Interview With Cover Artist Renu Sharma

Today is ultra-special because I’m able to introduce you all to the über talented Renu Sharma, digital artist extraordinaire.   As with all of recommendations, Renu is someone I worked with on THE MILESTONE TAPES revised cover.  She and I worked through e-mails to capture the vibe and essence of my book–which she nailed with limited instruction and her unmatched skill.  She has a way with pictures–the ability to capture the light and dark of an image and bring it to life.  She has a true gift.

She was so good, I couldn’t keep her to myself…

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Tell us about you (where you live, what your interests are, do you have hobbies…etc…):

I was born and raised in Noida, India. Being a part of the NCR(National Capital Region) the proximity to cultural and artistic events is a blessing.  After art, my second love would be music, especially rock and metal music from bands like Tool, A Perfect Circle and so on. Love watching movies, favorite genres would be fantasy, comedy and drama; but any genre would do till the time it is nicely made.

 

What made you interested in doing book covers:

Ever since I began to create art, I’ve always been more interested in the creating part than trying to sell it off.  I sold my first book cover about a year back. Recently, another writer stumbled upon my work and contacted me. She turned out to be an angel and told me about kindleboardsforum and insisted that I could do really great as a book cover artist, so here I am!

Have you ever done any book covers for publishing houses, or do you work strictly with Indie Authors?  What other mediums for your art (print, magazines, etc…) 

So far, I have only worked with Indie authors but am open to working with publishing houses as well. As a graphic designer, I’ve designed websites, brochures, ads, social media pages and so on .And, if I ever get around to it I’d love to work for musicians as well for album art and such someday.

 

Your art is amazing!  Can you explain the process to us?

I do both traditional drawings on paper and digital artwork. Some of the digital art is painted with a pen tablet from scratch till finish, while most of the recent work including all the book covers is through photo manipulation.  When creating an artwork that is not commissioned, I look around stock pictures to see something that inspires me, and then work on them on photoshop, also taking the aid of a pen tablet to create the artwork that you see in my gallery.

 

What is the length of time from raw photograph to finished piece?

That mainly depends on the detailing involved in the artwork but it usually do it in about 5-7 hours.

 

How many covers have you done?

So far, I have sold 8 covers including 2 commissions.

 

Do you do this work full-time or do you have another job?

After realising this is what I want to do, I do this full-time now.

 

Is there a wait list?

None as of yet.

 

You have a portfolio of work that doesn’t have an Author behind it, which is where I purchased my cover image….can you explain how that works?  What is the pricing of those almost-finished pieces?

Apart from the pieces on sale which are for $120.00, the prices vary from $250.00 to $550.00 depending on the amount of time an artwork has consumed.

 

What does that price include?  (amount of revisions, font, alterations to the image–if any)

The price includes the artwork at the highest resolution available, a component for doing the fonts and resizing of the work if required in 2-3 different dimensions. I don’t mind doing minor alterations and revisions for up to 2-3 times because I want the client to be happy about it.

You also do commissioned work–which is totally custom–once an Author commissions you, generally speaking, how long does it take to receive the finished proof?

So far In case of the commissions I have already done, after the initial payment has been made and both the author and I have agreed upon the stock images to be used, I request for a time-frame of bout a week, and have always been able to deliver within it .

 

What is the price of something like that? (please be totally descriptive)

The price of the completed artwork is based on the number of stock images used, the amount of overpainting it is going to take to get the desired effect, the kind of fonts to be used and how much of styling they need. The price ranges from $250.00 to $550.00 again.

 

What does that price include? (amount of revisions, font, alterations to the image, brainstorming sessions?)

That price includes everything that a pre-made artwork includes. In addition to that, it includes finding and selecting just the pictures that fit the author’s description of the character to be on the cover. I also ask for an overview of the story and character description so I can come up with ideas of my own to suggest to the author for the cover. After the idea gets a go ahead, I start working on it.

 

Sometimes you run specials….how often do you do that and what is a “normal” special for you?

The specials running right now are the ones I did quite a while ago, more like practice artworks So I don’t mind selling them for a lesser price because they aren’t as detailed and time-consuming as are the more recent ones. I will certainly run specials in future as well for artworks which are ‘quickies’ but still turn out to be good enough.

 

Have you ever worked with an Author that was simply impossibly (no names)?  What do you do when you come across conflicting ideas?

Luckily, all the authors I have worked with so far have been really nice and very co-operative to work with like yourself.

 

I’ve read your contract, but for those who haven’t, can you explain what you ask of an Author before starting their cover?

In case of a commission, I ask for at least 50% of the payment upfront so I can start working on the artwork. Once it is complete and we’re both happy with it, I send a signed agreement to the author and ask for a signed and scanned copy back. The agreement includes the rights to use the artwork for all kinds of promotion related to that particular book. It also is exclusively sold to that author so I cannot sell it to anybody else for commercial purpose. For right now, my art is royalty free to be used. In case of pre-made artworks, first and foremost we go with the agreement. Once done with that, follows the payment from the client’s part and the completed book cover from my end.

 

What is your favorite genre to work with?  Do you have a preference?

I’d have to say that I love fantasy, dark themed work will come a close second, all in all any art that includes people . These would be my preferences but I do not mind taking other kinds of works either like dragons, zombies, landscapes etc.

 

What are some of the high challenges that come with working with clients over the internet as opposed to face to face or via phone?

The biggest challenge is to not be able to get a prompt response from the client sometimes. It takes a few days at times  to get simplest of things further.

 

Closing remarks…anything you want to just say or tell us….now’s the time!!

I just want to say that it is really amazing to be able to collaborate with other artists (writers) to bring the magic of imagination to the world. I hope my art on your cover grabs a lot more of people’s attention so you have a lot many readers. I am really looking forward to doing a lot of book covers! Art is the best thing to ever have happened to me. My all time favorite quote which goes to all the artists and writers:

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. – Twyla Tharp.

Thank you for doing this interview Ashley, cheers!

(You can reach Renu Sharma at renu.artist@gmail.com or view her work portfolio and images for sale on her Facebook page :))

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I feel this is the perfect opportunity to show you what Renu can do.  I’m officially releasing the rekindled cover THE MILESTONE TAPES.

THE MILESTONE TAPES is written in a series of months rather than chapters, giving the reader the sensation of time and what the passing of it means. The season of fall plays a key role in the story.  As we all know, when autumn comes the leaves fall, the nights get longer, the air grows a little colder and life changes.  For both Mia and Jenna, fall means the end of life as they know it and the beginning of a new reality.   With Renu’s image and skill, she was able to bring that to life for me–and hopefully–for my readers as well.

Artist Credit: Renu Sharma

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Blog Party for Shel Delisle

Shel Delisle, author of DOLPHIN GIRL, joins us from Florida today to discuss her NaNo project.

-Name: Shel Delisle

-Blog/Website Address:

http://sheldelisle.wordpress.com/

http://whatchareadingnow.com/

-Tell us about you:

I’m the author of the contemporary YA novel Dolphin Girl and one of the founders of Whatcha’ Reading Now?, the popular kids lit community.  I also have a wonderful hubby, three sporty boys, and a very hairy dog.  When I have spare time *grins*, I make truly scrumptious cookies.

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what inspired you to join the writeathon?:

I have a burning desire to finish this novel!  Plus, I want to write quickly to outwit my inner critic and end up with a fresh and honest first draft.  I can always haul that critic out later during revision.

-Do you have a plot idea, how about character description?

That’s a funny question!  Let me tell you why.  All of my books involve characters that are “rule breakers”.  Clearly, I’m one too, since this book had more than a hundred pages at the beginning of NaNo and that would be a big no-no.  NaNo. No-no. That’s kinda’ funny.

But, that said, I don’t want to be a cheat on the word count, so I’m throwing in some other projects, including a short story for an upcoming collaboration with some other writer friends.  On that, I know the character quite well and have a basic idea on plot.

-What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block…):

Definitely time/other obligations.  I’m the mother of three.  The kids’ lit writing community Whatcha’ Reading Now?  takes a bit of effort. I’m promoting my newly released e-book and am at work on publishing-type stuff for another book that will release in early 2012.

-What sort of experience are you bringing to the table? (example: already an author):

I’ve written my whole life, but have only taken it seriously for the last seven years.  By seriously, I mean treating it like a job.  During the past seven years, I’ve set goals and participated in critique groups.  I’ve studied craft by taking classes, reading books and practice, practice, practice.  They say it takes 1 million words to become proficient.  Um, did I mention practice?

-If you’re already a writer, what’s your “normal novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?

I don’t think I’ve written enough novels to have a “normal” pace. The first novel I wrote took just under one month, but that was before I knew anything about writing. *grins*

I think the appeal of NaNo for me is to write with that kind of freedom and freshness again.  In my experience it’s not hard to write 50,000 words, but it can be challenging to write 50,000 good words.

When I think of time, it definitely includes revision.  So, my completed novels have taken anywhere from six months to two years.

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?:

I plan to publish this book post NaNo!  After revisions, of course. J

Blog Party for E.S Lark

Emily grew up with a fantastical imagination and parlayed that into a stunning career as an author.  With an unwavering belief that her books should be read–whether they fit traditional markets or not–E.S Lark has given readers beautiful stories.  Today, she joins the La Bella Novella blog to discuss her 2011 NaNoWriMo plans!  Thank you Emily!

-Name: Emily Lark

-Blog/Website Address: http://www.eslark.com

-Tell us about you: I’ve been writing fantasy fiction for about twenty years now. I’ve tried other genres, but they never seem to stick as long. A few of my favorite authors include Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton, Piers Anthony and R. A. Salvatore.

-If you’re a writer–professionally speaking–what is your “normal novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?: This really comes down to how easily the story flows for me. I’ve been known to writer 30,000 words in as little as six days. I’m sure if a story really grabbed me, I could easily achieve 50,000 in one week. Unfortunately, it usually takes more time than that because I obsess over the smaller details.

-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?: Last year was actually my first Nanowrimo, but I didn’t write under this name. I was working on a piece of non-fiction at the time (making me a Nano rebel) and didn’t want to confuse my readers by using the same name.

-Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and reach 50k in your past NaNoWriMo’s?  How many words total did you write (more or less or dead even)?: I won Nanowrimo last year a few days before it ended. I believe I finished with about 52,000 words, and then through edits I cut that down to around 47,000 words.

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially inspired you to join the writeathon movement and then, what has kept you coming back for more?: I’d seen a lot of my writing peers getting geared for it and I kind of felt left out. I’m doing it this year because I enjoy the community as it’s going on. You can join chatrooms, chat on the forums, join in writing sprints or even meet up with local authors.

-What were some of the things you taken away from past NaNo’s?  Any lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do different this year?: About halfway through Nano last year I started to fall behind. I let myself get stuck on a scene because it wasn’t flowing as smoothly as I would’ve liked. I’m one of those writers who edits as she writes, which makes the writing process longer than it has to be.

When I realized what was holding my novel back, I forced myself to ignore the internal editor. Sometimes we forget that the first draft isn’t supposed to look polished and that it’s just there as another piece of the foundation. So, for myself and new Nano writers out there, I order you to turn off the editor. Get the bare bones of your novel down in the first draft. Basically, your head’s full of words and letters. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, and the only way to get rid of it is to throw the novel onto the page as quickly as possible. Get it out and move on. You can fix any mistakes during the editing process.

-What happened to your story–did you publish it?  Junk it?  Still working on it?  (this is the place where it is A-O.K to mention a published book, if that book came from NaNoWriMo’s of the past): The book I wrote last year has been edited about six times. It’s ready for publication, but I got sidetracked with my fantasy. At the moment, I don’t have enough time to do the interior layout and cover work, so it will have to wait. I do plan on publishing it in the future though.

-What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo this year? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block) Time management. Ever since I released my first book this fall, I’ve been unable to manage my time as well as I’d like. I tell myself to do one hour of marketing/connecting with readers in the morning, but that one hour soon becomes two or even three hours long. I do the same in the evening. So when I’m not marketing or connecting, I do my very best to write, but I’m constantly checking email, my blog for comments, Twitter and online writing communities.

-Since you’re obviously back for more–tell us–what prep work have you done for 2011 NaNo?  Do you have a strong plot mapped out?  Character development?  What are you current plans?: I had three ideas for Nano earlier this season, and it kept changing. Now, with Trueblood’s Plight coming out next month just as Nano begins, I’ve decided to work on the sequel. I’ve done very little prep for this. I’m using a plot idea I had about a year ago, changing a few things and winging it. I know it’s not for everyone, but I cannot use an outline.

I feel restricted if I do, like I need to follow the exact outline. Besides, most times when I plan on something happening, my characters decide they want to do something else. They’re the ones that write my books. I’m just there for the ride and to make sure no one dies (usually).

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo? I do. Since I started on my road to publication about two years ago, I’ve made myself a promise. I’m not allowed to start a book and not finish it, even if I get stuck. If I gave up when I had a writer’s block that lasted two weeks last year, Trueblood’s Plight wouldn’t exist. It’s hard trudging through the meat of a novel at times, but we never know how good it could’ve been unless we finish it.

Blog Party for Edward M. Grant

And the party continues!  British author, Edward M. Grant, stopped by to share his past NaNoWriMo experiences and what he hopes to accomplish this year.

-Name: Edward M. Grant

 

-Blog/Website Address: www.edwardmgrant.com

 

-Tell us about you:

 

I grew up in Britain and studied Physics at Oxford, but I moved to

Canada several years ago. I make a living in IT and in the UK I spent

about a decade working on indie movies in my spare time, and only really

returned to writing fiction when ebooks made self-publishing viable;

every time I thought about finishing a novel and sending it out the

prospect of waiting years for agents and publishers to reject it left me

looking for better things to do with my time.

 

Lately I’ve been too busy writing to do much for hobbies, but in the

past I’ve been a VIP at several space shuttle launches, traveled all

over the world, climbed Mt Fuji and visited ground zero of a number of

nuclear explosions.

 

Over the years I’ve written various short stories, a lot of unproduced

movie scripts and some magazine articles. I co-write an indie vampire

movie which was shot in 2006, but it didn’t come out as well as we’d

hoped. Right now I’m doing a final tidy on a novelization of the first

horror movie script I wrote back around 2001 and hope to have it

available soon.

 

-If you’re a writer–professionally speaking–what is your “normal

novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it

takes you to write 50,000 words?:

 

I’ve been trying to average 1,000 words a day all year and I’ve come

fairly close to that but unfortunately the words are spread across about

half a dozen novels and a few short stories rather than all in one

place. So on that basis about two months, though I’d normally be

revising a previous novel at the same time.

 

-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:

 

That was ‘Petrina’ in 2006, which I’ve just started revising to

self-publish sometime next year; I was roughing out a series of five SF

novels when my girlfriend suggested doing NaNoWriMo because she and some

of the people she worked with planned to do it, so I thought I’d write a

separate novel set in the same universe with some of the same characters.

 

It was a useful experience because at the time I had several

part-written novels that I had abandoned but had never completed a first

draft (oh my God, all those words in one story!), so it gave me an

incentive to do so. Fifty thousand words seemed daunting at the time,

but I’d managed to write feature-length movie scripts in a couple of

weeks so it wasn’t as daunting as it would have been a few years earlier.

 

-Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and

reach 50k in your past NaNoWriMo’s?  How many words total did you write

(more or less or dead even)?:

 

To be honest, I’ve never been that worried about actually completing the

story that month, so I just aim for the 50k words and call it done once

I pass that. Every NaNo novel I’ve written has a beginning, middle and

end, but also a number of places saying ‘[stuff goes here]’ or ‘[The

magic hamster arrives and saves the weasel princess]’

 

I see it more as a way to write a detailed outline than a complete novel

with all the words in the right places. For example, ‘Petrina’ ended up

around 65,000 words after I went back and wrote the parts I’d left out

and I wouldn’t have managed that extra 15,000 words before the end of

the month.

 

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially

inspired you to join the writeathon movement and then, what has kept you

coming back for more?:

 

I work best with deadlines, so having a simple deadline (50k words by

the end of the month) is a good incentive to get something written. I

have a ton of ideas stashed away that I’d like to write and so it’s a

good excuse to pull one off the list and write it.

 

-What were some of the things you taken away from past NaNo’s?  Any

lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do

different this year?:

 

Mostly that it showed I could sit down and get a story pretty much

written in far less time than I’d imagined. The downside is that it is

just a very rough draft so you really need to revise it into a readable

story if you want to learn as much as you can from the process. Having

proven I could write the words I’ve learned a lot since from revising a

story to make those words worth reading.

 

I always made a rough outline before I started so that I’d have some

idea of where I was intending to go, but I didn’t always follow it; I

would say that helps because you don’t waste too much time thinking

about what should happen next and can concentrate on putting the words

down. In addition, if I realised something needed to be fixed I’d

normally just put a note in the margin rather than spend the time to go

back and rewrite it then.

 

One idea I like but have never used in Nano is the ‘snowflake method’

(there’s a web page of that name) where you start with a very basic

outline of the story and then expand it in multiple stages until you

have a very thorough outline. If I was starting from scratch this time

I’d probably give that a try.

 

-What happened to your story–did you publish it?  Junk it?  Still

working on it?  (this is the place where it is A-O.K to mention a

published book, if that book came from NaNoWriMo’s of the past):

 

I have five and at the moment they’re waiting for me to get around to

revising them; I think at least four of them are worth further work.

Hopefully ‘Petrina’ and ‘Highgate Horror’ will be out sometime next year

along with the new Nano novel.

 

-What do you think your biggest personal challange will be when it comes

to NaNoWriMo this year?

Time, I think. When I first did Nano I was single (well, my girlfriend

was on the other side of the Atlantic) and living in a log cabin so I

could start as soon as I got back from my day job and finish at 4am if

need be. Now I have to deal with cooking and mowing the lawn, and I’m

on-call for my day job for part of the month so hopefully no disasters

will happen.

 

-Since you’re obviously back for more–tell us–what prep work have you

done for 2011 NaNo?  Do you have a strong plot mapped out?  Character

development?  What are you current plans?:

 

I’m deciding between two stories, both of which I have as half-written

screenplays; hence I already know the characters, the beginning and the

end but I need to figure out the middle. One was written to be a really

cheap indie horror movie with a few people in a warehouse and plenty of

gratuitous sex and violence, the other is a war movie which would

require more research. I’m tending toward the war story but I hope I

have enough time for any research I have to do while writing it…

otherwise there may be more ‘[things go here]’ notes than usual this time.

 

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?

 

I’d like to get it finished and published before Christmas, but I

suspect I won’t make that deadline if I go for the war story.

Blog Party for Sheila Perry

Shelia Perry, author, art enthusiast and community theatre actress joins us this dreary Tuesday to share some light on her NaNoWriMo history!

 

Name: Sheila Perry (mystery writing pen name Cecilia Peartree)

-Blog/Website Address: http://mccallumogilvy.wordpress.com

-If you’re a writer–professionally speaking–what is your “normal novel” pace? Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?:

I’ve got so used to the pace of NaNoWriMo that 2,000 words a day is now my normal pace! But I couldn’t keep that up day in and day out for months – one month at a time is fine and then I can spend several months (sometimes years!) editing.

-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:

I first did NaNoWriMo in 2006. It was a bleak time for me as my mother and brother had both died suddenly within the past year, both my cats had just died and I had inherited two cats and a dog from my brother and they were only starting to settle in. I wrote a bleak novel about Scotland having a totalitarian regime and (just to pile on the misery) an environmental disaster. I found it quite hard to keep up with the word targets in those early days, and as well as writing a novel that month and working full-time I was also co-writing and directing a play for a youth drama group – an adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol.’ It was sheer determination that got me through it! However it was good for me to focus on NaNoWriMo and in a sense it saved my life or at least my sanity (just about).

-Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and reach 50k in your past NaNoWriMo’s? How many words total did you write (more or less or dead even)?:

Yes, I’ve completed all 5 NaNoWriMos so far plus the extra Camp one in July – at first with just over 50,000 words but more recently with around 54,000 words.

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially inspired you to join the writeathon movement and then, what has kept you coming back for more?:

I had always said I wanted to be a writer but I hadn’t really made a huge effort to do anything about it, although I had written novels before and then never done anything with them. When my brother died I suddenly realised life isn’t endless and we only get one chance at it so I had better get on and write – it had taken me quite a lot of years to understand that!

What kept me coming back was the wish to write more and better novels, and the feeling of being part of something bigger with other people who had similar dreams to mine and who didn’t think it was weird to want to be a writer. During the 3rd year of doing it I made contact with a local NaNoWriMo group and that was a lot of fun as we had real-life meetings and regular write-ins.

-What were some of the things you taken away from past NaNo’s? Any lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do different this year?:

NaNo really convinced me that if you run out of ideas or don’t know what will happen next, you should just keep on writing! You can write your way out of most things, and into other things that are better or help the story along.I usually have my best ideas completely randomly, either when out for a walk and thinking things over, or when I get bored with the direction the novel is going in. I have an instinctive urge to edit as I go along, but that isn’t a good idea if you want to keep going.

I hope not to write the whole novel on my netbook this year as it isn’t good for my shoulder and wrist joints!

-What happened to your story–did you publish it? Junk it? Still working on it? (this is the place where it is A-O.K to mention a published book, if that book came from NaNoWriMo’s of the past):

I have 4 NaNoWriMo novels currently available as ebooks: The Mountain and the Flood (this is the first, bleak one from 2006), and my 3 mysteries under my pen name:Crime in the Community (2007 NaNo), Reunited in Death (2009 NaNo) and A Reformed Character (2010 NaNo).

I am currently working on a romantic suspense novel (Murder in the Midi) I wrote for Camp NaNoWriMo, in July 2011. I haven’t abandoned hope of eventually publishing NaNo 2008 which started out being called A Place of Conflict and is now tentatively called Song of Vanora – it’s a historical novel with time-travel and possibly some elements of Arthurian legend which I keep taking out and putting back in again.

-What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo this year? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block)

In theory I should be OK to finish as I have done it 5 times before (6 counting Camp NaNoWriMo) but I always worry that the magic won’t work.

I don’t think I will get writers block. I think a more likely issue is getting RSI or some other physical complaint.

Since you’re obviously back for more–tell us–what prep work have you done for 2011 NaNo? Do you have a strong plot mapped out? Character development? What are you current plans?:

I plan to write another novel in my mystery series, so I already know the setting, most of the characters and quite a bit about where they’re going, although I always have some new ones too.

I have a title and a theme and a tentative and quite flexible plot – of these I can only mention the title at the moment as the others may change once I start. The title is ‘Death at the Happiness Club’.

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?

Yes, I will work on it until it’s finished to my satisfaction and then publish it.

Blog Party for Kate Hawkings

We have our very first virgin folks!!

Joining us from across the pond is author of The Chimaera Chronicles, Kate Hawkings.  Kate is a fan of ice hockey, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, mauy thai, chocolate and baking…this is her break out NaNoWriMo and I’m super pleased she agreed to be featured on the blog!

Name: Kate Hawkings

 

-Blog/Website Address: http://katherinehawkings.blogspot.com/

 

-Tell us about you: I’m just a kiwi girl finding my way in the big ol’ world. I’m currently living in Leeds, England with my lovely partner, who’s very understanding about the amount of time I spend on my laptop (and avoiding the washing-up). I love to read and I spend every spare moment writing.

 

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what inspired you to join the writeathon?: I’m quite competitive, whether I’m going up against someone else or just racing towards a deadline. I’m very ‘finish line’ orientated. Earlier this year I entered a similar challenge to write 50,000 words in 50 days which I loved and it really helped me nail my first draft.

 

-Do you have a plot idea, how about character description? Yes, I have a plot idea. It’s something I’ve wanted to write for a long time and is kinda a huge secret because someone has been waiting for me to write it a long time but I’ve just not had the chance.

 

-If so, how much pre-writeathon work have you done?: Not as much as I should have. I’m currently editing my debut novel, which is being released early next year, it’s kept be fairly busy. I’m going to try and squeeze in as much planning time as possible over the next week. At the moment I know how I’m going to start the project, but I think I’ll stall at around 10,000 words because I have no idea where I want it to go after that.

 

-What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block…): My biggest challenge? I’m not sure which will be the BIGGEST challenge, but there are several which can become problems. I work night hours, which seems to kill my muse and can make the smallest task take forever, I’m also one of those people who gets distracted really easily too.

 

-What sort of experience are you bringing to the table? I’ve been writing steadily for just over a year, and I have my debut novel coming out on February 28th. I’m working on getting at least one other project out next year too.

 

-If you’re already a writer, what your the “normal novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words? A month would probably be standard, if my ‘real’ work doesn’t interrupt too much. Depending on how easily the words are flowing I could finish 50,000 words any time between three weeks and two months.

 

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?: Yes, most definitely. Certain people have been waiting for this book for a long time. I really want to be able to talk about it with my lovely beta-readers. Usually I’m very open about what I’m working on and they read as I go, not being able to share is going to feel really strange.

Blog Party For Kali Amanda Browne

On this beautiful Saturday, our first official weekend NaNoWriMo, I’m so excited to introduce you all to writer, food enthusiast, devoted daughter, big mouth with daemon tongue, and self professed geek with pagan tendencies, Kali Amanda Browne.  Kali was sweet enough to stop by and share her brilliant NaNo history…so read, relax and most importantly–ENJOY!

-Name:

Kali Amanda Browne

-Blog/Website Address:

http://kalistempleofdoom.blogspot and http://ebooksbykali.blogspot.com

-If you’re a writer–professionally speaking–what is your “normal novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?:

I have written two novels – both as a NaNoWriMo participant. I started two others but it has taken me considerably longer to reach that 50,000 mark.

 

There are six chapters already written on the crime novel, and 16,905 words. I don’t know how long it will take to push through to the end, but there’s no pressure and no deadline. It’d probably go faster if I were a little more disciplined.

 

I started a steampunk novel and have about 12,000 words. This is meant to be part one of a series but I am not sure where it is going yet.

 

Of course, I edited a cookbook, wrote a second one and started researching a third. I published a short story, and have another coming out before the end of the year. I may have overextended myself a little bit.

-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:

My first NaNoWriMo was in 2009 and it was a chaotic mess but immensely fun. Despite the insanity of trying to reach those 50,000 words in 30 days, there was something incredibly liberating about trying. You may hit a rough patch here or there, but for the most part, it’s 30 days of being on a creative high.

-Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and reach 50k in your past NaNoWriMo’s?  How many words total did you write (more or less or dead even)?:

In 2009, the final word count was 50,433. In 2010 the final count was 52,109 – and the published novel added another 1,000 words or so.

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially inspired you to join the writeathon movement and then, what has kept you coming back for more?:

Every year, for ten years, my friend Mike would suggest it; and every year I’d consider it and then reject it. Frankly, the idea was a little terrifying and while I wrote essays, articles and short stories effortlessly, I wasn’t sure I had a 50,000 word novel in me.

 

In 2009, I needed the escape. I registered a day late, came up with a quick idea to start it up and wrote in my blog, “This has disaster and humiliation written all over it!” I love a challenge. At that point I just felt I had to do it.

-What were some of the things you taken away from past NaNo’s?  Any lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do different this year?:

It’s probably easier if you outline the plot and some scenes you want to cover and clearly define the characters before you start writing. Clarity makes it easier to write, I believe.

 

In 2009 I started with nothing and sometimes it was like running uphill in a hurricane! The more you know about your story and your characters, the better. You do not have to plan out every detail, but this understanding opens up ideas, themes, and emotional breakthroughs.

 

The one piece of advice I have for newcomers in particular is not to over-intellectualize the process. Write and enjoy it, don’t let your critical brain to impose itself into the process. It is a total party popper!

-What happened to your story–did you publish it?  Junk it?  Still working on it?  (this is the place where it is A-O.K to mention a published book, if that book came from NaNoWriMo’s of the past):

The novel from 2009 was so incredibly bad there was no salvaging any of it. I left it alone for over a year and when I read sections of it I blanched it was such an embarrassment. Then I re-read it in 2011. I junked it because I decided that should I die suddenly, I prefer that people find porn in my hard drive rather than that manuscript.

 

The novel from 2010, “Justified” was a more cohesive work. I continued to tweak it after NaNoWriMo. When I finished it, I had two editors look it over. I made corrections and rewrote the end.

 

I self-published “Justified” in April 2011.

-What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo this year? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block)?:

I’m not sure I will have the time this year, though I’d like to give it a try. There are other obligations that will require my time and energy. I’ll probably try anyway.

-Since you’re obviously back for more–tell us–what prep work have you done for 2011 NaNo?  Do you have a strong plot mapped out?  Character development?  What are you current plans?:

I have a couple of characters that I’d love to write for, although the one plot I considered seems a little too gruesome and I may abandon it. I have no explicit plans to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, but there is something exciting about starting with a completely clean slate.

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?:

If I take the plunge, I will more than likely try to self-publish it as well.

 

Blog Party For Sean Van Damme

And the blog party rages on!

Sean Van Damme- television video editor, writer and soon-to-be husband joins the blog to share his NaNoWriMo experiences.

-Name:

Sean Van Damme

-Blog/Website Address:

Seanswritingadventure.blogspot.com and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sean-Van-Damme/199605780094806 (fanpage)

-Tell us about you:

I am a video editor for TV news by trade, and a writer by passion, hopefully in the next few years I can drop the by trade part. I’m in my mid 20’s live in a nice little house with my fiancé our little Dachshund named Gaius Baltar – yes the Battlestar Galactica Character, we are nerds—and our cat Gracie. I work at night so unlike most people who write after work I do so before work. I grew up in a military family moving all around the country spending time in Mississippi, Southern California and Japan, before finally coming to Virginia. Interests outside of writing are video games, TV Movies and annoying people by wanting to watch the local news for strange places I might travel. Most of those strange places are because until just recently my fiancé and our dog competed in Agility which meant a lot of traveling in the VA, NC, and MD areas. For a while I wanted to be a director and after failing to get into film school because my drawing ability tops out at stick figures, I went into video Journalism because they will give anybody a camera. It is only in the last two years that I returned to novels which I was obsessed with back in middle and the early part of high school.

-If you’re a writer–professionally speaking–what is your “normal novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?:

At present it is a side profession, but when I am writing and not trying to decipher my horrific spelling, I generally can knock out about 2,000 words a day before work so between about 10am-2pm. On the weekend I shot for and normally hit about 3,500 words. Given no restrictions I suspect that I could write 50,000 words in probably three weeks.

-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:

My first NaNoWriMo was last year. I had meant to do it in 2009 and completely forgot, and was busy playing Dragon Age (I didn’t yet have the best work ethic at that point). On Nov 1 I sat down with a story that had been kicking around in my head for well over a year. All I had were the first few scenes for a Noir story and a Macguffin that I didn’t know the true value of. The first few days were really easy, aside from the working so fast that I switched from first person to third without even realizing for about seven chapters. I slowed down, as the plot started to get more confusing, but thanks to the wonderful woman that I live with I managed to push through finishing with a few days to spare. The major problem and one I don’t plan on making again was that I almost ran out of plot, which can really kill your flow, and desire to keep working.

-Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and reach 50k in your past NaNoWriMo’s?  How many words total did you write (more or less or dead even)?:

I did manage to win and wrote just over 50k, around 50,200.

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially inspired you to join the writeathon movement and then, what has kept you coming back for more?:

For a while I had trouble finishing any project that I started; only finishing my first novel because I set an arbitrary be finished by date. I saw NaNoWriMo as another mandated finish date that would help me plug through and polish those writing habits. I keep coming back for more because I love the work, and the feeling that you get when you finish that first draft is one of the best feelings I have ever felt. It is like a drug and you just need another hit, which means writing another book.

 -What were some of the things you taken away from past NaNo’s?  Any lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do different this year?:

Outlining. I wish I had done more of that beforehand so that I would have seen the running out of plot coming, and maybe could have compensated for it early in the month instead of scrambling in the last few days. Aim to write 2000 words every day that will leave you with 6 extra days incase life happens, which it always does. That super productive 3k day can help offset that day where you have to go grocery shopping or work overtime.

-What happened to your story–did you publish it?  Junk it?  Still working on it?  (this is the place where it is A-O.K to mention a published book, if that book came from NaNoWriMo’s of the past):

My story is with an editor right now after sitting fallow for about six months because I wasn’t happy with it come December 1. So hopefully it will come out in early November or late October, we’ll see.

-What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo this year? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block)

I suspect time will be my biggest challenge this year, since I can see wanting to work on the two manuscripts that I have still in the edit phase and not want to add a third. Thankfully I think I have the work ethic down this year thanks to last year. That first year is always the hardest.

 -Since you’re obviously back for more–tell us–what prep work have you done for 2011 NaNo?  Do you have a strong plot mapped out?  Character development?  What are you current plans?:

I am outlining a sequel to last year’s book. Though if that outline isn’t up to snuff by the first I have a sci-fi novel that I have been starting and stopping for the last year. I see NaNoWriMo as a great way to push it forward as there is a good 80 or 90k words left to add to the already written 40k.

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?

Yup, NaNo is a great way to push out a manuscript and having a bunch of people doing the same thing fuels you and helps push a writer though those times when they lose faith in the story and themselves. I see no reason not to finish a winning book.

Blog Party for Nathan Lowell

Welcome to my Blog Party!

For the span of November I’ll be hosting amazing authors who have either done NaNoWriMo before (we can call them vets) or first time participants (we’ll call them virgins).  Hopefully from their knowledge we can all gain some better insight and share in their experiences.

Nathan Lowell– teacher, author and podcaster extraordinaire is my first guest–and I’m thrilled to introduce him to you all!!  Enjoy!

-Name:  Nathan Lowell

 -Blog/Website Address:  http://nathanlowell.com

-Tell us about you:

I started writing when I was a kid. I gave up on slush piles decades ago and got on with making a living. In the back of my mind the whole time, I nurtured the notion that someday I’d make my living by telling my stories.

 

In 2004, with the advent of podcasting, I discovered podcast fiction and started listening to podiobooks – novels produced as serialized audiobooks. After listening to a few, I set out to make one of my own. In Jan, 2007, I started writing what would become a six volume series and that was the first year that I won NaNoWriMo with an 86k word manuscript for South Coast.

 

-If you’re a writer–professionally speaking–what is your “normal novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?:

 

I’m a binge writer. When I get on a binge, 50k words is a few days–five or six. I’ll go for months at a time without writing more than the occasional blog post, but then find myself spending every waking moment writing, anxiously hammering keys to try to keep up with the movie playing in my head.

-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:

I *think* the first one was 2005. It was a lot of flailing for a few days and then my day job got in the way. I didn’t “win” that year.

-Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and reach 50k in your past NaNoWriMo’s?  How many words total did you write (more or less or dead even)?:

I won in 2007 and 2009 with about 86k and 114k words respectively. For me a novel has to be at least 80k and 100k is more “comfortable.” While I know that the old masters in science fiction wrote works in the 45-60k range, I like a reading experience that has a little more breadth to it. My goal is “breaking 80” but I seldom finish a novel in under 100k these days.

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially inspired you to join the writeathon movement and then, what has kept you coming back for more?:

Initially, it was “a good excuse to write.” I was in this event, see? So I *had* to write and the family just had to understand. (No, they didn’t but that was my mindset.) I kept coming back because of the fun. The opportunity to devote a month to a brand new work is intoxicating. Writing with a supportive community just adds icing to the cake. I entered (and failed) in 2008, because of day job commitments, and sat out 2010 because I had too many writing projects in progress to break off and start a new one.

 

I’m thinking that 2011 might be good year to get back into the fray.

-What were some of the things you taken away from past NaNo’s?  Any lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do different this year?:

Write early and often. Pay attention to the word counts and get on top of them early. Just WRITE. Only re-write if you find yourself in a plot hole and even then, keep going.

-What happened to your story–did you publish it?  Junk it?  Still working on it?  (this is the place where it is A-O.K to mention a published book, if that book came from NaNoWriMo’s of the past):

I won 2007 with South Coast and published it at podiobooks.com over December 07 and January 08. It was a finalist in the 2008 Parsec Awards for Speculative Fiction (long form). It’s on the calendar for publication by Ridan Publishing in 2013.

 

I won 2009 with Ravenwood and published it at podiobooks.com in January and February 2010. I will be self publishing it in October.

-What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo this year? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block)

Getting the old projects off my plate so I can focus. I want to do the Ravenwood sequel this year but I have another book that I have to finish before I can dig in.

-Since you’re obviously back for more–tell us–what prep work have you done for 2011 NaNo?  Do you have a strong plot mapped out?  Character development?  What are you current plans?:

I haven’t done a thing. What I need to do is finish my current work and then I can think about the story ahead. I have some plans, but I’m a “pantser” … I write from the seat of my pants. More accurately, I write the movie in my head and I never know how it’s going to end until the closing credits scroll.

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?

Oh yes. That book will be podcast next year and published in text formats.

So Excited To Announce!!

Starting November 1st and running through November 30th, I’ll be hosting a blog tour–or, lets call it a NaNoWriMo blog party.

I’ve reached out to some pretty fantastic people and asked them to share their NaNoWriMo experiences with me–and of course–all of you.  The amount of responses was warming, there are so many good people willing to help and share and give their knowledge freely.

All throughout the month of November you will be treated to stories from the trenches.  People just like you, some have done it before (I call them Vets), for others this is their first go round (I call them Virgins).  Through a list of questions, you’ll get to know them, learn a little something, and hopefully find more goodness out there in world-wide-web.

Be sure to sign up for a subscription to be notified by the next guest pops by to share their story!