Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Interview With Author Patricia Scholes
What do you write about? I write under three genres. I have a Christian blog called LydiasRiversideChurch.com where I encourage Christians to stand as faithful Christians in an increasingly darkening world. Within that genre I have published I AM – The Words Jesus Said About Himself. That was to answer the question, “We know who Jesus is called by everyone else. But what did Jesus say about himself?”
The second, and a bit more well-known is WillowbarkTea.com. This blob is dedicated to those who need a bit of help in surviving this economy. In the blog is a section called “Min says…” This can be anything Min wants to say, from raising her two boys to how to make a chain-mail shirt for ComicCon. Within this genre I have written Surviving Hard Times – A Livingbook. By the way, this book will be free for Kindle readers August 1 through August 5. So don’t miss out!
The third, and my favorite genre, is my science fiction. The first book in the Lorekeeper series was Her Darkest Beauty. The second book, Steps of the Dance, launches mid-September. Right now I am asking people to view the book covers I have selected as possible, and help me decide which one looks best to them.
What is your newest book about? Steps of the Dance is about a little girl who is being threatened by an evil entity. But because she is a little girl, she hasn’t the skills to defeat it, and if she is to survive, she must. So her father is taking her through the Dance, a method of drawing energy toward herself so that the entity will not overwhelm her. She was born for this purpose.
If she fails, everyone on the planet loses.
What inspired you to write it? A friend of mine, Dan Chase, had a dream or vision, whatever. In the dream, God led him throughout the universe and explained to him that not everyone He had created has rebelled as openly as people on this planet have. He said, “These people made some pretty good choices, and these over here made even better ones” and so on. I began wondering if there were a people who never lost touch with their Creator, what they might look like. Almost immediately I realized that being human, and caught in my own forms of rebellion, I was unable to write a book about perfect people, so I tried instead creating a book about people who just never lost touch. But what would happen if these people were invaded by those who made even worse choices than humans have?
And that’s what began the Lorekeeper series.
What is the writing process like for you? How do I answer that? I used to be able to work away from home. Then I would write in spare moments, often taking time away from family or sleep to get stories outlined, partially written, occasionally published. Now, partially disabled, writing is the one thing I can do, every day. I set aside time from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm to write and to market what I’ve written. Before 9, I check emails, blogs, do research, and sometimes even a bit of gardening or housework. At 2:00 pm I call my mother who is in a nursing home, just so she knows she’s not alone in the world. After that phone call, I then do some blogging, other reading and other marketing. Supper is at 4:00, and my husband usually fixes it, because it’s too hard for me to do it most of the time. I used to be the primary housekeeper, but no longer. After 4, I work on social media for a couple of hours, then spend the evening with my husband.
What did you do before you became an author? This question is usually asked as if I woke up one day and declared to the world, “Today I’m going to become an author.”
That’s not how my brain ever worked. I always tell stories. Before I was able to write, I drew pictures of my stories. I always write stories. I write good stories, and I intend to write better stories as I go along. I used to write kind of crappy stories, but I’ve never been able NOT to write. But I did do other work. It’s just that I have an ADD brain that cannot hold onto detail well. I didn’t know I had this brain. When I couldn’t keep even an entry level job for more than three years, I thought I was a total screw up. Then a friend of mine asked that I read a book about Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. After the first example, I burst into tears, the person was so much like me. I wasn’t alone after all. I wasn’t a screw up. I just have a brain that processes information in a non-traditional manner. It’s odd, though. I have a Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in pastoral counseling. I find it strange that I can be so well educated and be unable to hold a job.
How does it feel to be a published author? I worked hard to get four books published, and now a fifth. Yes, it’s thrilling. There is no feeling like it, except maybe childbirth. I feel the same sense of accomplishment after birthing a child as I do when I publish a book.
Marketing is the hard part. I’m not very good at it yet.
Any advice for struggling writers? Get good at your craft, especially before you publish.
I review books, and I am amazed at how many authors can’t use common grammar and punctuation. I don’t expect people to know when to use a semi-colon. That’s difficult for many people, but I do expect them to know when to use quotes, when to start a new paragraph, when to use commas and periods, and when to capitalize, or not to capitalize. Every book I review that doesn’t understand these basics, can’t get more than three stars from me. Research your subject well. I spoke with a beginning author recently who wanted to do this heart-wrenching story about a boy in a foster home. But he had no understanding of the foster care system, or even on the requirements of being a foster parent. He just assumed that the media was right when it put foster parents in a bad light. Foster parents are often better than the kid’s biological parents. The parents are usually the reason the kid needs foster parents.
Read, read, read.
Not long ago I was contacted by a budding author who was discouraged with the publishing business. He couldn’t get his book published. So I read his book, and knew why. An editor wouldn’t have recommended this book to the publisher unless someone held a gun to his head. The budding author told me he was tired of reading. He just wanted to write. Well….
So, not only read books you like to read, but read books on honing your craft. Strunk and White’s book on style might be dry, but On Writing by Stephen King isn’t, and neither is R.S. Guthrie’s INK: Eight Rules To A Better Book. I never get tired of reading books on how to make me better. Maybe if I were Stephen King I would feel otherwise.
Get an editor.
If you self-publish, pay to get your book edited, or at least get some critical readers willing to give you the truth. You want critical readers, not those who will only tell you nice things. Nice people are not always the most helpful.
Where do you see book publishing heading? The big publishing houses used to be the only game in town. I think Amazon wrecked that. They are businesses. If they think a book is not going to sell, they won’t buy it. But Amazon, through CreateSpace, made it possible for practically anyone to be a published author. I see Indie (independent) authors becoming more and more prolific, maybe not better, but definitely prolific. I see independent authors increasing by the truckload.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013