Author Spotlight – N. L. Byers

This next author’s caring heart knows no limit and it shines through in her answers to these questions. Nancy is a constant supporter and kind presence in the Debut Collective. I remember her speech during the closing ceremony’s annual open keynote very well. She touched everyone in that room as she shared her fears of rejection, but her commitment to press on and publish her words anyway. 

I am honored that Nancy has chosen to make that pledge come true by participating in our anthology series. I have read both of her stories and can tell you she has a gift for channeling the underdogs and vulnerable characters you just cannot help rooting for. 

The Debut Collective is a supportive tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. We will be publishing 5 short story anthologies in June 2016.

I am pleased to share the following interview with contributing author, N. L. Byers!

NancyPlease share a little about yourself and your background.

I was born and raised in Hattiesburg, Ms. I went to high school in at a small Christian school in northern Mississippi called French Camp. After high school, I return back home and completed my undergraduate degree in English at The University of Southern Mississippi. Fiction writing was my favorite class. My professor told me I would publish but I figured she was just being nice and put the idea in the back of my mind.

I stumbled across a book by Quinn Loftis titled Prince of Wolves (Book 1, Grey Wolves Series). I fell in love with her books and I looked her up on Facebook. Quinn would be the first of many indie authors that not only introduced me to the world of self-publishing but ignited the desire to write my own book.  There is one thing I have learned and that is the authors I love Quinn Loftis, Amy Bartol, Jennifer Armentrout, Raine Thomas, Mary Ting, Carol Kunz and many other amazing authors continue to inspire me make writing a book seem so easy.

When you sit down to write your first book if you aren’t looking at a blank document on your computer, if you actually get words down then you find you will face other challenges like self-doubt (Am I could enough, would anybody read what I have to say?), or Do I plot or do I write by the “seat of my pants?” (Pantser is a writer who writes by the seat of their pants), or if you do get words down and you find you aren’t happy with them so you hit the backspace key and delete them. It’s easy to be full of the passion to write a story, but if you get caught up in the cyclic thinking of these questions or whatever pertains to your writing journey you find yourself never getting off the “starting line.”

So when I came across the opportunity to write a short story or two for the Debut Anthologies Collective, I jumped at the chance. I could get my writing “feet” wet by starting small and if I had a crisis of faith my story would be bundled with over 40 other amazing authors so that any possible criticism might not sting that much or at least that was my initial thought. Writing the underdog story was really tough, but when I wrote it I found such an overwhelmingly supportive writing community with the Debut Collective. I found that writing and letting others read it might be scary, but that I wasn’t alone in feeling that way.

I continue to work on the first draft of my own book. I don’t have a title right now, but I can share that it will be in the Fantasy/Paranormal genre. My hope is to publish it later this year or by January of 2017.

 

B2_UnderDogs-1Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in?

I will be published in the Underdog anthology and the Love Against all odds anthology.

 

Share a brief teaser or logline for your story/stories.

Underdogs – A shy, intelligent girl is bulllied daily, but risks staying at school even longer for a tutoring job to help support her family.

When Dani’s assigned to tutor the hottest boy on the hockey team, she finds an unlikely ally but fears her bully’s torments will increase.

A school dance provides her with both a challenge and an opportunity, if she can find the courage within.

Love Against All Odds – A sensitive writer steps outside her comfort zone and attends a book event. While there, she has a heated exchange with a book cover model. Will she overcome longheld fears and find love? Or like the fictional characters he portays, is he too good to be true?

 

Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective?

Dani is a character that has lost her mom, and her dad works hard as a mechanic to put food on the table. So she is self-conscious because she doesn’t have the designer clothes are shoes and coupled with the fact that she is extremely smart she finds she doesn’t fit in anywhere. When she becomes a victim of the school bully, she hides because she doesn’t want to be a tattle tell and further ostracize herself from other students. She tutors a boy, with his help finds the courage to use her voice to stand up to the school bully.

I think sometimes when we are in a situation we don’t always see the way clear out of it or we don’t think we have the power to change our circumstances. Dani buries her head in the sand with the attitude, “If I don’t think about it or talk about it, then it doesn’t exist or it will all go away.” She finds the courage to use her voice not only to change her on circumstances, but to be an example for that one student who might feel trapped about their own problems.

There is amazing shirt that was created by Victoria Faye for the Utopia Con that says “Lift as you rise” and I think that is a key theme that I feel shines in this short story. We all have a voice, but sometimes we need a little encouragement to make our voices heard.

 

What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre?

I am still at the beginning of my writing journey. Fantasy/Paranormal genre is a genre I have always loved to read, so it was no surprise to find that I love writing it. I like the idea that the “rules” of the everyday world and transform them into something that is beyond our senses.

 

Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins?

I work full time at The University of Southern Mississippi. so finding writing time isn’t always a daily activity and there are times when I have to make time to write.  I would love to write full time someday, but right now I fight to balance my day job with what I love to do and that is writing.

 

Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)?

I have referred to this question in my background because it was Amy Bartol that first introduced the plotter and pantser style during a panel at Utopia con 2015.  Hearing the term pantser changed my life.  I have struggled with trying to outline but the idea that I would run with an idea left me with the doubt that I wasn’t a legit writer because I didn’t have a set plan. I prefer to run with an idea, but the more I write the more I feel the need to find a balance between plotting and being a pantser.

My goal is to be able to plot just enough to give me a rough idea of the overall structure of the story, but then to allow my imagination loose to run with its idea and see where it takes me.  So the answer to this question, at least for me, isn’t easy to answer because I feel like I need to be able to do a bit of both and right now the only thing I feel comfortable with is running with an idea.

 

What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend?

Andre Norton, Half-blood series: Elven born, Elven Bred, anything by Quinn Loftis but the Grey Wolf series will always be my favorite, The Premonition Series by Amy Bartol, and the Lux Series by Jennifer Armentrout.

 

What is your favorite writing/reading related quote?

Writing is the vehicle that allows our imaginations to communicate with the world around us. N.B

 

Tell us 5 random facts about you:

I can sing and I used to play violin when I was in junior high school.

I try to work out 6 to 7 hours a week.

I have two masters’ degrees in Instructional Technology and Higher Education Administration

I have a ‘thing’ for blond headed guys.

I’m a dog person/lover

 

Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story?

Music and nature sounds have inspired my writing, but there wasn’t a particular song that inspired my short story. I took inspiration from my days in high school where I was often bullied and it took a dear friend to help me find my voice to stand to the bullies.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively?

The advice I would give to inspiring writers is to let go of the pressure of “Hey, I’m writing a book! Oh crap, I’m writing a BOOK!” Many of my writer friends have said “You can’t edit a blank page.” But you might find you have trouble getting the story out when you are putting pressure on yourself.

Write because you need to, because the characters inside demand to be heard. Write because you want to escape the world you’re in so you create another. Write, not because someone will buy your book or give you a great review, write because it is as vital to you as the air you breathe.  If people like your book, that’s awesome but the reasons you write are uniquely your own.

Don’t compare your writing skill, experience or lack thereof. Your journey is uniquely your own so you decide where you go.

Robert Frost said it best. It’s not about the writing “road’ or the path you take to write your first book. It’s is fact that the choice that is yours alone so revel in the privilege it is to be able to make that choice.

 

 

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I have an author page under my name Nancy Byers where I post about myself and my work. Future plans include developing a street team and increasing my visibility on social networking sites.

Author Spotlight – Kristina Seek

Kristina is a shining example of the power of the Debut Collective’s community and support. Her two stories for the Debut Collective Anthologies will be her first published works. So exciting!

We are pleased to share the following interview with contributing author, Kristina Seek.

 

Please share a little about yourself and your background.

I am a Texan, but have lived in Charlotte, NC since the early 1990s.  I was a History major in college; ancient civilizations, medieval Europe, and Colonial America are my favorite periods.  I do Marketing & Promotions for a Design-Build firm, and I enjoy reading, writing, and travelling.

 

Please share information on any published or upcoming books.

My submissions to The Debut Collective will be my first published stories.  I have two works in progress, and plan to publish one or both in late 2016.

 

 

Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in?

Secret Identity and Underdogs

 

Share a brief teaser or logline for your story/stories.

Love in FX (Secret Identity): The President’s daughter goes to extreme measures to avoid the press during a rare night out with her boyfriend.

River Reeds (Underdogs):  Teenage villagers who fail a rite of passage are banished to life on the riverbank.  When the village is under attacked, will the outcasts do anything to help?

 

 

 

Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective?

Love in FX: Kinsey Matthews is the eldest daughter of the newly elected President of the United States.  Between the Secret Service and the paparazzi, she is not afforded the privacy needed to spend time with her boyfriend.  When deciding on an approach for a Secret Identity story, I thought a “hiding in plain sight” plot would be fun.  Politicians may want the limelight, but their children may not want the interruption into their lives.

 

What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre?

Middle Grade/ Young Adult adventure and contemporary romance.  I enjoy books for kids and moms alike!

 

Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins?

I just open a Word document and go for it.  I start with an outline and write in stolen moments.  Don’t tell my boss, but sometimes inspiration strikes while I am on the clock & I fill up sticky notes with ideas.

 

Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)?

Recovering pantser; converted to plotting recently.

 

What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend?

Currently reading Stars Above by Marissa Meyer.  I am a huge fan of the Lunar Chronicles series.

 

What is your favorite writing/reading related quote?

If there is a book you want to read. but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. – Toni Morrison

 

Tell us 5 random facts about you:

  1. I am an only child.
  2. My son is an only child.
  3. My husband was a college cheerleader.
  4. I am a huge Carolina Panthers fan.
  5. I work out about 5 days a week at a bootcamp.

 

Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story?

My Silver Lining by First Aid Kit

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The first draft is for your eyes only.  Write like nobody will see it; edit like everyone will.

 

How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively?

The accountability and deadlines forced me to follow through with my commitments.  Knowing I was supported by a generous team of professionals made the challenges easier to face, and I was encouraged by the friends and family who knew I was participating in such an incredible project.

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I have a book blog: www.thebookbeacon.com

Facebook: Kristina Seek, Author

Twitter: @krisseek

Pinterest: Kris Seek

Goodreads: Kris Seek

Thank you for participating! Please join us on Friday, when the Debut Collective will feature N. L. Byers. 

Author Spotlight – David Berger

Okay, trust me on this… You MUST scroll down and check out David’s fan-freaking-tastic office. What an amazing room for creativity & connecting with your inner superhero!

The Debut Collective is a supportive tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. We will be publishing 5 short story anthologies in June 2016.

We are pleased to share the following interview with contributing author, David Berger.

 

Please share a little about yourself and your background.

Ever since I was a child, I was actively inspired by the Muses to write. Whether it was stories of the Smurfs when I was seven or Star-Trek-meets-Greek-myth short story in my senior year in high school, I have always desired to share adventures. Becoming an English teacher simply fueled my desire to write, and from this, as well as a love of fantasy and comic books (especially Wonder Woman), I created my Task Force: Gaea series. I go to various conventions across the country to meet fans, sign books, and just be a total geek.

 

 

 

Please share information on any published or upcoming books.

I am currently working on book four of the Task Force: Gaea series, The Archer’s Paradox, as well as an anthology of stories, Of Mortal Bonds, tied to the second book (Memory’s Curse) that will give the account of the Olympians living as mortals for one year. I’m also writing a Celtic myth-inspired series called The DragonHawk Cycle, with the first novel being The Quest of Wyndracer and Fyrehunter (2017 or 2018). In this series, two sixteen-year-old boys, Conall and Aedan, learn they are destined to stop a war between the Ancient Ones being fought in the mortal world.

 

Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in?

The Underdog anthology.

Share a brief teaser or logline for your story/stories.

Prince Aisling sat in the shadow of his three older brothers all his life, that is, until he needed to use his magic to help his father, but in the unlikeliest of ways.

Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective?

Prince Aisling was born the youngest of four, and his brothers have had the ability to conjure weapons ever since they were little. Aisling doesn’t follow his brothers’ path, and that has him tormented by the other three and even members of the kingdom. I was bullied as a child, and I didn’t realize my gifts until I needed to use them, namely my love of writing. I wanted to show that people have talents, but they don’t always look like everyone else’s.

What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre?

I write in the fantasy genre, and this came from my love of comic books and fantasy novels. The escape I find in the fantasy realm grew from being a child of divorce and needing to lose myself in books. As an adult, I enjoy creating other worlds where the rules of this one don’t necessarily apply.

 

 

Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins?

I start by outlining a story, or a novel, and then I try to make time a few times a week to work on some aspect of it: a chapter, a scene, or a character. I find that aiming for word counts is counterproductive, and sometimes demoralizing, so I just write until I can’t write any further. Then, I pick it up another time. I use Microsoft Word mostly, but I start out with Google Docs.

Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)?

I’m a “bi” writer, I do a bit of both. 😉

What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend?

I just finished Slumberscythe by Vance Bastian and To Move Forward by Geoffrey Bauernfeind. I highly recommend them both!

What is your favorite writing/reading related quote?

One of my high school English teachers wrote in my yearbook, “In a blue Aegean night, after the gods and nymphs have said adieu, your muse will find new life.” That has been the core of my writing since I was a young man.

The view from David’s desk. Coolest office ever, right? More pics in his Facebook Album: Wonder Woman Shrine!

Tell us 5 random facts about you:

I have a Wonder Woman-themed home office, I’ve appeared in three different Wonder Woman comics, I use my middle name as my first name, I my first novel took 25 years to finish, and I watch comic book related movies for inspiration.

 

Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story?

Music does not influence my writing. In fact, I write best with background noise at Starbucks than anything else. Or, perhaps a thunderstorm.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively?

With aspiring writers, I would say, everyone’s work has an audience, and they need to find theirs. Not all writers in the same genre attract the same readers. Knowing I was writing with others helped fuel me a bit, keeping my writing mojo moving through the rough spots we all have.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: http://www.davidbergerbooks.com

Facebook: facebook.com/david.berger

Twitter: twitter.com/MrDBerger

Instagram: instagram.com/inspiredgemini

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5625101.David_Berger

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/David-Berger/e/B0075O7YD0/

 

Thank you for participating! Please join us on Wednesday, when the Debut Collective will feature Kristina Seek.

 

Author Spotlight – Carol Kunz

There’s a reason Carol won the 2015 Utopian of the Year award. She exudes kindness and acceptance with every hug she so generously shares.  I had difficulty finding a photo on her Facebook page where she wasn’t hugging someone.

The Debut Collective is a supportive tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. We will be publishing 5 short story anthologies in June 2016.

We are pleased to share the following interview with USA Today Bestselling author, Carol Kunz.

 

Please share a little about yourself and your background.

My Mum is English and my Dad is American. My Dad was in the Air Force and stationed in England when he met my Mum. I was born in an English maternity home and didn’t come to the United States until I was three. I spent 14 out of the first 19 years of my life, living in England. My Hubby and I have been married 40 years next month and we have two adult children. My Hubby retired from the Air Force and we moved to Florida in 1999. We have two fur babies that keep us busy. Our son lives a hour away and our daughter, thirty minutes away.

 

Please share information on any published or upcoming books.  I’m currently working on three books, yes, three.  Two are romantic comedies and the other is a paranormal romance.

Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in?  Bravery

Share a brief teaser or logline for your story/stories.  

Is she losing her mind or are her dreams real?

Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective? My character is an overworked medical intern.  I worked in the medical field for years so I love reading and watching books and shows that deal with medicine, like Code Black, Grey’s Anatomy and Robin Cook’s Coma.

What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre? I write Middle Grade and Young Adult Paranormal and Dystopian with my son, Adam and I write Adult under the pen name Amanda Jason.

Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins?  I have to be in the mood to write but when I am, the ideas flow. I scribble notes on a small notepad that I carry with me in my purse.

Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)? When I write with my son we have to use an outline. When writing by myself, I’m a pantser.

What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend? I’m reading The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner

What is your favorite writing/reading related quote?

“There is no greater agony than hearing an untold story inside you.”  Maya Angelou

 

Had to include this beautiful photo of Carol being kissed by our own BJ Sheldon. Love her expression of love!

Tell us 5 random facts about you:

 

1.      My neck was broken 22 years ago.

2.      I have a broken titanium plate in my neck

3.      I’m left-handed.

4.      My pen name Amanda Jason is a tribute to my twins I lost 39 years ago this month.

5.      I never thought I would live beyond the age of 40. Three days after my 40th birthday, I died on the OR table.

Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story? No. I have to write in a quiet room.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively?  Write what you love, never give up your dream and definitely don’t wait until my age to follow it.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarolKohnertKunz

Twitter: @amandaJason13

Pinterest: Carol Kunz

Amazon Author Page: Amazon

 

 Thank you for participating, Carol! I’m looking forward to another of your famous hugs at UTOPiA 2016. 🙂

 

Are you a Blogger?

Are you an avid blogger? Beginner? Just have one that you like to toss things up onto every once in a while?

Well, how would you like to be an official Debut Collective blogger?

We are looking for bloggers of all calibers to join our growing team of support blogs to announce as things come out.This isn’t a heavy load, but as we ramp up for release, we will have some things that we will shoot your way that we’re excited about.

And you’re just in time! We are in the process of releasing the front covers. So there’s a good amount of buzz going around! Before we know it, we will be sending our bloggers the full covers to do one big announcement!

Here’s how you join us:

Debut Collective Official Blogger Sign-up Form

Author Spotlight – Leigh Anne DuChene

One of the reasons I love this interview series is it gives me a chance to get to know the contributing authors better too! I had no idea Leigh Anne was so active in the holistic living community. (I studied Herbalism for a year myself!)

The Debut Collective is a supportive tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. We will be publishing 5 short story anthologies in June 2016.

We are pleased to share the following interview with contributing author, Leigh Anne DuChene.

 

Please share a little about yourself and your background.

Hi, I’m Leigh Anne DuChene. I’m a homeschooling and work-at-home mother to three sprightly boys. I love to read, and I write in what little free time I can find. I am a natural living and parenting educator, coach, mentor. I’ve spent the past 10 years of my life in this work studying all areas of holistic living I could find. I like to infuse my writing with a flair of holistic and natural living to make my stories unique, intriguing, and pique interest in holistic living for all who read my work.

 

 

Please share information on any published or upcoming books.

I am working on 3 books right now. Wolf Valor the short story will be published in the Debut Collective anthology series. Wolf Valor the novel is still in the works and will be my first completed and published novel.

I am also working on The Oracle, book 1 of the Avi’el Series. I’ve been writing this book for a long time, like years. lol … A lot of research for world, character, and plot development has gone into this series.

Then, there is Soul Healers book 1 that is also almost done. It will likely be my second published novel.

 

Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in?

I wrote Wolf Valor for the Act of Bravery anthology of the Debut Collective anthology series.

 

Share a brief teaser or logline for your story/stories.

Wolf Valor:

This Winter Solstice not only brings with it a full moon for Starla, but a life changing event that helps her discover the bravery she keeps hidden deep down inside. In order to save her best friend, Starla must face her fears of the unknown and the crazy new world she’s been thrust into.

 

The Oracle, Book 1 of The Avi’el Series:

Can Sirra fight the dark within before it is too late to save her people, the Avi’el? Sirra has to make it to her consecration ceremony to bind the dark Rephaim magic flowing in her veins. If Sirra succumbs to the lure of the Rephaim magic within her before she is consecrated as the Avi’el’s new Oracle, the delicate balance of light and dark powers in the world that her people have fought for centuries to maintain will be destroyed and the Rephaim will bring darkness upon the world.

 

Soul Healers Book 1 Teaser:

Cole takes our entwined hands and slowly and smoothly raises them above our heads. With his face still directly next to my right ear, he begins to trail soft, gentle kisses from my ear lobe, down the side of my next , to my right shoulder. Untangling our fingers he slowly starts to glide his hands down my arms toward my elbow. I let my elbows bend and my hands find his hair. I tangle my fingers into his lush locks, as he continues peppering my neck with kisses as he moves his hands down my arms toward my body. He never stops. Without missing a beat, Cole continues slowly roaming his hands down my sides as if he is trying to memorize through touch the feel of my body. He subtly grazing  the sides of my breasts sending an intense tingling sensation through my core which causes my breath to hitch. In response, Cole stops peppering kisses on my next  and begins suckling at the crook of my neck as my fingers comb through his hair and gently caress his neck. His hands now at my waist, Cole moves inward toward my stomach, splaying his hands firmly against my belly and gently squeezing me as if to draw me even closer to him. He finally stops his exquisite assault on my neck, and nuzzles close to my ear once more.

 

 

Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective?

Starla has been recently hurt by the man she loved and intended to marry. This pain has caused her to retreat from the world to protect her heart. She has spent months focused only on her business and best friend. Then, the unfathomable happens to her, and she has to buck up, move past the hurt, find her courage, save her friend, and open herself to love again.

We’ve all been burned by someone we care about. It is in how we choose to live our life following that shows who we are choosing to be. Do we let that event define who we are, or do we find our courage, be brave, and go live our life again?

I wanted to show that courage is found in many ways, in many situations, and for many reasons. Starla has to find her courage to live her life again, her courage to save her best friend, and probably the most difficult for many the courage to open her heart again.

Her acts of bravery are both personal and to save her friend’s life.

 

What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre?

I write young adult, new adult, and adult contemporary and fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi romance.

I love fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction the best with a healthy dose of romance thrown in. I like to be taken out of reality and thrown into a fantastical world or experience. It’s a great escape and mental relaxer.

Sometimes, I prefer contemporary. Sometimes we need to see the romance in the real world, not just the fantastical.

 

Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins?

I don’t have a typical writing day. I write when I can fit it into my life. Usually that means evenings after the family is in bed.

I don’t aim for word counts or pages. I write till the inspiration for that session stops. I keep a notebook, or digital note file on my phone, with me at all times to write down ideas, scenes, lines, snip-its that come to me throughout my day so that I can later incorporate them into my stories when writing.

I use notebooks, napkins, scrap paper, phone, ipad, word processor file on computer, and Scrivener. I use whatever I have in the moment when I need it, and I use Scrivener to finalize it all. When I am stuck I find writing by hand helps inspire the creative juices.

 

Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)?

Depends on the story or series. I have one that I have thoroughly researched, planned, and detailed out. It has taken me years. I have 2 others that I haven’t planned out, I just write what comes to me. Both ways are great to me, and I enjoy both approaches. They work better for different types of stories and intentions of the author.

 

What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend?

I’m currently reading the “Off-Campus” Series by Elle Kennedy, just finished The Deal and already started The Mistake.

I’m also reading Dawn of Ash, book 6 of the Imdalind Series by Rebecca Ethington that just came out.

There are so many great authors, books, and series out there. My favorite New Adult fantasy romance that I recently finished is The Kricket Series by Amy Bartol. Under Different Stars, book 1 of the series, is just fabulous!

 

What is your favorite writing/reading related quote?

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison

 

Tell us 5 random facts about you:

I’m a Traditional Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, and Massage Therapist specializing in Maternal and Pediatric wellness.

I founded and have led a local holistic living and parenting community for the DFW, TX area for 9 years now.

I am a former chiropractic student.

I played the flute in junior high and high school band and love native flute music.

I make handcrafted herbal remedies and homemade holistic living products.

 

Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story?

Music can influence my writing, but it isn’t a major influencer.

Demons by Imagine Dragons was the most recent major music influencer for me. It really helped me to write some of the scenes in The Oracle, book 1 of The Avi’el Series.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively?

Just write. Make time to do what you love, even if it is carved out of the wee hours of the night. Don’t be afraid to share your work, to get critics, and to publish your work. Being part of the Debut Collective has allowed me to get published with a short story first, before the novel is published. It has eased some of my anxieties about completing a book and publishing it. (Love, love, LOVE this! That’s what I’d hoped would happen. <3)

 

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Website or Blog: www.author.leighanneduchene.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorLeighAnneDuChene

Twitter: @livealongtheway

Pinterest: @livealongtheway

Goodreads: @leighanneduchene

 

Thank you for participating! Please join us on Friday, when the Debut Collective will feature the absolute best hugger in the world, Carol Kunz!

 

 

Author Spotlight – BJ Sheldon

Starting the week off right with an introduction to BJ! You may recognize her from one heckofa Pitch Perfect lip sync performance at UTOPYA Con 2015. I don’t think this awesome lady has any idea how much she inspires her fellow authors. She has a motto that has taken root in the hearts of her supporters… “Be Ceaseless!” 

The Debut Collective is a supportive tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. We will be publishing 5 short story anthologies in June 2016.

We are pleased to share the following interview with contributing author, BJ Sheldon.

 

BJ Sheldon, Author's Profile PhotoPlease share a little about yourself and your background. – I began reading at the age of 4 and developed my love of writing in the 4th grade where I wrote my first book. Well, it was about 20 handwritten pages long, so not really a book…but it was a big deal to me at the time. I took up writing again in 2009 when I lost my job. I’m married to my best friend and have 3 daughters aged 12, 18, and 21. We have 3 cats, 1 dog, and not enough bookshelves to hold the books we currently own, let alone the ones I plan on buying.

 

Please share information on any published or upcoming books.

– I’m the author of The Dusty Chronicles, a young adult paranormal romance trilogy about a girl and the ghost that haunts her dreams as well as her home. They are all available on Amazon. I have also written and published “Hear the Crickets” which is the first book in The Gibborim Series. Books two and three will be out in 2016 and 2017. The Gibborim Series is available on all e-book platforms and the paperback is available on Amazon. I also have 4 other books in the planning stages with more ideas coming to me every day.

 

 

Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in? I wrote for the Act of Bravery, Insurgency, and Underdog anthologies.

Share a brief teaser or logline for your story stories.

1)      Act of Bravery – When Andrew takes on a dare involving a creepy, old house with a mysterious past, his night is filled with noises, smells, and unwanted visitors. But is it all in his head? Or does he have reason to be scared?

2)      Insurgency – What happens when the adults of the world are gone and children are all that’s left to fight an unbeatable foe? A new breed of soldier is born, and it’s up to them to fight for humanity’s survival.

3)      Underdog – When you grow up on a moon base, there aren’t too many places to run when trouble arrives. And for Linus, trouble comes in the form of bully, Jonah. But being young and small for one’s age doesn’t mean they can’t have the courage of a lion.

Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective?

1)      Act of Bravery – Andrew was basically the male version of me in high school. I was a bit of a follower and just wanted to prove that I was just as cool as the next kid. But unlike Andrew, I never would have had the heart to spend the night in an old, abandoned house. But I always wondered what would have happened if I had. Through this story, I was able to find out.

2)      Insurgency – I liked the idea of an army of children who were created by their captors – not by force, but out of desperation to survive. I thought it would be interesting to see what it would be like to lead that army through the eyes of a boy who had to grow up way before his time.

3)      Underdog – I love underdog stories. They’re probably my favorite. There’s something satisfying about the little guy winning in the end against all odds. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s to never judge a book by its cover. Just because Linus was small didn’t mean his heart wasn’t large.

BJ - DustyTrilogyWhat genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre?

– I currently write in the paranormal romance and fantasy genres for the young adult category. I love the freedom that those genres give, allowing me to create circumstances and worlds that exist outside our normal realm of reality. In fact, taking a myth that someone may think they understand and putting my own twist on it to throw them off is something I thoroughly enjoy. Eventually, I’d love to write a sci-fi book and a YA contemporary romance, and down the road I may even try my hand at an adult contemporary. But for now, I’m happy with the worlds I’m currently building.

Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins? – With my day job as a project analyst, there is no such thing as a typical writing day. I usually get home around 4:30 in the afternoon where I end up helping my youngest daughter with her homework, prep dinner, and work on any little house chores that need to be done. Then I either jog on my treadmill or do some weight training. Dinner is next followed by whatever writing I can get in for the rest of the night. Ideally, my entire weekend would be spent writing, but it all depends on how many errands I have to run and how clean my house is. Lucky for me, my husband will pitch in and clean the house for me. The writing process itself starts as a diagram to lay out the basic plot. I then use a notebook to write out the main points of the storyline from start to finish. From there, I usually search Pinterest for photographs of characters that will help inspire the story. They get printed out with identifying details which will help me as I write, such as height, hair color, personality traits, etc. Then I type out the outline on my laptop. I don’t use Scrivener or anything like that. Just me, my laptop, Word, and color printouts of my characters.

Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)? – Both. While I carefully plan out the plot and outline, there is usually a 50/50 chance that my characters will run amok and go where they want from chapter to chapter.

What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend? I highly recommend the WOOL series by Hugh Howey. It was incredibly well written and kept me turning pages late into the night. I’m not currently reading anything at the moment since I’m in the middle of working on book two of my Gibborim Series, but high on my list of books to read are Wither by Amy Miles and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

What is your favorite writing/reading related quote? My favorite quote is by Edgar Allan Poe, which is, “I’m a writer. Therefore, I am not sane.”

Tell us 5 random facts about you:

  1. I have a fear of letting other people drive when I’m in a car, so I tend to freak out if forced to use a taxi or Uber. In turn, my husband always lets me drive whenever we go somewhere.
  2. I am terrified of frogs.
  3. Tiny holes, tightly packed together, freaks me out. Bee honeycombs, for instances, gives me the willies.
  4. I recently lost over 70 lbs and am currently training to run a 5k.
  5. In 1991, I nearly moved to Nashville to try my hand at becoming a country singer.

Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story? Music does influence my writing. The song Dorian by Agnes Obel inspired the character of Dorian in my last book, Hear the Crickets. As for the anthologies, I didn’t focus on one particular song. All 3 stories were inspired by my darker playlist that involved Poe, Bastille, and the soundtracks of multiple Harry Potter movies.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively? – The best advice I can give is this. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s in the literary world. There are those who will become overnight successes. Some will self-publish, and others will find an agent and become traditionally published. Some people only put out a book a year, while others are able to put out 5 per year. Go at your own pace and don’t doubt yourself based on someone else’s achievements. And most of all, figure out what you want, write down your goals, and make a plan how to reach them.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website or Blog: http://bjsheldon.webs.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bj.sheldon.author

Twitter: @BJSheldonAuthor

Pinterest: @BJSheldonAuthor

Goodreads: B.J. Sheldon

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/BJ-Sheldon/e/B00CMCDGYG

Any other book links: http://bjsheldon.webs.com/purchase-links

 

 

Thank you for participating, BJ! Please join us on Wednesday, when the Debut Collective will feature Leigh Anne DuChene.