura Diamond - Tsavo Pride


With somewhere just over 4500 followers on Twitter, it starts to get really difficult keeping up with EVERYONE. The trick is to create LISTS, and that way you can break down your followers into easier to manage chunks and keep up with how they're doing with the writing.

Laura Diamond is an example of someone I followed for a while but didn't keep up with very well until I got her on a Twitter List. And I'm glad I did. Smart and funny, it turned out that not only was she a published author but also a psychiatrist! I thought it only fair to invite her over to the blog, have her sit in the comfy chair and ask HER a bunch of questions! Here's what the analysis uncovered...

Laura Diamond

Q - Hi Laura, tell me a little about your new story Tsavo Pride.

TSAVO PRIDE is a short story about the famed man-eating lions of Tsavo. In my story, the lions are rogue shape-shifters fighting to stop the British invaders from stealing their territory and ruining their way of life.
 


Q - Was Tsavo Pride always part of your long-term plan or was it borne from
working on your other books - Shifting Pride and New Pride?

TSAVO PRIDE came about after NEW PRIDE (prequel novelette) and SHIFTING PRIDE (novel) were published. I enjoyed working with the series so much and I thought it would be fun to develop a spin-off short story based on a story in SHIFTING PRIDE.
 
Q - Will there be more "Pride" stories?

Yes! I’m working on the next sequel, FRACTURED PRIDE. It follows the days and weeks after SHIFTING PRIDE ends.
 
Q - One of the biggest decisions for most writers nowadays is whether or
not to self-publish. Could you explain your decision making process?

At this point, self-publishing TSAVO PRIDE fits my writing goals, which is to share a story with the same folks who enjoyed my other shifter stories.
Working with Etopia Press has taught me a lot about publishing, which is another reason I felt confident enough to dip a toe in self-publishing. I believe it is a wonderful way for authors to take the reins of their writing career IF there’s a commitment to strong cover art, professional editing, and an organized marketing plan.
 
Q - The covers to all your Pride stories are linked thematically. How much
involvement did you have in the cover-making process?

Annie Melton at Etopia Press designed the covers for NEW PRIDE and SHIFTING PRIDE. She beautifully captured the essence of my stories while creating a coordinating theme.
Since TSAVO PRIDE is self-published, I ended up collaborating with a cover artist (Danielle Fine). She asked if I had a vision for the cover and then she put together the images, colors, fonts, and tweaked the details until the final product was made.

Q - Did you have a bolt of lightning urge to write or is it something
you've always just done?

I did a little creative writing in high school, but never thought I had the capacity to write an entire novel. A few years later, during medical school, I hand wrote a 100 page story over a two week winter break. In my last year of residency, I pulled the story out and got caught up in reading it. I needed a creative outlet to balance my immersive day job, so I typed out the story and filled in some details until it became a novel. It has since been trunked, but that’s what started it all. Four years later, I’ve written 7 more books, several short stories, and a couple novellas. Now, it’s hard to picture a life without writing.
 
Q - How do you make the time to write? Do you set a schedule or grab the
moments when they come?

I can’t write on a schedule…though I can write on deadlines, LOL! If my brain is exhausted, then I have to let it rest. The words just won’t come during those times, no matter how hard I try to force them. But when inspiration strikes, it’s hard to shut off the flow.
 
Q - What's your favorite place to write?

On the couch with my laptop during winter. On my screened-in porch during summer.
 
Q - What kind of story interests you? Do you read the same stories you like
to write?

I’ve always been partial to paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult. The more magic, mayhem, and monsters, the better.
 
Q - Where do your ideas stories and characters come from generally?

That’s hard to say. An idea can pop into my mind unbidden. Though I have had dreams inspire stories more than once. Even if it’s a single scene.
 
Q - The common mantra given to writers is "write what you know", does this
apply to your writing in any way?

Sure. I think that’s reasonable. On the other hand, if there’s something that interests you, why not research it? It can be a lot of fun to work with new ideas and information.
 
Q - When you're writing, how much do you feel you have to adhere to certain
limitations based on the genre you're writing in?

I write the story and figure out genre stuff later. For instance, my next series titled ENDURE started out as YA dystopian with a paranormal twist, but with revisions it has become much more sci-fi. So I guess it’s a YA sci-fi/dystopian with paranormal elements. Too much? ;p
 
Q - Do you use Beta Readers? If so, could you explain what you're looking
for from them?

Definitely. I’m open to any feedback someone’s willing to give me. What’s most helpful is information about how the reader connects with the story and characters, if they feel the situation/plot flows, if emotions are evoked, if the writing itself is smooth or not, and if the pacing is steady.
 
Q - You've got one or two things under your belt now as a writer, do you
feel any trepidation putting a new story out? Or do you feel confident that
your work will be well received?

I’m extremely excited to share my next series with folks. It’s bigger (in scope), more tumultuous (relationship-wise), and a lot darker than my shifter series—all things that I think have more impact.
 
Q - What do you think are your particular strengths as a writer? Dialog,
action, description...what are you most comfortable with?

Voice is key. So is getting inside the heads of characters. Add a ton of conflict and action and that’s my recipe for a compelling read.

Q - What compels you to write, drives you to keep going, even on the days
you'd rather just throw in the towel?

I’m a daydreamer, so my mind creates stories no matter what. Might as well write them down and mold them into something of substance.
I’ve thought about quitting—is a common thing, I think, for writers—but I can’t let go of this world. Writing is a part of me now and I treasure it.
 
Q - Did anything or anybody inspire you to write?

You know, Stephenie Meyer inspired me. I know she gets a lot of flack, but I also know that when I read the Twilight series, I was transported back to high school on page one. Honestly, I wanted to recreate that feeling of being immersed in a completely different life. So I made it happen.
 
Q - What is the reaction to those around you, family and close friends,
about your writing?

Everyone has been so supportive and in that way, I’m quite blessed. I have a little fan base at work too. It’s so cool to have a co-worker come up to me and say they enjoyed my book or tell me what they thought about a character and what they did.
 
Q - What are your thoughts on the uses of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter
etc) for writers. Has it helped in your development as an author?

Without it, I wouldn’t have a network of support. I wouldn’t have learned about publishing, writing, marketing, etc. and I wouldn’t have a method of connecting to readers. In that regard, it has been crucial to my development as an author.
 
Q - Do you have any favorite words?

I don’t know if they’re favorites, but there’s a few words that show up repeatedly in my writing, particularly as I’m drafting a new story. They’re generally action verbs and I have to add variety when I’m editing.
 
Q- Do you have any current favorite authors/books?

SO MANY. Veronica Roth, Maggie Stiefvater, Victoria Schwab, Veronica Rossi, Jeaniene Frost, Kendall Grey, Charles de Lint, Mary Doria Russell, Susan Kaye Quinn, Somerset Maugham, Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, and more!

Q - Have you ever suffered from writer's block? If so, any quick cure
advice?

Writer’s block happens when my confidence is down or when my brain is exhausted. The best thing I can do in those situations is to cut myself a break, step away from the Word doc, read, remember my accomplishments, and let time do its thing.
 
Q - How important is it for a writer to also be a reader?

YES. It’s important to study and learn through example.
It’s also important to ENJOY reading—otherwise, I doubt we’d be writers, right?
 
Q - Library or Bookstore?

Bookstore. I like coffee and snacks.

Q - Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?

Yep. I listen to a variety of music, mostly alternative rock, classical, movie soundtracks, and game soundtracks.

Q - How do you choose your next story?

I think my next story chooses me. An idea surfaces to my consciousness and I have to write it.
 
Q - Do you have any advice for newbie writers? Those who are yet to start
on their journey?

Keep your enthusiasm. Listen to feedback. Don’t let the rejections keep you down.
There’s a term in psychology: Radical Acceptance. It means accept yourself for where you’re at while at the same time look for ways to improve yourself.
 
And finally - You're going to be stranded on a desert island (for a wee
while) but I'm going to allow you to take 1 book, 1 piece of music, 1
movie, a bowl of your favorite dessert and 1 person you'd like to share the
island with for a while (alive, dead, fictional or real...it matters not)
What are your choices...and if you want to elaborate...tell me WHY?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (book, soundtrack, and movie, LOL!) because I can learn new things with each reading, listening, and viewing, while also savoring my favorite parts, chocolate because, OMG CHOCOLATE, and Khayman (from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles) because dude is like 5000 years old and could tell some bitchin’ stories.

Chocolate is a winner every time! 

Thanks to Laura for letting us see into her head for a little while. Check out Laura's Book Trailer and links for Tsavo Pride below ~~>



Rogue shapeshifters, Santamo and Legeny, believe they are kings blessed with the power to shift into lions. Using that strength, they brutally defend their land from the British building the Ugandan Railroad that threatens their way of life. On a particularly ruthless raid, Santamo meets his match—Naserian. He spares the girl’s life, a move that fractures his relationship with Legeny and blurs his visions of cleansing his territory of invaders.

While the pile of bones in Santamo and Legeny’s cave grows, so does Santamo’s attraction to Naserian. When she challenges him to give up his murderous ways, will Santamo stay on the path of death he believes is his duty, or will he choose Naserian, and love?

TSAVO PRIDE is NOW AVAILABLE via Amazon for $0.99! Amazon Prime members can borrow it for free. ;)

Amazon.com purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Tsavo-Pride-Short-Story-ebook/dp/B00BXF4OJY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363990234&sr=8-1&keywords=tsavo+pride

About Laura Diamond:

Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. Her Young Adult Paranormal Romance novelette, NEW PRIDE, and novel, SHIFTING PRIDE, debuted late 2012 from Etopia Press. A spin off short story based on the lions of Tsavo, TSAVO PRIDE, is now available. A short story, CITY OF LIGHTS AND STONE, is in the DAY OF DEMONS Anthology by Anachron Press and another short, BEGGING DEATH, is in the CARNAGE: AFTER THE END Anthology Volume One by Sirens Call Publications. Forthcoming novels include a young adult adventure, ZODIAC COLLECTOR, and young adult dystopians, ENDURE and EVOKE. When she's not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond--Lucid Dreamer and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion. She is also full-time staff member for her four cats and a Pembroke corgi named Katie.

Find Laura Diamond on the web:

Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5815639.Laura_Diamond