- Guest Writer -
Here is an interview I had recently with a ghost writer from the USA.
Welcome, Chloe ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
a. I started writing when I was five years old, and I started “publishing” my own books at an age when most children were just learning to read. Needless to say, this made me a bit of an outcast at school. I always knew I wanted to write deep down inside, but my route to making a living at it has been circuitous.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
a. It’s still weird to think of myself as a writer, maybe because I’m still reaching towards my goal of becoming the author of a published book. After graduating from Columbia University with a degree in political science, I realized that all I really wanted to do was write. I floundered for a few years, and then I got pregnant with my daughter. After she was born, I realized I needed a job with flexibility built in, and I started working my way into the writing and editing world. My first paid job was as an editor, when my daughter was almost a year old.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
a. This is a weird question for me to answer, because I haven’t published my book yet, so my writing experience is limited to ghostwriting books and blogs. But if I’m writing a manuscript, I plan, plan, and plan some more. The book doesn’t always follow the plan, but I made the mistake of sitting down to write a book without a plan once. I got to about 75,000 words before I realized the book had no end and it is now gathering dust in a file cabinet somewhere.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
a. It depends on whether I am writing fiction, non-fiction, or blogs. One thing I love is putting myself into the scene I am writing, hearing the voices and seeing the characters play everything out. I also love the feeling of inspiration I get when an idea strikes. I can’t sit up all night writing now like I used to now that I have a toddler, but I can still tap into that fire, and I love it.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
a. Money! Just kidding. Ask me this question in a year or two and the answer will be completely different, but right now I am really struggling with finding the time and energy to write for myself. I’m writing for my company and I’m writing for my clients, and I’m taking care of a toddler as well. At the end of the day, my stuff just sort of fall to the wayside. I really want to write for myself, but I make more money writing for other people right now so it’s a low priority. So, I guess the first answer was right on point. The hardest part of being a writer is finances.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
a. I’m pretty sure I was a Celtic warrior, and a Native American in a past life. I definitely come from cultures that held a deep appreciation for nature and the circle of life. When I was little, I would stare out the car window for hours, imagining myself running alongside the car through the woods barefoot.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
a. Currently, my greatest achievement is that I am making a living writing. I’m not writing as much of my own stuff as I would like, but I am writing most days which has been my dream since I was five and I never thought I would actually achieve it.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
a. Personally, I have a book that I’ve been sitting on since I got pregnant with my daughter. I’m not actually working on it right now, but I have had some inspiration lately to fix some of the problems with it. For work, I am working on establishing my company, so I can help other authors achieve their dreams of getting published.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
a. My daughter. She is the thing that keeps me going and the person who made me finally bite the bullet and make me start working towards the career and life I really wanted. My fiction stories are inspired by my dreams though, which can be pretty intense, horrific, and extremely detailed.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
a. My books are general horror/sci-fi. I have also worked as a ghostwriter for blogs and memoirs.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
a. Don’t let people discourage you from becoming a writer because it is something you can’t make a living at. You can make a living as a writer, especially in today’s world. If you are passionate about it, do it. Figure it out. Make it work. I spent too long pursuing something I wasn’t passionate about because I was scared to write.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
a. Sometimes, especially when I am working on a project for someone else and I don’t really have the information I need for it. A walk sometimes helps, or googling silly writing prompts. Most of the time I am working on so many projects at once, that I can always move on to something else if I get stuck.
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
a. I have a toddler. My preferred writing schedule is whenever and wherever possible. I’ve learned to always have my laptop on me, and I have worked from my car while she slept more times than I like to think of.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
a. Same as above, I write when and where I can.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
a. I love it when I get really absorbed in something, a story or background work, or even a blog post, and it just pours out of me.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
a. I’ve never had a “favourite” author, book, movie, etc. It really depends on my mood at the time. I’ve always had a weak spot for science fiction, fantasy, and books that make you question or really examine life in a different light.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
a. This is a hard question for me to answer. When my writing elicits heavy emotions from people, to me that is a huge compliment. I feel like people process emotions by feeling them again and again until they aren’t so uncomfortable anymore, so knowing that I have helped with that some is a compliment for me.
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
a. Again, a hard question to answer, probably because I haven’t put myself out there enough. If I receive a negative comment from a reader, I evaluate it to see if it has merit and if I should rewrite something to make my work better. If I objectively evaluate and don’t feel like the issue is valid, I let it go and forget about it.
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
a. Yes, some of my stories are at least partially influenced by my life, but they usually take on a life of their own despite that.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
a. I love to garden, spend time with my daughter, go hiking and swimming and kayaking. I love my family. I love life.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
a. I will, and it is part of the reason why it hasn’t been published yet. I can edit other author’s books, and I do. But I can’t edit my own work. I’m just waiting to get to a point where I can fix a few minor issues with my book and then pay an editor so I can get it published.
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
a. Any day where I can get away from it all and camp in the middle of nowhere with my boyfriend and daughter. But on a day to day basis, the perfect day is when I manage to be productive and get a good amount of work done while also having time to spend with my loved ones and maybe even clean the house a little.
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
a. My daughter. But my boyfriend is a very close second. But I would be super bummed to be away from my friends and family.
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
a. Stop fighting over trivial stuff. And spend a week living off what the people who live in poverty live off of every week, live in the conditions they live in, and do whatever you can to genuinely understand what those who are in the worst of society deal with all the time.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
a. Get my business off the ground, publish my book and start my next one, buy a farmhouse, and travel a lot.
26. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
a. I know that video is what a lot of marketers are betting on for 2017. In considering that I would say yes. Personally, I wish video wasn’t taking over society as much as it is, but I can’t change it so I go with it.
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
a. There is a little piece of me in a lot of my characters, either because they are based on the way people have reacted to me or on how I have reacted to something when interacting with others.
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
a. ABSOLUTELY. I get it from their point of view, some people really think they have written wonderful things and they submit them as finished works without any editing at all. I’m sure the big publishers get as much of that on a larger scale as those of us who are smaller players in the industry do. It’s got to make them jaded after a while. But it’s pretty much impossible to even submit queries to publishers and agents now unless you pretty much make a full time job out of it. It’s become really insurmountable for so many writers.
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
a. Not yet. I’ve shelved some stuff for a bit while I work on other things, but I’ve never considered quitting.
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
a. This is a tough question for me since most of my work is either unpublished or I was a ghostwriter. I can’t really answer it.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
a. If you are surviving and getting to write as much as you want, that’s success in my eyes.
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
a. When people read my books and short stories, I want them to feel something. Each piece is intended to elicit a different emotion, but whatever it is, it should be strong.
33. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
a. It’s something I have considered, but I am nowhere close to thinking about it as something that could be real someday yet.
34. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
a. You should put a lot of thought into designing your book cover. It is like your store window. If you walk past a store and the window looks awful, you’re not going to go inside no matter what they’re selling. It’s the same for your book. Put as much thought into it as you think you need to and then put in a little more.
35. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
a. To live in the country with my daughter and cats, able to do what I want when I feel like it, total freedom. I’m close now, but not quite there yet.
36. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
a. Marketing themselves is something all authors have to think about, maybe more so now than ever before. You need to figure out what image you want to portray to the world, and make sure you cultivate that.
37. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
a. They will be. I like the idea of having a little more control over how my books are published, and I have spent so much time teaching myself how to help other authors succeed if they self-publish, it would be kind of silly to try to do something else.
38. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
a. Dedicated, caring, motivated, happy, family-oriented
39. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
a. When people attack someone or something that isn’t in a position to put up a proper defense. Whether it is an animal, or a person, it makes me very angry.
40. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
a. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It’s not actually the last book I read, but I can’t find the one I did actually read last. I don’t get to read as much lately as I would like.
41. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
a. The zombies are coming for me and I’m out of weapons, if you find this, tell my daughter I love her.
42. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
a. To be living on a farm with a lake or pond on the property. I can’t wait to have a garden again.
43. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
a. No, this has been a very thorough interview. Thank you for your time, Clancy.
Clancy's comment: Thank you, Chloe. It has been a very interesting interview. Keep going.