interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Renee Dugan

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Renee Dugan, current trilogy writer of witches!

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and where Renee hopes to take her writing career!

renee

What is the first thing you remember writing?

Ahhh, the infamous start! The very first thing I ever wrote was a story about a little fat dog who had to go to an agility school because he was so out of shape (inspired by our cat who at the time was also very out of shape). I was five years old. My mom kept that one-page story forever.

What is your favorite thing to write about?

Anything I can fit into a fantasy-shaped box, haha! I love writing about swords and kingdoms, dragons, grand-scale battles, saving the world, that kind of thing. But ultimately my favorite elements in any story, fantasy or not, are romance, found family, self-growth, and spiritual/emotional matters.

 

Tell me one of your writing goals.

Successfully rewrite the latter half of my STARCHASER series! I’ve always balked at doing rewrites, but this year I’m really diving into the hard work of it, and so far I’m two down, three to go!

Have any particular writers inspired you?

So many! It’s funny, as a young adult I was much more inspired by the writers who “made it big”- JK Rowling, Sarah J Maas, Tamora Pierce, etc. But the older I get, the more inspired I am by the people I see in the trenches on Instagram and Twitter who invite us into their process. It’s the blood, sweat and tears I find so motivating these days. So here’s a shoutout to Lina Amarego, Cassidy Eubanks, Bethany Atazadeh, and Miranda Kulig, just to name a few inspirers!

 

Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

I have SO MANY to choose from, this is really hard! But right now I am very much loving being in my boy Thorne’s head. He’s so real and so flawed and so fun. A man coming from a family full of generational abuse, saved by his grandmother’s self-sacrificial love from becoming the same kind of monster as his own father, but he still struggles with that shadow on his back every single day. He’s so fierce and so tender, I love him to bits. Can you tell? 😉

Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Yes! But how much time have you got? Ha! I think one piece of advice every writer needs, myself included, is to not worry about getting it perfect – just make it good enough. Even your already-published peers have said years later “If I could, I would change x, y, and z.” I don’t think there’s a book in existence whose author is completely, 100% satisfied with it, so don’t feel like your book will be ready only when you run out of things to change. It’ll never happen. Just concentrate on getting it to the place where it’s telling the tale and sending the message you’re after, even with tiny things you’d still tweak!

What’s the last book you read?

A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth. Such a great, haunting, Spooktacular, LOVELY book! I highly recommend it to fantasy fans, especially those with a taste for English culture!

Renee Dugan is an Indiana-based YA/NA author who grew up reading fantasy books, chasing stray cats, and writing stories full of dashing heroes and evil masterminds. Now with over a decade of professional editing, administrative work, and writing every spare second under her belt, she has authored THE CHAOS CIRCUS, a horror-lite fantasy novel available now at online retailers everywhere, and THE STARCHASER SAGA, an epic high fantasy series with its first installment debuting December 3rd, 2019. Living with her husband, dog, and three not-so-stray cats in the magical Midwest, she continues to explore new worlds and spends her time in this one encouraging and helping other writers on their journey to fulfilling their dreams.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Renee! I’m excited to check out that trilogy.

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

 

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Katerina King

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Katerina King, current trilogy writer of witches!

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and where Katerina hopes to take her writing career!

katerina author photo

What is the first thing you remember writing?

I love characters, I love getting to know, developing them, treating them as if they are real people. For some readers, they keep reading depending on the plot or pacing or if the grammar is good or not. But for me as long as the characters were life like and I can relate or connect with them I can keep reading the book and that’s what I hope to convey in my works.

What is your favorite thing to write about?

Witches! Which I guess isn’t shocking considering my entire series and the next eight books after it all have to do with them. Its been an obsession since I was young.

Tell me one of your writing goals.

Finish book two of my trilogy by February of 2020.

Have any particular writers inspired you?

Rick Riordan, which if you don’t know who that is, he is the author of the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books.

Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

My favorite character that has walked into my headspace is Elijah Hutton and he is the best friend of my main character Scarlette Petrova. He is my favorite because there is such a complex nature to him, he grew up in an overly religious family that he thought was really tight but when he came out of the closet at seventeen he quickly learned that blood wasn’t always as thick as water.

Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Just keep writing and don’t give up!

What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read… geez. A Twisted Fate by K. A Grayson

Katerina King is a fiction author who spends most of her time in the world of witches. Her debut novel, Malediction, is the first installment of the Ritual of the Court trilogy, which also has a multitude of planned spin-off novels and has just been published via Amazon. The easiest way to connect with her is through her Twitter @_KingKaterina.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Katerina! I’m excited to check out that trilogy.

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

 

 

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Shadia Omer

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Shadia Omer, aspiring TV writer and current freelancer!

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and where Shadia hopes to take her writing career!

shadia pic

 

1. What is the first thing you remember writing?
Hmm, trying to go way back with this one. I remember in middle school I would always enjoy writing short stories that I never shared with anyone. When I started high school, I joined this online writing community website called Mibba (I think it’s still active!) with my best friend and I would write on my blog there. Short stories and a few cringe-worthy poems. Good times, good times.
2. What is your favorite thing to write about?
I grew up with so much love for TV. Watching TV was my escape and as I started getting older I realized I needed a way to channel my feelings, my thoughts on the shows I’ve been watching and just predict things that may happen on the show. So as I started writing about TV, I eventually found websites to contribute to talking about shows (doing reviews and recaps), which then ignited my passion to one day write FOR TV. So in short, my favorite thing to write about is TV and pop culture as a whole.
3. Tell me one of your writing goals.

Ooh kind of spilled this in the second question! I’m an aspiring TV writer so I’m in the works of writing a pilot/spec script soon. I keep lagging, and I don’t know why! (Writers’ block is definitely to blame!)
4. Have any particular writers inspired you?

Oh yes. For the past couple of years, I’ve been avidly following (and sometimes) interacting with other writers on Twitter. To name a few, Carina MacKenzie (creator of Roswell NM and former writer on The Originals) has been a huge inspiration to me along with Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away WIth Murder) along with Issa Rae (Creator of Insecure).
5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

I haven’t created this one just yet but would LOVE to one day. I want to create a Black Muslim (hijabi wearing) woman with the same personality as Elenor Shellstrop from ‘The Good Place’.
6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?
I usually am the one that asks that question! But hmm, from my experience I would honestly say to keep going and love what you write. Hone in your skills, embrace it and keep the momentum going. Even when you keep on doubting yourself (like I have), keep it going. Also, exploring different styles of writing is a plus because it’ll help you find what type attracts you the most. Also, never stop reading. Reading and writing go hand and hand.
7. What’s the last book you read?
Not done just yet– The Hating Game.

Shadia Omer is an entertainment writer, pop-culture enthusiast, and an aspiring TV writer. She’s based in San Diego, CA but will always rep being from Houston, TX instead. Catch her at San Diego Comic-Con every year as it’s the most wonderful time of the year. She watches way too much TV for her own good and has too many thoughts on it. With her passion for the TV/entertainment industry, Shadia is working to change the American-Muslim narratives on TV, pushing for authentic and inclusion representation in the media. When she’s not writing, obsessing over her love for pizza and traveling, you can find her on Twitter tweeting about her favorite shows one tweet at a time at @shadiawrites. She currently is freelancing with Den of Geek (Shadia Omer), TV contributor with Shuffle Online (Shadia Omer, Author at Shuffle Online) and Senior Writer with Talk Nerdy With Us (Shadia Omer).
Find Shadia over on Twitter:
and instagram!

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Shadia! I can’t wait for that pilot script to be finished!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Lynn Jung

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Lynn Jung–dino-enthusiast and creator of wonderful worlds.

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and what it takes to make yourself improve as a writer!

 

 

1. What is the first thing you remember writing?
I was a hardcore dinosaur kid growing up. Every other weekend, I would pester my parents to take me to the Museum of Natural History so I could gawk at the fossil displays. So in elemental school, I wrote a nine page short story about two kids time traveling to the Cretaceous Period and befriending some Triceratops, running from T-rex, all that jazz. Once I was done, I had my artist friend illustrate it, bound it up with ribbon and glue, and passed it around to the class to read and review. The boy I liked gave me an 8.5/10. It crushed me.
2. What is your favorite thing to write about?
Demons & child-eating monsters. Just kidding. (Maybe.) I enjoy writing complex, troubled heroes and crafting strange worlds and creatures. My true bread and butter, however, is anything that bends or mixes genres—horror fantasy is a current favorite!
3. Tell me one of your writing goals.
I’d love to see a television adaptation for one of my books someday. (Netflix, call me. Please.)
4. Have any particular writers inspired you?
Yes, many! Elizabeth Acevedo, Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor, Linda Sue Park, and Emily X.R. Pan, to name a few. All voicey, unique, and highly recommended.
5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.
My favorite character tends to rotate depending on what project is occupying my attention, but I do have a strong bias toward the Big Bad of my longest-running project. He’s a bougie demon monarch with a bad attitude and a cosmopolitan lifestyle. He raises voice-mimicking crows to work as his spies and wears a lot of black, of course. And he’s pretty. Need I say more?
6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?
Study story craft. Many aspects of writing are intuitive, but I find this is not one of them. Lots of otherwise excellent writers fall short because they don’t quite have the skills and knowledge required to lay out a solid, coherent story. So, pinpoint your weaknesses and study up! Reading books on craft and watching the film analysis side of Youtube has helped me level up as a writer in so many ways.
7. What’s the last book you read?
As I mentioned before, I’ve been digging into a lot of books on craft lately, and I’m almost finished with K.M Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs. It’s an excellent breakdown of why strong character arcs are so important and how to effectively weave them into your story’s conflict and theme.
In terms of fiction, I recently finished Rebecca Roanhorse’s Storm of Locusts, the sequel to her excellent Trail of Lightning. Roanhorse’s Sixth World series has both incredible worldbuilding and a scrappy cast of characters you can’t help but root for. (I’m in love with both Maggie AND Kai, and I’m not ashamed.) If “an indigenous Mad Max” sounds like something you’d enjoy, I highly recommend checking the series out!

Lynn Jung writes offbeat speculative fiction. She likes characters you’d want to be friends with and monsters you wouldn’t want to find under your bed. Currently, she is a veterinary assistant and bio major based in California. She spends her spare time volunteering at her local wildlife rehab center, where she wrangles cormorants and gets pounced on by baby crows. She is represented by Kerstin Wolf at D4EO Literary Agency.
Twitter: @sweater_giraffe
Instagram: @lynndjung

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Lynn! I can’t wait until we all get to read your work–I want to love/hate that demon monarch!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

 

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT!An interview with Kay Adams

HELLO FRIENDS! I have a special interview to share with you today. Kay is an aspiring writer, a self-identified space fairy, and Nancy Drew’s biggest fan..

Read below to hear more about her writing inspiration and why dystopian might just be the thing to write about today.

kay

1. What is the first thing you remember writing?

I was obsessed with Nancy Drew books when I was younger (those books inspired me to write), so most of my early works were amateur detective stories that never really had plot. When I got into roleplaying (via the Neopets forums; we were the Original “Be Your Character” players), my friend Josh (@creativelycliche) & I had a years-long sci-fi roleplay that inspired me to delve into the sci-fi genre, but I’ve planted my feet firmly in fantasy now.

2. What is your favorite thing to write about?

Anything with magic. My default genre of choice is Young Adult Fantasy, & I love writing about magic & other worlds & fairies, usually with a dash of religious angst, family drama, & queer characters. Bonus points if stars are involved in any way.

3. Tell me one of your writing goals.

Publish! My dream is to be traditionally published with either my current WIP or The Fallen Star, but I know I have a long way to go to get there. Lots of revising, reworking, rewriting, I’ve been in a writing drought for a few months (due to work & moving & unpacking & life in general), so it’s still a long road ahead.

4. Have any particular writers inspired you?

The foundation for my current writing is a solid mix of V.E. Schwab, Sarah J. Maas, & Leigh Bardugo. Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series started my love of Celtic mythology, & I’ll always be grateful to the Nancy Drew books for starting my love of writing.

5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

The MC of The Fallen Star will always hold a special place in my heart, since hers was the first novel I have ever finished. Nova is the (bi & black) magic-less heir to the Throne of Stars, the crown princess of the celestial fairies who rule all of Faery. Her mother, Queen Maeve, abandoned Nova in the mortal realm when she died, leaving Nova without magic & without family. When the monster who killed her mother returns to steal Nova’s throne, Nova is thrown back into a wild world of magic & fairies & traitors & allies, but through it all she tries to remain kind & hopeful. She isn’t going down without a fight, even when tragedy strikes again & it seems more people are fighting against her than with her. I love her & her story & I can’t wait to share it with the world one day.

6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Read, read, read. Read widely, read diversely. Read in your genre, read outside your genre. Read books on the craft. See what your intended audience is saying about current books aimed at them. Don’t ignore sensitivity readers. Read as much as you can, & you’ll always be developing your skill.

7. What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read was Shadow Frost by Coco Ma, though I’m in the midst of reading Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House as of writing this.

ABOUT KAY:

I went to the University of Toronto to study Irish mythology for the sole purpose of incorporating it into my writing. (Should I have gone for something practical, like law or math? No, this was more fun.) Most of my writing so far has involved fairies, so I must have done the right thing. I’m still working on my first series (series title: Throne of Stars) about celestial fairies, religious angst, & dysfunctional families. A couple months ago, I commissioned artist Johannus Steger (@jm_steger) to create a cover for the series’ first novel, The Fallen Star, & now I’m sharing it with you, here, for the first time ever! Look at my star child!

kay book cover

What I’m Currently Working On: I like to pitch my current WIP as WICKED SAINTS meets RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. It’s about 17-year old Kenna, disabled & widowed after the tragic death of her fiance, who is enlisted by the Archivists to protect the world’s most deadliest object – a book cursed by the gods to kill anyone who comes into contact with it. The problem is: Kenna doesn’t believe in the gods. Or the book’s power. Or herself. Things go terribly awry when the book falls into the wrong hands, & Kenna must decide whose life is worth more – hers, or everyone else she has come to care for? It’s about finding a place to belong, something to believe in, something to love again.
Where You Can Find Me: Also this is my face, & you can find me @kaywritesya on Twitter & Instagram or kaxzbrekker on Tumblr, email me at kaywritesya@gmail.com, or browse through my novel aesthetics on my website throneofstars.wordpress.com.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Kay! I can’t wait to check out those aesthetics!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Allie Macedo

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Allie–aspiring writer, fellow pantser, a romantic I hope won’t toy with my heart when we eventually get to see her writing!

Read below to hear more about where her writing journey began and how Jane Austen played a role in it.

Allie | Headshots

1. What is the first thing you remember writing?

When I was ten, I discovered my love for procedural television shows. As an outlet for my feelings and wanting to explore the characters that I became close to, I begun writing fanfiction and interacted with storylines through role playing blogs. Those platforms allowed me to build and listen to characters, learn how stories worked, and how to find my voice.

2. What is your favorite thing to write about?

My favorite thing to write is always the romance. I’m such a softy at heart. Give me breathless moments. Give me things that make your heart jump with anticipation and butterflies in your stomach. I love all things love.

3. Tell me one of your writing goals.

I think with all writers who pour their hearts into their craft, the goal of becoming published and having our books on readers’ shelves is always an outstanding goal. A closer achieving goal for me, as a writer, is to honor my characters and the story they are telling me to write.

4. Have any particular writers inspired you?

As a child, Jane Austen’s romances really inspired me. P&P was really the first lengthy chapter book I ever read, and I remember being very young and thinking that if I ever wrote a love story, I would want it to be timeless and classic.

Emily Dickinson inspired me to write without fear, to speak and live on the edge and to display the contents of my heart.

Most recently, Hafsah Faizal, author of We Hunt The Flame. She inspires me to be authentic to myself, show up fully, and write about what is in my heart, not what I think others want to read. She has taught me that the true measure of any story is about heart. That as a writer, you should always strive to create captivating characters who truly care for one another. It can be tough, but being resilient and sticking to how you tell your story will really allow it to shine through.

5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

Oh-what a tough question!
I’ll have to go with my character from last years’ NaNoWriMo project: As Above, So Below. She is not my MC, but I do love her dearly. Her name is Giala and she ended up becoming a badass who was willing to go through all the terrible things I threw her way and came out on the other side with grace and resilience.

6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Always “do it afraid.” Do things with your writing that you never thought you would. Stretch your limits. Never feel like you’re reaching the end. Your words are powerful. They contain a magic that only you can conjure. So, keep writing, keep going, even when you’re ready to stop.

7. What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read was “The Beautiful” by Renee Aideh. I’ve always loved her writing and found it was the perfect book for Halloween! Vampires, New Orleans, and a secret society? All the things I love. I gave it 5 big stars!

Allie Macedo (Lanning) is an aspiring author from the great state of Iowa. To the outside world, she is a Customer Service Representative who also volunteers her time as Communications Director for her local LGBTQ+ Pride Organization.

Writing, reading, and talking about her obsessions has been a major role in her life from the very beginning. She has a passion for creating and meeting others through the things she loves. This has allowed her to experience much more of the world than she can being stuck in the fields of Iowa.

She’s currently working on her NaNoWriMo project that she planned at the last moment. Because she’s also a pantser, and once you meet her, you’ll get it.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Allie! I can’t wait to see where your writing journey takes you.

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!