Category Archives: Artist Interview

An Interview with Author Marilyn Peake

It’s Friday!

Have I mentioned I love Friday? Especially Fridays in the summer, when the weekend is filled with shorts and sandals and sitting outside watching the wind in the trees and the sun glint in the kiddos’ hair.
As you know, I’ve been interviewing as many artists and parents and artists/parents as I can get my hands on.
There are equally as many challenges as moments of joy in making a living as an artist and I believe the same can be said of parenting. I’ve been curious to know how other artists and parents manage. So naturally, I found a bunch of them and asked a ton of questions! Since I’m a giver, I thought I’d share them with you.
Did you miss a few? Catch up!

R. M. Webb – former ballerina turned teacher turned choreographer turned author and host of this blog. She wrote these books. And this post about raising kids. And this short story.

Greg Tremblay – voice actor and homesteader.

ML Larson – the awesome uncle who uses British spellings despite living his whole life in the States.

Christine Tate – the Navy wife and homeschool mom who’s published her own bible study series.

Jane Danger – an author with the crazy cool name!

Julia Keanini – a newly self-published author and mother.

Horst Christian – the 84 year old man who moved here from Germany during the war and had my history buff of a step-dad going absolutely gaga over what he must have lived through.

Julie Ann Dawson – author/editor/publisher/gamer girl

Alex King – the author in love with exclamation points raising a little girl she describes as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

Heather Hamilton-Senter – An author, cover designer, singer, very talented lady

Nirina Stone – A newly published author with a beautiful name

Claire Frank – The indie author who got snatched up by a traditional publisher just a few short weeks after publishing her first book

Robert Dahlen – the super sweet author of the Monkey Queen Series

And now, let’s hear from Marilyn Peake!

R. M. Webb: Tell me about yourself.

My name is Marilyn Peake. I’m a writer and photographer, wife, and mother to two grown sons. My husband and I love to hike in beautiful places where we can practice landscape photography. We belong to an awesome photography club where the members are both friendly and talented. I’m a visual person. Doing photography, especially outdoors, tends to stimulate my brain for long writing sessions back home. I have a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology. Before staying home to raise my children, I worked as a Social Worker and Staff Psychologist and found that work very rewarding.

R.M., I love that you answered the same interview questions you’re asking me and other authors on your blog. In describing yourself, you wrote: “Just now, I’ve written sentence after sentence on what my life as a mother means to me only to delete them as they don’t do this part of my life justice. Motherhood isn’t something you do, it’s something you become. Or at least that’s how I approach it. My status as a mother defines me and colors every choice I make.” I think you and I (and many other women) are kindred spirits. Motherhood definitely changed my life; it’s something I became. Now that my children are grown, I’m delighted that I have a great relationship with both of them. And it’s true when people say you never stop worrying about your children. Once you become a parent, you’re always a parent, which is a very special experience.

R. M. Webb: I don’t think anyone can prepare someone for what parenthood actually is. I saw a quote once that likened it as having made the decision to have your heart live forever outside your chest. I totally get that. On to the next question: Why do you create?

That’s a great question for which I’m not sure I have an adequate answer. In high school, I discovered through creative writing that I absolutely loved the process. When I wrote my Masters thesis, I enjoyed the writing process so much, I went way past the required number of pages. In fiction writing, I feel both elation and a sense of accomplishment that I created a whole world out of nothing. It’s pretty exhilarating!

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate…chocolate…and chocolate!

R. M. Webb: Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?

Art is my only business right now.

R. M. Webb: If you still have a day job, would you like to get to the point where you could give it up?

I don’t have a day job right now.

R. M. Webb: What caused you to want to market your art?

I’ve always wanted to be a published writer. Even when I worked as a Psychologist, I had started writing novels.

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

Almost anywhere. For a long time, much of my inspiration for writing stories came from real-life news.

R. M. Webb: How do you react to negative feedback?

Hoo-boy. That’s a good question. I used to get upset. Now, I take advice that seems helpful and let anything mean-spirited roll off my back.

R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

Not having enough days when I feel like my brain’s on fire as I write. HaHa! I’ve finally written so many novels and short stories that I recognize the process. I start out feeling like everything’s falling into place. About three-quarters of the way through writing a book, I feel kind of lost and like I’m swimming underwater, even with an outline. I feel like I’ll never finish the book. Then, suddenly, it’s done and I realize I pulled the story together.

R. M. Webb: Who’s your biggest champion?

My husband. My sons are also very encouraging. When they were little, I wrote THE FISHERMAN’S SON Trilogy, a series of children’s middle grade books. My sons were so enthusiastic about those books, it was a great joy for me to have written them when they were little.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Blue! Blue is actually my favorite color.

R. M. Webb: Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?

As I mentioned earlier, I have two wonderful grown sons. My youngest is currently in college.

R. M. Webb: If your child showed talent in an artistic endeavor, would you help her/him pursue a career in that field after having worked in a creative field yourself? Why or why not?

Both of my sons have done very well academically. They showed talent in artistic fields as well as a deep appreciation for science, math and technology. I encouraged them to do well in school and to follow their dreams in whatever field they felt most passionate about. I didn’t push, just supported them in whatever they wanted to do in life. It all worked out. They both got into college for an artistic field they felt passionate about and are both succeeding at the kind of work they dreamed about doing.

R. M. Webb: How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?

When my children were growing up, I tried to squeeze in at least 1-1/2 hours a day at least four days a week to write. It was hard, but I remember their childhoods as a very happy time. There were a couple of time periods—basically that completely sleep-deprived birth to three years old stretch of time—when I discovered I hadn’t written for three years. I’m not kidding. I got back to my computer to write and realized: Holy camole, has it really been that long?!!? Now that my kids are grown, I just have trouble juggling everything I’m trying to do: writing, photography, exercising, hiking, reading. I’m pretty hard on myself. The other day I was struggling to finish a writing project, thinking it’s taking me way too long to publish; and I suddenly realized I had published a novel, a novelette and a novella, and have just about finished writing two other novellas that I’m planning to publish simultaneously—all in the past year.

R. M. Webb: Describe yourself as a parent.

Flexible. Creative. Loving. Always happy to see my sons and talk to them on the phone. When my husband and I were raising our children, we had tons of toys, computer games and video game systems in our house. We had the house where all their friends came to play. We emphasized academics, but in a way that placed the emphasis on how hard work in school opens up exciting new areas of knowledge. My kids never lost their love of learning. They still have that. When they were growing up, we were strict about the important stuff: no hitting, stuff like that. We tried not to sweat the small stuff.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about raising kids?

How much fun they are and how openly and creatively they see the world. How incredibly attached to their parents and affectionate kids are. Their laughs. Their hugs. Their imaginations.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about raising kids?

Adapting to each stage. I remember reading in a child development book that at certain ages, six months of calm are typically followed by six months of turmoil as a child pushes ahead into their next stage of development. Also, the sleeplessness with young children. I don’t think I’ll ever forget those sleepless nights! And, of course, how busy they become as adults. That’s a new adjustment period: being proud of them and adapting to them as grown-ups with their own independent ideas. Raising children in some ways feels like a race, sprinting from one active stage to another; then running around touring colleges; then, suddenly, an empty, quiet house while you hear from your children about how busy they’ve become! It all seems to have happened in the blink of an eye. Raising children teaches you something about time. An afternoon on which your three-year-old is melting down and having a temper tantrum while your baby is crying with teething pain seems like an eternity. But all of childhood becomes like the blink of an eye to a parent once it’s over.

R. M. Webb: Are your kids ever involved with your art? Do they inspire you? Work with you? Would you like to include them in your business as they grow?

My children were involved with my children’s books when they were little. They read them, shared them with their friends and went to some of my book events. Now, they try to read my books when they have time. Both of my sons definitely inspire me. I’m very proud of how well they’re doing. I’d love to work with them on a joint project someday; but I think it’s more important that they continue to find work in their field and form their own professional identities right now.

R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

Go for it! Realize it won’t be easy. Have a backup plan.

R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

That it’s important to love life. Go after your passion if you can possibly do that. Do it while you’re young, while you have the energy and idealism of youth. It will be harder later on.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?

I’m happy that I have time to write, photograph, hike and explore, that I have a supportive husband and two great kids.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

Eat out!

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

The doubt and the struggle to finish a book, the long hours sitting in one chair, the long hours alone.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?

Completing books that I feel proud to have written, the process of creating whole new worlds.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

Trying to sell books.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

Hearing from readers who enjoyed reading my books. That always feels wonderful!

R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

Scrape off the peanut better. Put it on a cracker with strawberry jam. Eat that first, then the banana. If I’m hungry, make a banana split!

Click the cover images to see a few of Marilyn’s books:




Wanna learn more about Marilyn Peake? Check out these links!

Website 

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

 

An Author interview with Robert Dahlen

It’s Friday!

Have I mentioned I love Friday? Especially Fridays in the summer, when the weekend is filled with shorts and sandals and sitting outside watching the wind in the trees and the sun glint in the kiddos’ hair.
As you know, I’ve been interviewing as many artists and parents and artists/parents as I can get my hands on.
There are equally as many challenges as moments of joy in making a living as an artist and I believe the same can be said of parenting. I’ve been curious to know how other artists and parents manage. So naturally, I found a bunch of them and asked a ton of questions! Since I’m a giver, I thought I’d share them with you.
Did you miss a few? Catch up!

R. M. Webb – former ballerina turned teacher turned choreographer turned author and host of this blog. She wrote these books. And this post about raising kids. And this short story.

Greg Tremblay – voice actor and homesteader.

ML Larson – the awesome uncle who uses British spellings despite living his whole life in the States.

Christine Tate – the Navy wife and homeschool mom who’s published her own bible study series.

Jane Danger – an author with the crazy cool name!

Julia Keanini – a newly self-published author and mother.

Horst Christian – the 84 year old man who moved here from Germany during the war and had my history buff of a step-dad going absolutely gaga over what he must have lived through.

Julie Ann Dawson – author/editor/publisher/gamer girl

Alex King – the author in love with exclamation points raising a little girl she describes as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

Heather Hamilton-Senter – An author, cover designer, singer, very talented lady

Nirina Stone – A newly published author with a beautiful name

Claire Frank – The indie author who got snatched up by a traditional publisher just a few short weeks after publishing her first book

And now, let’s add Robert Dahlen – author of the Monkey Queen Series – to our list!

Robert Dahlen - Author of the Monkey Queen Series
Robert Dahlen – Author of the Monkey Queen Series

R. M. Webb: Hi Robert, tell me about yourself.

Hi, I’m Robert Dahlen, and I tell stories.

All my life, I’ve been coming up with stories. I had made some efforts many years ago to break in, but without any luck. Even when I tried to get away from it, they would come to me. But many of my ideas just wound up as notes, scribbled things that went nowhere.

Finally, a few years ago, I decided that it was time to change that. I didn’t want to look back at the end of life and regret not having taken a chance, never having tried to get my stories in front of readers. And this was around the time I first learned of the indie publishing revolution and what it meant to writers who didn’t fit the corporate mold. Then, I found a synopsis for a comic series I had created many years before, and I realized it could make a great book series instead. The next day – St. Patrick’s Day 2013 – I sat on my bed and typed on my trusty tablet, “It was another crappy Friday for Beth McGill.” And I haven’t stopped since.

R. M. Webb: Why do you create?

Because I love telling stories and letting people read them.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate for eating, chips for baking. Oops, wrong chips…

R. M. Webb: Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?

Considering what I pay to get my books out (I have many skills, but drawing and design are not among them), I am definitely not making money. Yet. I do have a day job.

R. M. Webb: If you still have a day job, would you like to get to the point where you could give it up?

Yes! I’d also like ten million dollars. And a pony with rainbow wings.

R. M. Webb: Oh! Yes, please! I want those things too! What caused you to want to market your art?

The desire to share my stories with others.

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

I can find it at any time or place – in the shower, while I’m trying to sleep, at my desk at work (don’t tell the boss!) But oddly enough, it seems to come the most when I’m actually writing. That’s when I find the funny dialogue, the nice turn of phrase, the character moment I didn’t know was there, the tie-in to an earlier scene.

R. M. Webb: That’s funny. I find that my inspiration for the story I’m writing strikes when I’m deeply immersed in actually writing the story. I’ve found outlining particularly hard because I’m at my most creative when I’m working ‘off-script’ so to speak. I think I’ve found a happy medium between outlining and shooting from the hip though. Now, enough about me. Let’s hear more about you! How do you react to negative feedback?

Eat whatever unhealthy food is at hand or that I can get at a drive-thru. Eat some more. Sleep the pain away. Then get back on the pony with rainbow wings.

R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

I can get distracted easily, either by exterior forces (what’s on TV?) or interior ones (I’m having a bad day and I’m tired, so I’ll just slack off). Thank goodness for two things: My work ethic, and coffee.

R. M. Webb: Who’s your biggest champion?

Anyone who likes my writing.

R. M. Webb: Elaborate on that a little, please. Are you saying you feel spurred on to continue writing knowing there are people out there who enjoy what you’ve written?

Well, there are several reasons why I keep writing, but that would be one of them. I don’t exactly have stellar sales, mind you, but I’m hoping that someday I’ll have a fan base, and knowing that there are people who like (or will like) what I read and want to read more is a big motivator

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Red! No, blue! (gets flung off rope bridge)

R. M. Webb: Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?

No kids. And no comment on that second part…

R. M. Webb: How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?

I try to write and edit on my commute (I use public transit) and on weekends. Nights are for marketing, social media, and catching up on my webcomic reading.

R. M. Webb: You’ve been maintaining a pretty quick publishing schedule. How many hours a day do you write? How long is your current series going to run? Do you have plans after this series is done?

Usually 1-2 hours a day, but that includes editing and rewriting. I have been putting out a lot of books, but I had been working on the series for over a year before I released the first book, so I had and still have a backlog. I plan on releasing the fifth book in September (five in a year, not bad), then settle down to a three a year pace, time and finances permitting. But I could pick up the pace if sales catch fire. Hint hint.

R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

I’m going to be practical. First, if you’re working with anyone else, especially if you haven’t worked with them before, get things in writing. Second, back up your files early, often, and in several places.

R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

Creativity comes in many forms. I hope you find yours.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?

At this point in time…being able to write, to fulfill a lifelong dream.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

On my budget? Cook at home, though it’s more like “throw together a sandwich at home” for me.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

Fight scenes. It can be tough to coordinate the action, keep it plausible and not repeat myself.

R. M. Webb: Oh ya, fight scenes are so complex! I try to get a really good picture in my head of where everyone is located in the scene, then I’ll let them move forward one action. Then, I pause the scene, and kind of pan my mental camera around, looking for who’s where and what’s near them. Do you have a technique to help coordinate the action?

Not really. I try to plot things out in my head before I start, figure out who’s doing what, and it’s usually based around a strong image or three, or a high point I want to work in. I rewrite as needed, I try to keep the characters in character even when all Hell breaks loose, and I try to remember that sometimes you don’t need to see every punch or sword swing.

Also, I find that sometimes the right bit of music helps to get the scene moving in my head (and that applies for non-combat scenes as well). For example, A Tiding Of Magpies takes place in a setting inspired by medieval China, so naturally the music that I used to help set a big fight scene in Chapter Three is Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody #2”.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?

When a scene comes together, when the dialogue is just right, when I find the perfect word or phrase. It’s a rush that nothing else can match.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

Getting reviews.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

That my work lives and dies on its own merits, not on the whims of a publishing house. Indie all the way.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

Mourn the loss of some perfectly good peanut butter.

R. M. Webb: Ok, now the fun part! Show off what you can do!

Hi! I’m Robert, and I write the Monkey Queen series, contemporary adventure fantasy with a comic streak. The main characters are Michiko, the Monkey Queen, a teenage hero with a magic staff, and Beth, a geek girl who can see through illusion spells. They team up to rescue a kidnapped friend, and become partners and roommates. The stores are the opposite of grimdark; there are jokes, memorable supporting characters, action, fannish references, and more jokes. And a snarky guinea pig.

There are three books in the series so far – Of Introductions And Abductions, The Brigadoon Boondoggle, and Under The Stars Of Faerie.

 

The best place to find out more and keep up with news on Michiko and Beth is the Monkey Queen Books blog at http://monkeyqueenbooks.blogspot.com . Head over there for sneak previews, short stories, behind the scenes stuff and penguin videos. We’re also on Twitter as @MonkeyQueenBks, and on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/monkeyqueenbooks ) and DeviantArt ( http://robbrain.deviantart.com/ ).

And I really want to mention Willow, who does the covers for my books. Her art is awesome, and so is she. Check out her work at http://willow-san.deviantart.com .

 

An Author Interview with Claire Frank

It’s Friday!

I love Friday.
As you know, I’ve been interviewing as many artists and parents and artists/parents as I can get my hands on.
There are equally as many challenges as moments of joy in making a living as an artist and I believe the same can be said of parenting. I’ve been curious to know how other artists and parents manage. So naturally, I found a bunch of them and asked a ton of questions! Since I’m a giver, I thought I’d share them with you.
Did you miss a few? Catch up!

R. M. Webb – former ballerina turned teacher turned choreographer turned author and host of this blog. She wrote these books. And this post about raising kids. And this short story.

Greg Tremblay – voice actor and homesteader.

ML Larson – the awesome uncle who uses British spellings despite living his whole life in the States.

Christine Tate – the Navy wife and homeschool mom who’s published her own bible study series.

Jane Danger – an author with the crazy cool name!

Julia Keanini – a newly self-published author and mother.

Horst Christian – the 84 year old man who moved here from Germany during the war and had my history buff of a step-dad going absolutely gaga over what he must have lived through.

Julie Ann Dawson – author/editor/publisher/gamer girl

Alex King – the author in love with exclamation points raising a little girl she describes as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

Heather Hamilton-Senter – An author, cover designer, singer, very talented lady

Nirina Stone – A newly published author with a beautiful name

And now, let’s welcome Claire Frank!

Claire Frank
Claire Frank

R. M. Webb: Tell me about yourself.

By night I’m a fantasy author, but my alter ego is a mom of three. I’m married to my high school sweetheart and we live in the Seattle area. I’ve been a writer, in some capacity, pretty much forever but I really started taking my fiction writing seriously in 2014 and released my first novel in December.

R. M. Webb: Why do you create?

That’s a great question and it would be easy to default to something snappy like, “To make the voices in my head be quiet.” And there would be some truth to that, but it wouldn’t tell the whole story. I’ve always loved writing, ever since I was young. I’ve also always loved reading and at some point I realized it would be pretty amazing to write the kinds of novels that I’d love to read. For me, reading is like going on an adventure, getting lost in another world. Writing provides that same experience, except on a deeper level. The bottom line is, I simply love it. I love what I do and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate. Especially dark.

R. M. Webb: Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create?

I do consider this my business, absolutely. As an independent author, I have to wear the publisher hat pretty often, and I’ve learned a great deal in just the short time I’ve been published.

R. M. Webb: Do you have a day job?

I stay home with my kids and actually homeschool them, so that’s my “day job” right now. I do work part time from home, but only 5-10 hours per week, so it isn’t a big commitment in terms of time.

R. M. Webb: Homeschooling is really gaining in popularity. What led you to homeschool?
When my oldest was in kindergarten, I had the feeling that I should consider other options for his education. His kindergarten teacher was very good and he liked school well enough, so I didn’t come at it from a place of negativity. But I wasn’t sure if taking the traditional, public school approach was the right path for us. So I started looking into different possibilities. To be truthful, I was quite convinced I didn’t want to homeschool. It seemed very overwhelming. But the more I read about it, the more I started to see some exciting possibilities for our family. I’m a research junkie, so I really dove in, learning what I could about how homeschooling works, what I could find about the results, and so forth. My husband was supportive and when we asked our son what he thought, he loved the idea. We decided to give it a shot for his first grade year and see how it went. Now we’re in our fourth year doing school at home, and it works very well for our family.

R. M. Webb: What advice to parents interested in homeschooling:

Do some research to see if it might be a good fit, but know that there is a learning curve that is unique to every family. There is an absolutely overwhelming amount of information available and it can seem very daunting. It’s important to find the resources and materials that work well for you, rather than trying to recreate a classroom or your favorite homeschool blog. Every family is different, with different needs and the beauty of home education is that you can be true to those differences and create a learning atmosphere that works well for you.

I’d also suggest finding a local homeschool group or co-op so you can connect with other families locally. As homeschooling has grown over the last several years, more and more groups have been created and they offer lots of great opportunities to form friendships, for both parents and children. Online groups are fantastic as well and can really help with advice, reviews, suggestions and sometimes a much needed pat on the back. 🙂

R. M. Webb: If you still have a day job, would you like to get to the point where you could give it up?

I basically have tiered goals. I’d like to earn enough from my writing to support the production and marketing of my books (cover art, editing, promotions). Then I’d like to earn enough to replace my part time income. Eventually I’d love to earn enough for things like family vacations and other extras. Supporting my family completely, so my husband could be home and working with me is a dream, but it feels quite far off, if it will ever be possible. He and I collaborate creatively a lot, especially in the brainstorming and planning phases of my books, and he’s a huge support in terms of all the other responsibilities of publishing. If it ever became possible, we’d be all in.

R. M. Webb: What caused you to want to market your art?

For me, writing is a lot like cooking. I love to cook a good meal or bake something really yummy and share it with people. It is nice to make something for yourself, but the real joy for me is in sharing. Writing is the same way. I love to write, but I really love to write for others to read. It is literally a dream come true to be able to make my writing available for an audience. I still find myself thinking, “Wait, did I really do that?”

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

Pretty much anywhere, but I think well in the shower and when I’m driving. I like to turn up the music in the car and just let my mind wander (although I do have to make sure I don’t forget where I’m going). I usually have my kids with me, so I let them know that Mommy needs a mental break and they understand. It doesn’t always mean they don’t find lots of things to talk to me about, but sometimes it works :). And I carry a notebook with me everywhere so I can jot down notes and ideas.

R. M. Webb: How do you react to negative feedback?

You mean other than crying into a pint of chocolate ice cream? (Kidding, kidding) Negative feedback is tough no matter what. I get critiques from beta readers and my editor, and it isn’t always easy to hear, but it is always helpful. It’s hard to hand your work to someone and say, “Here, tell me everything that you think is wrong.” However, I know my books are much stronger because of their feedback, even if it is sometimes painful.

As far as negative reader feedback, I haven’t had a lot yet, but I know it will come as I reach a larger audience. I realize that no one writes books that everyone will love. It just isn’t possible, and I wouldn’t want to try. I’ve seen bad reviews and negative feedback on some of my favorite books, so if they aren’t immune, I certainly won’t be either. It’s just part of putting your work out there for the world.

R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

Probably time. I have a busy life and as much as I want to be my “author self” all day long, I have a lot of other responsibilities that can’t be ignored.

R. M. Webb: Who’s your biggest champion?

My husband. Hands down. He believes in me and what we’re creating, and he props me up when I’m being a crazy angsty writer.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Blue all the way.

R. M. Webb: Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?

I do! I have three: two boys who are 10 and nearly 8, and a daughter who is 5 ½. They’re basically the coolest people I know.

R. M. Webb: If your child showed talent in an artistic endeavor, would you help her pursue a career in that field after having worked in a creative field yourself? Why or why not?

Absolutely. I’ll help them to go into it with eyes wide open, so they understand the challenges and realities they are facing. But I want them to realize that they have the power to make their life what they want it to be. If that means being an artist and making a living that way, they have the power to make it happen. As long as they’re aware of what it takes to make it and understand the importance of hard work and perseverance, they can do anything.

R. M. Webb: How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?

Easy. I don’t get it all done.

Honestly, I have lived with the pressure of going to bed each night knowing there are at least 20 things I probably didn’t get to for years, even before I got serious about writing. I’m kind of used to it at this point. My trick is to set priorities, have reasonable expectations and be honest with myself. For example, I know I can’t be the go-to volunteer parent for my kids’ activities and sometimes I have to say “no” to things, even when I’d enjoy them. I know what I’m capable of in terms of time and I try to stick to it. I also don’t sweat the small stuff and I know that there are more important things than whether the sink is empty and the floor is clean. Obviously some things just have to get done, but I don’t worry about the rest.

Or at least I try not to.

R. M. Webb: Describe yourself as a parent.

I’m a pretty relaxed parent. We’re big on manners and respect and my kids are amazingly well behaved (kind of wish I could take credit for it, but I think some of it is just luck), but I’m not strict. Because I homeschool, we have a family rhythm that is a little unique. Although Daddy is away at work all day, the rest of us are together most of the time and we have to learn to work together, cooperate and generally get along.

Homeschooling also means I’m obviously very involved in their daily lives. But we’re big on free time and I like to give them space as they get older so they can learn some lessons from experience (in other words, I’m not a “helicopter parent”). I respect each of them for the unique little people that they are and I take a lot of joy in watching them grow.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about raising kids?

This is where I’ll get sappy, but I love my kids more than I ever thought possible. They’re such amazing little people and I am so grateful that I get to be their mother. I still have moments when I look at them and it blows my mind that this is my family.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about raising kids?

I think there are two things that really challenge me. One is the crushing pressure to not screw them up. I feel like I’m a good parent for the most part, but moms are good at guilt and I’m no exception. It is easy to worry about how my decisions now will affect them down the road. I try not to wallow in those sorts of negative feelings, but it can be overwhelming at times.

The other challenge that I have is simply the juggling act that being a parent entails. Every day I have so many balls in the air, I often feel that if I make one small misstep, everything will come crashing down. I’m dealing with their schooling and activities, as well as all the normal tasks of running a household, and when you’re doing those things with children around, everything takes ten times longer than it would otherwise. There is simply a LOT going on when you have kids.

R. M. Webb: Are your kids ever involved with your art? Do they inspire you? Work with you? Would you like to include them in your business as they grow?

They really are, although they aren’t at the point where they are reading my writing yet. But our whole family is involved in what I’m doing. My kids usually ask me in the morning how much writing I got done the night before. And they like to try to weasel out of school work by tempting me with extra writing time. “We can skip math mom, don’t you need to go get some writing done…” I won’t lie, sometimes that works. I am inspired by them, and really I want to show them that I can do this. They know I love to write, and I hope that them seeing me not only dreaming, but chasing the dream down and making something of it, will help them unlock that same potential in themselves. Kids learn what they live, and if we provide an example where our creative work and passions are nurtured, taken seriously and pursued, I hope that they will carry that with them as a lesson for their own lives.

R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

Read, learn, absorb, persevere. Writing is a craft, and there are skills to be learned. This takes time and effort, but it is well worth it. There is a lot to be learned on the publishing and marketing side, but none of that matters if you don’t write a good story first. Learn the basics of story-craft and go from there. Immerse yourself in the world of writing and publishing. There is an amazing community of writers out there who love to help each other, passing on what they’ve learned. Dive in and make connections!

R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

I guess that your life is your own and you are the only one who can make it what you want it to be. No one is going to hand you the life you want, but you have the power to create it.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?

That’s actually a tough question to answer! I have a fantastic husband, amazing kids, and I’m living my dream as a writer. There you have it!

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

Both. I actually love to cook, but I’m usually pretty worn out by dinner time. Eating out can be such an enjoyable break.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

I think authors have to be a little bit crazy to write novels. It can be gut wrenchingly hard, and yet completely impossible to resist. Even when I’m in the midst of writing something difficult, I never dream of stopping. I have moments when I’m overwhelmed and moments that feel triumphant, but never moments where I want to stop.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?

The creative freedom to put together an entire world for someone else to live in, even if it’s just for a short time. First and foremost, I’m a fan, of reading in general and of fantasy in particular, and it’s exhilarating to be able to contribute to the awesomeness.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

Visibility. There are so many authors out there, established and new, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. It is extremely difficult to find ways to get noticed and gain a readership. I’m working on that slowly but surely, one reader at a time.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

I like having control over the various aspects of publication. I get to work directly with the cover designer, I found and hired an editor, and I get to make the decisions regarding my publication schedule, promotions, and content. It’s very fulfilling to know my fate is in my own hands.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

Eat it up, baby. That’s good times.

Ok, now the fun part! Show off what you can do! (Link to your website, your books, your twitter, whatever you want to do to get more eyes on your work. Please don’t use affiliate links.)

My first book, To Whatever End (Echoes of Imara) (Volume 1), is available on Amazon. It is the story of Daro and Cecily, a couple who left the politics of their capital city behind, for a quiet life on the outskirts of their kingdom. Their peaceful existence is shattered by an unexpected attack. Cecily escapes, but Daro is taken captive. With no trail and few clues, Cecily desperately tracks rumors of a madman conducting human experiments, intent on bending the laws of Wielding magic. Cecily will do anything to find Daro, but his mind may already be gone.

The sequel, An Altered Fate, is coming in May! (Note from R. M. Webb: While this interview is posting on May 15, 2015, I actually interviewed Claire a couple months ago. Since this interview, Claire has been offered a traditional publishing deal. I’m not sure if she took the deal, or if she did, if that will change her book release schedule. Either way, WAY TO GO CLAIRE!)

You can find Claire online at www.clairefrankbooks.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clairemfrank, and on Twitter, www.twitter.com/franklyclaire

Have a question for Claire? Drop it in the comment box!

**Standard disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview don’t necessarily reflect the views of R. M Webb.

Nirina Stone

As you know, I’ve been interviewing as many artists and parents and artists/parents as I can get my hands on.
There are equally as many challenges as moments of joy in making a living as an artist and I believe the same can be said of parenting. I’ve been curious to know how other artists and parents manage. So naturally, I found a bunch of them and asked a ton of questions! Since I’m a giver, I thought I’d share them with you.
Did you miss a few? Catch up!

R. M. Webb – former ballerina turned teacher turned choreographer turned author and host of this blog. She wrote these books. And this post about raising kids. And this short story.

Greg Tremblay – voice actor and homesteader.

ML Larson – the awesome uncle who uses British spellings despite living his whole life in the States.

Christine Tate – the Navy wife and homeschool mom who’s published her own bible study series.

Jane Danger – an author with the crazy cool name!

Julia Keanini – a newly self-published author and mother.

Horst Christian – the 84 year old man who moved here from Germany during the war and had my history buff of a step-dad going absolutely gaga over what he must have lived through.

Julie Ann Dawson – author/editor/publisher/gamer girl

Alex King – the author in love with exclamation points raising a little girl she describes as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

Heather Hamilton-Senter – An author, cover designer, singer, very talented lady

All done! FANTASTIC! I’ve loved getting to know all these people. I hope you’ve enjoyed it half as much as I have. Now, let’s get to know the woman with the beautiful name: Nirina Stone.

R. M. Webb: Tell me about yourself.

My name is Nirina Stone. I’m a new author (just published my debut!) a wife and a mom. I live in Sydney Australia with my husband and our two kids. We also have a Tortie kitten that’s a bit nuts, she might star in a future book… Oh, and I’m addicted to chocolate, books, coca cola and rain.

R. M. Webb: Why do you create?

Corny as it sounds, it makes me complete. If I didn’t/couldn’t write, I’d have to find some other way to express myself. Maybe become a famous rockstar? Who knows?

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Chips. I know I wrote I’m a choco­addict above, but in spite of that, I have a stronger salt­ tooth than sweet.

R. M. Webb: Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?

I just started, so no pressure! But yes, this is my business. It wasn’t for the longest time, but I’ve embraced it fully now – this is my bliss. I’ve started making some money, and am confident there will be more. I belong in the ‘do what you love’ school of thought.

R. M. Webb: What caused you to want to market your art?

Realizing that my words can have an impact on people, and knowing that the market is saturated with a lot of not­ so ­great stories out there. I wanted to be one of the indies that stands out with quality products, professional work, and books that I’m proud of.

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

In the shower, while I’m walking my kids to school, at two in the morning while I’m asleep, when I’m sitting in the car. Pretty much everywhere! I always have a small notebook to jot in when I’m not near a computer.

R. M. Webb:  How do you react to negative feedback?

Not very well at all, though I pretend otherwise (the whole ‘fake it til you make it’). But my skin is getting thicker by the day!

R. M. Webb:  What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

Coming out of my shell to actually share my work with “the world!” It would be so easy to just write and write and give the work to my husband to read, and then shelf the book, never to be seen again.

R. M. Webb: Who’s your biggest champion?

Hmm, not sure if that’s clear from above… my husband, definitely! He’s the one who tells me I can do this (even if I tell myself otherwise, some times).

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Red! Red all the way. Blue’s lovely too, though.

R. M. Webb:  Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?

I have two awesomesauce kids that challenge me and make me laugh every.single.day. It’s funny because, for several years, I was adamant that I didn’t want them. I don’t regret changing my mind about that now. They’re the best of the both of us.

R. M. Webb: If your child showed talent in an artistic endeavor, would you help her pursue a career in that field after having worked in a creative field yourself? Why or why not?

Absolutely! I know first ­hand what it’s like to try to stifle the creative side. Why would I discourage them? I think what’s important is that they do it for themselves (and that they always remember that). It’s important they do it because they actually want to, and not just because it’s the cool thing to do at the time. And to keep on at it, not giving up despite any naysayers, if that’s what they really want. They’re still small, so who knows if I change my mind at a later time.

R. M. Webb:  How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?

I didn’t, not until recently. My kids are both in school now, so I can call myself a full-timer. My laundry is starting to pile up but hey! Focus! Kids and family come first, then the writing, then the marketing/business side of things. I’ve found that my writing is best done first thing in the morning, so I hammer out what I can after walking them to school. Then, marketing and other business ­related things happen mid afternoon until I pick them up. Then, after they go to bed – more marketing, research, and editing. So far, it’s working well.

R. M. Webb:  Describe yourself as a parent.

I’m a learn­as­I­go, one­day­at­a­time parent (aren’t we all?) Before my kids though, I didn’t have much exposure to the littles. Where many other moms say it came naturally to them, I admit that I lurked on a lot of forums and googled the bejesus out of everything for advice! I’m never afraid of asking too many or too silly questions, so it worked out for me. I’m lucky too, though. My husband was born to be a dad, and he’s taught me so much along the way. It helps to have a kickass partner.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about raising kids?

Having little helpers around the house! I’m only slightly kidding with that one. I love their endless, no­ strings ­attached ability to love. I love that they come for hugs first thing in the morning and don’t care about morning breath or scraggly hair lol. I love seeing my face and my hubby’s face in them. Watching them experience/understand something new for the first time. That’s priceless. Also, I don’t know if you notice this, but kids are hilarious! Especially at that toddler stage. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a sucker for slapstick.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about raising kids?

Time goes by way too dang fast! Seriously… they were babies, and now they’re in school. Before we know it, they’ll be teens, then going to uni… I can’t handle the time thing.

Another thing is, they’re at an age where every single thing and story is such. a. big. deal! We better pay attention or we’ll never hear the end of it!

R. M. Webb: Are your kids ever involved with your art? Do they inspire you? Work with you? Would you like to include them in your business as they grow?

Not at the moment. So far, my work is a bit too dark/adult/not kid­friendly. They inspire me to think and to work harder, work faster. When I remind them to use their words, I’m reminding myself at the same time. For now, they’re super helpful around the house, which is a great help to me. As they grow (and if they’re keen), it would be cool to have them help me out on the business ­side as well.

R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

I’d give them the advice I give myself. If you’re sure about this, if you’re sure this is what you want, don’t stop. Keep writing. Despite what they say, keep writing. Despite what your head says, keep writing. Despite your lack of sales/inspiration/ideas/energy/insert every other possible word here, keep writing. If you can keep writing, then yes, this is for you.

Keep writing. :­)

R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

Become an entrepreneur. Work for yourself. Be your own boss. Create your own jobs. No one will hand you anything – go make it, and then go sell it, then go make something else. Rinse repeat. Oh, and go for a walk/run more for crying out loud!

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?

My family.There is no lack of love in my life.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

Are you kidding? Can I pick a third one? Order in, thanks :­)

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

The business­ side (everything from editing to more editing and then editing some more to marketing.) I’m still reeling about how hard it was to write a blurb! And I’m still not satisfied with it. Sigh.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?

Creating completely new worlds, people, and situations that didn’t otherwise exist. It’s insanely empowering! I also love the research side, when I hit an impasse. For example, in an upcoming novel, my protagonist thought she could walk into a big bank and (after a few hours) walk out with five million dollars in cash. After much research, I realized she’s due for a lot of grief. Writing situations is another way to learn how things ‘in real life’ are done. Fortunately, I found another way around that.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

Ugh. By far, marketing. It’s an unnatural thing for a true introvert like me. Every single cell in my body rejects all of it. So that kind of hurts a bit, though it’s absolutely necessary. I’ve loved figuring out everything else.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

Learning from other more ­experienced authors. So many others have tried and failed and tried and succeeded ahead of me. And most of them are willing to share their experience – it’s a fantastic network of like ­minded individuals.

Also, in this day and age an author can “make it” online – no need for in­person autographs and all that stuff (see ‘introvert’, above).

R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

Nom nom nom burp. Sorry, what? You were asking something?

Wanna learn more? Check out Nirina’s website:

www.nirinastone.com

Or, just go right ahead and check out her book:

**Standard disclaimer: The views expressed in this post don’t necessarily reflect the views of R. M. Webb. **

Author interview – Heather Hamilton-Senter

As you know, I’ve been interviewing as many artists and parents and artists/parents as I can get my hands on.
There are equally as many challenges as moments of joy in making a living as an artist and I believe the same can be said of parenting. I’ve been curious to know how other artists and parents manage. So naturally, I found a bunch of them and asked a ton of questions! Since I’m a giver, I thought I’d share them with you.
Did you miss a few? Catch up!

R. M. Webb – former ballerina turned teacher turned choreographer turned author and host of this blog. She wrote these books. And this post about raising kids. And this short story.

Greg Tremblay – voice actor and homesteader.

ML Larson – the awesome uncle who uses British spellings despite living his whole life in the States.

Christine Tate – the Navy wife and homeschool mom who’s published her own bible study series.

Jane Danger – an author with the crazy cool name!

Julia Keanini – a newly self-published author and mother.

Horst Christian – the 84 year old man who moved here from Germany during the war and had my history buff of a step-dad going absolutely gaga over what he must have lived through.

Julie Ann Dawson – author/editor/publisher/gamer girl

Alex King – the author in love with exclamation points raising a little girl she describes as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

And now, let’s hear from Heather Hamilton-Senter!

Heather Hamilton-Senter author of Bound in Blue
Heather Hamilton-Senter

R. M. Webb: Tell me about yourself.

I’ve had many creative careers. I began as an actor and singer and am still a member of Canadian Actors’ Equity. I’ve been a graphic designer, silk artist, wedding photographer, and jewelry maker. Now I’m a digital artist/book cover designer, and the author of the Sword of Elements Series. Most importantly, I’m a stay at home Mom of Summer (19), Holly (14), and Stephen (7).

R. M. Webb: Why do you create?

I find it impossible not to. It is all I’ve ever wanted to do.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate!

R. M. Webb: Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?

Writing is my main gig.

R. M. Webb: What caused you to want to market your art?

I’ve never been able to pursue my creative interests as hobbies. I’ve always had a drive to turn them into commercial enterprises.

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

Generally either late at night while everyone else is asleep, or driving alone in the country.

R. M. Webb: How do you react to negative feedback?

I’m learning to not give it greater space in my life than I do positive feedback.

R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

Writer’s block, and not having enough uninterrupted time.

R. M. Webb: Who’s your biggest champion?

My husband.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Despite the title of my first book – red!

R. M. Webb: Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?

Have kids, love kids, wish I could have more, but those days are gone.

R. M. Webb:  If your child showed talent in an artistic endeavor, would you help her pursue a career in that field after having worked in a creative field yourself? Why or why not?

My eldest daughter is studying piano performance at university. When it comes down to it, you have to follow the path of your greatest strengths.

R. M. Webb: How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?

With kids of different ages and a husband who also works form home, I find it really difficult to create a daily consistent schedule. I drop my youngest off at the school bus, and then usually take a quick trip into town (I live in the country) to get a bagel for breakfast. The drive helps to clear my mind. When I come home, I answer emails and try to get cover design work done, as I find I need uninterrupted time for writing. I shower around 10:30, and once I’m dressed and ready, that’s when I begin writing until the kids come home. I usually write from around 11:00 at night as well, sometimes as late as 2:00 in the morning. That’s a productive day. Unfortunately, a lot of days get sidetracked – like today when I had to help my Mom take her cat to the vet!

Cover to Bound in Blue - designed by Heather
Cover to Bound in Blue – designed by Heather

R. M. Webb: Describe yourself as a parent.

Nowhere near as disciplined with our family schedule and activities as I should be, while being a bit strict at the same time. Nurturing and physically affectionate, very hands on. We spend an unnatural amount of time together as a family according to some people!

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about raising kids?

Hugging their little bodies close.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about raising kids?

Them getting too big to hug and hold!

R. M. Webb: Are your kids ever involved with your art? Do they inspire you? Work with you? Would you like to include them in your business as they grow?

My middle daughter is also a beta reader and the best proof reader I’ve ever found.

R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

Quit dreaming and actually do something. If you try for the moon and fail, you’ll still likely get a bit off the ground – which is better than just sitting there like a lump!

R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

To know that life is too short to let a fear of failure keep you from trying.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?

My faith which sustains me, and my family which loves me.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

Eat out!

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

Starting and finishing. Getting in gear and actually beginning, and knowing when to let go and say it’s done. This applies to both digital art and writing.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?

The freedom to work from home.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

Not letting the business side take up all the time I need for the creative – because it can if I let it.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

To be honest, the financial possibilities.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

Throw it all out! I hate them both!

Just one more question for you. It’s commonly believed that an author’s first book won’t sell well until the next couple books are out. You certainly were an exception to that rule with Bound in Blue! What do you think brought so many eyes to your book? (For the record, it’s well written and the premise is intriguing.)

It’s a difficult question. I honestly believe mostly luck is involved, but for lightning to strike, you’ve got to be in the right place at the right time. Or, in a book’s case – cover, blurb, editing, keywords. I think my cover has a lot to do with it, my blurb is just OK but does highlight a somewhat new concept, the book is well-edited so regardless of the actual quality of the story writing, the grammar and punctuation are correct…..

The last is keywords. I personally believe that being #1 to #3 in some sub-genres and in the top 10 of several others immediately after publishing made all the difference. My careful choice of keywords helped me hit these categories. Now, these are small sub-genres, but being a “#1 Amazon Bestseller” for a couple of weeks made Amazon itself take notice and they highlighted me as a Kindle Daily Deal without even letting me know! So my book went out in one of the newsletters and things exploded.

Well, you can’t count on Amazon doing any of that for you, but getting all the other elements in place is the only thing you do have control over!

Ok, now the fun part! Want to get to know Heather better? Interested in her books? Follow the links below! (For the record, when I type that last sentence, ‘follow the links below,’ I sing it in my head to that song from the Wizard of Oz. Follow the yellow brick road!)


Website

Book Cover Artistry – Heather’s design site.

Have a question for Heather? You know how to use the comment box! 😉

**Standard disclaimer: The view expressed in this interview don’t necessarily reflect the views of R. M. Webb

An author interview with Alex King

Happy Friday!

It’s Friday and you know what that means! I’ve got another author interview all lined up for you.

As you know, I’ve been interviewing as many artists and parents and artists/parents as I can get my hands on.
There are equally as many challenges as moments of joy in making a living as an artist and I believe the same can be said of parenting. I’ve been curious to know how other artists and parents manage. So naturally, I found a bunch of them and asked a ton of questions! Since I’m a giver, I thought I’d share them with you.
Did you miss a few? Catch up!

R. M. Webb – former ballerina turned teacher turned choreographer turned author and host of this blog. She wrote these books. And this post about raising kids. And this short story.

Greg Tremblay – voice actor and homesteader.

ML Larson – the awesome uncle who uses British spellings despite living his whole life in the States.

Christine Tate – the Navy wife and homeschool mom who’s published her own bible study series.

Jane Danger – an author with the crazy cool name!

Julia Keanini – a newly self-published author and mother.

Horst Christian – the 84 year old man who moved here from Germany during the war and had my history buff of a step-dad going absolutely gaga over what he must have lived through.

Julie Ann Dawson – author/editor/publisher/gamer girl

Now…

*waits for drum roll to finish*

Let’s get to know Alex King!

R. M. Webb: Tell me about yourself.

I am deathly boring. Seriously. I can’t even think about myself without nodding off … zzzzz … Okay, let’s see. The most important thing anyone should know about me is that I use way too many exclamation points when I type, so I apologize in advance for my exuberance. I blame coffee. I’ve been writing for about ten years, published for a handful, self-published for almost 1 year. And I live with my family in the Pacific Northwest, which is pretty much the most beautiful area ever. Also, and this isn’t even remotely pertinent, I’m a brunette.

R. M. Webb: Why do you create?

That’s a good question. I wish I had a good answer. At first writing started as kind of a semi-serious lark. I’d just finished reading a dreadful book (don’t ask me the title—my memory has erased that part of its data banks to remember other, better books) and I thought, “HA! I can do better!” Then I went out and proved to myself that even writing a terrible book takes a massive amount of skill and perseverance. But it wasn’t long before I fell in love with writing, with the act of creating new stories. In a way it’s kind of a drug. I get a high from a good day’s writing. (Help, I can’t stop!)

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Yes. Was that quick enough for you? Too quick? Okay, longer answer: Chocolate. Except when it’s chips. Has anyone invented a chocolate-covered chip yet? They should. Or a chip-covered chocolate.

*Googles* Oh. This has already been invented. I wonder if our couch is sturdy enough to hold a six- hundred-pound woman …?

R. M. Webb: Yes! A local business has them here and I simply can’t buy them or I’d have to forgo sleep in order to find time for my workouts!  Now, while I go off daydreaming about chocolate covered chips, you go ahead and answer the next question. Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?

Writing is my full-time job. It’s been that way for a few years now, ever since I got my first trade- publishing deal.

R. M. Webb: If you still have a day job, would you like to get to the point where you could give it up?

If I had a day job I didn’t love, yes, definitely. But I’m not sure I would if I was working some other job I also loved.

R. M. Webb: What caused you to want to market your art?

I like money. It’s nice and very useful for things like electricity and food. The possibility of making money doing something I love—writing—seemed to be the best of both worlds, so that’s what I aimed for as soon as I realized writing was becoming a serious passion.

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

Usually when I’m in the shower. There was a time when I used to keep a pen and notecards in the bathroom, but bounding out of the shower, naked and wet, is dangerous. Don’t try it at home, folks. Also, inspiration often strikes while I’m driving. Other drivers are so supportive and nice when I stop in the middle of traffic to jot stuff down. They yell out inspirational quotes and wave, usually one-fingered, because Pacific Northwesterners are all about conserving energy.

I’m kidding. I don’t do this and neither should you.

R. M. Webb: How do you react to negative feedback?

I don’t. I’m really laid-back about bad reviews and whatnot. They happen. You can’t please everyone. I’ve had opposing reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly on the same book. I’ve had emails where readers have contacted me for the sole purpose of telling me I suck, my books suck, and they’re going to tell everyone they know that my books and I suck in hell. All they get in return is a nice reply telling them that I hope the next book they read is more enjoyable—and I mean that sincerely. My better half, however, is less calm about it. He thinks everyone who doesn’t like my books is an idiot. Every writer, I think, needs someone like that in their corner.

R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

Myself. I procrastinate to my own detriment, at times. Then I turn right around and wish I had more hours in the day. Also, the internet. It’s so easy to fall into a research hole. I go looking for one tiny factoid … then it’s an hour or so later. What happened to that time? The internet ate it then swiped my memory clean, I swear.

R. M. Webb: Who’s your biggest champion?

My fiancé. He believes in me when I’m convinced I write monkey poop. He’s wrong, of course, because I do write monkey poop. But it’s sweet that he thinks otherwise.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Blue! Unless we’re talking about clothes. I look—and, for some reason, feel— terrible in blue.

R. M. Webb: Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?

I have a little girl who is almost 3. She’s kind of like … the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. It’s a running joke in our household that she could cut off our heads at any moment, for the simplest of crimes. The biggest problem is that she’s smarter than both of us—combined. We went into this parenthood thing thinking, We know all the tricks, we’ll be smarter than our child, at least until high school. Wrong. She’s already thinking rings around us.

R. M. Webb: If your child showed talent in an artistic endeavor, would you help her pursue a career in that field after having worked in a creative field yourself? Why or why not?

Yes, I’ll help her pursue anything that leads to her fulfillment and happiness in life. Unless it’s dancing on a pole. Can I say that here? Because I just said it. No one should encourage their kid to go on the pole. If my daughter wants to pursue a career in art, I’m happy to help. But if she wants it to remain just a hobby, then I’m cool with that, too.

R. M. Webb: How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?

I get up early—just before 5 if I can—to write. If I’m lucky I can get a thousand words down before my daughter gets up. If she wakes up early then I just roll with that. I keep my laptop open on the kitchen table (our place has an open floor plan) and I sneak words in between mommy stuff, like trips to the playground and untangling hair bushes from my hair. She’s really great at independent play, so I do manage to get some decent words in during the course of a day. On the weekend, when her dad is home, I play catch-up. Working at night isn’t really a viable option for me. Once my daughter goes to bed all I’m capable of is passing out on the couch.

R. M. Webb: Describe yourself as a parent.

One word answer: exhausted.

Longer answer: exhausted, frazzled, and happy. I try not to stress myself into a coma, although I do have my moments …

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about raising kids?

The daily changes. Every day my daughter learns new words, new songs, and becomes more able to communicate. It’s wonderful to watch her grow. Also, the cuddles are awesome. She’s a little cuddle monster.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about raising kids?

Knowing that someday, in the not-too-distant future, she’ll think I’m an idiot and refuse to be seen with me in public. I am an idiot, and no one should be seen in public with me, but that’s beside the point.

R. M. Webb: Are your kids ever involved with your art? Do they inspire you? Work with you? Would you like to include them in your business as they grow?

My daughter inspires me to drop the writing and read her stories instead. She’s really too young at the moment to work with me. But later, if she wants to be a part of the business, she’s welcome to join in. Worst case scenario, she can keep the coffee coming!

R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

Get a life—outside of the computer, that is. Doing interesting stuff, talking people, both those things enable you to bring something new to the writing. If you sit and home and stagnate it’ll show.

Consume as many stories as you can: books, movies, television, wherever. The most stories you’re exposed to, the more you’ll understand how stories work and reduce the chances of replicating something that’s already been done to death.

R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

Practical skill: The ability to count change back correctly. I’m tired of having cash dumped in my hand when I pay cash. It’s like no one can do this anymore.

Advice: Be kind—to yourself and others.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?

My family. No contest.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

Cook at home. I enjoy cooking, and I’m pretty darn good at it. But let’s not discuss the failure that was gnocchi the other night.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

Getting that first draft down can be excruciating, at times. I love working with a completed first draft, even if it’s a mess. That’s when the magic happens.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?

That moment when you string a handful of words together and realize they’re smooth, beautiful, and evocative. And hearing readers say they enjoyed my stories. I’m grateful and happy every time someone tells me I managed to entertain them.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

Getting the word out there. It’s tough enough when you’ve got a Big Five publishing house behind you. It’s so much more difficult when you’re going it alone.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

Being in control of every aspect of publishing. Except, of course, whether or not readers buy my books.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

Cram it all into my mouth and chew! You have to be quick or Elvis will steal it. I know he’s supposed to be dead, but I’ve heard baseless rumors …

R. M. Webb: Ok, now the fun part! Show off what you can do! Link to your website, your books, your twitter, whatever you want to do to get more eyes on your work. 

You can’t see me, but I’m touching the tip of my nose with my tongue. Oh, you mean artistic stuff …

Click here to find my books on Amazon

Here’s my spiffy Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/alexkingbooks

And my website is currently in progress so it’s not up yet (my better half is working on it):

http://alexkingbooks.com

A million thank yous for having me!

A million thank yous back! Do you have a question for Alex? Pop it in the comments!

**Standard disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview don’t necessarily reflect the views of R. M. Webb.

An Interview with Julie Ann Dawson

As you know, I’ve been interviewing as many artists and parents and artists/parents as I can get my hands on.
There are equally as many challenges as moments of joy in making a living as an artist and I believe the same can be said of parenting. I’ve been curious to know how other artists and parents manage. So naturally, I found a bunch of them and asked a ton of questions! Since I’m a giver, I thought I’d share them with you.
I post the interviews each Friday. Did you miss a few? Catch up!

R. M. Webb – former ballerina turned teacher turned choreographer turned author and host of this blog. She wrote these books. And this post about raising kids. And this short story.

Greg Tremblay – voice actor and homesteader.

ML Larson – the awesome uncle who uses British spellings despite living his whole life in the States.

Christine Tate – the Navy wife and homeschool mom who’s published her own bible study series.

Jane Danger – an author with the crazy cool name!

Julia Keanini – a newly self-published author and mother.

Horst Christian – the 84 year old man who moved here from Germany during the war and had my history buff of a step-dad going absolutely gaga over what he must have lived through.

And now, without further ado, here’s Julie Ann Dawson!

R. M. Webb:  Tell me about yourself.

I’m a writer. I’m an editor. I’m a publisher. I’m a gamer girl. I have an unhealthy obsession these days with Dragon Age: Inquisition (on my fourth playthrough). I’m a geek with a serious case of Alt-itis in regards to Star Wars the Old Republic. I’m the type of person who reads books like Rome’s Revolution: The Death of the Republic and the Birth of the Empire for recreation and then will spend an hour watching silly cat videos on YouTube. I’ll go weeks without watching TV then binge watch an entire season of a show over a weekend.

R. M. Webb: Does being a writer, editor, and publish create a kind of symbiosis in your work life? Do you learn from one endeavor and apply it to another?
It is a bit weird. I’ve been told I have a very compartmentalized brain. I have this weird ability to keep things in their designated mental compartments, so to speak. So when I am writing, I’m only writingand not thinking of sales or promotion and all that. Then when I am editing, I am only editing. Then when I am publishing, I am just thinking like a publisher. And sometimes Publisher Julie will make decisions Writer Julie doesn’t like, but Writer Julie has learned to deal with it. And sometimes Writer Julie gets on Editor Julie’s nerves because she makes the same mistakes over and over. But at the same time, being able to compartmentalize allows me to focus my energy on the specific task at hand without getting sidetracked with a thousand other concerns.
R. M Webb: Why do you create?

 

Because I have to. I have stories that want to be told so I tell them. I don’t really get a say in

the matter. Some characters crawls his or her way into my brain and stars yelling, “Write me!” and the only way to get them to shut up is to do what they say. So yes, I guess you can say I listen to the voices in my head.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Both.

R. M. Webb: Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?

I started Bards and Sages with the intention of breaking even, not getting rich. I have eclectic interests, and I like the freedom of just going off in a direction and damn the commercial value. So sometimes I take on projects that I know won’t make money, but it doesn’t matter because those projects are of interest to me. I’m profitable, but not making a full time living from publishing. But I’m fine with that because that was never the intention.

R. M. Webb: If you still have a day job, would you like to get to the point where you could give it up?

I actually worry about this. I think that if I had to rely solely on publishing to maintain my standard of living, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much. I would probably end up having to walk away from projects that wouldn’t be profitable and focus on what sells the most. I have one series that, if I could churn out a new issue every couple of weeks, could probably get to a point where I could replace my day job income. But that would mean not working on the other stuff that I also enjoy. I don’t think I want that.

R. M. Webb: Before I was a writer, I ran a dance school with my mother. Before that I was a professional ballerina. I often found in my teaching days that I had to sacrifice my art for my business. You mention that you don’t think you could write solely to make money for what I take to be much the same reason. Do you have a day job to help maintain your standard of living or is Bards and Sages you publishing house? Is that your source of income that allows you to write the books that interest you most at the time rather than having to focus on the books that are selling the best?
Yes, I have a day job. I work in contract packaging. You know those big displays you trip over when you go to the supermarket? I work for a company that designs and builds those. But Bards and Sages is also my business, and I do run it as such. It just needs to be profitable enough to pay for itself, however. I don’t worry about it paying my mortgage. 

R. M. Webb:  What caused you to want to market your art?

I started submitting poetry and short stories to various markets when I was in college. Back then, I wanted to write the ‘Great American Novel,’ whatever I thought that meant. Insofar as actually starting my business, I actually started publishing roleplaying games, because I was doing so much work creating material for my own homebrew games that I figured I should at least try to make some money on it. I always get stuck being the Game Master for our gaming group, mostly because I’m a good storyteller. So I figured if I am going to be spending all of these hours creating worlds, characters, and plot devices, I should at least share them and see if others out there like them as well.

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

The weirdest places. Sometimes I’ll be in a meeting and someone will make a random statement and my brain will run with it. Sometimes I’ll be playing a video game and something in the game will trigger an idea. Or I’ll be at the supermarket and overhear a conversation and those people will end up characters in a story. My muse has ADHD.

R. M. Webb: How do you react to negative feedback?

I’m very open to criticism from people that I respect, because all joking aside I care about my work and want it to be the best it can be. I still remember when I first submitted my campaign setting to a publisher. He sent me a three page email that began “I’m not going to tell you what you are doing right. You already know that. I’m going to tell you everything you are doing wrong.” He then proceeded to rip the book apart. I’m very glad Facebook and Twitter weren’t a thing back then, because I would have humiliated myself by being an idiot and complaining in public. But after I calmed down (and ate a bowl of ice cream) I went back and re-read his comments and realized I agreed with most of them. Sometimes we creative live in a vacuum. We need to get fresh eyes looking at our work because we know what we meant to write and don’t always “see” what we actually wrote. So if I get criticism from someone I respect, I pay attention and try to determine if there is something in it I should work on.

But if we’re talking about some random troll, well, I just Force Lightning them.

R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

I’m pretty much my own biggest obstacle because I put pressure on myself that I shouldn’t. I’ve gotten better over the years about spreading myself too thin and not delegating things that I should to others. I’m a project junkie with a side of control freak, and it gets in the way of creating. I’ve gotten better as I’ve learned to let go of certain tasks. But I’m still my own worst enemy.

R. M. Webb: I so relate to being a project junkie with a side of control freak! I’ve always felt like I’m equally as creative as I am analytical and while my projects benefit from those two sides of me warring away, I don’t always feel like I’m going to survive the process. Do you have ways to help manage that duality in your nature? 

I’ve had to learn to let things go and not micro-manage. My biggest problem in the past was trying to do everything myself because I didn’t trust others to care as much about the project as I do. My early attempts at cover design, for example, were horrid. I tried to proofread my own stories, with dismal results. I had to learn to trust people to do their jobs so that I could free myself up to do mine.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Purple

R. M. Webb:  What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

I think the most important thing is to clearly know what “making it” means to you. It is very easy to get caught up in other people’s ideas of success. You can sell 5000 books, and one person will tell you that is incredible and another will tell you that you are underperforming. Don’t internalize the expectations of other people. Be clear what success means to you, and then develop a plan based on that.

R. M. Webb:  If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

Write what you love, not what someone tells you the market wants. The market changes constantly and it varies or things like the time of the year or which party is in office or what corner of the world you live. Write what you love and then worry about finding an audience. Because the truth is if you love something, you probably aren’t alone in that and you’ll find others that love it, too.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

I enjoy cooking, so I cook most nights.

R. M. Webb:  What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

I suck at proofreading my own work. I swear if people read some of my stuff before my proofreader went through it, they would think I was illiterate.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?

I love the whole creative process; taking an idea from a seed and watching It grow into a finished story.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. I LOVE Amazon as a customer. I have a Prime account. I own three Kindles. I have an affiliate account, I’m a Vine Reviewer, I publish through KDP and Createspace and ACX. But I don’t always think they have the best interest of writers at heart. They are often heavy-handed and unilateral in how they treat authors, and they don’t really do much to protect the integrity of their own ecosystem. Between companies selling book reviews to people downloading then returning books to plagiarism to the adult dungeon, Amazon doesn’t treat authors like partners, but commodities.

R. M. Webb:  What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

The community. In particular, the indie community. People come together very quickly to help each other and get things done. Folks are generally very supportive and ready to offer help or advice.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

Who put peanut butter on my banana?

Want to learn more about Julie? Follow the links below!

Website

Blog

Twitter: @bardsandsages

Facebook

Tsu

Feel free to leave a question for Julie in the comments section below!

**Standard disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview don’t necessarily reflect the views of R. M. Webb.

An Interview with Horst Christian

R. M. Webb: Tell me about yourself.

I was born in Germany. Entered the US when I was 24. I am started writing when I turned 82. I am now 84 years old, married for 42 years and live in northern California.

R. M. Webb: Was it challenging to adapt to a different culture when you moved to America? What caused you to move? Did you meet your wife here or in Germany?

What caused me to move? I would have moved anywhere just to get out of Germany. You had to be there after the war to understand.
The USA was my first choice because my father’s sister lived in NY and send me an affidavit of support which was a USA requirement to immigrate. No it was not a challenge at all. I loved everything. However it was a very different culture. For one thing I could not believe the many different religious groups and churches and even more that people were attending services. In Germany, after war, almost nobody attended any church anymore. Equally astonishing was the unbelievable wealth of this country. The stores were filled with an endless variety of goods and the prices were low. This was in stark contrast to the way the people dressed. The poorest refugees in Poland were better dressed than the average pedestrian I came across.  By the way, even after 60 years in this country I am still puzzled that the stores are filled with nice dress shirts and dress shoes and the men run around with a T shirt. Why would I wear sneakers or flip flops if dress shoes are available?? I met my wife through a friend  in California.

 

R. M. Webb: Why do you create?

I am writing to support myself.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate

R. M. Webb: Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?

I am retired. But the social security check is not enough to cover my basic needs.

R. M. Webb: What caused you to want to market your art?

The need to support my wife and myself.

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

No inspiration was necessary. When I turned 82 I realized that I needed to create an income stream so I decided to write.

R. M. Webb: How do you react to negative feedback?

Does not bother me. It comes with the territory.

R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

English is my second language. I don’t know how to type, so I hunt and peck.

R. M. Webb: Who’s your biggest champion?

I guess, I don’t have one.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Blue

R. M. Webb: Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?

I have a 57 year old daughter and have no need for another child…..

R. M. Webb: If your child showed talent in an artistic endeavor, would you help her pursue a career in that field after having worked in a creative field yourself? Why or why not?

I would teach my child to become an adult and take care of herself.

R. M. Webb: How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?

I get up at 4:30 am and work until I am tired. Most of the times I am in bed by 8:00 pm.

R. M. Webb: Describe yourself as a parent.

I tried my best, but very often the best is not good enough.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about raising kids?

Can’t think of anything.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about raising kids?

Knowing that they are influenced by peer pressure. If I would have known what I know now, I would opt for home schooling.

R. M. Webb: Are your kids ever involved with your art? Do they inspire you? Work with you? Would you like to include them in your business as they grow?

No.

R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

Go ahead and do it. Be prepared for long hours but stick to it. You will succeed if you back it up with hard work.

R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

To use their mind. All the time. Life is not a part time occupation.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?

I am happily married.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

Eat out. (Is there any question? That’s why I am happily married.)

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

Arteritis in my fingers

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?

I can work when and where I want.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

Marketing. So I hired a virtual assistant.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

Positive cash flow.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

Feed it to my dogs.

Want to learn more about Horst Christian? Follow the links below!



Website

Feel free to drop a question in the comment box below!

**Standard disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview don’t necessarily reflect the views of R. M. Webb.

 

An Interview with Julia Keanini

If you’ve been following along, then you know I’ve been interviewing as many artists and parents and artists/parents as I can get my hands on.
There are equally as many challenges as moments of joy in making a living as an artist and I believe the same can be said of parenting. I’ve been curious to know how other artists and parents manage. So naturally, I found a bunch of them and asked a ton of questions! Since I’m a giver, I thought I’d share them with you.
I post the interviews each Friday. Did you miss a few? Catch up!

R. M. Webb – former ballerina turned teacher turned choreographer turned author and host of this blog. She wrote these books. And this post about raising kids. And this short story.

Greg Tremblay – voice actor and homesteader.

ML Larson – the awesome uncle who uses British spellings despite living his whole life in the States.

Christine Tate – the Navy wife and homeschool mom who’s published her own bible study series.

Jane Danger – an author with the crazy cool name!

Did you read ’em? Ya? What’d ya think? Good stuff, right?

Alright then, let’s welcome Jula Keanini to R. M. Webb Fiction!

R. M. Webb: Tell me about yourself.

My name is Julia Keanini. I’m the mother of an energetic six-year-old boy. I’ve always dreamed of being a writer and have come to the point in my life of wanting to not only accomplish my dreams, but vanquish my fears 🙂

R. M. Webb: Why do you create?

It started as following a dream, but I honestly believe that most, if not all people need some type of creative outlet. I’ve always been a daydreamer. I’ve made up stories and read stories for as long as I can remember. Writing down the stories in my head has been a way of keeping my sanity.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Oh gosh. Chocolate, but chips hold a special place in my heart 🙂

R. M. Webb: Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?

My husband is maybe the most supportive man on the planet. I’m a stay-at-home mom/writer thanks to my husband’s financial, emotional, and every other type of support out there.

I’m also able to stay at home because of the very capable support of Mr. Wonderful. Do you ever feel guilty for staying at home and living the dream? I know I want to prove myself ‘worthy’ of his support by finding some measure of financial success as a writer.

 

R. M. Webb: What caused you to want to market your art?

I’ve always dreamed of being published. I honestly thought the only way to do it was the traditional path. I started researching agents, querying, publishing, and I queried my first book for a good year before realizing it wasn’t the right book to debut with. My next finished book is the one I decided to indie pub. I actually went the traditional route, at first, and had that book requested by numerous agents, when I felt strongly I was supposed to indie pub. I know there are people who have turned down big publishing contracts and that must take some major guts because just writing the email to those agents that I wanted to pull my manuscript from consideration was nerve wracking. This isn’t to say traditional publishing isn’t the way to go. For some people it is absolutely the right path, just not for me, for this book. I saw the creative and business control of indie publishing and I was sold.

 

Expand on that, please. What drew you to dipping your feet into the indie pool?

 

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

Usually in the shower, when I’m running, or when I’m trying to fall asleep. Basically anytime it’s difficult to get to a computer.

 

Eeek! Me too! Do you just to try to remember your ideas or do you have a way of getting them out of your head while you’re otherwise indisposed? A notebook? A recorder?

 

R. M. Webb: How do you react to negative feedback?

I haven’t had negative feedback from readers yet, since I’m still eight days out from publishing, but I’ve had plenty of rejection from agents. How I deal with the feedback depends on the source and if the criticism comes with reasons for not liking my work. Lots of negative feedback has helped me to become a better writer, while other feedback has helped me to grow a thicker skin.

 

By the time this interview posts, you’ll be a published author! How does that make you feel?

What’s next? Another book? Focus on marketing your first book? Kick your feet up and have a drink?

 

R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

My own self doubt.

R. M. Webb: Who’s your biggest champion?

My husband.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Blue or red. Why is this so hard?

R. M. Webb: Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?

Yes. My six-year-old and I’d love to have more kids.

R. M. Webb: If your child showed talent in an artistic endeavor, would you help her pursue a career in that field after having worked in a creative field yourself? Why or why not?

My gut reaction is to say absolutely. But it would depend on how old my child is and how serious he is about said endeavor. If he’s thirty-five with a family and wants to give up a stable job to move back in with us and become a rock star, I think I’d try to talk some sense into him. At least do night gigs while keeping his day job, if he’s serious about it. If he’s ten and wants to be a sculptor, I’d be off to buy him supplies and find him some classes asap.

R. M. Webb: How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?

Before my son was in school, it was near impossible. Now that he’s gone during the day, I write and try to do as much of the business side of things while he’s not around. I make sure to have a good amount of time with him as soon as he get’s home, no matter how busy I am and then if I have to go back to work, I’ll do it after I’ve had time to play and speak with him. Even though my writing is important, he’s only this age once. If I miss my chances now, I won’t get them back.

R. M. Webb: Describe yourself as a parent.

Wow, this is hard. I love my kid and try to show him that love at every turn. Sometimes it means cuddling him, sometimes it means disciplining him, and sometimes it means teaching him. It’s definitely the most difficult job I’ve ever had and the fear that I’ll mess up this great kid I’ve been given is one of my biggest fears.

 

I think fear has its fingers in the hearts of most parents. How do you manage your fears?

 

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about raising kids?

Seeing him grow and learn. How much he loves me even when I mess up. How much he teaches me.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about raising kids?

Seeing my faults in someone else and knowing it’s all my fault.

R. M. Webb: Are your kids ever involved with your art? Do they inspire you? Work with you? Would you like to include them in your business as they grow?

So far he isn’t really a part of it, but I’ll always leave that option open to him.

R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

Go to Kboards. Write, write, write, and write some more. Know that the first maybe even hundred thousand words will be crap. Doing all parts of publishing is hard work. Be ready for a long haul.

R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

Always work to improve yourself. Be better today than you were yesterday.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?

My relationships

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

Eat out! Yay an easy one 🙂

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

Knowing when a manuscript is finally done.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?

When a manuscript is finally done.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

Finding people to work with that you can trust. Everything is up to me.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

Everything is up to me.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

Eat it and then lick my fingers.

Want to learn more about Julia? Follow the links!

Website

Twitter

Have a question for Julia? Leave a comment!

**Standard disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview don’t necessarily reflect the views of R. M. Webb.

An Interview with Jane Danger

Dominic by Jane Danger
Dominic by Jane Danger
If you’ve been following along, then you know I’ve been interviewing as many artists and parents and artists/parents as I can get my hands on.
There are equally as many challenges as moments of joy in making a living as an artist and I believe the same can be said of parenting. I’ve been curious to know how other artists and parents manage. So naturally, I found a bunch of them and asked a ton of questions! Since I’m a giver, I thought I’d share them with you.
I post the interviews each Friday. Did you miss a few? Catch up!

R. M. Webb – former ballerina turned teacher turned choreographer turned author and host of this blog. She wrote these books. And this post about raising kids. And this short story.

Greg Tremblay – voice actor and homesteader.

ML Larson – the awesome uncle who uses British spellings despite living his whole life in the States.

Christine Tate – the Navy wife and homeschool mom who’s published her own bible study series.

Did you read ’em? Liked what you saw? Good! Now, let’s learn about Jane Danger!

R. M. Webb: Tell me about yourself.

I’m a novelist and a mom to four children.

R. M. Webb: Why do you create?

I have created stories in my head since childhood and have always needed to get those stories out. I wrote plays and skits as a child. Soon, that sparked a desire to write books.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate!

R. M. Webb: Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?

I’m a full-time writer as of May 2014. Writing is my life!

R. M. Webb: When did you start writing seriously? When did you publish?

I started writing seriously during Camp Nanowrimo in April 2014. I published my first work in June of 2014 (under my own name)

R. M. Webb: Congratulations on transitioning to full time writer! What, if any, challenges did you encounter when you ‘quit the day job’?
My day job was also at home. I was a freelance proofreader/editor. The biggest challenge was creating a schedule that worked for my family. Not having a client’s deadline to adhere to required adjustments. I had to make my own work a priority.

R. M. Webb: What caused you to want to market your art? 2014 was a year of incredible changes for me personally and one of those was to finally let go of my fear and make this writing gig work.

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

All the time. I find inspiration in the news, in my dreams, in my very vivid imagination. I carry notebooks and pens everywhere to jot down ideas as they come.

R. M. Webb: How do you react to negative feedback?

I take it with a grain of salt. No two people will ever feel the same way. If many people were to make the same comments, I would take heed, but luckily, I haven’t had that happen yet.

R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

The internet. I have to stay clear of the internet or I get absolutely nothing accomplished. I write on an Alphasmart for that reason.

R. M. Webb: Who’s your biggest champion?

My closest friend.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Red.

R. M. Webb: Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?

I have four between the ages of 23 and 9.

R. M. Webb: Do you find that you’re parenting your oldest differently than you parent your youngest? Why or why not?

I definitely parent differently with my youngest. I’d like to think that I’m older and wiser, but it probably has more to do with the fact that I realize just how quickly time goes by, so I cherish every moment with him a little more than I may have with the older three. Not that’s he’s loved more. I am just more cognizant of time now.

R. M. Webb: If your child showed talent in an artistic endeavor, would you help her pursue a career in that field after having worked in a creative field yourself? Why or why not?

Yes, absolutely. Whatever their dreams are, I support them 100%. I wish I’d had that kind of support growing up.

R. M. Webb: How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?

I used to be a pantser and wait for inspiration to strike but my production slowed down drastically. Now, I have created a detailed writing schedule and daily word count goal that I adhere to everyday. I outline now too. I don’t always follow that but it gives my writing some kind of basic structure. My nine-year-old is the only one at home now and we homeschool, so I wake up early, educate him, then, write throughout the evening.

R. M. Webb: What led you to homeschool? Do you create your own curriculum or do you use an online service? What advice would you give to someone considering homeschooling their child?

My older three children all went to public school in a small town. We now live in a large city and the school system, unfortunately, leaves a lot to be desired, so I chose to homeschool my youngest child. We use a hybrid approach for his schooling. He does public school online through a nationally accredited program. We love it. It suits his learning style and the flexibility with scheduling is fantastic for our family. I would tell anyone who is considering to do their homework, learn the ins and outs of various systems and programs, and figure in time for social interaction for yourself and your child.

 

R. M. Webb: Describe yourself as a parent.

I’m ridiculously silly most of the time and a staunch believer in letting kids be kids. That’s not to say my little one doesn’t have rules or chores. I just don’t expect adult behavior out of a nine year old.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about raising kids?

The time I get to spend with them has been the best time of my life. Not everyone chooses to be a parent and, in our case, one parent walked away. I cherish every single moment, good or bad, with my kids.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about raising kids?

The fear of making a mistake is the hardest part. I’ve made plenty, but I try to learn from them and make sure my kids know they are loved.

R. M. Webb: How do you manage that fear?

Fear is a double edged sword. I believe you need a healthy amount of fear to propel you forward. Balancing healthy versus stifling is a little trickier. I think my kids help me break past barriers. I don’t want them to live in fear and have regrets later in life, so I strive to do something out of my comfort zone all the time and, hopefully, inspire them to not be stifled by their fears.

 

R. M. Webb: Are your kids ever involved with your art? Do they inspire you? Work with you? Would you like to include them in your business as they grow?

My youngest tries to be very involved. He helps choose some characters names and loves it. My adult daughter makes my book covers and will throw ideas at me from time to time.

R. M. Webb: How cool to get to showcase your daughter’s work! Does she have a website for cover design you’d like to link to or does she only work for you?

Right now, my daughter is a college freshman and just does graphic design work for me. We are in the process of building connections to have her branch out and do cover designing for other authors as a part-time gig for her.

R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

I would say, just write. Don’t let anything or anyone tell you that you can’t. Live your dream. Make it happen and write.

R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

Let go of fear.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?

My kids are the best thing about my life.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

Cook at home.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

The hardest thing is moving past your own insecurities.

R. M. Webb: I think insecurities plague artists. Do you have any advice on how you manage to move past your own?

To move past my own insecurities my life had to nearly come crashing down on me. My marriage ended abruptly in a way that may someday end up in a novel.  My life was completely turned upside down and, after I battled depression for six months, I slowly picked myself back up and decided enough was enough. It was my time. Everyday there is a tinge of self-doubt, but I have mantras to help me move past them and I let my own pain seep out in the pages that I write. Each new page motivates me to keep moving forward. I am in control and I have what it takes to succeed on my own.

I think we all need an outlet. For me, it was writing. For someone else it may be drawing or painting. Whatever it is that makes you happy, you must do. There’s healing in art. I wholeheartedly believe anyone can move past anything with self-love and a deep commitment to working toward a goal that matters.

R. M. Webb: Good for you! What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… The harshest winds makes for the strongest roots… Calm seas don’t make good sailors… Favorite quotes of mine. 🙂  What’s the best thing about your craft?

The freedom I have as a writer is the best thing.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

It takes up so much time!

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

The best thing is all of the time it takes is worth it as soon as one person buys your work.

R. M. Webb: Right? Now…quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

Eat it!

Want to learn more about Jane Danger? Check the links below!

Amazon

Twitter

Facebook

Have a question for Jane? Leave a comment!

**Standard disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview don’t necessarily reflect the views of R. M. Webb.