Monday, January 17, 2011

Aspiring Author Interview with Julieanne Lynch

As you all know I’ve decided instead of interviewing authors among doing reviews for their books that I’m opening my blog up to interview Aspiring Authors as well. Today I bring you Julieanne Lynch.

SDA: So let’s start with the obvious…what made you decide to write?
JL: I remember when I was about seven or eight and being totally in awe of Lewis Caroll’s Alice In Wonderland. It left me daydreaming about the possibilities of putting my own imagination on paper and that is what I did. I wrote poems, songs, and progressed to constructing some of the most bizarre work ever - well, for a child. Just ask my sisters I entertained them with my work and they still love some of my darker stories to this day. Great memories.

SDA: What kind of writing interests you the most?
JL: I have a varied taste in writing, but if I was to pinpoint it, I prefer fiction.

SDA: What are you working on?
JL: At present I am working on book 2 of my Shadow World series, Walking With Shadows. I am also, working on my first adult novel, Ice Goddess.

SDA: Do you have any habits that you keep to be able to write?
JL: Not really. The only thing that I am obsessive about it note taking. I have a journal that I carry with me everywhere. If I hear an interesting comment or see something that blows my mind, I jot it down and in most cases, I use what I see and hear as writing prompts.

SDA: Who has been your biggest influence creatively?
JL: Oh gosh, this is a hard one. There has been so many people who have influenced me along the way and none more so than my children. But, if I were to again pin point it, I would say it has been my love of Literature - why? Because, I opened my mind up to the wonderful world of the classics and used them as the foundation for my own disciplines with regards to writing. I do not try to be a 21st Century Dicken’s or Bronte, nor do I limit my creativity. I like to step through the boundaries and I love the challenges of writing outside of my comfort zone due to this.

SDA: What inspires you when it comes to writing?
JL: My mood seems to be my biggest inspiration. I enjoy where my mind takes me when I am feeling a particular emotion. I find that when I am at my lowest, when the stresses of life get to me, I produce some of my best work, simply because writing to me can sometimes act like therapy. It is almost like my writing takes on a life of it’s own and it’s something I cannot live without. Or maybe I am just kooky!

SDA: What has been the hardest part about writing?
JL: Rejection. Plain and simple. At first I felt every knock back and took it as a personal vendetta against me. It wasn’t until I got talking with other aspiring writers and established authors that we all go through the same motions. It’s a learning curve and one that makes you that bit stronger. The skin thickens and in the end, you learn to accept the rejections and move on to the next one.

SDA: What are your biggest goals?
JL: The obvious. I want world domination. But seriously, I would just be happy seeing my books in shops, libraries and if I was really lucky, being a best seller. I love to dream.

SDA: Who have you found to be your worst critics?
JL: Myself. I am very hard on myself and even when I know there is no more tweaking to be done, I still push myself and question my ability, especially when I am tired or over emotional. But the worst critic was served to me by an agent, who was the first to stick the knife in deep. Her words were, “I like your creativity, and you do have some imagination. But I fear you still need to learn to write. Maybe you ought to study literature and creative writing.”
Needless to say, that hurt me and almost made me quit - but like a glutton for punishment, I ignored her and continued on my venture. I studied the subjects above and I am more than qualified in my field.

SDA: If you had to do anything else but write, what would you do and why?
JL: I would teach. And I would teach English and Literature. Our youths minds need to opened up to the wonderful world of the written word. All too often, children are allowed to play their video games, listening to their ipods, forgetting about what seems to be ‘ancient’ gems like the library or book stores. And it seems to be that the only way the youths of today decide to read a book, is if there has been a movie made based on it. I think it is a shame that not more children pick up the works by the likes of Shakespeare and Poe. It is like they are being robbed of pure bliss, and that’s not forgetting their modern counterparts. The youth of today need to be encouraged to read, read, read, and if I didn’t write, then I’d be the soldier at war with modern technology and its negative influences.

SDA: You mentioned your children, as a mother myself I love watching my children create. Have any of your children started to show a creative gene?
JL: Yes, my eldest son Kristopher is quite a creative soul. He and a school friend have started up their own comic line -KNC Comics. They base it all on Ninja Stickmen. It’s quite ingenious when you sit down and read them. They have a long way to go, but it is already very promising. My only daughter Kelly-Marie writes, although they are more non-fiction memoirs, I encourage her all the same. She is only ten and already has a love for the written word.

SDA: If there was one thing that you think is a common misconception about writers/authors, what would it be?
JL: A common misconception about writers is that non-fiction writing lacks creativity or any real thought process- which couldn’t be further from the truth. Why, because, writing non-fiction requires a degree of imagination where an author must be able to focus on more focal points, bringing the imagery in a way to the reader, that coincides with the actual events they are portraying. Another, is that good writers are an authority on the subject that they are writing about. Not always the case, authors use their mind and push boundaries where certain subjects matter. They spend hours researching, fine tuning their work, making it the best possible volume of their work.

SDA: And on that track, in your opinion, what's the biggest myth you've discovered when it comes to writing?
JL: There are tons, but one that springs to mind is how long it takes to write a book. Some people assume, I lock myself away in a room and write for a week or two and then produce a completed, polished draft ready for publication. This couldn’t be further from the truth. On average, to do a first draft normally takes me between 5-6 weeks [remember I have four children], then editing that draft, which sees me another 2 weeks. Then I produce my 2nd draft, edit, submit- which again sees me another four weeks down the line. So, all in all, it takes a good 12 weeks to produce a finished MS, worthy of the editor. So, it was a big wake up call when I started to do this professionally.

SDA: That’s a great one and very true. I always felt I didn’t have the time, that I didn’t have years to dedicate to writing a book and I wrote and published in 9 months. Also with my writing I’m curious if I’m the only weird one with things I do so when writing characters do you prefer to have a focal point of someone that in your mind looks like them like a model, actor etc., or do you just let your mind create an image?
JL: Absolutely not. I would find it hard to focus on my character if I had swirling images of a hot actor/model roaming around in my head. I tend to create my own visions of how I see my characters. I like to play with them, toy with their image and when final draft is completed, I tend to be very pleased with how they come across to my readers.

SDA: If someone came to you and said wow I really want to write and don't know where to begin, what advice would you give them?
JL: I say to them to carry a journal with you at all times - you never know when inspiration will come. Join some form of writing group, whether it is in your local library, online forums, just something where you can converse with like minded people, swap ideas and predominately encourage you every step of the way. But last but not least. Write, write and write. Just keep doing what you love, it is what drives you as an author.

SDA: Well Julieanne, thank you for spending time with me and my readers today. In closing, something I'm asking all my aspiring authors is that if you could ask other authors one question what would it be?
JL: How do you control the urge to procrastinate? I am the worst and I find it God damned hard avoiding the sofa, green tea and chocolate and not always in the order.

HAHAHA! I will have an answer in my opinion below for you.
If any of you have answers or guidance for Julieanne please comment below.  You can also stay in contact with her or learn more about her and her work through the resources below:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Soundtrack for a Killer

Okay so I kind of borrowed this idea from Ian Somerhalder. He recently did an interview about what would be Damon Salvatore’s playlist. Got me thinking about Devrynne Kaine, the lead character in my book The Devil’s Angel, and what songs would I would use to make a soundtrack about her or about the book.

So here goes…

Rev 22:20 by Puscifer – This song is the epitome of Devrynne. For those that don’t know the book or the character, she is death and destruction all wrapped up in seduction. This song personalizes that. Christ is coming , and so am I. You would too if the sexy devil caught your eye.

Like Suicide by Seether – This song has a line in it that made me think of Devrynne every time I heard it. You’ve set me up to F’ing fail this time, She’s coming over wearing genocide, and it’s the same old trip, the same old trip as before… The song is gritty and cruel and I love it.

Pain by Three Days Grace – This song has a lot of meaning behind it not only for Devrynne but for a woman who wrote with me for years and helped to cultivate me into the kind of writer I am now. ‘Cuz I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all.  This speaks volumes as to Devrynne’s personal feelings. Misunderstood, yes. But very simplistic if you think about it.

Dance With The Devil by Breaking Benjamin – Say goodbye as we dance with the devil tonight. Don’t you dare look at him in the eye as we dance with the devil toniiiiiiiiiight. Can you feel it? This song is partially what began Devrynne’s twisted story, one of many I might add. No list would be complete without a little Breaking Benjamin.
*Honorable Mention* Crawl and What Lies Beneath are distant runner ups to this by BB.

Lucifer’s Angel by The Rasmus – I mean honestly, the title kind of says it all doesn’t it? Fly away, fly away, From the torch of blame they hunt you, Lucifer's Angel. Never lived, you never died, your life has been denied. They call you Lucifer's Angel. <-- This could be the theme song for the book I swear!

Broken Dreams by Shaman’s Harvest – My sister is going to kick my butt for this one because I would never know it if it wasn’t for her, but this speaks volumes of Devrynne. Out of time so say goodbye. What is yours now is mine. I dream broken dreams, I’ll make them come true, I’ll make them for you…

Not Meant to Be by Theory of a Deadman – If you’ve read the book then you know about Sebastian and Devrynne’s love for him. If you haven’t I will tell you this… the person that Sebastian is written about was a very big part of my creative life many years ago. The emotion in their jacked up relationship is 100% personal. This song is very much the heart and soul of their relationship. It’s never enough to say I’m sorry, it’s never enough to say I care. Nobody wins when everyone’s losing…

Addicted by Saving Abel/Get Stoned by Hinder – These two songs are a tie and perfectly describe in different ways the love that Devrynne has for Luc. Read the book and you may understand, chances are you may not, but in that case listen to the songs.

So there you have it… the music behind the madness.

What about you? Do you have any tunes that you think describe the characters you write to a T? What are they and why?

The Devil’s Angel is available on and

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year and New Interviews - Aspiring Author Matt Gannon

I did some thinking recently and determined that I have come in contact with some amazing writers, not all of which are published or are even finished with their novels, and that I really wanted to interview some of them. I’ve decided to start doing interviews with aspiring authors as well as published ones. Here to help me pop the cherry on this little endeavor on my blog, is Matt Gannon an enthusiastic guy I have had the joy of getting to know…

SDA: So let’s get the ball rolling with how did you get into writing?
MG: When I was a kid, I aspired to be a game developer because I wanted to create storylines for them. I was obsessed with reading, and one day I realized that there was no reason I couldn’t write my own stories without having to work for a game developer. I suppose that desire was the inner-writer rising to the surface. I tried to write a novel about demons invading Earth until my hard drive crashed and I lost everything. It’s okay because the novel sucked, and it was a rip-off of something I was reading at the time, anyways. So, I stopped writing for a while.

Then, a good while later when I was in Grade 11 English, I read the poem “Ulysses” by Lord Alfred Tennyson. I connected with its message, and I had an epiphany. I didn’t want my creativity stifled by designing videogames. I wanted to reach people all over the world and change their lives with my work. I realized that writing would be a way for me to do that. I’ve been writing to accomplish that goal ever since.

SDA: I have found in undertaking the task of becoming an author that everyone has an opinion as to the how and what you should do. Who has been your worst critic?
MG: Well, I don’t have too many critics, but last year, a group of rather “energetic” people didn’t like me or my work very much. And of course, there’s myself. I always think my work is never good enough.

SDA: Gotta love the drama llama that follows people around. On the opposite end though, who has been your biggest influence personally?
MG: I would have to say it’d be my old English Literature teacher. It seemed that every time I left his class, he had made me want to go home and become a better writer so that I can someday make him proud. He has always talked so highly of writers, and I would like to be among those that he discusses with his students.

SDA: What about inspirations when it comes to writing?
MG: Nicholas Sparks. I am so inspired by the man and his work, but more specifically, “The Notebook” and “A Bend in the Road”. What Sparks has achieved in his lifetime is something that I shoot for. I suppose you can say he is my idol.

SDA: So I’m a total geek when it comes to learning about what writers do to get ready to write or what little things that they revel in while writing. Are they any guilty pleasures you have to have to be able to get into the creative process?
MG: I don’t feel guilty about it, but I like to drink coffee when I write. It makes me feel like one of those pretentious writers who writes at a coffee shop just so other people can see how creative and intelligent they are. I think I would like to try that, even if it’s only once. ;)

Other than that, I don’t have any guilty pleasures. I’m sorry, I know that’s boring.

SDA: That’s not boring. Every writer has something different. At least it’s not something crazy like standing on your head for an hour before or something. ;) But onto more about writing, what is your favorite genre and why?
MG: Romance; I guess I’m just a sucker for love.

Seriously though, I think it’s because love is something that drives humanity forward. I believe it’s the most powerful force we get to experience while we are alive, and it truly does connect us all together. I’m just really passionate about love, so it’s only natural for me to want to write about it.

SDA: Which is easier for you to write, fiction or non-fiction? Why?
MG: It’s easier for me to write fiction because I am able to make up my own reality where what I say goes, whereas in non-fiction, I’m writing about a pre-existing reality with rules and principles I have to adhere to.

SDA: Speaking about rules and principles, what is the best piece of advice another writer or author has given you?
MG: I was once told by a very wise man that I should never give up, and I promised him I wouldn’t.

SDA: That’s awesome. On the flip side of that though, what has been the worst?
MG: Leave the editing to the editors.

SDA: HAHA! That is bogus. I would hate to do that because then I would feel like I had no final say in stuff. With that being said, what are you working on currently?
MG: I'm working on a novel loosely based off an event in my life. I have a couple novel ideas on the back-burner because I like to tackle one project at a time. Other than the novel, I try to update my blog as often as possible, and I'm trying to whip an article and a short story into shape for publication.

SDA: Very cool. Well I can’t wait to read some more of your stuff. With doing interviews with aspiring authors, I think it would be sweet to let the interviewee ask a question of other authors. If you had any question you would like to know about other authors (or writers), what would it be?
MG: In my experience, ideas tend to gravitate towards me. I always feel so overwhelmed by it. If this happens to you, how do you deal with all the ideas and so little time to follow through with them?

SDA: Wow that’s a good one. I know me personally, I have to at least write a paragraph of the idea down. I have several shelves in my house that are nothing but journals and notebooks. Ideas as simple as a character background or a preview of sorts. I keep them all for later for when I do have the free time to process them all little pieces at a time.

I would like to thank Matt for allowing me to pick his brain and get a glimpse of his world. If you would like to see some of his work or connect with him you can check out his blog: