My Author Interview on Justin Bienvenue's Blog

Recently I was given the opportunity to be interviewed by Justin Bienvenue for his blog.

Justin's interview post format is different from those I've done before in that he doesn't post separate links for each Author so in an effort to share the interview as well as link back to his blog** I'm posting the interview below. Enjoy!

What can you tell us about your latest novella, “Reckless Abandon”?

Shaw McLeary discovers her husband, Danny, has gone missing along with their stash of their cash and her wedding rings. While trying to get answers, she's forced to flee her home. Desperate, Shaw turns to the only person she can trust - JJ Anderson. Both Private Investigator and her ex-fiancĂ©, JJ reluctantly agrees to help with the search.

From Phoenix to Manhattan to upstate New York they chase clues and leads on Danny's whereabouts. But being trapped in such tight quarters neither of them can deny they may still feel the same as they did twenty years ago. And Shaw isn't sure which spooks her more - the bad guys gaining on them or her returning feelings for JJ.

What kind of genre do your books fall under and what genre are you most comfortable writing?

Reckless Abandon is Romantic Suspense, however, the novella is pretty light on the romance. I love writing real love struggle stories - no sweeping her off her feet in an instant - but also enjoy seeing my characters sweat in overwhelmingly tense situations outside of the conflict in their heart.

How did writing at a young age mold you into the writer you are today?

I penned my very first lengthy piece of fiction at age fourteen. It was about a young girl who goes on vacation with her family, and she's bored stiff in the town she visits every summer. Until she meets the new boy. 

The story is handwritten in blue ballpoint pen in a spiral bound journal. Though it has some grammar issues, I think it's a solid effort for a fourteen year old. I never had a chance to finish it but I like it being open ended.

These days, much older than fourteen, I still write that girl and what her life might be like decades after the summer when she fell in love for the first time.

How has it been to be accomplished and have your writings published?

I’ve dreamed of having a book published since I was so young that it’s almost surreal to have written and self-published two books now! I'm thankful every day that I get to do this for a living.

When writing how do you develop your characters and plot?

Generally characters will come to me in the back of my head somewhere and beg me to tell their story. Some stories work and others don’t. Some can support a novel while others can’t. With the plot I tend to base it on what those characters try to tell me about their lives.

I figure out what the challenges would be and then force them to figure out how to learn from it and grow. I’m a pantser for sure though, many times I won’t know how I’m ending a story even when I’m in the middle of writing it and only figure that out when I’m nearing the end.

What can you tell us about your success with NaNoWriMo?

My very first novel came out of NaNo in 2009. I won the challenge that year and it was thrilling to have 50,000+ words for one story. It was more for one book than I had ever written before. The next challenge was to further develop and edit the story into something readable that made sense.

I also won in 2010 but that unfinished manuscript is still sitting in a drawer. In 2012 I took part in CampNaNo in August. I officially lost - writing only about 35,000 words - but the result was Reckless Abandon and potential for a series. NaNo is one of the best word purge challenges I've ever done.

What is it like for you to contribute and get your writing out there?

Well, the writing is the easiest part and marketing is an uphill battle. I love talking about my books but don’t love selling. Most of us writer types don’t but it’s a necessary piece of the job if we want to attract a larger audience.

I like to blog and share my story through interviews or guest posts. To me that seems more personal and I like to connect with my readers.

Do you prefer publishing or self-publishing?

I’ve never been represented and traditionally published so I'm not sure how that would feel. Both of my books are self-published through my house - Writesy Press.

Most traditionally published books are self-marketed these days anyway. Spreading the word is on the Author and you're locked into a contract. I like that I have infinite freedom to publish what I want to write without outside influence.

What was the hardest part in the writing of your novella “Reckless Abandon”?

Figuring out how the story ends! I had to work out lots of answers to questions about character motivations before I could share the final piece of what would happen to the three main characters.

Do you think a writer has to go all out in their work or at their own pace and let it speak for itself?

In my opinion, for a story to be successful I think it needs both. Just like musicians put 'just for me' songs on an album, I think writers should do the same with certain bits of their book. After all, they're the ones telling the story of those characters. They should be allowed to tell it how they want some of the time!

But if the goal is to sell a book, or books, as a career, a business, then they have to take chances the public responds to (positively or negatively) or their work will fall flat and die in the vast sea of self-published novels with no readers.

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**Please note: the link to my interview appears to be taken down from his blog as of 2015. I kept a lot of the original interview intact in this post but edited for length by taking out anything no longer relevant (book availability, links, etc.). Thanks for understanding.

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