Authors' Chat

An Author’s Angle on Date Night by Annie Whitehead

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree-To Be A Queen I’m going on a date with a handsome man called Alhelm, a real-life 10th century warrior and nobleman, who held lands in the northern area of the kingdom of Mercia. How do I know he’s handsome? Aethelflaed, from To Be A Queen, seems rather taken with him: “His blond hair, recently cut by the look of it, was sticking out at odd angles, where curls had been shorn, but not short enough to subdue them. His blue eyes were so pale that the pupils shone uncommonly black. A sprinkling of freckles spilled over both cheekbones and spread over his nose. He smiled at her … she felt an urge to smile back but also look away, at once a grown woman yet still a foolish child.” This is when she first meets him, and she is smitten. So I imagine someone who looks a little like this:    Although the reality is probably more like this:  But, I muse while I’m straightening my hair, how can we know what they looked like? The Mercians were the ‘Angle’ part of Anglo-Saxon; Pope Gregory, upon seeing some slaves in the market said they were “Not Angles,…

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Where do you like to take a day for yourself and read?

Tranquil places far from the demands of my keyboard are necessary escapes to keeping my imagination free to travel - anywhere. Less than an hour from our home on the Olympic Peninsula, I've found such an idyllic locale along the shore of Lake Crescent. Last week, my husband and I bundled up on a rainy morning to make the trip along the narrow 101 to the National Park Lodge for a much-needed getaway. After a tasty breakfast, we planted ourselves on two cushioned, wicker chairs in the lodge sunroom overlooking the lake. It wasn't hard to let imagination transport me into a cozy mystery novel in someone's Victorian lake house. With its worn wood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows, I had to work to pull my focus back to the Brandon Sanderson fantasy novel I'd brought with me. On this particular morning low clouds hovered above the water obscuring most of the mountains that border the twelve-mile-long lake. For awhile the view was less of a distraction so the world of the final empire drew me in. Soon the clouds lifted, revealing Storm King and Pyramid Peak. Tourists ambled out onto the wooden dock for selfies. The view and the aroma…

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So, what kind of books do you write? by Carrie Beckort

Genre. It’s like the gender classification for books, except there are more than two options: Literary Romance Historical Science Fiction Children’s Self-help On and on and on . . . Just as it is with gender, a book’s genre classification gives people a set of expectations for how the book should ‘act’. Romance novels should have a happily ever after ending. A Fantasy novel should transport the reader to a world they’ve never before seen. A Mystery novel should have unexpected twists and turns from start to finish. But what if I don’t want to be boxed into one category? What if I don’t want to follow the rules? “Um, that’s great. But tell me, what kind of books do you write?” When someone asks me this question, I know they’re expecting me to respond with a genre classification. In the beginning of my writing career, I would cringe and stutter and overall just make myself look like a blubbering idiot. My books don’t fit neatly into a specific genre, and I didn’t want to pigeonhole them into one. Instead of blurting out a genre, I decided to tell my perspective readers what my books are about. The primary focus…

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IT TAKES A TEAM by Barbara Kyle

I've gratefully learned this lesson in having ten novels published: it takes a team. My Thornleigh Saga is a seven-book historical series that features a middle class English family's rise through three turbulent Tudor reigns. The latest is The Traitor's Daughter. For this series my publisher wanted a book a year, and for me that's a challenge. I couldn't achieve it alone. I'm happy to say I've been blessed with a support team, three people that are definitely an "A" team. I sing their praises here. First is my agent, Albert Zuckerman. Al is something of a legend in the publishing world. He founded Writers House, one of the largest literary agencies in the world. He's been midwife to dozens of bestselling books, many of them blockbusters such as Dr. Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, Michael Lewis's Moneyball (made into the film with Brad Pitt), and Ken Follett's mega-bestsellers like Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. I'm honored that Al names me as one of his leading clients. Years ago, when I was a rookie in this business, peddling my first novel but knowing nobody, I sent queries out to a slew of agents, as all…

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Self-Publishing: An Author’s Experience

Today B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree G.J. Reilly is talking with us about his self-publishing experience. G.J., when did you decide you were going to self-publish? When I sent out my first manuscript and it took close on a year to receive a reply. Okay, that’s not really fair. A major publishing house had an open submission window for a very exciting new project. ‘Inquisitor’ was barely finished, unpolished and pushed through editing using the bare bones of MS Word. By the time I’d received my first inevitable rejection, ‘Inquisitor’ had changed and evolved and I was so close to it that I really couldn’t tell if I was deluding myself, or whether it was actually worth reading. I’d had a few beta readers, but nobody who’d ever really written for themselves and, although trusted their opinions and they were very honest, I felt like I needed completely impartial feedback. However, just about every article on the internet was telling me that getting feedback is like winning the lottery on Friday the 13th. So, instead of wasting professional time, I decided to read as much as I could about self-publishing in the hope that readers might leave reviews. It took a long…

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indieBRAG Interview Team Member Stephanie M. Hopkins

indieBRAG has put together a great group of book bloggers to interview our B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees. This week we would like our authors to get to know our team a bit better. Today indiebrag Team Member Leader Stephanie of Layered Pages is chatting with us about her website. Stephanie, why do you blog? In a post on Layered Pages back in March, I said that book blogging is our canvas to express our feelings of stories we read. Book bloggers are a special breed of readers and writers. We channel so much of ourselves into our blog. It’s a medium of expression and creativity. I honestly can say that I would be lost without my blog. I am pretty sure I have a blog addiction-ha! Blogging is a profound outlet of expression in today’s world of social media. How many books a year do you read? Generally, I read anywhere from 50 to about 85 books a year. Of course this is a great frustration for me because of my deep love of stories.  I want to be able to read much more than I do. You know the saying, “So many books, so little time…” What are your favorite genres?…

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Interview Team Member Magdalena Johansson

indieBRAG has put together a great group of book bloggers to interview our B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees. This week we would like our authors to get to know our team a bit better. Today indieBRAG Team Member Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede  is chatting with us about her website. Why do you blog? I blog because I love to read books. And, through my blogging have I found friends all over the world that just like me likes to read and blog about books. How many books a year do you read? 389! LOL, well that’s according to Goodreads for 2015. But that also includes short stories and graphic novels. I do try to read at least 3-4 books a week, mostly because I have a lot of books to read and I keep getting/buying more. What is your favorite genres? Thriller, horror, mystery, historical, paranormal, crime, fantasy, and science-fiction. Basically everything except romance. Not that I’m totally against romance. I’m just very picky. Where are the different places you read? Either on sofas (home or my mom’s place) or my bed. Of course, I always have books with me (my trusty iPad)! What thrills you the most about reading? What thrills…

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indieBRAG Team Member Heather Campbell

indieBRAG has put together a great group of book bloggers to interview our B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees. This week we would like our authors to get to know our team a bit better. Today indieBRAG Team Member Heather of The Maiden’s Court is chatting with us about her website. Heather, why do you blog? I started blogging because I wanted to be able to engage in a community who were interested in the same subjects I was; my husband, at that time my boyfriend, was getting tired of hearing all about the Tudors!  I have continued blogging because of the friendships that I have made through it and it’s a fun hobby to work on. How many books a year do you read? The last couple years I have averaged between 45 and 68 – I keep striving for 70 and haven’t hit it yet! What are your favorite genres? Historical fiction, and biographical non-fiction.  I read widely in other genres too, but I don’t feature them on my blog. Where are the different places you read? I typically read before bed every night as a method of relaxation.  A couple days a week I have time to read on my…

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Dreaming Through Summer by Anna Belfrage

To me, summer is clogs, mosquitoes, ice-cream and lying on my back staring up at the sky through the foliage of a birch tree. “Hmph!” Matthew Graham says from somewhere inside my head. “Shows you’ve never been a farmer.” I glance at him, this 17th century hero of mine. A farmer? Yes, I suppose he is, a tall strong man who has spent endless weeks in back-breaking labour just to clear the fields he now has planted. The maples and sycamores, the huge American chestnuts – all gone, as Matthew Graham single-handedly turns American wilderness into fields and pastures to feed his family. But today, I’ve decided to treat him to a picnic, a recreation of a perfect childhood day (mine, not his. His would involve a lot of work, seeing as he was his Da’s main helper on their little Scottish manor) “A picnic?” He gives me a doubtful look. “The hay needs to be brought in, and I’ve got fences to mend, and…” I hold up my hand. “Even an imaginary character needs a break now and then.” “Imaginary?” He throws his head back and laughs. “If I don’t exist, why are you talking to me?” Good question,…

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Marketing Your Book(s) by Alison Morton

Why marketing? Publishing a book yourself is fun as well as hard work. But if you are going to sell your book, you need to adopt some commercial principles and practicalities. We often hear “sales and marketing” bracketed together, but they are two distinctly different things, although intimately connected. Marketing as a way of building awareness of yourself, your work and your brand, thus creating a demand in the customer’s mind so that they will seek you out – basically, the battle for the mind. Sales, on the other hand, is focused on persuading the customer to buy by meeting a need at the right time. But readers can be turned off by overly aggressive sales tactics. Now I love talking to readers face to face and sharing the fun and fascination of my Roma Nova books with them. But there’s a lot of work leading up to the point when you sell that reader your book, and that’s all about marketing. So let’s get down to marketing The pre-requisite is a good product. A well-edited story, with professional layout and design, a great back cover blurb and stunning cover are all taken as given. (Well, the B.R.A.G. Medallion award…

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