5 Up High:
JEM: Why did you get into writing/become a writer?
CR: Because I'm such a good student and stayed in school until I got my Masters, I've written a lot of non-fiction. o.~ I worked in education as a teacher, the past five and a half years, and taught, worked on writing projects, maintained a website, and networked about Teaching English as a Second Language. I had always wanted to write fiction, but had no clue where to start. You think it would be the same, but it really isn't. A writer that I like posted some of her favorite how-to writing books on her website and I bought a couple and had this light-bulb moment. Then a resource I had found for my students called BookRix was running a small writing contest. I was too chicken to enter on my own, so I asked my hubby (yes, he lets me call him that) if he would like to team up and write a short story with me. We had a blast and it was a total fluke, but we won the contest! As my friends predicted, I became incorrigible and wanted to write more and see if anyone would be interested in reading my stories.
JEM: Why did you decide to go into Indie Publishing?
CR: When eBooks first came out, I was one of those people that said, "You'll pry my pBooks from my cold, dead hands!" I never imagined that I would be able to enjoy reading without holding an actual paperback. Then I decided to go paperless in my office and at home and reading on my phone, PC, and eventually a Kindle became a natural branch off of that initial decision. Well, because of BookRix, I started to learn how to upload/format books and then when I saw the prices, I had sticker shock! A really good writing friend introduced me to Konrath's blog. There I found out about Indie Authors and their eBooks that were not only reasonably priced, but their stories were just as good as the higher priced eBooks. I knew that was the route I wanted to go with my stories. I've offered my short stories for free on various sites and they've been read 3000+ times in over 30 countries. I'm psyched about that alone!
JEM: Can you give a synopsis of your current WIP (Work In Progress)?
CR: I'm working on my first long fiction story called, Amador Lockdown. I love paranormal stuff in general and when I wrote two short stories to help promote the local ghost tours I wondered, "With all of these paranormal groups and ghost tours going on world-wide, what would happen if we were messing with something that shouldn't be messed with?" I decided to expand on the characters, Hector and Marcos, from the first two short stories and build a series around a haunting in a 130 year old former hotel, The Amador. The group Restore the Amador is trying to renovate the hotel into a local museum, but crazy stuff starts happening and they turn to Hector and Marcos for help. During a lockdown to raise funds for the restoration, things go horribly wrong...
JEM: What is your biggest inspiration as a writer?
CR: I love how I'll see/hear/taste/feel something and it just takes off into this idea. It was that way when I wrote non-fiction, but I would do a ton of research and have no idea where to start or how to organize it and then I would walk away and something would trigger the idea and all the sudden everything was clear about what I needed to do. Fiction is a little different, but I like and am kind of addicted to that "Ah-ha!" moment.
JEM: What is your writing process? (IE: outline, notecards, etc)
CR: I'm open to whatever works. I'm learning a ton, so when I wrote those short stories and people read them and liked them, I was happy. But just because the story is good, doesn't mean the writing is good. Then I learned about editing... and am thrilled with the final versions, but I will hurl if I have to read those stories one. more. time. hehe For the Amador Lockdown I've done an outline and love that because if I feel lost I can look back to the outline and know either where I need to be or what I need to change. Then I got the idea (from a writing contest) to give my characters a journal and have them write their perspective over the arc of the story. Then I break the chapters down and do research about things that will be in that chapter and the story over all (that's the non-fiction writer in me). Then I feel like I can finally start. Since I have the outline, sometimes I'll skip around in the story if I feel inspired to write a particular chapter, rather than go chronologically. I harass writer friends to read my stuff and I also like Critique Circle. I just found a dedicated critique partner who is traditionally published and wanted a beta reader and agreed to critique my stuff. That has been the best experience. Finding other authors who are willing to work with a newb, shows how supportive the writing community really is.
12 Worlds Special Feature:
JEM: Why did you decide to contribute to Twelve Worlds?
CR: I saw Derek do a shout out for authors and at first I contacted him and said I would help support the project because I didn't have a short story that fit the length requirement. He said that was okay and he'd use it as a 'bonus story' and I think asked others in the project if that was okay. I wasn't the only one who was included as part of the bonus stories. Then it just snowballed and became this great experience. We had, what, twelve authors? He started a forum and outlined what needed to be done and everyone was just there and contributing time and energy. My respect to Derek for thinking up the project and everyone who contributed. I feel humbled and honored that I got to be a part of it.
JEM: Can you tell us anything about the story you contributed to Twelve Worlds? Also, I was one of your editors and I felt like a jerk with your first submission. Forgive me? :)
CR: YOU'RE the ONE?! OMG! *unhooks her microphone, tosses it on the ground, and stomps off like a diva* hehehe Having that story critiqued was the best thing because it was the same thing that my writing friend was saying, "This is a good story, but it needs a lot of work." I knew I couldn't get it ready in time for publication. And I'm a newb fiction writer and I didn't want to embarrass myself! So what does any good writer do? WRITE! My stepson became obsessed with solving the Rubik's Cube. He got so good he could solve it in two minutes. I was his official scrambler. I told him, "I gotta come up with a short story for this anthology or just back out." He said, "You should write a story about the Rubik's Cube." I rolled my eyes thinking, seriously, that's the best you got... But the idea stuck and became a challenge - how can I incorporate this into a story and have it be the least bit interesting? So I challenge you, dear blog readers, to buy Twelve Worlds, read The Cube and give me your opinion! :-)
JEM: Any other thoughts on Twelve Worlds?
CR: That was an incredible experience for me as a writer. I still can't believe I got the chance to participate. A group of writers came together, wrote an anthology for charity, and published it. All in about 4 months. The profits (I think for the month of April was around $100) goes to the charity Reading is Fundamental. Buy the book, spread the word, do some good! :-)
5 Down Low:
JEM: If you could give advice to one super-villain that would make them WIN their fight against a particular superhero, would you do it, what would you say, and why would you help them?
CR: Superheros support chaos. They want people to have their freedom and that just makes a mess of things. You can finally bring ORDER to chaos. Do it! Do it for the world! It needs order!!
JEM: Do you have/want any brothers or sisters?
CR: *looks around* Is there a secret option on your blog to adopt one? I have two brothers. I never had a sister. I have sisters-in-law, but that's not the same. You want to be my sister? I'd be a pain-in-the-bahooty, but totally worth it! *big grin*
JEM: If you were a woodchuck, how much wood would you chuck?
CR: Not much, I'm kinda lazy.
JEM: What was your favorite TV show as a kid and why?
CR: BJ AND THE BEAR! That was the best. show. evah! Greg Evigan was the cutest man alive! He rode around in a semi-truck with a monkey and saved the USA! Oppsy, I just dated myself.
JEM: What is one thing on your bucket list? (Bucket list = things to do before you kick the bucket.)
CR: In all seriousness, I have done a whole lot of what I want, so if something horrible and unforeseen where to happen, I'd be OK. Well, I'd miss my family of course. So my bucket list is pretty short and the one thing I'd pick would be... this Mediterranean cruise that I planned to go on last year, but it didn't work out, so that's still on my to do list. :-)
JEM: Any closing statements? :)
CR: I (heart) you! :-)
(JEM sez: Sorry coral, I had to take out the heart picture because the Blogger formatter hated it and wouldn't let it show :()
Please visit Coral Russell at her blog!
Thanks for stopping by Coral, I really enjoyed some of your answers :) Sorry again for being an editor jerk :P Good luck making it to your cruise!