AuthorVlog LIVE! With Crystal Cierlak and Ann Hunter





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July Blog Hop

I couldn't think of anyone else to tag.  If you would like to participate, please let me know :)



KATHLEEN MARENTES
What am I working on?

I just released book two in my series, The Shadows Breathe Series. So right now, I'm working on book three, which will hopefully be released early next year. This will be the last book in the series for now, as I want to work on other projects afterwards.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I think my series is just different because it's a young adult story about a horse trainer with no real super powers set in present day. Definitely different from the stories dominating the YA world right now. And with characters that anyone can relate to, it's a story that anyone can enjoy, whether from the horse world or not.

Why do I write what I do?

I write what makes me happy!
The Shadows Breathe by Kathleen Marentes
The Shadows Fall (The Shadows Breathe Series #2) by Kathleen Marentes

How does my writing process work?


I start out by listening to a lot of music to get ideas. I watch the book in my head like a movie, and music helps set the mood. Once the mood is established, I can write an outline. The outline is flexible, and generally changes drastically by the time the book is written, but it gives me a map to follow as I go. With four kids, I don't have a lot of time to write, and it can get frustrating! But they do sleep (me, not so much!).
 
Website: http://victoriautumn.wix.com/kathleen...

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KathleenMarentes

goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show...



ANN HUNTER
What am I working on?
I'm in the editing stages of Fallen, my fractured retelling of The Frog Prince. After that I'll be co-writing a highly imaginative new fantasy novel with a 6-year-old titled In The Mean While, and then doing a retelling of Chicken Little (A Piece of Sky)

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I add Celtic elements to my stories, and set them in alternate Ireland. I like to think I have a unique sense of humor when its required (nobody will expect a chicken to have her own POV in Fallen!)

Why do I write what I do?
Initially it started as a way to discover my Irish roots and learn about Irish mythology, but it's branched into so much more. I used to be a pretty prolific writer, churning out 20 novels in 4 years. I got burnt out and so I've been using these Celtic fractured fairy tales as a way to get my mojo back and shake off the cobwebs.

How does my writing process work?
I take care of my kids all day, yearning to write. They go to the bed and I spend the next 2 hours procrastinating writing. Somehow I manage to get out 1000-2000 words per evening anyway. Then the book goes off to content editors, I fix the problems, and send it off to my head editor. Another 2 edits from there and we have a publishable manuscript (about 5-6 thorough edits) 


Amazon URL: http://amzn.com/e/B00HNL6K3K
Blog URL: http://annhunter.blogspot.com
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/authorannhunter
Twitter URL: https://twitter.com/AnnHunter82
Goodreads URL: https://www.goodreads.com/annhunter

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Pleasing Others

Great news!  Last Tuesday, May 27, I finished the first draft of Fallen.  My 25,000 word project came in at 57,509.  It's off with proofreaders now, and preparing for editing to develop the next several drafts before handing it off to my editor and hammering out the final drafts. 
Between books, I force myself to take a one week break.  It's hard because I usually panic the first day off, not knowing what to do with myself, then exhaustion hits by day 3, and I start feeling more human again on day 4.  I start getting tempted to draft the next book by day 5.
So here I'm sitting, day 5/6, itching to draft the next book and waiting for Fallen to return from the boxing ring.  I'm watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic with my almost-six-year-old.  I've really enjoyed this version of the beloved franchise.  It's got a great story line, and interesting characters.  The episode I'm taking in today is where Rarity is designing dresses for her friends and they keep wanting changes.  She presents them with these wonderful, gorgeous dresses that showcase her strengths, and they demand she match their desires.
Editing a novel is not unlike this process.  You write the best first draft you possibly can and hand it off to those you trust.  They request changes that they think will make the piece stronger.



You start editing, you try to make it better, you do the best you can, but you feel completely inadequate.  Then it starts.  You're so paranoid about producing perfection that you haven't seen your friends in weeks.  They're worried you'll become the crazy cat lady.  Don't be the crazy cat lady!
Don't let perfect be the enemy of the best product you can produce at this point in time.  Follow your brilliant design and trust your instincts.  Fix the plot holes, put the commas and semicolons in their place, show that sagging middle who's boss AND MOVE ON! 
You can't please everybody, but you can put in your best effort.

So do it!  Give it 110%.  The feedback isn't personal.  It's business.  Which brings me to reviews.  I love when I get a review, even if it's negative.  It means the book evoked enough emotion from the reader to voice their opinion about their reading experience.  That alone should say something to you.  That's what every author's goal is, right?  To make the reader feel something.  You succeeded.  So say thank you to those 1 star review posters.  Know that you gave it your best shot.  You can't please everyone.



Write because it makes you happy.
Don't be the crazy cat lady.
Oh and did I mention don't try to please everyone?

May the Muse be with you!
#AwesomeAnnHunter

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Writing is Like Parenting

As I approach the final pages of Fallen, I want to admit I've learned a lot from writing this book.  My biggest realization: writing is like parenting. 
It's a well known fact that authors think of their books as their babies.  I've even seen authors announce the completion of a book as though it were a birth announcement.  "My Super Awesome Novel was born at 5:28 P.M., coming in at 150 pages and 60,000 words.  Mom is tired, but doing well."  Yeah, I'm not joking.  But much like birth, your job is not really done after pushing that baby out into the world.  Quite the opposite.  Your journey has just begun.  I liken writing a book to raising a child.  I have two.  Kids, I mean.  I also have two books out, coincidentally (see Moonlight & The Subtle Beauty to the right).  You dream of your kid being one way, of all that they're going to achieve, only to realize that they are going to be their own person, with their own goals and nuances.  Fallen was a particularly troubling "child".  I wanted a dark, dramatic fantasy about the downfall of Sylas Mortas.  Do you know what I got instead?  The Mad Hatter's Tea Party.  I fought it for a long time.  It was painful.  Words were a tooth and nail struggle. There were tears shed and unkind words said.  Incidentally, I'm over a month behind.  I wanted to be finished early in April so I could spend the month editing and release it May 1.  Here I am still writing it (staring at the last four chapters and unsure how long each will be.  I've still got a lot of ground to cover.)  I was really frustrated that it was not the book I wanted it to be.  It was going in the wrong direction.  We were butting heads.  It was behaving exactly as my oldest child has lately.  She's been having behavioral issues in school, and it was a nightmare to try to get her homework done.  Long story short, do you know what the answer was? 
STOP. FIGHTING.
Also, more love.  A major change of attitude toward my child.
But the biggest part was to just stop fighting.  Approach everything in a different direction.  Do you know what happened?  A miracle. 
When I stopped fighting my oldest child and approaching her with a different, more positive attitude, it's like we "clicked".  It worked so well, in fact, that I got an email from her teacher last night.  My daughter is one of the only kids in her class that doesn't have any homework to catch up on the rest of the school year.  Everyone else is getting packets of work.  We went from taking days to complete one sheet to cranking out 4-6 a day all because I changed MY attitude and found ways to avoid fighting. 
Fallen was exactly the same.  Once I changed my attitude toward the book and realized it was going to be the story it wanted to be and not what I wanted, everything started falling into place.  Where I had struggled to find my usual, easy, poetic voice for 7 chapters, it suddenly came when I let the book be whacky.
All you can really do is point the book (or your child) toward the plot points and let them hit them in the way they need to.  Don't force it.  Don't fight it.  Let it be the spirit it's going to be. 

Whenever I have a negative attitude, I think of something my chiropractor said to me: 
"Change your story."

Try to find the positive in the situation.  You don't have writer's block.  You're simply approaching the problem from the wrong angle.  Stay positive.  Keep thinking of ways to avoid the fight, and then tackle the work. 

May the Muse be with You!
#AwesomeAnnHunter

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The Book Rat: Interview with Ann Hunter, author of The Subtle Beauty + Giveaway!

The Book Rat: Interview with Ann Hunter, author of The Subtle Beauty + Giveaway!



Now's your chance to snag a copy of the upcoming twisted tale of FALLEN-- featuring the villain of Moonlight & The Subtle Beauty, Sylas Mortas.

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