Thank you for all the likes on the last few weeks’ Indie Interviews. It’s nice seeing that you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy making them.
Today’s interview is with Joynell Schultz, who stopped by to talk about her novel Love, Lies and Clones.
Hi, Joy. Welcome to Read A Lot.
Thank you. I’m happy you’re interested.
Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?
A: No, not at all! In the time era I grew up in (80’s and 90’s) there really wasn’t a self-publishing option. (We’re talking before the internet here.) The big publishing houses were gatekeepers, and I doubted I had a chance with them. The thought of pouring my heart into a novel that would just sit on my shelf was discouraging. It wasn’t until the past ten years or so that self-publishing has become popular—and more the norm. This opportunity led me to pursue writing again.
Q: What inspired you to write Love, Lies and Clones?
A: The idea formed and stayed in the back of my mind since 2003 when the cloned sheep, Dolly, died. I often wondered, what would happen if they cloned humans, and what ethical issues would the humans face? My argument was always that they’d be as human as you and me. That sparked this story.
Q: What made you choose the genre?
A: I’ve always had a passion for speculative fiction. There’s something magical about asking “what if” that thrills me.
Q: What is the book about?
A: It’s a mystery with a touch of romance/science fiction (maybe a little thriller thrown in too) about a clone’s desperate struggle to find her father—and a human connection in general. I took my love of science (exploring human cloning) and mixed it with familial bonds (the relationship the clone has with her maker and relationships in general.) It touches a little on what it means to be human.
Q: Did you find it easiest to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?
A: When I first start a story, time restrictions put too much pressure on my creativity. I prefer no deadlines for writing my outline and first draft. (I tried NaNoWriMo this past year, where you write a novel in a month’s time, and quit with only 7000 words left to write. I had lost my creativity.)
Now, when it’s time for editing, I need to put some pressure on myself, otherwise I’d keep nit-picking. At some point, I just say enough and make a commitment to publish my book by a certain date. I’m doing that now with my work-in-progress, Blood & Holy Water. I’m finishing it by February 1st and submitting it to Kindle Scout. Publishing in April. Period. Then I can move forward onto another project.
Q: Can you choose a favourite character?
A: A favourite character in one of my stories is in a short story I wrote called “Bitten” (It’s available free here. It’s about a mother whose son is bitten by a werewolf and her preparation for the approaching full moon. As a mother, I connect with this character as to what I’d do if it was my child. (Well, that is if werewolves really did exist.)
Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing your book when you wanted to give up?
A: Yes! In Love, Lies & Clones, I struggled through my first round of beta readers. Basically, I was learning how to write at that point and my book was crap. Kindly, my readers held my hand and guided me through my issues. When I did my revisions and sent them off to my second round of beta readers, the feedback was so much better.
Q: What is the worst part of the writing process for you?
A: Editing! I wish I could craft a first draft that didn’t stink. I spend so much time rewriting scenes to make them more believable and editing my sentences to not be choppy.
Q: How much of your stories do you plan, or do you find it easier to make them up as you go along?
A: I draft a rough outline that hits the high points of the story (hook, backstory, trigger, crisis, struggle, epiphany, plan, climax, and ending) and maybe even flesh it out a little. Most of my story happens while writing, though—my characters always end up with a mind of their own and write their own story, despite what I have planned for them.
Q: Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?
A: Have thick skin and keep writing, no matter what feedback you get. I’m very sensitive with my writing and a little negative feedback makes me want to throw in the towel. If I only knew, early in my writing life, that everyone gets negative feedback.
Q: Where can people learn more about your books?
A: I’m all over the place!
The best way to stay informed is signing up for my mailing list
Q: What have you learned since you started writing?
A: Where do I begin? Besides writing craft skills, the biggest thing I learned is your novel / short story will never be perfect. You can repeatedly nit-pick it, forever. What you need to do is read through it, do the best job you’re capable of at that moment, and kick it out the door. Move on to something else. There are so many things to create, why massage a story so long you get sick of it?
Q: What’s next for you?
As I mentioned, I’m finishing up Blood & Holy Water and will have a 30 day Kindle Scout Campaign with that novel. Then, I plan on publishing it in April. Right now, I’m excited to get that novel off the table, because my NaNoWriMo project (yeah, the one I had quit) is calling for me. It’s called, The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives, and is a fun book. I’d love to get that published in fall—then moving on to some sequels.
June Taylor never asked to be cloned. She never asked for the faulty heart that beats inside her chest. But most of all, she never asked for the chaos that would become her life.
When her estranged father mysteriously appears at her doorstep to warn her of impending danger, she immediately dismisses him. But when he goes missing, his seemingly unbelievable claims prove to be true. Not only is her life in danger, but the lives of others like her are at stake.
As clues about a malicious conspiracy unfold, an AWOL soldier emerges insistent that he holds the missing link in this deadly puzzle, but placing her trust in a stranger is the last thing June is willing to do.
With the clock ticking, can June trust him with her secret…and her heart?