Posts Tagged With: Writing Style

MWN Author Spotlight –Do Haeng (Michael Kitchen)

Michael KitchenCome with us as we spotlight yet another great Michigan author, Do Haeng (Michael Kitchen).

Michael Kitchen is a writer who practices law, or a lawyer who writes. Whichever way you look at it, Kitchen has been writing for numerous years with a list of varied credits from a comic book story to church newsletter articles to hockey articles.

Kitchen is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and obtained a Business Administration degree at Eastern Michigan University. He co-authored “Down Through the Years: The Memoirs of Detroit City Council President Emeritus Erma Henderson” (Authorhouse, 2004). His short fiction has appeared in “Written in the Mitten 2013” (Heron Bay Books) and Legends, Summer 2013 (Grey Wolfe Publishing). He won the 2009 Michigan Bar Journal Short Story Contest.

If not in court, Kitchen enjoys writing, reading, wandering and/or shopping in a book store, bowling, or watching soccer.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Plymouth, MI.  I currently reside in Chesterfield Township, MI.

Tell us your latest news?

My daughter and son-in-law began foster parenting three kids in August making me a foster grandfather.

When and why did you begin writing?

Back in college, I worked at the Greyhound Bus Station.  The manager was a comic book fan and could draw, and he encouraged me to write.  I was more the math/science type, but in my first English Comp class at EMU the professor told me the essays I wrote were of the quality he read in newspapers and magazines.  The bus station manager and a friend of his started a comic book fanzine and I became a contributor to it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Thirty years out of college, I’m still wrestling with calling myself a writer.  I grew up in a practical family background.  Reading was not encouraged by my parents (it wasn’t discouraged, it just wasn’t part of their lives), so the thought of going to school for a degree in literature or writing would have been frowned upon, whereas an accounting degree was more in-step with parental expectations.  Also, because it is not a full-time profession for me, I stumble in acknowledging myself with that title.  Even though I had one short story published in a commercial magazine in 1993, even though I won the 2009 Michigan Bar Journal Short Story contest, even though I’ve co-authored a self-published book and had my first novel published with a hybrid publisher, I don’t think I’ll actually consider myself a writer until I see that traditionally published novel sitting on the shelves in bookstores across America.  That will be the day that I’ll say that “I made it!”

What inspired you to write your first book?

I saw the movie “The Razor’s Edge” starring Bill Murray in 1984 when it was released.  I was in the early stages of exploring my writing skills and fell in love with the story.  I later read Somerset Maugham’s novel that the movie was based on, and saw the 1946 movie starring Tyrone Power.  My desire was to be able to write that kind of story.  Fast forward to 2007 and that’s when I decided to write something inspired by the novel/movie, making it more contemporary.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I try to keep it simple.  I don’t like reading a paragraph that describes a blade of grass blowing in the wind, so I do my best not to write that way.  Nor do I want my reader to have to have a dictionary sitting next to them.  However, I hope that whatever I write has an underlying purpose or theme.

How did you come up with the title?

I didn’t have a working title until I got to the point where one of the characters revealed it to me while writing the first draft.  That’s when it all came together.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The underlying theme is that life is a question to be lived every day.  Question everything.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it.  Current events in American history gave my characters the elements necessary to propel them.  In “The Razor’s Edge,” World War I, the Roaring 20’s and The Depression affect the characters significantly.  I use The Battle of Seattle, the New Millennium, and 9/11 to influence my characters.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not exactly.  Are there characteristics of people and events within it?  Definitely.

What books have most influenced your life most?

“The Razor’s Edge” by Somerset Maugham; “No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America” by Ralph Nader inspired me to go to law school.  “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg and two of Lawrence Block’s books on writing; “Telling Lies for Fun & Profit” and “Spider, Spin Me a Web: Lawrence Block on Writing Fiction”.  “Taking the Path of Zen” by Robert Aitken and “Stumbling Toward Enlightenment” by Geri Larkin regarding Zen Buddhism.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Unfortunately, I have not had the fortune to have a mentor.  Cima Starr was my editor in the correspondence course I took in the 1980’s who started me off.  I learned a lot from Lawrence Block’s writings about writing.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished reading Book One of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle.”  I’m also reading Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” and Charles Baxter’s “Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction.”

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Angela Flournoy and Ottessa Moshfegh are two that immediately come to mind.  I’ve read their short fiction published in current issues of The Paris Review and have both of their first novels on my to-read list.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on my next novel which is going through its second revision as I battle test it with my writer’s group.  Got a few short stories circulating, too.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Early on it was definitely Detroit Working Writers.  They had some awesome conferences back in the 1990’s when I was developing my writing skills and learning about the profession.

Do you see writing as a career?

I would like it to be.  But for now it shares time with my law practice.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No.  As writers we grow and change over time.  That novel is written from my experience and knowledge during  those six years.  If I had to write it over again, I’m a different person and the novel would likely be written differently than how it currently is.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Probably from playing Dungeons & Dragons in high school.  I had always read comic books, but the creation of characters and settings and conflicts that came from playing D&D with my friends sparked the interest.  I was also inspired by television characters who were writers – Ron Harris (Ron Glass) of Barney Miller and Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) of The Night Stalker.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

It’s a literary novel about two young men who fall in love for the first time.  They meet their first loves while in jail.  Thematically its about the mental jails – both good and bad – that we create for ourselves.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Everything.  Through grade school I was not strong at all in English and Literature classes.  I always had an active imagination and could piece together a good story.  It’s the execution of putting it down in a proper way and to avoid charges from the Grammar Police that is a challenge for me.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Lawrence Block.  I took a correspondence course back in the 1980’s after graduating college.  This was the old days, where assignments and critiques were done through the US Mail.  I believe I used a typewriter, too.  Anyway, the editor that had been assigned to me said that based on my writing style I should read Lawrence Block.  I’ve been reading him ever since.  He tells a story straight without the flowery description and uses language that doesn’t require a dictionary to be near at hand.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

No.  Would I love to?  Sure!

Who designed the covers?

I did.  It was from a photo I took at the FDR Memorial in Washington DC.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The time it took to write it.  And the point of view.  The first version was first person from Darryl’s POV.  Then I tried third person, but that didn’t work.  I went back to Maugham’s novel and found it was written first person from Maugham’s POV.  That’s when I created Mac, Darryl’s cousin, to tell the story.  He was perfect for the job.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

There comes a point where you have to say it’s finished.  I feel like I could keep revising it, but then it would never make it to book form.  I had to accept that there isn’t a book out there that’s perfect, and each reader is going to have their own impression and experience of it.  It taught me to approach writing like a practice, like Zen practice and law practice.  There will be good moments and bad, but no sustaining and constant perfection.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Know what your vision is for your writing.  If you have dreams of being published traditionally, know that it is extremely difficult, and that you not only have to write but read a lot and learn a lot about the business.  And develop a thick skin because you’re going to need to battle test your work with other writers, some of whom, if they are honest, will pull no punches in order for you to develop the piece your working on to be the best that it can be.  If you’re going to self-publish, you better be prepared to put as much effort in promoting and marketing the book as you did writing it.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Many many bows of gratitude to those who have taken the time to read my work.  There is so much out there to read (I know, I have shelves of books that I may never get to in this lifetime), to watch, and to do that I am truly honored.  My hope is that what I’ve written was worth your time.

The Y In Life

 

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MWN Author Spotlight –Melanie (Hooyenga) Swiftney @MelanieHoo

Melanie HooyengaThis week, the spotlight is on Melanie (Hooyenga) Swiftney;

Melanie Hooyenga first started writing as a teenager and finds she still relates best to that age group. She has lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but has finally settled down in her home state of Michigan with her husband Jeremy. When not at her day job as a writer/designer, you can find Melanie attempting to wrangle her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with Jeremy.

 

Where are you from?

I live in Grand Haven, Michigan, just a few minutes from Lake Michigan. I’m originally from here, but I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

Tell us your latest news?

The third book in my YA trilogy, the Flicker Effect, came out in June 2015. Also, I’ll be at the Grand Rapids Comic Con this October and the Kalamazoo Book Bash. I can’t wait!

When and why did you begin writing?

I first started writing in middle school, but stopped once I graduated college and started my career as a graphic designer. It wasn’t until I was living in Mexico and not working that I started writing again. It’s been eight years and I haven’t stopped since!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a writer about a year after I started writing, so once I’d finished my first full-length novel. I considered myself an author when I published my first novel, Flicker, in 2012.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first novel was about a teenager trying to sneak across the US border from Mexico. (You could say I was influenced by my surroundings.) I enjoyed including the day-to-day details I learned about Mexico, but that novel is buried safely in my computer.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I prefer to write in first person, present tense. My first two novels were third person past, but I feel much more comfortable in first present. It’s sometimes tricky because you can only tell the story from your character’s perspective–there’s no narrator to add details for the reader–but the immediacy to that voice resonates with me.

How did you come up with the title?

My main character, Biz, uses sunlight to travel back to yesterday. She calls it flickering after the way the sunlight filters through the trees like a strobe light, so it seemed logical to name the first book Flicker, and the series the Flicker Effect.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Try to see beyond yourself. There’s a big world out there and each of us can help others in our own unique way.

How much of the book is realistic?

It’s contemporary YA, set in modern day, so aside from the time travel element, it’s completely realistic.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

There are snippets from real situations or jokes that I have with friends, but very little is taken from actual events. There is a scene in Faded (book 3) that is similar to something that happened to me, but I can’t go into detail without spoiling it.

What books have most influenced your life most?

I’ve read voraciously since I was very young, and my tastes have varied over the years. Because of that I can’t say that any one book or books have had a bigger influence than others. I devoured the Sweet Valley High books in elementary school, so those certainly sparked my interest in the relationships between people — something that plays a strong role in my books.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d love to spend time with Stephanie Perkins, author of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Her books blow me away. The storylines aren’t overly complex but I want to be best friends with her characters and I’d love to get inside her head to learn how she does it.

What book are you reading now?

Nothing at the moment but I recently finished SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT by Sarah Strohmeyer. It’s about three wickedly smart high school girls who realize there’s more to high school than just good grades. My current WIP is about a girl who moves to a new school so I’m devouring books about teens going through big changes (which is pretty much all YA) and this one was great.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Linda Budzinski is fantastic. Her debut novel, THE FUNERAL SINGER, is phenomenal and I cannot wait for her next novel, EM AND EM.

What are your current projects?

I wrapped up the Flicker Effect series this past June, so now I’m working on a book about a girl who loves to downhill ski and moves from Vermont to Colorado. And of course there’s a swoon-worthy boy.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My teachers, for sure. They’ve always seen my potential and pushed me to be better than I thought I could be.

Do you see writing as a career?

Someday. Right now I still have a day job, but I recently switched from being a full-time graphic designer to having more of a focus on writing.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope. I’m really happy with the way I concluded the series.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I still have a short story I wrote in first grade, so I’d have to say writing has always been a part of me. My mother is an avid reader, something I got from her, and that turned into storytelling for me.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

This scene takes place right after Cally wiped out doing a ski trick. Blake helped her, and now she’s being examined at the lodge:

I texted Dad after Blake convinced me to call ski patrol, and now he’s pacing behind me while a snow patrol guy in a blue ski jacket appraises my knee. My snow pants are shoved as high as I can get them up my leg but they keep sliding down. Blue Jacket touches his chin before making eye contact with Dad. “Snow pants have to go.”

A fresh wave of humiliation sweeps over me. Of all the days to wear my long underwear with little bunnies hopping all over them. I unsnap my snow pants and shimmy them to my ankles, then slide the bunnies over a knee that is considerably larger than it was when I got dressed this morning.

“Christ, Cally.” Dad forces out a deep breath and rests a hand on my shoulder. “What were you trying to do?”

If I admit I was upside-down without an adult within fifty feet he might not let me out of his sight the rest of the vacation. “Nothing crazy. Just my usual three-sixty. I caught my edge when I landed.”

Blue Jacket pokes my knee and I suck in a breath.

Please don’t let it be serious.

“Looks like a sprain. There’s a med center in town that can tell you for sure, but I suggest you stay off it for a few days.”

I whip around and face Dad. “A few days? That’s our entire trip!”

Trilogy_full covers

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Right now, I’m still working on staying in the voice of this new character. I wrote Biz and her friends for five years, so I have to remind myself that Cally reacts to things differently.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Lisa McMann really stands out for young adult, probably because her two series, WAKE and VISIONS, are similar to mine. They’re both about a normal girl who has a weird quirk in her head that makes her do something supernatural.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I would LOVE to, but no. Fortunately the internet makes it easy to research far-away places. I have traveled across west Michigan for different book events, and hope to attend an event in Detroit in spring of 2016.

Who designed the covers?

I did! The benefit to also being a graphic designer is I’ve designed the covers and interiors of all my books.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Deciding it was finished. Most writers will agree that you could keep editing forever. There’s always one more thing to change, one detail to clarify, or one scene that could be tightened, but at some point you have to step away and decide it’s finished.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that it’s very important to keep a character bible while writing. When secondary characters pop up, or they go to a restaurant, I name it and keep writing. If they go to that restaurant later in the book and you haven’t noted the name, you’ll have to search the entire document to find the name. Notes are good.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up! Writing a novel is a solitary endeavor and it can take a really long time. It’s easy to get inside your head and let self-doubt take over, but if you want to write a novel, sit down with your computer or pen and paper and do it. You are the only one who can stop you.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for reading! I love hearing from my readers and I especially love getting reviews. They are gold to writers.

 

Name of Author: Melanie Hooyenga

Name of Book: The Flicker Effect trilogy (FLICKER, FRACTURE, and FADED)

Author Website: http://www.melaniehoo.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Melanie-Hooyenga/e/B00AHNSQCO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelanieHooyenga

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelanieHoo

 

FLICKER Ch 1: http://www.melaniehoo.com/books/flicker/flicker-prologue-chapter-1/

FRACTURE Ch 1: http://www.melaniehoo.com/books/writing/fracture-chapter-1/

FADED Ch 1: http://www.melaniehoo.com/books/faded/faded-chapter-1/

flicker

faded

fractured

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MWN Author Spotlight ~ Yvonne Stegall @WriterYvonne

Yvonne StegallThis week’s MWN Spotlight is on Yvonne Stegall!

Yvonne Stegall, is a communications addict, freelance writer and published book author. She has been a professional writer for over 14 years. She started out as a music reviewer, then landed a job at that very magazine as the Editor-in-Chief, where she remained for just over 2 years (until the magazine was sold by its original owner).

Following her print work, Yvonne started writing online. She has written for online blogs, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, social media and more. In 2010 she started working full time from home as a freelance writer. She has also done work in copyediting/copywriting, SEO, marketing and digital PR.

In 2008 Yvonne published her first book. Since then she has taken up self-publishing and has been focusing on children’s books.

Yvonne also enjoys photography, painting, drawing, and creating many types of crafts (from jewelry to soaps, and many things in between).

Where are you from?

Originally from the thumb, I currently reside in Fenton
Tell us your latest news?

I just released the first book in my new tourist series ‘Experience Michigan.’ The first book is ‘Experience Michigan Wildlife’ and I am already hard at work on ‘Experience Michigan Tourist Traps.’
When and why did you begin writing?

I have been writing since first grade. I did a poetry book in my first grade class.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I started getting poetry published in the late 90s.

 

What inspired you to write your first book?

Michigan and the nature and outdoors. It was a children’s book about a firefly.

 

Do you have a specific writing style?

No. I just write.
How did you come up with the title?

I love Michigan and I think it’s a great place to experience. There is more about Michigan that just being here.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Just that Michigan is an amazing place with so much to offer.
How much of the book is realistic?

This particular book is completely non-fiction.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I love travelling Michigan and I love the wildlife here in this state. So, it is definitely based on events in my own life.
What books have most influenced your life most? On The Road by Jack Kerouac and Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

My writing mentor would have to relate mainly to the poetry and short stories I used to write… and then it would be a tie between Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft. I really loved writing dark and macabre stuff in my teens and twenties.
What book are you reading now?

Ghost Hunting Michigan by Helen Pattskyn
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Kelly Gay, although I don’t know how new she is. I enjoy books with otherworld beings in them.
What are your current projects?

The Experience Michigan series, my own memoir and a couple novelettes that fictional, one is paranormal.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Probably my friend Anna Gustafson. She’s always quick to read my stuff and give me honest feedback.
Do you see writing as a career? It is my career. When I am not working on books I am a freelance writer professionally. It’s how I make a living.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It was doing that poetry book in first grade.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I am most focused on the Experience Michigan series. I already have 13 book ideas, which includes the one already published. I have 3 road trips to take in the next 3 weeks in order to get all the photos and info I need for the tourist trap book, which I hope to have published in July.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Just finding the time to do it all.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My all time favorite author is also a tie, between Kelley Armstrong and Kim Harrison. I love both of their fictional worlds of otherworld creatures living among us humans. I can’t read a book if I can’t “see” what I am reading, and both of these authors really know how to make my mind turn their words into a mental movie.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I hadn’t, but I will be with this new series.
Who designed the covers?

I publish all of my stuff through CreateSpace and I use their cover designer to create my own covers.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Time.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned with this Michigan book that I really do have a passion for my home state. I have never felt so good about a book I’ve done and been so excited to share it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what you know. Put your heart into it. And just keep writing.

Experience Michigan Wildlife

 

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Author Spotlight~ Jossie Marie Solheim

This week’s spotlight is on author Jossie Marie Solheim. Join us as we talk with her about her first novel Insane Reno and more.

Where are you from?
Well, originally I am from Kent; but I have lived most of my life in
Cornwall. I love Cornwall and have been so lucky to grow up here and,
although Kent is lovely, too and I enjoyed my time living there in my
teens, Cornwall will always be the place I love best.

Tell us your latest news?

Ha-ha! Well, that would be my first novel, Insane Reno, being
published. It is truly some of the best news I have ever had and a
dream come true.

When and why did you begin writing?

Oh, I started writing when I was around nine years old. My childhood
wasn’t the best, you see, and it was my way of escaping reality. I
would write myself into happy stories with happy endings and pray that
they would come true. Well, they didn’t, when I was young, but the
last few years, more and more of them are coming true; perhaps, not
quite how I imagined them, but I am enjoying the discovery process, so
I don’t mind, too much.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Well, I have called myself a writer for a long time; but honestly, it
wasn’t until I got my publishing deal for my novel that I really felt
I had made it as a writer. For me the short stories and articles I had
published just weren’t enough, it had to be a novel.

What inspired you to write your first book?

So many things. Bodmin moor was one of my biggest inspirations. It
just held a fascination for me that just had to be explored and
understood. I read everything I could get my hands on, regarding the
moors and its myths and grew, ever more fascinated. If you spend a lot
of time there, you’ll understand what I mean. I guess they just spoke
to me, because they felt isolated, lost, and alone; things I had felt
a lot in my own life.
People also were a big inspiration. I had observed different types of
people for so long and examined human nature and I just longed to play
around with that, especially secrets and lies. I guess I experienced a
lot of secrets and lies growing up and longed for the truth to come
out. Well, I never achieved that with my own mysteries, so I wanted
Tizzy to succeed, where I had failed. That goes back to my childhood
days of writing a better outcome, I suppose; however, Tizzy is nothing
like me, she’s a far tougher cookie than I am.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think so. I tend to adapt and change and like to try different
approaches. For me, writing is an exploration. I want to play around
and dabble with different styles, because I feel that, what works for
one book, may not work so well for another.

How did you come up with the title?

Well, I think the title, more likely, came up with me; just, one day,
I got Insane Reno in my head and it would not go away and I just knew
I had to write a book with that title. I had no idea what or how it
would work at the time, but it all came together, in the end. I think
it was made to be. Perhaps, it was God giving me a helping hand and
setting the wheels in motion. Whatever the case, it’s a title I have
loved from the start and I’m sure I’ll always love.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, kids are smarter than you give them credit for. No matter what
you try to hide from them, they see things; notice subtle signs that
something is wrong. All you do, when you hide the bad news is make
them search for it. Honesty is always the best policy, because bad
news, broken gently, in a well thought out way, is better than bad
news discovered alone or from an uncaring source.

How much of the book is realistic?

Well, the settings are real. Bodmin moor and Bude are both real life
places and Charlotte Dymond was a girl who really was murdered on the
moors and yes, people really do visit her memorial on the anniversary
of her death, in hopes of seeing her ghost. My husband and I try to
go, most years. It’s great fun and a little bit spooky, too.
Smuggling, too was common in the area. The Jamaica Inn, on the moors,
itself, is testament to that. So, I guess you could say it’s fiction
surrounded by a few snippets of reality.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Well, there are a lot of my own feelings and experiences fictionalised
in the book, but I think that is true of most books; however, the
story itself comes from my vivid imagination and my characters
occasional shoves, when I am being a bit blind.

What books have most influenced your life?

I guess books that were filled with tragedy, heartache, fear,
struggle, and hope; because that was something I related to and, in
the case of hope, longed for.
Flowers in the Attic, by Virginia Andrews really spoke to me; because,
like those children, I felt abandoned, lost, and alone, and Junk, by
Melvin Burgess, too, for similar reasons. I also devoured anything
about animals, because I longed to work with animals, at that time.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Virginia Andrews and Daphne De Maurier, because their characters are
so vivid, they’re not afraid to be blunt, and they deal with topics
that some people would have shyed away from. I think it’s important to
deal with difficult subjects; to let other people know that they are
not alone, to give them a sense that there are other people facing
similar situations or feeling the same way as they are. That’s what
books did for me, when I was younger, and they also gave me hope that
things could get better.

What book are you reading now?

I’m currently reading a couple of good books; the first is The day I
died, by Polly Courtney, which is a really intriguing read that isn’t
what you’d expect, and the second is Patrick Patterson, by James
Fryer, which is very interesting and is keeping me very absorbed. It
also happens to be published by Raven Crest Books, the very publisher,
who has made my own dream come true by publishing Insane Reno.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Absolutely, I love discovering new authors; that’s part of why I love
my Kindle, so much. Someone who has really got me hooked is Karen
Amanda Hooper. Her book, Tangled tides, made me feel like a child
again, taking me into a magical world that I longed to be a part of
and leaving me giddy for more.

What are your current projects?

My writing very much depends on what is speaking to me at the time. I
would like to say Annie, which is the prequel to Insane Reno is my
sole focus, right now; but, I actually have three books that I am
working on and with regards to which is published first, well, it
really depends on which one calls to me the most.
Annie is on its way, though and looks at Tizzy’s mum’s story; giving
us even more insight into the farm’s past and helping us to see that
life and its many twist and turns have played a huge part on how Annie
has become. I hope that it will give people a little more
understanding of Annie’s actions and also help them to understand that
we are all human and as such, capable of making mistakes.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My editor, Chuck Jolly; he pushed me, guided me, and encouraged me to
keep going, every step of the way and also helped me to have more
faith in myself. I can’t thank him enough for all of his help.

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely, it might not make me millions and it may be very hard;
but, it is the only career for me. I couldn’t live without it.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your
latest book?

There are always things I would change. Even if I did a thousand
re-edits, there would be something I would change. I’m a worrier and
so I would always worry it wasn’t good enough and, thus, always make
changes; it’s just my nature. It took a lot for me to pluck up the
courage to let it head out into the big wide world, but I am glad I
did.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

As I said before, it grew out of personal need. It was an escape from
an, at times, less than pleasant reality. I read books and I just
thought; maybe, if I write my own, I can, at least, imagine a better
life. It helped me get through things I probably couldn’t have,
without it.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Of course. I’m gonna choose something with both Jem and Tizzy in it,
as Jem is such a loveable rogue and is proving very popular with the
ladies:

I could sense Jem’s eyes on me, as I laid the table, so I added a
little extra swing to my hips and bent over a little further than was
necessary, as I set each dish in place.
“Your thong’s showing,” My dad said, making me jump out of my skin, as
he strolled into the kitchen, sniffing the air.
“Something smells good,” he added, dropping into his seat at the far
end of the table and gazing at me, with a wry smile.
“Did I interrupt something?” He asked.
“I dunno, did he?”  Jem said, directing his question at me, as he
beamed like a Cheshire cat.
“No!”  I snapped, mortified.
“Guess not then,” he replied, “must have just been my imagination,
playing tricks on me.”  He added.
“What are you on about?”  I growled.
“Oh nothing, it’s just I could have sworn you were doing your best
model swagger and making and extra point of flashing me you’re…” he
paused, mid-sentence, and looked to my father.
“Thong?”  My father replied, with a laugh.
“Well, I was gonna say cute little butt, but thong works.” He added,
and joined in with my father’s laughter.
“Oh, very funny,” I snarled.  “Anyway, what gave you the right to look?”
“If you wiggle it at me, I’m gonna look.”
“I didn’t frigging wiggle it.” I hissed.
“No, but you wanted to and that counts.”  He replied, the smug smile,
still firmly in place.
“Dad,” I cried, “are you gonna let him get away with that?”  I said,
knowing instantly what his reply would be.
“Hey, you were flashing him your thong, so you can fight your own battles.”
“So, if I flashed my thong at a stranger and he grabbed my butt,
you’d be ok with that?”  I asked.
“I dunno,” he replied, then leaning back to look at Jem he added.
“Hey Jem, why don’t you try it and see.”
“Dad!”  I cried, quickly dropping onto one of the bench seats as Jem
turned, eyes full of mischief.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get ya later.” He said, rubbing his hand together,
then turned back to the cooker, switched the hob off and scuttled
towards the table, frying pan in hand.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Staying focused. I always have so many ideas, that I often jump from
one novel to the next and back again, trying to accommodate all the
characters and ideas that are screaming for release.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you
about their work?

Oh, I couldn’t possibly choose just one. There are just so many great
authors out there; however, the one I am really watching at the moment
is Karen Amanda Hooper.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not at present. I tend to stick with my local area for settings, that
or other places I have lived; although, there is a book planned for
the future that might require a bit of a road trip, something to
look forward to.

Who designed the covers?

Well, with Insane Reno, it was actually me; I just had such a vivid
idea of what I wanted that it just seemed easier that way, but that
might not always be the case.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Knowing when to let go. As I said before, I’m a worrier and letting
Insane Reno go out into the world was like waving my son off, for his
first day at school, a very emotional and nerve racking experience.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I think every book is a learning experience and, as an author, you are
always learning new things; but a big lesson I learned from writing
Insane Reno is to try not to over think things, as it just leads to
unnecessary worry and stress.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just enjoy what you do and don’t worry, if someone doesn’t like what
you write, because everyone is different. What some people love,
others will hate.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for taking the time to read my book. Taking the step to
publish is such a scary one and knowing that people are reading and
enjoying it is a great blessing; so, thank you from the bottom of my
heart for taking a chance on Insane Reno. It truly means a lot.

By author Jossie Marie Solheim

Author Website http://jossiesolheim.ravencrestbooks.com/
Amazon Link http://amzn.to/T1kfsB
Facebook Link https://www.facebook.com/jossie.marie
Twitter Link @Jossiemarie84

p

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Writing Tutorials-#11 Writing Style

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Developing a Voice or Style of a Writer: Creative Writing Lesson Tips 2

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Author Spotlight~ Jossie Marie Solheim

This week’s spotlight is on author Jossie Marie Solheim. Join us as we talk with her about her first novel Insane Reno and more.

Where are you from?
Well, originally I am from Kent; but I have lived most of my life in
Cornwall. I love Cornwall and have been so lucky to grow up here and,
although Kent is lovely, too and I enjoyed my time living there in my
teens, Cornwall will always be the place I love best.

Tell us your latest news?

Ha-ha! Well, that would be my first novel, Insane Reno, being
published. It is truly some of the best news I have ever had and a
dream come true.

When and why did you begin writing?

Oh, I started writing when I was around nine years old. My childhood
wasn’t the best, you see, and it was my way of escaping reality. I
would write myself into happy stories with happy endings and pray that
they would come true. Well, they didn’t, when I was young, but the
last few years, more and more of them are coming true; perhaps, not
quite how I imagined them, but I am enjoying the discovery process, so
I don’t mind, too much.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Well, I have called myself a writer for a long time; but honestly, it
wasn’t until I got my publishing deal for my novel that I really felt
I had made it as a writer. For me the short stories and articles I had
published just weren’t enough, it had to be a novel.

What inspired you to write your first book?

So many things. Bodmin moor was one of my biggest inspirations. It
just held a fascination for me that just had to be explored and
understood. I read everything I could get my hands on, regarding the
moors and its myths and grew, ever more fascinated. If you spend a lot
of time there, you’ll understand what I mean. I guess they just spoke
to me, because they felt isolated, lost, and alone; things I had felt
a lot in my own life.
People also were a big inspiration. I had observed different types of
people for so long and examined human nature and I just longed to play
around with that, especially secrets and lies. I guess I experienced a
lot of secrets and lies growing up and longed for the truth to come
out. Well, I never achieved that with my own mysteries, so I wanted
Tizzy to succeed, where I had failed. That goes back to my childhood
days of writing a better outcome, I suppose; however, Tizzy is nothing
like me, she’s a far tougher cookie than I am.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think so. I tend to adapt and change and like to try different
approaches. For me, writing is an exploration. I want to play around
and dabble with different styles, because I feel that, what works for
one book, may not work so well for another.

How did you come up with the title?

Well, I think the title, more likely, came up with me; just, one day,
I got Insane Reno in my head and it would not go away and I just knew
I had to write a book with that title. I had no idea what or how it
would work at the time, but it all came together, in the end. I think
it was made to be. Perhaps, it was God giving me a helping hand and
setting the wheels in motion. Whatever the case, it’s a title I have
loved from the start and I’m sure I’ll always love.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, kids are smarter than you give them credit for. No matter what
you try to hide from them, they see things; notice subtle signs that
something is wrong. All you do, when you hide the bad news is make
them search for it. Honesty is always the best policy, because bad
news, broken gently, in a well thought out way, is better than bad
news discovered alone or from an uncaring source.

How much of the book is realistic?

Well, the settings are real. Bodmin moor and Bude are both real life
places and Charlotte Dymond was a girl who really was murdered on the
moors and yes, people really do visit her memorial on the anniversary
of her death, in hopes of seeing her ghost. My husband and I try to
go, most years. It’s great fun and a little bit spooky, too.
Smuggling, too was common in the area. The Jamaica Inn, on the moors,
itself, is testament to that. So, I guess you could say it’s fiction
surrounded by a few snippets of reality.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Well, there are a lot of my own feelings and experiences fictionalised
in the book, but I think that is true of most books; however, the
story itself comes from my vivid imagination and my characters
occasional shoves, when I am being a bit blind.

What books have most influenced your life?

I guess books that were filled with tragedy, heartache, fear,
struggle, and hope; because that was something I related to and, in
the case of hope, longed for.
Flowers in the Attic, by Virginia Andrews really spoke to me; because,
like those children, I felt abandoned, lost, and alone, and Junk, by
Melvin Burgess, too, for similar reasons. I also devoured anything
about animals, because I longed to work with animals, at that time.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Virginia Andrews and Daphne De Maurier, because their characters are
so vivid, they’re not afraid to be blunt, and they deal with topics
that some people would have shyed away from. I think it’s important to
deal with difficult subjects; to let other people know that they are
not alone, to give them a sense that there are other people facing
similar situations or feeling the same way as they are. That’s what
books did for me, when I was younger, and they also gave me hope that
things could get better.

What book are you reading now?

I’m currently reading a couple of good books; the first is The day I
died, by Polly Courtney, which is a really intriguing read that isn’t
what you’d expect, and the second is Patrick Patterson, by James
Fryer, which is very interesting and is keeping me very absorbed. It
also happens to be published by Raven Crest Books, the very publisher,
who has made my own dream come true by publishing Insane Reno.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Absolutely, I love discovering new authors; that’s part of why I love
my Kindle, so much. Someone who has really got me hooked is Karen
Amanda Hooper. Her book, Tangled tides, made me feel like a child
again, taking me into a magical world that I longed to be a part of
and leaving me giddy for more.

What are your current projects?

My writing very much depends on what is speaking to me at the time. I
would like to say Annie, which is the prequel to Insane Reno is my
sole focus, right now; but, I actually have three books that I am
working on and with regards to which is published first, well, it
really depends on which one calls to me the most.
Annie is on its way, though and looks at Tizzy’s mum’s story; giving
us even more insight into the farm’s past and helping us to see that
life and its many twist and turns have played a huge part on how Annie
has become. I hope that it will give people a little more
understanding of Annie’s actions and also help them to understand that
we are all human and as such, capable of making mistakes.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My editor, Chuck Jolly; he pushed me, guided me, and encouraged me to
keep going, every step of the way and also helped me to have more
faith in myself. I can’t thank him enough for all of his help.

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely, it might not make me millions and it may be very hard;
but, it is the only career for me. I couldn’t live without it.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your
latest book?

There are always things I would change. Even if I did a thousand
re-edits, there would be something I would change. I’m a worrier and
so I would always worry it wasn’t good enough and, thus, always make
changes; it’s just my nature. It took a lot for me to pluck up the
courage to let it head out into the big wide world, but I am glad I
did.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

As I said before, it grew out of personal need. It was an escape from
an, at times, less than pleasant reality. I read books and I just
thought; maybe, if I write my own, I can, at least, imagine a better
life. It helped me get through things I probably couldn’t have,
without it.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Of course. I’m gonna choose something with both Jem and Tizzy in it,
as Jem is such a loveable rogue and is proving very popular with the
ladies:

I could sense Jem’s eyes on me, as I laid the table, so I added a
little extra swing to my hips and bent over a little further than was
necessary, as I set each dish in place.
“Your thong’s showing,” My dad said, making me jump out of my skin, as
he strolled into the kitchen, sniffing the air.
“Something smells good,” he added, dropping into his seat at the far
end of the table and gazing at me, with a wry smile.
“Did I interrupt something?” He asked.
“I dunno, did he?”  Jem said, directing his question at me, as he
beamed like a Cheshire cat.
“No!”  I snapped, mortified.
“Guess not then,” he replied, “must have just been my imagination,
playing tricks on me.”  He added.
“What are you on about?”  I growled.
“Oh nothing, it’s just I could have sworn you were doing your best
model swagger and making and extra point of flashing me you’re…” he
paused, mid-sentence, and looked to my father.
“Thong?”  My father replied, with a laugh.
“Well, I was gonna say cute little butt, but thong works.” He added,
and joined in with my father’s laughter.
“Oh, very funny,” I snarled.  “Anyway, what gave you the right to look?”
“If you wiggle it at me, I’m gonna look.”
“I didn’t frigging wiggle it.” I hissed.
“No, but you wanted to and that counts.”  He replied, the smug smile,
still firmly in place.
“Dad,” I cried, “are you gonna let him get away with that?”  I said,
knowing instantly what his reply would be.
“Hey, you were flashing him your thong, so you can fight your own battles.”
“So, if I flashed my thong at a stranger and he grabbed my butt,
you’d be ok with that?”  I asked.
“I dunno,” he replied, then leaning back to look at Jem he added.
“Hey Jem, why don’t you try it and see.”
“Dad!”  I cried, quickly dropping onto one of the bench seats as Jem
turned, eyes full of mischief.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get ya later.” He said, rubbing his hand together,
then turned back to the cooker, switched the hob off and scuttled
towards the table, frying pan in hand.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Staying focused. I always have so many ideas, that I often jump from
one novel to the next and back again, trying to accommodate all the
characters and ideas that are screaming for release.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you
about their work?

Oh, I couldn’t possibly choose just one. There are just so many great
authors out there; however, the one I am really watching at the moment
is Karen Amanda Hooper.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not at present. I tend to stick with my local area for settings, that
or other places I have lived; although, there is a book planned for
the future that might require a bit of a road trip, something to
look forward to.

Who designed the covers?

Well, with Insane Reno, it was actually me; I just had such a vivid
idea of what I wanted that it just seemed easier that way, but that
might not always be the case.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Knowing when to let go. As I said before, I’m a worrier and letting
Insane Reno go out into the world was like waving my son off, for his
first day at school, a very emotional and nerve racking experience.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I think every book is a learning experience and, as an author, you are
always learning new things; but a big lesson I learned from writing
Insane Reno is to try not to over think things, as it just leads to
unnecessary worry and stress.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just enjoy what you do and don’t worry, if someone doesn’t like what
you write, because everyone is different. What some people love,
others will hate.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for taking the time to read my book. Taking the step to
publish is such a scary one and knowing that people are reading and
enjoying it is a great blessing; so, thank you from the bottom of my
heart for taking a chance on Insane Reno. It truly means a lot.

By author Jossie Marie Solheim

Author Website http://jossiesolheim.ravencrestbooks.com/
Amazon Link http://amzn.to/T1kfsB
Facebook Link https://www.facebook.com/jossie.marie
Twitter Link @Jossiemarie84

p

Categories: Feature, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
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