Interview | MG Author Chris Grabenstein

In the past few months I’ve discovered an author that’s been around awhile, but that I’ve only just discovered. Since then, I’ve read multiple books by this middle grade author and can honestly say that he is my new favorite author.

Chris Grabenstein is a funny, interesting, and intelligent author from Buffalo, New York. He co-writes the I FUNNY, HOUSE OF ROBOTS, TREASURE HUNTERS, and JACKY HA-HA books with James Patterson, as well as writing many of his own, fabulous, works. My current favorite is a three way tie between Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, and Dr. Libris Library. You can find Mr. Grabenstein at Goodreads and at chrisgrabenstein.com.

I caught up with Chris this past week and he very kindly answered a few questions for me to pass along to you. So, without further ado, here is Author Chris Grabensteins Interview.

1) I stalked your Goodreads page and saw that Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library was inspired by a library in New York and that a 5th grader made the comment that got the ball rolling for Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, which are both amazing, but who did you base the characters on? And are YOU MR. Lemoncello?
The characters come from various sources.  Kyle Keeley, who is the third son in his family, is based on my memories of being the third son in my family.  The only time I could ever beat my big brothers was when we played board games.  Sierra Russell is based on every bookworm I’ve met on my numerous school visits (and seems to be a character that resonates with a lot of young readers and older ones, too!)  Miguel Fernandez is based on (and named after) a fifth grader I tutored at my church’s Homework Help program.   And, yes, Mr. Lemoncello is sort of based on me and also the late Jim Henson, whom I worked for back in the 1980s.   The wackiness comes from me.  The unbridled creativity coupled with a bajillion dollars comes from Mr. Henson.
I, like many of us, adore the late Jim Henson. This makes me love Lemoncello even more (which I didn’t know was possible)
2) Welcome to Wonderland, Home Sweet Motel is coming out October of 2016 and (on your website) features Roadside Americana. Was it a piece of that roadside Americana that prompted and inspired this story? If so, what piece started the journey?
WONDERLAND is based on my memories of visiting my grandmother every summer in St. Petersburg, Florida.  We’d pack up the car and hit the road, stopping at places like South Of The Border and Weeki Wachee Springs (mermaid shows!).   While staying at an extended stay motel in Michigan, helping my wife take care of her father, I remembered how much I used to LOVE staying in a motel when I was a kid.  Swimming pools!  Snack vending machines!  Toilets sanitized for my protection.   So, I wondered, what if I was a kid who LIVED in a motel!
I feel a road trip coming on!
3) You’ve written books across the age levels, is there any difference in your writing process when those age levels and genres change?
When writing for ages 8-12, I have to watch my language.  No, not that way (even though I do).  I have to be more aware of the vocabulary I am using and, if I use a word that may not be in a fifth graders lexicon, put it into a context where the meaning can be understood.  I also write for short attention spans because I have one, too, and get bored easily in the long descriptive paragraphs that most readers tend to skip anyway.
4) What IS your writing process? (I, personally, tend to be a pantser. Do you outline, meticulously write note cards, or just let the words flow?)
When I was writing one, maybe two, books a year I was definitely a pantser.   Now, as I attempt to write or coauthor 5-6 books every twelve months, I craft a very tight outline with all the major beats, twists, turns, etc. planted.  I find that my working on the outline for a week or two, I save a month or two one the back end with rewrites.
Maybe I should start working on finding the right kind of outline again…I gave up that search awhile ago but…saves a month or two on rewrites!
5) Do you have any superstitions or traditions that help you get more writing done and, if so, do those change depending on the story, age level, or genre?
No real superstitions.  Just a very boring, self-disciplined work ethic.
6) I’ve seen you give the advice to ‘write, write, write…’ and ‘give yourself permission to write a bad first draft.’ Do you have any other advice you’d like to give to aspiring (or already there) authors?
Follow Elmore Leonard’s TEN RULES FOR GOOD WRITING
Especially the last bit of advice:  “My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
7) Do you read Indie and/or self-published authors? What advice would you give them?
I must admit that I don’t have much experience with self-published books.  I have self-published a few e-titles of my own and have great respect for those who can make it work for them.  I don’t have the marketing/promotional energy to do it correctly.
He’s not kidding! I am a totally indie author at the moment and I never have that energy!
8) What books are on your reading pile right now?
Edward Eager’s KNIGHT’S CASTLE, HAMILTON, and UNDERGROUND AIRLINES.
Look, even Chris Grabenstein is reading Hamilton, I need to jump on that bandwagon.
9) Finally, in Dr. Libris the protagonist(s) find an island on a lake where story characters come to life. What character(s) would you most like to have come to life to spend a day with you? (yours and/or someone else’s)
Mr. Lemoncello. So he can tell me what happens next.
a) that means we’ll possibly be getting a 4th Lemoncello book (the 3rd is coming soon!)
b) he’d be on the top of my list too, along with Gandalf. I want to see Gandalf, Dumbledore, and Lemoncello hanging out.

Author Interview-Carol P. Roman

Hello Everyone! Welcome to another edition of Author Interview Fridays! Today we’ll be speaking with children’s book author Carol P. Roman. Welcome Carol. Let’s get right in to it and start with the questions:

51G3hatC91L

1)      Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author. 

My son’s dared me to write a book. I had always wanted to, but was afraid. They told me to write about what I knew, so I chose to use playtime with my oldest grandson as the subject, and Captain No Beard was born. I love to play imaginary games with my grandchildren, so putting our adventures to paper was an easy task.

Children’s imaginations are AMAZING. I love seeing what my daughter comes up with. She and my nephews have been the source of  more than one story 🙂 Besides, who can walk away from a dare?
2)      What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
I write in both fiction and non-fiction. Captain No Beard is an exciting adventure series involving a group of cousins who travel the seven seas in search of adventure. Each book has a gentle lesson and is based on events in my own life. If You Were Me and Lived in…is a non-fiction series that introduces culture to young children. I am a former social studies teacher and love to examine what makes the people of our world similar, so this series was a natural for me.
61TyXxyHM9L._SX491_BO1,204,203,200_
As a former writing and science teacher,  I always love to read books like this and to see how people react to them! Isn’t it so much fun to follow your passion?
4)      Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.
Captain No Beard’s crew are based on my four grandchildren, so they are by far, my favorite characters, ever. The stuffed animals are based on different family members. It fun to see if they can guess who is who, and sometimes a relief when they can’t figure it out!  My all time favorite fiction character is Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With the Wind. I adore reading her story over and over again, watching circumstances change her.
I always find pieces of myself or my friends/family in characters I write, to some extent. I am often happy when they don’t find themselves! Can I admit something here, just between the two of us? I’ve never read Gone with The Wind. I know the circumstances and I’ve seen bits of the movie, but that is one classic I’ve never even tried to pick up. 
  5) There is a lot of controversy among fandoms about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?
I would love to see my books reach more people. I think they have a very important message. Captain No Beard teaches children they are never alone. The series touches on bullying, sharing, working well with other, stranger danger. If those messages are sent to a bigger audience, that would be great. The cultural series teaches tolerance through knowledge. I would hope Hollywood wouldn’t mess with those ideals.
51mjbL0mnwL._SX491_BO1,204,203,200_
  6) How do you handle writer’s block?
Never had it. I always find subjects to write about. It’s fun, not pressured. My day job has pressure enough, so this is a labor of love.
That’s amazing. Even if I don’t have any pressure, I still sometimes find myself with writer’s block. I think it stems from the insanity of day to day life. 
7) What inspires you?
Success inspires me to do more. The reaction of my fans, the awards and reviews make me feel appreciated. This has given the second part of my life so much meaning.
8) How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?
It is one of my jobs and I usually add it in last. I guess I am not that comfortable with it yet. It is just one of the things I do- I am a wife, mother, grandmother, businessperson, teacher, and an author.
 Finally, tell us where to go to find you (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!) 
Thank you Carol! 
Remember, if you or someone you know is an author, an illustrator, an artist, or a musician and would like to be interviewed for this blog please leave a comment down below or message me on Twitter @writerbaby13 or Facebook facebook.com/TyreeTomes

Spotlight On:

Welcome Welcome to this week’s Spotlight On Art

Today we are talking with the wonderful illustrator Louise Boulter, of Louise Boulter Illustration.

  • How did you get started in illustrations?

When I think about it,  I was illustrating to text when I was at school, creating stories and illustrating them.  My first job was for a lovely lady who owns fashion label Brat and Suzie. She got me going by asking me to come up with some illustrations for her t-shirts.

That sounds like a lot of fun!

  • Has art been a lifelong passion of yours?

I grew up with my mum who was an artist and Studied fine art at Wimbledon school of art. So I grew up in that environment.  It felt unnatural and intimidating studying fine art, but drawing and illustrating has always been something I’ve done, like sitting down to a good book.

My mom is also an artist, and my illustrator, but I could never draw well enough to suit myself so I stuck with writing. I think it is always amazing when someone can draw and create like that!

Giant birdspvuk270

  • How do you want people to feel when they see what you’ve created?

 

Most of the time the work I produce is commissioned by a client.  So I want them to like it.  I do family portraits so I would like the client to feel I’ve captured the nature of their family in one way or another.

Understandable! You want to make sure you capture what they want…which would drive me crazy. In my opinion, that is probably much more difficult than creating what pops into your own head and then hoping people in general enjoy it!

 

  • What media do you prefer to draw/create in, and why?

I love drawing with a scratchy fountain pen and quink ink when its all scratchy and unpredictable.

I enjoy writing with a fountain pen as well, mostly because the ink flows in funny ways and the scratch is very ‘old world’ and satisfying. 

 

  • What is your creative space/working environment like?

A complete and utter mess.  I am currently surrounded by receipts for tax, scraps of paper, pens rolling around the desk top and as it stands 4 empty teacups.  I try and tidy it once a week.

I don’t believe in completely clean work spaces! I always feel like if the work area is clean (while you’re in a project anyway) that you are probably having issues with the job at hand. 

 

  • What is something new that you’ve either learned or noticed recently?

These wonderfull GIFs that have been floating around.  Ive seen so many beautiful moving images recently.

I love those! 

 

  • What illustration related projects would you love to be able to do in the future?

A childrens book.  I am currently going though a process with a writer.

Wonderful! Children’s books are so much fun!

  • What inspires you?

People and nature.  I find I don’t really need to walk far at all until I see someone interesting.  The sensations of walking by the sea or in a forest or clifftops is almost like my fuel to keep me inspired and happy.

Misichenrimatissee

Nature is so amazing, ever changing and ever solid. I find a lot of inspiration there as well. 

Thank you Louise for joining us today! It has been a lot of fun getting to know you and I look forward to seeing that children’s book soon.

You can find Louise Boulter at:

http://www.louiseboulter.co.uk/

and on Twitter: @123lop

Remember, if you, or someone you know, would like to be featured on a Tuesday Spotlight or on an Author Interview Friday please leave me a comment letting me know!

As always, I look forward to hearing from you so start up a conversation in the comment section and I’ll hop on in! Until we meet again, may your week be full of blessings and inspiration!

Author Interview – Latoya Brown

Welcome to the January 19th edition of Author Interview Friday! I’m so excited that we’ve been able to keep this segment of the blog and going so well. Thank you all for the support! This week we’re talking with the author of Wanted: Green Card  Latoya Brown. Latoya is a social media marketer with a lot to say on a topic that needs more attention. Let’s get to know her better!

authorlatoyabrown

From her blog about page:

 

 

1) What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use 
more than one name when you write?
I am using my own name for this book.
So the name is Latoya Brown! Check it out
2) Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or 
were going to be an author.
I realized I was an author while in high school – advanced placement classes required a LOT of writing.
All of those huge essays and stories to write…they definitely want to make sure you know how to put sentences and paragraphs together!
3) What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
This is my first published book and it is a romantic saga…gone wrong.51NOec--+aL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_
How intriguing! So this book is about being duped into marriage for a green card? Not something you hear about often but something we should warn about more. 
4) What genres are your favorites to read? Why?
Believe it or not, but I love reading and perusing knitting books. The creativity and what I could do to a possible project intrigue me.
I love it. I often find myself crocheting and watching movies while a plot line simmers! I have some fabulous hats so my brain keeps warm and the creativity required helps the stories to flow too.
5) Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you 
wrote and 1 that someone else wrote. 
My favorite thus far has been me – I get to rewrite myself everyday.
Another favorite character by someone else is …
She just couldn’t decide between them…that’s always my issue as well!
6) There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?
Yes, I would love for my book to become a movie. There are so many women afflicted by this issue, so why not get the message out to a bigger audience so that there are less victims.
7) How do you handle writer’s block?
I think I simply wait. Because of my blog, which accompanies the book, I simply wait for days to see if the words will reach me in a way to explain it all.
How interesting. This is a  topic we don’t usually hear much about and the idea of the waiting for the block to resolve is also one I don’t normally hear much. Way to go 🙂
8) What inspires you?
I am inspired by action and not giving myself a future promise. For example, people always say that they want to travel. I said the same and just set out to do it. If I wait then I won’t be able to enjoy traveling as much and why wait. Let’s go!
Movement can be very inspiring…but so can sleep! I often enjoy a good bout of inspiring naptimes. 
9) How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?
I’ve actually never said that in an introduction thus far because my book is so new. Before being an author (look, I said it!) I work primarily in assisting companies and brands in social media marketing.
That resume would probably lend itself well to introducing the idea of yourself as an author! Good luck
10) Finally, tell us where to go to find you (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!)
The blog accompanies the book and is available for free right now – you should go check it out.
The book is available on Amazon – you should go buy it right now.

Character Interview: Eliza Gable

Welcome to a new interview with the talented, sassy, and delightfully world saving Eliza Gable, who just so happens to be a main character from Elizabeth S. Tyree’s current (2015) National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) work in progress! I, the elusive journalist writerbaby (please, no pictures, my hair is an awful mess at the moment) have managed to catch up to Eliza has she leaves Ms. Tyree’s home in search of coffee. She has agreed to a quick, short interview, in return for a few free cups of joe, naturally.

Let’s get down to business then, shall we Ms. Gable?

Sure, you were right about the coffee here by the way. This is a phenomenal cinnamon, pumpkin spice. 

I’m glad. Now then, let’s ease into this a bit. I think my readers are most interested in just getting to know you a little bit better. After all, your friend the author has been keeping you under fairy tight wraps.

Not really, I’ve been pretty busy you know. 

I’m sure you have been, but we’re all wondering about you. So my first question is, “What is the top song on your favorite music playlist right now?”

Well you know, I honestly have a bit of what I like to call musical attention deficit so I keep changing it up, all the time. Right now I’m on a jazzy classic rock kind of kick so there’s a lot of classic fusion going on. For instance, I’ve been listening to Chicago, Queen, Miles Davis, Aerosmith’s blues album…the list goes on and on. Great stuff. 

Don’t let her lie to you like that writerbaby, she’s got R. City’s “Locked Away” stuck on repeat in the car.

Please do ignore the random crazy bystander who so presumptuously sat with us. This bearded beggar wouldn’t know what I listen to. 

 No problem Eliza, I’ll just pretend as though your man friend, Brent is it? I’ll pretend as though Brent isn’t sitting beside you giggling and smirking.

I appreciate that writerbaby.

 Unless you want to further explore the ideas of the, how did you put it…bearded beggar, I think we can safely move on to our second question. What has been your scariest experience?

In this life? (hahaha) Well I would have to say it was probably when we all decided to rock climb this huge sheer cliff and then hang-glide back down the other side…which looked out over a ravine. It was windy day and I’m afraid of heights so it was not very pleasant to begin with. 

YOU LOVED THAT! 

yeah, somewhere around the halfway point. I was terrified and shaking until we got to the top and I wasn’t in that harness anymore!

Really? That’s the thing you choose? Everything you’ve done and been through and climbing a steep rock is your scariest thing ever?

Hush you

(Brent throws his hands up in surrender and leans back with a smirk) Fine, I’ll just here and drink my steamer. 

Good

  That sounds like it was quite the adventure! I believe I would have been too scared to even get started! So tell me Eliza, do you have a personal motto that helps you through situations like that? If so, would you mind sharing it with our audience?

Oh here we go.

  YES!! I have a motto or quote for just about any situation really. One for all occasions! For that particular outing, I kept remembering a piece of art I had once seen. Intended to decorate a very girly bedroom, this painting looked like it belonged in a classic girl’s room, replete with flowered wallpaper and full skirts. But the words, the words almost had be buying the over-priced thing. it said, “Remeber, she who is brave, Is Free!”

Wonderful!

Oh yes, I love that one. But my everyday go to is basically just to Be Happy, Be Yourself, and leave them all wondering!

 I like that one too! Let’s see, what is your most treasured possession?

That’s so easy. Books! Books I’ve read, manuscripts I’ve written, bare notebooks filled with stories and advertisement ideas. After all, I’m an ad exec along with my partner, ol’ Big Mouth Brent over here. 

Careful honey. Remember, words can hurt and i might just have to go home and cry tonight instead of going with you to see that new chick flick with the shirtless super dude you love. 

Of course, I really meant that my favorite treasure is the Beauty and the Beast framed advert that he got me for my birthday last June. 

Better.

 You two must blow the socks off of competitors and clients. The way you banter would have me buying an ad for just about anything! Now that I have you blushing, let’s move on to question number six, Who are your role models?

Well there are the obvious answers: My family, friends, friend families, etc. Other than that, anyone who works had at what they love and who refuse to change themselves for others UNLESS they really want or need that change. For example, toning down rebellious qualities for work purposes is a sign of growing up and that’s great. Toning down personality quirks because a certain person doesn’t like them is, however, just dimming your light. You don’t need that. 

I also always, always look up to anyone of any age bracket that pushes through struggles to pursue their passions. 

 You said earlier that you are in advertising. Is that what you always wanted to do?

No, haha, I always just wanted to be a storyteller. I can see the ideas though, swirling around me. I hear about products and thoughts on advertising and it’s like I can just reach out a pluck an image to pitch. Since writing doesn’t pay the bills

Yet. It will someday…

Yes, thank you dear. Since writing doesn’t pay the bills, yet, this advertising has been a great way to both earn money and tell a story or two. 

Sounds like you have it pretty well figured out! There may be hope for women in their late twenties after all. Before I let you go, I do have one final question for you. I heard you two bantering about a certain topic on the way in to this cute little place earlier and I just have to know ~ what is it about pumpkins?

Well, they make me happy. Orange is my favorite color, fall is my favorite season, I like to cut stuff up sometimes, and I adore the taste. Plus, my family had a tradition of cooking down pumpkins and baking together when I was little. Good memories, good times. 

Short answer…she’s a loon. 

 Well I believe I’ll let the two of them duke it out. Thank you Eliza, and Brent, for those great answers. And Thank you, dear audience, for tuning in.

This is writerbaby13 signing off and saying, Until we meet again keep your paper filled and your pens at the ready!

     Good Day!

Author Interview – Diamante Lavendar

Hello and welcome to another Fabulous Friday Author Interview! This week I am happy to introduce Diamante Lavendar, a mysterious yet lovely cat loving author.

Cropped Website Banner

Let us begin:

Author Interview Questions

  • What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use more than one name when you write?

Diamante Lavendar.  Yes, it is a pseudonym.  It is the only pseudonym I use when I write.

  • Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.

 I’ve known I was going to write since I literally started writing.  I began writing very simple rhyming poetry in elementary school when I learned to write.  I enjoyed trying to find words that rhymed.  Later, my writing evolved into more complex poetry and stories.

  • What genre(s) do you write in, and why?

I love to write fiction because I have a very big imagination!  I love to come up with new and interesting things to explore in my books.  I enjoy fantasy a lot as well for the same reasons.

  • What genres are your favorites to read? Why?

I love to read inspirational books by authors such as Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen and Larry Huch.  The reason I enjoy reading those types of books are because they help me to “evolve” into a better person and they give me insight into how to do so.  I believe we are each put here on earth for a reason and we need to find that reason and live to fulfill it.

Life Is A Journey by Diamante Lavendar

  • Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.

Some of my favorite characters that I made up are the purple cats in The Secrets Of Yashire.  I am a cat lover and I really enjoy the concept of the big purple cats in my book turning pink when they are hungry and living on their own island shrouded by a cat spirit which turns into fog and protects the inhabitants from the evil wizard of the book.

As far as a favorite character I’ve read about, I must say that I enjoy the collaboration of characters…not just one in particular in a book.  I really enjoyed The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and each character added to the enjoyment of the book.  The same with The Hobbit.  I don’t have one favorite character.

That is a great point Ms. Lavender! The grouping of characters kind of becomes one large, multi-faceted character. Like ‘the 7’ in the Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan or the Tea Party Guests in Alice in Wonderland (Ok…my favorite character is definitely the Mad Hatter…but the point is still supremely valid whether or not I play by the rules!)

  • There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?

I think it would be great fun to have my books made into movies.  I would love seeing my characters come to life on the big screen!

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

I just get up and walk away from my project and return when I feel renewed.

Good idea! Why peck away at something that will only make you mad at the moment?

  • What inspires you?

Nature and spirituality greatly inspire me.  So do people that I know well.

Present Days Become Days Past for Fine Art America

  • How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?

I write anonymously so the only people who know I’m a writer are those very close to me.  Nobody else I come into contact with has a clue!

Very Sneaky!

  • Finally, tell us where to go to find you

I have a website at: www.diamantelavendar.com

I can also be found at the following locations:

Google:  https://plus.google.com/107370618346077894159/posts

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/diamantelavendar.writer.artist/info?tab=page_info

Myspace:  https://myspace.com/diamantelavendar.yahoo.co

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/diamantelavenda

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/diamantelavenda/

Thank you Diamante! We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy, secret, schedule to answer these questions for us!

Being Postive by Diamante LavendarResized Infinite Beings for Fine Art America

Remember, if you would like to be featured as an author, illustrator, photographer, cover designer, agent, publisher, or muse of any of the above, please leave a comment or a message and let me know! I can’t wait to hear from you! Correction, WE can’t wait to hear ABOUT you! 😉

Have a great weekend!

Author Interview – Laura Smith

Hello and welcome to another edition of Author Interview Fridays! (some day I’ll have to come up with a better title!) Today I am pleased to share with you the fabulous answers of Author Laura Smith, a Middle Grade author currently working on her third novel. Thank you for being here Laura! Let’s get started:
1)    What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use more than one name when you write?
I write under my legal name, Laura Smith. I do have a pseudonym in mind, but I’m saving it for when I want to write something edgier, which will probably never happen.
2)    Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.
When I was little, I wanted to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones, only I wanted to dig up dinosaur bones. In Kindergarten, I wrote my first book. It was an encyclopedia of dinosaurs with full color illustrations of every dinosaur I knew (all five of them). I didn’t know how to read yet, but I knew all of my letters so I asked my parents how to spell nearly every word. When I was finished, I bound the book with yarn and paraded it around as my first book. That’s when I decided I’d rather be a writer.
3)    What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
My three self-published books are all middle grade novels. I’d have to say that the best years of my life were  between the ages of 9 and 11, and I like to revisit those ages as much as possible. I went to college for Creative Writing, and we were discouraged from writing in our favorite genres. We had to write like we were creating the next great American novel or short story. I think that limited a lot of us. It definitely limited me in terms of the content that I produced. I found it difficult to come up with ideas for stories for adults. Especially at that age, I didn’t feel like I had a grip on adulthood, or even young adulthood. I had nothing to say about work or relationships or society, but I had a large interest in stories about kids and childhood. So, it wasn’t until after college that I decided to return to writing for children. It made writing so much more fun and interesting and even easier now that I’m writing in my preferred genre.
Definitely, I write YA because I feel like I have a better grasp on MG and YA than on adulthood…and I’ve got a number starting with ‘3’ now! 
4)    What genres are your favorites to read? Why?
I still read (and re-read) a lot of middle grade and young adult novels. I’ve been revisiting Roald Dahl and E.B. White. As a kid, I read a lot of book series, like “The Babysitters Club,” “The Box Car Children,” and “Goosebumps.” Aside from Goosebumps, I liked stories that were about real life in the present day, not so much fantasy or medieval times or outer space. Those are the type of books that I write now. I realize that those are not the books that become best sellers, but I know there are kids out there that feel the same way that I do about reading about real characters in real situations. So, I write for them.
In terms of adult literature, I went through a Stephen King phase, but now I read a lot of books that I hear about on Podcasts or in book reviews. I particularly like to read adult novels where the main character is a kid trying to decipher the adult world from their point of view, books about motherhood or raising families, and I love classics such as “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “The Catcher in the Rye,” etc.
5)    Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.
My favorite character that I ever wrote is Mike Hascal from my second book, “Saving Hascal’s Horrors”. Mike is a leader, and he cares about his family and friends and preserving the past. He has the ability to see events that occurred in the past, even events that happened before he was born. He goes to great lengths to save his dad’s horror shop that his sister now runs, even though he never really knew his dad. He’s brave but scared, and he’s passionate about what he loves, particularly horror movies. He’s the kind of friend I would have liked to have had growing up.

SavingHascalsHorror2

My favorite character that someone else has written would have to be Atticus Finch from “To Kill A Mockingbird”. It is very hard to pull off a character as kind and flawless as he is without making him one dimensional or unrealistic. Atticus is able to convey his actions and beliefs without being preachy or getting heated. He is the calm in a storm of chaotic characters all scrambling to be heard and have their way. He’s got that Superman-like nobility, is always the better man, and never lets his emotions get the better of him. Above all, he loves his children and protects them from the world without shielding them from it.
6)    There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?
Absolutely. I am a big movie fan, and while every writer runs the risk of having their story trashed by bad film making, it’s a risk that I would be willing to take to have my characters brought to life on screen. I write in a very cinematic way so my stories are set up to mirror a full length movie. I also don’t think that a bad movie can have any effect on a good book. They are two separate forms of entertainment.
7)    How do you handle writer’s block?
I haven’t had writer’s block in a long time, probably because I found a genre that fits me like a glove, and I have no deadlines or pressure to write (besides the pressure that I put on myself). When I was in college, I would spend my summers fighting writer’s block, trying to come up with new material to submit to class for the next year. Because I didn’t like the type of writing that I was doing, I found it difficult to come up with ideas. That’s usually when I come into writer’s block, at the brainstorming, idea-forming stage. I also got writer’s block whenever I was trying to write the best stuff possible to submit to literary magazines. My focus was on getting published, and even earning money for my writing, and that caused me to produce work that was rushed, uninspired, and just not very good.
After a few years of this, I decided to just let go the idea of writing for money and just decided to write for the thrill of having someone else read my work. So, I’ve produced a lot of work that I have had people read for little or no charge, and that has gained me more experience and exposure than I was getting when I was writing for paychecks that never came.
I find that when I don’t feel like working on a book, I move to a different type of writing, either blogging, writing in my journal, writing poetry, or editing. There are so many different forms of writing out there that no writer should have a problem figuring out how to use their writing time.
Good points. If you are struggling with something it is probably because you don’t like it, are pushing yourself waaayyy to hard, or don’t know enough about the topic! Work on something else and come back later. Great idea.
8)    What inspires you?
I’m inspired by my childhood, movies, fears, and dreams.
I was looking for an idea for a short story to write for a Creative Writing class when I took a break to visit an estate sale across the street from my parents’ house. There, I found all of this horse-themed merchandise for sale: pictures, sculptures, writing equipment, etc. I had no idea that she had been into horses. So, I wrote a short story about a girl who learns that her neighbor across the street grew up on that street back when it was all farmland and how her own house was where their horse stables were at one time. I mixed this with my fear of house fires and my junior high experiences and came up with my first novel, “The Stable House.”
TheStableHouse Cover JPG Compressed
I like horror movies so I wrote “Saving Hascal’s Horrors” with the hope of exposing kids to the horror genre in a way that wasn’t too scary. I had a dream about a family of grave diggers one night and remembered a story I had started to write one time about a young woman who took over her dad’s shop instead of going to college and began to regret it. So, I changed the shop to a horror-themed shop, made the main character the little brother instead of the sister, and that became my second novel.
I was looking for an idea for a new book after finishing “Saving Hascal’s Horrors,” and I was driving my friend home one night. We passed by the playground where we used to hang out with all of our other neighborhood friends, and my friend suggested that I write a book based on all of the games that we used to pay at the park. So, that became my third book, “The Castle Park Kids”.
TheCastleParkKids3
Inspiration is truly everywhere as long you are willing to see it, and tweak it! Good job!
9)    How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?
Most people are impressed by the fact that when they go home after a long day at work, they veg out in front of the TV while I go home, get out my laptop or notebook, and start typing away until I have a full length book. They want to know how I publish them, where I get my covers, and how I come up with the ideas. I’m happy to share all of this information with them, but when it comes time for them to read or buy the book, I get a wide range of excuses from, “I don’t have any kids that age,” to “I don’ t have time to read books, but good luck!” It feels like a pat on the back followed by a slap in the face, but I just keep doing what I do, and for those who do read my work, both strangers and acquaintances, I am eternally grateful.
10)                       Finally, tell us where to go to find you 
You can find My books Here:
The Castle Park Kids – Coming Soon!
 
Amazon Author Page: HERE
Twitter: @lsmith335
HubPages: laura335.hubpages.com/
Remember, if you are an author, illustrator, photographer, agent, publisher, or company copy boy for one of the a fore mentioned(s) who would like your own chance at an interview on Here There Be Dragons (that’s the blog right here, yay!) then comment or message and let me know!
I wish you all a FANTASTIC weekend! Thanks again Laura!

Artistic Tuesday – Christina Fehring

Welcome to Artistic Tuesdays! Today’s guest hails from Germany, where she has been a lifelong lover of art. Beginning her career with her maiden name, “Böhnke”, Christina Fehring hasn’t let marriage and a child slow down her artwork. In fact, she uses her life to inspire even more! IMG_20150908_184208

Let’s see what she has to say:

1) How did you get started in illustrations?

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember but I put more effort in it
since my art and german studies at Paderborn University in Germany.

2) Has art been a lifelong passion of yours?

Definitely. Since I can hold a pencil actually!

3) How do you want people to feel when they see what you’ve created?

This depends. My art is either surreal, unusual, having the quality of a dream…or ‘happy’, such as funny or cute looking character design. Thus, want people either get a surreal feeling or simply put a smile on their face.

4) What media do you prefer to draw/create in, and why?

For traditional art I use graphite/coal, ink pens and brushes, watercolors and pastels, mostly of the german brand “Faber Castell”. For digital art I work with Adobe Photoshop.

IMG_20150909_111822
5) What is your creative space/working environment like?

I often work in the living room. Truth is, I like being surrounded by my family when being creative. I also like painting in the garden.

IMG_20150904_112641

I love to work outside in a garden setting. Such inspiration for many forms or creativity. 

6) What is something new that you’ve either learned or noticed recently?

I learned that it is sometimes more important to actually finish an illustration or painting than to generate more and more ideas without being able to carry out all the projects in my mind due to time limit.

That is a fine line to have to try to walk! I know a lot of artists and authors with scattered lines and remnants of ideas they’ve never finished but LOVED when they started.

7) Tell us about your two all-time favorite pictures: Please include 1 thing that you have drawn or created, and 1 someone else did.

My favourite work of myself is a portrait of my son because it makes me smile whenever I look at his charming ‘baby smile’.
Portrait_son (1)

My favourite picture of another artist is ” La petite Irène” from the French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir because when I discovered this wonderful painting as a child on an art book it awakened my wish to become an artist myself. It gives me the most nostalgic feeling.
La petite Irène_renoir

8) What illustration related projects would you love to be able to do in the future?

I would love to Illustrate a children’s book.

I wonder if anyone reading this blog might need some help with a children’s book?? Her contact information is at the bottom of the post!

IMG_20150824_173220
9) What inspires you?

Nature and classical music.

10) Who is your favorite artist/illustrator? Why?

Pierre-Auguste Renoir because he draws like he has an angel in his heart and inspired me to become an artist.

11) Finally, tell us where to go to find you/who you illustrate for if you don’t have your own pages yet. (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Pinterest, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!)

Instagram: M_Christina_Art

Twitter: @_Chris_Ti_Na_

Website: www.art-is-life-gallery.jimdo.com (german)

Thank you Christina for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us!

Remember, if you are an artistic soul who would like to do an interview, just give me a shout!

Author Interview: Wendi L. Wilson

Hello and welcome to another installment of Author Interview Fridays! Today I have the great joy of welcoming Wendi Wilson, author of Shadowed Strength. 

11270640_1597868250483679_8565981378062197924_o (1)

Photo courtesy of Wendi Wilson

Let’s get to it, shall we?

  1. What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use more than one name when you write? 

Wendi L. Wilson, but on Amazon it’s just Wendi Wilson. That’s my actual name, but I may use a pseudonym in the future if I decide to switch genres.

  1. Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author. 

I originally wrote my debut novel, Shadowed Strength, when I was sixteen. It evolved over the next two decades, but I didn’t get serious about writing to publish until the last year or so.

11415478_1596545450615959_4002357873469375085_o

Photo provided by Wendi Wilson

  1. What genre(s) do you write in, and why? 

I write young adult paranormal romance. I love the supernatural in all its forms- vampires, witches, shifters, ghosts, etc.

The popularity of the paranormal doesn’t seem to diminish much either.

  1. What genres are your favorites to read? Why? 

Of course, my favorite is YA paranormal romance, but I also like new adult romance, historical romance, and some erotica (if it’s not too hardcore).

  1. Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.  

My favorite character in my book is Melanie. Her personality and insecurities are based on my own at that age and the strength she finds to overcome obstacles is empowering for teens.

My favorite character from another author: that’s a tough one. I’ve read a lot of books. A. Lot. But off the top of my head, I’d have to say one of my recent favorites is Claire from Tara Sivec’s “Seduction and Snacks.” I don’t know if anything has ever made me laugh that hard. She’s a pistol, and not afraid to say what she thinks.

  1. There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not? 

Absolutely. I can’t tell you how many of my favorite book series’ I’ve found, only because I saw the movie. In fact, I wouldn’t even be a reader of YA PNR if my best friend hadn’t made me watch Twilight, which made me get the books. If a movie, however far off the plot it goes, leads people to me and my books, then I’m all in.

That is a great take on the question! I can’t tell you how many I’ve heard say that they would like the money…and then call other authors sell outs for letting their books be changed so much, or say that they refuse to buy a book or watch a movie because they had heard about the differences etc.

  1. How do you handle writer’s block? 

I stop writing and pout for a while. Then I go back to it with fresh eyes in a few days. Usually, if I flesh out the scene I’m working on a little bit, my brain will take me to the next and the flow will resume.

See everyone, pouting helps.

  1. What inspires you? 

People reading my work and encouraging me. I need a sign that reads “Will Work for Compliments.” haha Seriously, though, I need a push every now and then, because I tend to leave things unfinished. I also get inspired by the theories readers leave in their reviews. They make some interesting points and I am using it to shape my next novel.

What a wonderful inclusion of your readers! That is such a great idea!

  1. How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that faceif you say “I’m an author”? 

What’s this face you speak of? haha I am fairly new to the game, an luckily I have gotten nothing but smiles and excitement. I’ll let you know when I get one.

I must just have some very uptight, un-literary people in my area…so glad you get excitement and smiles!

  1. Finally, please tell us where we can find you

You can find me on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendilwilson

Twitter: @wendilwilson

Blog: https://wendilwilson.wordpress.com

My book is on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Strength-Book-One-ebook/dp/B010E3WWCG/ref=la_B010G0OYJQ_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435329951&sr=1-1

Thank you for taking the time to give us a few insights Wendi! I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work soon.

Let’s all leave a little comment of encouragement so Wendi will get that next novel finished up!

Remember, if you are an author, illustrator, photographer, agent, publisher, etc and would like to be interviewed please, PLEASE leave me a note and let me know. Let’s get YOUR take on things out there too, and you can have a