Welcome to the two hundred and fifty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with Darlene Jones, author of ‘Embattled’ which she describes as “adventure and romance with a touch of sci-fi magic”. 🙂 A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Darlene. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Darlene: I live on Vancouver Island, Canada and spend winters in Mexico. I write, read, and body board when I’m in Guayabitos. I love my granddaughter, the views of the ocean from my desk, and chocolate, which should be its own food group.
Morgen: 🙂 I have a friend from (in) Mexico. I’ve not been but it sounds lovely. And I used to work at a chocolate factory (in the office but I was in charge of the sample room, which made me a very popular person!). I’ll jump straight in and ask you whether you have an agent for your writing and whether you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Darlene: I used to think an agent was important until I went to a large writing conference in the US in August. We learned that, with the advent of eReaders, traditional publishing is rapidly falling by the wayside and that the big publishing houses no longer give advances or do any marketing for you. That was when I decided to self-publish.
Morgen: Me too, and isn’t it great? The tide (sorry to pun your earlier reference to body boarding, which does look like fun!) is definitely turning (a terrible cliché, I’ll try not to do that again) in the author’s favour. You said “self-publish”, are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process?
Darlene: My books are available in all eReader formats. It was relatively easy to do (I hired a pro to do the formatting) and uploaded my manuscript. I think that’s the way of the future and think how many trees we are saving!
Morgen: And less lorries to transport them, and so on. I mentioned ‘Embattled’ in the introduction, presumably you have a say in the title / covers of your books?
Darlene: I have total control and love that aspect of self- publishing.
Morgen: Oh, me too. 🙂 What are you working on at the moment / next?
Darlene: I have published the first of 4 books. The second and third are done and I’m working on the fourth. Since I just published the first one, most of my energy now is going into marketing.
Morgen: It does take a lot, I’m learning that. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Darlene: Good dialogue makes characters believable. Names are so hard. An author lives with his or her characters for a long time. You have to like the names and they have to suit the character you are creating.
Morgen: Do you write any non-fiction, poetry or short stories?
Darlene: My blog is a series of non-fiction short bits that readers seem to enjoy.
Morgen: I’m biased (being a short story writer / reader) but short is good. 🙂 What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Darlene: I love the creative process, playing with ideas. I’ve been surprised at how characters can take over. I’d heard that happened, but didn’t really believe it, until it happened to me.
Morgen: I know! Non-writers / readers would think we’re mad to say such a thing but it’s got to be my favourite aspect. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Darlene: Don’t give up!
Morgen: The best three words next to “I love you” (or in the case of my dog “Want a cuddle?”). 🙂 Where can we find out about you and your work?
Morgen: Thank you so much for answering these questions today.
Darlene: Thank you for giving me this space to promote my book.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have http://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
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The full details of the new online writing groups, and their associated Facebook groups, are:
- Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group (http://novelwritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/508696639153189)
- Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group (http://poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/388850977875934)
- Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group (http://scriptwritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/319941328108017)
- Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group (http://shortstorywritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/544072635605445)
We look forward to reading your comments.