Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Kennedy Vega

 I am so excited about today's author chat! Kennedy is a young author from California. She has amazing short stories published on Wattpad. AND she won July's short story writing contest for Book Loot which will be featured in their July book crate (something every book lover should purchase at least once!) Kennedy is a very talented and inspiring author and I look forward to reading future works by Kennedy. Today she shares with us her experience as a young author, her inspirations, her writing, and some tips for other aspiring authors!

Tell me a little about yourself:
Hi! My name is Kennedy, I’m from southern California. I love reading, writing and watching netflix. Some of my favorite authors are Sarah J Maas, Leigh Bardugo, and Rick Riordan. :)

What inspired you to start writing?
I would have to say that there are two authors who have influenced my writing journey. My love for reading began when I came across the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and I absolutely devoured those books! That love of reading soon flourished and I began to want to create my own stories and characters just like the ones that I loved so much. That desire to create was in the back of my mind for a while but it wasn’t until I read A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas that I was really inspired to write a story of my own. I remember finishing that book and just being in complete awe. The character development and the plot twists and the world building that Maas was able to create blew my mind. If I could write a book that was half as good as ACOMAF I would be the
happiest person in the world!

Tell us a little about the first story you remember writing:
Writing for me is a passion that I only discovered recently so the first story I remember writing is my book The Taborda Chosen, which is a full length novel I’m working on. It’s a fantasy YA novel with some fairytale influence that chronicles the fallout when the royal succession in the kingdom of Arshile is cut off and a normal girl is chosen to become ruler instead of the royal heir. The main protagonist has to deal with her new position in the midst of an invasion from a rival kingdom as the struggle for power reaches a crescendo in this tale of love, deception, and magic.

Are there any teachers that inspire you to write? If so, how?
Absolutely! I have a teacher, Mrs.Parsons, who is so supportive of my writing. She is always so willing to write me letters of rec for writing camps and review my work, whether its for school or for fun.

You've written some short stories on Wattpad, can you tell us about this process and why you use Wattpad?
First I write out my story on google docs, which I really love because I don’t ever have to worry about losing my work if my computer crashes (one of my biggest fears) and then I upload them to my account on the site. I adore wattpad! It’s so easy to use and I just really love how its formatted. You can add pictures to each chapter and interact with readers and being apart of a community of writers is really refreshing. It’s also very encouraging when people leave comments and critiques, so it definitely helps my writing process to know what readers liked or disliked and motivates me to keep writing.

Where do you get your awesome book covers from?
I make them! I use a website called Canva that is amazing and so simple to use. I definitely recommend it if you ever need to make graphics of any kind.

Can you tell us what are some of the challenges you face in writing a short story? How do you work through these challenges?
For me writing a short story was a little difficult because there were so many elements about the relationship between Hades and Persephone that I wanted to explore and show my readers, but because of the word limit I had to leave some of those details out. In order to work through that challenge I had to focus on the main plot points and make sure that every detail I wrote about was crucial to the plot and the character development. But I’m actually working on making Blossom of Ash into a full length novel so I can include all the elements and twists and turns that I had to leave out of the short story version. :)

What things have you read that have especially helped with your writing?
Anything and everything Sarah J Maas has written! Hahaha, I just am so in love with her work and the depth and complexity of her plot lines and the character development has really influenced my writing. Every time I sit down and begin a new project or story I think “What would Sarah J Maas do?”

How do you balance between schoolwork, writing, and social life?
During the school year I’m super super busy so I try to write on the weekends but sometimes that doesn’t work out. I’m hoping to get a lot of writing done this summer to make up for it, but of course there’s summer homework and whatnot that always seems to get in the way.

What do your friends say about your writing habit?
They actually don't think much of it :) . Most of my friends don’t share my love of reading so they are sometimes baffled about why I always seem to have a book in my hand or why I want to make stories of my own.

What are your future plans?
I’m really hoping to finish my first story The Taborda Chosen (which is available on wattpad) and turn Blossom of Ash into a full length novel. Once I finish those ( hopefully soon ) and get some feedback from Beta readers, I plan to upload both manuscripts to Swoon Reads which is an imprint of Macmillan Publishing for the chance to get them published. If that doesn’t pan out I’ll probably send out query letters to agents and go the more traditional route as I try to get my novels published.

Do you have any tips for other aspiring authors?
Write! I know that sounds silly and redundant but for the longest time, I was really afraid to actually write about the ideas and characters floating around my head. I was scared that what I wrote down would never be as good as I wanted it to be. So, my advice is write! Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back and just put your ideas down on paper even if they may not initially live up to your expectations, because you can always revise later! Also, seek out people who can provide you with constructive criticism, they can provide a clear opinion and help make your writing even better. :)

How many stories have you written?
I’ve written two, The Taborda Chosen which I mentioned earlier and Blossom of Ash. I have lots of other ideas for projects in mind, but for the moment I’m focused on finishing the Taborda Chosen and making Blossom of Ash into a full length novel. :)

What do you love about writing short stories?
I love writing short stories because they are short and sweet! You are able to explore a set of characters and ideas and finish the story much faster than a full length book.

Can you tell us about your experience with your most recent publication with Book Loot? How did you manage to write a story in such a short amount of time for the deadline?
I had so much fun working with BookLoot! Eugene and Sara were so kind and very helpful with the submission process. I was able to write the story in the time frame because I had the idea for a Hades and Persephone retelling floating around in my head for a while, so it was just a matter of executing. By creating a basic outline of where I wanted my story I was able to write it within the time frame.

I know the story with Book Loot is themed based, but what else inspired you to write this story?
I grew up with the Percy Jackson series and so I’ve always loved greek mythology. I thought that it would be really fun to do a retelling of Hades and Persephone because in the myths he’s represented as a more neutral figure and not the gloom and doom death god that pop culture tends to portray him as. So I thought it would be fun to do a new spin on his persona. :)

Can you share with us an excerpt from one of your stories? 
Sure! Here’s a link to my wattpad account where you can read all my stories

More About Kennedy Vega:
Kennedy Vega is a teen author from sunny southern California where she currently attends high school. Introduced to the power of the written word in the fourth grade, Kennedy has gone on to pursue an insatiable love for reading that baffles her parents at times. Much to her mother’s dismay, Kennedy can often be found in her room hunched over her laptop, furiously scrolling through Pinterest or buried in her to be read pile which has, if she’s being honest, turned into a mountain whose height is rivaled by only Mount Everest itself. Creating worlds, characters, and plot lines that connect and engage readers is Kennedy’s true passion and she hopes to major in creative writing when she goes to college in the future.

Some of her favorite authors include Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Rick Riordan and so many more! Kennedy loves YA books of any genre but she definitely has a soft spot for fantasy and paranormal novels. To read more of her stories visit her wattpad account, @KVega3, and if you ever want to chat about books be sure to follow her instagram account, @januaryrabbit.

Author Links:
Wattpad | Instagram
Be sure to check out Kennedy's awesome short stories! Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Elise Edmonds

 Truth be told I stumbled upon Elise's blog when I was searching for something else. I cannot remember what that something else was, but I saw Elise's blog and it instantly caught my attention. There is so much her site has to offer whether you are a reader or a writer. Her website Magic Writer is a true gem and I encourage you all to check it out.
I am so excited to host her on my blog today!

Author Interview

Tell us a little about yourself:

I live in the south-west of the UK, near the city of Bristol. I'm married and I have two cats, and I'm an accountant by day and a writer by night.

How long have you been writing for?
I've been writing on an off since I was quite young as a hobby, but I never really managed to finish anything. Then about three years ago, I decided I wanted to give it a serious go again and joined an online writing critique site. My main aim was to try and see if I could actually finish a novel – and I'm pleased to say I succeeded!

What inspired you to be a writer?
Oh, I'm one of those people who has always wanted to write a book, for as long as I can remember. I've always been an avid reader, and spent a lot of my childhood with my nose in in a book.

How many books have you written? 
I have one published book, Where Carpets Fly, and a sequel in the works. The sequel is complete but needs more editing. I can also lay claim to a few part-finished novels that may or may not see the light of day!

Do you have any places you go to write?
Well, I have a busy day job so I really just have to fit writing in as and when I can. So I don’t have a particular writing place. I write on my smartphone in my lunch break and when commuting, and at home I have a laptop and write in the lounge or a spare bedroom. I'm not picky really!

What do you do when you have writer's block?
I'm thankful to say I've never had a prolonged period of writer's block. However, I do get days where I'm just not in the mood. Normally, I just take a couple of days off and allow myself to relax – take some walks, read some old favourite books, or watch something mindless on TV – and after that I'm normally happy to get back on track again.

Where did you get the idea to write Where Carpets Fly?
I've always been a fan of both children's fantasy books and school stories – long before Harry Potter came into the world. I grew up on Enid Blyton and Narnia. So writing a fun, immersive fantasy story full of adventure but also including school and coming of age themes is basically me writing the book I wanted to read as a kid! It's got a bit of everything I enjoy reading about.
Flying carpets have always held a fascination for me. There's something exciting and exotic about them, and I wanted to capture that feeling in my world. I read a Diana Wynne Jones book about flying carpets (Castle in the Air – the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle), and I can say she's also influenced my writing.

Can you give us a little more details about Where Carpets Fly? Perhaps a quote or small excerpt you would like to share.
Yes, of course! Where Carpets Fly is about a teenage girl, Elina Faramar, who escapes life in her dull village to take magic lessons in the nearby city. And of course, unexpected adventures happen...Here’s a snippet from the first chapter where Elina and her parents fly into town on their magic carpet:They travelled along the main thoroughfare, through the cheerful yellow buildings, flying level with the top storey. Below them lay a street market with rails of caftans and shawls displayed under striped canopies.Shops lined the main road, and people dashed in and out of the bakers, grocers and confectioners. People were dressed in either loose pants and flowing tunics, like Elina, or the more traditional red and yellow caftans which often came out at Festival. Elina’s stomach growled as they passed the baker who stood outside his shop with a floating tray of mini cream cakes, handing them out to passersby. Shame her Tangible wasn’t good enough to whizz one up to her.Elina lay on her front again. A man strode up the road with a whole procession of crates levitating in front of him. He made it look so easy, and she’d struggled to get that stupid doormat off the floor.Winding cobbled side streets showed glimpses of bookshops and household wares. Elina craned her neck and spotted a china shop and a musical instrument store. Beyond, sat an open square with a large fountain in the middle, where a dark-skinned dancing girl spun and twirled with coloured spiral ribbons. A young lad directed jets of water from the fountain over and around her, not hitting her once.“Wow, look! Mother, d’you think I could learn to do that? It’s Elemental Magic, isn’t it?”Her mother opened her mouth, but her father answered first. “Frivolous waste of time. I don’t expect to see any of that nonsense from you, Elina. You need to focus on Tangible.”Elina glared at his back and caught her mother’s eye. Her mother gave a quick shake of her head, and Elina bit back the hasty retort that had risen. She didn’t want to risk her father turning the carpet around and going back to Darien.
Plaintive music drifted from the square, but they flew by in a few seconds.
“Oh, can’t we stop and look around?” Elina begged.
“No, I want to get to Clauda’s. There’ll be time to go out later in the day.” Her father pushed the rug onwards.
A street merchant’s display filled the road ahead and people crowded around, buying fireworks for the evening festivities. The salesman’s cheery voice projected far and wide. “Ladies and gents. Finest fireworks here! Make your display tonight go with a wallop!” He started letting off bangers to demonstrate.
A loud zap went off right underneath them, and Elina’s father cursed. Elina let out a giggle.
“Calm down, Mikal.” Her mother laid her hand on his arm. “It’s only a bit of fun.”
“I don’t want scorch marks on my biggest carpet.” Elina’s father glared at the salesman below, receiving a wave in return. “Up.” Once more the carpet rose above the houses. “Keep an eye out for Clauda’s place.”
Elina stared around. The glint of water in the distance must be where the docks were. There appeared to be some kind of seating under construction near the river. She couldn’t work out what it was from here.
Elina’s mother pointed. “Over there.” Aunt Clauda’s thin townhouse was visible, unusually painted light blue.
They flew closer, and the chipped brickwork and shabby paint stood out. A large garden sprawled beyond the house. Bougainvillea climbed the fences with abandon, and weeds ran riot. Vibrant purple and green caftans spun on a clothes line.
Elina’s father eased the carpet down onto the landing pad—a large clear rectangular area directly behind the house—until they hovered a foot above the ground. Elina jumped off and stretched her legs, unbuttoning her cloak in the morning sun. The scent of flowering grasses rose around them, making her mother sneeze.
What are some writing tips you have to share with inspiring authors?
 The best tip I have is to find your tribe! I never managed to get properly motivated with writing until I found a group of fellow writers online to get feedback from and chat about writing with. Having other people to bounce ideas and problems off, whether online or in real life, is great.And my second tip is never stop learning. There is a lot to learn about writing craft and the publishing industry, so take all the opportunities you can to improve

Are you working on anything new? If so, can you share a little about your current project.I have a couple of projects on the go at the moment. The first is the sequel to Where Carpets Fly, which is undergoing edits and critique at the moment.And the second is a Fairytale Retelling. I belong to a group of writers who produce short story anthologies and I’m working on a piece for a future anthology.

Your blog site is really wonderful, can you tell us more about your blog Magic Writer?
Thanks! I started Magic Writer because everyone says writers need an online presence. I’d had blogs on different subjects before so a blog seemed like a good place to start.Now I’ve built it up into two sections: one for readers which has fantasy book reviews and interviews with fantasy characters from indie authors.
And the other section is for writers and has a lot of information on general writing advice as well as a special section on worldbuilding.
I love learning about new fantasy worlds whether reading about them or creating them, so that’s the broad theme of my website.

Before you go, is there anything left you would like to share with our readers?

Well, when people ask me that, I always have to share cat pictures. Meet my furry writer buddies, Rafferty and Anushka. They both help and hinder my endeavours, depending on their mood.

Thanks for having me today!
About Elise Edmonds:
Elise Edmonds AuthorElise Edmonds is a new writer from the South-West UK. Reading and writing have always been her doorways into another world—a way to escape and spend time walking with wizards, flying with fairies and dealing with dragons. By day she is a finance professional, and in her spare time she pursues writing as a creative outlet, to put the magic back into everyday life. In addition to reading, Elise enjoys watching movies, playing the piano, and going to Zumba classes. Her greatest loves are God, her husband, her family and friends, and her two beautiful cats.
Check out her novel, Where Carpets Fly!

Book Summary:
Fly for fun … fly for fear … fly for freedom …
Restless teen Elina is bored of village life. When she starts magic lessons in the city, her only concern is exploring the sights with new school friend Kara. However, life takes a darker turn. Her magic teacher is hiding a secret, and odd happenings pile up, like unsociable Simeon's shady dockside deals. But Elina’s questions go unanswered.
When Elina and Simeon develop a magical mind link, she suspects his involvement in foreign spy work. But an unexpected ship tour-turned-voyage throws her and Kara right at the mystery’s heart—in the volatile, dangerous country of Pallexon.
Alone and with no ID, things worsen when a terrorist act blows Kara’s cover. With her own freedom at stake, Elina must rely on her wits and magic to save her friend and unravel Pallexon’s secrets—before it's too late.
Friendships are forged and loyalties tested in this magical fantasy adventure from debut author Elise Edmonds.
Read now and let your imagination fly!
Purchase Link:
Thanks Elise for letting me host you on the blog today! Now for a fun question! If you could take magic lessons, what abilities would you want to learn?
Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Word Building

I just had to post this on here. Over on my review blog we had the pleasure of hosting JM Sullivan. She gave us some amazing world building tips. I wanted to make sure to include the link on here to give all my readers a chance to check it out. The advice she gives is really helpful. Be sure to check it out here!  Happy Writing!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rachel Magee

Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by for today's Author Talks. I'm so thrilled to have Rachel Magee as a guest today on the blog. Today she shares with us why she writes what she writes, more insight to her writing, an excerpt from her novel Happily Ever Afters, and writing tips.

Tell us a little about yourself:
Hi Becca! Thanks so much for having me. I love to write, talk about writing and encouraging others to write. I write contemporary romance and romantic women’s fiction mostly because I love strong female characters and happy endings.

What inspired you to start writing?
Good question. I’m a writer by nature. Ever since I was a little kid, stories were in me. I would hear a song or witness a conversation at the airport and a story would start to form in mind. My childhood room was full of spiral notebooks with these tales scribbled in them. I have to write. It’s who I am. Anyone with me?
But it was sweet husband who inspired me to take the leap into the world of being published. For years, my stories were locked away in the depths of my computer for my eyes only, while I stared longingly at the place in the library where my name would be shelved. Mike was the one who finally encouraged me to let others read them and start looking into what it would take to find a publisher. It was a long, slow, and sometimes painful road, but I’m so glad I ventured down it!

How do you write? Do you plot? Or do you just go for it?
I’m a total plotter. I once tried being a pantser, and it was a hot mess. What can I say? I need a plan.
I tend to favor the Save the Cat! method of plotting. If you’re a plotter and you haven’t read it, it’s worth picking up. I write each of my plot points on notecards, which is a tip I got from another writer, because occasionally I will have to shift some plot points around to make the story work better. Plus, I’m tactile and I like to hold them. It helps me connect more with the story.

How many stories have you written?
If you are counting only the stories I’ve written since I’ve become serious about being published, the answer is three. Right now, there are three complete full-length manuscripts on my computer and one in the works. I feel very fortunate that my first complete manuscript, Happily Ever Afters, will be the first one published. It’s being released September 19! Book #2 is on submission right now, and I’m excited to see where it ends up. Book #3, which is related to Happily Ever Afters, is in the final editing phase before I send it to my publisher later this summer.

Tell us about your new novel that will be released in September, can you give us an excerpt?
Happily Ever Afters is about type-A doctor, Lainey Stratton, who happens to fall in love with someone she meets on vacation, which isn’t part of her plan. With her life in Dallas and his is D.C., she doesn’t see how it can possibly work out. Still, since she could use a date to an upcoming destination wedding, she’s has an excuse to at least see him again. But when her well-planed life falls apart, her vacation romance might be the only one who can help her put it back together. That is, as long as his past doesn’t catch up with them.
It’s full of fun settings, interesting characters, and the emotional journey of overcome life’s unexpected hurtles. There might be a bit of humor in there, too.
Have a peek at a scene from the first chapter.
“Excuse me.” The deep voice came from above me.
I cracked one eye enough to see a man standing there. He motioned to the large storage bin holding all the passengers’ bags stowed under the bench where I was sitting. Shifting out of his way, I didn’t let the interruption distract me from enjoying the tranquility of the sail.
“It’s the ugly green one,” a girl’s voice called from somewhere near the front of the boat. I wanted to completely ignore the bag-fetching stranger, but curiosity piqued my interest. I needed to know what the ugly bag looked like. Through my half-opened lid, I saw him hoist an apple-green and white chevron print bag with a large pink flower printed on one side.
“Oh.” I pointed to the bag dangling from his finger. “That’s actually my ugly green bag.”
He pulled a face to show his embarrassment and handed me my bag. “Sorry about that.” Squatting down, he continued to dig through the bin.
He moved two more green bags to the top of the pile. One was a lime Hawaiian print and the other chartreuse with a bright lemon geometric design. Stroking his jaw, he studied both.
“Any thoughts on which would be ugly?” he asked.
“Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder?” I offered.
He shrugged and picked the chartreuse bag, holding it up for the girl at the front to see. She nodded her approval. He removed a bottle of sunblock and dropped the bag into the bin.
“May I?” He motioned to my bag. I handed it to him, and he placed it on top of the pile before returning the bin to its storage place. “Mission accomplished,” he said, displaying the bottle. “Who knew finding sunblock would be such a challenge? Anyway, I’m Carter.”
Annoyed he was interrupting my relaxing moment, I plastered a fake-friendly smile on my face before shifting my complete attention to the chatty stranger. Then, I momentarily lost my train of thought.
The man standing in front of me was much more attractive than I had first noticed. He had thick dark hair and a strong jaw, but his playful smile softened his features. He wore only a pair of teal swim trunks, showing off a sculpted body that had clearly spent some time inside a gym. And from the look of his sun-kissed skin, I guessed this was not the first day of his vacation. I had to force myself to regain focus.
“Lainey Stratton. And for the record, the bag wasn’t my first choice either.” I bought it at the hospital gift shop the day before we left because I realized I didn’t have any sort of beach bag to bring with me on the trip. My choices were between the one I got and one featuring the poop emoji. That’s what I get for not planning ahead.
“Nice to meet you, Lainey.” He flashed a charming smile and settled against the rail. “What brings you to Puerto Rico?”

What inspired you to write your novel?
I was on a girls’ trip with some friends when a conversation sparked the idea for this book. What would happen if you fell in love with someone you met on vacation but their life was nowhere near yours? The rest of the story just sort of fell into place. I think I had the whole thing plotted before I flew home.

Do you have any tips you can give other aspiring authors out there?
Don’t give up!! I can’t say it enough. The journey to being published is full of rejection. Don’t let it stop you. Continue to write, continue to improve your craft, and don’t give up the dream of seeing it published. And if you feel like giving up, find a friend who won’t let you.

Which authors inspire you most?
I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. I love her work, the way she crafts her stories, and the way the romances are deep and thought provoking. I could read her books over and over.

If you could join in literary world, what would it be and why?
Do I have to pick just one? The truth is, I usually want to be part of whatever I happen to be reading at the moment. Right now, I’m reading a book with my son set in a space colony on the moon. The other night we had a great conversation about how we wanted to go there and live with them. Then I went downstairs and picked up the book I’m currently reading set in a summer camp. Now I’m ready to pack my trunk to go to camp. Minus the bugs, of course.

What are the first 5 things you do to prepare yourself for a day of writing?
1.    Get child care. Luckily, my hubby is very supportive and will entertain the kiddos when I need a full day of writing. But, as a mom of two active kids, a couple of hours of writing time is more the norm.
2.    Set a goal. I like goals because they help me focus. Sometimes I reach my goals, sometimes not.
3.    Pick out my music. I love to write to music because it helps me think. But I’m specific in what I’m listening to while I’m writing, because it effects my mood. Which brings me to…
4.    Think about the emotions. I think about the emotions in the scene, what each character is trying to portray, and where I want the characters and the reader to end up emotionally at the end of it.
5.    Get coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Are you working on anything now? Can you share a little bit about it with us?
Most of my time right now is devoted to editing the book that follows Happily Ever Afters. It is about a bubbly, energetic event planner and a serious, career-focused lawyer who have to work together to plan an event that will make or break each of their careers. The only problem is they don’t see eye-to-eye on, well, anything. The banter between the characters has been a lot of fun to write, and it has some pretty great locations as well. Part of the story takes place at a hot air balloon festival, which was a blast to research.

Before you go, is there anything else you would like to share with us? 
I’ll leave you with a quote I love from Richard Bach. “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” Follow your dream. The world needs to read your story.

Thanks for having me!
About the Novel:
Lainey Stratton does not fall in love with strangers she meets on vacation. It simply doesn’t make logical sense. So when Lainey meets Carter Thompson on the first day of her Caribbean vacation, she knows it could never amount to anything more than a crush.  At the end of the vacation she will return to Dallas and he will return to DC, and that will be the end of it. Well, unless he wants to join her at a friend’s destination wedding, which would be considered vacation too, right?
But when an unexpected tragedy sends Lainey’s logical world spiraling out of control, she realizes her vacation crush might be the only one who can help her pick up the pieces of her shattered life.  That is, as long as she can get out of the way of her own happiness.  And as long as Carter’s past doesn’t catch up with him before she gets a chance.

About the Author:

Rachel wrote her first novel when she was twelve and entered it into a contest for young author/illustrators. Unfortunately, the judges weren’t impressed with her stick figures. So she dropped the dream of becoming a world famous illustrator and stuck to spinning stories. When she’s not busy working on her latest book, she loves to travel with her family and friends. By far, her favorite destination is the beach, which tends to work its way into most of her stories. Between vacations, you can find her at home in The Woodlands, TX with her wonderful husband, their two adventurous kids and a couple of spirited pets, all of whom share Rachel’s love of the ocean. Well, except the cat and dog. They’re both afraid of water. Find out more about what Rachel has been up to at
Author Links:
Loved having Rachel on the blog today! I'll leave you all with a fun question to answer. What do you love most about contemporary romance and why? Leave your answer in the comments!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Leslie Hauser


I am so excited to have Leslie Hauser on the blog! Leslie shares with us about her writing, her writing style, her debut novel Chasing Evaline, and helpful tips for other aspiring authors out there. Also be sure to check out the excerpt for Chasing Evaline, I cannot wait to read it!
Tell me more about yourself: I live in Southern California with my dog Mr. Darcy. When I'm not writing or working, I run, do CrossFit, read, watch too much TV, and send cat gifs to my friends :)

Tell me more about your debut novel (read the excerpt after the interview):
Chasing Eveline is a YA contemporary novel about 16 year old Ivy Higgins who goes on a quest with her friend Matt to reunite 80s band Chasing Eveline.

What inspired you to be an author?
I’ve been writing since the third grade when I penned my award-winning story “Wild Strawberries” about a talking strawberry that takes a young girl on a wild adventure. It was published on the front page of the school gazette. Haha. But in all honesty, I think that was the moment when I realized I had stories to tell and that I loved telling them. (It was also the moment I learned I would never be an artist. My strawberry graphic was not so fabulous.)

How many stories have you written?
I've published two short stories and a novel. I have another completed unpublished novel and one that I plan to complete by August 1.

Is writing your full time profession? If not, what else do you do and how do you manage both jobs? No, I am a part-time writer. I also teach 6th grade English and history. I work mostly on my blog and short writing pieces during the school year and save my long summer break for novel writing.

What is your writing process?
First, I outline in my head. I walk around with the story brewing in my mind for weeks or months, if necessary. I need to create a basic movie for how I want the plot to unfold. Then I map out the story on Post-it notes. Each chapter gets a Post-it note, and the chapters are divided into a beginning, middle and end. This helps me hit a high point in each chapter, which keeps the story moving and helps maintain a sense of drama. It keeps me from having chapters that serve no purpose. Only after I’ve mapped out the entire story do I begin writing. Of course, things may change as I go, but I need to have a set plan—a set of directions—before I can begin. Otherwise, I feel too overwhelmed.

How do you create the world you are writing in? Since I write contemporary, it's usually just the world we all live in :) A lot of times, I'll go on Pinterest or Google search towns and houses and people to get an idea of what I want my fake setting to look like.

How do you pull us in with amazing characters?
I try to create real characters that are likeable. Even in my unpublished YA, there is a friend who is the antagonist and I like her because she's truly hateable! :)

What authors inspire you to write?
Sarah Dessen is the inspiration behind my YA. Her book The Truth About Forever is the book that hooked me on YA, and I feel a sense of loyalty to her and her books because of that.

Have you ever thought about self-publishing? What are the pro-s and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?
I considered self-publishing. An interesting fact I learned is that the majority of authors who make a career of writing are self-published writers. I would have thought it'd be the opposite: the ones with the major publishers behind them would be the ones making a career of it. But self-publishing keeps the profits going directly to you, so that's a benefit. The drawback is that there's so much to do to put out a book and promote it, and you'd have to do all of that yourself.

What is some advice you can give to other authors out there that are struggling to get their work published?
I sort of laugh when published authors say, “Don’t worry so much about getting published. Just write and everything will fall into place.” You know, that’s easy to say once you have a publishing deal. But if your dream is to see your book in print, you will worry and you will stress and you will be sad at times. My advice is just to accept that as part of the process. Go with it. If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re angry that it seems so easy for some people, be angry. I would also tell writers to consider indie publishers. I’m very happy with my decision to go with Pen Name Publishing. The whole experience has been great, and I get to see my book out in the world. This may not have happened if I’d only considered the traditional publishing route.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?
I just hope you all will go out and buy Chasing Eveline and that it will entertain you and put a smile on your face. That's why I wrote it! I wanted to put some happiness in the world :)

Purchase Link 

They say music is the key to the soul. Or maybe it’s the heart. I can’t remember exactly what my mom said that day she danced into my room with a new record for me to hear. I was only in the fourth grade, but I became a believer. I remember so vividly how the drums rattled deep within my chest and the lyrics I didn’t even understand seemed to whisper secrets meant only for me. The song lingered inside me for days. My mom swooned and told me that’s why music must be shared.

So when I saw the desperate school blog post calling for a volunteer DJ at tonight’s Back to School Dance, I jumped at the chance. The music my friend Matt and I plan to throw into the mix is a giant master key. I just hope it will open the teenage hearts in this musty gym and linger inside them long after the last balloon deflates. This music is important to me.

I nudge Matt, whose face is glued to the computer screen at our DJ table. A vibrating speaker to our left thumps out music, so I yell into his ear, “Is the set list ready?”

He tilts his head toward me. “Geez, Ivy. I just plugged in the flash drive.”

“Okay, sorry.” I step away. He sweeps his blond hair out of his eyes and returns his focus to the computer.

I pace behind him, a nervous left followed by an excited right and back again. The musical brilliance of the greatest guitarist of all time will soon weave through these bodies and drift into every ear. My heart floats up with the blue and yellow balloons hovering like a latex fog.

My hand strums on my thigh while Matt continues to fuss with the computer. Near the gym entrance, Principal Henry stands with Narc 1 and Narc 2, and a wave of yawns travels across them. The newbie freshmen line the walls and cluster in groups. The scene resembles a casting call for an acne medication ad.

The dull atmosphere isn’t helped by the annoyingly synthetic pop noise blasting through the speakers. After I offered our free DJ services to Karen, the Dance Committee Chairperson, she gave us a mix of music tracks to play. She was grateful to have saved some precious dollars for this year’s prom, but I’m not sure she trusted two no-name juniors to get the job done.

However, after listening to thirty minutes of her set list, I’m seriously questioning the cool factor of the popular crowd. Karen’s mix features some of the worst radio music of all time. Every song is a mere echo of the previous one—peppy beats and vacuous lyrics about hook-ups and partying. I can’t even tell if the voices belong to boys, girls, or machines.

I tap Matt’s shoulder. “Are you almost finished?” I nearly have to scream.

“Yeah. I’m just making sure we have the songs in the right order.” He turns around and leans toward me. “Ivy, you really want to do this?”

I smile at him and hope he doesn’t see all the tiny cracks waiting to splinter. “We’re just sharing some great music. It’ll be fine.”

About the Author:

I am a YA writer and middle school teacher. I have a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently reside in Los Angeles, California, with my dog Mr. Darcy.

When I’m not living in fictional worlds inside my head, I run all sorts of distances, torture my body at CrossFit, and DVR entirely too many television shows. I dream of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning a cookie delivery service.

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What music do you most enjoy listening to? Who is your favorite band? Leave your answer in the comments and thanks for stopping by!