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

Death’s Heir- A Kindle Vella Story

Lady Clarissa Drake can see ghosts, an ability that landed her mother in an insane asylum. To escape the stigma of her mother’s shame, she travels to America to meet her hopeful intended, but things don’t go according to plan when the ghost of his bastard half-brother’s mother shows up and forces her to confront her gift.

Click on the picture to start reading!

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 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.