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Author Interview Series: Behind The Scenes with Elizabeth Varadan

Behind The Scenes2

Everyone’s journey to publication is different and unique. In Behind The Scenes, I interview writers who tell us how they started and got to where they are today. With the knowledge that comes from experience, they share their words of wisdom with us. If you’re a writer, I’d love to hear about your journey! Please contact me here if you’re interested in being interviewed. New interviews featured every second and last Monday of the month.

Elizabeth Varadan joins me in this edition of Behind The Scenes. Her latest novel, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, is a middle-grade mystery; available at your favorite retailers on June 15. When Sherlock Holmes was called in to solve the case, Imogene–a budding detective in her own right–has her own ideas about solving the mystery!

 

1. Tell us a bit about your writing journey. How did you get started, and how did you get to where you are now?

I’ve written all my life – poems and small stories while growing up, going through college, and during my teaching career. When I took early retirement a few years ago I was able to focus on writing full time, and my work started being published – poems and stories for adult magazines and children’s magazines. A few years ago, I self-published a middle grade fantasy novel. Now, MX Publishing – a publisher specializing in Sherlock Holmes-related books – is publishing my middle grade mystery involving Sherlock Holmes, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls. It was a long trek, but worth the journey.

 

2. Anything you would’ve done differently if you could do it all over again?

Not really. I loved my teaching career, and I came to that late, as I had to work my way through college. I never stopped writing, but I knew I could look forward to that once I no longer taught. I really had planned it that way, in stages, and I kept writing all those years.

 

3. What advice would you give to new and aspiring writers?

Follow your own dream and not someone else’s. My mother wanted me to be a musician. I love music, but the musical world wasn’t for me. And, since we were poor, I had to make my own dreams work: college, a teaching career, and then a second career in writing. It all came true. I have no complaints.

 

4. Is there any book you’ve written that is particularly special to you? Which one and why?

Oh, that’s hard. Every book I write is my favorite at the time, especially after I’ve polished it up and consider it ready to submit. So, right now, I have to say Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls. It was great fun to write! I love history (I was a history major in university), I love mysteries, and I especially love Sherlock Holmes. I had to do a lot of research to get the Victorian setting just right, but I loved that, so it was an enjoyable book to write.

 

5. Who would you say is your favorite character(s) from your books, and why? What is it about this character that makes him/her tick?

In Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, it’s Imogene, because she’s so curious and spunky and determined. But I also became attached to rusty, the mudlark who becomes her friend and fellow sleuth.

 

6. Tell us about your new book. What can we expect from it?

In Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, ten-year-old Imogene has harbored a secret desire to be a detective. This is unusual for a Victorian girl from a middle class family. When her mother’s pearls disappear, her parents call in Sherlock Holmes to find them, and Imogene sees her chance to learn from the great Mr. Holmes. Before long, Imogene is acting independently – too independently for her own good – and her life is in danger.

 

7. Are you self-pubbed or traditionally published? What made you go for this model? What advice/tips can you share with writers working towards the same goal?

Actually, I am both. I self-published an earlier fantasy, The Fourth Wish, because traditional publishers hadn’t picked it up. (It’s a rather gentle read compared to the popular high-action fantasies.) So I decided to self-publish it, and it was a great experience. It jump-started me into the world of blogs and Facebook and Twitter – the whole cyber world, although after the fact. Now I actually have a wonderful network before publication of Imogene, so I’m glad I went that route.

For my mystery, though, I wanted a traditional publisher, and I was fortunate enough to find the perfect fit in MX Publishing. Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls comes out June 15th, but I’ve already had a pre-publication signing and a school visit, with more to come after it’s released. I’m also in company with a great group of like-minded writers – Holmes fans, who write Holmesian fiction.

My tips to writers would be to try it everything, and don’t give up. Write stories and poems for magazines. It’s a great heart lift when they get accepted while you keep working on longer pieces. Keep searching for the publisher that fits your work. Belong to writing groups who are both supportive and hard-nosed – you won’t grow as a writer unless you know what isn’t working in your manuscript as well as what is.) And then – read, read, read. Write, write, write. Persist, persist, persist.

 

Elizabeth VaradanAuthor Bio: Elizabeth Varadan is a former elementary school teacher. She taught most elementary grades, but her favorites were the middle grades, and she now writes middle grade fiction. She and her husband live in Midtown Sacramento. Her children’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Ladybug, Friends, and Skipping Stones Magazine. Her middle grade fantasy, The Fourth Wish, was self-published in 2008. Her new middle grade mystery, Imogene an the Case of the Missing Pearls, will be released by MX Publishing June 15, 2015.

Where to find Elizabeth:  Blog      Her Victorian Blog      Facebook     Twitter      Amazon Author Page

 

 

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Author Interview Series: Behind The Scenes with David J. Delaney

Behind The Scenes2

Everyone’s journey to publication is different and unique. In Behind The Scenes, I interview writers who tell us how they started and got to where they are today. With the knowledge that comes from experience, they share their words of wisdom with us. If you’re a writer, I’d love to hear about your journey! Please contact me here if you’re interested in being interviewed. New interviews featured every second and last Monday of the month.

Joining me today in Behind The Scenes is David J Delaney. He writes gripping crime thrillers and his debut novel, The Vanishing, is the first book in his Detective Dean Cornell Series.

 

1. Tell us a bit about your writing journey. How did you get started, and how did you get to where you are now?

I started writing in high school. I always had a pretty active imagination as a kid so when it wasn’t all that cool to play with toys anymore I started to write. Now it wasn’t very good and I never thought about pursuing it beyond English class so I chose to study psychology and then eventually nursing.
It wasn’t until I was waiting to start my first nursing role that I sat down at my laptop one day and thought ‘why not write a novel’. I had 3 months up my sleeve so I sat and wrote a 70,000 word story that still sits unedited on my computer. From this 70k boredom breaker though I decided to write more and more. I read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and ‘Write, Publish, Repeat’ from the guys at the Self Publishing Podcast and from there decided that writing was something I wanted to pursue.

 

2. Anything you would’ve done differently if you could do it all over again?

I wouldn’t have spent a year writing short stories, I would have written a novel or two as well. I thought I’d follow Stephen King’s example and focus on short stories which I’ve had a number published but they didn’t really promote me much as a writer. The 70k manuscript I had just seemed far too daunting to even consider editing so I focused on 5k – 7k shorts. It was only when I started to talk more and more to other writers that I realized I needed to write longer works.

 

3. What advice would you give to new and aspiring writers?

Get a professional cover and make sure to get a professional edit. These are two areas that still plague indie authors.

 

4. Is there any book you’ve written that is particularly special to you? Which one and why?

I’ve only the one, ‘The Vanishing’ and this taught me so much about writing and myself as a writer. I think it’ll always be special to me as it’s the first.

 

5. Who would you say is your favorite character(s) from your books, and why? What is it about this character that makes him/her tick?

I loved Joanne Saunders from ‘The Vanishing’. The one word I had in mind when writing her was ‘gumption’. She’s a strong character who doesn’t hold back. She hides her fear and is mature beyond her 15 years. She’s a character I’d love to explore further in my books as she grows into adulthood.

 

6. Tell us about your latest project. What are you working on at the moment, and what can we expect from it?

Book 2 in the Dean Cornell series. My goal is to release this book by late June, early July and the third by end of year. The characters are starting to become more and more lifelike and I see them saying and doing things I never thought they would. I suppose the more you grow to know your characters the more real they become.
I want to make each book unique in its own way. Each book will take on a different theme and hopefully flesh it out as the book goes on.

 

7. Are you self-pubbed or traditionally published? What made you go for this model? What advice/tips can you share with writers working towards the same goal?

My short stories were traditionally published with various anthologies and magazines whereas my novel was self published.
The reason I went the self publish route with my novel was to focus on writing and not trying to break through the insurmountable wall that is traditional publishing. I feel if my book is found by someone who wants to publish it then I can look at that but in the mean time I will be writing more novels rather than query letters. I think the chasm between self and traditional publishing will narrow someday but I’m not sure how that will look. I think publishers sitting by and waiting for the next Harry Potter or Twilight to fall into their lap is lazy and they should be more involved in the self publishing world as there is some great stories waiting to be plucked.
Either way, I’m thoroughly happy with how my publishing journey is going and can’t wait to get the next book out.

 

David J. DelaneyAuthor Bio: David J. Delaney is an Irishman hailing from Dublin but now living in Sydney, Australia. He believes that we’ve all got a story to tell whether we write it down or not; and if a story causes you to feel any one of the myriad of emotions we all possess as human beings then he’s done his job as a writer.

Sitting through English class as a teenager was the only period in school where he stayed awake and learned something. There’s not a form of entertainment he doesn’t like. Movies such as Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Jurassic Park and Blade Runner kept him up late into the night as a kid. He would discover video games soon after—Resident Evil and Silent Hill on the original iteration of the PlayStation blew him away. Books, however, was the one thing that remained a constant, even as he fell in and out of love with movies and games. The first book he ever read was Ted Hughes’ ‘The Iron Man,’ borrowed from a traveling library that came to his school when he was eight years old. He then moved on to the Famous Five, The Hardy Boys and every Roald Dahl novel he could get his hands on. As he got older he began to love the likes of King, Cornwall, Koontz and Barker. He is inspired by them as well as other great writers such as Neil Gaiman, Kylie Chan, Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, David W. Wright, J. Thorn, J. F. Penn and David Gaughran.

Where to find David:     Website       Blog       Twitter