Author Spotlight

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Name of Author: Aaliyah.S

Titles of Published Books: The 13: We all Start as Strangers

Genre: Mystery

1) Tell a little bit about yourself.

I’m Aaliyah, 18, from Mumbai, India. I dropped out of middle school. I love travelling, dancing, painting, playing video games and spending some quality time with my family and my cat, Ginger.

2) When did you know that you wanted to be an author?

After getting good reviews on my work published on Wattpad and abundance support from my family, I decided to write a novel.

3) Tell us a little bit about your books.

My debut novel “The 13: We all start as strangers” is a Mystery/Young Adult novel, It follows the story of 13 university students, although they encountered each other at some point, eventually they end up getting involved in an unfortunate situation where trust and friendship is just a play for the antagonist.

4) We all need a hero! Tell us about your protagonist(s)? Was there a real-life inspiration behind him or her?

Aria Heart is nineteen, half-American, and carefree. She’s cute, friendly, and mostly careless of her surroundings and belongings. There wasn’t any inspiration behind Aria, but I wanted her to have a really cool and bold attitude.

5) A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book? Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?

After watching many villain oriented movies, in the end I would feel like the villain wasn’t strong enough for the plot. I used to think that the character could do/show more of his bad side. Therefore I wanted the villain to be fitting for my plot. I got a bit inspired after watching anime and Korean dramas/Movies. And maybe that’s how I got in touch with my inner villain.

6) What was the hardest part of writing this book?

It was writing the P.O.V’s of different characters.

7) What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favourite chapter would be “Episode 24- 7:11PM.” because this is the chapter where the villain enters and the story
takes a turn.

8) What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?

My inspiration was Seoul, South Korea, since I always thought that my story would be best situated here as I watched many Korean dramas/Movies

9) Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

Yes, I learned about friendship, loyalty, brotherhood and that we reap what we sow.

10) What are your future projects?

There’s going to be a sequel for “The 13” so please anticipate it!

11) What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

Website: http://www.writernxtdoor.com/
Personal blog: https://writernextdoor.blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/writernxtdoor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writernxtdoor/
Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/aaliyahchan

Author Spotlight

 

we can't be broken

Name of Author: H.K. Christie

Titles of Published Books: We Can’t Be Broken

Genre: Women’s Literature, Genre Fiction, Family Life

1) Tell a little bit about yourself.

I am a native and current resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.
I currently balance my time working as a Project Management Consultant in the Life Sciences industry and working on my next novel. I live with my husband and Shih-Tzu, but we are frequently visited by my 21 year old stepson, who is currently attending the University of California, San Diego.
I love to read, to write, to run, to eat good food and to spend time with my closest friends and family.

2) When did you know that you wanted to be an author?

About two years ago, I conducted an experiment on myself to figure out what would happen in my life if I stopped watching TV for 30 days.
I was inspired by a book I read, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. Duhigg proposes that by breaking a habit it can lead to positive changes in unexpected and seemingly unrelated areas. I was very scientific about my experiment and created a hypothesis of what I thought the outcome would be. I also decided that I would write a book about my experience.
My hypothesis was completely wrong and my book, looking back now, was terrible! However, during that time I had my “a-ha” moment and realized I loved writing. It was quite unexpected.

3) Tell us a little bit about your books.

My novel, We Can’t Be Broken, follows a family that has been devastated by childhood cancer and a multitude of others tragedies. The story is told from the view point of the three adolescent children who are basically on their own growing up, due to the majority of family attention put on the youngest sibling, who is undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma (cancer). The story spans about 25 years so you get to learn about the children’s lives, struggles and what it is like growing up in the face of adversity and constant change. The story ends with where all of them are today.

4) We all need a hero! Tell us about your protagonist(s)? Was there a real-life inspiration behind him or her?

The main protagonist in We Can’t Be Broken, is Casey, the second to youngest sibling (age gap of youngest to Casey is nine years). She is headstrong, intelligent and a little bit of a know-it-all! However, she cares deeply for her family, especially her siblings, and takes on a lot of responsibility in order to ensure they stick together.
Casey’s character is based on me. When friends and family read the parts of the story where Casey’s siblings are describing her, especially when they call her a dork or a know-it-all, they say “wow they really nailed it!” I try not to take offense.

5) A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book? Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?

The villain in We Can’t Be Broken, was a little tricky to write. He (Jasper) is clearly the villain but at the same time he wasn’t a total monster either. I think we all have a little villain in each of us. Nobody is all good or all bad.
Jasper’s character is based on my step-father who despite his myriad of faults and abuses against the family had another side to him that was both kind and caring. I think Jasper’s character shows the complexity that all good villains exhibit.

6) What was the hardest part of writing this book?

There are a lot of emotional pieces to the story – at times it was difficult to keep focus. Sometimes I would just have to take a break and clear my mind before continuing.

7) What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

The Epilogue. It wraps up where the family is today. It was the part where I got to show how those who persevere can overcome great obstacles and come out better than ever thought possible.

8) What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the world building within your book?

The novel, We Can’t Be Broken, is inspired by my own family’s story but many parts have been fictionalized.

9) Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

I had to do a lot of research for the book – I learned a lot about childhood cancer and the advancements in treatment compared to the eighties. It made me realize how lucky my family is that my sister survived and is living a great life.

10) What are your future projects?

I’m currently working on a mystery/thriller series set in the SF Bay Area. It has some themes of social justice, equality and science … with a little bit of murder thrown in.

11) What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

I love to hear from readers! You can contact me at any of the social sites below.
Twitter: @HChristiewrites
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16374046.H_K_Christie
Website: https://www.houseofhow2.com/about-holli

 

The Weekly Wonders of Writing

Tip #21: Let’s sell that book!

book marketing

The next few posts will cover some ideas on marketing your novel. Yes, there are services available out there where you can have professionals market your book, but they do cost money. It is up to you how you go about this. If you are looking for a way to market by yourself, then the next few posts may be beneficial to you.

I haven’t used professional marketing services because I wanted to try it on my own due to the expense. Though my books aren’t selling by the thousands, I feel that it takes time since I am a newer author. It takes time to become like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. Be patient! You are not going to become a best-selling author overnight. It takes time. Try to learn through the process. Research your options and pick what is best for you. Of course, enjoy the experience because you are embarking on quite a journey.

The Weekly Wonders of Writing

Tip #20: Get published!

create space logo

So you have reached the point that your book is ready to be published. There are many options for authors to get published. You can seek an agent who can help you find a publishing company. You can send manuscripts to different publishing companies (always research their submission guidelines). You can also use a self-publishing company.

Before I found CreateSpace, I had researched many different self-publishing companies looking for the best fit. Then I feel that God led me to CreateSpace. CreateSpace is a self-publishing company that is a part of Amazon. It has several options that can fit your needs. If you need help formatting your manuscript to meet their guidelines, you can pay for their services. If you want a professional to design the cover of your book, then you can pay for their services. You are also able to do the formatting and cover by yourself if you feel capable. CreateSpace also have samples and forums to help with questions. This company sells your book on Amazon.com and other distribution groups. You have a choice of how much to sell it for and where you want it sold.

If you are unsure about where to publish, do your research. It is best to find the option that meets your needs and preferences. Don’t rush into it!

The Weekly Wonders of Writing

Tip #19: Don’t be hard on yourself.

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As you are editing your manuscript, you may find yourself becoming discouraged or disheartened at the number of mistakes that you made. You might put yourself down or wonder why you bother writing at all. Don’t fall into this trap!

We all make mistakes in our writing. It is normal to find several errors when editing. I edit my writing at least three times through and still find mistakes before publication. It is natural. You are a writer because you are putting your thoughts, hopes, and dreams down on paper. It has nothing to do with perfection. Give yourself a break when you begin to focus on the huge amount of errors. Don’t overload yourself. Just remind yourself that you are making your work better by fixing mistakes.

In the end, it will be worth the work when you have a manuscript that is as good as you can get it. Persevere! And of course enjoy the learning process!

The Weekly Wonders of Writing

Tip #18: Fix common mistakes.

editing

The English language is a complex sometimes confusing thing. It is important that you research the right words and make sure that your manuscript contains the correct way. Some readers may notice if the wrong words are used and be turned off from your writing.

Here is a list of words that can be easily substituted incorrectly:

  • a lot/alot
  • affect/effect
  • can/may
  • further/farther
  • good/well
  • i.e./e.g.
  • into/in to
  • it’s/its
  • lay/lie
  • less/fewer
  • that/who
  • their/they’re/there
  • then/than
  • who/whom
  • your/you’re

When editing your manuscript, check over it carefully along with other “editors”. I suggest that you have a hard copy and that you highlight each time you find one of the above words. Then focus on whether that word is used correctly or not. Take your time and do it right!

Author Spotlight

Name of Author: Ronald R. Melone

Titles of Published Books: Through the Bible: Genesis – Deuteronomy

Genre: Religious

1) Tell a little bit about yourself.
Born into a Catholic family in upper state New York in 1955. In 1972, my parents and I moved to Clearwater, Florida. In 1986, I married and began going to a Christian church. There I found a passion for God’s Word. After reading the first book of the Bible, I wanted to test my knowledge. There was not a single book in the Christian book stores that was right for my need. I knew in my mind what it should look like and couldn’t find it. So I went home and re-read the book of Genesis, pulling out questions in order as the answer would appear in the Bible. I now have a workbook of the first five books.

2) When did you know that you wanted to be an author?

The passion to write a Bible workbook began in the early 90s when I couldn’t find a workbook that tested my knowledge on God’s Word even if I simply read a few chapters. The books I found jumped around from one book of the Bible to another or also had the author’s commentaries.

3) Tell us a little bit about your books.

My workbook is set up with Multiple Choice, True or False, and Fill-In-The-Blank questions. At the top of each page of the workbook is the range of the scripture verses where the answers can be found. It is all set up in order. One can read just a few chapters, find that range at the top of the page and test your knowledge.

4) What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part was presenting each question in such a way as to not be too ambiguous or misunderstood.

5) Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

I learned just how rich God’s Word is. There are so many treasures to be found and messages that are in there, but many don’t take the time to read it all. I find that many just read parts of God’s Word and I believe they miss out on so much.

6) What are your future projects?

I am presently working on the four Gospels of the New Testament.

7) What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

On Goodreads, of course, but also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ThroughTheBibleGenesisDeuteronomy/

The Weekly Wonders of Writing

Tip #17: Edit three or more times.

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The expression “three times the charm” is relevant to the art of editing. Not only do you want an objective editor to help you edit your manuscript, but you should also make sure that the text is edited at least three times. This will help you to publish the best manuscript that you can.

For me, I read through the manuscript once marking things that jump out at me. Then I work through each chapter writing my corrections in the paper copy. The next step for me is to pull up the electronic copy and type the corrections from the paper copy onto it. Once that has been finished, I read through the electronic copy one last time to see if there are any other errors.

As always, do what works best for you. Just don’t rush the editing process to get published. Readers get turned off by multiple errors in a book. Take your time so that you can give them the cleanest novel that you can so that they can focus on the plot and not the format.

The Weekly Wonders of Writing

Tip #16: Pick an objective editor.

editor

It may be tempting to do all of the editing of your manuscript by yourself. However, let me warn you that it is not a good practice to be the only one who searches for errors in a manuscript. As the author, we become too familiar with the story. Then when we try to edit, we see what we meant instead of what was actually typed. It is true that we can do some of the editing, but we should also have someone help us in the process. A fresh pair of eyes is always useful.

There are several editing services that you can find online if you want to pay a professional to help you. However, I have always utilized an intelligent friend or family member who is not afraid to constructively critique my work showing me errors. My aunt Pam has been a teacher for many years. When she retired, I asked her to help me by reading Journey to Glory and provide feedback/editing changes. She was eager to help and her work was excellent. Many times my aunt found things that I had missed.

Whether you get a professional or an objective friend/family member, having another person look at your work is beneficial. You could even have more than one person look at it too. Don’t become offended at the number of errors that are found. Remember this is your rough draft. Besides, vanquishing errors will make your novel even better!

The Weekly Wonders of Writing

Tip #15: Read your writing out loud.

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So the time has come to begin editing your work. Where do you start? Editing can be an overwhelming experience. In my opinion, it is the hardest part of being an author. Writing the story and creating worlds/characters are nothing compared to the task of editing. However, editing is also the most important part of being an author.

Readers want to be able to understand your work. They want to enter your world and experience your plot without the annoying grammatical errors or typos. A reader can be turned off from an author’s works if they come across too many mistakes.

Though it is almost impossible to publish a completely error-free novel (even classics have errors), it is still important to try to catch all of the mistakes. One great way to do this is to read your work out loud. Whether you edit on computer or paper, be ready to change a lot of mistakes. Read each sentence out loud. As you come to a mistake, mark it on the paper or change it on the computer. Many times I have found that things may be spelled right in a passage, but they don’t sound right when read aloud.

Reading your work aloud should not be the only way to edit. It is a good place to start, but remember that we know our story so some mistakes may escape us. Next week, we will explore another method of discovering the errors that lurk in your novel.