Indie Interview: Terez Peipins

Today’s Indie Interviewee is Terez Peipins, a fellow mystery writer whose novel Snow Clues was inspired by her work at a publishing company.

Image result for snow clues teresa peipins

Hi, Terez. Welcome to Read A Lot.

Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?

It’s something I always dreamed of but I wouldn’t say I planned.

Q: What inspired you to write Snow Clues?

I had lived in Spain for close to 20 years and returned to the area where I grew up. Buffalo was a mix of rust belt and potential when I got here. Memories were everywhere.

Q: What made you choose the genre?

I worked as a reader for a publishing house in Barcelona for close to 7 years. My last assignment was reading and reporting on mysteries. I wasn’t thrilled about that in the beginning but I soon found I liked the resolution in those novels and the idea of justice.

I read all of Henning Mankell and Robert Wilson.

Q: What is the book about?

The main character, Dan Kiraly, is faced with his own demons when he is trying to solve a particularly gruesome crime. The novel is not focused on the crime itself but on the solution and how Dan comes to terms with his past.

Q: Do you find it easier to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?

I prefer to write with no restrictions but that is very hard to manage with a day job. When I am working on a project it’s not hard to continue whenever I can.

Q: Can you choose a favourite character from your book?

Dan’s sister, Maggie. She is a no-nonsense person who anchors his life.

Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing when you wanted to give up?

No. I have manuscripts that I can put aside with the idea their time will come. I did that with Snow Clues.

Q: What is the worst part of the writing process for you?

The worst part is when you think you are finished and round after round of editing clearly shows you’re not.

Q: How much of your stories do you plan, or do you make them up as you go along?

I may start with a general idea of where I would like the story to go. However, the stories tell themselves and the characters often surprise me.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?

Don’t let rejection keep you from writing. Keep the faith and keep at it.

Q: Where can people learn more about your books?

I have several Facebook pages: Teresa Peipins Snow-Clues and my blog

Q: What have you learned since you started writing?

I have learned that writing is what I most want to do. I was recently diagnosed with cancer and I knew I had to have work ahead of me (editing and revising) to make living worthwhile.

Q: What’s next for you?

I have a sequel to this novel. I want to keep Detective Dan Kiraly alive. I have several poems forthcoming in various publications.

Sunday Update

It’s been a few weeks since I last did an update, but I’ve been so focused on getting A Woman Scorned finished, I’ve been trying to limit my distractions and allowing myself near the internet would definitely be a HUGE distraction.

Plus my May book haul (check my Instagram account here for details) has me sidelined at night, too. But there’ll be a review of Big Little Lies soon, then I’m moving on to Their Finest or The Windermere Witness, so there’ll be a bit more activity over the summer.

Or, that’s the plan anyway.

My main priority is getting the book finished. It’s taken longer than I thought it would, and has involved twice as much hair pulling and frustrated screaming as The Game Begins did. But this week I decided to retype it from the beginning and see if that would get me over my problem, and it did, a bit.

I spent the last three days writing, so I suppose that’s something.

I’m never criticising a mystery novel again.

Indie Interview: Katie Perttunen

Reposting my plea for authors interested in taking part in my Indie Interview series brought quite a bit of response as well as testing my organisational skills. Ten of you wonderful people got in touch, and despite the minor freak out I had when I woke up on Thursday morning and saw all those Contact forms, I’m grateful you came forward and let me share in your writing journey.

Today’s interview is with Katie Perttunen, the author of Kirra the Dragon, a children’s book about a dragon with a difference, and Bits, a memoir about Katie’s experiences dealing with being bipolar.

Bits by [Perttunen, Katie]

Hi, Katie. Welcome to Read A Lot.

Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?

My first published poem was in second grade, and I just kept at it. I studied writing (and women’s studies) as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and as a graduate student at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

I currently serve as Poetry Editor for Literary Orphans, so I am constantly surrounding myself with genius in hopes a bit will rub off on me like rubbing a genie’s lamp for magic! I also served as a journalist for two newspapers.

Q: What inspired you to write your children’s book Kiira the Dragon?

The story is about a dragon who can’t breathe fire, no matter how hard she tries, and it turns out she can breathe something so much better! The story’s main character is named after my younger daughter Kiira. At the time she was having a hard time with reading and reading comprehension, and I was volunteering at her school to help other students with similar issues.

I just wanted to write a story that kids could relate to and feel that maybe they aren’t great at one thing, but they are soooo great at so many other things!

Q: What made you choose the genre?

I wanted to write a story for children that was fun and magic.

Q: What is the book about?

A dragon has a hard time breathing fire. So Kiira, the main character, gets help at school, sees a doctor, and finally her parents give her a break and let her learn how to do other great things. One day she spontaneously discovers she can breathe something so much better than fire, that makes her very special and unique.

Q: What inspired you to write your memoir, Bits?

When I learned that I was bipolar I fought with the diagnosis at first. I read everything I could about it but I couldn’t find anything that struck a chord with me. I was also attending graduate school at the time.

Many of the ‘Bits’ or stories are taken from that time- but I waited to show it to publishers until I could find the silver lining and show that things can and do get better.

For me it took a lot of persuasion and some significant experimentation with medication regimes to get me to the point where I feel like myself again and dare I say it, happy!

Q: What made you choose the genre?

I read so many wonderful works of art in graduate school that I wanted to experiment with form and I wanted also to share some truths about my lived experiences, so that others in similar situations, or others who love those in similar situations, can get an idea of what bipolar is all about. At least one woman’s story.

Q: What is the book about?

Coming to terms with bipolar and divorce as a mother.

Q: Do you find it easier to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?

I get up early in the morning every day to write and sometimes I even do that!

Q: Can you choose a favourite scene from your books?

I love to write dialogue, which is both a gift and a curse. The scenes with dialogue were really easy for me to write and fun to write. I love a line from a poem in Bits that haunts me even today, “Is a mother always a mother, or only in the act of mothering?”

Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing when you wanted to give up?

Definitely. I was told at least twice that I would be permanently disabled by the bipolar, and I went through bouts of severe bipolar depression. I actually shelved the manuscript for a long time before I picked it back up and showed it to my then-boyfriend, who convinced me to get back to work on it.

Q: What is the worst part of the writing process for you?

Self promotion

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?

The worst first draft is the one that isn’t written.

Q: Where can people learn more about your books?

I am on Goodreads and also have a WordPress site.

Q: What have you learned since you started writing?

I’ve learned that my style is not for everybody, and that’s okay. I have also learned that it’s an incredible amount of work to promote your work.

Q: What’s next for you?

I have written a sequel for Kiira the Dragon called Kiira the Teacher. I have also written a story called Bailey Emily Flashlight Learns about Religions which is named after my elder daughter, and basically a conversation between mother and child about war and religions.

I am currently working on a novel about an unsolved murder involving the sex industry that is going to be a work of fiction, with a little bit of paranormal and some (my brand) feminism thrown in.

 

Wanted: Indie Authors and Guest Bloggers

I’m reblogging this because I don’t have any interviews left to schedule. If you’ve been interviewed by me before and wanted to do it again because you’ve released another book, I’d love to have you back. Or if you’d like to do a guest post on writing or reading, I’d love to hear your ideas.

It’s been a while since I did any Indie Interviews on here, so I thought I’d let you all know that I’m always happy to help out other indie authors, and if you want to take part in a Q&A with me or do a guest post on writing or books, feel free to let me know via the contact form.

I know how difficult it is to promote your book, and how frustrating it is when you find a website offering promotions which cost more than it did to publish your book, which is why I decided to let my new followers (and remind the others) that Indies are always welcome here.

There are no deadlines or criteria or anything, so your questions will be uploaded here as soon as you get them back to me and I can type them up, and there will be a post on Instagram about…

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Indie Interview: Patricia Panahi

We’re here, at 500 (!!!!) likes and 17 (!!) Indie Interviews. Thank you so much for your continued support, your comments, and general awesomeness. A blog isn’t the same without a community, and I would have given up with Read A Lot a long time ago if I didn’t have all of you wonderful human beings for support.

Today’s interview is with Patricia Panahi, the author of Veil of Walls.

Hi, Patricia. Welcome to Read A Lot.

Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?

A: I enjoyed writing stories when I was a teenager, got my BA in English, then went one semester for my MA in Creative Writing, but got cold feet, changed to Applied Linguistics, and had a lifelong career in teaching and directing ESL programs.

Writing went on the back burner.

Q: What inspired you to write Veil of Walls?

A: I lived in Iran from the age of 9 to 26 and my father was Iranian, so I have intimate knowledge of the people and culture. Observing the misconceptions about Iran, plus getting the itch to write again motivated me to write this novel which took ten years and drafts beyond count.

Q: What made you choose this genre?

A: I enjoy reading literary fiction, historical novels, and stories from other places and cultures, so writing a story taking place in Iran was a good fit.

Q: What is the book about?

Veil of Walls is the story of Anahita Sadeghi, a typical, happy-go-lucky American ten-year-old not too keen on travelling to the other side of the world to meet her father’s family.

But her month-long vacation turns into a nightmare when her Persian relatives refuse to let her return to the States, and she is forced to deal with the dizzying maze of social customs, resist her grandmother’s efforts to mould her into the proper Persian girl, dodge her aunt’s schemes of marriage, and fight to make her own life choices until she can find a way to return home.

Longing for her friends and her freedom, only the enigma of her missing aunt, Scheherazade, gives Ana a glimmer of hope of one day escaping Iran for good. 

Will Ana’s family marry her off and forever bind her to this country, or will she break free of Iran’s walls and find her way back to America?

Q: Did you find it easiest to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?

A: I was teaching at the University of Hawaii at the time and wrote on weekends and whenever I could. No schedule.

Q: Can you choose a favourite character?

A: Anahita is my favourite character since most of the book is about her struggles, insights, and breakthroughs.

Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing your book when you wanted to give up?

A: Not really. I loved creating the story and cast of characters. I did get frustrated with the many agent rejections, but used their comments to improve the manuscript.

I did the same with the publisher rejections my agent received. They were very helpful in polishing the final draft that got published by Black Rose Writing.

Q: What is the worst part of the writing process for you?

A: Getting rejections and endless revisions.

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 did not plan Veil of Walls in any detail, the characters just came to life on the page. But I am outlining my next book, The Colour of Hope, to reduce the endless revisions.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?

A: Polish and revise your work to every inch of its life before sending it to anyone, or even self publishing. Getting professional assistance from other writers and an editor helps quite a bit.

Q: Where can people learn more about your books?

A: www.patriciapanahiauthor.wordpress.com

www.amazon.com/author/patriciapanahi

Q: What have you learned since you started writing?

A: I’ve learned to write a story that moves faster, sticking to only scenes/information that moves the story forward and trimming the rest. I’ve also learned to make my characters layered and complex in addition to using taste, smell, sound, and textures to bring the words alive.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: The Colour of Hope, the story of four very different people whose lives intersect during the chaos of the 2009 Iranian election protests.

References, dialogue prompts and character inspiration

Since making a Pinterest account a few months ago, I’ve started relying on it for a lot of things, including prompts and character ideas. But if you don’t have a Pinterest account, you can’t get access to people’s boards, so I decided to share some of my favourite (and most useful) sites here so that you can take advantage of the resources too.

You can visit my new Writing References page here.

I’ll update it when I find websites to share, and if there are any you use a lot for your own research, let me know and I’ll add it to the list.