Author Interview with R.T. Slaywood

  • Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

R.T.: None yet, and I don’t plan to. Mostly because I think author worship is weird. Wait, I would totally go to a convention to see Lou Diamond Phillips and get his autograph of my copy of The Tinderbox.

  • Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

R.T.: I’m going to assume this means I’m getting paid to be there? If so, I would choose my house as I could use a good staycation.

  • Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

R.T.: The P/C answer would be to read.

  • Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

R.T.: Pantser.

  • Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

R.T.: Aside from drafting on Twitter, my fascination with Furbies and harassment of celebrities? I like to do it on my phone.

  • Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

R.T.: I used to have a favorite, but I don’t anymore. Over time I’ve developed a unique taste for accessible authors. I like to ask the writer questions, send them reactions and memes. To me, it’s a way to honor the time they spent to tell me a story.

  • Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

R.T.: It’s about balance. You can only subvert expectations to a point before people lose the ability to relate to the narrative. At some point, you need to give them a win.

  • Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

R.T.: Start now, ask questions later.

  • Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

R.T.: Food. Hard to write when you’re hungry.

  • Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

R.T.: I would pick Stephen King in the middle of writing Cujo. 

  • Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?

R.T.: Two, The Genius’ Guide to Writing Bad that I Co-Wrote, and The Ballad of Bonaduke.

  • Day: What does literary success look like to you?

R.T.: To crush other writers, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their fans.

  • Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

R.T.: There are two ways to sell anything. Either the buyer likes the product, or they like you. I prefer to sell the latter.

  • Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

R.T.: Approximately 0 before and a Google search during if I don’t think what I wrote sounds believable.

  • Day: How many hours a day do you write?

R.T.: 1-4

  • Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

R.T.: About every chapter has something that is special to me. Either a reference to something that will happen or an inside joke. I think it’s what makes writing fun.

  • Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

R.T.: Any scene that involves over 3 people talking or more than 15 lines of dialog. 

  • Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

R.T.: Mostly wherever I’m not supposed to, I like the adrenaline of doing it at work or during a conversation. 

  • Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

R.T.: None of the above. The most important thing is conflict. Nothing above matters if the readers aren’t engaged with the stakes. 

  • Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

R.T.: K. Thomas, author of Time To Wake. Without her encouragement, I would have never published The Ballad of Bonaduke onto Kindle vella, it would have never made #200th favorite in August, and it probably never would have left Twitter. 

R.T. Slaywood’s Kindle Vella

The Ballad of Bonaduke

Originally drafted as Twitterature, The Ballad of Bonaduke is about an ex-con turned family man who has been homeless for years. Haunted by memories he fears to face, he’s now ready to throw his life away. However, a simple purchase leads to a violent discovery about the truth of his ‘grifts’. All on the back of a 5$ bill.

R.T. Slaywood’s book is

The Genius’ Guide to Bad Writing

Are you plagued by success? Need a break from fame? Or perhaps you’ve grown tired of your gigantic intellect and want to trade in for a smaller, used, or economic one. Well, have we got the guide for you! And unlike future you, we wrote it well.

You can follow R.T. Slaywood on Twitter and Facebook.

Author Interview with Gage Greenwood

  1. Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

    Gage: I haven’t been on any, but I live in New England, so I have been around some literary hotspots by happenstance. I’m less interested in who wrote where and more interested in visiting places where wild things happened. Okay, Edgar Allen Poe wrote at this bar, but tell me more about the ghosts people see in the hallways.

    2)  Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

    Gage: Most of my books take place in a fictional version of the town I live in, but for the sake of exploration, I would go to Ireland. I could see that conjuring a lot of fun folk horror stories.

    3) Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

    Gage: I’d probably do some cleaning or some working out. Put my headphones in and listen to an audiobook. It’s often listening to the words of another author that breaks me out of a writer’s block, that and being physically active, and by that, I just mean moving around a little.

    4) Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

    Gage: Definitely a pantser, but I do usually have an idea where it’s all going to end. It’s just I have no idea how it’s going to get there.

    5) Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

    Gage: I am always snacking while I write, which is both unhealthy and bad for my computer keys, which tend to get covered in snack crumbs.

    6) Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

    Gage: Horror. I read every genre imaginable, and I love something about all of them, but horror treads into the questions that most unnerve me, the kinds of things I don’t want to think about outside of when I’m reading. Almost always, horror is about life, death, and coming to
    terms with a world out of our control. Those are big, horrifying topics, and I find comfort in fearing them with a talented writer who wants to explore them in their own way. Outside of horror, I try to
    make sure my TBR pile is filled with different voices, cultures, races, religions, sexes, and creeds. It’s important for me to explore outside of my own worldview.

    7) Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

    Gage: Original, to my own detriment. I wish I could write to market, but I’m weird, and I don’t know how to un-weird myself. I suppose I could train myself to write to market, but I would get bored, and writing would lose some of its luster for me. I need to write from the gut.

    8) Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

    Gage: Don’t be so afraid. Challenge yourself. Take risks. Yes, you can bring your story there. You can bring it wherever the heck you want.

    9) Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

    Gage: Easily on my editor and cover artist. My editor, Mary Danner, is a one-of-a-kind, truly gifted editor who also understands my voice. She knows how to make my work shine while maintaining the integrity of how I like to write. Meanwhile, my cover artist, Luke Spooner, is much like me. His work crosses genres and mixes whimsy with darkness. It’s beautiful and fits my style so well.

    10) Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

    Gage: Probably a lemur. My writing looks harmless, friendly even, but it can bite and scratch.

    11) Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?

    Gage: I have four Vellas, three of which are ongoing, and one is complete. Meanwhile, my debut novel came out in June, which was the first season of my most popular Vella, Winter’s Myths. Season two is complete on Vella, and going into book form in late October/early November. I am hoping to have four or five books published in 2023.

    12) Day: What does literary success look like to you?

    Gage: A television show based off my books starring Kevin Bacon, a popular line of toys based on characters from my books. Fans dressing up in cosplay from my work. People getting tattoos of quotes I wrote. An army of minions. A legion of warriors working for me. World domination. Or, honestly, just knowing my book makes some people happy.

    13) Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

    Gage: I’m a constant self-promoter. I like to do that because, for me, it’s not just about pitching my book. I enjoy finding my audience and getting to know them. I constantly tell my friends and readers this isn’t my journey, it’s ours. We’re in this together, and my successes are yours as well. Word of mouth has been huge for me. Booktokers and bookstagramers, as well as people spreading the word in book groups on Facebook. I’ve done some paid ads, but they haven’t worked for me because I need to learn the systems better. I plan to do just that, but for now, while I am learning, word of mouth is driving my sales.

    14) Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

    Gage: Depends on what I need. For Winter’s Myths, I needed to learn about prepping and living underground. I spent months reading up on survival skills and how one would live underground off nothing but their own skills.

    15) Day: How many hours a day do you write?

    Gage: My life is pretty scattered, and I have more projects than just writing to work on, so some days I write for 8 hours, and others I don’t write at all. On average, I would say three or four hours.

    16) Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

    Gage: Yes. And I also connect just about everything I write to something else I write, so those are fun easter eggs for people following my career. There are also a ton of little pop culture references or homages to artists and writers I dig.

    17) Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

    Gage: There was a scene in one story where a character I grew to love had to get attacked. She had a brutal battle, and I hated every second of it. I wanted to protect her. I also wrote a short story for my newsletter subscribers where I went deep into my past with addiction, and some of that was very raw and hard to write.

    18) Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

    Gage: Mornings when the house is quiet. I used to love to write about 2 or 3 in the morning, when everyone was asleep, but my life and routine has changed, and now the morning is when I have the most peace and quiet.

    19) Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters
    B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

    Gage: Why not all three? Characters always come first for me, so I will choose A. Plots are fun but hollow without strong characters going through them. Settings add an extra layer of character, but without the friends you want to follow through the scenes, the setting would feel pretty empty.

    20) Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

    Gage: Nikolai Wisekal. The man is writing some pure comedy gold with wonderful fantasy and sci-fi backdrops. How he’s not famous yet is beyond me. On top of that, he’s just a really great person.

Gage’s Top Three Vellas are:

Winter’s Myth

After a disease ravages his underground community, Winter escapes with his two daughters to the upper world, a place called Earth. Winter fears what he will find on Earth, but he is surprised to find the planet has largely been abandoned. As he and his daughters struggle to survive, and come face to face with deadly foes, Winter tells his children stories and legends as a way to make sense of their new surroundings. In Winter’s world, we are the mythology. We are the legends. We are the threat.

A Glass World

Marybeth’s panic attacks are getting worse. Brian’s daughter disappeared while on a camping trip. Tragedy unfolded for Judith while on a walk with her family. These strangers find their way to a secret world made entirely of glass, and with this discovery, they unlock uncanny powers within themselves. But they aren’t the only ones with vast power, and not everyone is happy with this group’s newfound abilities. The Dead Things are coming, and they hunger for the residents of Glass World.

Bunker Dogs

Don’t fear what you’re hiding from. Fear what you’re hiding with. When the Timurs ask Cassie to babysit, she couldn’t be happier. Their twelve-year-old son keeps to himself and plays video games all night, leaving Cassie to study in the peace and quiet of the Timur’s humongous open-floor house. But the world is about to descend into madness, and as Cassie tries to hide from it, she discovers the Timur house has secrets. Some secrets are best kept buried. Some secrets have teeth.

Gage’s books are:

Winter’s Myths

After a disease ravages his underground community, Winter escapes with his daughters to the dangerous surface of Earth. Believing the planet is largely abandoned, he struggles to make sense of this strange new world while trying to keep his family alive… But the surface is not all complicated artifacts and relics of a deserted universe. Winter is certain something—or someone—is hunting them.

He weaves wild tales to entertain and teach his daughters, turning celebrities into demigods and Abe Lincoln into an ice giant. As the journey grows darker and more dangerous, his mythologies keep not only his children from confusion and despair, but him as well.

With tensions rising and danger at every corner, will Winter keep his family alive long enough to finish his tales?

Winter’s Myths is a multi-season serial currently publishing on Amazon’s Kindle Vella. This book covers the first season. Each season will be available in book form upon completion.

Grackles on the Feeder: A Short Horror Story

WARNING: While these are not topics I typically write about, this story does contain scenes of animal cruelty and sexual assault.

In a small town in New England, against the backdrop of an abandoned amusement park, horrors will unfold.
Shelly will soon learn not everyone is who they seem. Not even Shelly herself.

Through Flickering Lights, a Silhouette: A Short Horror Story

Mira must travel through a thickening winter storm in search of her adopted brother, but the night is quickly approaching, and in the night, the monsters come.

For more of Gage Greenwood check out his links: Twitter, Amazon author page, YouTube, FaceBook, Instagram, and his Newsletter!

Author Interview with Jennifer Lush

  1. Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

Jennifer: There have been so many! I’ll do my top three. In Salem, MA, I visited the Nathaniel Hawthorne house and the house which inspired “The House of the Seven Gables.” Faulkner House Books in New Orleans is run out of a home where he once lived. It’s the smallest bookstore I’ve ever seen! I’ve also visited the area where the Outsiders was filmed in Tulsa, OK. It’s a must for any fan. Yes, that’s a movie location, but it was based on a book.

  1. Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Jennifer: My initial reaction is to say Iceland because I long to visit there, but I would choose England. It’s not too exotic, but if I’m going to be there for a full year, I want comfort not adventure.

  1. Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

Jennifer: I always write in Several stories at a time. If I’m not feeling one, there’s usually another causing my fingers to fly across the keyboard. Otherwise, I just type anything, just a couple random sentences. It will get my mind working to clean it up, make it fit the story, and that typically helps.

  1. Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

Jennifer: Both! But I lean toward pantser. I have a general idea going into the story and maybe a few notes, but it unfolds as I write. Take Fogpoint Harbor for example. I had the house on the coast in mind and what happens at the house. I also knew a relative would move there and take over. The rest of it came to me as I worked on it.

  1. Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

Jennifer: I have to have silence to write. There are so many authors with a playlist, or they choose music to fit the tone of the scene they’re working on. It distracts me.

  1. Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

Jennifer: I love horror and suspense. I want to be terrified and unable to stop turning pages because I have to know what happens at the same time.

  1. Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Jennifer: Original. I don’t write to market or follow tropes. I have more story ideas than I will live long enough to write. I write the stories consuming me and hope they find popularity.

  1. Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Jennifer: You’re better at this than you believe you are.

  1. Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Jennifer: I’d have to say it was the bundle of ISBN’s from Bowker. IngramSpark doesn’t issue free ones, and I’m very glad I bought my own to be able to publish on that platform.

  1. Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Jennifer: A squirrel. Imagine a very busy road. There’s a squirrel on one side of it and a mountain sized pile of nuts on the other. The squirrel is darting around, zig zagging, back and forth, here and there, trying to make it through the traffic to get to the nuts. That’s me. That’s my writing style.

  1. Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?

Jennifer: Under this name, I have three published books and four Vellas. The first seasons of Ravenwood and The Below will be published this fall.

  1. Day: What does literary success look like to you?

Jennifer: This is a fluid construct. It was the first time I saw my name in print. The first royalty I received. The first five star review from a stranger. Becoming a five figure author was another success milestone. I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I’ll be comfortable saying, “I’m a success.” I do enjoy the milestones along the way.

  1. Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

Jennifer: I wish I knew! I use social media and word of mouth the most. I’ve recently tried FB ads for one of my Vellas. I need to take out more and try some Amazon ads as well.

  1. Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Jennifer: I don’t research before I begin. I jump in the deep end. Some things I look up online like who was king at this time. Other things, I might ask friends. My ex-husband was a cop at one time, so he gets any questions falling into the law category. 

  1. Day: How many hours a day do you write?

Jennifer: That depends on my work schedule. I write anywhere from 0-2 hours on days I work. If it’s my day off and I have no errands to run, I could spend 12-14 hours writing.

  1. Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Jennifer: I usually include small bits of foreshadowing. If it will be discovered a character is a werewolf, he might bark or growl his words for example. I’d like to leave Easter eggs, but it’s not my strong suit.

  1. Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

Jennifer: That was chapter sixteen in the book Air: The Elementals. As difficult as it was to write, I’ve received amazing feedback from people telling me how much it hurt to read and how much they sobbed.

  1. Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

Jennifer: A couple hours after I wake up, whatever time that might be. It’s when my mind is freshest, and I have the most energy.

  1. Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

Jennifer: All three are important. I like to have characters who make the reader feel something. Love them or hate them. Either way, they’ve connected.

  1. Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

Jennifer: Yes! My friend Jinapher Hoffman is a fantasy writer, and her first book “For Mist & Tar” was recently released.

Jennifer’s top three Kindle Vellas:

Fogpoint Harbor: The Inheritance

Kat was surprised to learn of her great-aunt’s death twenty years after she had been led to believe Aunt Dot had passed away. As the soul inheritor of the estate, there was a catch. She had to live in her aunt’s house for one year to collect. The mysteries surrounding her aunt didn’t end with why she had been lied to about her death. Recruited by the police to solve a town’s murder, Kat relies on an unlikely source to solve the crime: the ghosts residing in her aunt’s Victorian home.

Ravenwood: Volume One

Along Route 116 where the state road weaved its way through the backwoods of Massachusetts was the lane leading to Ravenwood. It was easy to miss. The only travelers in that area were either lost or looking for the old Europeanesque inn. The only people who traveled west of Ravenwood were the people who had grown up there. They knew the woods, feared the creatures who dwelled there, but they respected them. They had made friends with the woods for it were the trees who wouldn’t let you leave.

The Below

All manner of supernatural and mythical beasts dwell in The Below. Their refuge underground has kept them safe for centuries. Phillipe had always known he would never go to The Above. He was the last of his kind, and he hadn’t always followed the rules. He accepted this as his fate until he learned the truth about his parents. Their murder and the lies that covered it up sparked an outrage. There was only one way justice would be carried out, and that was by Phillipe’s own hands.

Jennifer also wrote a YA Elemental series:

Air: The Elementals Book One

Lilah is not at all pleased about her family’s move to the Midwest regardless of the circumstances behind why they were summoned. It’s unfair she has to trade in her days in the sun on the beach for the lackluster cornfields and bare trees filled autumn. Especially since it is centuries old rules and traditions dictating her family’s code. That is until she meets Jackson. The timing of events couldn’t be more wrong. Secrets are revealed and psychic powers unleashed as she comes into her own while navigating the diminishing fine line between family honor and independence. Will she be able to help the other Elements fight the unknown force hunting them down while forging her own identity? Air is the first book in The Elementals series revealing the truth behind myths and legends dating back millennia. Time is running out for the four to bring about the Return and restore Balance to the earth.

Earth: The Elementals Book Two

Everleigh is torn between her grandma’s old fashioned ways and wanting to unite the Elementals in the fight to save their people.

Fire: The Elementals Book Three

Judd is torn between two identities. The private life he leads has to remain a secret. It’s the only way to save his son. The life he’s known by is a past filled with carnage and intimidation. His people are being hunted, and he has to figure out a way to save them without putting his family at risk.

Check out more of Jennifer’s work on her Amazon Author Page, Twitter, and Linktree.