Monday, November 15, 2010
Authors On The Rise is delighted to bring you an Interview with Lakisha Spletzer. Please show your support by picking up one of her books for your next read.
AOTR: Briefly tell us about yourself and your book.
Lakisha: My name is Lakisha and I'm a single parent who has a college degree but who currently does tax preparation for H & R Block. I haven't really used my degree for much and that's okay with me. I'm a cross-genre writer, meaning I like to mix and match genres in my novels.
I have two books out: "Jewels" which was my debut novel and "Werelove Dusk Conspiracy". "Jewels" is a space opera (sci-fi) with romantic and paranormal elements. "Werelove Dusk Conspiracy" is a paranormal romance with sci-fi elements.
AOTR: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Lakisha: I've been writing since the age of 8. I didn't want to become a Published writer, until 2004 after joining a writer's workshop group.
AOTR: Where did you come up with the idea for your book?
Lakisha: "Jewels" came from a novella anthology call from Samhain Publishing for space opera-themed novellas. I took a blog post that was written in the first-person by a female voice, changed the name and went to work. I realized after I submitted it that a novella didn't do the story justice and I was happy to see it get rejected. I took it and wrote another 150 pages and was happy with the result. "Werelove" came from my desire to write a Young Adult novel that dealt with issues I had growing up like bullying, loneliness, first love, and family ties.
AOTR: What was the writing process like for your book? Did it just come to you or did you have to outline or do any other different processes?
Lakisha: The writing process for me is different with each book. One novel might come from an idea that pops into my head, while another might be inspired by a writing prompt. As to the actual writing of my novels, I can be a panster and/or a plotter, and sometimes both. "Jewels" was a panster novel whereas "Werelove Dusk Conspiracy" was a combination of the two styles.
AOTR: Did you write about any important social issues in this book? If so, please share them with us and tell us why you chose these issues.
Lakisha: "Werelove" probably has a little more social issues than "Jewels". "Jewels" does deal with discrimination in various forms. "Werelove" deals with bullying, dysfunctional families, single-parent families, obsessive/stalker type love, racism (Weres [shapeshifters] and Humans], teenage love & relationships, as well as the duality of a person's nature that drives them to behave in a certain fashion.
AOTR: What aspects of your own life are woven into your book? Or do you just write what is in your head?
Lakisha: The axiom is "Write what you know," so a lot of the themes/subjects that I write about in my stories come from my own personal experiences, experiences of others, or is a reaction to something I've seen or heard on the news.
AOTR: What do you hope readers will take away after reading your book?
Lakisha: I hope that if they are dealing with any of those types of subjects I touch on (bullying, loneliness, etc.) that they take courage and realize they are not alone. That others have been there and we're here today to tell you that you can make it.
AOTR: What sets your book apart? What makes it new; different?
Lakisha: I think that what sets my books apart is that I'm all about the characters. In reviews, especially for "Werelove", my work has been described as character-driven. When I write, I try to make my characters, whether they are alien, shapeshifters, or human, easy to relate to. I want the readers to look past the exterior and see what is inside, which is what counts at the end of the day. I think what makes "Werelove" different is that I'm not focusing on just one type of were-creature. Also the fact that the protagonist is half werewolf and half werecat is definitely different.
AOTR: How did you go about getting published? Was the process difficult?
Lakisha: I tried the traditional method of sending out to agents and publishers and didn't get anywhere. That's when I decided to take a leap of faith and go indie. I haven't looked back yet. Being an indie author can be difficult because you have to do/find everything that a publisher would do for you. You have to find an editor, a cover artist/illustrator, you have to format your novel for publication and then you have to market yourself. It can be very daunting and you have to be motivated in order to go the indie route.
AOTR: Anything about the book Industry that shocked you after you released your book?
Lakisha: Not really. The book industry is like any other industry: the bottom line. They only want things that sell, will back the things that bring in the money and if you're not a significant part of that process, then you will be weeded out.
AOTR: When you are not writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Lakisha: When I'm not writing, I'm busy with my children which takes a lot of time since I'm a single parent. I've always been an avid reader so whenever I can snag time to read, I do that too. I also like to dance.
AOTR: When it's all said and done, what do you want your legacy to be?
Lakisha: I hope that people enjoy what I've written and that they pass that joy along to others.
AOTR: Please tell interested readers how they can contact you and find out more information on you and your book?
Lakisha: You can find me at my website "Kishaz World" (http://www.kishazworld). I also have a blog, "Inner Muse" (http://www.kishazworld.com/innermuse).
If you're into social media, you can find me at these spots:
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lakisha-Spletzer/204606745387
AOTR: Thank you for chatting with us. AOTR wish you much success!
Lakisha's ten favorites:
Color: I actually have three: purple, blue, and green
Soda: Dr. Pepper and then Sprite if the first isn't available
Season: Summer. I hate the cold.
Actor: Hmm, I actually don't have one.
Inspirational quote: "Do or do not. There is no try." -- Master Yoda, Star Wars
Author: I have several on my shortlist: Elissa Malcohn, Piers Anthony, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey
Restaurant: Any that has good food *winks*
Piece of clothing: Loose-fitting or baggy. I'm a comfort freak.
Television show: Shortlist: Fringe, Stargate Universe, Sanctuary, Smallville
City: None. I'm a true country girl
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Authors On The Rise is happy to bring you an interview with K.L Brady. Enjoy! Please show support by grabbing a copy of K.L's book.
AOTR: Tell us about you and your book.
K.L: My debut novel, THE BUM MAGNET, is about a woman, Charisse Tyson, who is approaching a major life milestone--her fortieth birthday. She has just broken up with boyfriend number too many and reads an article that makes her realize it's time to take stock of her life and assess why she keeps selecting the same kind of men (players) over and over again. No sooner than she decides to give up men until she works through her issues, they start coming out of the woodwork, especially a sexy irresistible businessman named Dwayne Gibson. She goes against her better instinct and puts herself in a position where she has to navigate a minefield of men while trying to work on herself at the same time--with often hilarious results.
AOTR: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
K.L: I've been writing since I was very young. I've always kept diaries and journals throughout my life, so I always knew I wanted to be a writer. Unfortunately, I didn't decide to become a published author until I turned forty. Turning forty will certainly make you look back at your life and wonder whether you've fulfilled your life's purpose or whether you've got work to do. I had lots of work to do.
AOTR: What inspired you to write your first book?
K.L: I had an Oprah "Aha" moment one day during the summer of 2008. I was coming up on my fortieth birthday, feeling like I'd reached some level of success in my life but my work didn't fulfill me. I was watching an episode of Oprah when she had Eckhart Tolle on discussing his book AWAKENING YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE when it hit me that I wasn't living my best life or fulfilling my life's purpose. What good was putting everything in my heart in journals and diaries where no one could see them? I also got hung up on the fact that I didn't have a degree in English so I couldn't be a writer, right? Wrong. I got over myself, pushed the negative thoughts aside, and just wrote from my heart. The result is a book that has really resonated with women of all races, ethnicities, and social backgrounds. The character is very relatable.
AOTR: Was it difficult to write or easy?
K.L: Writing is pretty easy for me. It's the editing that's a killer. I don't want to edit. I hate editing. But I have to edit and revise. There's no shortcut around that if you want to publish quality products.
AOTR: How did you go about creating your characters?
K.L: My characters are based on me or people I've known throughout my life. Each one is kind of a mish mash of several people so no one can sue me for slander.
AOTR: Did you struggle with any of your characters or did they just speak to you?
K.L: My characters speak to me, usually around three o'clock in the morning. It's unreal. I often feel like I'm just taking dictation. I like writing this way because I believe that's why people say the characters in my book seem so authentic. They are coming from a very real place.
AOTR: What was your writing process like? Did you outline or just write naturally?
K.L: I have tried to be a good author and outline and I can't do it. I tend to just let the words flow how and whenever they decide to come to me. I've tried to plot and I find that it actually stifles my creativity. I also find that when I let my characters drive the story, the story is usually way more interesting than anything I could come up with myself.
AOTR: What important lessons did you convey in your book?
K.L: I don't think I really write to convey lessons. I try to entertain first and if a message comes from that...great. We get a two for one. With that said, I do think a few key themes stick out. First and foremost is that when we find ourselves repeating the same bad behaviors over and over and over again, at some point we have to stop playing the blame game and take a look in the mirror at who we are and how we're contributing to the problem. Another theme is that when traumatic events happen in your life, childhood or otherwise, you can't just sweep those incidents under the rug to make them go away. If you don't deal with them in a real way, they will only manifest themselves in your behaviors and your relationships.
AOTR: With so many books on the market, what sets your book apart?
K.L: I think I read some place that there are no more original stories to be told. They've all been done. The originality is in HOW you tell the story. I think what sets my novel apart is that the characters' voices are very authentic, real, and often downright hilarious...and every woman knows at least one Charisse so you can relate to her plight, her lows, and her triumphs.
AOTR: In a few words tell an interested reader why they should read your book next.
K.L: If you want a laugh out loud funny book with relatable flawed characters, this is the right one for you. This is a book my readers buy multiple copies of so they can give them to their girlfriends.
AOTR: What are you working on now?
K.L: I've just finished writing the sequel to THE BUM MAGNET, which I've tentatively titled GOT A RIGHT TO BE WRONG. That may change. I left a few loose ends dangling at the end of first book so I tie them up nicely in the second.
I wrote my first young adult novel romantic comedy "MIZZ UNDERSTANDINGZ" which is a YA-Urban variation on Pride and Prejudice, the English literary classic. It puts a twist on the story in a way that I personally haven't seen before...and I'm a huge Jane Austen fan. She is, to me, the original chick lit author.
I'm currently working on my second YA novel, a little more dramatic, called SOUL OF THE BAND. It's about a music-loving inner city teen is sent to Smalltown, Ohio, to live with her aunt until her mother recovers from a mental breakdown that leaves them homeless. There, she becomes the only African American member of an all white marching band as she struggles to maintain her identity and build a new life--with her checkered past and racial tensions simmering just beneath a tenuous social scene.
AOTR: What do you hope to accomplish in the literary world?
K.L: I started out as a self published author, so getting picked up by Simon & Schuster this year was a major accomplishment, one of those blessings I wasn't even looking for.
Aside from that, I want to write books that make people laugh out loud, cry, and everything in between. Getting emails and notes from readers saying how much they loved the characters has been one of the biggest highlights of my life and I hope to keep them coming. However, if I also happen to write books that Hollywood producers feel are well-suited to movies...I'm good with that too. :)
AOTR: When you are not crafting novels what do you like to do?
K.L: I spend time with my ten-year-old son most of the time. I also love to read, dance, listen to music, watch football, and hang out with my friends when we're not all flying by the seats of our pants.
AOTR: How can readers contact you?
K.L: My website is: www.authorklbrady.com
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook Fan Page: K.L. Brady
You can pre-order the Simon & Schuster version of The Bum Magnet for the low low price of $7.99 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Bum-Magnet-K-L-Brady/dp/1451613709/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top (Mass Market Paperback)
http://www.amazon.com/Bum-Magnet-The-ebook/dp/B0043RSJT0/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2 (Kindle Version)
You can still get autographed copies of the original self-published version (limited quantities available) at:
AOTR: Thank you for chatting with us! We wish you much success!
K.L's ten favorite things:
Chips - Utz
Season - Summer
Holiday - Thanksgiving
Television show - Tie between Run's House and The T.O. Show
Song - Right now - "Why Would You Stay" by Kem
Past time - NFL Football
Social networking site - Facebook hands down
Author - Jane Austen and Terry McMillan are definitely among my all-time favorites.
City - Tie between NYC and Chicago
Time of day - After five on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday :)
Monday, November 8, 2010
Authors On the Rise Is happy to bring you an interview with Esther Bradley- DeTally, author of: You Carry The Heavy Stuff. Please grab a copy of her book and post your reviews.
AOTR: Please tell us about you the person and the author.
Esther: Glad that’s worded that way, because above all we are all persons first. In 1990 I started publishing personal and reflective essays in various journals. A writer friend from Israel had recommended me and many other yet to be published writers to write for a particular publication in Australia/New Zealand. This journal was globally distributed. When my friend suggested I submit some of my stuff, I thought, “Is that stuff under the bed collecting dust balls?” But in 1992 I was married to my wonderful husband Bill and we were living in Ukraine, in the City of Dnepropetrovsk, and this magazine published an essay about our lives in Ukraine.
I’m from Boston, born in Boston, and I remember blackout curtains from World War II on our windows and peeing in the dark. I remember the 50s and being a Catholic girl and going to a public high school. I had no writing inclination, but read voraciously from six years on. A huge influence was my mom who became a major alcoholic, but was a lover of books and also taught Latvian women to speak and read English when they came to our little brown rented house on Wren Street, and they spoke of the Iron Curtain, and their husbands lost behind this curtain. I remember thinking in images of a giant iron shower curtain spread across a vast land.
I grew up in a stratified society, where people drew lines about religious affiliations, class position, race, difference. I was a child in the 40s, a young girl in the 50s and was Catholic. In my twenties, I drove to California after the Cuban crisis, drove out by myself. My mother had died; my father remarried; my twin was somewhere; the family was dysfunctional and scattered. My older brother and sister weren’t around. I was a legal secretary and outwardly gutsy but inwardly a wimp.
I discovered the Baha’i Faith at 27, and felt as if I stepped out of a black and white photograph into the land of color. I stopped drinking, even though I hadn’t yet connected the dots of alcoholism sitting in my family’s history box for generations. I immediately became aware of the oneness of humanity, and my old stereotypical views fell off me like corrugated cardboard. Still, until I die, I must be aware of prejudice and how it is inhaled by a baby when born. My life is incredibly full –I teach writing to homeless women and others. I give a lot of free workshops. I guess you could say my husband and I are activists as we totally believe in service to the community at large. I used to be fearful but didn’t show it, and I faced life and have crawled over railroad tracks in Donetsk and been in Ukraine during the Russian coup and written a book about it. I’ve been to Siberia, and I have a son Nicholas who is married and a granddaughter. One last thing: I jump out of airplanes to say hello to Pug Dogs even if they are only dark little dots on the ground. That’s sounds very year-booky.
Mostly I totally believe in the splendor of the human condition, and am horrified by the meanness of our age, but have tremendous hopes for the future. I believe one becomes mystical by embracing the grit of one’s time and that we should be anxiously concerned about the needs of our age. I am the last of my siblings, my twin having died a few years ago. I’ve survived heart surgeries, blah, blah, blah, and walk an hour a day; sound like a gadabout and light up like a pinball machine when celebrating, reading, writing, a good book, justice, being a solace to someone else, being a source of light and laughter.
AOTR: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Esther: In 1980, when I got a chance to go back to college, I wanted to learn writing.
AOTR: Did you take any classes or go to school to learn to write, or did it just come naturally?
Esther: No. Writing letters came naturally, but I had no idea whether studying writing would ruin my fledgling writing or not. I went to UC Irvine and enrolled as a junior at 42 as a single mom, fresh from what felt like 100 years of work as a legal secretary. I majored in English as I read voraciously and thought that the most practical. I had no dreams of becoming an attorney. I took a summer class and wrote a story about a blue dye eviscerating the earth from a jeans factory and a dog named Lance I think. I didn’t have the knowhow or the courage to have dialogue. There was lance, the blue die, the inhabitants of earth leaving the planet, and the owner of lance, a woman who died.
My first writing teacher said, “Take every writing course this school has to offer.”
I took expository writing in the second quarter and the TA said “Take every writing course this school has to offer,” because I wrote a piece about who I was after reading an excerpt of May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude. Reader her talk about depression, writing and planting flowers caused me to think, I can do this. I remember feeling electrified, not hugely, but nevertheless animated.
I then took Beginning Fiction with Oakley Hall, and I was nervous. He has written a book on the novel; was co-head of the UCI Writing Program, and is well respected. He went to Iowa I think. I was nervous until I looked under the large square table where we all assembled, and I saw faded purple Rit died socks, and then looked up into his broad face, and kind eyes, and his hair looked like yarn. He taught how to show, how to be the camera eye, how to use strong verbs, and I flourished.
I then went on to take an advanced writing class with the other co-head who didn’t like older women, but thought I was a very good writer. He tried to discourage me, and I think he did so, because he didn’t make it in the way he expected. It was rough, but I hung in.
Then I took journalism with a very good Journalist who had been nationally known, and he said, “You are a good writer, but what the hell are you trying to say.” I also took courses after graduating as part of teacher training in teaching secondary writing, and Writing the Natural Way. I use those methods when I teach workshops.
I also took from the Pied Piper of Workshop Leaders, Jack Grapes in Los Angeles who is a method writing teacher, and I took his beginning workshop. Then I waited 10 years, took his advanced courses, and around 2003 I was bursting through sound barriers. . I have written 2 books: Without A Net: A Sojourn in Russia and You carry the Heavy Stuff, the most recent.
I took a UCLA class too and we were not allowed to praise or criticize anyone’s writings, no comments, but the instructor told me I was very good. So yes, I took classes and really learned method, and craft of showing, use strong verbs, and still read voraciously.
AOTR: Please tell us about your book and how you came up with the idea for it.
Esther: As I mentioned I had a previous book, and the 2nd edition has pictures. Without A Net: A Sojourn in Russia, about our 3 year period before, during and after the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is a personal view, a behind the scenes sideways type of thing - personal, funny, sad, hard, and spiritual.
I joined CHPercolator Coffeehouse for writers because my friend Steve kept encouraging me. We all give prompts to write about at periodic intervals and thus, writers from around the globe write or not write every day.
After 2 years, I looked at my previous writing and the CHPerc bundle, and thought “It’s time to do another book.” It’s called You Carry the Heavy Stuff and has a street sign that says, “It’s all grist for the Mill, been there, done that, what’s next,” with a pug’s back to the reader and a tall thin red-haired lady with an old leather type valise, inky papers sticking out of it, and she’s wearing red high top sneakers. That’s my persona. I have used “It’s all grist for the mill” so much; people will soon begin to scream.
I had a mother in law who was the size of a small tree trunk and didn’t take noth'in from no one and we lived with her after we came back from Russia because we didn’t think it was wise for her to live alone. When I first met her, Bill and I were packing up our bags to drive away, and she and I were loading stuff at an open trunk, when this low growly voice (hers) said to me, “You carry the heavy stuff for him.” So I wrote a piece about her.
Anna was her name, and Italian momma was her game. I both laughed inwardly and groaned. I wasn’t insulted. Had I been 20, I’d have run away. This book is a series of poetry and prose about who I was, am; life in an office cubicle; life in middle school and a world view taking shape, life after 9/11; essays on prejudice, which makes my African-American friends cry, and essays on spirituality and eating falafel at the Mercatz (shopping area top of Haifa hills) in Israel. I also talk lightly and deeply about social conditions, Baghdad, being a twin, having a twin die, and packing for the future. All of my pieces reflect varied writing styles.
A fellow writer wrote “You Carry the Heavy Stuff reveals an author who engages life with grit, honesty and good humor. Bradley-DeTally rests thoughtfully at a quiet stream to make serene observations, and then she’s up and away again to fight her good fight with a Tally HO! A refreshing read that combines a depth dimension with the tragicomedy that is life.”
I was going to call the book Writing on the Fly, and I had everything in it: fiction, surrealism, poetry, short stories, and then I trimmed it down and a friend said, “Writing on the Fly is overused.” So I had a brief contest where I promised a few select friends a Starbucks coffee card if they voted on a selection of about 5 titles. You Carry the Heavy Stuff carried the day.
I don’t outline. Let me repeat that I don’t outline. I free write and then I tweak, tweak, tweak. I am pretty spontaneous and word crazy some friends might add.
AOTR: Which of your characters were your favorite and why?
Esther: My favorite characters are pugs and the people in Children of the Stolen Ones, a poem I hope which gives honor to my brothers and sisters of African heritage.
AOTR: What traits and characteristics did you give some of your characters to make them memorable?
Esther: Courage, nobility and the human condition is a sideways view.
AOTR: Does your book have any important themes or lessons you wanted to convey?
Esther: Well, it’s memoir-ish so the traits would be pissy, funny, ballsy, outspoken, socially concerned, deeply spiritual, thrown in with the theme of global citizenship and the inhumanity of man and the humanity of man (generic man of course).
My themes speak of the wonders and need for oneness; the need to throw prejudice off the planet, the nobility of the anonymous and the suffering among us, the struggle and beauty of the dying cancer patients, the humanity of others, and the downright wonders of slinging around language like hash.
AOTR: What was the road to publication like? Was it turbulent or fairly easy?
Esther: I am too old to look for an agent, and have a small following – think larger than a beer truck but smaller than the Coliseum in LA so my friend Steve said “Publish through Lulu.” He has done so with several witty books. Reader it was hell, pure unadulterated hell. Very Kafkaesque and tortuous until I finally gave in and bought a Lulu package, and then it was a miracle. Price wise it’s the best so far, but I’m not an enchanted devotee. One gets lost in Lulu like getting lost in the Hotel California, “It’s a lovely place….but you can’t get out …. Lost in the Hotel California. The biggest thing about a book is not thinking about writing one, not thinking about publishing, but marketing after it’s done. My advice is take it step my step and “follow the force” so to speak.
AOTR: Please tell a reader what they should know about your book before the purchase them.
Esther: It’s creative non-fiction, spunky, funny, shows a variety of writing styles, almost a book of prompts plus points of view as an extra added package! It’s 14.96 (the extra penny is the hell part.) Also there’s a download – e book type of thing. (You Carry The Heavy Stuff) http://stores.lulu.com/sorrygnat and http://www.amazon.com/Carry-Heavy-Stuff
Esther-Bradley-DeTally. I recommend the Lulu site because you can read some of the pages. I also have some I can mail.
AOTR: Words of wisdom for aspiring writers.
Esther: Read, read, read, read, write, journal, write, never give up; take courses, watch, listen learn, imitate, and trust the process.
email@example.com http://sorrygnat. Word press. com blog
AOTR: What current projects are you working on?
Esther: I am writing a book about someone with deleted memory; in interview process and at the beginning right now. I also teach the writing process, currently with homeless women, and their volunteers, and under the literacy umbrella of local libraries, plus give individual sessions and have writing groups.
AOTR: What do you want your legacy to be?
Esther: To have left the world showing worlds of unity, love and laughter, and to be a point of light in the dark dark nights of the soul, and to laugh and yuk about recipes, ham sandwiches and to promote the oneness of mankind, but to write, and know the power of words, the love of them, their ordinariness and majesty and not to worry about publishing, but think of the journey itself.
I wish for a world where everyone is a trust of the whole.
AOTR: Thank you for chatting with AOTR! We wish you much success!
Esther’s ten favorites.
Favorite time of day: First cup of coffee brought to me in bed by wonderful husband of 25 years.
Dessert: vanilla ice cream and dark, thick and creamy hot fudge sauce.
Teacher – Miss Halloran, in book; changed my world view from neighborhood to vast history and dimensions and the dangers of war within a 5 minute read of giant poster on her wall.
Social networking site; Facebook
Favorite city: Pasadena
Music: Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez
Color: the rainbow
Pastime: drinking coffee, and talking about real stuff with friends
Book: Oh my the over 600 on Goodreads, but if you don’t have time, Gleanings by Baha’u’llah, and An Interrupted Life, Etty Hillesum, and, and
‘Nothing save that which profiteth them shall ever befall my loved ones.’-Baha’u’llah
You Carry the Heavy Stuff