Author Interview, Katy Gilbert

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Interview #64, with the author of “Why You’re Gorgeous”: Katy Gilbert!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

katygilbert

Determined, optimistic, individual, creative, caring.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

katy gilbert

From Why You’re Gorgeous:

Blurb:
“Have you ever felt less than utterly delectable?
Ever ruled out the possibility of wearing something that you loved (hello, leopard print Speedos) because you were afraid of what people might think?
Have you ever considered chainsawing your thighs or diving into a cereal diet?
Are you concerned that you can’t be manly if you wear pink?
Have you ever been told that real women are all curvy, or that you need to ‘erase’ your wrinkles?
Confidence lacking? Not believing that you’re exceptionally attractive?
You’ve come to the right place.
Welcome to the world of Why You’re Gorgeous!
It’s time to skip along the path to self-love. It’s possible.
What are you waiting for, gorgeous?”

Excerpt:

“You’re meant to look at your face and your body and gasp in horror. I’m a human being! With skin that isn’t baby youthful for eternity! I have hips! Where is my sixteen pack?! My jaw could do with a bit of chiselling — fetch the tool box! Quickly!

[…]Laughter lines? We can erase them! Hold still, this scalpel here’s just gonna nick into your wallet. Hips?! Unnecessary nowadays, out with them!

[…]Need a more manly jaw? Dahling, haven’t you seen the wonders a painless transformational procedure can achieve? We’ll have you de-deformed in no time.”

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

Oooh, this is so difficult, but what a great question!

I eventually chose Meg Rosoff. This is an excerpt from her book Just In Case:

“Who knows what to expect from a blast of that magnitude? The brain struggles to process information with which it has no experience, races to find an explanation for the searing pain in one shoulder, the awkward bend of a leg folded under and digging into your solar plexus, a leg that turns out not to be your own.

[…]All around are events signalling noise, mouths open in the posture of screams, huge panes of glass splintering from within bent window frames. Everything falls much too slowly and silently towards the ground.”

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is the love of my life, the publication process is…not so much! No, I’m joking! Whereas being an author is everything to me -– writing is my passion, purpose, the one (when you know you just know, right?!) –- the publishing world is full of dreams and sparkle and you really have to grind away at it to reach them. That’s not a bad thing, though! I’ve self-published two books now, and the publishing side is always a little more stressful than the actual writing. I suppose it just doesn’t flutter around me quite as naturally, but the challenge is an important one! It’s cool to be able to look over your shoulder and know that you achieved it.

In terms of approaching publishers and agents I love the overall experience; I take joy in creating my story. It is very wearing at times; I don’t think you can be aware of the full extent of what you’re taking on until you’re caught up in it yourself. It takes guts to persevere in this industry: you’re constantly offering yourself up for approval, and more often than not you don’t get it. I think you have to relinquish your grip on the personal and let rejection whoosh over your head. Be the sparrowhawk, not the sparrow!

There’ll always be days when it hits you harder than others, but that’s OK. There’ll be one day that turns out to be the best, ever, when everything finally comes together. It’s so exciting to think about a gleam of sun rising on it, and you having no idea what’s falling into place! I mean, that’s exciting regarding any day, let alone one as special as that.

I like that part about how it’s exciting regarding any day ;) What is your definition of “good writing”?

I think for writing to be ‘good’ it just needs passion behind it. If an author is completely dedicated to really putting craft and effort in the end result will have a degree of shine to it. That’s always going to be better than something someone’s thrown together for the sake of money or popularity, for example -– no matter how much talent is involved in either. Love for your baby shows!

Sweet! Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Keep going. You have times when you think ‘God, how much longer is it going to be like this’, then you get up the next morning and you do it again and again.
If you persevere you’ll come through the other side, right out into the bright, sparkling, unicorn adorned light!

And, enjoy the journey! Don’t be so fixated on ‘making it’ that you miss out on what’s just as important, which is getting there. You want your own story to be fabulous, too!

Sorry, that’s two tips.

Important ones, though :) Your websites/blogs/etc:

www.katygilb.com (website)
www.katygilblog.tumblr.com (blog)
www.katygilbert.bigcartel.com (buy / shop)
www.youtube.com/katygilb

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Much thanks to Katy for stopping by — do visit her website for more info about her and her very original/inspiring projects. Stay up to date and win cool prizes with her newsletter too!

UPDATE (2 Sept 12): Here’s my review of Why You’re Gorgeous.

Author Interview, Kristopher Miller

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Interview #62, with unorthodox/quirky/persistent author: Kristopher Miller!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

kristopher miller

Unorthodox, quirky, persistent, morbid, and knowledgeable.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

mazes_amulet

From The Maze’s Amulet:

Elza shouted, “Vargas tull!”

Then the vagrant opened his eyes with a weak gasp. He turned from a tough guy to a scared urchin at the cloudy, bestial face that hissed at him with infernal green eyes. This creature was no longer the woman he and his friend planned to mug and rape. This was an animal with a phantasmagorical mane of hair and a twisted feline face belonging to a lion from hell.

The thug with the knife stumbled back and he dropped his weapon. Elza heard the knife hit the cement with a clatter ringing with the rain but she did not care as she stepped forward.

The thug shouted, “No! Get away from me!” He ran across the street, leaving his friend behind to face the shocking apparition Elza turned into. A car screeched to a stop in front of his friend as he fled the scene.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

This is from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere:

Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were killing time. Mr. Vandemar had obtained a centipede — a reddish orange creature, almost eight inches long, with vicious, poisonous fangs — and was letting it run all over his hands, watching it as it twined over his fingers, vanishing up one sleeve, appeared a minute later after the other. Mr. Croup was playing with razor blades. He had found, in a corner, a whole box of fifty-year-old razor blades, wrapped in wax paper, and he had been trying to think of things to do with them.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

For me, the writing process was challenging because I originally had one idea in mind, but the length of that idea needed to be expanded. That required several drafts, several readjustments, and several revisions to get it down to the “right” design and feel. The writing process is often made “easy” by some authors being interviewed, but it is a technical process that requires a lot of steps — and teamwork from editors — to succeed. At the same time, the writing process is rewarding once you realize that an element in the story, whether it be the plot, character development, or the in-story universe’s mechanics, turn out to work the way you want it to and the way that it is conveyed easily to the audience. The writing process is very rewarding because you are able to put your vision on paper. Sometimes it turns out differently than what you expect, but sometimes it is for the better!

As for the publication process, I can say that was easier because we live in an era where people can self-publish their work without having their work being dictated to what a publisher might think would be “marketable.” Self-publishing my work without a publisher would be challenging in that I would not have a lot of promotional resources but then I would also have full control of my work. I’m also a guy who cares more about writing as an art form as opposed to a commercial medium. My stuff is not everyone’s cup of tea, but all I care about is getting my work out there and continuing to make more material that I enjoy creating and what people enjoy reading. This is because writing is a difficult, frustrating, enjoyable, and a highly rewarding activity to partake in.

I love the full control “self-publishing” offers too ;) And it’s always nice to hear about people who aren’t solely motivated by “what $ell$.” What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing is writing that a reader can access without having to stumble upon mechanical mistakes and some logic issues that would otherwise ruin a good story. Yes, a good plot is needed, but moreover, the plot with a decent structure, character design and concepts are needed to mesh well in that the reader can access it. But moreover, I think good writing comes from how the author lets these plot and character elements run around before editing them for polish. Good writing is experimentation and taking chances with these elements, but good writing is also making sure that the experimentation works, especially on the readers’ part.

I reject other writers’ notions that the writer is the audience (Cough, Stephenie Meyer, Cough, Mary Sue…) because if it is only for the writer’s entertainment, then it is not really for the reader and this process of writing for the writer’s sake really hinders enjoyment on the reader’s part. I for one have read works in which authors have written for themselves that people have enjoyed but all I wanted to do was bash my head against a wall. One of the most rewarding things about the writing process is creating something that people enjoy and really getting a kick out of their reactions from the manuscript you spent many hours on.

It still takes time to do something worthwhile. In the greater scheme of things, I suppose it also depends on the writer’s motivations (and the type of audience they wish to target). Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Read, read, and read some more. Read stuff that you aren’t familiar with. Read stuff you don’t even agree with. Then write, write, and write some more. Write several drafts of that idea down. Overall: read and write. Rinse and repeat. You will understand how the writing mechanics work when you look at other people’s work.

Yes, it’s important not to stagnate (one of the deadly sins is “sloth,” after all…). Your websites/blogs/etc:

Kristopher Miller’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/catacombsbookshelf

The Catacomb’s Bookshelf, Kristopher Miller’s Official Writing Blog: http://catacombsbookshelf.blogspot.com/

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Much thanks to Kristopher for stopping by — do visit his website for more info about him, his views on writing/publishing, and his books.

Be sure to also check out his guest post for tips on Standing Out as a Self-Published Author!