An Interview With Lindy Zart

lindy zart(Z) Frequent followers of this blog may see Lindy Zart’s books on here every few months. Well, she’s fabulous. I jump on her blog tours and reveals in a heartbeat. If I had asthma, I’d probably need an inhaler each time she announces a new release; that’s how excited I get. Her intricately developed characters, clever dialogue, various plot decisions, and great personality are like a magnetic pull to my Kindle shelf. I’ve had the joy of stalking following her on Facebook for a little while now and love how down to earth she is. Anywho, I’ve asked her a few fun questions about her writing process and life so you can get to know her just as well as I have!
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(M) An Interview With Michele G. Miller

M
Today’s post for the
A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter M!

Michele PhotoI’d like to introduce you to Michele G Miller, an amazing author, my first client, and a good friend of mine. She’s a dedicated writer who loves to dabble in a bit of everything. Pushing herself to always do more, write better, and explore the world of literature makes her a standout in the independent world. 

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(H) An Interview with Mindy Hayes

H
Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter H!

Mindy HayesFor today’s post, I decided to interview my newest client, Mindy Hayes! Mindy has written a great variety of books so far, with some wonderful projects coming down the pipeline. She’s originally from San Diego, California, but now resides in Summerville, South Carolina.

Hi! Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview for Livre It To Me. Let’s start out with something easy. What have you written?

Hey Hey! I’ve written the young adult fantasy series, The Faylinn novels, as well as the contemporary romance series, The Willowhaven series. And I just finished the coming of age romance, The Day That Saved Us, which will be available SOON!

What are you working on at the minute? What’s it about?
Well, I’m working on a few projects right now. One that’s being referred to as the #secretproject with Michele G. Miller that I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but I’m very excited about! I’m also in the middle of a collaboration with Veranda Kuhar who is illustrating a children’s book I wrote called, I Could Be A Monkey. And finally, I’m working on a psychological suspense that’s been in the making for over a year about a rock star that is accused of murdering his fiancé. And that’s all I’m going to say about that last one!

When and why did you decide to become a writer?
I think I’ve always had a little bit of a writer in me. I used to write little stories in notebooks and pretend I’d written novels. But, I didn’t actually start writing novels until 2007 after I got married. I’d just finished Twilight (I know. That’s what they all say, but it’s true. Haha.) And I thought to myself, ‘I want to write a book, so why the heck no?’! My husband wanted to know what I did with his wife because I wasn’t even much of a reader before we got married.

What is your favorite genre to write in and what draws you to this genre?
You know…I can’t pick one genre. I love anything that surprises me, and my stories surprise me all the time…haha. I honestly think it depends on what I’m writing at the time. I’m a big believer in writing for myself, so I write what I want to read, and I love reading an assortment of things. I loved fantasy when I wrote The Faylinn novels, and I’ve loved writing contemporary for the last couple years. My psychological suspense is definitely a change in genres, but it’s just as exciting, if not more because of all the twists and turns and mystery. Most things I’m still in the dark on that one!

Out of all the characters you have created, who are you most drawn to?
I’d have to say Sawyer Hartwell (Me After You) from my Willowhaven series. I wrote that book when I was going through a serious low period in life. I’d recently lost some close family relationships that seemed irreparable. I was recovering from a miscarriage after years of infertility. Sawyer Hartwell became my therapy and my heart. I think she’ll always be my favorite because she helped drag me out of the darkness when I needed it most.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing your first book?
Well, if we’re talking about my first published book, Kaleidoscope, I’d recently finished a YA faery series that I DID NOT like. I wasn’t a fan of how the author depicted the faeries, so I decided I was going to write faeries how I imagine them. And that’s the beauty of writing. It’s up to you to create a world you believe in!

What/who are your muses?
MUSIC. I always have music when writing. I have a playlist for each book before I start to write and add songs to it as the stories progress. And people, of course, anyone and everyone! Watch out! My husband, ex-boyfriends, actors, musicians, friends, ex-best friends. I also go to Pinterest for a lot of inspiration. Paintings, scenery, sweet couple love photos, etc…

What is your writing process typically like?
Every book has been different. I’m very much a pantser. I can’t outline. It’s pointless. I’ve tried, but I veer from it almost immediately. I write what comes to me, and I figure out how to make it all come together. Sometimes I write the end and go back to the beginning to figure out how to get there. Only once have I needed to write a book chronologically and that was Luminary because I was wrapping up The Faylinn novels, and wanted to make sure nothing was left out or unanswered. It was the most difficult book to write. Writing chronologically stumps me. I need to be able to write whatever I’m inspired to write whenever I feel like it.

What goes into your cover selection process?

It depends on the designer and the cover. I designed The Day That Saved Us cover and asked my designer to put it together. It went through a gazillion mockups before one felt right. While some of my previous covers were custom shoots, and I simply handed them off to the designer and asked for her to work her magic! I want to make sure my covers stand out in the sea of novels. You’ll never see a naked man chest on my covers (No offense to other writers! Just not my style.)

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

I honestly think writer’s block comes when the story isn’t going in the right direction. So, I take a step back and rethink what I’ve already written and go back to when it was going smoothly to figure out where I went wrong. I also plug in my headphones and blast music sometimes to clear the cobwebs. I’ll probably go deaf at an early age. Or I read. Read, read, read. Words inspire me.

Do you personally prefer to read e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?

I prefer traditional paperbacks, but the only time I really get to read now is right before bed while my husband is sleeping next to me and I can’t turn on any lights, so I have to read on my phone. Also the convenience of e-books is undeniable. I can’t always carry around a book in my purse, but I’ve got hundreds on my phone.

Who are your favorite authors?

Oh goodness. Tarryn Fisher, Gayle Forman, Colleen Hoover, Melina Marchetta, Jenny Han, Katja Millay, Tahereh Mafi, Paullina Simons. Just to name a few…haha

What books are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone and loving it!

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to edit it or do you prefer to finish it all at once?

Well, I’d prefer to finish it all at once. I’m a culprit of self-editing. I can’t leave a scene alone, so I’m constantly going back to the beginning, reading forward and then moving on with whatever scene I decide to write next. So, if I think the book is done, it’s probably not, so I won’t leave it alone for more than a couple days before I go back to it. I can’t leave it unfinished for long.

What’s your favorite quote?

Well, fetch. I can only pick one? Umm…probably a Tarryn Fisher quote. This one is from her book, Mud Vein.

“There is a string that connects us that is not visible to the eye. Maybe every person has more than one soul they are connected to, and all over the world there are those invisible strings. Maybe the chances that you’ll find each and every one of your soulmates is slim. But sometimes you’re lucky enough to stumble across one. And you feel a tug. And it’s not so much a choice to love them though their flaws and through your differences, but rather you love them without even trying. You love their flaws.”

It’s 1am and you’ve been writing all night. What three items are on your desk?

My water bottle, my phone, and snack of the hour (goldfish, popcorn, chocolate, anything unhealthy most likely) And technically it’s my couch. I’m not cool enough to have a desk yet…haha.

When you aren’t writing, where can we find you?

Working. Fun, right? I’m an office manager for a few chiropractic offices that take up most of my time, so when I’m not there, I’m writing. I try to squeeze in time with the husband, of course…haha. We have our shows (Blindspot, Castle, Quantico, New Girl, Mindy Project, Arrow, The Flash, Criminal Minds, Limitless, Undateable, Life in Pieces, Baby Daddy, Elementary, Big Bang Theory, Second Chance, Mysteries of Laura, The 100, Scorpion, etc… Clearly we have a problem) that we watch together every night before he goes to bed and I stay up to write. It’s turned into our nightly ritual. My life is pretty glamorous.

Tell me a joke.

Why don’t you ever see hippopotamus hiding in trees? Because they’re really good at it.

Haha…I only know corny jokes.

What is your favorite book and why?

Oh geez. Favorite book. I have several. Don’t make me choose! Mud Vein by Tarryn fisher, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Sitting on my couch writing. Most probably. Haha. But hopefully I’m happy and still loving what I do.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Don’t let your feelings of inadequacy keep you from pursuing your dreams. That feeling with never goes away. Only you can keep you from reaching your full potential. Just keep writing what you love. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

Thank you so much, Mindy, for taking the time to do an interview with me!
For anyone interested, Mindy’s books can be found here:
Kaleidoscope (Faylinn, Book 1)Amazon Link
Me After You (Willohaven Series, Book 1) Amazon Link

I: Interview with Michele G. Miller

I
Michele is the author of the Coming of Age Fantasy Trilogy The Prophecy of Tyalbrook –

Never Let You Fall, book one (May 2013) and Never Let You Go, book two (Jan 2014) as well as the New Adult Romantic Suspense, Last Call (Oct 2013). 

She is currently working on the third book in The Prophecy of Tyalbrook Series, a Last Call novel and a YA Realistic Fiction series entitled From the Wreckage that has her super excited!

Having grown up in both the cold, quiet town of Topsham, Maine and the steamy, southern hospitality of Mobile, Alabama, Michele is something of a enigma. She is an avid Yankees fan, loves New England, being outdoors and misses snow. However she thinks southern boys are hotter, Alabama football is the only REAL football out there and sweet tea is the best thing this side of heaven and her children’s laughter!

Her family, an amazing husband and three awesome kids, have planted their roots in the middle of Michele’s two childhood homes in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Hi Michele! Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. You will be my first. Let’s start out with something easy. What have you written?
The Prophecy of Tyalbrook series is a YA Fantasy Romance trilogy. Book Three will be out sometime in 2014.
Never Let You Fall, Book One
Never Let You Go, Book Two

Last Call, a New Adult Contemporary Romance with some suspense

From The Wreckage, a Young Adult realistic fiction is coming in June (tentative release date)

What are you working on at the minute? What’s it about?
I am currently working on books two and three in the From The Wreckage series. From The Wreckage is about the immediate aftermath of a life changing event in the life of Jules Blacklin. Books two and three continue on from there. The series deals with the loss, love and hope we find after our worlds are torn apart.

When and why did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always been a writer. I started truly writing, scripts and plays, in the seventh grade as a way to cope with a difficult move and life changes. Before that, you would always find me acting out stories in my playtime. My Barbies lived fascinating lives 😉

I quit writing after graduation when work and marriage, and eventually my first born, became my life. It took the emergence of self-publishing and e-books for me to realize that perhaps I could create stories on my own. There isn’t really a “Why did you become a writer?” answer. It’s more of a need. A need to tell the stories of the people talking in your head – I want to tell them. It’s not to be a bestseller or to travel the world, make movies or be famous. (I’ll happily accept that if it comes knocking though!) It’s just to tell stories; hopefully people will like them and find some escape for the few hours they are reading.

What is your favorite genre to write in and what draws you to this genre?
Romance. Without a doubt, I am a romantic at heart. Whether I write fantasy, suspense, YA or NA, I will always include romance. I believe in soul mates, fate, love at first sight; I’ve experienced it, so I want to share it with others.

Out of all the characters you have created, who are you most drawn to?
Honestly, I think that changes with each book. I love Xander! I also fell HARD for Nickoli (Never Let You Fall, Tyalbrook #2). He was a character I didn’t expect to love, but there was something about him that drew me in and made me write his story.
Gage, in Last Call, is another character I had fun with. Apparently, I fall for all of my own book boys!

What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing your first book?
My poor husband had seriously tried to tell me to write a book for years. Really, truly years! I hemmed and hawed about how I couldn’t do that… and then if I did, what would I do? It took some random things happening for me to end up at the house of Nancy Straight for Y’all Fest 2012 in Charleston. I began grilling her about how it (self-publishing) all works and her words gave me the push I needed. Those words of wisdom that finally did me in? Write.

So simple, right? Just write two thousand words a day for three months and you’ll have a book. Voila!

What/who are your muses?
Music plays a huge role in setting tone. My characters are often times bits and pieces of people I know. The snarky comments from one friends, the fierceness from another. The idea of a knight in shining armor from my husband (cue the sighs). I often look at pictures of models, celebs or “normal” people shots on Pinterest for physical muses.

What is your writing process typically like?
Very random and not explainable. I write what I feel like writing. I know people who are waiting on books hate me for this, but I can’t write what is expected of me. I have to ‘be in the mood.’ So while, right now, I SHOULD be writing my last Tyalbrook book, I can’t. It’s not speaking to me in the way that it needs to for it to be what I need it to be. I write out of order a lot too, or I write dialogue only because I can visualize a conversation so clearly. I then go back later and fill in the details of the scene or insert the dialogue where I think it should go later.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
This is probably funny, but my new motto is when in doubt write a sex scene. *grins* I don’t mean some full-on erotic scene; it can be a lovely, sweet scene. For me, I find writing love scenes is easy and intimate and it helps me get into my characters heads. Therefore, it pulls me into the story when I’m having a hard time feeling them.

Do you personally prefer to read e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
I typically read at night before bed – so e-books. My Kindle really is my very favorite thing ever! I buy a lot of paperbacks at events, but I get them signed so I hate to touch them. For traditionally published books, I often find paperbacks to be about the same price as e-books, so I do prefer to buy them in paperback form but I end up taking forever to read them that way. The Kindle is just so much easier to carry with me or to use at night.

Who are your favorite authors?
I’ve met so many authors I admire, I can’t really list them for fear of leaving someone off. I will read any book by the fabulous Amy Bartol who, along with Nancy Straight, set me on my path to self-publishing. I have old school love for Jane Austen, Judith McNaught and Mary Higgins Clark, VC Andrews – those are the books I grew up reading.

What books are you currently reading?
I just finished Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher.

I’ve also been catching up on some older releases – Tragic by JA Huss and Crush by Lacey Weatherford. I am on some panels with authors this summer at a few book conventions, so I am trying to catch up on their books as well.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to edit it or do you prefer to finish it all at once?
I let some things stew, but for the most part when I finish it (or think I have) I read over it one last time before I send it to my editor.

Your covers are always so eye-catching. What goes into your cover-selection process?
For the Tyalbrook series, I randomly came across a picture from a California photographer that I fell in love with for Skye. I contacted her and she went through all of her shots and pulled out other pictures for me to look through. Those became the covers for 1 and 2. The original shot I loved will be on book 3.

For Last Call – I had someone do a custom photo shoot because I knew I wanted a bar shot. It’s not what I was originally going for, but I think it turned out very intimate and sort of sexy. The guy POV that will come from that series later this year has a very sexy shot – because it’s his POV. 😉

The From The Wreckage series covers came from my desire to have something totally different on a YA book than what is currently being done. I didn’t want a girl in a prom dress, or a couple kissing, shirtless, hugging…etc

It’s 1am and you’ve been writing all night. What three items are on your desk?
Tumbler with sweet tea, twizzlers or pretzle sticks and my scratch paper and pen to jot reminders when something pops in my head.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Toughest part of this job!! I signed on with a PR agency (Red Coat PR) in February because this is such an integral part of the job. I think in self-publishing you market yourself more than your books. I tend to buy books from other authors who I know on a personal level before others. I think teasers are great but you have to get bloggers, fans and FB sites to share them. That is hard if you’re not willing to have personal relationships with people. I love connecting with people – I am VERY grateful for the help and support everyone gives me.

When you aren’t writing, where can we find you?
Not writing?? On those few hours you will find me watching sports on the weekends during football season. You’ll find me hiking or enjoying the Carolina mountains in the Fall and Spring and playing by the pool with the kids in the summer.

What is your favorite book and why? Movie?
I really don’t have a favorite book. I love a lot of books. I’ve read many many books multiple times and never get sick of them. Classic historical romances by Judith McNaught are some of my favorites mostly because of the person I was when I first read them. They were my introduction into regency and highland romance when I was scarcely 20.
There are classics, like Pride and Prejudice and Lord of the Flies, contemporaries like Easy (T Weber) and Slammed (C Hoover) and paranormal stories like The Premonition Series (A Bartol) and The Infernal Devices (C Clare)

My standing favorite movie is Gone With the Wind. I always use this as an answer because I love the epic story. I love period pieces and the drama and humor.

Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Probably right where I’m at now. I love my family (3 kids and hubby). My oldest will be in college (holy wow!) so I’ll be crying at being that old. I know I will still be writing – regardless of the monetary/ranking success I have, I will always be writing.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
The same I got – write! Also, write for you. Don’t try to follow a trend because they change, and I feel like often times you can tell when someone forces a story just so they can sell it. Make sure you research who you use and who you give your money to. Self-publishing doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg., you don’t have to pay for review and tours, or formatting – learn to do things yourself. Pay for a good editor but have referrals, read a book they’ve edited. Oh, and covers matter. Like really, really matter!

Email: authormichelegmiller@gmail.com
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