Author Interview: Barbara Goss

Question #1: What made you want to become an author?
When I became a born again Christian, I asked God… “What can I do for You?” Since I’d run out of Christian books to read (over 100 by Grace Livingston Hill) I decided to write my own. My first book was bid on by three large Christian publishers. I went with Fleming Revell (later Baker Book House) where I received two 2-book contracts. I wrote for them: Forbidden Legacy, Captured Heart, Dangerous Illusions, and Stolen Heritage.

Question #2: What genre of books do you write?
31 of my books are Christian historical westerns. One book is a 1900 romance.

Question #3: How long have you been writing books?
Thirty years, but with a twenty two year hiatus. My first book was published in 1988 last was 1993. I then took 22 years off, in order to work full time. After retirement I wrote 28 more books from 2015 to 2017. I’m still writing.

Question #4: Are you self-published or traditionally published? And tell us why you chose either.
Both. My first 4 books were traditionally published, and since 2015 self-published, which I prefer. Self publishing enables me to put books out quicker, freedom of content, and I can better promote them. I enjoy complete control over content and cover.

Question #5: What’s the best tip you can give to a new author?
If you want to be traditionally published go to a writer’s convention and meet the publishers, that’s how I sold my first book. I sent my first book to every Christian publisher and they all were returned with rejection slips. I went to a Christian Writer’s convention and three of the same publishers who sent rejection slips, bid for the book. When you mail a manuscript to a publisher it goes into a slosh pile that generates rejections. The only way around it is to have your manuscript passed through the slosh pile by writing to the publisher, telling them about the book, and get a special address to send the manuscript. It is then a solicited manuscript.

Best tips for self-publishing: Join a lot of FB groups, start a FB group, get a professional cover artist, hire an editor and proofreader, upload to Amazon.

Question #6: What’s your writing routine like?
I manage my fan group, edit, and work on my audiobook versions during the day. I can’t write during the day because there is too much going on around me. I write from 8 pm to about 1 am. I write on Word, on a Mini Mac. I don’t have a specific number of words I write a day…I go with the flow. When the flow is good I can write several 7 page chapters. Some night the flow is not as good and I just write as much as I can. I never force it. When it’s there, write it; when it’s not…don’t.

Question #7: What do you hope readers take away after reading one of your books?
One reviewer said they’ve started to think more about God after reading Shadow of Storm, that’s a great review. Another who read that book said she’d come back to God and church since she’d been harboring guilt for past sins but now, knowing God can wipe her slate clean, came back. Reviews like that make my day. Not all my books have a distinct Christian message like my Shadow Series, some just have people who pray and go to church–but all have romance. My Shadow series is probably the most inspirational of all my books. I’ve had great feedback on them. Even the books without as much inspiration give the same message: sex before marriage is sinful, and sex after marriage will be blessed.

Bonus Question: Why should a reader want to read your book?
If a reader wants to escape reality, travel to the old west, experience the thrill of a clean romance, edged with morals and inspiration as well as adventure, my books will please. Experience, bank robberies, kidnapping, gunfights, and riveting but clean romantic situations.

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John-Manuel Andriote Author Interview

Question #1: What made you want to become an author?
I have been a journalist for 31 years, since earning a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University in 1986, so I have been writing professionally for a LONG time. I naturally gravitated toward longer-form, feature story writing because I like to be able to “stretch out” a bit and tell stories with color and detail. I also enjoy the challenge and creativity of synthesizing information–from background reading, research, and firsthand interviews–into an interesting, engaging narrative. Writing books seemed the natural progression, and after writing my first one I was hooked!

Question #2: What genre of books do you write?
I mainly write nonfiction, and have focused mainly on health and medical subjects. I have authored an award-winning history of the HIV-AIDS epidemic in the United States (VICTORY DEFERRED) and my newest book (debuting on October 8, 2017) STONEWALL STRONG is the first book by a health journalist to examine gay men’s amazing resilience. I call it the “bookend” of VICTORY DEFERRED in that it shows what gay men learned about themselves by finding their courage, resilience, and strength in the HIV-AIDS epidemic and from the traumas that disproportionately affect gay men. Because I have a whole range of interests (and I’d like to think a well-developed sense of humor and fun), I have also authored a “brief history of disco/dance music” called HOT STUFF, and a collection of my newspaper columns and feature articles focused on eastern Connecticut (sometimes nicknamed “the other”–poorer, working-class, more rural and typically “New England”–Connecticut) called TOUGH LOVE. My one foray into fiction that has been published so far is WILHELMINA GOES WANDERING, a beautifully illustrated children’s picture book based on the true story of a runaway cow in Connecticut. I have written three more stories–a prequel and two sequels of WILHELMINA GOES WANDERING–that will become part of a “Betty’s Farm” series.

Question #3: How long have you been writing books?
I published my first book, THE ART OF FINE CIGARS, in 1996. My first “big” book was in 1999, my history of the HIV-AIDS epidemic in the U.S. called VICTORY DEFERRED.

Question #4: Are you self-published or traditionally published? And tell us why you chose either.
Several of my books have been traditionally published, including my newest/forthcoming book STONEWALL STRONG (Rowman & Littlefield), VICTORY DEFERRED (University of Chicago Press), HOT STUFF (HarperCollins), and my first book, THE ART OF FINE CIGARS (Bulfinch/Little Brown). In 2011 I self-published a revised and expanded second edition of VICTORY DEFERRED, followed by WILHELMINA GOES WANDERING in 2014, and in 2015 by my collection of newspaper columns and feature articles about eastern Connecticut called TOUGH LOVE. I prefer the term “indie-published” because it avoids the taint of the “vanity press” that people associate with self-publishing.

Question #5: What’s the best tip you can give to a new author?
Read lots of books and magazines, talk with people and listen to their voices and words, and of course write. I also find it very helpful to try out words and styles by writing poetry. There is no better way to become precise in your word choice and learning to write clearly and with brevity.

Question #6: What’s your writing routine like?
I can’t honestly say I have a writing “routine” except when I am working under deadline on an article or book. Then I become a bit obsessive-compulsive, my mind filled with the material I’m working with and molding into the framework of the article or book. I would point out that I always begin writing with an outline, what I call a skeleton, and then slowly put “meat on the bones” as I “flesh out” the story. An outline lets me know where I’m going in the story, where I want to wind up. It’s also useful for letting me skip around from one section to another if I feel more inclined to work on one over the other.

Question #7: What do you hope readers take away after reading one of your books?
I hope my readers take away knowledge–whether of something historic or something they will discover that they didn’t know before–and a sense of being more fully engaged with the world. I approach people I write about from a place of respect and genuine interest, and I hope I convey the fact that everyone has an amazing story to tell if we ask them the right questions to draw them out and if we’re willing to listen.

Bonus Question: Why should a reader want to read your book?
Readers will not feel they have wasted their time reading my books. I offer valuable insights–my own and from those I interview and quote in the books–and information to enrich their lives. I would like to believe they will become better able to be kind and compassionate to themselves and to those around them as a result of reading my books.

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Karl Beckstrand Author Interview

Question #1: What made you want to become an author?
I would get ambushed by ideas (especially in college–when I should have been doing my homework).

Question #2: What genre of books do you write?
Juvenile and YA.

Question #3: How long have you been writing books?
Twenty-plus years.

Question #4: Are you self-published or traditionally published? And tell us why you chose either.
I’m both. After my first publisher died and my second publisher was difficult, I decided I’d learned enough to go indie.

Question #5: What’s the best tip you can give to a new author?
Love the rewrite–and get lots of reviews.

Question #6: What’s your writing routine like?
I usually do research in the morning. I try to write or illustrate (or work with an artist) as often as I can; and I do a lot of marketing every day.

Question #7: What do you hope readers take away after reading one of your books?
Lots of laughs, surprises, and learning that they might not be aware of.

Bonus Question: Why should a reader want to read your book?
My 19th book is the true story of my own wary dog, Muffy, who had been bitten in the past and didn’t like other dogs. How would Muffy react to us bringing an unknown, injured dog into the house?” (For animal lovers 4 – 7; hard, soft cover, or ebook; 700 words; 28 illustrations; Hispanic characters; 978-0985398842)

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E.C. Fisher

Question #1: What made you want to become an author?
Why did I decide to become an author? One night I was dreaming and the story unfolding inside my head just wouldn’t go away, so night after night I tossed and turned trying to get this dream over and done with until I finally decided to write it down. That weekend I spent the entire day Saturday writing well into Sunday morning. By the time I realized the time I had finished eight chapters with almost 35,000 words typed. I slept like a baby Sunday night. I woke up the next day and shared my story with some colleagues at work, the feedback was both positive and negative but it made me realize I may have something here. I continued to finish that novel and than go on to write another. This book is the first I published but it is my four completed book. The sense of freedom and creative I had while writing, the fears and happiness my characters experience, I felt like I was enjoying their happiness and pain. For the first time I created something that was mine, from my hands, and I want to share that with others.

Question #2: What genre of books do you write?
The genre I have found myself writing stories in is Sci-Fi. I tend to lean more towards the fantasy and future story telling. Not to say I won’t try my hand at different genres or at least merge some together for interesting twists. The great thing about writing is you’re only limited by your imagination. No one says you have to stay a Romance novelists, and authors have already figured that out, hence writing under different pen names.

Question #3: How long have you been writing books?
I’ve been writing books for the last three years. I didn’t take the leap into publication due to my own fears but after deciding to send a novel in for some reviews and getting back some positive feedback. I felt is was time to dip my toe in the water.

Question #4: Are you self-published or traditionally published? And tell us why you chose either.
I decided to go with the self-published route. Not to say that traditionally publishing isn’t any worse but in today’s market and with the amount of indie author’s surfacing the competition is more fierce than the olden days of just traditionally publishing. And with the help of social media, unknown or first-time author’s, like myself, have a chance to standout among the best-sellers.

Question #5: What’s the best tip you can give to a new author?
The best tip I can give is; Don’t stop writing. Everything inside of you is waiting to get out, don’t be afraid to let it. They only person who can truly stop you is yourself. Also don’t fear rejection, if a novel doesn’t succeed, go to the next one, and the next one, until you get approval. By that time you have two or three novels waiting on the shelf to dust off and sell. I thought of publishing my first novel and was in the middle of going through with it when I finished writing, The Deceived, I realized that this novel was better as a starting book. A way to not just get my foot into the door but kick it wide open.

Question #6: What’s your writing routine like?
My routine has been pretty random. Sometimes I have great ideas while sitting in front of my laptop typing away a scenario or dialogue for my characters and others while driving. Ideas constantly pop in and out, at some point I told myself to by a voice recorder so I wouldn’t miss those moments, still haven’t done that, *reminder*. I know it may seem like if you don’t finish a story right away than you will miss the chance to write it but when I first started I didn’t complete my first novel for almost a year after starting. The novel after that only took me less then six months, it’s sequel less than 4 months. I know not everyone is the same but you just have to find what is right for you.

Question #7: What do you hope readers take away after reading one of your books?
When I first started writing I had a hard time expressing my emotions or my characters emotions well. Through feedback and help I started to understand that it was actually myself that was having trouble. I hope that readers are able to feel for my characters as each one in some small way is a part of myself. I would write their dialogue with thoughts like, what would he/she say or why would he/she do that. I want the readers to experience the world I created as I did and come to love/hate the characters and story I created. There is no big reason behind my writing besides the fact that I had a story to write wishing for others to read it.

Bonus Question: Why should a reader want to read your book?
I tried to write a story that hasn’t been told or at least a different interpretation of a known tale. I think works that switch up myths and legends but I tried to not only do that but change the myth and legend completely without confusing or sidetracking the reader away from the original legend or myth.

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Author Interview: Francis J. Shaw

Francis J. ShawQuestion #1: What made you want to become an author?
Unlike many who discovered a passion for reading and/or writing stories at an early age, my childhood was devoid of both. I remember my teachers contacting my parents because they were concerned I wasn’t reading enough. I struggled with English, but entering adulthood I discovered biographies. Looking back, it made sense as I had a passion for history and find people fascinating. Nothing happened for years, but it was my experience as a missionary that put a pen in my hand. The stories I heard. Of hardship and sorrow, but also of hope and triumph, called out to me. I didn’t discover writing – it discovered me.

Question #2: What genre of books do you write?
I write about spirituality, philosophy, and well-being. My non-fiction presents thought-provoking insights into the mystical journey of life and his fictional writing bring together a unique blend of history and spiritual storytelling in the style of parables, where I encourage readers to find their truths hidden in plain sight.

Question #3: How long have you been writing books?
I have been writing seriously for the last 4 years. I have focused on blogs to build up readership and I have just published my first non-fiction book. A completed fiction work will be published in the next few months.

Question #4: Are you self-published or traditionally published? And tell us why you chose either.
I originally pursued the traditionally publishing route for a fiction work. Although I wasn’t successful it was a learning experience which I found helpful. I am now focused on self-publishing as it’s something I have control over and the timelines to publication are so much faster. Self-publishing takes responsibility to produce our best work and I have immersed myself in learning best practices.

Question #5: What’s the best tip you can give to a new author?
There is much advice and many resources to consider, but above all, follow your intuition and the voice that speaks to you from within.

Question #6: What’s your writing routine like?
I have a regular job and a family, so writing fits around these. I do not judge what I can accomplish each day and delays often produce the right ideas, with the right voice, at the right time.

Question #7: What do you hope readers take away after reading one of your books?
I hope readers will feel encouraged. Problems can be overcome; fears driven away. Each of us has something to accomplish on our journey here and our mission is to pursue it with passion and hope. Find your power question. The one that keeps getting you out of bed and out seeking in the world every day. Let it be your guide. Mine is, ‘what I supposed to learn?’

Bonus Question: Why should a reader want to read your book?
We spend much of our lives feeling stuck and overwhelmed. We worry, self-judge, and need assurance that despite our differences and problems, we are more alike than different. Our shared experiences and connections give us the opportunity to grow and I hope my readers will find new perspectives in my stories. As the blurb for my book says…

Read any good stories lately? I am sure you have. They sent you on a journey—perhaps to another place, a different time…somewhere you have never been before. Tales, yarns, legends and fables fill our human history, and stories are as powerful today as they have always been. Have you ever wondered why you can’t resist going? It’s time to find out…

Breadcrumbs invites you to further adventures. Traveling across time, along crooked paths, wooded trails, and on mountain tops, you will discover:

  • Why stories are critical to well-being and the hidden mystery you are searching to uncover
  • How to interpret the twists and turns of life and find the meaning that makes all the difference
  • How to identify the breadcrumbs that reveal the most important story of them all

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