Welcome to the one hundred and eleventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today’s is with African-American interest & chick lit author Yves Brown McClain. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here.
Morgen: Hello Yves. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Yves: I am originally from Detroit, Michigan and received my bachelor’s from Howard University in Washington, D.C. I’ve lived in seven places (all of them job / work related), but I’ve been residing in Tampa, Florida for the last three years with my husband and son. I have been writing since the second grade. I’ve always had this vivid imagination and would create these stories. Finally, I decided that I would pursue this dream of becoming published.
Morgen: I would have so loved to have started that long ago but I got there. 🙂 What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Yves: My genre would mainly be African-American interest and chick-lit. I do have a story idea that’s a bit suspenseful and I would also like to do a few creative non-fiction pieces.
Morgen: Like me, a bit of all sorts. 🙂 What have you had published to-date? How much of the marketing do you do?
Yves: I’m not currently published at the moment. I am working on a novella and I have novel that I am revising. Right now, I do all of my marketing, which is mostly social networking to build my platform.
Morgen: That seems to be the way to go these days. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Yves: I do not have an agent. There are so many pathways to becoming published nowadays, so it really depends on the route you want to take as a writer to determine if you need an agent.
Morgen: I agree and it’s great to have so many options these days although finding an agent doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. Do you plan to have your books available as eBooks? And do you read eBooks?
Yves: My books will be available in print as well as eBooks. I’m looking forward to going through the process of making them available in that format. I got a Kindle a few months ago and I LOVE it! It’s lightweight and easy to read. It also gives me the chance to read stories by writers that are not published by one of the major publishing houses and / or publish most of their work electronically.
Morgen: Isn’t that great. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Yves: I’m working on my novella entitled The Tenth. It’s about how desiring something you can’t have can lead to serious consequences. I’m also working on revisions to my novel, Wild Oats. That story is about a young woman who is newly single after a breakup with her college sweetheart, how she navigates the dating scene, and the things she learns about herself and relationships.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Yves: I do manage to get some writing in every day, except for Sunday. I average roughly a few pages a day.
Morgen: 500 words a day equates to 118,250 words a year… with February 29th off but I’d say take Sundays out of the equation and you’d still have a hundred thousand word project. What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Yves: I think Writer’s block always has some other underlying issue. Either you’re not being true to the characters, you’re trying to force the story in another direction instead of just going with the flow of it, you get too bogged down in editing as you go, or you’re being so critical of yourself, you get frozen and can’t write. What helps me is taking a break (brief) from the piece I’m working on and doing something different. I’ve also found that reading helps because it gives me motivation to go back to writing. To help with the self-doubt, that’s when the cheerleaders come in to push and encourage you.
Morgen: I like that image. 🙂 Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Yves: I’m an idea girl. However, I do try to at least get a rough idea of the direction I want the story to go, but I remain open to changing direction as the story unfolds.
Morgen: The best way I’d say as characters do have a tense to take over. 🙂 Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Yves: At the moment, I think every idea I’ve got will be seen in some way, either in the form of a blog post, short story, novella, or full novel.
Morgen: That’s good going, I have loads although I’m hoping to look back at them at some stage. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Yves: There’s a lot about writing I enjoy. Coming up with an idea, creating the characters and the storyline, and just crafting this concept and turning it into something enjoyable. What challenges me about writing is effectively using my time. I have to balance my writing with the other parts of my life (family, work, school) so I have to stick to some sort of schedule to keep it all together.
Morgen: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Yves: Do not give up, get a few cheerleaders to support you, be open to feedback, and it’s never too early to establish a fan base.
Morgen: 🙂 What do you like to read?
Yves: I love fiction and will read a variety of genres from drama to chick lit to romance and suspense. I also enjoy inspirational non-fiction and books that motivate and empower.
Morgen: Which is why you write a diversity. Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Yves: I love Kristen Lamb’s blog http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com. She gives incredible advice about building a writer platform using social media.
Morgen: Ooh, I’ve not come across her… thank you for that. In which country are you based and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Yves: I live in the US, and I really can’t say if my location helps or hurts me because I utilize many social networking tools. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and several other sites, I can talk with someone as close as Fort Lauderdale in one moment and talk with another person in Australia the next.
Morgen: The Word Wide Web doing what it say on the tin. 🙂 Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Yves: I am on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and The Professional Black Writer. These sites have been incredible as I have made many connections with other writers in various stages of the writing process, reviewers, and people who love to read.
Morgen: I’m only on the first three but it’s been a real eye opener to me over the past three months; a time swallower but oh so worth it. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Yves: Follow me on Twitter 🙂 www.twitter.com/yvesbmcclain.
Morgen: I do. Thank you Yves.
Yves Brown McClain is a native of Detroit, Michigan. She currently resides in Tampa, Florida, and is currently working on her first novel, Wild Oats, as well as a novella, The Tenth.
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