Being Interviewed|Greggerguy

Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Greggerguy.

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With reference to your profile pic and your recurring character, Dogboy, tell us about your affinity for dogs.

Since dogs are seen as loyal and protective, I figured a human-dog character would be a good choice for a superhero. I also thought it’d been funny to have a superhero that needed glasses (since dogs can’t see all that well) and ate a lot. Also, even though dogs are domesticated, they still came from wolves and they can act like it at times; they’re still animals (like humans). I thought this “inner demon” would play out well for a superhero too. And finally, they are pack animals. When they work together, they can take down serious threats and get a lot accomplished. I figured that was a good lesson for another social animal *cough* humans *cough* to learn.

Plus, I just like dogs.

I see in your bio that you are studying digital animation. Are you preparing any of your stories as an animated project?

One day I’d like to turn a story into an animated project, but for now, the animations are mostly short videos used for advertisements. It takes a loooong time to animate something and can be very frustrating. I’m amazed at people who can do it for a living…and do it regularly.

What are some of your favorite (most influential) books and authors?

I’d have to start with the Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol; it was the series that got me interested in reading. I enjoyed the short chapters which made it easy to read on the bus or during free time. I tried that at first—having a series of anthology adventures that people could read quickly so they didn’t have to wait for school to get out to see how it ended. I’m hoping to get back to that format someday.

I have to say that the books by Dean Koontz also helped. They were my first non series books. Before these the books I read were like Animorphs or Wishbone. The Koontz books were the first time I found an author I enjoyed and not a series. The dry humor and thriller-action make them hard to put down once I start reading. For a while, he hinted at his books being all part of one universe and that got me interested in trying the same.

In your opinion, what are the elements of a good story?

A good variation in mood is one element. If you have a thriller story, you still want to have some moments of humor. Just like when you’re speaking, you use fluctuation so that you don’t sound monotone. If you have action all the time, the reader has nothing to compare the events to. For instance, you can’t tell a happy moment if you’ve never had a sad moment…it’s just a moment.

If you’re going to do a plot twist at some point, you better have hinted at it before it happened. You also want to have good characters; you want to feel for them (even the antagonist if that is your goal). And of course, spelling and grammar.

Word choice and sentence structure is another important element. You don’t want to have long, winding sentences if you are writing a scene where an ax murderer is going after a group of campers.

How has your writing style evolved over the years?

Hopefully, it’s gotten better. Yeah…I’m sure it has. I’ve looked at some of my writing back in first grade and…ehhh…cringe.

I’ve also improved on my action writing after doing the Wattpad “Write to Rank” contest. It really got me to focus on action. Like the instructor for an art class I’m taking says, “If you’re bad at drawing a circle, you sit there and draw circle after circle. Eventually, you’ll get it right.”

As for the whole “masterpiece” idea, I follow what they taught us in journalism school: you’re only as good as your next story. While the idea for journalism was mainly meant to mean once your article is published it becomes “old news” and therefore uninteresting (and also tells you to watch your ego), it can also mean that each story should be your “masterpiece,” that you are constantly trying to improve.

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Thanks again Greggerguy for doing this interview. The questions were well thought out and showed that you researched your subject.

If you wish to interview me (or would like me to interview you), I can be reached through Direct Message through Twitter or Private Message on Wattpad. You can also try the contact form here.

Seb Jenkins and The Hunt

According to Seb Jenkins’ author bio, “Seb Jenkins grew up in Bedfordshire in the UK, and read books religiously from an early age. He showed a strong interest in Horror and Action Young Adult novels such as Darren Shan and Cherub later carved a desire to write his own material, pitched towards his younger teen self.

Fast forward to age 21, Seb is just finishing up his zombie survival series Life After Death, with the third and final instalment now underway. He has also just started his most ambitious Wattpad project yet, The Hunt.”

In Jenkins own words “The Hunt is chilling. Not because it contains monsters or zombies or demons, but because it depicts a situation in the not-so-distant future that you feel could really happen.”

The Hunt asks, “How much is a life worth? Or a death?”

The collaboration between Jenkins and other Wattpad writer, ShaunAllan, (with surprise guest writers) takes place in the near future where “there’s a brand new reality TV show. Played on every television screen across the planet, live streamed and binge watched, is The Hunt.”

Jenkins’ description of the story continues to state:

“In a world gripped by poverty and over population, The Hunt disguises its predatory nature as choice. You can choose. Volunteer. You could be rich! Have a new start away from the despair of your life!

Or you could die.

Hunting takes on a whole new meaning, and it’s all for the cheering masses.

Dare you take part?”

So with the story sounding interesting, it was time to “hunt down” some answers.

Why did you start writing?

I started writing because I really just wanted to create stories that I wanted to read. You can spend hours and hours searching online or in book stores for the perfect story for you, but it’s much more rewarding to just set out and write it yourself. From the beginning I have always written for me, if other people ended up enjoying it along the way, that’s great, but first and foremost it is for my own enjoyment. I think that’s where the best writing comes from, when you’re having fun with it.

How long have you been writing?

I was quite late to the game of actually writing my own content. Obviously, I was really into books as a kid growing up, and I always had a good imagination, but it never occurred to me to write my own stuff. As I was finishing my last couple of years at school, I started to jot down odd ideas for stories, characters, and plot twists, and after a year or so, I found myself with a detailed plan for Life After Death. It was at that point I decided to give writing a real go.

What type of genre do you write?

I usually stick around the horror/thriller genre, just because I feel that it’s where I get the most enjoyment, and it’s what I’ve had the most experience reading and watching growing up as a kid. I find writing tense, creepy, chilling scenes far more enjoyable than your standard coffee shop conversation.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Who’s your favorite author(s)?

I love horror, adventure and thrillers, so naturally Stephen King springs to mind, along with Mary Shelley. My favourite book of all time though has to be Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. I always try to take aspects of Graham’s writing into account when writing my own books.

Have you been published, such as self-published or through a publishing house? If so, where can people find your books?

I have self-published my first book Life After Death, and although it is going through an editing process, it can be found on Amazon, or on Wattpad for free.

So about The Hunt, where did the inspiration come from?

The inspiration for The Hunt comes from a few places. I suppose subconciously there are shoutouts to Hunger Games, The Purge and The Handmaid’s Tale in this new book, in regards to the topic matter. But the main inspiration came from reading an article on the fox-hunting ban, which got me thinking, “How utterly terrifying would it be to replace the fox with a human in that scenario, how would we like to be hunted?” I then started to think about the future, and whether it could ever be allowed to happen, and The Hunt was born.

How did you and Shaun meet? Did you know each other before starting The Hunt?

I had worked with Shaun on a few bits and pieces for the Fright Ambassador profile on Wattpad, but we had not talked in any great lengths. I had however read some of Shaun’s work, and I was very keen to work on something together from our first conversation. Once I’d worked the details out in my head, I pitched it to Shaun, and we came up with this cool new format. We would each take it in turns to write a chapter, never discussing the plot or future chapters. We then decided to crank up the carnage by inviting a load of guest writers into the mix too.

What kind of experiences have you gained from doing a back and forth collaboration?

So far, it’s been extremely fun. Every writer is different, they think differently, they develop stories differently, and they write differently. You might end a chapter with the full intentions that the story should be taken one way, and then the next writer takes it in the complete opposite direction. It’s a complete whirlwind, and so far, it has unearthed so many new ideas and plot points that I simply wouldn’t have come up with on my own.

What is your process for completing a chapter?

Planning, writing, editing. With this kind of format, you kind of have to pick your ideas and just run with them. All long-term structuring goes out the window when you don’t know what the next author might write! All you can do is plan your personal chapter, and execute it as well as possible.

Do you have a set word count or deadline you give each other?

We have basic flexible time slots to keep things ticking, but apart from that there isn’t any great pressure. The author is free to write what he or she feels the chapter deserves, which usually hovers between 1k-3k.

Do you have a plan for where the story goes or are you completely winging it?

I can have all the plans I want, by the time my next go comes around, everything has gone out the window five times over. Wing it!

Do you talk over characters or plot with each other?

We don’t talk about any future plot points, because it really just keeps it interesting that way. It’s more off the cuff, like improv, sometimes just going with the flow can turn up some amazing results.

Do you have a set number of chapters planned or are you just writing it until it is finished?

Honestly, there is no set number. I feel that we are all good enough writers to be able to know when to start winding up to a big ending, and when to finish the story completely.

Are there plans to publish it, such as self-publish or through a publishing company?

No plans as of yet, but let’s see how well it does on Wattpad!

What advice do you have for others wishing to do a similar collaboration?

Just do it, don’t think too much about it. Once you bog yourself down with all the intricate details and planning, you lose a sense of the fun and community with your fellow writers. As a group we’ve been having great fun just winging it and seeing what happens.

Is there anyone you wish to thank or acknowledge?

I would like to thank all of my readers for the amazing support and feedback you give me. Without it, I would have stopped writing long ago. I would also like to thank all of the talented writers involved with The Hunt, Shaun for helping me organise/write it, and all of our guest authors.

Anything else you wish to add?

Feel free to message me on social media or Wattpad if you have any questions, or just want to say hey 🙂

Thank you for your time, Seb.

Seb Jenkins can be found on Wattpad, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Or at his new website.

*Image provided by Seb Jenkins*

SystemZee Goes Full-Time

img_2581Recently, SystemZee, a YouTube Creator–known for Minecraft videos and a Minecraft Evolution SMP member, decided to go full-time on YouTube.

Over the weekend, I was able to interview him.

Let’s start out with some typical background questions.

What’s your favorite movie, book, animal?

These questions are always so difficult to me, I love everything usually. My favorite movie(s) would have to be Thor Ragnarok right now, along with the other Marvel movies. Ragnarok was such a great movie, great story, comedy, action, etc! 4.5/5! Other than that I really enjoyed Man of Steel. I’m a big superhero kind of guy. I think you just made another subscriber…if I wasn’t already one…that is.

Age of Adaline is also a cool movie, interesting story. As for my favorite book, my all time favorite read was How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I’ve learned so much from that book, as have many people. That book has been around for nearly, if not over, 100 years. My favorite animals are dolphin-ately dolphins and dogs.

Speaking of superheroes and dogs…no, Joe, now is not the time for shameless self-promotion…

Do you watch other YouTubers? If so, can you name a few?

I watch a lot of other channels similar to mine. To name a few, all channels from the Minecraft Evolution SMP, BdoubleO100, GoodTimesWithScar, Welsknight, etc. Non Minecraft close friend channels would mainly include Tom Syndicate and his vlogs.

When did you start playing Minecraft?

I started playing Minecraft early 2011.

What got you interested in Minecraft?

My close friend Logan (KingMasky). I actually have him to thank for a lot of things. He may not be reading this but if you are Logan – thank you, for everything. Heck, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without him. Anyways, yeah I always thought Minecraft was a game about building tall towers and jumping off of them. Weird huh? I kept seeing high jump videos on YouTube so I just ignored it. Logan inspired me to look further and I’ll never forget that first day playing on his locally hosted hamachi server.

How long have you been on YouTube?

Since 2009 believe it or not. I started my current channel in 2012 though. I would honestly not even consider that time as “being on YouTube.” I’ve only been consistent and dedicated for nearly two years now.

How did you come up with the name SystemZee? What was the inspiration behind your avatar?

I totally took it from my uncle. Back in the 90’s he used the systemz as his alias. My cousins and I always thought it was cool. I took that name back in 2009 and just kind of kept it. At least I added two “e”’s though right? Haha! As for my avatar, I wanted something to symbolize my name in the form of a quick signature. So the SZ, or g2 as some people call it, came to mind. I illustrated it and still need to clean it up.

How would you describe your avatar? Is it steampunk? Is it an inventor? Is it an Wild West character?

My Minecraft skin is definitely a steampunk/inventor/bartender type character. I recently changed it to be wearing suspenders to resemble an old, tired builder who loves to create.

What made you want to start doing YouTube videos?

The freedom. My entire life has been driven by creativity and the ability to simply – create. Its such a fascinating topic to me. I started doing YouTube videos because I loved to play the games I was recording; I enjoyed the editing part, and most importantly – seeing reactions. My community is solid and very much enjoy what we’ve all created together.

How do you deal with trolls or naysayers (those who say things like “YouTube isn’t a real job”)?

Ha! YouTube ISN’T a real job, and that’s the point. I can’t say it’s easy though, I’ve done a lot more work in the past month going full time than I have otherwise. But I just ignore those types of comments. I’m fortunate enough to have a very cool community full of nice people.

What are you best known for? Such as catchphrases, sound effects, intros. Did you decided it or did they just happen organically?

I think I’m best known for my unique editing style and builds more than anything, but there are definitely a number of things that we could consider memes on the channel. For example, on my livestreams we have these random moments where we rave to “Dolphin On Wheels” by Kill The Noise and celebrate by spamming dolphins. That was totally random honestly, but everyone loves it. We also have the #squidsquad – which was all originated from me building a giant Squid in Grian’s base. Just things like that. It’s all random haha.

What made you decide to do YouTube full-time? How did you know it was “time”?

I guess honestly I realized I was always waiting for the right time but that time would never come. Late January was around when I decided to quit my job and go full time and it came from analyzing the past few months of performance, having tons of support from family and friends, and a push by my community. Everyone seemed to agree that I could do it – and it was the best decision of my life by far.

How’s it been going full-time? How did you feel about going full-time? How did your friends and family react?

It has been absolutely liberating. I’m no longer bound to a schedule! All of my videos for the week are made, so I took my lovely girlfriend down to Destin, Florida for the week, which is where I’m answering these questions actually! I was super nervous at first, but it’s been completely worth it. Family was also pretty nervous but overall supportive, they are all pretty aware of the possibilities from YouTube. You were with your girlfriend in Florida at the time? Sorry on my bad timing. Hope she didn’t mind.

How did you get a custom email address? What kind of programs do you use to make your job easier, such as Hootsuite or video editing programs? Any programs, software, cameras, microphone, so on you would recommend to other YouTubers?

Custom email addresses can be created by setting up a mail server and attaching a domain to them. Most web hosts offer it actually. As for programs, I use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit, Photoshop for thumbnails and other art, Fraps for recording, OBS for livestreaming. As for hardware, I don’t have any cameras at the moment, but for the microphone I use an AT2020 attached to a pop filter and boom stand arm. I have nothing but love for that microphone! As far as other YouTubers go, I always just recommend using what you have and slowly grow from there.

What advice would you give to people just starting out on YouTube or wishing to go full-time? Or just advice in general?

The best advice I can give, even though I feel like I’m not successful enough to be giving advice, is to love it and only do it if you love it. Don’t ever expect success as none of us are entitled to it. You have to grind and make quality content and stick to a schedule. Since none of us can predict success on YouTube, or expect it, the only thing you can do is your best.

How do you get the word out about your channel? How do you promote it?

I track SEO and other analytics through the Creator Studio. Whenever I upload a video I test to see what does and does not work. Other than that I try to network and make as many friends as possible!

Is there anyone you wish to thank or acknowledge?

All of my friends, family, and everyone watching – naturally. But I’d also like to thank the group of other YouTubers who have helped lift me off the ground and inspired me to work hard.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Thank you to everyone for helping me slowly achieve my dreams here on YouTube. This has been an unreal experience and I can only look forward from here. I’m excited for what the future may bring.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview (especially if you were out with your girlfriend). I wish you lots of luck in your future endeavors.

You can look for SystemZee on YouTube and Twitter.

Now is time for shameless self-promotion.

 

 

Katherine A. Ganzel, author of The Boy in the Woods

Recently, I got to interview Katherine A. Ganzel, whose book The Boy in the Woods is about to be published.

Author Bio

I’m Katherine A. Ganzel, aka KatherineArlene on Wattpad. I’m a married mother of two grown daughters and currently live with my husband, two dogs, and cat. I’m a Wattpad Ambassador and work for Wattpad on a variety of projects, but mainly as the leader of the Club Ambassador team. When I’m not Watpadding or working on a story, I do a lot of fiber arts. I knit, crochet, weave, and even make my own yarn on a spinning wheel.

Why did you start writing? How long have you been writing?

Writing was an impulse that I didn’t really think about. I lived in my imagination a lot as a kid. I also read a lot, and consumed TV and movies. If a story had something that grabbed me, I’d think about it all the time, and make up new stories about it in my head. When I was old enough to write those stories down, I did. That continued off and on through my teen years and then into my adulthood. I never thought about trying to become “a writer,” I was just having fun.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or acknowledge?

I’d like to thank the dedicated readers of my first story, Stolen Hearts. Because they were willing to read as I posted and overlook my newbie author errors, they encouraged me to finish it and gave me the courage to write more. When I read it now, I cringe at how bad the writing is, and yet they looked beyond that to the story I was trying to tell. There are no words for how grateful I am for the gift they gave me.

Do you consider yourself a writer or an author? Why?

When I posted the last chapter of my first Wattpad story, that’s when I realized I was an author. I mean, I’d written a book! I had readers!

Who’s your favorite author? What’s your favorite genre? What’s your favorite story/book?

My favorite author is J.K. Rowling. I was obsessed with the Harry Potter series, and when I began writing my first story, I made a lot of writing choices based on how she wrote her series. My favorite genre is young adult fiction, mystery, and YA romance, which is also what I love to write. My favorite book is Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire. I’ve read it over and over.

How did you get people to know about your stories/books? (i.e. promotion methods)

I used pretty unconventional methods to promote myself and my stories, but it worked for me. I was active in the clubs, which is one of the best ways to get people to check out your stories. I made sure my covers were attractive and my blurbs were well written. Back when there were no Share Your Story advertising threads, I used to post my story on profiles meant for advertising the kind of story I was writing. That really helped my story get a boost. I also had a romantic profile picture for a long time, a ballerina kissing a boy, to help “sell” me as a romance author. On Wattpad, the more you give, the more you get. Being active, friendly, and helpful really is the best way to draw readers.

How do you judge if you are successful?

That is a really good question since what is considered “success” is subjective. When I first started on Wattpad and was still struggling to gain a readership, I hung out with a group of authors who were all in different stages of their Wattpad journey. One of the authors was always complaining about how none of her readers cared about her and Wattpad never did anything to help authors like her, and instead, only promoted the really famous authors. This person had thousands of followers and over a million reads on her story. I was pretty shocked, and more than a little disgusted by her attitude. Even though my numbers were a whole lot less, I treasured each one of my small number of readers, and celebrated every little milestone. It made me realize that no matter how successful you are, if you’re comparing yourself to others, it will never be enough, and it can turn you into an ungrateful jerk. It was a valuable lesson that’s saved me a whole lot of angst.

How did you find Wattpad? Why Wattpad over other sites? Are you on other writing sites?

I wrote my first story like all the other stories I’d written, in private for only my own enjoyment. After working on it for months, I began to think it hadn’t turned out too badly. I had gotten a Kindle at that time and was reading a lot of self-published stories that weren’t written that well. It gave me the idea that maybe I should share my story with others who might enjoy it like I did. Not to sell it, because I wasn’t a “real” author, but just post it online. I Googled free reading and writing websites, and the rest is history. I’m too devoted to Wattpad to post my stories anywhere else.

Have you been published before? If so, what and where can people find it?

I wrote a short story about Marty and Jess, the two main characters in The Boy in the Woods called “Finding Marty.” It was published in an anthology. The book is called Library of Dreams and it’s available on Amazon.

What is The Boy in the Woods about? Who is the target audience? Do you know the release date, the length it’ll be, or the price?

The Boy in the Woods is a coming of age, young adult romance with a healthy dose of mystery. It’s about a young girl, Jess, who’s lost her parents and has to go live with her uncle and teen male cousin. She’s grown up in Manhattan, but the move takes her to the rural Midwest where she’s living in a gated estate. Even worse, her new family makes it clear they don’t want her. Feeling quite lonely, she struggles to deal with the change in her life. But then she discovers a poor boy, Marty, who’s somehow made it onto her property. Through sheer force of will, she overcomes his distrust of her and they become friends. The story takes place over four years, and as they continue to meet in secret, they grow up and grow much closer. Through it all, there’s the constant fear they’ll be caught, but also her struggle to deal with her controlling uncle. Will they be able to have their happily ever after? Read to find out!

The target audience would be anyone from 14 to adult who likes non-cliched romance. The release date I’m shooting for right now is the beginning of March. I don’t want to rush into publishing. I’ve got the word count down to 166K, so it will be over twice as long as most YA books, a good thing if you’re enjoying the story. The price point will be below the cost of a cup of good coffee, and I’m planning on having frequent sales.

What stage of the publishing process are you at?

I’ve had it professionally edited, and I’ve also had a bunch of beta readers have a go at it. Now I’m trying to address all the things that were brought up. Since I’m publishing this myself, it’s extremely important to me that the final version is as well edited and written as a traditionally published book.

What are your plans now that The Boy in the Woods is going to be published?

I’d like to write a new story, with a new boy and girl. I have an idea I’ve been mulling over while I’m working on Boy.

Any plans for future books? Will there be a sequel or prequel?

I wrote the prequel to The Boy in the Woods already, The Man Inside the Iron Fence. It’s about Jess’s uncle, and explains how he became the cold and controlling man he is in The Boy in the Woods.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I’ve never had true writer’s block, but when I’ve had a hard time starting a chapter or figuring out how to get from point A to point B in my plot, I sit down with pen and paper and just write whatever comes into my head. After a while, ideas come to me. It’s kind of like magic.

What is your proudest moment as a writer?

There are many, many proud moments, but a pretty good one was the three week period where my first story, Stolen Hearts, it’s sequel, Love You Forever, and The Boy in the Woods all reached one million reads.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

All of the stories I’ve written were shaped by the stories that were inspirational to me as a kid. For instance, The Boy in the Woods was inspired by The Secret Garden and A Little Princess.

What book/story has been the most fun to write? Which was the least fun to write?

The Boy in the Woods was the most fun because the writing and plot were easy for me. I had nearly every scene in my head before I started writing and posting the chapters. The least fun was the prequel about the uncle. It’s a tragic story with an unhappy ending. I so wanted my characters to get their HEA [Happy Ever After], but they couldn’t.

What character (yours or any other) would you want to be and/or what world would you want to live in?

That’s a tough question for me because every story I’ve written and the ones I enjoy reading have some pretty dark elements. No world is perfect, and I’d rather just deal with the one I live in now rather than have to learn how to survive a whole new environment.

Imagine you could do anything you wanted—“in the real world” (you had enough money, time, etc), what would you do?

I’d live somewhere where the weather is perfect every day, the landscape is beautiful, and where I’d have all the time to devote to creating art, in whatever form that took. Oh, and I’d have a housekeeper and a cook on call 24/7.

What advice do you have for other (or new) writers?

Write! Write the story you wish you were reading. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, you can fix it later. And then write some more. Also, read! Try to read a little every day. The more you read and write, the better at writing you’ll be.

What advice do you have for other (or new) writers on Wattpad?

Ignore your numbers. Seriously. Don’t obsess over them or compare them to other authors. There’s something more important (besides writing and posting chapters) that you need to be doing with your time. The best thing about Wattpad is the community. Seek out other authors who write the same kinds of stories you do. Read, comment, and vote on their chapters. Let them know you appreciate their work, and they’ll often return the favor. Get into the clubs and participate in the discussions. Ask for advice, or give it to someone who needs help. You’ll learn so much and make wonderful friends from around the world. That’s worth a lot more than numbers on your profile.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Thank you so much for asking me for the interview. This was fun. 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed. Good luck in all your future endeavours.

Katherine can be found on Wattpad, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

The Joe Rover eBooks are available at B&N.com and Amazon.

Her Lover’s Face Update

A while back I interviewed Yolonda Elliot, the author of Her Lover’s Face. I now have a quick update that will hopefully evoke feelings of joy, excitement, and hopefully a desire to read her book. (Yeah, I know I’m stretching the Daily Prompt, but sometimes life just has to be silly.) I’m trying to “draw forth” some humor here. But I hope I don’t provoke and invoke some wrath.

First, she decided to drop the pen name and go with Patricia Elliott. Second, she released the official cover for Her Lover’s Face, which was done by Jessica Greeley.  It can be viewed on her Facebook, Twitter, or Wattpad page.

If you want to know more about Patricia Elliott or just read some more of her stories, you can check out her Wattpad profile. Or follow her on Twitter or Facebook for more news updates.

If you are interested in what Daily Prompt is, you can look here.

Darragha Foster, author of Teaching Old Gods New Tricks

I recently got to interview Darragha Foster, author of Teaching Old Gods New Tricks.

Image found on Darragha’s website

Tell me a bit about yourself.

Darragha Foster enjoys the twisted and unusual. She finds inspiration all around her. Even in the cold case at the grocer…where she is no longer welcome. But that’s another story…

Why did you start writing? How long have you been writing?

The only thing I ever wanted to be was “a writer.” I wrote my first book in the fourth grade.

What type of genre do you write?

Right now I am published in paranormal romances.  I am writing an alternative inspirational (non-Christian) and a young adult book presently.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or acknowledge?

I am grateful.  Period.  To everyone—even those that force me to “learn lessons.”

Do you consider yourself a writer or an author? Why?

Authors are published and are making money. Writers write, but don’t necessary go through the birthing process of putting out a book.  I am an author.

Who’s your favorite author? What’s your favorite genre? What’s your favorite story/book? 

I always say that I am my favorite author.  I like all genres.  I mostly read non-fiction for pleasure.  My favorite books are A Wizard of Earthsea and The Phantom Tollbooth.

How did you get people to know about your stories/books? (i.e. promotion methods)

Nothing works but word of mouth.  I have done it all re:  promotions.

How do you judge if you are successful?

I’ve always known that I am a success.  There really is no way for me to fail.

Do you write on any writing sites, like Wattpad.com? If so, which and what do you think of them?

Gods, no.

Have you been published, such as self-published or through a publishing house? If so where can people find you books?

Let’s see…my publishers are or have been:

Atlantic Bridge (open but not active)

Liquid Silver Publishing (current—many books with them)

Summerhouse Press (closed)

Forevermore Books (closed)

Loose-ID (closing)

I do have a handful of “indy” books out.  My publisher published books are available everywhere.  My indy books are on Amazon, only.  I’ve decided to query agents again so that I can get a foot in the door with a “big house.”

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Never had it.

What is your proudest moment as a writer?

This morning.  Getting out of bed.

My first royalty check was great.  When one of my characters was named in the top 25 “most unusual heroes” was cool. Being recognized is cool.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Where don’t I?  Everything and anything can be a source of inspiration.

What book/story has been the most fun to write? Which was the least fun to write?

Mooncusser Cove was fun to write.  The research amused me.  The least fun is any book that my editors pick apart.

What character (yours or any other) would you want to be and/or what world would you want to live in?

Oh, now that’s an interesting question.  I did live as one of my characters.  I walked where she walked, experienced similar circumstances with descendants of the people she interacted with and became ill with the same illness.  Took me twenty years to figure all this out.  Blew my mind.  Wrote a book about it.  Thorgunna. Love’s Second Sight.

Imagine you could do anything you wanted—“in the real world” (you had enough money, time, etc), what would you do?

I’d quit my day job and stay home and write full time.  But money isn’t everything.  I have desires and deluded impulses that don’t involve money.

What advice do you have for other (or new) writers?

Write every day.

Good editors make good books.  Even if you are an indy writer, use a professional editor.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

“The urge to write has its own mind, body and force of will.  Holding it back would be like stopping a flood with a spoon.”

Thank you Darragha for your time. Good luck in your future endeavors.

You can learn more about Darragha at her website, her blog, or on Facebook.

Yolonda Elliott, author of Her Lover’s Face

Photo taken from Yolonda’s Wattpad profile.

Recently, I had a chat with Yolonda Elliott, the author of Her Lover’s Face, a soon to be published book by Black Velvet Seductions.

Yolonda currently has no website. “My old website provider shutdown so I have to create a new one,” she said. But she can be contacted via Wattpad under PatriciaElliott8.

So, tell us a little about yourself:

Hmm, author bio. I’ve never written an author bio, but here we go:

Yolonda Elliott is a certified legal secretary and a licensed security guard. She lives with her family along the West Coast of Canada.

She started writing fanfiction as a youngster, and then progressed to writing her own stories in her mid-twenties. Her debut story, Her Lover’s Face, was recently picked up by a publisher.

At 39 years old, she continues to pursue her writing career with her family’s support.

Why did you start writing?

I was bullied as a child. Writing poetry and stories became a way to share my thoughts, escape reality, and become everything I didn’t think I was.

How long have you been writing?

I can remember sitting on the railing of my back porch writing. I must have been around ten years old.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or acknowledge?

My brother for pushing me to write original stories, instead of just fanfiction. My parents and husband who support my desire to write. Also, my old high school sweetheart who was the inspiration for my first story.

Do you consider yourself a writer or an author? Why?

Hmm, a writer first and foremost. I became an author because of my desire to write.

Who’s your favorite author?

Nora Roberts

What’s your favorite genre?

Romance

What’s your favorite story/book?

The Bible

How did you get people to know about your stories?

Currently I use Wattpad, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work.

How do you judge if you are successful?

If my work can make someone laugh or cry, then I feel successful. That means my story came alive to them and drew them in.

What is Her Lover’s Face about?

The reader will follow a widow who runs into a man who looks like her deceased husband.

Needless to say a few ghosts rise from the ground as they work to uncover the mystery behind Her Lover’s Face.

Who is the target audience?

Anyone who loves a good romance novel.

Do you know the release date or the price?

Not yet, but hopefully sometime in the next three years.

What stage of the publishing process are you in?

In the editing stage.

Do you have other books published? If so, which ones and where are they sold?

Her Lover’s Face is the first to be published; but, if anyone would like to check out other stories of mine, they are welcome to visit my profile on Wattpad. They can also read a free sample of HLF.

What are your plans now that “Her Lover’s Face” is going to be published?

Continue writing, as well as, increasing my online presence.

Any plans for future books?

I am currently writing two new romance novels and have a number of ideas for future works.

Will there be a sequel?

That is still to be decided, but I’m working on ideas to turn it into a saga.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Stare at the blank screen until something comes to me?

Seriously though, the only time I had severe writer’s block was when I backed my character into a corner with no way out. I ended up having to change something in my character’s past. Sometimes all you need to do is slightly tweak your story.

What is your proudest moment as a writer?

Writing “The End” on the last page my novel. The book took over two years to write.

Where did you get your inspiration from?

I was reading a Harlequin romance and thought, “Hey, I can do that.” After spending a short time thinking, I came up with a “what if” question inspired by my old high school sweetheart and his twin brother.

What if a widow ran into a man who looked like her deceased husband?

What character would yo want to be and/or what world would you want to live in?

Hmm, from my stories or overall? Madison from Splash. I’d love to be a mermaid and live in the sea.

What advice do you have for other (or new) writers?

Never give up and always be willing to learn.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

“If you believe it, you can achieve it.” That’s the motto I live by.

If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it—William Arthur Ward

Thank you Yolonda for taking the time to do this interview. Good luck with your book and your future endeavors.

A sample of Her Lover’s Face can be found here.

Jeff Norton, author of Alienated

Recently, I got to interview Jeff Norton, author of such books as Alienated, Looking Glass, and MetaWars.

Jeff Norton is an author, writer-producer, and founder of AWESOME. He creates compelling characters, amazing stories, and immersive worlds for all ages, in all media. He is the author of the high-tech thriller MetaWars series from Hachette, Memoirs Of A Neurotic Zombie from Faber, and the upcoming Stomp School picture book series from Little Tiger Press.  He also creates and co-writes with other talented authors, such as the best-selling Princess Ponies series with Julie Sykes (under the name Chloe Ryder) for Bloomsbury and the young adult novel Drummer Girl with Bridget Tyler.

Jeff is an Executive Producer of the pre-school television show Trucktown based on Jon Scieszka’s best-selling books.  Through his production company, AWESOME, Jeff is developing a slate of high-concept television shows for kids and adults.

More about Jeff can be found on his website and on his Wattpad profile.

Why did you start writing? How long have you been writing?

I always enjoyed creative writing in high school, but I came very late to it as a profession. I never gave myself permission to pursue it seriously, and there was no Wattpad when I was a teenager. I worked for years helping other people with their creativity across film, TV, and books and finally I decided I wanted to flex my own creative muscles. That was in 2010 and I wrote a book called MetaWars, which was published by Hachette and spurred three sequels. And I haven’t stopped since!

What type of genre do you write?

I have a special fondness for elevated genre, that is, taking a genre you think you know and putting a twist on it. Alienated for example, which you can read on Wattpad ahead of its paperback publication, is a mash-up for science fiction and high school comedy. Looking Glass, which is my first adult novel, combines a Victorian era mystery with the origin story of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or acknowledge?

Wow, how long do you have? But the person I need to thank the most is my awesome wife, Sidonie. She’s been amazingly supportive in encouraging me to pursue writing as both a passion and a profession.

Do you consider yourself a writer or an author? Why?

I consider myself a creator. Sometimes I write books, sometimes I write screenplays (I have two spec screenplays that are in development for TV), and sometimes I come up with an idea and look for a collaborator. For example, I created a book series called Princess Ponies, which despite the pink & sparkly covers are ass-kicking swashbuckling tales for school-aged girls (and boys!). Those books I work with a partner called Julie Sykes, and we publish under the pen-name Chloe Ryder. So long as I’m creating, and moving creative projects forward to readers and audiences, I’m happy.

Who’s your favorite author? What’s your favorite genre? What’s your favorite story/book?

My favourite author is Margaret Atwood. I’ve been a life-long fan, well before her recent bump in fame with Handmaid’s Tale. She’s Canadian, and I’ve met her a number of times, and what I love about her work is that she writes genre fiction that is so elevated and literary you get the best of all worlds. I also have a fondness for the storytelling of Stephen King. My favourite book, however, is The Great Gatsby. When I cooked up Keeping The Beat with Marie Powell, Gatsby was very much an inspiration for that story.

How did you get people to know about your stories/books? (i.e. promotion methods)

I don’t know that I do a great job of that, to be honest. I spend so much time writing & creating that I probably neglect the marketing/promotion side of things to my detriment. When my books are published by big publishers, they do have talented marketing and PR people. I try to stay active on Twitter, which is mostly for fun, and I joined Wattpad to share stories before they were published.

How do you judge if you are successful?

That’s an existential question if ever I heard one! For me, my goal is to craft someone’s favourite story. Ideally, I’d have lots and lots of people think that something I create is their favourite.

How did you find Wattpad? Why Wattpad over other sites? Are you on other writing sites?

Margaret Atwood told me to join! She’s an investor in it and I met her at an event and we were talking about how long it takes to get a book published and she told me about this incredible sounding platform where you can share stories and get feedback instantly. It sounded like fun, so I joined. I’ve had a blast sharing work on Wattpad and meeting great people, like you!

Have you been published, such as self-published or through a publishing house? If so where can people find you books?

I haven’t self-published any books, mostly because I don’t really know how. My books are published by major publishers like Bloomsbury, Hachette, and Faber, and I’m on Barnes & Noble and on Amazon at: amazon.com/author/jeffnorton

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I just write through it. I don’t believe in writer’s block. I just believe in working the problem and keeping going.

What is your proudest moment as a writer?

My proudest moment by far was meeting a young teenager who told me that MetaWars was his favourite book.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I’m inspired by so many things, and often it’s a logical leap of something that’s happening in the world. MetaWars came from an observation about people spending more time online than in the real world. Alienated is a throw-back to my own high school life. Keeping The Beat is inspired by my time in Hollywood. Looking Glass comes from a desire to understand the creative process. Star Pressed, which is also on Wattpad, was inspired by a sense of wanting to tell a story about a different type of family.

What book/story has been the most fun to write? Which was the least fun to write?

The most fun I’ve had writing is Memoris Of A Neurotic Zombie because the book is so much about Adam Meltzer’s voice, and he is such a real character to me.

What character would you want to be and/or what world would you want to live in?

The great thing is that I don’t have to choose! Being a writer means I inhabit these characters and live in their worlds. The world of MetaWars is dystopian and terrifying, but a heck of a lot of fun to inhabit for a few years.

Imagine you could do anything you wanted—“in the real world” (you had enough money, time, etc), what would you do?

I wouldn’t do too much differently, but I suppose if I had more finance I would work to adapt my stories to the screen in a faster way. I am very lucky that several of them are with amazing producers and we’re working very hard on raising the finances necessary to make the leap from page to screen. But that’s a long process and I’d love to short cut it somehow.

What advice do you have for other (or new) writers?

Just write. And start early. I wish I’d started putting pen to paper much earlier in my life. I always tell folks to just get a page or two done a day. It adds up very quickly!

What advice do you have for other (or new) writers on Wattpad?

I feel like I’m still figuring out how to best use the platform, so I’m open to tips in fact! But, with all social media, I’d ask people to be nice and be themselves. Most people are fundamentally good and sadly there’s a few bad apples out there who use social media to troll. Writing is so personal and exposing, that we need to be kind to each other and encourage one another to share our stories.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Just to thank you so much, Joe for the thoughtful questions and for your support and comments on Wattpad. And to wish you well with your own writing!!

Thank you Jeff for taking the time for this interview. It was nice learning more about you. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Jeff Norton can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and PopJam under @thejeffnorton.

Seb Jenkins, author of Life After Death

Recently I had a chance to interview Seb Jenkins, author of Life After Death–a story about a man in his late 30s who is “plunged into an apocalyptic world of the undead” (quote taken from Life After Death description).

Let’s start with a little background.

(Photo courtesy of Seb Jenkins)

Seb Jenkins is a 20 year old student from Bedfordshire, England. His recent works are described as dark, gritty, and atmospheric which he attributes to a lifetime of immersing himself in endless horror books and gore-fuelled tv shows/films. When he isn’t writing, you can find him banging his head slowly against a brick wall, or desperately trying to think of that best-selling idea he came up with at 3am last night.

As of 2015, Seb is currently attending the University of Kent to study journalism and hopes to carve a career out of his passion for writing.

Why did you start writing?

It kind of just happened after time. I grew up reading series like The Maze Runner, Cherub, Darren Shan, and young teen books like these. I’d always wanted to have a go myself. After reading/watching a load of zombie type stuff, I just made some random notes and ideas, kept adding to them over a few months and eventually had this really detailed idea for a book.

Do you consider yourself a writer or an author? Why?

I consider myself a writer rather than an author as most of my work is unpublished. I think you make that step between the two once someone picks you up and/or you start making some money off your work. At the moment I just do it because I thoroughly enjoy it.

Who’s your favourite author? What’s your favourite genre? What’s your favourite story/book?

It’s impossible to choose one favourite author or book, but studying Brighton Rock by Graham Greene is something that leaps to mind. Usually picking a book apart and writing essays on it kind of kills the enjoyment side of things, but I loved that book from start to finish. My favourite genres are horror/thriller, so obviously anything by Stephen King is always a good shout. At the moment I’m reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

I’m not a big fan of “picking a book apart” either. I like to keep the enjoyment alive too.

How did you get people to know about your stories/books?

I pretty much just upload my work to Wattpad and talk to other authors on there. Eventually you find people who want to read your work, or they just stumble across it.

How do you judge if you are successful?

Personally, I would consider myself successful writing-wise if I could ever make a career out of it, but different people have different goals.

How did you find Wattpad? Why Wattpad over other sites? Are you on other writing sites?

Wattpad is the only writing site I use really, after a friend recommended it to me. I love it just because there are so many similar writers, in similar positions, with similar problems, all in one place. It’s a great tool to swap tips, improve your writing and read some other great work.

Have you been published, such as self-published or through a publishing house? If so where can people find you books?

I have self-published my first book Life After Death, however it is currently going through an extra stage of editing before I re-launch it. People can find all my work by following the links on my website, or checking out my Wattpad account.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Sometimes I have to just put my laptop away and go do something else for a few hours. I find that torturing yourself over details that just aren’t coming to your mind in that moment is extremely annoying. Usually I’ll just go watch some Netflix, or hang out with some mates and often the idea I was looking for kind of pops into my head eventually. Forcing writing never works.

What is your proudest moment as a writer?

I would say finishing Life After Death was probably my proudest moment. After a couple of years of writing and editing, finally finishing the final chapter was so satisfying. Then once started getting amazing feedback on Wattpad, it just amplified this even further.

What book/story has been the most fun to write? Which was the least fun to write?

So far, Death After Death (book two of Life After Death) has been the most fun to write. I’ve kind of found my groove with the story now, and added some really cool, fun characters to the second book. I’m really happy with where it’s going so far, and there’s so much less stress after the first book in a series is done. My least favourite would probably be There’s Been Another One, purely because sticking to a maximum word limit was so incredibly difficult.

What character would you want to be and/or what world would you want to live in?

I’d love to have a crack at the apocalyptic world in Life After Death, and I’d probably choose JJ from book two as the character I’d most like to be. I think he’s the one I modelled on myself most.

Imagine you could do anything you wanted—“in the real world” (you had enough money, time, etc), what would you do?

Unlimited food would be nice. If I had enough time and money I would love to create a huge immersive world like George R R Martin has done so beautifully with Game of Thrones.

What advice do you have for other (or new) writers?

Don’t be put off by negative comments, or bad reviews. Just take what they say on board, go back and edit your work, often they will be making good and honest points. Your writing is always going to be a bit crap to start with, you just have to improve as you go to be honest.

What advice do you have for other (or new) writers on Wattpad?

Join some kind of group or book club to get you started. You’ll meet new people straight away, and find readers for your work. It’s the best way to get involved in a variety of circles on there. Don’t be afraid to message someone and say hi, or ask for help, or whatever. Most of the time they will be friendly and helpful.

Thank you for your time Seb Jenkins. Good luck in your future endeavors.

You can learn more about Seb on his website or contact him here.

You can purchase the Joe Rover ebooks at Barnes & Noble or Amazon