Poet Interview, John Mackeigan


Interview #47, with poet, John Mackeigan!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Honest, caring, loving, respectful and quiet.

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



Like the rhymes ;) Share an excerpt of your favorite poet’s work (10-100 words):

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead mean naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Thomas

Did reading a poem first spark the desire to write poetry, or was it an experience?:

Really it was just inspiration and/or improve.

What goal do you seek through your poetry?

To share it with others and perhaps at the same time have some financial retirement funds through it.

Please share your #1 tip for poets/writers:

Speak from your heart.

Indeed! Your websites/blogs/etc:

Here’s the link to my poetry book on Amazon.

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Much thanks to John for stopping by! Stay tuned for a couple more poet interviews I’ll soon be posting ;)


Author Interview, Topher Sanders


Author Interview #38, with the music-obsessed Topher Sanders!

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Hi Topher! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Husband. Father. Silly. Geeky. Music-Obsessed.

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


Courtney and I talked for another two hours. It turned out we had a mutual obsession for Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “There’s no way Captain Picard is a better leader than Admiral Adama.”

“What,” I said. “Are you kiddin’ me? All Adama had to do was fight the Cylons — and he never did that very well mind you — he never had to deal with Borg or Q or the Klingons.”

“Well, Picard didn’t deal with them all that well, now did he?” he said. “He did get his ass assimilated.”

We both laughed.

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

He was an introvert who trembled with fear every time gym class rolled around. He watched nerd shows like “Doctor Who” and “Blake’s 7,” could tell you the difference between a Veritech fighter and a Zentraedi battle pod, and he used a lot of huge-sounding nerd words like “indefatigable” and “ubiquitous” when talking to niggers who would barely graduate from high school.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

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

People often talk about the writing process as the hard part. I know a lot of cats with multiple half-written manuscripts. Writing your novel is really the easy phase, it’s that one-page synopsis of your 120,000-word opus that’s a real bitch. The publication process can be brutal, but it’s a matter of how badly you want to share your creation with the world. If you believe in your project and you’ve worked hard to get it clean and ready for eyes, then publish it. You’ll have to roll up your sleeves and do some more work to promote it, but it’s your book and you love it. You’ll love raising awareness for it too.

Hell yeah ;) What is your definition of “good writing”?

Writing that transports and transforms. It doesn’t have to be complex or verbose, heady or erudite, it just needs to tell the story. The best writing for me is simple, clear and keeps me on my toes for the next turn in events.

Yes, I like that type of effect too :P (sounds very much like “good music”!). Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Write and share. I know a lot of people give the ‘put-your-butt-in-the-chair’ advice and that’s good advice, that’s where it starts. But you have to share your writing with readers. You have to expose yourself to the opinions of others to get better. Being in a critique group is good, but those are also creative-types trying to get published themselves and they bring a certain type of eye to your work. But you need your average readers like your Aunt Gretchen or that guy at work who hates you or your girlfriend’s sister to read your writing. Those are the people who will tell you something so painfully obvious you or your critique-group pals should have noticed it, but it just slipped by you. So write and share often.

Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

For the novel it’s www.Facebook.com/AyselsArrow.

Folks can follow me on Twitter @tophersanders

The book on Amazon: Aysel’s Arrow

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Much thanks to Topher for stopping by! Be sure to check out Aysel’s Arrow (featuring 29-year-old Latina Aysel Valencia, who is a straight shooter not only with her arrows at the archery range but also with her no-nonsense personality…).

Interview: Literature & Fiction, Volume II


Author Interview #13, with Ms. Shelagh Watkins!

I interviewed Ms. Watkins earlier this year. She has been running a series of author interviews on her Literature & Fiction blog, and has compiled the interviews into a promotional book.

Hi Shelagh! Please tell us about the latest L&F book.

Shelagh: I started interviewing fellow authors mid September 2009. I hadn’t considered putting together the interviews until one of the authors, Maryanne Raphael, made the suggestion on one of the comments:

“Thank you so much for allowing me to be interviewed. You ask wonderful questions and made me look inside myself and my writing. That is a beautiful thing. I would love to see a book of interviews by you. Ever think of that? Best wishes Maryanne”

I was too busy adding more interviews to give the thought any serious consideration. By the time I decided to get on and do it, I was running out of time! If the book was going to be out and available for Christmas, I would have to crack on. Somehow I managed it and the book was available in time for the holidays!

The book was an immediate success so I decided to compile Literature & Fiction Interviews Volume II. This book is even better than Volume I, and I was one of the interviewed authors in the first book!

Was it your idea to publish the interviews in electronic format (ebook) as well as print?

Shelagh: Yes. I have published my own books in ebook format on Smashwords.com and find it an excellent site for uploading Word documents for conversion into a number of different electronic formats: Kindle (.mobi), Epub (open industry format, good for Stanza reader, others), LRF (for Sony Reader), Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices).

Most of the authors in both volumes expressed an interest in having the book available as a download.

Do you have a preference, when it comes to physical books versus ebooks?

Shelagh: I haven’t progressed to a hand-held reading device yet so books are still my main source of information and entertainment. Although I do read a great deal on the web!

It must have taken quite some time to put together L&F books 1 and 2…

Shelagh: The first volume is a compilation of nineteen author interviews and the second has twenty-five interviews: forty-four authors interviewed between September 18th, 2009 and April 3rd, 2010 (twenty-four weeks, approximately two interviews/week). The publishing of the books themselves added to the number of hours spent on each individual author interview. It was hard work, as is anything worthwhile, and these books, and the authors in them, are certainly worthy!

Are there any interesting “patterns” or similarities you might have observed via the interviews, with regards to authors’ personalities?

Shelagh: All the authors in both volumes are anxious to please readers. They enjoy every aspect of the writing process: researching, planning and writing, but their greatest joy comes from the feedback they receive from the readers who enjoyed reading their books.

Writing versus marketing/promoting – how would you compare the two (should a writer spend exactly 50% on each, etc)?

Shelagh: I think all authors would prefer to spend as much time as possible writing. Only a small percentage of authors make enough money to support themselves and their families. Consequently, authors have to supplement their income with other jobs or rely on a partner for financial support. With so much time spent on earning (day job plus writing in the evenings), there is little time left for marketing and promoting. Publishers still organize book tours but, unless the author is famous, book tours tend to be regional rather than national. As a general rule, the less well known authors are, the more time they will have to spend on promoting their books: arranging book signings, library talks and promotional events etc. Nowadays, the majority of authors spend several hours per week promoting their work on the Internet.

What would you like readers to take away from L&F book 2?

Shelagh: There’s a great deal to be learned from the interviews. For anyone considering becoming a writer, the interviews give a real insight into the process of writing. Readers of fiction and non-fiction will be interested in the authors’ books and will appreciate the opportunity to read the snippets taken from their books. In fact, for anyone who likes to read, Literature & Fiction Interviews Volume II is a darned good read!

Your websites/blogs/etc.

Shelagh’s website: http://shelaghwatkins.co.uk
Literature & Fiction blog: http://shelaghwatkins.wordpress.com

Closing comment/s:
Shelagh: Thank you for inviting me onto your blog, Jess. It has been a pleasure talking with you!

Most welcome — and thanks for featuring me in Literature & Fiction Volume II :)!

Note: Literature & Fiction Volume II is available as a paperback, and can be viewed online via SlideShare. Go check it out!