Tag Archives: First Book Chat

First Book Chat With MK Mancos

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How long did it take you to write your first book?

My first book was written in about 1993 (that’s nineteen ninety-three – the font looks wacky here) on a word processor that only showed maybe four or five lines of type at a time. It had a cartridge and ribbon in it and held I don’t remember how many pages of text before I had to put a piece (single) into the carriage and hit print. It was more of a glorified typewriter. So, given that it took me longer to write than you can imagine. I wrote it, but knew it wasn’t good. Nowhere near ready to publish. I completed it in about 3-6 months, maybe. Then stuck it under a bunch of stuff in a drawer and started on the next book. By this time, we’d purchased our first computer that ran Windows 95. What a revelation that was to my craft. I actually could correct as I went and print later. LOL. Flash forward many books and programs later – to about 2004 (?) I was at the New Jersey Romance Writers annual conference and was going to pitch to TOR books. Well, I hadn’t planned to pitch the book I did, but when I got my pitch envelope it said they wanted PNR. I had planned to pitch and epic fantasy. I had to switch gears and fast. So, I pitched that first book I wrote with the understanding that I had to dust if off and rewrite it. And I did. I started from the first sentence, first word and rewrote the entire book in 3 months. I switched things up and condensed a few characters together. That book was passed on by TOR but I ended up signing it with Samhain. It was released in 2006, I think, and was titled By A Silken Thread. It was a mystery/PNR about near-death experiences.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always been a storyteller. To myself, to pass the time. On break between summer and fall I’d sit in my room and type out short stories in junior high and high school. It’s been a dream that I made come true. When I first mentioned it to my fiancé (now husband of 26 years) he encouraged me to make it happen and I haven’t looked back.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

That first book – 2. I wrote that first horrid copy, and then the one I sent to the publisher. There had been about a 10-year gap between revisions and I learned so much in that time and had honed and worked on my craft with other books, so it’s hardly a fair comparison.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

Oddly, the first thing I had published wasn’t the first book I wrote. In between writing By A Silken Thread first and second drafts, I read all kinds of writing publications. Writers’ Journal used to do these writing challenges where they printed the first slug of sentence and the author had to come up with the story behind it. I decided to give it a try. First prize was $50 and first print of your story. The slug I used was “Cars were still going by…” Well, me being me, I couldn’t make that be anything other than dark, so I finished the sentence with, “on the way to the cemetery.” – Thus, the short story “Grave Dancing” was born. I had no idea I’d won the contest until I found a free copy of the magazine in my mailbox one morning. I opened it and there was my printed story with my byline. I was so excited. You’d think I had won a Pulitzer or something. After that I sold an erotic romance novella to Red Sage Publishing.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

I used to be more of a plotter than pantser. Now, I’m an amalgamation of them both. Publishing has changed completely, since I’m mostly publishing indy now and have only 3 pubs I still have books with. I’ve gotten all my rights back to the other books I had with other publishers.

How many books have you published since then?

Somewhere in the 30s. I lost count. Too many coming and going and republishing and such. I have no head for that kind of accounting.

Interview with MK Mancos aka Kathleen Scott, Kate Davison, and Cassie Sweet

First Book Chat Finale

If anybody knows me well enough, they will know that I’m always inspired to help and uplift people. I am also known to have random ideas. Over a month ago, I had an idea to interview five people at random about their first book. I was going to put all five interviews in one blog to highlight how each one was different. I even wrote out five questions to ask them.

Two things happened. I got a remarkable response and I no longer wanted to pick just five. I also realized that five interviews in one blog would be a very long blog. So I posted all the responses as their own blog. They are listed here for anybody who wants to read them:

Author’s First Book Chats:

  1. Delta James
  2. H. Gorlitz Scott
  3. P.S Bartlett
  4. Laura Hawks
  5. Gryffyn Pheonix
  6. Kyra Dune
  7. Golden Angel
  8. Casey Hays
  9. Christina Lanier
  10. Evelyn Lederman
  11. Artemis Milchon
  12. Cheryllynn Dyess
  13. D.L Pitchford
  14. Lannie Sheridan
  15. Amber Anthony
  16. Lily Wallis
  17. MK Mancos

Writing a book is hard. Publishing and marketing is harder. Feeling under pressure because you think it has to be a certain way or you have to do it a certain way makes things even worse. So seeing the responses and how different they were is a comfort to me. And I hope others find comfort in it as well.

In the end, if nothing else is taken from this experiment, I hope that you realize there is no time line. If you get it done in a week, great. If it takes you years, awesome. Go at your own pace. If you need to put it down for awhile, do so.

There is no amount of drafts you have to write. If you find it perfect after the first draft, good. If it takes you many drafts, that’s fine too. In the end, if you can’t be happy with your work, nobody else can either.

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Olive Ann Burns started her career out as a journalist. She never expected to write fiction, but that changed when she was diagnosed with cancer in 1975. She had begun writing notes about her family history in 1971 that helped fuel her book Cold Sassy Tree. The book was released in 1984. Olive Ann Burns was sixty years old.

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Olive Ann Burns was already working on the sequel to Cold Sassy Tree when her cancer relapsed in 1987. Through her treatments, she kept attempting to finish the book. She passed away in 1990 with the novel unfinished.

If you stick with it and you put your passions into it, it will show. Sometimes great work takes longer to come out than others. Never feel discouraged or overwhelmed. If you do, please take a break. That way you can come back with a clear head. Remember, the power is in your hands and in your mind.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. I hope that it’s inspired the writers to go on. I also hope that readers have found new authors through this. There will always be hope and inspiration everywhere you look.

*I found the images and quotes on Google Image Search*

First Book Chat With Delta James

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How long did it take you to write your first book?

My first novel began the night I recognized that somewhere along the way, I had lost the part of myself that lived without fear.  I got up off the couch, fired up my computer and opened myself up to the possibilities.  My first heroine stepped forward and said, “I have a story to tell.”  Two weeks later I submitted that story for publication.  Within two months, I saw my first novel appear for sale on Amazon.

What inspired you to start writing?

The recognition that as a younger woman I had adopted the creed that fortune favors the bold, but that somewhere along the way, fear had dulled that edge.  I made a decision to banish fear-based decisions from my life.  That thought was almost immediately followed by the abandoned dream of becoming an author.  I let go of the fear and embraced the possibility of living a dream.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

One of the ways I’m kind of an odd-ball is that I edit as I write.  Each day when I begin to start to write, I re-read at least the previous chapter and edit.  Once I have completed the first full manuscript, I re-read the entire thing and send it to my beta reader who sends me suggested edits.  I make those and then re-read it before sending it to an editor.  I get those edits back, make them, re-read the entire manuscript and then return to the editor who either has additional suggestions or forwards to the line-editor.  Once the line-editor is done, I re-send to my beta reader and then I will re-read a final time once she is through.  A long-winded way of saying five to eight times … and still once it’s published you find things!

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

My first book went live about 11:30 PM the night before it was scheduled to be released.  Seeing it appear on Amazon was a thrill.  I squealed loud enough to wake up my three basset girls who were napping in the office.  I was beside myself … they just thought if I was going to be excited and wake them up, I needed to get them a cookie!

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

The writing process is about the same, although I believe I’m a better writer. The publishing process is far different.  I changed publishers. The second/current publisher has a far more extensive and involved editing process, which I just love.  That’s another odd-ball thing about me – I love the editing process.  I always learn things and new skills to improve my writing and my process.

How many books have you published since then?

This Friday, August 2nd, I will release Warlord:  A Dark Shifter Romance, which will be my twenty-first novel (under two pen names) since my debut novel in January 2018.  I published six novels under the pen name Willa Bradley with Blushing Books.  In July 2018, I published my first novel (Brought to Heel) under the pen name Delta James (which I now use exclusively) with Stormy Night Publications.

First Book Chat With H. Gorlitz Scott

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How long did it take you to write your first book?

So, this can get a little complicated to answer, so I’ll preface this with the fact that I started off doing independent comics. My first was a web-comic, which took about a week for each “page.” After that I went to doing printed comic issues, which took me about a year to produce (scriptwriting, then drawing takes a lot of time, ya know?).  My first words-only/no pictures novel took me about 3 years to write.

What inspired you to start writing?

My husband got me into comics with his weird concepts, but the overall story of Sivoa came about because of long-lost childhood days of playing “pretend” at my parent’s house.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

About a million. Then I went crying to a wonderful freelance editor because I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I was doing everything wrong. There were about three more rounds of edits before we felt it was ready to send off.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

This question is why I brought up the comic stuff before, as that gave me prior experience with releasing my works into the world. “Hitting the publish button” wasn’t really anything new to me by that point.

Marketing it for the first time as a new author wound up being a whole different story and, frankly, I was terrified. Honestly, I never got  over that; marketing still scares me.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

I take a little bit more care with the outline and the first draft now. No more “[insert name here]” or blanks as I write anymore. Filling those in later was practically impossible due to my not being able to recall my thoughts when I went back to them. It really bogged things down.

How many books have you published since then?

I only published one book since then – an anthology of shorts about the characters that do not transition from the first book to the second. It’s thin, but it has also been illustrated and made into a functional calendar. 😉

First Book Chat With P.S. Bartlett

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How long did it take you to write your first book?

If I remember correctly, all in all about three months. The actual writing took about a month but add in all the research, editing, rewrites etc. and three months sounds about right.

What inspired you to start writing?

The voices!

Yes, the voices is what I tell people but as writers, we know what that means. It isn’t like we hear actual voices but more like our imagination is speaking to us in the voice of a character. Mine was Ennis, a little boy who had a story he wants me to tell about his life. I was on a treadmill at Planet Fitness and he wouldn’t stop “telling” me his story. I finally agreed and FIREFLIES was born.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

About three—four if you count the professional editor’s suggestions and changes.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

I felt so accomplished. I’ve always been the type of person who commits 100%. When I decide to do something, I dig in my heels and don’t stop until it’s done. With writing, to see your book right in front of you, your name on the cover, your beautiful cover design that you chose from the artist, then to open it and see your dream come true is something like a miracle. It’s like Christmas morning when you’re a child.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

It’s ten times easier. Back then, I was with a boutique publisher and granted, she did all the heavy lifting for me but even now that I self-publish, the hardest part is writing the story, editing and finding a good professional editor and beta readers. The best part about now is I have learned so much. All I want to do is top myself with every book. Getting better with every line is all that matters.

How many books have you published since then?

At the moment, I have a total of seven published. My eighth book is complete and currently going through the editing process. I’m hoping for a Christmas release, but things are going so well that is might be Halloween!

I’d also like to thank bloggers like you for being such a wonderful support system to independent authors like me. We definitely couldn’t get our work out there without you!

First Book Chat With Laura Hawks

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How long did it take you to write your first book?

Two months (I sorta cheated, as some of it was already written for a story on FB and I just reworked it)

What inspired you to start writing?

I run a FB role playing group and some members of my group were published and encouraged me to submit for an anthology. Long story short, it was refused by that company, but one of the authors showed it to another small press who wanted the short story turned into a novel. Readers seemed to like the book and asked for more and that has inspired me to keep writing. Now I have stories I just need to get on paper.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

Five

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

Shocked (that anyone liked it) excited. Thrilled.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

A complete 360. I started with a small time press who planned to do everything, marketing, editing, cover.. and now I do it all. I was unprepared for entering this world, but have had a lot of help from other authors. I admit I’m still floundering sometimes, especially with marketing and promoting, but the thing about writing and publishing it’s a never-ending learning experience.

How many books have you published since then?

11 books, one photo-souvenir booklet, one word-search with 28 other authors.

First Book Chat With Gryffyn Phoenix

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How long did it take you to write your first book?

Verity and the Haven/Helm kids were born when my parents dropped me off at college. I was 16. Verity and my journey were pretty much the same, learning to see things through my own eyes and not my friends or family. When I went to write down Verity’s tale, many many … many years later it took me 10 days.

What inspired you to start writing?

I was eleven years old before I found out everyone didn’t have a movie theater in their heads showing new stories. In other words, I don’t think I was inspired to be a writer, I just was one.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

My first book … I was lucky. I had a number of professional editors in my life who taught me by working on it with me. It was a great way to get started.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

Euphoric. Anyone who does drugs or likes alcohol should try finishing a book they’ve written. Best feeling EVER.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

When I started it was just to help chill me out. Drain out some of the frustration I felt with my life. So basically a weird kind of hobby. After it was done, and in my hands, WOW! I mean, as a manuscript it feels like your baby. Once it’s published, you get this baby isn’t yours anymore.

How many books have you published since then?

There are three books in the Haven Awakening series, and one omnibus edition. Now I’m launching a new series based on the Aguane. Historically, the Aguane were fashion loving, kick ass fairies who lived for each other and avenging crime against women. The Roman legion recorded their existence warning their soldiers to not engage, how cool is that? So Rise of the Night Goddess will be the first installment in this girl power saga.

First Book Chat With Kyra Dune

How long did it take you to write your first book?

It took me about a year in total.

What inspired you to start writing?

When I was in fourth grade, our teacher let us sit quietly at our desk and do whatever if we finished our assignments early. Me, big old nerd that I am, always did, so I’d have a book to read. I’ve been a big reader since forever. One day, I finished my book, I didn’t have another one, so I just took out my notebook and started writing one. I’ve been writing ever since.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

Three. That always seems to be my magic number.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

When I opened the email and saw my book had been accepted for publication, I cried.  It was just the most amazing feeling ever.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

I don’t have as much free time for writing these days, so it goes a bit slower. As far as publishing, I now self-publish all of my books. I like the control and, honestly, I’ve made more money off my self-published books than I ever did off the traditionally published ones. Granted, I’ve only worked with a few small press publishers, and not any real big houses, but I definitely like self-publishing better. Of course, if one of the big boys in New York ever came knocking on my door, I wouldn’t slam it in their face.

How many books have you published since then?

I have 40 published novels to date.

Links:

Amazon

Other retailers

First Book Chat With Golden Angel

How long did it take you to write your first book?

My first book actually started out as a serial for an online website that was eventually turned into a book and self-published. I think it took me about a month and a half to get the full story written and uploaded to the website.

What inspired you to start writing?

The website I was reading erotica on! After a couple of years I ran through all the stories I wanted to read and I knew exactly what kind of story I wanted to read but no one seemed to be writing new ones exactly like what I wanted. So I figured I should give writing a shot, because then I could have exactly what I wanted without relying on anyone else. I’d always enjoyed writing anyway and I had all these ideas in my head about what I wanted to see happen in a story; it was a bit of a relief to finally get it out of my head and onto some ‘paper.’

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

I just published a chapter at a time on the website. I did some proofreading / editing of my own before self-publishing and added a few small scenes, but I went back again later and did more rounds of proofreading / editing, with the help of others.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

Readers from the website had actually asked me to publish the story, they wanted to be able to buy it and read it on their e-readers and not just online, so at the time it didn’t feel like that big of a deal. It was just ‘oh, sure, I guess I could do that’ – looked up how to publish through Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, etc. and just got it out there. It wasn’t until the sales and reviews started coming in and I realized people who weren’t just readers from the website were also reading it and loving it and wanting more that I really had that moment of awe and realized “Oh wow… I actually wrote a book. That people are reading.” That was both humbling and amazing. Publishing the second book was so much scarier because I finally had all the usual worries – what if people don’t like it? What if it doesn’t live up to what they wanted after reading the first book? I do remember that I cried the first time I held a paperback of my book in my hands.

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

So different and yet so the same! Now I rarely have time to write for the website, but I feel like I’m still writing books for the readers who want specific stories from that world. I spend a lot more time editing and proof-reading, I have beta readers now who help me, and I pay to have the editing / proof-reading done. The biggest difference to the publishing process is that I now actually do marketing. I was so scared of the author community back when I first began publishing, I didn’t consider myself good enough to even try talking to other authors, and now I feel like I’m fairly involved in the community which welcomed me with open arms. I kick myself for being so shy at the beginning, but I’m so glad to have found them now!

How many books have you published since then?

I believe I’m at about 40 books under my main pen name, not counting the anthologies I’ve been a part of, and another 10 under my alternate pen name. And still going!

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First Book Chat With Casey Hays

How long did it take you to write your first book?


About three months, but it wasn’t very good. In fact, I’m rewriting the story now. It will be released in 2020 with a new title and cover. Now, it takes me 6-8 months of writing to bring a book up to standard for publishing.

What inspired you to start writing?

I was a high school English teacher for 11 years, and I really wanted to write a book for my students. So… I did.

How many drafts did you do before you felt it was ready to publish?

I can’t even remember, it’s been so long. And I’m one of those writers who stops to revise as I go. I never get through even one draft without revising it. But if I had to guess, I’d say I wrote roughly 5-7 drafts and a dozen revisions of my first book (working closely with my editor) before I felt comfortable with publishing.

How did publishing for the first time ever make you feel?

I was elated. I wrote the book in 2008, but it was not published until 2012 because I was in a queue at the publishing company and had to wait my turn. Impatience set in, but finally, it was my turn! I wanted to be published by my 40th birthday. I turned 40 in April and the book released May 15. Close enough!

How different would you say the writing and publishing process is for you now than it was then?

Now, I take my time. I’ve learned how to slow down and develop my characters, my setting, my storyline. I let these elements lead the story rather than forcing a plot. I still revise as I go (I can’t seem to break my self of that) but I’m what you’d call a sculpting author. I shape and perfect the story bit by bit as I go. Then I go back and do it all over again two or three or ten more times with my editor. I still only release 1 or 2 books a year. I’m a stickler for doing my best to present a book that is error-free for the most part and satisfying and relatable for readers who enjoy my genres. I’ve learned the fewer books I publish within a year’s time span, the better they will be. So I’ve never published more than 2 in a year. I’m also my own publisher now with my own company, Whispering Pages, LLC, so I get to work at my own pace. It’s refreshing.

How many books have you published since then?

I have a total of 10 books published in two genres: dystopian sci-fi and paranormal romance (all YA books expect for A Heart of Flesh – it’s New Adult Dystopian.)