Monday, June 28, 2010

Author interview --Michelle Gregory

This is my first author interview. I first got to know Michelle Gregory through the blogosphere and she was kind enough to follow me way back when. I was lucky enough to win a copy of her book from her website.  Her book Eldala is a wonderful read. You can read my review here. On with my questions.

1. How long have you been writing?
-- I wrote stories when I was in junior high and high school (that was back in the late 70’s and early 80’s). When I attended college and had to come up with essays and answers for essay tests, I lost my love of writing. I didn’t find it again until I did some research about homeschool writing programs for my kids. One of them recommended modeling writing so that the kids would write. That was back in 2005, and it led me to National Novel Writing Month, which led me to writing Eldala, which opened the floodgates of my brain and now I can’t seem to stop the flood of stories in my head.

2. What inspired you to write Eldala?

-- I wanted to write a story about a man who starts his life one way and finds out he has to save the world. I thought it would be a story my boys would like to read, and I put in elements of stories that I like to read. It turned into a romance by accident.

3. You developed a language as well as another world for this book. Was it hard to come up with a new language? Any pointers for coming up with a language or other worldly names?

-- Honestly, the way I came up with a new language was to say some nonsense words out loud and write them down. I figured out exactly what they meant in a 2nd or 3rd draft. I added to them as I needed new phrases. Now having to come up with a different language in the sequel, I’m doing the same thing, but trying to make it sound different from the previous language.

My advice would be just be as creative as possible, but don’t be so “out there” that people can’t figure out how to pronounce the language.

As far as names for people, I use baby name lists. I never intended for all the men in my book (save one or two) to have names ending in N, nor for the ladies to all have names ending in A. It just kind of happened. Names for places came from my kids and from looking at a world atlas. (Indonesia has all kinds of cool places to draw from.)

4. How long did it take to write Eldala from start to finish (the final copy)?

-- I started in November 2005, stopped, completely started over, revised, etc, and had the final copy in my hands in August 2007, so almost two years.

5. I love what Eldala stands for and love it for the title of the book—Has this been the title throughout your whole process?

-- I first called it Kiran (yes, I changed the way his name is spelled), but that was before I came up with the concept of Eldala and what it stands for.

6. What is your process-- are you more structured or a panster (writing by the seat of your pants)?

-- I’m a little bit of both. I have a general idea of what I want to have happen, but as I write, that changes and evolves. By the final draft, the story has gone in directions I never imagined it would go. Eldala certainly became something larger and more complex than I’d originally planned.

7. What made you to decide to self publish?

-- Originally, I wasn’t going to publish at all. I was just writing a story for me and my kids, to see if I could do it. My husband mentioned self-publishing and I agreed, but only so I could have ONE copy to show my accomplishment. Over time, I told friends and family I was writing a novel and so I reluctantly decided to purchase an ISBN so that I could sell it on Amazon. I never imagined I would sell or give away over 100 copies.
8. Any advice for anyone who is considering self publishing?

-- Do some research about self-publishing companies. There are so many out there (good and bad) that it’s hard to choose. A great book called The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine.  helped me find the company I wanted to use.

-- Do some research about the process of self-publishing. I’ve learned that, technically, I’m not a self-publisher because I go through a company that charges for book sales, so I’m really a publish-on-demand author. If I were truly a “self-publisher”, I would have found a company that prints the book and then I would work on the distribution. That’s more work than I want to do right now.

-- Be prepared for some prejudice in the writing community. Self-publishing has gotten a bad name because there are a lot of poorly written and poorly edited self-published books out there. The cover art isn’t always the best. Self-published is equivalent to “you couldn’t make it in the real publishing world, so you did it yourself.” I could go into all the arguments about why that isn’t always true, but that would take an entire blog post and it’s time for me to get off my soap box now.

9. What can we expect from Blackheart (the sequel to Eldala)?

-- Blackheart takes place several years after the end of Eldala. The story will be more about Tiana and Arathor, but I’ll still have Kieran and Jessa’s points of view. Things have been fine in Teleria, but now there’s a disturbance. The Esgharites are causing trouble. The blessing is failing for some reason. There will be more battle, a new villain, and you’ll meet Kieran and Jessa’s eldest daughter Lydia.

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?

-- Learn all you can about writing, but don’t spend so much time learning that it keeps you from actually writing. The only way to learn is to jump in and do it.

-- Learn to write for yourself. You don’t know how long it will take for your stories to be picked up by a publisher, so in the meantime, enjoy the process and don’t worry about what will happen to your stories.

Quick answer questions:

11. Do you have a favorite snack food while writing?
-- The problem is, I don’t eat at all while I write and then I wonder (hours later), “Why don’t I feel so well?”

12. Who is your favorite author?
-- Mary Connealy – She writes what I call hysterical historicals, but she calls them romantic comedy with cowboys.

13. What is your favorite book?
-- That’s like asking me to pick my favorite food. Impossible. My favorite genre is historical romance (be it Christian or not), and contemporary romance comes in second. Oddly enough, I don’t really enjoy fantasy because I haven’t found that many good fantasy books out there.
Thank you for this chance to share more of myself with your blog readers and my novel readers.

Thank you so much Michelle. You can check out Michelle's website her blog
She is also hosting a blogfest on Thursday July 1st. The Kill Share Your Darlings Blogfest. Be sure to get in on the action. It will be fun.
I had a lot of questions. Have a great day!