My number one rule of writing is always to write as though no one will ever read it. Because it allows you to be as bold and audacious and set aside the fear that so often plagues writers.
‘Queen of psychological twists’ Tosca Lee is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels. She tells us how it took six years for her first novel to be published, why it’s important not to hang your entire identity on writing and how she plots her high-octane thrillers.
I fell into banking as an adult and I used to try to make my business memos interesting and funny out of sympathy for the poor bankers and customers and vendors who had to read them. Sometimes people would say, “Jamie, you write the best memos. You should be a writer.” And yet, it still didn’t occur to me to actually try it until I was in my thirties.
Suspense author Jamie Mason writes ‘whydunnits’ filled with normal people finding themselves in dangerous, extraordinary situations. She tells us about her ongoing fight to be a more disciplined writer and the evolution of her outlining process.
I represent authors who do both traditional publishing and self-publishing, and most of them are looking to move into traditional publishing because the pace and demand of a successful self-publishing platform takes its toll after a while. But, some authors thrive on it! It’s a personal decision based on the goals and needs of each author.
Natalie Lakosil has been a literary agent for over 10 years. Now with the Bradford Literary Agency, we catch up with her to talk about what she looks for in a query, what to expect when you sign on with a traditional publisher and when you should begin querying your book.
I’m a horrible procrastinator. I have the worst time starting new chapters or scenes, and I just force myself to sit in front of my blank screen and just type whatever I need to in order to get started.
Angie Kim had four careers prior to becoming an author. Family medical issues prompted her to begin writing in her forties, leading to the release of her award-winning debut novel. We catch up to talk about the value of short stories, finding a literary agent that champions your work and pushing through procrastination.
Breathe, enjoy it. You’re chasing a dream and whether you’re in the valley or the mountaintop, being a dream chaser makes you the luckiest person in the world.
Natasha Deen’s confession? She didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. Writing is the hardest thing she has ever done but she loves it because writing means creating stories, and stories change the world. We chat to hear about the five questions she asks to outline her books and how she balances self-care with a productive writing schedule.
I don’t really believe in writer’s block—writing is a job just like any other. Your dentist doesn’t decide she can’t fill your cavity today because she’s “blocked”. She does the job, and so must you!
Emmy award-winning journalist Libby Kirsch turned to writing mysteries after the birth of her third child. We catch with her to talk about her 5 am writing routine, treating deadlines with respect and how she outlines her work.
Good writing reflects clear thinking. If you’re struggling with how to write something, it’s almost always because you are not sure of what you’re trying to say.
Jill Orr was a thirty-something mother with two young children when she began writing fiction. She was looking for a creative outlet but doubted that she could write a book. That was eight years ago and this month she finishes her sixth novel. We talk to her about finding your niche, how pantsing works for her and the value of in-person events.
I have learnt to sit down and write, anytime and anywhere. It’s an important lesson: I see too many writers who wait for inspiration instead of just sitting down writing. You can always rewrite and improve a story. You can’t do that with a blank page.
Swedish thriller author Mattias Edvardsson began writing in secret, never attending a writing class until his debut novel was published. Now with his fourth novel reaching the top of the charts in Sweden and being released internationally, he talks to us about prioritizing writing and creating your own writing rules.
Stop worrying about grammar and spelling and finding the perfect synonym. That’s what editing is for. Allow yourself to write badly the first time around. Nobody writes a best-selling, awarding-winning novel on the first try.
Contemporary YA author Ali Novak began early. She wrote her debut novel at the age of 15, publishing it on the Wattpad platform. She shares with us her tips for silencing your inner editor, her morning writing routine and why she doesn’t read book reviews.
I’ve trained my body to need writing the way it needs oxygen, so the knot in my stomach and the burning sensation to set fingers to keys is motivation enough. Is it healthy? Probably not.
YA author Bre Hall made me laugh out loud with her ‘grandma’ stories. She assured me that tales of her wild gun-toting grandmother’s unconventional life and horrendous driving are all she needs to relieve a case of writer’s block. We also covered the benefits of slowing down your book launch to build up anticipation, developing immunity to rejection and changing from a plotting outliner to a pantser.
Storytelling has always intrigued me. It’s at the core of being a human being. It’s what makes us, us. Through it, we can learn about ourselves, about the world and our place in it.
Nicole Blades is a juggler of time. She is a novelist, speaker and journalist of over 20 years, not to mention being a mother, podcaster and most-recently personal trainer. We talk to her about her top tips for starting a podcast, becoming comfortable with self-promotion and what to do when life gets in the way of your writing.
What you publish has got to be more compelling to readers than a TV show, a night out with friends, or a nap. Why should someone choose your writing over everything else in their lives?
Julia Phillips wishes her daily writing routine consisted of waking up early, writing thousands of words before breakfast and spending the rest of the day exercising and drinking green juice. The reality, the Brooklyn-based author informs us, is somewhat different. She sits down with WildMind Creative to discuss career success as a measure of self-worth, enjoyable book marketing methods and seeing your fellow writers as colleagues rather than competitors.
It's really easy to compare numbers (number of likes, comments and reviews) and equate that to how good you are as a writer. But the fact is that everyone is at their own point in their writing journey and it takes time to become successful.
Thriller author J. L. Willow on how she avoids comparison syndrome, music as the backbone of a productive writing routine and forming genuine connections with the writing community.
Whatever book marketing method you are passionate about is the one that will be most successful. Why? Because you’ll follow through, you’ll work at it, and you’ll enjoy yourself.
Fantasy author Erika Gardner has always been a storyteller seeking to find magic in the mundane. We talk to her about evocative soundtracks, why you should polish your work to perfection prior to submission and the value of taking a break.
The only way out is through. When deadlines are looming and I don’t know how to fix a problem, the only way to overcome is to keep working until it’s fixed. Eventually, a solution will arise.
In 2010 Amy E. Reichert entered NaNoWriMo and begun to write for the first time. During that month she discovered a passion for storytelling that hasn’t left her since. The life-long Wisconsinite now writes feel-good novels that celebrate the food and people of her state. We catch up with her to chat about comfort fiction, creating a skeleton draft and how Buffy the Vampire Slayer encouraged her to keep going.
It’s not too late to start writing your first novel. By the time my debut novel will be published, I will be almost 43. If you have ever had that dream of writing a book, do it. Don’t put it aside. Start writing now.
Jordanian-American author Natasha Tynes worked as a journalist in the Middle East for over a decade before writing her first fiction novel. We chat to her about how she stopped thinking about writing and begun actually doing it, the unusual way she found her publisher and why she doesn’t believe in writers’ block.
I thought, I want to do that. I want to write stories that evoke emotions in readers. I know this sounds oversimplified, but after that, I just sat down and started writing. I think storytelling has always been inside me. I just didn’t know I wanted to write down the stories I told myself in my head.
Karen Kutcher knows a thing or two about perseverance. It took her four novels and eight years to land an agent. It was another two years of waiting before she was able to hold her first published book in her hands. We chat to her about her writing routine (with thinking time scheduled in), the ongoing juggle of family life and how Oprah inspired her to start writing.
You need to celebrate the small wins, like an agent request or personalized feedback from an editor, because that really carries you through the constant rejection.
YA author Jennifer DiGiovanni thrives on a challenge; from taking up a new hobby (under the guise of book research), to running a small business and co-writing a book with a friend. We talk to her about finding the best time of day to write, seeking out writing mentors and her ‘soft’ approach to book marketing.
If you want to be a writer, then be a writer…Write every day (even if it’s only 100 words), read every day, and focus on the big goals.
Marketing director Karma Brown thought making the leap from copywriting to novel writing would be relatively simple. It turned out to be much harder than she thought and it wasn’t until her forties that she became a published author. Now working on her fourth fiction novel, with a non-fiction book also in the works, she chats to us about early morning writing, her three-step strategy for staying motivated and crying over scenes in Starbucks.
Not only does a debut need to be well-written, it also needs to have a stand-out premise that will entice readers to try a new author and the visibility and promotion to get it on people’s radars in the first place.
Patricia Nelson was always a voracious reader and went to graduate school to be an English professor before realizing her dream job was to become a literary agent. In this insightful interview she fills us in on what authors can do to stand out in a crowded market, her advice for authors seeking representation and when it’s the best time for authors to begin querying.
I’ve met a lot of writers who decline any sort of advice because it wounds their egos. My advice is to lean into that kind of criticism because a) it will make you a better writer and b) prepare you for a traditional publishing career where you get edited or c) show you that there is a better path for you to express your creativity.
Atlanta-based suspense author Emily Carpenter knows a thing or two about perseverance. She made the leap to novel writing from a screenwriting background, only to have her first manuscript rejected 162 times. Although that first manuscript now lives permanently in a drawer she has gone on to become a best-selling author. We catch up with her to talk about how her screenwriting background continues to shape her outlining process, the importance of unbiased criticism and the worst writing advice she has ever received.
I’m still regularly tweaking my writing process even after ten years of writing professionally. So learn all you can, be open to feedback and advice but also pay attention to how your creative mind is best served. You are your own science experiment.
Romance author Roni Loren put aside writing to be ‘practical’ in college but it came back with a vengeance several years later. We chat to her about the challenges of not being a fast writer, knowing when your book is ready for publication and her maximum productivity writing routine.
Learning to tell a story deeply and develop characters takes years of practice, so if you want to be a serious writer then give yourself the gift of that learning curve.
When Soniah Kamal, an award-winning essayist and fiction author, was asked to speak at TEDx she talked about regrets and second chances. She explained how being denied her first dream of becoming an actress lead to the flourishing of her second – becoming an author. We chat to Soniah about waiting for inspiration, being a good literary citizen and the ever-changing nature of leading a literary life.
My mentor told all of her students that if we hadn't sent at least fifty queries we hadn't even tried… I ended up sending fifty-five in total and my agent was the fifty-first agent I'd queried.
Thriller author Mindy Mejia told herself she would write at least one great book before she died. So far she has written three. We chat to her about her long road to securing a literary agent, writing to process fears and maintaining daily motivation.
My first book took me three years to complete and was out on submission for a year and never sold. It was devastating and demoralizing and caused me to listen to a lot of Norah Jones on repeat, while drinking tequila, but looking back I realize it was just part of the process.
Colleen Oakley doesn’t avoid heavy topics. Her books cover the spectrum of the human experience from life to death with all the highs and lows in between. A former magazine editor, about to publish her third book, we caught up with Colleen to talk about perseverance, the importance of speaking up and her number one trick for staying motivated to write every day.
Writing was something I’ve always loved in theory, but it felt like a pipe dream. Beyond the shaky economics of the profession, writing meant putting myself out there in ways that can be really, really uncomfortable. Writing a story and sending it out into the world is a humbling, unnerving, terrifying thing. Did I really want to roll over and show the world my underbelly? Did I dare?
For Kimberly Belle losing her job, in the financial crisis of 2008, was a now or never moment when she could either look for another job or write the novel she had always dreamt of writing. She chose the novel and is now a bestselling domestic suspense author. We catch up with her to talk about her intensive outlining process, maintaining life-work balance and the number one trick to keep readers turning pages.
One of the best things you can do to market your book is to write the next one. That way there’s always something for a reader to look forward to.
Patricia Tighe was always a voracious reader, yet she didn’t start writing fiction until she was almost thirty. Since then she has published six YA romance novels and is currently working on a YA contemporary. She fills us in on generating word-of-mouth book buzz, studying the craft of writing and the importance of having supportive critique partners.
Write for yourself. If you are writing the book you want to read that passion will shine through and it will help you stay motivated to get the writing done.
Briana Morgan is a YA horror and fantasy writer, playwright and freelance editor. She loves dark, suspenseful reads with angst-ridden relationships and complicated characters. We caught up with her to talk about the comparison trap, counterintuitive book marketing tactics and the surreal experience of having her play brought to life.
Read like your dream depends on it. Because it does. Read, read, read. Get a library card and read every book in your genre. You’ll pick up on subtle writing tips that you don’t even realize.
YA Author Cheyanne Young spent a decade working as a mechanical engineer before turning her attention to swoon-worthy love interests. We talk about how J.K. Rowling´s outlining method started her writing journey, the challenges of being a full-time author and her tips for slime-free book marketing.
If you have a story that intrigues you and the desire to tell it – take the leap. This has honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Despite having a successful media career at a young age, for Mel Greenberg writing a book involved facing her biggest fear. Now having confronted and triumphed over self-doubt with the release of her debut novel, we catch up with Mel to talk about her grass-roots approach to book marketing and unexpected reader responses.