On the Way Up: An Interview with William Kendall

Welcome to “On the Way Up,” a new blog feature in which I’ll be showcasing the literary stars of the not-too-distant future. This week, I’m talking with William Kendall, who’s the author of a fascinating new thriller titled Heaven and Hell. William is also a graduate student in history in his native Canada….

William, how long have you been writing? 


Since I was eleven or twelve. I think those of us who are of a creative bent, whether it’s in art, music, or writing, that side of us starts to develop around that age.


Which authors inspired you? 


I’ve been reading since before I went to school, and it’s a habit I’ve never gotten out of. To start, I’d say historians like Stephen Ambrose and David McCullough stand out as personal favourites because they’re storytellers. I’ve read plenty of history books where the authors can’t engage the interest of the reader, but that’s not the case with these two. 


Jack Higgins is another personal favourite. He writes in the spy thriller genre, and his primary character for the better part of a couple of decades now has been a former IRA enforcer turned British operative named Sean Dillon. Dillon’s a fascinating character, never apologizing for his background. The dynamic Higgins wrote between Dillon and the character Hannah Bernstein, in the form of bantering and occasional bickering, is a partial influence for my two main characters. And like Higgins, I’d like to find ways to fit Irish terrorists into every book I can. 


My favourite novel is The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. It tells the story of the battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of some of the men who were there. It’s a book I always come back to, like an old friend you visit again just to see how they’re doing. His son Jeff has taken up his father’s mantle with a series of books exploring history through the eyes of the people who lived it. Jeff and Michael have been big influences on the way that I write, in terms of style and focusing tightly on character.


Heaven & Hell has a very intriguing, controversial premise. Tell us more! 


In a brief blurb, Heaven & Hell is centered on a group of terrorists who try to start a war in the Middle East by manipulating all sides involved, and a group of intelligence operatives who are trying to stop them. By writing much of the book set in Israel and dealing with the terrorist issue, I’m practically inviting controversy. Particularly when it comes to the central event of the book.


I know that you’ve done some extensive research. Tell everyone about some of the more interesting experiences you’ve had in developing the background for Heaven & Hell. 


A lot of it starts, of course, in the library. I’ve been writing about Israel, so the sort of things I was looking for included religious customs, archaeology, history, architecture… it’s involved a lot of note taking, searching about, finding information that might prove useful in the book. That’s an ongoing process, of course. There’s always something in the writing process that requires looking up something fresh that you might have overlooked. 


I haven’t been to Israel, so it’s required reaching out, being creative in talking to people. I got a lot of assistance (and a great suggestion to add a sequence at the Masada) from a fellow at the Israeli embassy. It’s something I’d really suggest if you’re writing about a foreign nation; talk to someone from an embassy or consulate. Just be careful how you open up conversations. After all, I was talking about terrorism in Israel as a novel plot, and wondering the whole time how much of the conversation was going to be added into a field report. 


I’ve also done the same, generally online, getting information from public relations staff, from places like Oxford University to the Israel Museum. I’ve gotten technical information from police officers on firearms, and just recently, some critical information from a fire fighter that helped me get past a bit of a dilemma I was in. 


Aside from that? One of the great benefits to the internet is the ability to gather lots of photographs of distant places, so that when you’re writing, for example, about the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, you can see these places with your own eyes.


You’ve told me how the Stryker character was created. Share that with my readers, please. 


Certainly! He’s a character who’s third generation, in a way. In high school, I was in a creative writing class, and one of the assignments was a long form story, like eighty to a hundred pages. That’s where he started out, as a private investigator named Robert Stryker. I haven’t looked at the story in years, and the only thing I might tell you off hand about it was that the climax of the book was set at a fire tower in the Muskoka region of Ontario, a place I know very well. 


The second version of the character was one I wrote just for myself for a long time, a primary character named Christian Stryker and the people in and out of his life. Something of a continuing work, where the character went through a number of occupations, from police to espionage to federal agent. He started out in archaeology, but abandoned that profession early on. This is really the training ground for my current writing, where I honed my craft. 


And so Tom Stryker is the third generation of the character. Like his predecessors, he prefers his last name only, and like Christian, he’s a former archaeologist. So he’s been a long time in development. Meredith Devon is a bit of a different story. She’s a mixture of previous characters I’ve written, but a lot of her is fresh and new. I’d known when I was contemplating writing seriously that I wanted to write two lead characters, a man and a woman, both strong and opinionated, rather then go with the lone wolf example created by Ian Fleming. 


How much of Stryker is you? Come on, ‘fess up! 


We’re both rock climbers. That’s how Stryker gets introduced in the book, climbing Mont Blanc. Rock climbing is one of my favourite activities, so of course I had to make him a climber. We both share the same irreverence in our personalities. And making him an archaeologist was deliberate. Like every other kid who ever saw an Indiana Jones film, I thought of going into that line of work. To this day, archaeology and ancient history fascinate me. Unlike Stryker however, I’m not multilingual, nor am I a partial Lakota, and I’ve never been tortured. Except by the sound of Justin Biebers’ voice.


Another thing you’ve discussed with me is your parents’ response to your story. Care to share with everyone?

My mother’s actually the one who started me off on this book, with her response to a question I once asked that forms the premise of the Very Bad Thing. She’s an avid reader, with a great imagination, and she’s liked what she’s heard of what I’ve been up to. My father, however, will never read the book. He dislikes violence in any form, and any time I’ve mentioned what I’ve written or ideas that I have in mind, his reply is to wonder what he and my mother did to end up raising a son who writes things like that.

You’ve made it clear that The Very Bad Thing is going to remain a secret until the book is published. Not even a hint?

The Very Bad Thing goes back to watching a newscast years ago, featuring rioting Palestinians, and asking my mother what would happen if terrorists ever did this and that. This and that being the Very Bad Thing. No, I’m not telling. I’ll just say it involves a very big explosion and a cataclysmic amount of casualties. And out of that, the threat of war.


A fellow author once asked me why someone as funny as I am (or as she thought me to be) would write such serious fiction. Since you’re the funniest person I know, I’m going to ask you that same question. Why?

You know, I think it comes down to what interests me as a reader. I like the notion of the worst case scenario. I like spy thrillers, so that’s what I’m going to write. I also think that my sense of humor, my irreverence and general outlook on life gets more then its share of outlets already. I write parodies, humor material, and that’s out there. Anyone reading my blogs or comments I make can see that.

At the same time, the humor still finds its way into the book even as I write. The bantering and the chemistry and energy between Stryker and Devon is such an example. There’s a line that I have in mind, for late in the book, and I still don’t know which one of them is going to say it. The two of them are in the middle of a firefight, shots going off all around them, explosions and so on… and one of them’s going to smirk and say, “You know, we go to the loveliest places.”

How serious is that for the situation?

William Kendall. Heaven & Hell. Remember it. This is an author we’re going to be seeing on future bestseller lists. And while you’re waiting for the book, check out his great blog: Speak of the Devil

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Guest Interview: Joann H. Buchanan

Today I’d like to welcome my special guest, Joann H. Buchanan, a member of WMD on Facebook. She has come here today to tell us a little bit about herself, her life in radio, and her writing.

1. What or who inspires you to write?

I just love stories and the way they take me away to another time and place. I love reading as much as writing and vice versa. I think what inspires me the most are those simple moments in life. My family is the most inspiring thing in my life. They are always full of energy and imagination. They are the center of my world.

2. You have a large family. How do you find the time to write with all that you have to do for them?

I write every night from 10 pm to 1 am no matter what. It doesn’t mean I keep everything I write, but that’s how I’m able to make sure my family is taken care of and how I’m able to get my writing done.

3. What genre do you write in?

I write in several genre’s. Science fiction, fantasy and horror are the ones I tend to lean towards. I love the thought of a great adventure with a little chill up the spine…lol.

4. You’re the host of a radio show. Can you tell us more about it?

It’s called The Eclectic Artist Cave. It airs Monday through Friday on The Shark Radio Network at 11 AM EST.

http://sharkradionetwork.com/

Every other Tuesday the show is all about writing tips. Jack Remick is my co-host on that day. He is one of the authors of http://www.bobandjackswritingblog.com. It is a place chalk full of some of the best writing tips you will find. The cool thing is that he comes on the show and shares them with my listeners and on those days we do live workshops.

On the opposite Tuesdays, one of the best reviewers in the business joins me for cool reviews and we talk about some of the coolest things coming out. His name is Bennet Pomerantz and it has been a fun getting to know him. He is also a writer and has a cool story coming out. I have more information to come about that. It will be posted on http://www.theeclecticartistcave.com.

On Wednesdays, I have what I call Writer Wed. Every week I choose a theme and writers can send in flash fiction to be read live on the show. I also post those to my blog for the show. It’s a lot of fun and allows writers to really showcase their talent.

Monday, Thursday and Fridays are reserved for guests. I play a half hour of some of today’s hottest music and then bring on my guests and we talk about their work and what it means to be a writer. We try to cover marketing tips and writing tips as well.

5. What kind of guest do you typically have on your show?

I generally have writers on, but I’m open to other creative endeavors. To me, the art of life is all around us and expressed in many ways.

6. What made you get started in the radio program? How long as the show been on the air?

A couple years ago, I had a friend who was being published and I wanted to figure out a way to promote him. I went to blog talk radio and found out I loved doing my show. The show aired for a half hour on Saturday at 10 am cst for a half an hour. On my ninth show, I had Brian Byers on the show to talk about marketing. When the interview was finished, he invited me to be on Fate Radio. About a year ago, Fate was absorbed into Shark Radio. Now I average between 5 to 10 thousand listeners a day. The show has been on the air for about 2 years. I’m so honored to have had the opportunity to learn from so many cool people.

6. When does your radio show run, and how can our readers find the show?

Information about the show can be found on http://www.theeclecticartistcave.com and you can hear it everyday Monday through Friday on The Shark Radio Network.

7. What kind of support system do you have?

I have a wonderful support system both at home with my fiance John Buchanan and with Audrey Hamilton from For You PR. Also my friends from The Shark Radio like Daniel Bautz and Jim Malliard are always willing to tell me whether or not something works.

8. Can you tell us about what writing project you’re working on right now?

I AM WOLF, book 1 of The Children of Nox is slated to be released on January 15th. So I have been working on giveaways on things that are related to the story itself. It has been a lot of fun meeting new people. Also I’m working on Book 2 of The Children of Nox called The Kiss. All I can say about this one is, can a kiss trap a soul? I can’t wait for the release of this series. 😀

9. What do you have planned for the future?

In the future, I have plans to simulcast the radio show on another station and hopefully a few more. 🙂 Also I have a 9 book series I really love writing called Night Walkers. I can’t tell you what it’s about yet…but soon I hope. Also I have Chaos and the Beltane which is a modern day horror/fantasy novel…more to come about that as well. Finally I have a book called Heartbeat. It’s the first real romance I’ve written and can’t wait to see what happens next. 😀

The other thing I’m hoping to announce will be that the options are sold for I Am Wolf, Book 1 Children of Nox.

9. Do you have a blog/website where our readers can find out more about what you’re doing?

http://www.theeclecticartistcave.com has all my information about everything I’m into. I also have an author’s page, http://joannhbuchanan.blogspot.com/ and last but not least, www.nightmaresandheartbeats.com.

I’m supposed to ask you a silly question…I know…just go with it!! LOL

10. Have you ever thrown your panties/underwear at a rock star or celebrity?

No I haven’t….lmao. I have thought about it though…he he he

If so, which one(s)? If not, which one(s) would you throw your panties/underwear at, given the opportunity?

It would have to be 30 Seconds to Mars or Marianas Trench, Fighting for Ithaca.

Thank you Joann, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions. Everyone has been eager to find out all about you and your radio show. I know I was.

Thank you Beth for this opportunity. You have been such a cool inspiration to so many people. Huge hugs and Merry Christmas. 😀

Merry Christmas to you, Joann!

An Interview With New Author, Missy Davis

I recently completed my first interview with Lisa Olsen, author of The Touch and Pretty Witches All In A Row, and got some amazing answers to my questions. This time out, I’ve interviewed Missy Davis, a new author who hasn’t yet published any of her works, but will be soon.

She recently participated in NaNoWriMo and successfully completed a novel in the month of November. She is currently in the middle of edits.

Please join me in welcoming Missy Davis.

You’re a new author, just starting out. What inspires you to write?

That’s a tricky question, actually, because it has two parts to it. The first part is why did I want to be a writer.  I was an avid reader from the moment I could read my first words.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  In third grade I remember getting a notebook as a prize from a teacher and I started writing poetry where every line had to rhyme. Something like “The little kitten lay, fast asleep in the hay.”  The other reason I started writing was that it was an escape from life.  Reading and writing got me through some very difficult times growing up.  There is nothing like getting lost in another world to avoid the one you live in.  In many ways I want to provide that outlet for others.

As far as what inspires me to write my stories, it’s different all the time.  Sometimes it’s a certain feeling I get that there is something inside just itching to come out.  A lot of ideas pop in my head right as I am working on another project.  In the past, these ideas have distracted me from finishing whatever writing I was working on at the time.  Now I just write down the general idea and promise to come back to it when I can devote adequate time to it. Here lately, it’s the inspiration of fellow writers that gets me moving.  Seeing that others believe in you and have walked the path before you really helps when you are just starting out.  Having people who appreciate what I write and give me feedback has been so helpful since I’ve been terrified to share my work with others.  You know how it is, we’re always our worst critic and we sometimes expect others to treat our work as critically as we treat it.

I’ve really enjoyed writing flash fictions to get the ideas flowing too.  Participating in Writer Wednesday with Joann H. Buchanon has inspired me with new ideas every week.  http://theeclecticartistcave.blogspot.com/ I find that challenging myself to write things I would not normally write has actually given me more ideas for stories to pursue in the future.

You have a young family. How do you juggle writing while doing all the home life things you need to get done, too?

Actually so far it has been easier than I thought it would be. My daughter is about 15 months old right now and she is extremely active, so it has been a challenge.  I take advantage of naptime.  She gets a good two hours of sleep in the afternoon which is a good chunk of time.  I sometimes put cleaning on the back burner and make meals that last a couple of nights so I have more time to focus on other things.  My husband has been very helpful too, especially during NaNoWriMo. I have left the house with the laptop or camped out in the bedroom away from family life for a few hours at a time. Weekends have become my friend as I let daddy take over caring for baby.  It gives me time to work on things or take a break while he gets to bond with our daughter.  The biggest chunk of time that I have is when my child goes to bed for the night.  When everyone else is asleep I finally get the quiet time that I need to focus on writing.  My house may not be as picture perfect as the in-laws, never clean enough to pass the white glove test, but it’s enough for us to function and certainly a lot cleaner than it was when we were both working desk jobs.  Sometimes we sacrifice for our craft.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

What genre do you write in?

I actually have so many ideas that I am not sure where I fit anymore.  I have ideas for children’s books, romance novels, and fantasy novels.  I just have so many ideas that it could take me in different directions and I really feel like I cannot limit myself to one.  The two that I have worked on recently have been fantasy novels.  One is a fantasy novel in which I had to construct the whole world from scratch.  This book has been a challenge to write.  It was so difficult to create a world that I expect others to believe in.  It’s taking me a while to get through revisions because my writing has changed so much since I first started it.  The other one is a contemporary romantic fantasy with a little paranormal in the fact that I am writing about the Shadow people.  I wrote this story for the NaNoWriMo challenge and fell in love with it from the start.  It’s so much easier to write a story when you do not have to create the whole world it belongs in.

Do you work outside of the home? If so, what kind of work do you do and do you incorporate your work life into your writing?

I used to work outside the home before I had my child.  I’ve taught middle school and elementary school, so I think in the future when I write children’s novels, I will pull greatly from that experience.  I will be kind to the teachers when I write my books, because we often read about the evil, nasty teachers and never hear about the ones that put their heart and soul into the classroom.  I also worked a desk job, so I guess it is easy to say that I could incorporate the daily frustrations of dealing with people and working in a small cubicle that sucks the life out of you.  Currently I am a stay at home mom, and am thoroughly enjoying raising my daughter. It allows me to watch her grow and encourages me to be the best role model I can be for her.  Someday I know she will be proud of me for pursuing my own dreams. I hope to encourage her to do the same.

You’ve just completed NaNoWriMo, completing a full length novel in one month. Did you already have the idea ahead of time? Would you do another one NaNoWriMo?

I actually started this novel a few years ago.  It was a spur of the moment idea and I had only written about 3 pages.  I pulled it up a few weeks before the challenge began and was surprised to see I had started it in first person.  The challenge for me was to continue along this route.  I have always written in third person, because it is easier to distance yourself from the characters.  I learned that it can be easy to put more of yourself into it if you try writing from a more personalized perspective.  I intend to go back to Terrahtu and try to instill a deeper honesty like my Nano.

I would like to devote more than November to writing a novel in a month.  It was a great experience for me.  It provided me with the evidence that I needed.  Can I write a book in a short period of time?  Yes.  Would I like what I wrote?  Absolutely. Would I have as many problems as I did with the first book, seeing as how it took me almost ten years to complete? No.  Actually I feel like I had less problems because I was not able to over think the writing process.  I’m excited to go back and edit this Nano.  It was a lot of fun to write.  I will definitely do this again next year, but this time I will come up with an idea and not start it before November 1.

What kind of support system do you have?

I have my wonderful husband and some really awesome friends that encourage me to keep going everyday.  My husband likes to say that I am the next JK Rowling, and while I giggle every time he says it, I think it is incredibly sweet.  He knows that my goal for writing is not to make an absurd amount of money. It’s simply to be read and appreciated.  He wants me to follow my dreams and every day he works to support our family so that I can stay home with our daughter and work on my writing.  My closest friends celebrate every landmark I reach with me.  Having a writing community like WMD also has been a godsend.  I was accepted within the folds quickly and treated as if I had always been one of them from the start.  It’s amazing to share my work with them and not worry that they will do anything but appreciate the work of a former writer.  I don’t cringe and wait for the criticism, because they are authors too, and know that while writing is a certain percentage art, the majority of it all is defined by heart.

When did you start writing creatively? What were some of the early writings that you did? Would you ever use any of them now?

I think I sort of answered this on a previous question.  I have been writing for a very long time. I have never written professionally before though.  When I was a child, I loved reading and escaping into other worlds.  My favorite books when I was a child were written by C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, and Jean Craighead George.  I very much wanted to live on my own and survive in the forest. When I was in third grade I wrote a fanfiction story for Highlights Magazine, but it was never published. The title was Superfudge Junior, and you can probably guess it was all about Farley Drexel Junior and how he was very much like his father as a child.  I did not understand copyright infringement at the time, which is why I think they never responded to my inquiry.   From there I continued to write more poetry.  I remember when my mom attended a parent teacher conference for 8th grade.  My English teacher told her how impressed she was with my writing and told her that I wrote like a 20 year old.  It was the best compliment I had ever received at the time, and it made me want to do even better.

When I entered high school I started writing short stories, mostly for school assignments.  By the time I was a junior in high school, my English teacher encouraged me to enter for a chance to attend the Illinois Summer School for the Arts.  At that point in time I had already been writing longer short stories, one of them being a ghost story, which I entered as an example of my writing.  I won a scholarship to attend the two week summer camp, and had the time of my life. I decided from then on that I wanted to be a writer.  The funny thing is that I had such a logical head on my shoulders and decided since writing was not a guarantee that I had to have a profession to fall back on.   So I attended Illinois State University and got a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.  I became a teacher, who put everything I had into my work and had very little left over to work on the book that I had started when I was in college.  When I was finally able to quit teaching, my writing became my focus again.

What else would you be doing if you couldn’t write, and why?

Well, I’ve already done it.  I was a teacher.  I loved teaching, but the dealing with administration and bureaucratic imbeciles that had never spent a day in the classroom literally sucked the soul right out of my body.  I would probably find a desk job if I could no longer write.  Or just stay home and raise my children and let my husband take care of us.  One day he says I will keep him in the manner to which he should be accustomed.  Ha ha ha!  Dare to dream I tell him.

Have you got ideas for more books that are just itching to get written?

Absolutely.  I have two children’s book ideas, a romance novel, and another fantasy romance novel. Then there is the sequel to Terrahtu, which is several chapters from the original version of the book.  I had way too many characters and ideas going on in the very first version, so I split it into two books.  I just have to go back and start on the other one.

Who inspires you to write?

I think it is fair to say that the people I know and love inspire me every day to write, but every part of my past is a stepping stone to another story.  It is true that writers suffer great melancholy, and I have had my fair share which I think allows me to put more emotion into my writing.  I also think that everything I have gone through in this lifetime has inspired me to be who I am.  I waited most of my life to get to the point where I believe in me and while having others like what I do is nice, I have to be the one to inspire and motivate myself to continue.  There was nothing like finishing the first book, being proud of myself, and knowing that I could repeat the process anytime I wanted.

I’m supposed to ask you a silly question…There was an underwear challenge going around awhile back…here is one of the questions: How many bloggers does it take to put panties on a goat?

Well I think it takes at least six, maybe seven.  One to distract the goat with food, while two others pick up the back feet.  One more padded like a hockey goalie, who struggles to put on the underwear without being kicked.  Two giggling on the side hysterically while they take photos for Beth’s funny picture blog and one more viciously texting ideas for their next sci-fi blog titled “Attack of the Killer Goats” in which evil underwear wearing goats come after the WMD writers for even thinking they could put underwear on a goat without retribution.

Thank you, Missy for the great interview. It was wonderful getting to know you.  Her blogs are at www.daenira.wordpress.com and www.iwroteabooknowwhat.wordpress.com

An Interview With New Author, Lisa Olsen

I’ve never done an interview before, but I decided that we have a lot of amazing talent at the Facebook WMD! We have so many new faces, new authors and best-selling author’s there that we all should get to know. Who knows, you might even learn something.

Today I’m interviewing Lisa Olsen. She is a new author within the past few years and obviously has the heart to write. She is an active member of Facebook WMD, a wife, mother and author. Let’s find out more about her.

1. What or who inspired you to start writing?

I’m not sure what triggered it really. I didn’t write much as a child or a young adult.  I was more into music, (I actually recorded an album at age 7!) but performing scares the bejeezus out of me, so it made singing a gut wrenching experience all through my formative years.  Writing satisfies that same need to perform I suppose, but I can maintain a level of comfort while I do the actual writing.  As for what inspired me to actually complete a novel, NaNoWriMo was the catalyst for me two years ago.  It helped me get past my inner editor and complete my first novel, and I haven’t looked back.

2. I’ve had a Paranormal experience, and I wrote about it. You write about the Paranormal. Have you had any paranormal experiences, and did you write them into your stories?

I love reading about the Paranormal, but I haven’t had many personal experiences myself.  The closest was my husband stayed on a haunted ranch in Australia when he was a small boy.  They would find random items under the bed from time to time, left by ghosts.  I incorporated that into The Touch.

3. How do you juggle family life and writing?

I’m very lucky because my kids are pretty self sufficient these days.  I don’t know how people do it when they have kids under ten.  It’s rough on the kids sometimes when I’m in the middle of a project and I don’t have time to help make cookies or dye someone’s hair purple, but I tend to write in bursts, so I try to make time to do fun family stuff too.   Learning to find balance continues to be something I struggle with, since ALL I want to do is write sometimes.

4. You’ve just participated in NaNoWriMo and you’ve succeeded in getting a full length novel written in a month. Have you done this before? Did you already have the idea ahead of time or did the book just sort of “come” to you?

Yes, This is my third NaNo and I’ve also successfully completed a WriDatNoJun (write that novel in June) which gave me Pretty Witches All in a Row (98,500 words) and SeptNoWriMo (September Novel Writing Month) which gave me Angel of Mercy (78,000 words).  I very much like the deadline, and I can handle 50k in a month no sweat, but I tend to want to finish the WHOLE book, and completing it all in a month can be rough.  My preferred pace is to keep it between 2-3k words per day, and write every day barring illness or catastrophes and just power through it until it’s done.

I’m definitely a planner instead of a “pantser” when it comes to writing.  When I’m heading into a writing project, I go through a list of ideas (I’m a HUGE believer in lists. I even have a list of lists!).  Because I am constantly writing down book ideas, I whittle down the list of potential ideas and pick out the one that speaks to me the most.  I take about a week to flesh it out,sometimes a few days extra if it needs some research, and get my outline done.  Then instead of starting, I go back through my outline again. If I don’t start hearing the characters talking to me for different scenes and capturing bits of dialogue, then it’s not a good project to begin. So I’m pretty prepared when the actual writing begins, I’ve got most scenes sketched out in my head with at least the bare bones of what I want to happen.

5. What kind of support system do you have?

My husband is fantastic!  He formats my books for e-book and print, designs my cover art, helps me coordinate the advertising, he’s my sounding board for ideas and phrases and he makes a mean cup of cocoa!  My mother helps me with editing and my oldest daughter is an amazing proofreader (I can’t believe what she finds after it’s already been through four pairs of eyes!).  They’re all fantastically supportive and give me the space I need to write… most of the time. I’ve also found a great group of writers online (you know who you are!) who have been tremendously supportive and that is so buoying, especially as a self published author.  It’s great to hear positive feedback from people who aren’t genetically linked to me, you know?

6. Do you work outside the home as well? If so, what do you do?

Boy do I!  I work full time as an auto insurance medical adjuster which means I talk to people who are hurt in car accidents all day long, helping them understand their coverage and trying to get medical providers to bill me.  It’s amazing to me how many hoops I have to jump through just to get a bill sometimes.  Hello, I just want to give you money!!!  It’s incredibly stressful and time consuming, especially when half of our department are deployed across the country to assist when hurricanes or storms hit hard and we have to pick up their work too, but it pays well and that gives me the ability to self publish without having to stress over much on every expenditure since I am just starting out.

7. How long have you been writing?

Hmmm, I learned to read and write when Iwas three, but that’s not what you’re asking is it?  I’ve been an avid online RPG writer (that’s role playing games for the uninitiated) for about fifteen years, writing everything from Buffy, Star Trek, and Lost fandoms to original sci-fi and fantasy stuff.  Before I started writing books, I juggled up to twenty games at a time, writing for multiple characters several times a day.  Right now I’m pared down to a single game because of time constraints (though I do play about 5 or 6 characters there, not all at once).  Some of my favorite characters have been in writing back and forth with my husband.  We’ll be inspired by a movie or TV show and just start writing together, it’s very relaxing and some of what we’ve written has turned into book ideas.

I’ve been writing novels for about 2 years. Before that I’d started and discarded project after project for a decade or so.  I published my first book this past June.  I also write fan fiction for Vampire Diaries and True Blood on fanfiction.net under the name Mystewitch for about a year and a half.  I love the instant feedback from the reviews there, and it’s neat to see I have readers from all around the world!

8. Tell us about what you’re working on now?

I’ve just finished my first draft of my new vampire series, Wake Me When the Sun Goes Down.  I knew I wanted to do a vampire project for this NaNo because I love vampires and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do one (for my first book I literally flipped a coin – vampires or werewolves, and werewolves won out), and I knew I wanted to do an origin story for a girl who wakes up in a morgue as a vampire with no memory of how she turned.  I had this idea about an Order of vampires that polices the general vampire population who’d come knocking to check her license and registration for being a newbie vamp, and the story grew from there.  I’m about a third of the way through edits now and hope to have it out later this month.  Here is the blurb:

“It was ironic that this happened to me; I was never a night person at heart.  So you can see right off the bat why a vampire was the very last thing I would have chosen to be.”

Anja Evans wakes up in the morgue with a helluva hangover.  It takes almost eating her best friend before she figures out… she’s a vampire!  When a dark and dangerous vampire shows up at her door asking to see her license and registration, Anja assumes Bishop is a regular cop.  But breeding among vampires is strictly controlled, and her unlicensed status makes her an enemy of the Order.  Struggling to find a balance between her former life and her undead one, Anja tries to blend school and living up to her new identity, all while searching to find the elusive Viking whose blood gave Anja the strength of a vampire hundreds of years old.

9. What else would you be doing if you couldn’t write, and why?

Wow, I actually can’t really picture what else I’d be doing at this point, writing has been so integrated into my life now.  Like I said before, I get too much stage fright to pursue any singing anymore.  I’d love to open up a little curio/bookstore/coffeeshop I suppose, but only so I can write when it’s not busy.  So damn, that fits writing back into the picture again!

10. What kind of books do you like to read, and do you write reviewsfor them?

I have so little time to read anymore!  I know I probably should, but I seem to be always writing when I have free time.  I enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse books quite a bit, and I loved Anne Rice’s vampire and Mayfair witches series.  I’m also a huge fan of some older classics like Gone with the Wind, East of Eden and To Kill a Mockingbird.  I am guiltyof not leaving a review for the last book I read, but I was only lukewarm about it, so I decided it was best not to review at all.  I plan to read Mark Hunter’s Storm Chaser next, hopefully when I’m done with edits for Wake Me When the Sun Goes Down. 

Thank you, Lisa for your candid answers. I really think that you will go far with your writing. I thoroughly enjoyed The Touch and you can read my review of this book at www.writersofmassdistraction.com or at www.shamelessreviewsandpromotions.blogspot.com. You can also view Lisa’s web site at http://www.lisaolsen.net/.