Author Fun: 13 Questions About Sarah Robinson!

Author Photo - Sarah Robinson1. Where is your favorite place to write?

-Starbucks! I love the atmosphere and the people watching when I need a moment. Plus, coffee only a few feet away!

2. Coffee or Tea?

-Definitely coffee, but I do enjoy green tea now and then.

3. Favorite book of all-time?

The Cay by Theodore Taylor from elementary school still is my #1 favorite. It’s the first book that truly made me feel something.

4. NaNoWriMo yes or no?

-I tend to write that much anyway, but the pressure and “competition” of NaNoWriMo is usually too much stress for me. I normally still sign up, then forget to track it past the first few days!

5. Genre that you would write if you had no restrictions?

-Contemporary fiction! I’m branching out into it soon, though I’ll always write romance!notaherosmallerwebuse

6. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

-Invisibility. I want to spy on people and be creepy.

7. Favorite author?

-Caroline Kepnes! Her psychological thrillers are some of my favorite. However, on a personal level, there are a lot of authors I love and look up to and consider friends, like Lavinia Kent, Lauren Layne, Jessica Lemmon, and Tracy Wolff!

8. What kind of music do you listen to when you write?

-None. Music is too distracting! The words in that pull me away from the words I’m trying to write.

9. If you could live anywhere in the world where will it be?

-If money was no object and I didn’t need to worry about a commute, I’d probably live in some isolated place in Washington State or Oregon away from everyone, just surrounded by nature! If that wasn’t an option, I’d love to move back to Arlington, VA—one of my favorite places!

10. What do you do when you get writer’s block?

-Go for a drive, or walk through a doorway. Unblocks the brain by moving the body!

11. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

-Mostly a plotter, but turn pantser about halfway through a book!

12. Do you have a playlist for your characters?

-No, music and writing don’t generally go together too well for me.

13. Do you write every day?

-Definitely not. I’ve got to give myself some time to recharge. I do write at least 5 days a week though!

Visit Sarah’s website for the latest news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco. All Rights Reserved.

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Writers on Writing: Tamara Woods

author-pic-headshotTamara Woods is a poet, writer, and now a podcaster.

Tamara grew up in the poorest state of the Union as a laid-off coal miner’s daughter. She learned from this that money isn’t the root of all happiness, but it sure makes it easier. One fateful summer at a youth workshop she learned both the art of stolen kisses and being open in her poetry: lessons she’s never forgotten.

She didn’t wear the coolest clothes. She listened to alternative rock when everyone else was into hip hop. She was a staunch reader and an avid dreamer. She’d be the first to greet “the new kid” at school so they wouldn’t feel lonely. That little weird girl has grown to be an adult, who still cultivates friendships along a broad spectrum of personalities and interests. She still doesn’t want people to feel alone.

All of these aspects of her life have culminated into her writing that’s accessible to people. Her poetry is spoken word with a heavy emphasis on things that we all know and do. Her fiction hits on darker, uncomfortable subjects, because she’s a firm believer that stories can be beautiful without being pretty.

She’s living on an island now, still a misfit, but now there’s palm trees. Life feels differently in a world filled with palm trees. She geeks out on books, Doctor Who, Star Trek TNG (aka the best generation), and social media.the-shaping-cover

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

When I was much younger, I thought the writing had to come out perfectly. That editing would somehow change the integrity of the work. Oh how naïve I was! Editing is the backbone of the writing process. In order to have one, you have to have the other.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It’s improved my writing immensely. When my work goes in front of people, I want it to be as close to perfect as possible.

Mac or PC?

I’m a PC.

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Both, but I’m leaning more for Scrivener for novels and Word for short stories, poetry etc…

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

No, I take notes with a notepad and a pen. I can’t shake the habit and I just don’t see a need to update it. Writing by hand is much more natural to me.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Right now, I’m developing a habit that I’ll share with you. I’m following “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It’s a book that’s supposed to help you unleash your creativity. One thing she advises is for you to write three pages every morning for about 30 mins. I’ve been doing these morning pages on my couch at between 7am and 8am. Then I go over to my desk for the rest of my writing day. I burn incense and play music in the background, usually something without any words. Beverages are key. Either frozen or hot coffee and a mason jar with ice water. (When I write it out, it seems a lot more complicated than it actually is.)

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I start by writing first. I like to get the idea down and then work backward to see what blanks I need to fill. Basically in order to find out what I don’t know, I need to start writing.

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

I’m in Hawai’i, so it’s all the same. Somewhere cool preferable in AC or in front of a fan. If I’m visiting my family in West Virginia, then I prefer to have hot cocoa.

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

When it’s too hot in my apartment, then I like to go hangout in a library. It’s cool and usually quiet. I’m not a big write on the beach person, but it does happen occasionally.

Visit Tamara’s website for the latest news. You can find her YouTube videos where she posts a weekly writing vlog and geeks out about books. She also has co-edits a poetry journal: The Reverie Journal. She’s been published and you can find her work on Amazon.

Follow her on Twitter: @penpaperpad

Like her Facebook page

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco. All Rights Reserved.

Writers on Writing: Sarah Fox

SARAHFOX- Author Photo.JPG

Sarah Fox, writer of cozy mysteries, was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how to push through the difficult times. Whether I need to add several thousand words to a too-short first draft or a plot hole has tripped me up, I now know how to move forward and get over the hurdles that might have stopped me in my tracks a few years ago.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It has definitely helped me with meeting deadlines and juggling multiple projects. When I have one or more deadlines looming, I can’t let plot problems or other issues derail me for long, so being able to get myself back on track quickly has turned out to be a valuable skill.

Mac or PC?

PC.crepesofwrath

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Word. I confess that I’ve never even tried Scrivener! I dictate most of my work using Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

No, I write and take notes either on my computer or with pen and paper. However, I do a lot of editing on my Kindle.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I prefer to write earlier in the day rather than later, so I’ll usually have a writing session soon after finishing my day job. On days off from my day job, I’ll spend two to three hours writing first thing in the morning. Most of the time I like to have a cup of tea while I’m writing.

Do you start by writing or researching first?

It depends on the project, but typically I start writing and pause for research when I get to a point in the story where it’s required. I often don’t know exactly the type of information I’ll need until I’m into the story.

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

At my kitchen table, next to a large window so I can watch the snow falling and the birds at the feeder as I write.sarahfoxfoximage

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

Same place but with the window open and a fresh breeze coming in.

Visit Sarah’s website for all the latest news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Kristen Martin

 

“There hasn’t been a writer in this genre to leave an imprint as powerful as Martin since Rowling. Yes, cookie cakes, that Rowling. J.K. Rowling. Marie Lu came semi-close with her Legend series, but semi-close is like the color beige – it’s just there. But when a vibrant color like turquoise or aquamarine – nope, not the same color, cookie cakes, not at all – comes along, beige blends into the background and tastes as bland as tapioca. Martin is turquoise. Martin is aquamarine. However, Martin is not Rowling. Martin is Martin – Kristen Martin.” – Diane Morasco

 

image1With her exhilarating debut novel, The Alpha Drive, the gifted Kristen Martin has become the new Princess of Fantasy. The first installment of THE ALPHA DRIVE trilogy is a dazzling realm brimming with breathtaking adventures, compelling characters and theatrical storytelling to propel you to magical heights that will delight your spirit.

Martin is an avid reader and writer of all things young adult, science fiction, and fantasy living in Houston, Texas. Although she originally wanted to go the “creative route” in college via a Journalism or Creative Writing degree, she somehow ended up with a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in Industrial Distribution from Texas A&M University. While these topics interest her, they do not “give her all the feels” the way writing does. And so her writing journey began.

Kristen loves connecting with other writers via social media, writers’ conferences, workshops, and school visits. When she’s not writing, you can find her running, gardening, reading, and relaxing on her pontoon boat. She loves connecting with other writers and readers via YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, so be sure to reach out!

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

To be patient with myself. Instant gratification and writing do not always go hand in hand. There will be some days where you’ll sit down at the computer to write and absolutely nothing will come to mind; other days, you won’t be able to get the ideas and words onto the page fast enough. Writing is about the journey, not the destination.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It has taught me to be patient with myself and my journey and to trust that I’m on my own unique path for a reason. No one else will have the exact same path as me and that is truly something to behold. It’s also helped me to cut myself a little slack when things don’t go according to plan (and I’m definitely a planner!)screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-10-45-41-am

Mac or PC?

I prefer Mac, and that’s what I primarily use to write; however, for editing, I use a PC. Since I format my own books in Word, I prefer to use a PC since things can be a little wonky with Word on Mac.

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

I am admittedly intimidated by Scrivener, so I use Word. I will try Scrivener one day because I’ve heard it’s amazing, especially to keep all of your characters and ideas in one place without having to open a thousand separate documents.

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

I do have an iPad, but I rarely use it. I tend to jot things down in the Notes function of my phone, but I’m still a big fan of good ol’ fashioned pen and paper.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Yes. When I’m in my home office, I always brew myself a cup of English breakfast tea, light my favorite (and sadly discontinued) Bath & Body Works Candle, Apple Flower, throw my headphones on and start up my favorite playlist. I also take a few minutes to browse some inspirational writing quotes on Pinterest to get me motivated. If I’m writing anywhere else, I don’t really have a ritual, although I always try to have a coffee or tea close by.kmthe-alpha-drive-final-front-cover

Do you start by writing or researching first?

It really depends on the scene. Most of the time, I’ll just start writing and if I need to research something in the middle, I’ll stop right then and there and do it, otherwise it’s very likely I’ll forget!

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

If I can find a nice park bench or sit outside somewhere to enjoy the cool weather, that’s usually my first pick. If not, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, or my home office.perf5.250x8.000.indd

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

Inside with A/C! Again, my home office is great, but sometimes I like to switch it up by going to Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, or a local library.

Visit Kristen’s website for the latest news. Click here to read my review on The Alpha Drive.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Anna Hub

anna-hub-author-photoWhen Anna Hub was a child, she wanted to be an author. It seemed like a perfectly attainable dream to Hub then, but of course, she grew up and realized writing was not the best way to make a future for herself. So she discarded the idea and decided to do something normal.

When Hub studied nursing, she thought she’d found a place for herself, but within six months of working in that field, Hub knew she needed more. So in July 2007, Hub bought herself a laptop and started writing in her spare time. It took Hub two years to complete her first book and by the time it was finished she felt as though she’d learnt enough to pursue the dream.

Hub’s love for writing has grown rapidly since then and now she knows it’s something she can’t live without. It’s a place where there is no limit, no exact destination and her mind is free to exist in many worlds

It’s a beautiful sanctuary.anna-hub-writing-space

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

To accept criticism. It’s such a tough thing to deal with, especially when you’re first starting out (and we writers are a sensitive bunch). But after a few years, the bad reviews don’t sting quite as much. You start to notice that the thing one person complained about is exactly the same thing that someone else loved.
Once you shove your ego aside, you realize a lot of those negative reviews made really good points. You begin to separate yourself from your work and you become a better writer.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It has set me free. Truly. It’s allowed me to let go of the fear that my writing won’t be perfect. Because in reality, no piece of writing has ever been perfect, and no piece of writing ever will be. Art is subjective, but that’s the beauty of it.the-ninth-hunter-ebook-cover

Mac or PC?

PC. I don’t like the way Apple will only allow you to use other Apple products, because ultimately I want the freedom to buy whatever gadget suits me rather than having to stick with one brand. But if I’m honest, it’s probably a matter of principle for me rather than practicality. Take that Apple!

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

I’m pretty happy with Word at this stage. I do like to plot quite extensively before I get started though, and I’ve heard Scrivener is a great aid for plotters, so I definitely won’t rule it out in the future.beyond-the-shadows-cover

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

Usually I take notes when I’m first starting out or when I’m stuck on a plot hole. Somehow writing with pen and paper makes that process more organic. Almost as though having a screen in front of me puts the pressure on to produce a result. With pen and paper, I feel like I can just let thoughts flow in their own time.

Do you have any writing rituals?

At the moment I’m doing all my drafting with dictation. I was having trouble with productivity because I was fed up with sitting at a desk. I’d get headaches and sore shoulders, and I’d heard good things about dictation. I started about two months ago and I’m completely hooked! It’s so liberating and it stops me from self editing while I draft which is a huge time saver. After all, a draft is meant to be rubbish haha
So, my ritual is to dictate in the car on the way home from work, or to and from social events on the weekend. Driving is a great for my imagination too. It’s amazing being able to combine the two!

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I like to research at the beginning. Often to help with plot inspiration. Once I know where my story is going, I write the draft and research again at the end to fill in the blanks. But I also love to create my own mythology so I’m not bound by someone else’s rules.shadowhunters_ebook-2

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

Probably in bed! It seems so indulgent, but what other job allows you to stay in bed in your PJs all the day and call it work? A-mazing!

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

I live in Australia and it gets ridiculously hot here in summer. So pretty much anywhere with an air conditioning vent nearby! Or by the pool. That’s always a great setting. Again, what other job allows you the freedom to do that and call it work 😉

For the latest news, visit Anna’s website.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Jenny Hale

img_0380When Jenny Hale graduated college, one of her friends said, “Look out for this one; she’s going to be an author one day.” Despite being an avid reader and a natural storyteller, it wasn’t until that very moment that the idea of writing novels occurred to her.

Sometimes our friends can see the things that we can’t.

While she didn’t start straight away, that comment sowed a seed and several years, two children, and hundreds of thousands of words later, she completed a novel that she felt was worthy of publication. The result was Coming Home for Christmas, a heart-warming story about friends, family, and the magic of love at Christmas.

The rest is history.

When she’s not writing, she’s a mother of two boys and a wife to a very supportive husband.img_0333

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

I think it’s that every book is different. Every plot structure, every edit—it’s all unique to the book I’m writing at that time. I often try to create some sort of mental template to make the next book “easier” to write, but there isn’t one. Each book has its own complexities.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It’s taught me that it’s okay to just start at a blank page with no expectations. Just write.

Mac or PC?

Mac

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

When I switched from PC to Mac, I didn’t have time between books to learn anything new, so I put Word on my Mac and kept rolling! Still using Word.all-i-want_rgb-1

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

I do everything on my Mac or on quick, handwritten sticky-notes and things.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Lately, I’ve put instrumental music on very quietly in the background, and that has really helped me to focus. I might also light a candle. And I always have to have a very tidy workspace.

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I just write and research as I go.summer-at-oyster-bay_final-1

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

My office.

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

Also my office, but sometimes I’ll go outside on a nice day and sit on my front porch or my back deck.

Visit Jenny’s website for the latest news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Jamie Raintree

Jamie Raintree Book Cover PhotoJamie Raintree is an author, a writing business teacher and the creator of the Writing & Revision Tracker. She is also a mother of two, a wife, a businesswoman, a nature-lover, and a wannabe yogi. Her debut women’s fiction novel, Letting Go of You, will be released in Fall 2017.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

Wow! Pulling no punches on that one! Honestly, there is SO much great writing advice out there that I can’t think of one single thing that’s the most important. In this moment, I will say that I’ve learned the hard way how necessary it is to foster the writing habit. I’m not one who subscribes to writing every single day—I learned a while ago that family commitments on weekends are too disrupting and only set me up to fail—but most every week day I write. Keeping that momentum going prevents me falling into a rut, which is honestly the worst thing a writer can do for their creativity and their souls.

How has this helped you as a writer?

This helps me because when I allow my writing to slip away from me and not be a consistent part of my day, I start to lose confidence in myself, the doubts creep in, and I fall into a very negative state of mind. A writer needs to be writing! It’s important for our mental health, even when it feels like crap or like we are throwing words into an abyss. The act of putting words on the page and accomplishing something—anything—keeps us connected to our purpose. No matter what else might happen during the day, if I put words to the page, I feel like I’ve succeeded, and that feeling of success brings me back to the page tomorrow.

Mac or PC?

I’m an all-Apple-all-the-time girl, and I’m never going back!

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Neither, actually! I use this awesome program called Storyist, which is similar to Scrivener but, in my opinion, much more user friendly. Beware—right now it’s only available for Mac users. (I have a blog post comparing Storyist and Scrivener if you’d like to check it out.)

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

Neither, generally. I still prefer to do it the old fashioned way, with a notebook and paper. My favorite notebook is the disc-bound notebook I got from the office supply store that has separators and moveable pages. It’s much more organized than the average notebook, and organization is a huge love of my life. (Yes, I know how weird this is.) (I also have a blog post on this. The notebook…not how weird I am.)

Do you have any writing rituals?

Forcing myself to get off Facebook? Also, I always have to have a drink on hand (coffee or Zevia usually) and music playing in the background. I make a playlist for each of my books filled with songs that capture the feeling of my story. It gets me into that emotional space instantly!

Do you start by writing or researching first?

Luckily, I don’t have to do a lot of research since I write contemporary women’s fiction. If I do have to research, it’s usually things about locations or details for my characters’ chosen career paths. I don’t know what I need to know about those things until I start writing. That said, if I do come across something I need to research, it’s very hard to keep writing until I find that information. Trying to gloss over the details instead of being able to accurately spell it out in a way that enriches my story trips me up.

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

Oh, by the fireplace for sure. The ambiance is so comforting. My living room has a gas fireplace but if I want to write in my office, I have an electric faux fireplace that does the trick.

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

At the park, on a blanket in the grass, under a shady tree, while my kids play. Literally all my favorite things at once. It’s heaven.

To find out more, visit her website. Subscribe to her newsletter for more blogs, workshops, and book news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco