Tag Archives: hot seat

J Matthew McKern in the HOT SEAT

Yes, that’s right, folks. It’s time for another scorching  HOT SEAT interview. Today’s victim willing participant is J Matthew McKern, otherwise known as Matt. Matt is very special to me. He designed the cover for my first novel, The Big Smoke, capturing the essence of the story in a way I could have only dreamed. So I figured, what better way to pay him back than by burning his toosh! 😀

Let’s get started… 

J Matt McKern

Gday, Matt!

What genre(s) do you write, Matt?

Young adult & middle grade. 

Tell us about your current WIP, I Didn’t Go Looking for Trouble, in 25 words or fewer! 

A road trip adventure starring a sixteen-year-old picker and a six-inch-tall sprite trying to save the family home from being repossessed by the bank.

[CJ: Haha, sounds like fun! However, compound adjectives such as ‘sixteen-year-old’ are not one word, which means you’ve used 28 words. Guess I’ll let you off this time… ;)]

Well, I could have said that it’s about Willy Storey, a girl with an independent spirit. All her life, all she’s known is antiques. Every summer since her mother died, Willy has traveled the midwest with her father buying antiques to resell at the family store. When the bank comes after their family home after Willy’s father is disabled in an accident, Willy takes matters into her own hands. She goes out on the road in her dad’s beat up old pickup truck to try to save the family business. But it’s going to take more than luck to succeed, it’s going to take a little bit of magic. Visiting small town midwest, Willy discovers something else that catches her by surprise, a devoted friend who might be able to lead her to treasure rumored to be hidden in a picture frame somewhere in Iowa.

[CJ: Yes, that would have been way more than 25 words!]

Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

In my day job, I’m an Art Director, creating publications for the healthcare market. 16+ years now!

[CJ: So you’ve been in  your current job for the same length of time your main character has been alive. Don’t worry, that doesn’t make you old or anything… :P]

Tell us a little about your writing process.

I begin with a scenario and strong characters. I definitely plot things out well in advance, but I find myself deviating from the path on a regular basis. One way or another, it’s all about the journey. 

[CJ: Sounds a bit like my process, actually!]

Coming from a fine-arts background, I believe I possess a very visual sensibility. I’m sure this will lead me into world-building projects in the not-too-distant future. But it’s the characters that engage me. Taking them apart and putting them back together again is what keeps me up late and wakes me early in the morning. It is my hope that the resulting combination results in stories that are impossible to put down. 

Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?

My golfing and fishing partner, Patrick Carman, is right up there. It’s definitely a plus to know someone who’s lighting the way. Going way back, Steven King was key to showing how to flesh out a world. For quirky characters, I’d say John Irving’s work was an inspiration. In the world of middle-grade fiction, Ingrid Law has been a recent favorite.   

[CJ: You lost me at golf. ;)]

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?

Finding time to do it all without short-changing my family. I love to write on vacations, which has both upsides and downsides.

[CJ: Ah, yes. I know the feeling of not wanting to short-change the family. Especially now I have a bambino!]

Time for the HOT SEAT questions!

Hot Seat

*Insert scary music here*

If you were given a glimpse of the future and knew nobody would ever read your writing, would you continue to write?

I would. I’m definitely one of those people for whom creative endeavors are a way of life. 

Finish this sentence from Willy Storey’s perspective:

Willy: Something from my past that I’ve had trouble getting over is… the death of my mother, though I suppose in some ways I’ve always tried to pick up where she left off, trying to keep things from falling apart.

[CJ: Aww. Very sad…]

Now finish the same sentence from your own perspective.

Matt: Something from my past that I’ve had trouble getting over is… the fact that my college professors failed to even attempt to illustrate the synergy between creativity and business.

[CJ: Okay… I’m intrigued. Why does that still bother you?]

Well, most of the blame should fall squarely upon my shoulders, but if I could go back and do it all again, I’d double-major. At the time, I felt what I’d describe as a cultural difference that I wouldn’t even imagine trying to bridge. If you’re talented and creative, don’t assume that someone will be there to provide a path to financial viability. You should learn at least a little about how to manage your own career. [Stepping down from soap box]

[CJ: Haha. Soap boxes are always welcome. Just make sure it doesn’t get too close to the HOT SEAT or it might catch fire! 😉 ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you’d like to hear more from Matt, check out his website or like him on Facebook

I Didn't Go Looking For Trouble cover

Available now!

If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. 😀

5 Comments

Filed under Hot Seat, Writers, Writing

Su Williams in the HOT SEAT

When Su Williams first lays eyes on the HOT SEAT, she begins to whimper and cry. It’s almost as if she’s having an extremely bad dream. But this ain’t a dream, Su. This is real. 

Let the  games begin. 😀 

What genre(s) do you write, Su?

Su Williams

Gday, Su!

Well, considering Dream Weaver is my first book, I write in YA paranormal fiction. I went to my first conference about 4 years ago and people were throwing around all kinds of genres I had no clue what they were…steam punk, high fantasy, space opera. Boy, did I get an education. I really didn’t know what genre I wrote in other than YA fiction. I recommend conferences to beginning writers as well as self-published writers. Conferences are a great way to make connections and learn the craft.

[CJ: I agree. I’ve only gone to one conference but I got heaps out of it.]

Tell us about Dream Weaver in 25 words or less! 

Dream Weaver coverDream Weaver, Nickolas Benedetti rescues tragedy-torn Emari Sweet from the night terrors that haunt her. And draws the living breathing nightmares to her doorstep.

[CJ: Oh no! Tell us more.]

Seventeen year old Emari Sweet has lost her parents in a horrific car crash. Night terrors stalk her sleep and she teeters on the precipice of life, and death by her own hand. Her flesh screams for the razor’s edge, if only to exorcise her inner pain.

Nickolas Benedetti is Onar Caphar (Dream Weaver). He is able to cull and control the memories and dreams of others with a simple touch. Emari’s nightmares evanesce under his fingertips and with one whispered word, ‘forget’, he fades from her dreams with the cool grey mist of morning.
But a darker, more violent terror stalks her and ravages her precarious life. Nick strives to  save her but draws his own nemesis to her secluded cottage. Picketed by a promise, Nick will offer his own life in order to save hers.

Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing or working I like to read. We go camping during the summer up at my parent’s cabin. There’s always something new to see up there. Baby raccoons, hunting osprey [a bird of prey], beavers, bear, a swarm of butterflies or a nesting duck or robin.  I love to take pictures of the wildlife we encounter. Some of my favorite pics are posted on my Pinterest page.

Tell us a little about your writing process.

LOL. I love this question. I keep telling people I’m a puker…as opposed to a pantser or planner. Random scenes come to me at random times inspired by random events. Then I have to write them down on whatever piece of paper I have available. I’ve been known to use register tape (I work retail.) Once I have my scenes, I tie them all together. And then, I edit, re-edit and edit again. I can’t afford a real editor, so I’ve worked hard at learning as much as I can about writing in general and novel writing specifically. There’s a lot of great books out there. I even used a college writing text book. Two books I suggest are: Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon; and Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino.

[CJ: A puker, hey? Nice!]

Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?

I LOVE vivid, original imagery. I love it when writing is beautiful and poetic and heart-wrenching. The authors that I believe do this for me are Lisa McMannMaggie StiefvaterAnnette Curtis Klaus and Richelle Mead.   

[CJ: My to-read list just got even longer…]

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?

Without a doubt, I’d have to say promotion and marketing. It takes a great deal of time to get the word out on your book if you’re self-published. There’s no one to set up interviews or reviews or create ads. It’s all me. The biggest piece of advice I’ve gotten lately is ‘do what you can without sacrificing your creativity. Don’t forget that writing is what you love most and you can’t lose focus on that. :)’ (Thanks A.L.!).

[CJ: That’s excellent advice. And I totally hear you about promotion and marketing – it’s incredibly time intensive.]

Time for the HOT SEAT questions!

Hot Seat

*Insert scary music here*

Wow! This is a bit like being on the couch in the psychiatrist’s office. Delving deep into my psyche. Are you sure you really want to know this?

Yep, there’s no getting out of it now! Here we go…

Which fictional character are you most like and why?

Definitely Emari Sweet. She’s a bit quirky, a bit dark. Emari is kind of a compilation of myself, my daughter and every goth/emo girl I’ve met or read about. We call people who know who they are and aren’t shy about sharing it ‘characters.’ There aren’t enough ‘characters’ in the world these days. Everyone wants to fit in and becomes a cookie cutter of everyone else. I don’t mind being called ‘weird.’ Good, that means I’m not like you. And my daughter, Sarah inspires me too. She is not like every other teen girl. She’s Sarah. A bit of a geek with a quirky sense of humor and a side of dark. I’m so proud of her just for being herself. 

[CJ: ‘Weird’ works better for me than ‘normal’ too. Normal = boring!]

Finish this sentence from your character Emari’s perspective.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but… I’m a big wuss. If it weren’t for Nick, I’d be a hotter mess than I already am.

Now finish the same sentence from your own perspective.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but... despite not minding people thinking I’m weird, what other people think of me matters more than it should..

[CJ: Someone wise once told me that ‘what other people think of me is none of my business’. Easier said than done though!]

Cally, thanks so much for hosting me on your blog.

[CJ: You’re very welcome. It was great having you, Su.]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like the sound of Dream Weaver? Grab your copy now from Amazon (paperback and Kindle) (only 99c for a limited time!), Barnes & Noble (Nook)  or CreateSpace.

If you’d like to hear more from Su, check out her website, her blog or like her on Facebook

If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. 😀

7 Comments

Filed under Hot Seat, Writers, Writing

India Drummond in the HOT SEAT

It’s a bit awkward watching a grown woman cry. India Drummond tries to pull herself together, but she’s just too frightened. Oh well, no sympathy from me. She got herself into this situation. Welcome to the HOT SEAT!

India Drummond

Gday, India!

Let’s get started. What genre(s) do you write?

Mostly urban fantasy, but my books also stray into “epic fantasy” territory as well. They have a splash of murder and romance to boot! 

Tell us about your recently published book, ENEMY OF THE FAE (Caledonia Fae, Book 3), in 25 words or less.

With a young, inexperienced monarch on the Caledonian throne and traitorous plots implicating those nearest Queen Eilidh, unrest is rife in the kingdom.

Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

Writing is my full-time job. I also do freelance cover design from time to time, but all the many tasks associated with publishing books take up nearly all my time, so I accept a few jobs here and there, but don’t actively seek out new clients. When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my family and enjoying living in Scotland, the most beautiful place on earth.

[CJ: Sounds awesome! Living the dream… ;)] 

Tell us a little about your writing process.

I begin with a one paragraph statement about the main conflict in the book, then I expand that to 2-3 paragraphs about each third of the book. In the first third, I set up the characters and conflict, but by the end of that third, the main character needs to be in trouble. In the second third, the trouble gets doubled, until by the end of that section, I’m not sure how to get them out of it. Then the last third is for resolution. After I get this finished, I write a detailed outline that is usually about 4000-5000 words where I divide that general outline into chapters, and detail what needs to happen in each one. Then I start writing!

After I finish a draft, I muck around and polish until I’m happy with it, then I send to beta readers. After another round of self-editing, I send it to my professional editor. I take her suggestions and edit and polish again, then I listen to the book using Kindle’s text-to-speech feature to help me catch any lingering errors.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s the only way I’ve found to produce as polished a product as I can.

[CJ: Sounds very thorough. I found your post about how to choose a freelance editor extremely helpful. :)]

Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?

I’m constantly inspired by things I see every day. I love watching strangers and thinking about their lives, their secrets and dreams.

[CJ: Yep, I’m a people watcher too.]

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?

Without a doubt it’s getting through the initial period of learning, struggling, rejection, starting over. So often, writers face a long battle of trial by fire, working to catch a break in a difficult industry. It took me a long time to find success, and it’s so hard to continue to plug away in a situation where I just wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen for me.

[CJ: Congratulations for breaking through! :)]

Time for the HOT SEAT questions!

Hot Seat

*Insert scary music here*

Have you ever considered giving up writing? Why? What made you continue?

I started writing fiction in university, and it took me a long time to find my voice and the style and genre that I enjoyed the most. But I worked hard all along the way to get published. At one point, I had an epic fantasy novel that an agent was looking over. She asked for more pages, then more, then finally the entire manuscript, but each step took months, and I was constantly getting emails from her saying “Oh sorry, I haven’t gotten around to it, but I love the book and I need a few more weeks.” Finally after nearly a year of giving her an exclusive look, she wrote and said the book wasn’t for her, but she recommended this book doctor who was a personal friend, and he only wanted about a thousand pounds for reading the book and giving me a one-page report. I was devastated and felt like my trust had been broken. I quit writing for a couple of years, having decided that the entire industry was crooked.

[CJ: That would have been a very disheartening experience.]

In the end, though, I came back to it and wrote a different book altogether, and this one was picked up by a small publishing house. A lot had changed since I first started submitting though. I decided self-publishing was a smarter way to go for me, so when I started my next series (Caledonia Fae), I intended from the beginning to self-publish it. It was with this series that I finally found the success I’d been dreaming about for so many years.

[CJ: Hooray! :-)]

Finish this sentence from your character’s perspective: I’m embarrassed to admit this, but…

… I loved him from the beginning, but I couldn’t tell him because he was human.

[CJ: Ooooh eeee!]

Now finish the same sentence from your perspective: I’m embarrassed to admit this, but… 

I don’t usually admit to things that embarrass me! [CJ: yeah, but this is what the HOT SEAT is all about! :D] But… most people think I’m very confident, and in some ways I am, but I have a horrible fear of new situations, especially ones in which I don’t know anyone else who will be there. I don’t mind public speaking or talking to strangers… it’s more about going into a situation where I don’t know what is going to happen or what will be expected of me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More about Enemy of the Fae (Caledonia Fae, Book 3):

With a young, inexperienced monarch on the Caledonian throne and traitorous plots implicating those nearest Queen Eilidh, unrest is rife in the kingdom. She must sift through the intrigues and lies to survive, all while trying to discover which of her trusted companions hates her enough to commit mass murder.

Pressures threaten to overcome the young ruler, and to protect Quinton Munro, her bonded druid, she must send him away. His journey becomes a mission when he stumbles on an ancient truth that will shake the foundations of the entire faerie realm. Confronted by infinite danger and the promise of limitless power, Munro faces the most difficult choices of his life. Will he hide the truth to preserve stability in the faerie kingdoms or embrace the promise of his true druid heritage?

One friend will die because of that truth, one friend’s betrayal will cause irreparable scars, and the once tightly-knit band of druids will learn that not all magic is benevolent.

If that’s whet your appetite, you can buy Enemy of the Fae from Amazon. Or, start at the beginning of the series with Blood Faerie.

If you’d like to hear more from India, check out her website, follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook.

Are you tough enough for the HOT SEAT? Let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. 😀

10 Comments

Filed under Hot Seat, Writers, Writing

Dora Hiers in the HOT SEAT

Dora Hiers edges her way forward towards the flames. She may be nervous, but she’s determined she will survive no matter how badly she gets burnt. Very brave is Dora. Very brave. But will bravery help her handle the HOT SEAT?

Gday, Dora!

Let’s get started. What genre(s) do you write, Dora?

Inspirational romance. What I like to call heart racing, God-gracing romance.

Tell us about your latest book in 25 words or less.

I just typed “The End” on Journey’s Embrace. Hmmm…how about this?

When a flight medic’s life hangs by her fingertips, can a wounded U.S. Deputy Marshal overcome his fears to save her and embrace love?

[CJ: Oooh, I hope the answer is yes!]

Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

Reading. What else do writers do to relax? In the summer, my hubby enjoys cranking up the smoker for family gatherings, guaranteeing a crowd around the table. I swear my youngest son catches a whiff of the finger-licking ribs two hours away.

Dora's Grandkids

When the temperature cools, you’ll catch me flicking the fireplace switch on and kicking back under a blanket to cheer for the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Just about any time of the year, we’re game for a quick jaunt to the mountains. And nothing beats spending time with our grandkids! See those cuties!

[CJ: Awww, very cute. And I agree, reading is an awesome way to relax.]

Tell us a little about your writing process.

As organized as I am in everything else, it pains me to confess that I’m a pantser. But, honestly, I’ve tried outlining. Can you picture me staring at a blank screen until my eyeballs pop? So, I try not to let it bother me and just accept that I’m a pantser. My goal is to give birth to great characters and hook a reader into an opening scene, and let the story flow organically from there. 

[CJ: Gasp! You’re a pantser?! If I’d known that before I agreed to interview you, things would’ve been different… ;-)]

Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?

God, first. Next, my husband. He’s my best friend, my encourager, and my biggest promoter!

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?

Hmm…Self-discipline. Forcing my rump to sit in the chair and write and not be distracted by overflowing laundry baskets, the grass that’s about six inches too high, personal phone calls, you name it. When you work from home, it’s tough to overlook household tasks and particularly difficult to say “no” to personal requests. But, one thing I can’t say no to: watching a sick grandchild.

[CJ: And nor should do. No matter how important writing is, family comes first.]

OK, Cally. It’s been really nice chatting with you. I’ve seen your HOT SEAT questions before, and I don’t think I’m quite ready for…

[CJ: Nice try, but you’re not getting out of it that easily!]

Time for the HOT SEAT questions!

Hot Seat

*Insert scary music here*

If someone important in your life told you that you had to stop writing or never see them again, what would you do?  

Ah. That’s not so bad. <Swiping a hand across my glistening forehead>

I’d give it up.

Whoa! I can hear your collective gasp all the way to North Carolina.

[CJ: I didn’t realise I was that loud. But I’m keen for you to elaborate! :)]

I wasn’t born with a pen in my hand like some writers. My urge to write came later in life, when my youngest son started middle school and didn’t want me hanging out at school with him anymore. LOL. I knew I needed something more to fill my days. An avid inspirational romance reader, God planted a story idea that pinged around in my head for a few months until I finally confessed my desire to write to my husband. With his enthusiastic support, I started pounding out the story.

My hubby’s the one, besides me, most vested in my writing. If he asked me to give up writing, he would have a good reason for doing so. And I’d honor that request. Because I love him, and writing takes a back seat to the needs of my family.

But I’d miss it, something fierce. No doubt about that.  

[CJ: Okay, now I understand. Well said.]

Finish this sentence from your character Chelsea’s perspective.

Something from my past that I’ve had trouble getting over is…  my husband’s murder.

[CJ: Oh dear. Yes, that would be hard to get over.]

I’m an ordinary woman with dreams budding in my heart and grief choking me from my past. But it’s time to move on, and that’s what I hoped to do by opening Journey’s End, a shelter for troubled teens, in honor of my late husband.

Did you catch that? Hoped? Because I didn’t expect my first arrival, Jake, to be the son of my husband’s murderer, scared and running for his life. Or to call in the marshals office because Jake wants to testify against his father. And who shows up? Trey Colten. The guy in charge of the undercover operation that killed my husband. Trey claims his job is to protect me. Ha! God definitely has a sense of humor!

If Trey thinks I’m going to sit around and twiddle my thumbs waiting for Jake’s father to show up, he’s mistaken. I don’t need his protection. And although I may be ready for another relationship, especially with a guy who helps with the dishes and feeds my animals, it won’t be with another law enforcement officer.

[CJ: What an awesome premise. You’ve definitely caught my attention – and through a HOT SEAT question too. I’m impressed.]

Now finish the same sentence from your own perspective.

Something from my past that I’ve had trouble getting over is Ouch. Who likes digging painful things up?

[CJ: Me. That’s the purpose of the HOT SEAT. :D]

OK. OK.

Four years ago, we moved from Florida to North Carolina. My youngest son was in the International Baccalaureate Program in high school at the time. He’d debated for some time about getting out, so we weren’t too concerned that our new city didn’t offer the IB program.

Maybe we should have been more concerned. Our youngest son opted to finish high school in Florida. Moving across states is tough enough, but add leaving a son behind. Oy! I was miserable. Angry. Resentful. Like my heart literally ripped in half.

[CJ: :(]

After a few counselling sessions and much time in prayer, God helped me break free from those dark emotions and into the glorious sunshine. Since then, both our sons moved to North Carolina. Our youngest attends a college two hours away from us. And you know what? He loves North Carolina! How cool is that?

[CJ: Hooray for happy endings!]

Thanks so much for inviting me to the Hot Seat, Cally. I enjoyed visiting with you!

[CJ: You’re very welcome. :-)]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you’d like to hear more from Dora, check out her blog or website. Dora has been kind enough to offer a copy of Journey’s End to one lucky reader. First one to say they’d like a copy gets it, so shout out!

If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. 😀

17 Comments

Filed under Hot Seat, Writer interview, Writers, Writing

Andrew Leon in the HOT SEAT

Andrew Leon wipes his brow, but after just a few seconds, it’s glistening with sweat again. He stutters a plea, but there shall be no mercy. He must face his fate. And that fate is… the HOT SEAT!

Let’s get started. What genre(s) do you write, Andrew?

Andrew Leon

Gday, Andrew!

I’m not sure, yet, what genres I write. The book I’ve finished is what I would call a modern fantasy. It’s also been called magical realism, and, while I like the term, I don’t think it really fits. I suppose most of the stories I have in mind have aspects of fantasy involved in them, but they wouldn’t quite fit into the stereotypical fantasy genre. And I do have some other stuff coming up that has no fantasy in it, but I guess I lean to the fantastical.

Andrew's latest book

Tell us about your latest book, The House on the Corner, in 25 words or less.

It’s about three siblings that move to a new house and what happens to them when they get there. It involves a troll. (See, there’s the fantasy.)

[CJ: Cool, sounds like fun. It’s going to be part of a series, right?]

Yes, that’s right. The House on the Corner is really about getting to know the kids. The second, Brother’s Keeper, is my current project and will be much darker. The third book, which will wrap up the first story arc, will be called The Tower on the Hill.  

[CJ: How exciting. Looks like you’ve got lots of writing hours ahead!]

Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

Hmm… when I’m not writing… Farmville. No, just kidding. Although my wife might disagree with the kidding part. I’m a stay-at-home dad, so the rest of my time is dealing with the kids, preparing meals (I’m the cook of the family), and all of that other taking care of the house stuff. And we just moved, so for the past two months, most of what I’ve been doing has been involved with that.

[CJ: Moving. Ugh. The word alone sends a shudder up my spine.]

Tell us a little about your writing process.

I don’t know that I have a process other than just doing it. I develop the loose plot in my head (I have to know where I’m going) and I just sit down and start writing. I make notes about things as I go along that I’ll need to know later and won’t want to go back and find, but, really, that’s about it. However, I’m not a pantser, not by any stretch of the imagination, although it might look like that to someone watching me from the outside. I just don’t do all that heavy plotting and outlines that most plotters do.

[CJ: Sounds like you’re half pantser, half plotter. I’m plotter all the way. Those heavy plots and outlines? That’s me. :-)]

Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?

You know, I don’t really know. The closest I get to that is, probably, C. S. Lewis. If you read The House on the Corner you can probably see why. But I wouldn’t really see that he inspired me to write. Tolkien would get closer to that, but, still, not really. Sometime during high school, I just knew that, at some point, I wanted to write. I probably waited longer than I should have, but I’m doing it now, so, maybe, that’s all that matters.   

[CJ: Indeed. That is all that matters. :)]

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?

My biggest challenge was learning how to make myself do the writing. I have a bunch of projects that I started at one point or another that all ended up abandoned because I got as far as the idea in my head at the time, and I just stopped. I had to finally learn the trick I needed to get me through those spots and just keep going.

[CJ: Ooooh I’d love to know what trick you learnt!]

When I sat down to write The House on the Corner, I actually took a lesson from Tolkien. When he wrote The Hobbit, he did it as a bedtime story for his kids. He’d work on a chapter, and, when he’d finished it, he would read it to them. He worked through the whole book that way. That’s part of why my first book is about a group of children. I decided to read it to them as I went, so I would have some outside accountability. In doing that, I also decided to write it for them, and about them, so that kept me going too. And it worked.

[CJ: That is so cool. I love it!]

Time for the HOT SEAT questions!

Hot Seat

*Insert scary music here*

Ow! “My biscuits are burning! My biscuits are burning!” 

[CJ: Tee hee hee.]

Why do you write? What do you hope to achieve?  

First, I write because I’m good at it. That’s part of why I should have started sooner. I’ve always been good at it. Right now, realistically, I just want to write stories that people enjoy. If I can make some money or a career out of it, that would be great. My wife would certainly like it if it started to bring in some extra income, at any rate. In my dreams, I would like to be one of those writers that school children are tormented with by having to study them.  

[CJ: So your dream is to torment children? Nice… ;)]

Finish this sentence from your character (12-year-old) Tom’s perspective.

One of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me was…  when I got caught by a friend as I was about to rub suntan lotion on a girl.  

[CJ: Oh no! :o]

Now finish the same sentence from your own perspective.

One of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me was when I was a kid, maybe 10, I had to take my brother, who was 4ish, to the restroom while we were at the grocery store. I accidently took him into the women’s restroom and didn’t realize it till a woman walked in while I was trying to help him wash his hands. Actually, I was just sort of freaked out by the woman in the restroom at that point, but, when we walked out, and I saw that we’d actually been in the women’s restroom, I was completely embarrassed.

[CJ: Double oh no. Pretty funny though!]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you’d like to hear more from Andrew, check out his blog.

If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. 😀

15 Comments

Filed under Hot Seat, Writer interview, Writers, Writing

Talli Roland in the HOT SEAT

Talli Roland stumbles into the room and when she sees the HOT SEAT, she begins to giggle. Yes, that’s right. Giggle. A half-drunk bottle of wine slips from her hand and smashes to the ground. The poor dear. She’s resorted to dutch courage. 

Hope it helps, Talli. But I doubt it. Let the  games begin. 😀 

What genre(s) do you write, Talli?

Talli Roland

Gday, Talli!

I write light women’s fiction . . . also known as romantic comedy, also known as chick lit. It’s a fun and entertaining genre, and I really enjoy writing it. Can I add here that chick lit is not just cupcakes and high heels? It can also feature strong, independent female characters relevant to modern life. (Mini-rant over!)

[CJ: Obviously a subject close to your heart! :-)]

Tell us about your latest book in 25 words or les.

My most recent novel is Watching Willow Watts, about a country girl who discovers that fame can cost a fortune. It’s my second novel.

[CJ: Oooh. Intriguing!]

Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

I’m one of the lucky few who can write full-time [CJ: very lucky!], and it’s taken over my life (in a very good way). When I’m not writing, I’m usually blogging or tweeting! Or drinking wine. The day must end with wine.

[CJ: I couldn’t agree more. I recently went for two weeks without a glass of wine (for dental reasons). It was far, far more difficult than it should have been!]

Tell us a little about your writing process.

Coffee. Writing. Wine. I’m usually at my desk by 7:30 or 8 a.m. I need to sit down a.s.a.p. in the morning, because once I start the procrastination, there’s no end. I write until lunch plus an hour or two afterwards, then I answer emails and do other promo stuff.

[CJ: Best thinking time in the morning, hey? Me too. My brain goes to mush after lunch until about 6pm. Just ask my work colleagues!]

Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?

Margaret Atwood is one for sure – not only is she an amazing writer, she’s Canadian (like me). And she’s on Twitter!   

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?

Hm, I think the biggest one has been learning to accept that you can’t please everyone. Publishing is so subjective and no matter how hard you try, there will always be people who don’t like what you’ve written.

[CJ: That’s a tricky one, isn’t it? As writers, we want all readers to love our work. But the unique perspectives our readers bring to the table (or the chair) is part of what makes it so wonderful, so I guess you’ve got to take the good with the bad, don’t you? :-)]

Time for the HOT SEAT questions!

Hot Seat

*Insert scary music here*

Gimme some wine; I’m very afraid . . .

What are your secret fears as a writer? How do you stop them from taking over? 

Secretly, I fear that I will misspell a very common word, and everyone will highlight it and tweet about it, and I will be uncovered as someone who cannot write let alone spell! To overcome this, I use spell-check obsessively (not that it helps me with blog comments, where I am the typo queen).

[CJ: The thought of it alone is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat!]

Watching Willow Watts cover

Talli's latest book

Finish this sentence from your character Willow’s perspective.

Something most people don’t know about me is…  After tasting kumquat marmalade for the first time, I was sick in Belcherton’s fountain. 

[CJ: Tee hee hee. Oops!]

Now finish the same sentence from your own perspective.

Something most people don’t know about me is… I lived in Poland for two years and plumped up on pierogi! Yuuummmm…

[CJ: Loving that alliteration :-).]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you’d like to hear more from Talli, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.

If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. 😀

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

By the way… I’m on holidays road tripping around Sydney and Northern New South Wales for the next ten days, so this will be my last post until I return. I’ll still respond to comments and check out my fave blogs on my mobile though! 🙂

50 Comments

Filed under Hot Seat, Writers, Writing