Q2: When did you decide to be a writer?
I have always been a story teller ever since I was a young girl. What got me writing was my latest character in a role play game. After the group had been active for a while, someone asked me what his back story was. I wrote it down for them, and expected that to be the end of it. The story had other ideas, and waited several years for me to get around to finishing the project. When I didn't, the story ambushed me, and started demanding. Now, that I've started on one, I've got others sitting patiently in the background for me to finish with the first, so they can make their own demands.
Q3: What did you most recently publish (title and genre)?
The most recent work is Remember the Shadows (Feb 15, 2015) which falls into either fantasy saga, or dark fantasy saga.
Q4: What is your next project?
Finish book 3 in the saga, "Into the Sunlits". I'm hoping to finish the series this year, though if other books wind up with the same type of need for extensive revisions the first book is undergoing, that may not happen.
Q5: Which path(s) have you taken: traditional publishing, self-publishing, or both?
I've self-published for the moment. I had a small publishing house nibble at my work, but because I refuse to budge on the style of my first book, we went our own ways.
Q6: Why should people consider reading your work?
I use a unique type of character to drive my stories. I try to stay out of the most common story types, and if I have to venture into the older plot styles, I try to do so in unique ways.
The other reason is because I also help the story progress in unexpected directions. So far, while writing, I have found myself on as much of the ride as a potential reader. I never know where the story is gong to lead me next.
Q7: How do you describe your writing style?
I'm taking dictation. When I start writing in each session, I soon become lost in the flow of words, and it is not me that is writing, but the story. It just borrows my body so the words can be put down in a format others can see.
When the story and I argue, you can tell. Things get a little loose as I try to guess where the story wanted to go.
Q8: Where and when do you like to write?
I hole up at home, in my room, and have my computer in a corner facing away from all the distractions. Once I have finished my school work, and house chores for the day, I will settle in, and usually not move much until my eyes don't want to stay open any longer.
On bad days, I usually turn in a little after midnight.
Q9: At what time, day or night, do you feel the most creative?
Dawn or dusk. Though, to be honest, dusk is the most productive creativity. If I'm seeing the dawn it is because I was up too long.
Q10: Which authors inspire you the most, and how?
Every independent author who has made their first sale to a stranger. This shows me that it is possible to succeed. The "big name" authors, like Robert Jordan, and J. K. Rowling show you that it is possible to succeed in a huge way, but the smaller up and coming authors who are still struggling to get heard over the masses of others struggling to be hear shows that it is possible to find new friends, and help them to get to know you and your work.
Q11: How do you overcome the writer’s demons: Procrastination and Self-Doubt?
I either wait out the issue - especially if it is because the story threw a Gordian knot at me - or I find a new way of torturing my characters. Not sure what I'll do for stories that don't have the same dark twist as my current work. But, I'll find new methods, I'm sure.
For me, it's not the self-doubt that makes things crash to a halt, it's more of "NOW where is this going?" and I get bucked from the ride.
Q12: What aspect of your writing do you feel is strongest, and what needs the most improvement?
I think my strongest point is the ability to crawl into the character's heads. Seeing the story through their eyes, and making it come alive on the page.
I've had two big weaknesses pointed out, and am working on fixing those. The first is redundancy. Even in real life, I'm prone to this. The other issues is getting down into the character's head to show, instead of telling.
Q13: What was the best part of the worst thing you’ve ever written?
That particular story finally shut up. I may go back and revisit it, and see if I can wake it up. But for the moment, it has been silent for many, many years.
Q14: What advice do you have for others who want to be writers?
Just write. Listen to your story, and get it written. It may come out jumbled, it may have a loose weave to the story line, but once you have it written, then you can take a second look and work on fixing the flaws you see.
Have a good circle of friends to talk to during the process of getting your story written. I cannot count the number of times I've gone screaming out to my friends for help. Most of the time, we don't have to talk about specifics, but having someone to explain to, and bounce ideas off of can vastly improve your own understanding of where the story is taking you.
Trust the story. It doesn't matter if you plot things out in detail, or let the story develop organically. If you don't trust the story to get there, then it won't.
Q15: What form of marketing works best for promoting your work(s)?
So far, I've had pretty good luck with soft promotion on twitter. I'll run a one day "splash" of image tweets with my work. I'll see an uptick in page views, and maybe a few more sample downloads, but once the "splash" is done, the views immediately fall off.
I saw a major spike in downloads when I ran my first book as a free book, and I may have to return it to perma-free. Since I've bumped the price up, I've had a few downloads, but no sales.
Q16: If life is a bowl of cherries, what does your life as a bowl of cherries look like?
Enjoying my career that is well balanced against my hobbies. Having time to play with the cats, visit with friends and family, and enough energy left at the end of the day to write, write, write.
Q17: Who is your rock, the one who encourages you the most to keep writing, and why?
Me. I have long been accustomed to being completely self-contained. When I get frustrated with things, I often will sit down and meditate so that I can see myself doubled. In these instances, I have a very long heart-to-heart with myself. Once in a while, I even do this on my blog, where others are invited. Though, those cases are usually ones I know will be funny and not so personal.
Q18: What do you do apart from writing?
Read, review, school, play with the cats, visit with friends and family, work on school papers, exercise, write. Oh, wait, you said besides writing... yeah, I write.
Q19: Where can people find more about you and your work(s)?
I blog at: https://pukahworks.wordpress.com/
I am active on FB at: https://www.facebook.com/PukahWorks
And, you can catch me on twitter here: https://twitter.com/PukahWorks
As for my works, they are available on Smashwords (all formats) here:
Out of the Darkness: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/4
Remember the Shadows:https://www.smashwords.com/book
And Amazon (mobi only) here:
Out of the Darkness: http://hyperurl.co/Out-of-Darkness
Remember the Shadows: http://hyperurl.co/kmhx9g
Q20: What one question should this interviewer have asked, and how would you answer it?
Q: Do you design your own covers, or have someone else do them?
A: I usually wind up designing my own covers. I tried to have someone else do it, but either I'm not so good at describing what I want, or I chose the wrong artist. I have a wonderful group on Goodreads that helps with the covers as I get the concepts perking. They've helped me make the covers unique, and as strong as my concepts allow. I'm sure that a professional could probably do a better job, but I'm quite proud of my own efforts.
Even though I'm a word smith, I also love playing with pictures. So, being involved in the cover designs lets me express that part of myself as well.
If you are an author who would like to participate, you can find the 20 Question interview here.