About Lauren Lynne, author

I’m author Lauren Lynne. The good side of growing up is that you can write whatever you want. The downside... now I can’t read it without my glasses! I have the soul of an adventurer but the heart of a coward when it comes to danger, yet I’m drawn to all things action-adventure, so this particular genre was a natural fit. You won’t find me bungee jumping, cliff diving or doing parkour because, well... I’m a klutz… so I write it. Think of me as an armchair adventure hound. I create characters who are much braver, tougher, more graceful and athletic than I will ever be. When you dream, dream big! I love working with students who have a thirst for knowledge. I write for young adults because they are the age group I most love to teach. I grew up in a house where reading was expected, anticipated and enjoyed. I want to pass that joy on to my students. I do not write alone, but pull in my boys for real life teenaged insight. I also listen to my students. I am a native of the Pacific Northwest, with its vivid and varied panoramas. When I’m not writing, I can be found spending time with my family, working with students, reading, gardening or hiking around Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge or the Oregon Coast with my camera. I am also a graduate of both Oregon State and Portland State universities with degrees in education and science. Writing is my passion and I want to share my love of it and reading with you.

Meet the Amazing Laurie Bell!

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Meet the Amazing Laurie Bell author of The Butterfly Stone – a YA fantasy to be published by Wyvern’s Peak Publishing in 2018!

 

Blood Fever Laurie’s adult sci-fi will be published by Incendia Books in 2018. Also know that she has a few others on the go too… details can be found on her blog. https://solothefirst.wordpress.com

First some fun trivia. What is your favorite junk food vice? Oh, it has to be chocolate… Any kind (I prefer milk chocolate but do enjoy a bit of Dark Mint Chocolate too). Solid chocolate is better than diluted chocolate with fillings (And I’m just not a cake person – shocking I know).

Do you have a favorite book or film? I have a list! Seriously, I have a giant list of favorites that I can pull out depending on my mood. But if you were going to pin me down to ONE film (and why would you do that? You make me want to cry,) I would have to say The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars). It is just the perfect movie.

But come on, allow me two… The Princess Bride. It has EVERYTHING, Love, adventure, action, swordfights, magic, revenge!

I have more…

And as for book… gah… so hard to pick, currently, I would go with The Illuminae Files (By two Aussie sci-fi writers, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff). It’s soooooo good. If you haven’t read it… read the print version (not electronic). The text artwork throughout the book is amazing and in such intricate detail that you want to see the printed page.

Any movies that you really want to see? Marvel’s Black Panther, I cannot wait for this one. And of course, Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War. I’m loving superhero movies at the moment. Guardians of the Galaxy is one of my all-time favorite movies, (that is not Star Wars or The Princess Bride).

What 5 words would you use to describe yourself? Creative, Empathetic, Imaginative, Intuitive, Bonkers – Aussie term 😊

What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write? I love to write and will write in every genre. But I prefer sci-fi and fantasy because there is just so much you can say (and it’s such a fun way to say it). Sci-fi and fantasy can show you the future, what you would like to see, and what you would not like to see. It can tell us who we are, or were, and who we will become, or who we want to be. It can also help us understand the world and people around us. And spaceships and magic… It’s all about the spaceships and magic.

What do you do when you are not writing? When is that? 😊 What is this time you speak of?

Which is your favorite character in your book and why? Such a tough question.

With The Butterfly Stone, I want to say Uncle Donny, or Prince Henry or Grandma…

But it’s Tracey. Tracey is my hero. She is just a kid trying to fit in and get her homework done. Her family is a little bit nuts, school is hard, and she has to deal with friendships and bullies and working for her uncle. Life gets overwhelming and she just keeps on keeping on. And, you know, Magic. She is learning to control her powers too… and then along comes the Shadowman and Tracey has to learn what is important to her and to fight for what she believes in. She makes tough choices and must react to the consequences of those choices and that is what makes her a hero.

How long did it take you to write this book? The Butterfly Stone took about eight months to write the first draft (I work full time so that is writing for about 3 hours a day, (on the train and at lunchtime), then a year of edits, rewrites and changes. I also sent it to my CPs who are wonderful! I totally recommend seeking out a group of writers that you trust to act as critic partners. They read your work and let you know what is working, what is not working, where there are plot holes or missing information or when something is just not described well enough (or too much). They can help with pacing, and flow and characterization. I have a group of three CP’s who I absolutely adore. To have eyes on your book, people who can see what you can’t and who can tell you (in a nice way) what is working/not working is the most valuable help you can get as a writer. I also have valued friends who act as my initial readers. And I have a number of trusted consultants who I can send my manuscript to, those that are in the biz, who can really get to the nitty-gritty of why something is not working.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I started writing in grade school (primary school in Australia). I read like a demon… anything I can get my hands on. I left libraries with a stack of books higher than my head every week (this was before smartphones) and wrote down all the stories that overflowed in my head. I have several tubs full of old notebooks with handwritten stories from when I was little. I collaborated with school friends, wrote short stories and long stories and radio plays and everything in between. I don’t think of myself as a writer… it is just ME. I have always written. I love the idea of telling stories, of sharing stories, of sharing ideas and talking about books and creating worlds and characters and making people want to care.

Do you have a specific writing style?  Are you a planner or does the story just flow out of you? LOL, a specific style. Well, I’m not sure if it is a style, more like a general mashing together of everything at the same time! I write my first draft by hand. Usually, after a chapter or two (or before I starting writing if I am really organized) I grab a small notebook (A5) that I call my book bible and start writing up Character Sheets (general characteristics of a character, hair color, eye color etc… and what they like/dislike, who makes up their family and how the character relates to them, same with their friends, work colleagues and love interests). I will write up a character sheet for every one of my main cast. Then on one page, I will map out the start, middle, and end (really rough). I will also add in what my main character wants and a major conflict (or several) and problems to stop them from getting it.

Then over three or so pages, I will roughly map out each chapter in two lines until I have 30 or 40 steps/chapters. Usually by this stage, I also have a general idea of a start (this is usually my idea trigger… how I came up with the story in the first place.) I will then transfer the chapter points to post it (sticky) notes. If I have two or more interweaving stories, or two or more POV then I might use different colored post-it notes.

In a new notebook (A4 hardcover spiral bound) I count out 8 to 10 pages (with my handwriting size this equals around 1500 to 2000 words) and put a little dot in the corner. I also fill the first two pages with all of my plot post-it notes. This is my writing guide. Then I start writing. A chapter at a time (up to my drawn dot). I focus only on that chapter and make it a scene in my head. The scene generally has a set-up, a middle point and an end moment… the point at which I end the chapter (sometimes a cliffhanger, sometimes a reveal, sometimes a precursor to something else happening.)

After ten or so chapters, I go back to my post-it notes and rewrite them… because by this stage the story has changed. It has now become a live beast that has headed off in its own direction. My post-it notes are a way of herding that beast back into a general plot line. At the mid-point or heading into the last ten or so chapters an END has usually popped into my brain. I rewrite my post-it notes again to herd the story beast toward this ending.

Draft two is typing my book into a document, fixing things as I go and locating plot holes or story ideas that have come later in the writing process, especially points that I need to weave back into the story. After a few more drafts I will send it off to my CPs for comments.

What advice do you have for authors looking to find and connect with a wider base of fans? Be yourself. Make conversation, make friends, and talk to people. Support your fans and your friends. Be genuine. Speak your truth.

Don’t only sell your work (and don’t Direct Message ANYONE with your book details.) Show people what you are like and what you like. We all want to know you, not for what you have produced, but who you are. By all means, tell us about your work, but do more than that, tell us about you. Support your fellow writers.

You want people to follow you and your work BECAUSE they already like you. If they follow you because they love your work then terrific… but you want them to hang around, don’t you? I have made some fabulous friends on social media. There is an amazing writing community online. Jump on board and chat to people. Most are not too scary, though some can be a little wild. I love and read their work sure, but I really enjoy the interactions too.

Oh, and don’t be a douchebag. Don’t insult people or their books. It’s just rude.

You can learn more about Laurie Bell and her work at any of the places listed below.

www.solothefirst.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/WriterLaurieBell/

www.twitter.com/Laurienotlori

https://www.wyvernspeak.com/new-page-17

www.wyvernspeak.com

@WyvernsPeak

www.facebook.com/WyvernsPeak

Dear Teachers of 4th through 12th grade students,

Have you considered doing an author study? The team at Wyvern’s Peak Publishing has put some thought into this for you. We invite you to visit Reading Rockets Author Study Tips where you can download their nifty and helpful guide, “Launching young readers READING Rockets: The Author Study Toolkit.”

Set a purpose and goals for the author study. What is your purpose? In our example, we will use author Laurie Bell as a single author for study. You may wish to use the following information to add Laurie to one of several authors that could be chosen from to study. Also, consider using this author study for an extra credit option for a student who was willing to put in some extra effort for a better grade.

Choose an author.  If you are planning to use only one author for a class, we suggest reading aloud from Laurie’s work(s) or having small groups read together. Consider using literature circles for this. We recommend four to six students, if possible so that everyone has a voice. In the Reading Rockets Author Study Toolkit, they encourage choice and we very much agree. Our experience as teachers has taught us that students are much more engaged when they get to choose. This is true even when it is not a completely free choice but say, an opportunity to pick one out of four, they are still more invested than if we choose for them, so it is pretty awesome when you can go the lit circle route and can have five or more authors for students to choose from.

Read and respond to the books. Laurie wrote The Butterfly Stone, a young adult mystery/paranormal novel that takes place in Australia.

Fourteen-year-old Tracey Masters is Mage-kind in a mostly non-magic world. She also works in her uncle’s detective agency and is desperate to be promoted to part-time detective. A mysterious woman with a missing necklace is exactly the kind of mission Tracey thinks will help her achieve her goal.

Chasing down clues with her friends, she uncovers the necklace and finds it creates more problems than it solves. Secrets from Tracey’s family’s past get revealed one by one, putting her friends in danger, and her family in jeopardy. To keep everyone safe, Tracey must find the butterfly-stone necklace before the Shadowman does. Succeed or fail, her friends, her family, her very world, will be changed forever. The magic contained within the stone is powerful, too powerful for Tracey to control. But if she fails to control it, her sister will die.

Decide how many books students will read and how long they have to do this reading. Encourage students to journal their responses to the readings. For the read-aloud option, we suggest some journaling at the end of each read. Some suggested questions to stimulate student thoughts can be found below. Laurie Bell loves to see student comments, answers to questions, and journal entries. She is also someone students may write to. Heck, any of our Wyvern’s Peak authors would love to hear from your students!

 Research the author(s), illustrator(s). You’ll find plenty of information in print and online, and you can ask your school librarian for advice. AND lucky you, we have gathered a ton of Laurie Bell information right here, just for YOU!

Reach out to Laurie Bell if you are interested in a virtual meeting with your class. She is in the +11GMT zone. If it is 2 PM Pacific Standard Time, then it is 9 AM the next day for Laurie. Another option would be a recorded interview that you could then show at any time in your classroom. We believe that giving students the opportunity to talk to an author in person can be fun and motivational.

If you have the space, we like the Author Study Toolkit idea of having a reading corner with other selections by the author(s) available.

Laurie Bell does a weekly writing prompt, at this time, called “Friday Fictioneers.” She also has some short story pieces and advice for writers. (https://solothefirst.wordpress.com) Students may read more of her work here and use her website as a research tool to learn more about her. In addition, Laurie also contributes regularly to the Australia Science Fiction online magazine at www.antisf.com and narrates her stories on their radio show – there are links to all of Laurie’s readings on her blog at

https://solothefirst.wordpress.com/category/my-writing/published-short-stories/

Class work and culminating projects: Culminating projects give students an opportunity to respond to what they’ve learned about an author. Often, these projects involve presentations to the class or to a larger audience composed of parents or other classes.

This extraordinary idea was used in 2016. Laurie Bell worked with some “year 9” young ladies at Haileybury in Melbourne. They used part of an ongoing work, titled The Story, written by Laurie to create a “Book Portal,” which blends computer technology with storytelling or STEM with literacy.

From Laurie Bell’s website: October 19, 2016

Oh my gosh!

I cannot tell you how proud I am of these girls…

Some of you might know that my episodic story – coincidently named “The Story” – was used by the incredibly creative girls from Haileybury College in Melbourne Australia as a part of a STEM/ICT project. They then entered their project into the Young ICT Explorers Competition

AND THEY CAME SECOND in the state!!

And here is the video of their Adobe/STEM journey!!

Learn more here: https://solothefirst.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/the-story-the-video-of-the-stemictadobe-project/

Laurie Bell would also consider acting as judge for short pieces competition. Students could write a short story and Laurie would read them and award a winner. This would be another great culminating activity that could be handled with a virtual meeting to “present” the awards. Depending on school rules, this would be a fun time to share the other short stories students have written and enjoy some of the foods that Laurie eats that are unusual to us here in the United States.

Journal ideas/Questions for students: These could be used for a response journal after read-aloud sessions, for a meeting topic for small groups, or literature circle groups. Some of these questions could be used for whole group discussion to encourage student thought in the areas of empathy, understanding, politics, racism, attitudes, bullying, friendship, family, and celebrity. These ideas could be targeted to what is happening in the classroom, school, community, state, nation, or world at the time. After you have read Laurie’s work, we’re sure you will have many more wonderful questions of your own.

  • Have you been to Australia? How is Laurie Bell’s life like yours? How is it different?
  • Considering how Laurie Bell gets her ideas for books, what are some ideas you now have for a book or books you would like to write?
  • What does Laurie Bell do for a living besides write books? Does that sound like an interesting job? Why or why not?
  • There is more to writing a book than simply writing it. Tell me about Laurie Bell’s process.
  • Does all the work authors put into their projects encourage you or discourage you from writing a book? Why?
  • What would you consider the literary style of The Butterfly Stone to be and why do you think so?
  • How do you feel about The Butterfly Stone?
  • What would it be like for you to live in Tracey Master’s world?
  • Would you want to be Mage-kind or one of the non-magical folks and why?
  • Is Tracey the kind of person that you would like to have as a friend? Why or why not?
  • The butterfly-stone necklace can amplify powers, what do you think about that?
  • What are the Shadowman’s motivations?
  • What are some of the themes in The Butterfly Stone?
  • Have you been bullied? Have you seen a classmate bullied? What could you do? What would you say to the victim? Say to the bully? How would you encourage kids to get along?
  • What kind of magical powers would you want and why?
  • How does the Shadowman make you feel?
  • Should Officer Jameson be treated like a criminal? Why/why not?
  • Take what you know about the characters and write a scene between Tracey and her sister, OR Aunt Gemma and Mom, OR Mom and Uncle Donny (as siblings).
  • Do you know anyone with dementia? How does the scene with Tracey’s Nana make you feel?
  • Family is important in The Butterfly Stone. List all of the different relationships and how they make you feel?
  • Why is Timothy so angry?
  • Think about the choices that Tracey makes. What would you do differently and why?
  • Who would you say is the best friend to Tracey and why? Who do you think Tracey considers to be her best friend and why?
  • Is Uncle Donny a good mentor for Tracey? Why do you think so?
  • If you had Tracey’s abilities what good for your (family or school or community) could you do?

Thank you for joining us! We hope we have given you some ideas and inspired you. If you have questions or comments, we would love to hear from you.

www.wyvernspeak.com

@WyvernsPeak

www.facebook.com/WyvernsPeak

Make It Count by Tamar Sloan

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Make It Count by Tamar Sloan (young adult, paranormal, romance, friendship, family)

5* Wow. This is a book I had started months ago and set aside after the first few pages. I’m really glad a picked it back up. Casey’s gift/curse or as she and her friend, Em, call it the “gurft” is just that. Casey struggles to find a way to cope with the gurft when she meets the boy of her dreams. The problem is that his number is twenty-one. Can she change it? Should she? As she gets closer to him she does everything she can to save him and shares her wisdom, insights, and lessons she learns along the way through her Blog (which is a really creative way to share what is going on in her head). I really loved how the author included a brief four year fast forward to how Casey is doing in the near future.  If you like this book, I would also suggest “When” by Victoria Laurie. You can also find my review at:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2180693935

It’s Red Mitten Bazaar time!

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It’s my favorite time of the holiday season!  We celebrate Christmas at my house but nothing gets the mulled cider flowing like a trip to Canby Oregon’s Red Mitten Christmas Bazaar! The twinkly lights and baking goodies make me happy the moment I walk in the door!  Meet local authors and find wonderful handmade holiday gifts created by local artisans!

For those purchasing one of my books this holiday season, you will receive a link to obtain a free eBook from my new publisher Wyvern’s Peak!  What’s better at Christmas than a gift, right?  Cookies and cheer come to mind too… did I mention that cookies are baked on-site?  Oh! and lunch is served daily too!

Preview night is Wednesday, November 29th from 5 pm to 8 pm.

The Red Mitten Bazaar run from Thursday, November 30th to Sunday, December 10th.

Thursday and Friday’s hours are from 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday hours are 9 am to 7 pm, and Sunday hours are from noon until 5 pm.  SEE YOU THERE!

10100 S New Era Rd, Canby, OR 97013

Author Face to Face Event in Canby Oregon!

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Need a paper copy of one of my books?  Meet me in Canby Oregon for the Autumn Leaves Fall Bazaar!

Autumn Leaves Fall Bazaar Facebook Event Link

and  Autumn Leaves Fall Bazaar Page

Get your home ready for the cooler weather coming soon. School is back in session, Halloween is just around the corner.

Shop for unique, high-quality, handmade gifts. Children’s items, vintage wares, amazing fused glass creations, jewelry, yummy soaps and lotions, home décor and more. Local authors will be available for book-signings throughout show. Support your local authors, crafters and businesses while getting a jump-start on your holiday shopping!

Lunch and goodies available daily.

Open TWO Weekends–Sept 28th thru Oct 1st and Oct 5th thru 8th

Thurs-Fri 10 AM – 6 PM, Sat 9 AM – 7 PM Sunday 12 PM – 5 PM

Interview with, Bailey Ordiway, Author

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Welcome to my interview with, Bailey Ordiway, author of American Holdovers, Blackout, and Entertainment 100.

Hello, Bailey!

I’m glad you’re here! First some fun trivia.

Do you have a favorite book or film?

My all time favorite book is Looking For Alaska by John Green. My favorite film is Silver Linings Playbook, though it is a good book as well!

When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first?

First I look to see if I’m in the store at all. If I am, I sign a couple copies. Then, I go to the young adult section because I will always have a soft spot for that genre.

Do you have a job other than being an author? If so, what is it?

Yes! I actually own a small vape shop. I do most of my writing on the couch there while waiting for customers.

What do you listen to when you write?

I usually listen to a mix of classical and electronic. No words and relaxing in different ways.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?

I actually try to expand out into multiple genres so I don’t get stuck in a niche, but they all kind of remain around Young Adult.

What advice do you have for authors looking to find and connect with a wider base of fans?

Start a blog! I have my entertainment blog that has become just as important to me as my books. On top of that, it keeps you busy when you have writer’s block.

What has been your favorite part of being an author?

Probably getting to tell people I’m an author! It never gets old, really.

Are you a plotter, a planner, or do you prefer to dive right in?

I am a plotter for sure. I have a problem focusing and if I don’t write out a very thorough outline then I will ramble and get sidetracked.

Find The BaileyBee Blog Here!

Follow Bailey on Goodreads

Follow Bailey on Twitter

Find him on AMAZON

Thanks for stopping by, Bailey!  It was great to meet you.

Enter For Your Chance To Win “8 Best of YA Dystopian” Paperback Books

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Please visit my publisher, Wyvern’s Peak Publishing to enter!  You have until August 4th.  http://wyvernspeak.com/enter-for-your-chance-to-win-8-best-of-ya-dystopian-paperback-books

Learn more about The Recalcitrant Project here: http://wp.me/P3ImXf-9z

 

The Recalcitrant Project is Available Now!

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Get your copy at these fine retailers!

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/Recalcitrant
iBooks: http://smarturl.it/RecalcitrantiBooks
B&N: http://smarturl.it/RecalcitrantBN
Kobo: http://smarturl.it/RecalcitrantKobo

Note: If you would like a signed copy of The Recalcitrant Project, please click here to visit our online store and order direct and we will ship your signed copy directly to you.

#ReadGreatBooks

Learn more about Wyvern’s Peak Publishing http://wyvernspeak.com/

Follow us on Twitter @WyvernsPeak
Like us on Facebook /WyvernsPeak

Wyvern’s Peak Publishing To Publish Acclaimed Author Lauren Lynne’s Young Adult Dystopian Novel – The Recalcitrant Project

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Tulsa, OK [March 20, 2017]—D.C. McGannon, Co-Founder and Publisher for Wyvern’s Peak Publishing, announced today that acclaimed young adult author Lauren Lynne has joined the Wyvern’s Peak Publishing family. Her young adult dystopian novel, The Recalcitrant Project, will be published late Spring 2017.

“We are thrilled to have Lauren as part of our publishing family, and excited to further share her unique talents with young adult fiction fans everywhere,” said McGannon. “Lauren is an amazing human being, and a spectacular storyteller. We have supported each other over the past many years, and I believe she truly represents what we are trying to accomplish here at Wyvern’s Peak Publishing. Readers are going to love her new novel, and her fans, I think, are going to be pleasantly surprised as Lauren just keeps getting better with each new book she writes.”

The Recalcitrant Project, which will be available in both paperback and ebook formats, is Lauren’s first venture into the young adult dystopian genre. She has previously self-published The Secret Watchers series for young adults to great success.

About Lauren Lynne
Lauren Lynne is the author of the young adult fantasy, action-adventure series, The Secret Watchers. She graduated from both Oregon State and Portland State universities with degrees in education. Lauren focused her Secret Watchers series toward teen reluctant readers but has drawn in enthusiasts of all ages. She’s passionate about sharing her love of reading and writing with everyone.

The Pacific Northwest, with its vivid and varied panoramas, is where Lauren makes her home. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with her family, working with students, reading, gardening, or hiking around Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, or the Oregon Coast.

Her next book, The Recalcitrant Project, is her first dystopian young adult novel. To learn more about Lauren and her current and past work, visit LaurenLynneAuthor.com.

About Wyvern’s Peak Publishing
Wyvern’s Peak Publishing is a publisher of fine young adult and middle-grade fantasy, science fiction, and adventure books. Born in Orlando, Florida, Wyvern’s Peak Publishing is now based in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is actively involved with causes supporting libraries, bullying prevention programs, reading programs, and encouraging young authors to find their voice. For more information, please visit WyvernsPeak.com.

Interview with Dave Hassler

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Dave Hassler Interview

First some fun trivia – give me some juicy details…! What is your favorite place to eat?  Why?   Why?  The Original Taco House on 36th and Powell in Portland. Arguably, it’s in the bottom third for “quality cuisine,” but I love it – classic American-style Mexican food straight from the Sixties, with the décor to match.  I have a lot of fond memories of the place from childhood, and, family myth has it, my parents had a date there once.

What is your favorite junk food vice?  Gotta be nachos.

What does a typical day look like for you?  If I’m not at my part-time job, I get up late, around 8:30 or so, drink some tea, and putter.  Then, I tackle personal projects, scan the writing/editing boards, fool around with my ham radio gear, run errands, read, write, watch some TV.  If I’m at the job, the day looks like this: get up early, go in, process/shelve returns, help patrons, come home, eat, TV, sleep.  The weekends could be anything from taking a walk or easy hike (I’m no kid anymore), going out to the movies, hanging out with friends, going to see a sporting event.  Beer and wine are often involved.  I’m usually with my girlfriend, Sarah.

Favorite book or film?   Why?  For a book, it’s a toss-up between The Brothers K by David Duncan and Almost Famous by David Small.  They’re both “baseball books,” but really more about dreams and what can happen to people when the dreams get shattered, twisted, or derailed.  For a movie, I have to agree with that eminent arbiter of culture, Peter Griffin: “Roadhouse.”

Any movies that you really want to see?  Nope.

What’s on your reading list right now?  I’m a fairly random reader.  Usually, I’ll go to the library or a bookstore with a topic or person in mind and then browse until I find something that looks satisfactory.  Lately, it’s been 20th century political biography, physics and biology for the layman, and there’s always a little science fiction brain candy close at hand.

We all have our little things when it comes to reading that bug us.  What makes you cranky when you read a novel?  Dialogue that over-uses characters’ names.  No one speaks like that.  We know who we’re talking to (to whom we’re talking).  Also, dialogue in perfect, grammatically correct English.  Again, no one speaks like that.

Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?  I have several hobbies, but my main one is amateur radio.  I have a station set up here at home, and I can talk to people all over the world.  And yes, some of those radios have vacuum tubes.  I also have a rotary-dial phone, so there you go.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?  If it’s strictly for fun, I like a novel with a fast pace, a definite problem for the protagonist to solve or overcome, and (preferably) laser pistols and hyperdrive.

Who are your favorite authors?  Mike Reznick, Verner Vinge, Harry Harrison, Harry Turtledove and Poul Anderson for science fiction (John Scalzi is quickly becoming a favorite); Hemingway, Plath, Carver (poetry and stories), Kundera; Richard Dawkins.

What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?  Task-oriented, willing, curious, cynical, humorous, careful, thoughtful.

When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first? Why?  The bargain bin, because it may have a great book in it, and I’m cheap (just go ahead and make that the eighth word that describes me).

Did you get to quit your day job and become an author or do you still have a day job and writing is something you do for fun?  If you still have a day job, what is it?  I quit my job at an insurance company — talk about soul-killing! — to set up my editing business and between clients I get to write.

What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you?  “Are you trying to tell me that I should put one piece of pipe inside of another?”  For context, this came from a chapter on building a portable antenna mast.

What are your tips and tricks for other independent authors to get the word out about their books?  Just talk to people.  Be genuinely interested in what they’re doing and what they have to say.  There’s no magic bullet.

What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write?  To read, sci-fi; to write, poetry.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  What was the biggest compliment?  Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?  I was once told that I was out of my mind to think that anyone would be interested in my story, and that I couldn’t tell it “right” anyway.  Another person told me that the exact same collection had touched her very deeply, that she was moved to tears.  This experience taught me that I should trust myself and write what I need to write.  Some people will get it, some people won’t.  You can’t please everyone, and it’s foolish to try.  But if you can reach someone, make that connection, you’ve done something good.

What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?  I love creating and communicating my view of the world, of the human condition.  When I can do that with a well-crafted sentence and/or paragraph, so much the better.  What I don’t like is the pounding my fingers take.  After 15 years in journalism and not being a touch typist, I’m more than ready for voice recognition software.

What is the most frustrating thing you have had to deal with as a writer? Most exciting?  Not getting instant results is frustrating, another artifact of my journalism career.  I’m still used to writing a story in the afternoon and seeing it in print the next morning.  As for exciting, I’ve won peer-judged awards for political commentary and sports columns.

When you sit down to write, do you do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or do you use a computer? Do you prefer one way or the other?  The short answer is, “The computer, mostly.”  For almost every kind of writing I want to use the computer — it’s efficient, and I have a wealth of tools at my immediate disposal, both in apps and online.  But when writing a poem, I always want pen and paper.  It makes me feel closer to the work.  I usually do my first rewrite of a poem on the original, scratching out, adding in, drawing arrows and brackets all over the place.

What do you do when you are not writing?  I enjoy getting out and walking around, reading, camping, travel, my ham radios, and watching sports.

Compared to when you first started writing, have you noticed any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?  Not really.  At heart, I’m still a pen-n-paper guy.

What draws you to your genre(s)?  I’ve written in a number of genres, but in non-fiction, what I really like is the opportunity to discover truth — to write about a subject in a factual way.  Come to think of it, I feel exactly the same way about poetry.

For our writer friends:  What advice do you have for authors looking to find and connect with a wider base of fans?  I don’t feel I can speak on this with any authority.  I write because that’s the impulse I feel.  I certainly don’t try to gauge the public’s interest and write to its tastes.  I understand that social media is the currently accepted way to expand one’s base, but I’m not a blogger or heavy self-promoter.

Along the same lines, what advice do you have for writers about the writing process and their development as writers? It’s the old “write what you know.”  Yada yada yada.  Yeah, it’s totally cliché, but I don’t know of any other avenue that produces authentic results.  I would say to a beginning author to bash out a first-draft manuscript, non-stop, then look it over, maybe after three or four weeks.  Fool around with it, play with it, and make the voices of your characters sound like people you know.

What advice would you give to a younger you? How has reading influenced you?  I would tell my 25-year-old self to keep reading, and to be a little more brave when it came to sharing his work — with the public, with agents, with publishers, with magazines, with fellow writers … everyone.  I feel I’ve really missed an opportunity to have my writing read by more people than has been the case.

Are you a plotter/planner or do you prefer to dive right in? I plan.  An outline is essential for longer work.  Even with a poem, I like to think about the topic for a while before diving in.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I’m more willing now to take on different kinds of writing, more open to new (to me) ways and forms of expression.

What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write? Why? I will often put on the local classical station, because I like some background noise and it’s the least distracting.  But if I’m writing poetry, I like it quiet.

Did you have any teacher in school that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice? My freshman English teacher encouraged me. His only advice was to keep writing, so I did.

Please tell me about your novel. The novel is set in 2053 Tacoma, Washington, and concerns a young man who becomes disillusioned with the U.S.’s authoritarian government. Through a series of misfortunes, he ends up in a prison camp and later has to rebuild his life.

Which is your favorite character in your book and why? My favorite character is Beck, the domestic security officer who hounds the protagonist.  She’s got a whole trainload of baggage, and it makes her a very interesting character to explore.  If there’s another novel in that universe, it’ll be with her as the protagonist.

What authors inspired you to write this particular novel? No particular author inspired me, but I’ve been reading sci-fi since I was 7 years old, so I’m sure there’s plenty of influence.  If I had to peg one of those authors of my youth, I’d say Ben Bova.

Dream big… Your book has been purchased to be turned into a movie script and you have been asked to list the people you would most like to play each role.  Who do you choose? Fun question!  Mike (my protagonist) would be played by Zach Quinto or Kunal Nyaar, Beck would be played by Sarah Shahi (but she’s have to go blonde), Syd would go to Kirsten Dunst, and Ansel would be either Steve Martin or Bill Murray.

What else do you have in the pipeline?  A non-fiction book about a prominent athletic contest that, I think, was the last of its kind.

Links – Where can people learn more about you and your work?

www.vanportmedia.com — there and amazon.com, of course!  www.amazon.com/Triple-Charlies-Advice-Recipes-Bachelor-ebook/dp/B01N0OEARU and www.amazon.com/Propagation-Dave-Hassler-ebook/dp/B01M8IKBGZ