Author Interview with C.H. Lyn

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


C.H Lyn: My sister and I spent a full weekend at a cute little bed and breakfast in Santa Cruz, CA, over the summer of 2021. It was amazing. I planned on writing a ton for my WIP at the time and ended up drafting a 4-part series with my sister instead. We haven’t gotten past the first few chapters of book one, but it’s biding its time, waiting for me to finish my current series.


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?


C.H Lyn: Oohh, that’s a tough one. My series, Miss Belle’s Travel Guides takes place all over the world. Book one is set in Tokyo, Thailand, and New York. Book two is set in Peru and New York… I think I’d go for Europe. I’d try to slam out four books for the Travel Guides series that takes place in a bunch of different European countries.


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?


C.H Lyn: Usually if I’ve been at the computer that long without writing, it’s because I got distracted watching Critical Role or Dimension20. The right music always helps. Some good tunes, a chocolatey snack, some tea or coffee, and I’m ready to go!


Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?


C.H Lyn: I used to be a panster, but I’m a plotter all the way. I’ve got detailed outlines for everything I’m working on. For the vellas they’re usually a simple outline. For my books, they are fully written 5 act structures, scenes, etc.


Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?


C.H Lyn: I’d have to say not getting stuck as I go. When I’m writing out the plot – sure, I spend a lot of time scratching my head about what happens next. When I’m actually writing, not so much. If I do have that moment of doubt or hesitation, I usually fill in the word – or even section – with {ELEPHANT} to replace whatever I will go back and take care of later.


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


C.H Lyn: So hard to answer! I write a bunch of different genres, and that’s what I like to read too! Off the top of my head: sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, contemporary action thrillers, and anything that makes me laugh without trying too hard.


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

C.H Lyn: I write what I want to read. I know enough people read the same books as me, that they’ll hopefully like what I’m writing too. Beyond that, I’m not trying to write for the current popular genre. Maybe someday, when I’ve run out of WIPs and backlogged projects, I’ll be able to gauge the market and pop out what is trending, but at the moment, I’m writing for the characters I want more of.


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


C.H Lyn: DON’T DO VANITY PUBLISHING!! Haha, but seriously. It’s a long story and one of the more expensive lessons I’ve ever learned. 19-year-old me could have used a bit of advice in that area.


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


C.H Lyn: My husband bought me my laptop, so I’m not sure that counts. Beyond that, I’d say the cover art I’m currently having commissioned. Based on what I’ve seen so far, it’ll definitely be worth the money.


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


C.H Lyn: My mascot has to be my white German Shepherd. If only because he comes to every game (writing session in my office).


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


C.H Lyn: I have one published book (Lacey Goes to Tokyo) and two finished Vellas, with a third releasing new episodes this month.


Day: What does literary success look like to you?


C.H Lyn: People reading my work, and not just people I know. Having book signings, merch, and a sweater with the rebel logo from my dystopian series on it. It looks like writing and publishing being my career.


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


C.H Lyn: Ha! If I knew that, I’d tell you. From what I can tell, social media is key, but so is stuff like this. Doing interviews with fellow authors, chatting online, and making connections.


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


C.H Lyn: Good lordy, that’s a tough one. For Miss Belle’s Travel Guides, I do a ton of research. Hours for each book. With Book One, I did the research as I went. With Book Two, I’m actually holding off. If I need a restaurant, I leave a space to fill in later once I’ve put an hour into searching blogs and menus to find the perfect fit. For my sci-fi-fantasy/dystopian series, I don’t need much research. The usual writer stuff, how much blood loss kills you, what are the different burn levels, etc.


Day: How many hours a day do you write?


C.H Lyn: On a good day, the average is 2.5. I get a couple hours at the Y while my kids are at Learn and Play. (I love my Y, by the way. It has a cute little lounge area around a fireplace that is perfect for headphones and a laptop and diving into a story.) Then I try to do a half hour to an hour in the evening, depending on what my husband is up to. That time is generally spent with housekeeping: posting episodes to Vella, catching up on author emails, and planning social media stuff.


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


C.H Lyn: Oh, absolutely. I love easter eggs. There is nothing quite like a puzzle that a reader won’t realize until they go through the book a second time. I love pausing while I’m reading, flipping back a hundred pages, and having a Eureka moment. I want to deliver that to my readers as well.


Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?


C.H Lyn: In Lacey Goes to Tokyo there is a lot of reference to abuse. I dance around it because none of my books will show graphic violence against women in that way, but it gets close sometimes. Those are difficult to write, mostly because my mind is always trying to consider what a reader will take from the scene, and I never want to cause unnecessary harm to my readers. Apart from that, Hope and Lies (Book One of the Abredea Series) has several heartbreaking scenes. Writing them isn’t as tough as the edit later on. Reading through the end of my book, when an MC dies in the arms of her grandson, makes me cry every time.


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


C.H Lyn: I used to be a midnight writer, staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning. Now I have two kids, haha. I do my best stuff on the weekends in the morning. Hubby watches the girls, and I hit the coffee shop (or get coffee and work in my new office). We also go to the Y in the mornings, so that automatically makes them the best time – if not technically my favorite.


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

C.H Lyn: I think a strong character will get you through the worst plot, but an intriguing plot won’t get me past a 2-dimensional boring character. If I need to find out what happens, I’ll ask someone who reads it. Epic settings aren’t where I find myself engrossed. I love a good description, and if I’m able to live and breathe a world, it makes the book about a hundred times better. But again, none of that will matter to me if I don’t like the characters.


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


C.H Lyn: I’ll do ya better. I’ll shout out a few. I just finished reading Dakota Breann’s debut novel, and it was a very interesting take on a futuristic dystopian U.S. Lindz Hanson doesn’t have anything out yet, but she’s a riot on Tiktok (@bookreviewflashmob). Glint of Mischief is my cover artist, he did the art for Spooky Cat, and he is also an author. His stuff on social media is fantastic and hilarious, and his covers are gorgeous!


C.H. Lyn’s Vellas:

Abredea: Hope and Lies

No peace without order. No order without caste. Juliana believes in the system. Believes it will work for her as it always has. When she is Coded a White-Star, she realizes people in power don’t always tell the truth. Maybelle is a rebel. She has found her truth, and she will fight for it. Cho wants to survive. Wants his family to live peaceful lives. Their powers – superhuman abilities – make that life nearly impossible. Follow these three in a world where lies are abundant, and hope is rare.


Spooky Cat

Demi has always said ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. It’s the polite thing to do. But does their cat count? When Missy sneezes, and Demi fails to utter the appropriate response, a demon takes over their cat. The unlikely pairing undertakes adventure and hilarity, battling bigots and bigger demons, to get all the things necessary for an exorcism. Because as much as Demi doesn’t want a demon in their cat, the demon wants to be there even less.


Song of the Deep

Prince Derek is set to marry Lady Lydia. Not his choice; not hers. It’s his duty, so he tries to get to know his soon-to-be bride on their trek across the sea to his kingdom. When their ship goes down, and she is lost at sea, Derek is reminded of an old tale, a legend in his lands. When a woman dies at sea, she might not be lost forever. He, and Lydia’s handmaiden, Alyana, find a sea witch to learn if this legend might be true. It might. But what will it cost to see Lydia again?


C.H. Lyn’s book series is:

Lacey Goes To Tokyo: Miss Belle’s Travel Guides

International travel means international danger.

Lacey Devaine is a four-year veteran of a spy ring which fronts as an exclusive escort service, Miss Belle’s Travel Guides. Maintaining her cover is Lacey’s number one priority to protect the integrity of the operation she works for.

While on assignment in Tokyo, a nosy newspaper reporter threatens to blow the lid off a scandal that will put dozens of innocent lives at risk. To protect her cover, Miss Belle is called in to act on intelligence Lacey has uncovered.

Can these beautiful, intelligent, and deadly women complete this assignment in time and emerge unscathed? Or will this mission be their last?


You can find C.H. Lyn at: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, TicToc, and Amazon.


Author Interview with Tricia Schneider

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

Tricia: I don’t have to go far. I live minutes away from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, perhaps best known in the literary world as the home of John O’Hara, author of Appointment in Samarra and Butterfield. He based his popular book, Gibbsville, on his hometown of Pottsville and the residents there.


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?

Tricia: I have written books that take place in London, England, but I’ve never set foot there. Although, I’ve done a ton of research, I would love nothing more than to visit the place. Spending a year in London, or anywhere in the United Kingdom, would be a dream come true!
 


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?


Tricia: This happens more often than I care for, to be honest. I have several methods to work through this. The best for me is taking a walk, going for a drive (although with gas prices these days – not so much lately), or taking a long shower. These work wonders for my creativity. I can usually work through any blocks or plot problems that come my way.
 


Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?


Tricia: I call myself a Planster. A combination of the two work best for me. When I create a story, I write everything I know about it, from characters, setting, plot, you name it. I’ll create an outline with the information I have. Typically, there are big gaping holes where I don’t know what happens. Those get filled in as I write. Most times, I have to go back and fix things as I learn more about the characters and the story. But writing this way gives me a semblance of structure and a vague guide, but still leaves a lot of surprises and what happens next questions that I love to see answered.


Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?


Tricia: I’m not sure I have any unusual writing quirks. Sometimes, I think I’m rather boring. But I will share my experience with my writing space this last summer. I spent days cleaning out my small walk-in closet to convert half of it into an office space where I might escape from my noisy family to get my writing done. It’s beautiful with a small desk, pretty lights and a comfy chair. I was so happy when I finished, imagining my days hidden away, typing my stories. Yeah, it didn’t work out like that. My office isn’t soundproof, so the noises from the household still distract me. Plus, my 7-year-old doesn’t understand the concept of mommy-needs-to-work, so there’s plenty of distraction from him playing with his toys in my office while I’m trying to write. While I haven’t abandoned it completely, I’ve gone back to writing on my bed with my laptop or the sofa in the living room, wearing headphones to block the noise around me.


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


Tricia: I’m an avid reader, and I’ll read anything, but romance is by far my favorite. Any kind of romance. Historical, paranormal, contemporary, it doesn’t matter. I crave that happily-ever-after story. This world is filled with so many uncertainties. I need to know the characters I read about will find their happy-ever-afters since none are guaranteed in real life.


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


Tricia: Probably a combination of the two. I want to write a story that will resonate with readers, but I like to put a fresh, unique spin on my stories. Romance is filled with tropes such as enemies to lovers, arranged marriages, or second-chance love. I like to play with these tropes and see what new twists I can create with them.


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


Tricia: Stop doubting yourself. Just go for it. You can do it!


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


Tricia: The best money I ever spent was on the few writer’s conferences I went to when I was younger and learning about the publishing industry. I met so many people, authors, and aspiring writers, and I learned a great deal from them. Attending those conferences in my early days really impacted me in a wonderful way and led me on the journey I’m currently on.


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


Tricia: I’m not sure I would pick it for myself, but I think a spider picked me. The year I first became published, I kept encountering yellow garden spiders. These spiders are also known as writing spiders. Yes, I had to look it up. When I saw the name, I felt like someone was trying to send me a message. They are orb weavers, which means they create beautiful, intricate webs. I found several in my garden and front porch that year. Also, I found one crawling on my leg while I was driving my son home from preschool one day. No, I didn’t freak out, but it’s a good thing I like spiders! �� I think the spirits were definitely trying to get my attention.


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


Tricia: I’ve been published with The Wild Rose Press and some other indie publishers. I have several paranormal, historical, sci-fi, and fantasy romances published with varying lengths and heat levels. Novels to short stories. Steamy to sweet. Kindle Vella is my newest venture. Right now, I have one Vella published called Into the Dark. But I’m working on more to schedule for next year.


Day: What does literary success look like to you?


Tricia: I already feel successful. For me, I have many milestones on the way to a top goal. I’ve accomplished some such as getting a book written (yes, that counts as a success!), getting published, and making it onto the USA Today Bestseller’s list. My ultimate goal is to make enough income with my writing to pay my bills. That’s always been my dream.


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

Tricia: I’ve been doing this for a while, but I still feel like I’m learning as I go. There are so many methods, and what works for one author may not work for another. I’ve had good luck with my newsletter subscribers and word of mouth.


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

Tricia: It depends on the book. I’ve spent hours reading nonfiction books and searching online articles for my historical romances. I try my best to be as accurate as possible with historical detail. With my paranormal romances, I’ve researched books about mythological and magical creatures. If I can, I like to travel to the locations for the settings of my stories. It’s wonderful to walk the same streets as my characters.
 


Day: How many hours a day do you write?


Tricia: I’m a single mom with four children between the ages of 16 and 7. My writing hours vary greatly. Over the years, I’ve learned to be flexible. Sometimes, I get an hour, and other days I might have five hours. I don’t have a set schedule. My best time for writing in the summer was early in the morning every day while my kids were asleep. Now that they’re back in school, I write more during the weekdays.


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


Tricia: Yes. I love Easter eggs! Most of my stories are interconnected in small ways, whether it’s a setting or a character. Just something minor that ties them together. Another little secret in my writing is the names I use for my characters. I grew up in the ’80s watching re-runs of the 1960s TV drama, Dark Shadows. My mother got me hooked on that show, and it influenced my life in a huge way during my formative years. My passion for the supernatural stems from storylines involving vampires, witches, werewolves, ghosts, curses, time travel, and more. To pay homage to my favorite show, I borrow names of the characters and the actors who played them and use at least one in each of my books, first or last name. It’s not something obvious, but it’s a secret that I think only Dark Shadows fans might catch if they were looking closely.


Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?


Tricia: Anything involving the death of a loved one. My mother died from leukemia when I was 11. It’s difficult to write about loss as it brings strong memories. I discovered quite accidentally that nearly all the heroines in my stories have suffered the loss of their mother. It might not always pertain to the plot in a huge way, but I didn’t even realize I wrote them like that until someone close to me pointed it out.


Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?
 
Tricia: My favorite time to write is whenever I’m alone in my house or when my kids are asleep. That’s the only time it’s quiet and peaceful, so I can lose myself in my story. Having four children, there’s rarely a moment when there’s not noise or chaos. Also, my house has become a haven for some of the neighborhood kids, so I typically have more than just my children in my home. At least two or three others call my house a second home and spend a lot of time with us. So much that they’ve become like part of my family. When I say it’s beyond noisy at my house, I’m not exaggerating!


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

Tricia: All three would be best! Usually, when I’m developing my stories, I start with the characters. I spend a lot of time learning who they are and what makes them tick. I think readers really connect with strong characters who will share their journey and take them through the epic settings and mind-blowing plot twists.


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


Tricia: My bestie author buddy is the amazing Ash Krafton. She’s a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author who writes speculative fiction. I’ve known her since my Waldenbooks days while I worked at the local mall. She’s not only a brilliant writer but a fantastic friend! You must check out her Demimonde series. And, I admit, I might have a teeny bit of a crush on the exorcist mage, Simon Alliant, from The Demon Whisperer series. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve re-read those books multiple times!


Thank you so much for the interview! This was fun!


If you’re interested in learning more about Tricia’s work,

Check out her Kindle Vella:

Into the Dark

Trapped in a dimension where magic feeds from the living, Allison must trust a stranger to help her survive in this terrifying reality. Brian has lost all hope of escape. Finding Allison has given him new purpose to keep going, but for how long? As they search for a way out of this nightmarish world, will they sacrifice their newfound feelings for each other for a chance to return home? Or will they remain trapped in a world where the dead walk among the living?

To see her USA Today bestselling books, check out Tricia’s website or her blog.

And in between deadlines, she’s usually hanging out at one of these social media sites:
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Bookbub
Instagram

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.

Another rough morning …

This is the actual story that inspired episode 6, The Toothbrush, from my Kindle Vella story, The Trifecta.

I went to the store last week, and I forgot to get a toothbrush. There was one in the drawer, so I used it.  I’ve been using it for the past week. Andrew comes into my room this morning at 8:45 and says, “Why are you using my toothbrush?”

“What?” I said, not awake yet, and still on my first cup of coffee.

“You stole my toothbrush,” he accuses.

I respond with, “It was in the drawer. Go eat breakfast.”

Andrew walks away and comes back five seconds later. “I can’t believe you stole my toothbrush.”

“Really? It was in the drawer, not being used. I didn’t steal it,” I said, exasperated.

Andrew narrows his eyes at me. “It was mine. I distinctly remember asking the lady for an orange and black toothbrush.”

“It’s blue and black,” I counter.

He says, “It has some orange on it.”

“OMG! Get over it and go eat,” I say, exacerbated.

Andrew walks away and comes back three seconds later. “I can’t believe you stole my toothbrush!”

Insane, maniacal laughter comes out of me at this point because of the sheer ridiculousness of it.

Now he comes into my room instead of standing in the doorway.

“I want my toothbrush back.”

 I practically yell, “I’m already using it! You can’t have it.”

“I’ll just wash it a million times.”

“Why do you care so much about this stupid toothbrush?”

“I was going to use it when my Star Wars one dies.”

“What? I’ll just get you a new Star Wars one.”

“No, I want that one.”

“Why?”

“Because.”

Then it dawns on me that he has a crush on the pretty, young dental hygienist who gave him the toothbrush. So I ask, “Is it because you like the pretty hygienist that gave it to you?”

He walks away without answering.

I shout, “Ahaha! That’s it, isn’t it? You like it because she gave it to you!”

He refuses to answer and goes into the bathroom. I follow, watching as he snatches my toothbrush with a scowl.

“Give me my toothbrush back! We can ask her for a new one,” I said, slightly amused now.

He shakes his head.

“Fine!” I open the drawer and pick the green one, and put it in my now empty toothbrush spot. “Happy?”

He stares at the green toothbrush and asks suspiciously, “Where did you get the green one?”

“It’s mine!” I snap.

Andrew says, “I’ve never seen it before.” 

Before I can respond, he runs off with the toothbrush I was using, and when I leave the bathroom, he goes back in there and spends five minutes washing it with disinfecting soap.