Author Interviews: Meet Our Star Authors!

julyjonay

  1. Can you tell us a little about you?

My name is Joleene Naylor and I’m the author of the glitterless Amaranthine Universe. When I’m not writing or doing author related things, I’m working on remodeling our sagging Victorian house, watching anime, or playing Pokemon Go or Niki-Love Dress Up Queen.

  1. Do you self-publish or work with a publisher?

Self Publish.

  1. How many titles have you published so far?

Ten novels, three short story collections, an illustrated handbook, and a lot of “extra” short stories, like Jorick’s origin story that’s part of the anthology Creature Feature. The Amaranthine Universe can be as deep – or shallow – as you want it to be.

  1. How much time to you devote to replying to fans on social media each week?

However much time it takes. Interacting with readers is my favorite part of being an author. I spend a lot of time in the Amaranthine Street Team group; a group for those who’ve read the books. We play games, write turn based fan fiction, share photos, and of course I post previews of what I’m working on and Amaranthine trivia.

  1. Do you find it hard to promote yourself?

Yes. I’m not really the “oh look at this amazing book!” kind of person. I’m more the “Eh, there’s a thing, if you wanna look at it…no? No biggie.” And that doesn’t do much for sales.

  1. When did the need to write start?

My mother was a writer, so I was writing before I could really read. It’s just been a normal part of my life.

  1. How hard/easy was it to read your first review? Why?

It was from someone I knew liked the book (she’d read it before I published), so it wasn’t as terrifying as that first unknown reader’s review was. Reading reviews still gives me panic attacks sometimes.

  1. What are some of your favorite things to do when you aren’t busy being an author?

I illustrate the weekly web comic Terrible Turtle Conspiracy. I also like crafts and dressing as a hedgehog and… Oh. I guess I shouldn’t share that. (Joking. Sort of. I do have a set of Hedgehog onsie pajamas.)

  1. What’s your favorite writing drink?

Whatever I happen to be drinking. Lately I’ve switched to water for healthy reasons.

  1. Do you prefer silence, or background noise?

It depends. If I’m home alone I like silence, but if there are other people, I need background music. I didn’t end up getting the office I planned, so I do my writing in the living room, and there’s almost always someone watching TV. Without music to drown it out, I’m too distracted.

  1. Do you read as well? If so, what’s your favorite genre?

Fantasy is my favorite, though I also like sci-fi, and several others. I especially enjoy it with a dose of romance tossed in. They don’t need to be primarily romance, but I like a little bit at least.

  1. Do you get nervous doing live Q&A’s?

Who doesn’t? That said, I do enjoy them because I like talking to readers.

  1. How often can readers find you out at book events?

Almost never. I’ve done the Indie Author Expo once – this will be my second year– and that’s it. I’m online, though. A lot.

  1. What was your favorite book signing/event to take part in?

The best event I ever did was an online party. It was the first one I’d done – up to then I was afraid I wouldn’t have any participation – and I think during the five day event I had about 100 different people stop in at various points. It was great. I’ve never done one with that much participation since.

  1. Do you design your own covers? Why or why not?

Yes, I do my own. I figure I do them for other people, so why not?

  1. What is/was your favorite book?

Only one? In that case it’s Lord of the Rings. We were raised on it; at three years old we knew who Frodo and Gandalf were.

  1. Do you have a blog? Can we have a link?

Yes I do, and yes you can! My author blog is as http://JoleeneNaylor.wordpress.com and is full of news, freebies, new authors to discover, and vampire fun.

  1. What would you like readers to take away from your books?

I’m not looking to teach a moral lesson or make a huge statement. I just want people to be entertained. When they’re done, I want them to still think about the characters, or something that happened. It’s even better if they think, “Wow, that should be an anime!”

  1. Do you use an agent? Or are you a DIY kind of author?

I’m a DIY kinda gal.

  1. How do you deal with writer’s block?

Writer’s block is usually caused because you’re out of inspiration or because your characters aren’t feeling it. When I get stuck, I let the story sit for a while and go soak something in; whether it’s an anime, a movie, a book, a walk, a music video, etc. When I come back I’m either inspired (if that was the trouble) or have had time to see that the problem is the characters, which means I need to manipulate them differently.

 

Brooke Reninger

  1. Can you tell us a little about you? I’ve been writing since I was a kid. Poetry, short stories, and eventually full-length novels. I’ve also worked as a writing tutor. Now I stay at home with my infant daughter and cat, help my husband run our woodworking business, teach piano lessons, and work on my writing.
  2. Do you self-publish or work with a publisher? Self-publish
  3. How many titles have you published so far? Three
  4. How much time to you devote to replying to fans on social media each week? I’m not sure in hours, but I always have my phone on so I’m very accessible to fans.
  5. Do you find it hard to promote yourself? Sometimes, yes. Talking about yourself can be hard!
  6. When did the need to write start? I think I was around 10 years old
  7. How hard/easy was it to read your first review? Why? My first review was from a friend and was positive, so it was great to read. It made me feel like a real writer for the first time.
  8. What are some of your favorite things to do when you aren’t busy being an author? Yoga, karate, swimming, Netflix
  9. What’s your favorite writing drink? Water or root beer
  10. Do you prefer silence, or background noise? It depends on my mood, but usually background noise.
  11. Do you read as well? If so, what’s your favorite genre? My favorite genre is fantasy, which is also what I write.
  12. Do you get nervous doing live Q&A’s? Yep, public speaking is not my favorite thing.
  13. How often can readers find you out at book events? So far I’ve only done a couple, but I can’t wait to keep doing more!
  14. What was your favorite book signing/event to take part in? I can’t pick a favorite.
  15. Do you design your own covers? Why or why not? Not usually, I have some graphic design skills but I prefer to hire that out to someone who is actually talented in that area.
  16. What is/was your favorite book? Oh gosh, I have no idea.
  17. Do you have a blog? Can we have a link? Yes! https://brookereninger.wordpress.com/
  18. What would you like readers to take away from your books? I hope they get transported to another world and the characters seem real to them. I hope they fall in love with the stories.
  19. Do you use an agent? Or are you a DIY kind of author? So far I’ve been doing it myself. We’ll see where the future takes me!
  20. How do you deal with writer’s block? Try working on something different, brainstorm ideas with my husband, take a break and do something totally different.

 

Thom Hotka.jpg

  1. Can you tell us a little about you?

Thom Hotka is the author/illustrator of the science fiction comic Nextuus: The Search for the Ocean Shard. The comic has been published and continually updated online since 2006 and in April of 2017 released its fourth printed volume. Thom grew up and lives in Des Moines, where he continues to write and draw three new pages of Nextuus every week.

 

  1. Do you self-publish or work with a publisher?

Self-publish

  1. How many titles have you published so far?

4 volumes in a graphic novel series

  1. How much time to you devote to replying to fans on social media each week?

1-2 hours

  1. Do you find it hard to promote yourself?

Yes and no— it’s not something I naturally enjoy doing, but when I set myself to the task it isn’t difficult

  1. When did the need to write start?

I’ve enjoyed writing and drawing comics from a young age- probably since I was 7 or 8.

  1. How hard/easy was it to read your first review? Why?

It was easy to read my first review, since it was positive and unasked for! More critical reviews have been challenging to read, but I welcome them, as they help me make a better story in the end.

  1. What are some of your favorite things to do when you aren’t busy being an author?

Read, spend time with family and play wargames!

  1. What’s your favorite writing drink?

Pretty boring here— water

  1. Do you prefer silence, or background noise?

I’ll always put on some music

  1. Do you read as well? If so, what’s your favorite genre?

Yes— Any more I find I read mostly nonfiction, but science fiction is my bread and butter!

  1. Do you get nervous doing live Q&A’s?

No, I love speaking in front of people!

  1. How often can readers find you out at book events?

I try to get out to nearby comic or book events several times each year

  1. What was your favorite book signing/event to take part in?

My first comic convention was Springcon in St Paul, MN— I learned so much and met so many people. It was an amazing experience.

  1. Do you design your own covers? Why or why not?

I do! Because I make a graphic novel, I want the art on the cover to mesh well with the art within the book.

  1. What is/was your favorite book?

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

  1. Do you have a blog? Can we have a link?

Closest thing would be my DeviantArt account: http://nyquildreamer.deviantart.com/

  1. What would you like readers to take away from your books?

A sense of excitement and adventure— maybe even the drive to tell their own story!

  1. Do you use an agent? Or are you a DIY kind of author?

DIY FOR LIFE, BABY

  1. How do you deal with writer’s block?

It’s not a thing. When I need to write, I write. Get rid of excuses or distractions and get it done.

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