Author Interview with Daniel Mattia, Author of Debut Novella In Crows’ Claws

author interview daniel mattia


Dan and I chit-chat on Twitter a little bit, and I asked if I could interview him, and he was amazing and said yes! Dan published his debut novella, In Crows’ Claws on July 7th of 2018. Writing and publishing is hard work, and everyone has a different experience when it comes to publishing. Listen in to see how he fared in the big bad world of indie-publishing!

crowHow long have you been writing? How long did it take you to write
In Crows’ Claws?

I’ve written almost all of my life. I’m 28 now, and remember writing short stories and tales all throughout my childhood. I continued writing throughout my early teens, then stopped for a few years until about 2010.

During that time, I was at the tail-end of a severe bout of depression and found solace in my writing. It was during this time that I started crafting the fantasy setting of Fyrndell, the world in which In Crows’ Claws is based. I wrote quite a few short stories during this time, all of which have helped me to further flesh out and build upon this setting, but In Crows’ Claws is the first I’ve published.

I wrote the first version of In Crows’ Claws in 2010 or 2011 as a weekly web serial. It was a way to ensure I wrote on a consistent basis and the accountability of publishing a new chapter on a set schedule held me to that promise (for the most part).

The original serialized version took about three or four months to write and was fairly raw. That’s not to say it wasn’t written well-enough for publication, but it certainly didn’t meet my current standards.

crowWhat surprised you most about the writing process of this novella?

The emotions I had to invoke in order to represent the mindset of certain characters. I generally write without much personal emotion; I think there needs to be a sort of cold logic when you’re going through the actual craft of writing. I’m not writing how I feel, but how my characters feel, so it’s important for me, as the author, to be as emotionless as possible.

But as I wrote – particularly in the cases of Ahri and Nextiarc, two of the main characters in In Crows’ Claws – I discovered myself feeling how they felt in some of their specific chapters. Ahri, especially, starts off as an excited and optimistic young man who quickly finds out that the world of Fyrndell is a cold, dark place and the “truths” he felt he knew aren’t entirely accurate. The second-to-last chapter, especially, makes me tear up every time I read it – and, again, I’m not someone who has that happen often.

The chapters written from Nextiarc’s point-of-view surprised me even more. They were actually the most difficult to write because, in order to write from the POV of a literal monster who not only enjoys killing but venerates the very act, I had to adopt a rather dark and violent mindset. I had to write his POV chapters in short bursts because writing in his mindset for long actually frightened me.

crowWhy did you decide to publish?

To prove to myself that I could. I have so many stories I want to tell, particularly in the world of Fyrndell, but I’m someone who often has a self-defeatist attitude and can easily give up before I even try. Forcing myself to publish a finished work (along with the encouragement of some close friends) was what I needed to do first before I could even think of repeating the process.

crowWhat was the biggest obstacle when publishing your novella? What did you do to overcome that obstacle?

Formatting. My workflow, and the software used, is atypical from the workflow used by many other Kindle authors. I had to adapt and figure something out for myself despite there not being much information available for how to do it. Luckily, I discovered the Kindle Create software, which helped me to format and publish the Kindle version without much pain – after, of course, I had converted the book to the proper file format.

crowWhat do you mean by workflow?

In this context, workflow basically means process. Like you were witness to on Twitter during my editing/formatting phase, I didn’t write the novella in Word so exporting from the software I used (yWriter, something akin to Scrivener) meant much of the formatting advice I found online needed some tweaking to apply to my situation. On top of that, I completed the last editing phase in Kindle Create instead of the actual doc, which was a stupid idea, since it meant the final editing copy was locked to a proprietary format and couldn’t be easily converted to a friendlier format, ie. a .doc or .pdf.

crowWith publishing your debut novella, what is one piece of advice you would pass on to a writer who is thinking about publishing for the first time?

Don’t underestimate the value of editing. No matter how much or how little editing your work needs, it will always be better after you’ve put some solid editing time into it. I’d recommend hiring an editor to do it for you, but there’s no excuse for not editing yourself if you can’t afford an editor. Do at least three editing passes in which you read every word and every line.

crowWhat is next for you writing- and publishing-wise?

In Crows’ Claws is sort of the spiritual precursor to what readers can expect from the next Tales of Fyrndell book. My next work will be a novel in the same setting that takes place in a distant kingdom under siege from an invading neighbor, eventually introducing readers to a cold war that’s heating up quickly.

crowWhat will you do differently the next time around?

I’ve already identified where in my workflow I need to make changes to make the formatting process easier and more simple. The next release will come out in both Kindle and paperback format and will (fingers crossed!) not be such a pain to format and release into the world!

Thanks for the interview, Dan! It sounds like we have some spectacular stuff to look forward to!

yWriter is a free writing program similar to Scrivener. If you have been thinking about Scrivner, but don’t want to pay, try yWriter. You can find it here.

Editing and formatting your books for publication can be kind of tricky. Dan isn’t the first author to . . . put it informally . . . mess up. Even after the books I’ve published, I still find shortcuts and different ways of doing things every time.

Formatting your Word file for conversion to download to KDP (Kindle) doesn’t take that long at all. I blogged the instructions here.

If you’re interested in reading In Crows’ Claws you can find it here.

In Crows’ Claws Description

“This desert is the domain of death.”in crows claws cover for blog

The world of Fyrndell is a place of ancient powers, myriad races, and untold secrets. It is a world where gods may or may not exist, where heroes are few and far between, and where technology progresses at a haphazard pace.

IN CROWS’ CLAWS tells the story of two opposing armies as they race across the continent to a recently-unearthed desert tomb believed to be the final resting place of the goddess Konia. Read the letters sent home from Ahri Vestesson, crowkeeper for the Order of the Orthodox Knights of Fyrndell’s Crusade Army, as he wrestles with matters of faith and purpose while longing to return home to his betrothed. The letters of Marshal Taves Khest, veteran general of the Imperial Expedition Force of the Mhedorian Empire, will demonstrate his duty and ability while he leads his army to and through the desert to claim the glory of capturing the Tomb of Konia in the name of his empress.

But the desert holds many secrets and even more dangers still, for both armies will encounter a brutish and violent warband sworn to the service of Tavradyss, God-Prince of Conflict, and led by the even more vicious Nextiarc.

IN CROWS’ CLAWS is a tale full of action, ambiguous divinity, and heartbreak as three armies converge on the Tomb of Konia, desperate to lay claim to its hidden secrets…


Check Dan on these awesome platforms and thanks for reading!

crowAmazon   crow  Goodreads  crow  Twitter  crow  Facebook crow

Aila Stephens’ Interview and Giveaway (Updated post. The giveaway is closed.)

Aila StephensI got to know Aila wasting time networking on Twitter, and I read her first book, Sex, Love, and Technicalities, when it came out last year.

In celebration of her sequel’s release, Sex, Love, and Formalities, I’ve interviewed Aila, and I am also hosting a giveaway! (More on that later.) Settle down with a cup of coffee, and listen in to my interview with her! Enjoy!

You chose IngramSpark over CreateSpace. Can you explain why?
I was drawn to IngramSpark because of the reported quality of their paperbacks. I don’t know how many YouTube videos I watched where people had ordered copies from both Ingram and Createspace, and most authors liked the paper quality of Ingram better. I also liked the fact that my books would potentially be more attractive to brick and mortar stores—because you know, we Indie authors become household names so quickly. 😉
To be honest, I’m now convinced that using a combination of IngramSpark and Createspace is the way to go.

You published your first book in July of 2016, and now you are releasing the sequel in November of 2017. Can you give our readers some pros and cons of waiting over a year between books?
After SLT came out, life slapped me in the face. It wasn’t just one or two little things, it was more akin to a typhoon of problems pounding at my shore. I tried to keep writing during this rough period, but it was easy to see my creativity suffered and I knew I needed to step away if I wanted to even remotely be proud of my work. It stung…but in the long run, I think Sex, Love, and Formalities is better since I waited. The first storyline was weak—so I suppose that’s the pro. During the absence, I wasn’t writing, but I was thinking.
The cons are numerous. People forgot me. I wasn’t selling copies of SLT, therefore it’s hard to build hype around SLF. I will always worry I lost some of Briella’s voice.
All in all, I don’t recommend waiting over a year between books if it can be helped.

Sex, Love and Technicalities

The gorgeous cover for Sex, Love, and Technicalities. Love!

Now that you’ve released two books, can you tell us some of the things that surprised you about the self-publishing industry, or maybe the publishing industry in general?
It surprised me how much I enjoy the process. I love the fact that with self-publishing everything is up to me…which is also terrifying. There are a lot of rules. Marketing is the bane of my existence. That was one thing I hadn’t expected: How much I dislike marketing. I like creating marketing materials…it’s what to do after that baffles me.
I am glad I self-published these first two books. I think it was a great learning process, and I’m sure I will self-publish again. But the two books I am writing next, I plan to pitch. I’m still uncertain about how long I will pitch them before I decide to self-publish them, but I am excited to learn another side of the publishing industry.

Having gone through the publishing process twice now, can you tell us what you would have done differently the first time around with the knowledge you have now?
With the first book, I would have done more editing. I would NOT use IngramSpark for eBook publication. I also would have formatted the eBook myself from the beginning. I would force myself to market more.
With the second book, I wouldn’t have put my passion on hold for so long. I’d force my unsociable self to be more sociable.

In your opinion, what is the best part of the self-publishing process?
It may sound odd…but making my own book covers. I absolutely love making them. I hope people like them half as much as I loved making them.

sex love and formalities

The dazzling new cover! Her cover design skill is proven here. Great job!

Will you ever query and try for a traditionally published deal?
Yes. That’s the plan with the next two books. Alabama Rain is a book I’ve been working on intermittently for the last year and a half, which will now get my full attention. Then I have a project I’m currently outlining and preparing for which has a placeholder title of Underthings.

Thanks for having me, Vania! I am sure I speak for all your readers when I say thanks for all you do for the Indie writing community. You’re an inspiration!

Thank you, Aila, for taking the time to answer my questions. If anyone has other self-publishing questions, ask in the comment sections or tweet us. 🙂 We’ll be more than happy to help!

Please follow Aila on Facebook Twitter (mandatory to enter the giveaway) Goodreads and of course, follow her on Amazon! Keep up to date on her blog posts, and please take a moment to check out her website.

The giveaway for Aila’s release includes:
An assortment of coffee and tea
A coffee mug
Signed paperback copies of Sex, Love, and Technicalities
and Sex, Love, and Formalities
A $25.00 gift card to Amazon sent to the winner’s email address

The giveaway is open internationally, so don’t be afraid to enter!

Click here to enter!!!


Updated to congradulate Rebecca Yelland on winning the giveaway! I hope you all enjoyed Aila’s launch–she had a blast! Thank you all for helping make her day a huge success!


An Interview with Writer Thomas Jast

Today I interviewed the deliciously eccentric Thomas Jast. His new book, Exit Strategies, featuring his character, Alex Aberdeen, is now available on Amazon. This is his fourth published book. Come have a slightly scary peek at the world in which Thomas Jast lives. Have you poured a glass of wine? Good. Let’s begin.


How long have you been writing? What are you working on now?

I did writing journals in Grade 1 to learn English. I assumed that every child was a literary superstar so I overcompensated and hammered out page after page. Little did I realize that writing was going to be my favourite artistic expression and that it would continue forever. I started writing “novels” at age 13 with my older sister’s PC. They were terrible and I truly believe someone would pay money to stop reading them. (And yes, I still have every word I have ever written backed up to a half-dozen locations.)
I’m currently working on a comedy project called Derek Must Die with my BFF Vito Andrews, and this fall I’ll be starting on my next project, Under Gemini Skies, a twisted story of two small-town girls whose friendship disintegrates when one of them gets a taste of wealth and freedom… mixed in with a murder plot, a revenge scheme and an unhealthy dose of psychology, of course.

Exit Strategies is the third book featuring Alex Aberdeen. What appeals to you about her? Why do you keep coming back to her?

I felt that Alex didn’t get a proper ending in Mixed Messages since the original third Alex book never came out. Exit Strategies is entirely new and is set years later, but does the things I didn’t have the skill (or guts) to do back during the original writing period (2009-2010). I have bravely (foolishly?) labelled this novel as a romance and categorized it as such. It’s a love story featuring Alex using everything I’ve learned in life. Mostly bad things. A lot of horrifying things. And it’s kind of dirty and graphic in parts, which isn’t something I’m used to doing.

Do you have more books planned for her?

Always. I have the titles “Trust Issues,” “Systematic Habits” and “Burning Bridges” rolling around in my head. Each one is going to get darker and darker until the text is basically black on black pages. But no earlier than 2020, since I’m moving onto other things for a while. Alex will evolve along with the rest of my work, I hope. Comparing Calculated Regrets to Exit Strategies is unusual because I didn’t even attempt to make them feel similar. I never want to write the same thing twice, which is what a lot of serialized books feel like.

The art on your covers is unique. Can you explain the process of designing your covers?

I generally try to find a “moment” in the book that has a strong visual element to it, something that can be summed up as a single still frame. From Empathetic onward, I found myself moving more toward graphic design, iconography or pictograms. Since indie works are generally found and judged by small Amazon thumbnails, I seem to think that bold, simple images with high contrast stand out more. I’m hoping to catch someone by surprise, have them check it out, and then browse the reviews or a sample.

You publish with IngramSpark. How did you choose between IngramSpark and CreateSpace?

I’ve used CreateSpace years ago on a different project and it was fine. However, as a computer and graphics design nerd, the flexibility and high technical standards of IngramSpark appeal to me. I love the inherent complexity. I love the difference between “black” and “60-40-40-100 CYMK.” That’s my jam.

You publish on Kindle only. What made you decide to go Select rather than publish wide?

I really like Kindle’s KDP Select plan where you get paid when people read the books as part of Kindle Unlimited. As an indie author, many people will give your work a chance if there’s no risk. For a fellow author friend of mine, maybe 80% of his revenue comes from “free” reads and he couldn’t get that with any other plan.

You’re querying a different project. Can you share how that journey is going for you?

I haven’t done as much as I would like but will resume later on this year. I query that book because it’s not my usual indie style and I feel it could be a mainstream success if it lands in the right place. I have no delusions of what is appropriate where: I am aware that a majority of my work is niche and enjoyable for a select audience. But to answer the real question: Querying is soul-crushing and frustrating and probably one step removed from walking around in hell in bare feet.

Do you have any tips or tricks for authors who may be thinking about querying?

Don’t query your first-ever completed novel. It’s probably much rougher than you think, no matter how great the ideas are. You will do much better as your writing skills evolve. The trick is to still *want* to query after all of that time…

You have a limited social media presence. Can you share your opinion on the idea that writers must have a strong social media platform to sell books? Why or why not do you think this is true? If you agree with this opinion, can you give a reluctant author tips on how to work around this?

Leaving Twitter was the very best thing for me and my work ethic. It was a platform of sorts and it did get my name out, but it also paralyzed me from writing new material. What used to take a month now took six, and the competitive and (dare I say…) negative atmosphere eventually sunk me. It depends on what kind of person you are. I’m an obsessive, clingy, dedicated type and what engages me tends to have a way of backfiring. My social circles on there were improved with my peer editing, chat groups, and existing friends. Pushing your indie works on uninterested strangers isn’t very effective so that shouldn’t be the primary reason to use social media. Make yourself and your personality known, and eventually people will want to check out your work.

Exit Strategies will be the first time I release something without the cushion of Twitter, so we’ll see what happens.

What’s next for you writing- and publishing-wise?

Writing one novel a year and releasing a polished novel from the previous year. I want to top Cassandra’s End and am having trouble doing that so far, in both scope and refinement. I want to write a mix of indie and mainstream works because I don’t think one single style or group of content can truly improve your general writing craft. I always want to be out of my comfort zone, even if I fail in the end. I have many completed books I’ve scrapped and don’t regret a thing.

Thanks, Tom, for talking with me! I love chatting with writers about how their journeys are going.


You can find all of Tom’s books on Amazon. Calculated Regrets and Mixed Messages are both on sale now on Kindle for .99 until July 18th. Take advantage of this awesome sale and get to know Alex Aberdeen.

Tom’s newest book, Exit Strategies is available now in paperback and Kindle! Follow Tom on Goodreads and Amazon and read about his imprint, eVw Press here.

Thanks for reading! Come back soon.

(Photo credits: Thomas Jast’s personal photo, covers taken from

#Smutchat’s Settings Part 2 Giveaway

Here’s the lovely link for the giveaway tonight! I’m doing something a little different, and I partnered with Jewel who was sweet enough to volunteer to give her book away.  Please see her interview about her book!

Good luck, and thanks for playing!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



A Fun Interview with Jewel E. Leonard about her book, Rays of Sunshine!

Jewel's FB Author Pic

Today I interviewed Jewel E. Leonard about her book, Rays of Sunshine. We’re talking about Settings for #smutchat this week, and I was interested in how she came to choose her setting for Tales by Rails, her first novella in the book. Listen in to how she wrote her steamy story!


What have you been working on lately?

I am up to my neck in edits for the second book of The Witches’ Rede series. Mostly now I’m writing scenes I failed to get to when I originally wrote this book several years ago during NaNoWriMo. I consider it punishment for a job not-well-done. (Just kidding. Sorta.)
This book was a dumpster fire the way I left it, and I’m pleased to say it’s turning out superbly well with my edits.

#SmutChat’s theme this week is settings. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on Tales by Rails. Your novella is set on a train. How did you choose that location?

To be honest, I gave it little thought; it seemed the natural choice.
When I started writing Tales by Rails, I really didn’t have anything planned for it as it started with what became the opening lines of narration that popped into my head just as I was falling asleep one night. Then as more of the story started coming to me, placing the–ahem–action on a train was a little bit fantasy fulfillment for yours truly.

Have you traveled by train before? (If you have, how was your experience?)

Oh absolutely, many times–California to Pennsylvania and back (twice), California to New Hampshire and back, California to Nebraska and back, Arizona to Texas and back. Like Surfer Boy, I don’t fly.
My experiences with Amtrak have been wildly variable … I wouldn’t recommend taking the train unless you can afford a private “roomette,” as they call the downstairs cabins (Superliners, like the one in Tales by Rails, have two stories–some coach seats downstairs with the roomettes, and coach seats all on the second level).
I had a few trips where nothing went horribly wrong, and some trips where Murphy’s Law was the rule of the rails.
Lost luggage, the dining car splitting from the train and leaving passengers with nothing but the snack car for sustenance, no air conditioning in the heat, heater turned full-blast at night and nothing to be done about it, smokers sneaking cigarettes on board (Amtrak is strictly non-smoking now and was at that time), smoking section sharing a car with a non-smoking section because clearly the smoke will be so kind as to stop at some invisible barrier (this was back in the days before Amtrak went non-smoking), old seats eager to snap at a finger if you tried to recline them, and don’t get me started on the state of the bathrooms at the end of several thousand miles … and there was one trip where we were pretty sure the train was breaking speed limits to get through nasty weather through the Midwest, which spurred a conversation about what happens should a tornado meet a train that scared passengers around us (oopsie) …
Having said all that–a good trip on Amtrak is well worth the fare and yes, I miss going, and double-yes, I sometimes wish I could just drop everything and run away the way Rhea does at the beginning of Tales by Rails.

Did you find yourself restricted in any way by the setting while you were writing?

With the train layover in Albuquerque enabling Surfer Boy to run to a nearby convenience store for some necessities not sold aboard the train, no, I really didn’t feel especially restricted.
Picking compact quarters was also a tip I picked up from a theater class I took as an elective at a community college a few years ago. The plays we studied all took place in one room, generally with more characters than can comfortably fit in them.
Combining tight spaces and two strangers with undeniable chemistry is a quick and dirty way to create tension. In my case, sexual tension.
And yeah, you’d better believe all that entendre was deliberate. 😉

What did you like most about the setting?

I found the setting especially conducive to speeding along the “natural course of events” between Surfer Boy and Rhea, when it almost certainly would have progressed far more slowly under other circumstances. When you’ve got a first-time rail-rider who didn’t especially prepare for her trip, there’s really very little to do if you’re not interested in talking to random people in an Amtrak observation car.
Basically, to be blunt, “trapped” in a tiny Amtrak roomette, if Rhea and Surfer Boy weren’t entertaining each other, they were bored out of their minds.

The sequel to Tales by Rails, Smiles by Trials, is not set on a train. How different was your experience writing the two books?

Smiles by Trials was more difficult … but not only did I expand Rhea’s world into a slightly fictionalized version of Illinois, I introduced several new characters with an assortment of complications, each, and the short novel spanned many months. It was more complicated all around, but more rewarding and–to my shock–seems to be more well-received than the novella that came before it.

Do you think you will write about trains in the future?

Seeing as I’m writing in the old west for The Witches’ Rede, including (steam) trains seems necessary. The railyards of Tucson are featured in book one (with a scene on a west-bound train omitted from the beginning), and there’s quite a bit of train that pops up in book two, with a rather —–never mind that. That’s spoilery. 😉
But yes, trains seem to be a staple in my writing these days, though I imagine that will change once The Witches’ Rede is complete.

Thank you, Jewel, for taking the time to answer some questions and for giving away a paperback copy of Rays of Sunshine during #smutchat this week! Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and bookmark her website.  Take a moment to subscribe to her newsletter to stay up to date on everything she has going on this year!

Her books are available on Amazon! Don’t forget to check them out!


What in the Heck Have I Been Doing?

I haven’t done much writing lately, and I haven’t blogged much either. I gave myself a pass last week because I flew from MN to FL on Friday to go to my sister’s wedding, and I just got back last night (Monday) pretty late. I had a great weekend, though, and I spent a lot of time at the ocean, which was fantastic! I love going to the beach and looking for shells. There’s something calming about seeing the ocean and realizing how small we are in comparison.

But I’m back now, and this summer is going to be all about writing. This is what I’m going to be doing in the next little while:


An editing project came my way, and she was lovely enough to run it through CreateSpace for me so I can work on it at work. I don’t have computer access there, so having the paperback will be a big help. I’m looking forward to helping this author and reading her book. I hope she can get it out this summer.

Summer Secrets

My own editor is coming back with my edits for Summer Secrets. I’ll be putting them in and doing all the rest so I, too, can publish these novellas this summer.  The things I need to before release:

  • Put in all the edits
  • Write the front and back matter
  • Ask @DRWillisBooks (David Willis) to redo improve my map for the book
  • Create the cover
  • Format it for both CS and Kindle. (I will also be going wide with these, and I’ve chosen Draft2Digital to help me with that. I’ll blog about my experience with them at a later date.)
  • After editing the proofs and fixing anything that needs to be fixed, I’ll be seeing if any of the bloggers who had approached me earlier are still interested. These took a lot more time than I had anticipated simply because I added a 6th novella to the series and editing always takes me a lot longer than I anticipate.

I am hoping for an August release. I’m hoping. My plans have been shot to hell before, but I’ll do my best.

A Writer’s Conference in June!

I’ll be going to Santa Barabara in June for a writer’s conference. It’s my first big one and my first time in California! I’m so excited I could die! I have everything paid for . . . I’m just waiting to go! I’ll have to see how much Summer Secrets I can get done before then.

Don’t Run Away

This is my new working title for my Nano project from two years ago (formerly known as Running to Love). I’m letting this one breathe as I have ripped it apart a couple of times now, but I’m thinking as soon as I take the bandages off, it’s going to be all healed to perfection! Maybe not, but I do plan to release it in the fall after editing it a few more times. This is the first book in my Tower City Romance series. I’ll have the second one finished soon, and I plan two more books after that.

tower city logo


And of course, I’ll be doing #smutchat, the Twitter chat I started last month. Or was it two months ago now?  Anyway, I think that people are enjoying it, and it’s going in a direction that I didn’t think it would. I always give away a non-fiction writing resource book in conjunction with the topic of the chat, but other authors have approached me and asked if I could give away their books too. So I will be pairing these books with the non-fiction writing resource I’ll be giving away and even interviewing the author for my blog if they are willing and able. My first foray into this is during one of my weeks when we talk about settings. I have the book picked out already and Jewel E. Leonard is going to be giving away Rays of Sunshine. The writing resource book of the week for that one is @AngelaAckerman‘s book on settings.  It’s something interesting, but I won’t be doing this for every chat simply because planning the blog interview takes time, and quite honestly, I haven’t seen a lot of interest in the giveaways. I was hoping making the giveaway a writing resource would help spark interest, I mean, who doesn’t want to add to their collection to help them write better, but still, no. The last chat I hosted I had only 5 people enter the giveaway. It’s too bad.

Anyway, so that’s what I’ll be doing this summer. I do have a solid publication schedule down though, so you can watch for these:

Summer Secrets, August 2017

Don’t Run Away, (A Tower City Romance) November 2017

Chasing You, (A Tower City Romance) March 2018

After that, I hope to have books three and four of the series completed and ready to go.

I have a busy summer ahead of me, and I hope you do too! What are your summer writing plans?

Interview with darling Brickley Jules!

These past few blog posts have been about editing, and today I interviewed Brickley Jules who has had some trouble experience with editors. I asked her some questions about her editing process, and what she went through to get some of her WIPS whipped into shape. Listen in!

Tell our readers what you’ve been working on.

I’ve been working on the next book in the Chrome Thunder series.

I’m curious about your editing process. How much editing do you do before you pass your work on to an editor?

I let it sit for a month or more before I even start editing. Then I read through it taking notes for character cards, setting cards, businesses cards, and a misc. catch everything else set of cards. I use those to add details and check consistency. After that’s done I read through it to catch typos and any plot holes that I may have missed. I fix all that and usually have a panicked epiphany of something I need to change or adjust through the whole novel. An example would be after doing a search I realize I used a word 300 times, and it’s not an invisible word. Finally, I read it out loud or use my laptop to read it to me.

How did you find your editor for Her Unexpected Life? What were your expectations? Had you worked with an editor before that point?

I posted on Facebook that I was looking for editor recommendations. I had no idea what to expect; this was my first experience with an editor.  And actually, I hired them to help me with Out of the Blue, which is still not published. 

How would you rate your experience with that editor?

As a person new to being edited I would give it a five out of ten. Sometimes things took longer than expected, with no deadline for return given. But as a more seasoned person, I would rate it even lower. I was really bothered by never knowing when I’d get my stuff back. Communication was lacking. I received little to no progress reports unless I asked directly, then the answer was vague. 

In your opinion, did she make your novel better? Was there anything she brought to your attention that surprised you? Did she make your writing better overall?

My first novel was crap and needed lots of editing. So, I believe it was made better. I learned I love a sentence fragment. 

Was there any feedback you didn’t agree with?

I questioned some things because it had been a few years since I wrote. (Where did double spaces go?) But for the most part, it was way better than what I started with. I questioned things in general because I was trying to study up as I went.  

Through Facebook you found a different editor for Vested in Her. What made you change editors?

I used my original editor but also used a new one. The major deciding factor was my wait. I waited and waited for drafts to return just to question what was sent back. 

Can you compare their styles? Was this editor better, worse, or the same?

The second editor flat out told me I was being lazy. My other editor never would have said that. I prefer the second one’s approach. I need the honest harsh truth. Deadpool style. 

Cost is always a big factor when hiring out jobs. Was cost a factor for you when you hired these editors?

Yes. I’m on a shoestring budget and have to get the biggest bang for my buck. (The second editor was free but a close fit for my style of writing.)

Going forward, what will you look for in an editor?

Someone not afraid to throw punches.

Can you give our readers a few tips on how to find a good one?

Don’t be like me and just pick the first recommended to you. Ask them to sample edit for you. Ask a lot of them. You’re hiring them. You’re the boss. What would a boss ask and expect of you?

Thank you, Brickley! Finding an editor is a difficult process. I hope you can find someone to mesh with and maintain a strong relationship with that person going forward. I believe we all need editors to put our best work out there.

Please follow Brickley on Facebook and Twitter @BrickleyJules.

You can find Brickley on Amazon and Goodreads. Browse Her Unexpected Life and Vested in Her, now available!