Monday, 19 May 2014

Interview with Brinda Berry on speaking at writer events

Greetings everybody!

One of the most important thing I've learned about a writer's journey is that it is never over. I am always learning. I am always asking other authors for advice. And as I'll be a guest speaker at a writer event in June, I thought this would be a great time to interview some writers who've had experience at this.
 
Today's interview is with romance/suspense author Brinda Berry. She lives in the southern US with her two spunky cairn terriers. It's an honour to have Brinda stop by to share her experiences, especially since Brinda has just come back from attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in New Orleans. (So jealous). 


OUT AND ABOUT WITH BRINDA BERRY

D L: Every writer sits on one side of the pre-published stage until they finally get to sit behind the desk as a published author. What, for you was the biggest difference between the two sides?

Brinda: I worked hard in the pre-published stage, but I do believe the intensity increases once you're published. The biggest difference is the responsibility you feel for meeting deadlines (publisher set or self-imposed). It's always a feeling that you must move on to the next project. Writers today are producing so quickly and readers expect that.

 
 "Writers today are producing so quickly and readers expect that."
 
www.brindaberry.com
Brinda Berry
 
D L: Do you prefer being a member of the audience or the one on the stage/behind the desk?

Brinda: I love being on the stage and giving readers an emotional experience.

 
D L: Have you done an event alone or have they been joint events?

Brinda: I've participated in both. I think that joint events are such fun. Writers are very supportive. It's nice to help promote each other because it can feel awkward sometimes to promote yourself.

 

www.brindaberry.com
Chasing Luck, Brinda's latest release
 

D L: There were probably questions you always wanted to ask as a pre-published author, and then when you became a published author and got to speak to the next wave of pre-published authors, did you find they asked similar questions?

Brinda: Yes, but sometimes I want to answer the questions I wish I had asked. It's a case of "you don't know what you don't know." As a pre-published author, I had no idea that so much is expected beyond the actual writing. You may think I'm speaking of social media and promotion, but other aspects--like the business end of being an author--are as important as the writing.

 
D L: What sort of promotional material did you take with you? If so, what was the response to the product?

Brinda: For Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in New Orleans, I brought lots of paper items like collector cards and bookmarks. In a convention of this size, you must stand out because there are so many authors. I brought approximately twenty book swag necklaces. I handed this item to readers who specifically fell into my target audience. I wish I'd had more novelty items like that. The downside is the cost for doing that.

 
"I wish I'd had more novelty items like that. The downside is the cost for doing that."


www.brindaberry.com
Lore, a short story anthology co-written by Brinda Berry
 
D L: Did you contact the events or did they contact you?

Brinda: I believe I've contacted all the events I've attended. You have to be very proactive.
 
 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Interview with author Noelle Clark on speaking at writer events, part 2

Greetings everyone!

Sharing exciting news is always fun and I've got exciting news to share. In a few weeks I will be the guest speaker at a local writer event. You know in the movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray's character says, "I'm not a god, I'm  the god." I feel a bit like that. I'm not a guest speaker. I'm the guest speaker. It's an awesome feeling. Anyway, let me tell you a little about the event and what I've got planned.

The Eurobodalla Fellowship of Australian Writers is celebrating 20 years of writing with a literary lunch, a writing activity, and myself as guest speaker. My topic of choice is on the cycle of writing/publishing which I've now done four times, and because the writers at this event will be at different stages of their careers, I thought I'd offer some tips on mental preparedness.

This event also sparked a great idea for some posts. I'm going to interview a few published authors (more if everyone/anyone is interested) who have already been down this road to gain some insight and tips.
 
The most important thing to learn about a writer's journey is that it is never over. We are always learning.
 
Today's interview is with romance author Noelle Clark. She lives in Brisbane, Australia and you can check out her work at www.noelleclark.net. It's a wonderfully lengthy interview, and I say wonderfully because it's so full of great advice and tips, that I've decided to post it in two parts.
 
Out and About with Noelle Clark Part 2


www.noelleclark.net
Noelle Clark

You can read Part 1 of this interview here:

D L: What sort of promotional material did you take with you? If so, what was the response to the product?

Noelle: It’s not necessary to have a big budget to make your promo material look professional. I do think that it’s important to be able to give the attendees something to take away with them, that has your website or other contact details, and that serves as a reminder of your books and your brand.

I take hard copies of my books, both to display, and for sale/signing. I’ve had A3 retractable banners made up displaying my book covers. These are available from Office Works for only $25. I also have post cards for each of my books, the cover in glossy colour on one side, and the other grey tone matte, with either a blurb or my contact details. I hand these out, and am often asked to sign them. They make great book marks too. I also take along a sign-up sheet so people can subscribe to my email newsletter.

During some Valentine’s Day talks in February, I also took along some heart-shaped lollypops for everyone. Just for fun.

 
D L: Did you contact the events or did they contact you?

Noelle: I contacted my local library initially, as they have a program called ‘Authors in Action’. They then asked if I was available to speak to a group of readers, and writer club members, at one of their branches. Of course, I accepted. Then – quite out of the blue – I was contacted by another regional library who invited me to do a series of talks at five of their branches, spread over a period of a month.

Small ripples in the pond began, and from the exposure and marketing of these talks, I was invited to speak to other book clubs, and then to attend an author signing at a book store.

"Small ripples in the pond began...I was invited to speak to other book clubs."

D L: Did you find that questions were geared more around getting published or writing tips? And did these questions change what you delivered next time?

Noelle: After every talk, I evaluated what went well, and what didn’t. Each group has different dynamics, and luckily I am an experienced trainer, so I’ve learned that sometimes you have to ad lib, or go slightly off the projected course in order to satisfy the requirements and expectations of each audience.

I would say that the ratio of questions re getting published and writing tips has been around 50:50. There are an amazing number of people out there who have already written books – memoirs, novels, histories, self-help books – who need to know the next step to take. They always ask about self-publishing versus traditional publishing. Then there are those who call themselves ‘aspiring’ writers, who have stories to tell, who are keen, but don’t know where to start. If you get a mix of these two groups in a presentation, it takes some skill to adequately address each person’s needs.

http://www.booktopia.com.au/search.ep?keywords=noelle+clark
 

D L: If you have anything else you’d like to share about your experiences, I’d love to hear about them and share them with everyone.

Noelle: I love speaking to groups about writing, because it’s my passion, and don’t we all love talking about what makes us feel so alive?

My tips for successful author talks would include:

  • Connect with the appropriate person in libraries, ie events person. Don’t just send a generic letter or email. It will get lost in the busy day to day life of a library.

  • Offer to give them and their readers something, such as a writing craft talk, or a particular topic you may have covered in your book or books. Don’t offer to visit just because you want to sell books.

  • Prepare well. Spend a lot of time in choosing your topic and designing an interesting talk. If you are not comfortable with public speaking, consider having an interview style presentation. Make sure you provide those attending with something interesting, relevant, and hopefully entertaining.

  • By all means, have notes so that you stay on track and don’t get waylaid by random questions from the audience, but try not to ‘read’ to them. Have headings and dot points written down, but look the audience in the eyes and be yourself. Your passion will engage them, and you know your books intimately, so it’s not as if it’s foreign territory.

  • If you are attending a book club that has already read your book, come up with a list of questions they will probably ask, and prepare your answers. They are genuinely interested in your book, your characters, the setting. They want to know how and why you wrote what you did.

  • Ask the audience questions. Find out who you’re speaking to before you start. This can be done as they are arriving. Greet them, introduce yourself to them, and shake hands. Try to remember their names if you can.

  • If it’s a writers group, then expect questions about characterisation, plot, and dialogue. If they are readers, they often want to know how you came up with the story, and the reasons for setting it where you did.

  • Finally, be friendly, approachable, and let your passion shine through. After the talk, they often want to chat with you. Listen to them—they often tell you about their own book that they’ve written—be interested, ask them questions. Enjoy the event and hopefully you’ll be asked back when your next book is released.

Thanks so much Noelle for sharing such great advice. You can check more out about Noelle via her website www.noelleclark.net.


Author interviews still to come are: suspense/paranormal romance author Brinda Berry, urban fantasy author Tracey O'Hara, and Canberra writer and publisher Jodi Cleghorn

Catchya!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Interview with author Noelle Clark on speaking at writer events, part 1

Greetings everyone!

Sharing exciting news is always fun and I've got exciting news to share. In a few weeks I will be the guest speaker at a local writer event. You know in the movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray's character says, "I'm not a god, I'm the god." I feel a bit like that. I'm not a guest speaker. I'm the guest speaker. It's an awesome feeling. Anyway, let me tell you a little about the event and what I've got planned.

The Eurobodalla Fellowship of Australian Writers is celebrating 20 years of writing with a literary lunch, a writing activity, and myself as guest speaker. My topic of choice is on the cycle of writing/publishing which I've now done four times, and because the writers at this event will be at different stages of their careers, I thought I'd offer some tips on mental preparedness.
 
This event also sparked a great idea for some posts. I'm going to interview a few published authors (more if everyone/anyone is interested) who have already been down this road to gain some insight and tips.
 
The most important thing to learn about a writer's journey is that it is never over. We are always learning.
 
Today's interview is with romance author Noelle Clark. She lives in Brisbane, Australia and you can check out her work at www.noelleclark.net. It's a wonderfully lengthy interview, and I say wonderfully because it's so full of great advice and tips, that I've decided to post it in two parts.
 
Out and About with Noelle Clark Part I
 
www.noelleclark.net
Noelle Clark
 
Welcome Noelle,

And first up let me say a huge thanks for sharing this information. I know I've found it invaluable and I hope other writers do too. And readers, of course, might be interested in learning more about their favourite author.

D L: Every writer sits on one side of the pre-published stage until they finally get to sit behind the desk as a published author. What, for you was the biggest difference between the two sides?
 
"Once you’re published, it gives you the confidence to keep going."

Noelle: The biggest difference for me was the quantum leap in my confidence levels. An author—especially an unpublished author—is very vulnerable. It takes courage to send your manuscript out there for someone else to judge. It’s akin to entering your baby in a baby show, watching on as someone critiques your baby, judges it, and then decides that perhaps it’s not as good as the next person’s. Once you’re published, it gives you the confidence to keep going. But I’d advise any author to grow a thick skin.

 
DL: Do you prefer being a member of the audience or the one on the stage/behind the desk?

Noelle: I attend as many writers’ conferences, conventions, festivals, and library talks by other authors, as I can. I never fail to learn from others, and I respect how each author goes about their writing journey. So, in one way, I prefer listening to others, but because I can put myself in the shoes of aspiring or unpublished authors, I’m very keen to pass on any tips from my own experiences. I love talking to writers groups, book clubs, and readers, about how my books came to be. What triggered the story, the theme, characters, and my choice of location.


D L: Have you done an event alone or have they been joint events?

Noelle: Thus far, I’ve only done solo sessions. Recently, I delivered a series of one-hour writing craft talks for Logan Libraries (Queensland), attending several branches with a session called ‘Person, Place and Passion’. The topics covered three major elements of romance writing: development of the characters, the importance of location and setting for the story; and the character arc that the heroine and hero travel to arrive at a Happily Ever After.

 
D L: There were probably questions you always wanted to ask as a pre-published author, and then when you became a published author and got to speak to the next wave of pre-published authors, did you find they asked similar questions?

"You often get questions about writing sex scenes too."

Noelle: Yes, very much so. I’m always asked how I came to be published. There are always questions about self-pubbing vs traditional; about word lengths; about how much you earn (try not to grimace...); about your writing process – how many hours a day, where you write – I’ve even had questions about whether it’s okay to submit a handwritten manuscript. I’m often asked about beta readers, editors, manuscript assessors, and whether I can recommend any. Probably best to be prepared and point them in the direction of your State writing association or the FAW. You often get questions about writing sex scenes too. This can be a lot of fun to answer. Be creative. J

 
http://www.booktopia.com.au/search.ep?keywords=noelle+clark
 
D L: What is the most unusual event you’ve attended both as an attendee and as a guest speaker/author?

Noelle: So far I’ve had great experiences at all my events, but I did attend a private book club held in a home. The women had read my books as their monthly read, and I spent a lovely evening with them as they sipped champagne, and asked me all about myself and my books. It was very informal and relaxed, but most enjoyable.

 
That's it for now. Part II of this interview will continue tomorrow. In the meantime if you want to check out more of Noelle's work you can do so via her website www.noelleclark.net

Catchya!


 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Chasing Luck - Brinda Berry's latest release is a new adult suspense romance

Brinda Berry has gone from writing about young adults in suspense-filled love to new adults in suspense-filled love. For those who haven't heard of new adult fiction yet, it's the age bracket between YA and adult, nineteen to mid twenties.
 
Chasing Luck made it on to USA Today's hot new romance titles for 2014. Well done!!!
 
Check out the entire list here:  
 
But before you do that, please check out Chasing Luck by Brinda Berry. 
 


Chasing Luck

By Brinda Berry
a Serendipity novel

$2.99
New Adult Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 978-0-9916320-2-2

On Amazon /  Kobo  /  B & N   /   iBooks

Sometimes surviving doesn’t feel lucky. Especially when you’re a sole survivor... 

At the age of seven, Malerie walked away from a bombing that left hundreds dead—including her mother. When a crazed gunman kills her guardian on her eighteenth birthday, Malerie suspects there may be more to her survival than luck. A mysterious code holds the key to her future, and a reluctant white knight holds the key to her heart. 

A loner wearing emotional armor… 

Ace is a twenty-year-old entrepreneur focusing on two things in life: financial security and a life without ties. A life that doesn't risk losing the ones who matter. When Ace is hired to secretly act as a bodyguard for Malerie, he faces an unwanted attraction that threatens to sabotage his heart. Can Ace find the courage to love a girl with a death wish?

 

Chasing Luck Book Trailer at
tps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOSg3FOC21M
 

 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants

There is something about love and tragedy that go so well together. Romeo and Juliet. Buffy and Angel. Sam and Grace (Wolves of Mercy Falls ). Scarlett and Rhett (Gone With The Wind). Forbidden love makes for some of the juiciest writing. Unrequited love is perhaps the biggest tragedy of all the love stories ever written, because the heart wants what the heart wants and there is no telling it otherwise.
 
At a party a few years ago, there was a 17 year old boy who was in a total mess. He was in love. Not just any old kind of love. He was in unrequited love. Also at this party was a girl he had a crush on. He told us he had tried everything to get this girl to notice him and everything he'd tried had failed. He was a nice boy, and perhaps this was his problem. Here sat a nice boy,  look of dejected misery on his face, who was talking to us and not the object of his desire...poor guy, did he even stand a chance?

Perhaps wanting the unattainable wasn’t entirely his fault. Many of the heroes in novels and movies are tough, edgy, dark, brooding and totally off limits. It seems girls indeed like their guys to be hard, if not impossible, to catch, because this makes the love interest taboo, forbidden, dare I say it... even naughty. “Nice guys finish last” is a bit of catchcry of many an unrequited love story. Usually this is uttered at the point of no return where the nice guy becomes the bad guy in order to win the girl, thus in turn causing him to attract more ladies than he can handle. “Plenty of fish in the sea” is another catchcry for the unrequited. All well and good if you don’t mind which fish you catch. Continuing with the fish analogy, it seems that people in love really do care what fish they go after and catch, and not any old fish will do. When it was suggested that this boy turn his interests elsewhere, he said, “You don’t understand this girl.”

Why is the power of love so strong that it overrides reason, logic, and even capability? Yes, some people do set their aims so high that it is no wonder they fall. But is there anything they can do? After all, the heart wants what the heart wants. And there is nothing that can be done to alleviate the pain of loving someone who doesn’t love you back. (Sniff. Who hasn't been there?)

 


Firstly, how do you know when you are in love? Here is my list of symptoms:
 
  • You cry every time a soppy love song comes on the radio.
  • You burst into tears during any scene in any movie when the male and female love interests finally kiss.
  • You can’t walk past another couple without sighing.
  • You can’t stop thinking about the person you are in love with. 
  • When you eat an apple you wonder if he/she is eating an apple.
  • You dress to impress.
  • You infuriate your friends by talking nonstop about this person.

So how do you know when you are in unrequited love? Well, you still do all of the above, but you also do these things:
 
  • You stalk the object of your desire from close by, from afar, even from cyberspace.
  • You mope around for all to see.
  • When somebody suggests you ask somebody else out, you sigh and say, “you don’t understand”.
  • You buy gifts that are tucked away into a secret drawer and you take them out during full moons.
  • You have a hidden room filled with photos and, if you are really sneaky, other memorabilia.
  • You use magic spells that involve candles and strands of hair.
  • You feel as if every minute you are near this person is pure torture.
  • You think he/she will love you back if they’d only give you the chance.
  • You think that nobody understands what you are going through.

Unrequited love is both sad and sweet to observe, not so much fun if it's you though.

The heart rules when it comes to love and it's no wonder there are countless books, movies, songs and websites devoted to unrequited love. Tragedy and love is what makes the world spin, so it makes sense that when you put the two together you have a far better story than simply “boy meets girl and they fall in love”.  

When I began writing “Little Red Gem” my aim was to write the most beautiful love story I could. I know I've done some stupid things in the name of love, and so I put my character through some stupid things too. And then I pushed her further.

In Little Red Gem, Ruby Parker does stupid and frustrating things all in the name of love. She gate crashes a boy's weekend, she dies, she comes back from the dead in another person's body and begins to experience unrequited love. And she does a lot of the things on the unrequited love symptoms list above.

Writers love writing about good love and bad love, but we prefer to write happy endings. However, I found I couldn't write the sugary sweet happily ever after fairy tale ending because that's not how I wrote Ruby Parker's personality. She is a strong and independent 17 year old and no way could I have her cast her personality aside as she made her final decision. So I didn't. I gave her the ever after she deserved.


http://www.amazon.com/Little-Red-Gem-D-Richardson/dp/1492939927/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1383280608&sr=1-1
 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR



Email                dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com 

Blog                  www.dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com

Website           www.dlrichardson.com
Facebook         http://goo.gl/560JXl  

Twitter             www.twitter.com/#!/DLRichardson1