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Interview with Author – Jennifer Fales
What inspires you to write?
Life inspires me. People-watching and traveling inspire me. Other writers often inspire me too. As a child, I was a constant daydreamer. That lends itself perfectly to storytelling. Sensory experiences—sights, sounds, smells—fascinate me, and I’m constantly asking myself, “How can I translate this onto the page so that the reader feels it too?”
Tell us about your writing process.
When I first started writing about six years ago, I had a seat of the pants attitude partly based on a misconception. Today, I am a firm believer in outlines. The traveler who embarks on a journey without a roadmap may eventually reach their final destination, but the process will most likely be haphazard and stressful for him/her. Once I realized the process still left plenty of wiggle room for changes and did not diminish creativity, my writing life became much easier. I am also a huge proponent of personal growth through writing. Getting published is not the end game; you should always be learning and growing, improving your skills and seeking out new challenges no matter what level you have achieved. You owe it to yourself and your fans.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Absolutely! I chat with my characters. Sometimes you need that for clarity. You’ve created this other being, and you need to be sure you are writing their thoughts, feeling, and reactions rather than yours. It never hurts to set up two imaginary chairs and sit down with a character to ask, “Would you do this, or is that just me?” whenever you have doubts. Of course, there’s also a lot of mumbling required. The non-fictional people in your life eventually get used to it.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write constantly and shift gears often. Jot down ideas, impressions, and visuals whenever they strike you. Everything is material. Writing is more than paragraphs you slave over for a single project. If you start to burn out on something, set it aside for a week or two. Look for prompts and exercises online, things to make writing fun again. One of my favorites to banish writer’s block—I did an entry in my WordPress blog about it—is the character sketch in one paragraph. Write a concise paragraph about a whole new character, completely unrelated to what you’re working on. It can’t be anything like you either. The goal is to convey a solid image of who that person is, make the reader feel and picture him/her, without physical descriptors. No brown-haired, short, tall, muscular, etc. Their language, how they relate to other people or objects in thought and deed, etc., is all still fair game. Take lots of time and mull it over. When you finish, chop your words down until you have three to five sentences with the least possible number of words still drawing a complete picture. For example, think of redundancies such as sitting “down” as insulting to the reader. If the direction in which someone looks or sits is intuitive, it’s fluff, and you don’t need it. Try it! I bet you’ll have a blast and surprise yourself.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I started out in self-publishing working with a well-paid vendor. Why? Simply put, I most recently came from a securities background and knew diddly-squat about this industry. The good news is, it’s easy to learn these days and, as long as you’re willing to invest the time to learn, you can do a great deal with little or no cost. Once you learn enough about plots and story structure, formatting templates and tools, where to find good copy editors (a must), and beta readers for feedback, you’re on your way to independence.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It’s just my opinion, but I see so much potential in the industry and find it exciting. There’s room for everybody. Amazon is obviously a huge component for independents, with Create Space and Kindle Direct Press. So is Barnes & Noble with Nook Press now. Ebooks, with their low overhead and maximum potential for profit, will naturally continue to thrive. Company wise, the other contenders will hopefully continue to grow, and new ones will also emerge. The print market may suffer a bit, but I don’t foresee printed books becoming obsolete anytime soon. Partly because the smaller publishing houses, with some notable exceptions, will continue to be integrated into the Big 5, and the Big 5 will look for more ways to interact with and excite their customers. Money is still the endgame; a growing return on their investments in the marketplace is crucial. To continue to dominate, I think they will continue to look at new and interesting hybrid structures via smaller, more adaptable imprints, and go after them aggressively.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Fantasy, SciFi, Horror, Romance, Speculative
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print